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Happy Birthday Star Trek!

Saturday, September 9, 2006
by

uss-enterprise-d.jpg

“It’s been . . . fun . . .”

Captain James T. Kirk — On Life

All right, so I’m one day late . . .
You see, there was this tribble...Yes, forty years ago, Captain Kirk, Spock, McCoy et al. entered American culture. Their five year mission (but only three seasons) has expanded over the course of forty years to five television series (that’s 703 episodes), ten motion pictures, an animated series, comic books and video games. Not to mention fan conventions, movies made about fans and conventions (the fabulous doc, Trekkies), merchandise, Las Vegas rides — the list could go on ad infinitum.

Personally, I’m a child of The Next Generation. Occasionally I would watch the original series, and I loved movies 1-6 (although my more mature tastes have taught me to detest number 5, The Final Frontier, and fall asleep to number 1, The Motion Picture), but it is Next Generation that I will always go back to. Deep Space Nine and Voyager were poor imitations, or at least to me, they pale in comparison. Enterprise was the best series since Next Gen, but sadly, it wasn’t given the same chance to grow and mature. Enterprise was able to walk a fine line between the original series and TNG, combining a cowboy mentality with a sense of wonder and maturity.

Space cowboys

The Best Crew, according to me. And I'm always right.

Just another day at the office. Patrick Stewart as Jean Luc Picard is the ultimate Star Trek character. The best episodes (otherwise known as my favourites) of TNG are the ones that examine his character in detail: Tapestry, Family, The Inner Light, Chain of Command (I and II). Stewart brings to Star Trek a sense of gravitas, a depth that most Trek shows lack. Of course, let’s not forget Brent Spiner as Data, perhaps my second favourite Trek character.

Now, I’m not going to get all weepy-eyed and reveal to the world how Star Trek made me a better person. I’m sure some of the show’s idealism must have rubbed off on me, but at the heart of it, Star Trek is good drama. And it’s fun. It’s an escapist pleasure that I will always enjoy.

Forty years is a long time, but Trek has proved surprisingly resilient. It has hit a snag at present, but given time, the show will re-invent itself and perhaps it might even reach another high point like the mid-1990s, when two shows were on the air, and First Contact was in theatres.

The politically correct crew. Except for 7 of 9.And I hope it does come back. Television needs the optimism of Star Trek. But not right away — I think we need some breathing room. I’m not going to say how long, but enough time so that when the show does come back, we’ll actually look forward to the shields failing and possible warp-core breaches. In any case, let’s all raise a glass of Romulan ale and toast the birthday of a franchise that has gone where no television series has gone before (had to use it at some point). It’s made us laugh and cry and dream and want to go out and kick some Borg ass. It’s given us hope for the future and taught us all a most valuable lesson: no, not ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,’ but that sub-space anomalies can be blamed for just about anything.

Let the celebrations begin . . . engage. llewopemearg

Resistence is mostly futile

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. Saturday, September 9, 2006 1:28 pm

    If they do, lets hope they employ better actors than Scott Bakula, ive met kitchen objects than could act better than he can.

    And also increase the length of an episode back to 45 minutes not 41. Trek was once good , then somebody got greedy.

  2. Saturday, September 9, 2006 1:45 pm

    Heh, nice overview. It’s good to see at least a couple of people writing about this, especially people who have a different taste in Trek than I have. But I can’t disagree that TNG is absolutely top Trek TV. :D

  3. James17930 permalink
    Sunday, September 10, 2006 10:16 am

    Personally, while TNG is my fave too, I really liked DS9. The whole Dominion War storyline was the biggest thing that had ever happened in the Star Trek Universe (bigger even then Locutus, I would say).

    Since it was based on a station and not a ship, the show was more about the politics of their surroundings and race-relations and more topical things, which I liked. Plus Avery Brooks, Alexander Siddig and Rene Auberjonois all had the same capacity for gravitas that Stewart did, I would argue. Don’t forget about Colm Meany and Armin Shimmerman either — two fan faves.

    Yes, I always thought DS9 was underrated.

    The only problem was Jake. Jake should have died, or never existed.

  4. Sunday, September 17, 2006 7:50 pm

    While perusing through IMDB I came across an upcoming title, Star Trek: Of Gods and Men. I found this article explaining the forthcoming mini-series to be distributed via the web. At first, I was anxious to know when the release date will be. Now, having viewed the trailer (follow the link to the official site at the bottom of the article), I’m in no rush. Decide for yourselves.

  5. Sunday, September 17, 2006 9:13 pm

    Drew, I agree try – http://www.hiddenfrontier.com/ it’s a fan thing and honesty its pretty good, and has some merit – im blogging about it this week if i remember correctly.

  6. James17930 permalink
    Monday, September 18, 2006 9:00 am

    Ouch — I see what you mean Drew.

    Hidden Frontier looks interesting though — I’ll check that out at some point.

  7. Monday, September 18, 2006 9:15 am

    Star Trek + video = a combination I’m just not ready to accept yet.

  8. Monday, September 18, 2006 8:46 pm

    Sadly, banana, my antiquated hardware won’t play modern Quicktime videos. Fortunately that won’t be the case much longer and then I will definitely check out Hidden Frontier.

    Graeme, by “video” do you mean straight-to-file, so to speak?

  9. Monday, September 18, 2006 9:46 pm

    I just mean stuff that you’re used to seeing shot on film looks really cheesy on video. Hence, I don’t think Of Gods and Men would have looked all that bad had it been shot on film, but, I do think it’s cool that Trek alum are getting together to do this kind of stuff.

  10. Sunday, October 1, 2006 5:33 am

    ¡Ay dios mio!

  11. Sunday, October 1, 2006 5:35 am

    Wait a second…

  12. rylo93 permalink
    Saturday, February 16, 2008 3:22 am

    Definitely TNG my favourite. Let’s hope something comes out of the new movie…only a years wait.

  13. anum permalink
    Thursday, March 13, 2008 5:49 pm

    i agree that TNG was absolutely fantastic – but i also loved Voyager and DS9, they do have depth! also i have to disagree with the new “enterprise” being one of the best series – personally i detested it – rubbish casting and crap storylines, unlike TNG DS9 and Voyager which rocked!!!

  14. James17930 permalink
    Friday, March 14, 2008 12:52 am

    I think Enterprise had a lot of potential, but it got ruined by crap writers.

    It should have been a lot more like Firefly.

  15. Friday, March 14, 2008 7:13 am

    I don’t really know anything about Enterprise, but isn’t Firefly something completely different in tone from anything Star Trek? Space travel was about all the two had in common.

  16. James17930 permalink
    Friday, March 14, 2008 8:21 pm

    Well, Firefly had more comedy — but I’m talking about the whole ‘space as outback’ thing.

    I had thought Enterprise would purposely be more low tech and more about the discovery and building of the Star Trek mythos. Instead, they did this whole temporal war thing where time travel made the fact they were a ‘prequel’ series irrelevant.

    Joss Whedon would have made Enterprise an awesome show.

  17. Saturday, March 15, 2008 12:37 pm

    The premise of Enterprise was doomed to failure. And with the weak writing, it’s amazing it lasted as long as it did. But then again look how long Voyager (by far the worst series) lasted. But if nothing else, Enterprise did at least provide an explanation for the appearance of the Klingons during The Original Series. Also, Linda Park is really cute and we got to see her belly button in the mirror-universe episodes. Jolene Blalock was pretty hot as a Vulcan, which is kind of weird since I find her rather unattractive in reality.

  18. James17930 permalink
    Sunday, March 16, 2008 10:16 am

    Well, that didn’t take long to degenerate into a discussion about Jolene Blalock’s bodysuit.

  19. Sunday, March 16, 2008 10:34 pm

    …only a year and a half.

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