|The True Crew|
My enjoyment of the original series and its characters has not dulled over the years.
However, I cannot sit through The Next Generation or any of the other later shows.
I tried to like the adventures of Captain Picard and company.
I REALLY tried.
I’m talking a couple YEARS of trying.
That show started at the height of my Trekkie life. (Those of you interrupting to tell me I’m a Trekker can beam out, right now.) This was the same era where the original crew movies were coming out. The reveal of Enterprise-A at the end of Star Trek IV is still the loudest, most audience-uniting cheer I’ve ever been a part of in all my opening night geek movie attending life. This was the period where I would stay up to tape the show on Channel 11 at midnight any time I was off school in order to have the complete series. (It took forever, because they seemed to show “Metamorphosis” twice a week for some reason. I still start to twitch whenever I see Zephram Cochrane.)
|I kept hoping the Companion would just eat him.|
I was excited.
I was ready to continue to go boldly.
I watched it for about two and a half seasons, maybe more…
And I was disappointed every time.
The original show was made as an adventure series, but hired enough intelligent writers to throw in many messages, allegories and deep ideas with the adventure. Every episode of The Next Generation felt like the message was the most important part, and the story was only incidental. They’d spend fifty minutes beating me over the head with the lesson du jour, up until the last commercial break. At that point, some crew member or another would realize that there is, in fact, a problem to be solved. Then it was wrapped up almost as an afterthought with an unsatisfying “ta-da!”
This is similar to how Sesame Street has descended to where it is today. (He said, ranting about a totally different topic.) Originally, it was a Laugh In inspired show, created to be fun and entertaining for the whole family. Education experts would come in for a final review or two to make sure it was also teaching. Over time, the education and marketing people took the lead, transforming it into a dumbed down, repetitious, over-Elmo-ed mess. It’s come back a bit recently, but nowhere near its original glory. I’m not making this up, I’ve done some reading and the original show’s creators have said similar (if less bitter and ranty) things. Unsurprisingly, it is all Barney’s fault.
I’ve had many fans tell me I quit too soon, (because they wanted me to claw my eyes out, I guess) implying that the show improved in later seasons. I did try to go back a couple of times, usually after seeing an original crew movie and needing a further fix. The later seasons did away with the few things I liked early on. They, and the following Treks, were all: message after issue after lesson (lather, rinse, repeat), as they whined, discussed feelings, surrendered, and were hamstrung by the prime directive. All this went on without any of the sense of fun that ran rampant when the original crew was on the bridge. More importantly, none of the shows recaptured the lightning in a bottle chemistry of the original crew.
Part of the trouble may be due to Gene Roddenberry. He was, undeniably, a genius. But he also tended to hold on to some ideas which didn’t work. I’m a huge Captain Pike fan. Heck I’m named after the actor that played him (destined for geek hood since birth). However, there were aspects of his personality, and the pilot containing him in general, that needed to be redone to make Star Trek the phenomenon it became. Many concepts that were poorly received in “The Cage” were reused in The Motion Picture to equally faint praise…and then brought back again in the newer series. (A prime example- reluctant leader with forbidden love for alien woman: Pike and Number One, Decker and Ilia, and Riker and Troi. Note that all three sets travelled in space pajamas.) Still, considering all the good ideas the Great Bird of the Galaxy gave us, we can forgive him some clunkers.
I will admit to a couple of episodes that I did record to keep permanently. They should be fairly obvious. Scotty’s return in “Relics” is definitely a keeper, as he spends most of the time pointing out how lame the new show, ship and crew are compared to the original. Spock’s return in “Unification” also served to nicely display why Data is a poor man’s replacement for everyone’s favorite Vulcan science officer.
I was leery about trying “Trials and Tribble-ations” on Deep Space Nine. After all this was the series that returned to the Mirror Universe, and learned Bearded Spock’s actions and improvements caused that Federation to be completely taken over. What this means is: a long range plan suggested by Captain Kirk with the aid of Doctor McCoy, and implemented by a Mr. Spock very similar to the real one, was the wrong course of action. How could I trust a show run by people who were unfamiliar enough with Star Trek to think that anything set forth by the Kirk-Spock-McCoy three who are one, could be wrong. The whole point of many Star Trek episodes is that one, or two, or all three are sure of something that is doubted by the ENTIRE REST OF THE UNIVERSE…and they turn out to be right.
|Because they are, in fact, that cool.|
Over the years, I’ve been happy with my tapes, and the occasional Original Crew novel or comic book. Some new developments have upgraded things around here though.
The new Star Trek movie was a pleasant surprise, as I had no idea how they could pull it off. The characters were played by the same actors for over forty years. I couldn’t figure out how Captain Kirk could be Captain Kirk without being an imitation of William Shatner. Luckily, Chris Pine and the rest of the new-old crew managed to figure it out.
|He's got the swagger, and is close to mastering the "Kirk Smirk".|
|The blessing has been bestowed.|
Another technological advance increased her fandom. One of the reasons we got a blu ray player was I saw an advertisement saying the only way to see the Original Series with the original effects intact was on blu ray.
I need to publicly apologize now. When I first read about them upgrading the space effects to CGI I set off on a nerd rage tirade. (Real big shock. Yeah, I know.) I complained that they expected to fool the kids with fancy computer generated spaceships, and then surprise them with planets made of papier mache’. Turns out I was way wrong. They didn’t make the space scenes look like uber slick digital fanciness. They made them look like more varied, detailed, and complicated shots were taken of the original models. Every time a new digital view of the Starship Enterprise comes on screen in glorious high definition…I go, “OOOOOOOOooooh”.
|Its soooooo shiiiiiiiiny!|
1) It was inspired by scenes from the original series.
2) It was still a hell of a shock.
3) It provided a logical explanation why, unlike every other female of every other species in the galaxy, Uhura doesn’t fall for Kirk.
|Not as big a leap as one might think.|
“If this is an alien planet why do they all speak English instead of going, ‘Beep boop boop beep’?”
I explained about the universal translator, and luckily “Arena” came on shortly thereafter to clear that up.
Early on in the first season she asked who the landing party was, and I told her, “Kirk, Spock and another guy.”
“Oh,” she replied, “The other guy’s not gonna make it back to the ship, is he?”
She caught on that Chekov would be missing at the navigation station until the second season, and also asked where Sulu is when someone else was at the helm. Plus she could tell when Chekov was wearing the wig.
|"Could your hair have been any bigger?"|
Any pretty girl that shows up, she says, “I guess Kirk’s going to be kissing her soon.”
|Not mine, but too good to leave out.|
She giggles when Spock says “Fascinating” or raises an eyebrow, but lets out a mirth filled, “Oh Boy!” whenever his emotions are let loose.
She laughs out loud when McCoy proclaims he’s a doctor, not a whatever, or when Scotty worries about his engines.
|Always the consummate professionals|
And, in “The Enterprise Incident” she said, “There’s no such thing as a Vulcan death grip,” and later gave an impressed, “Whoah!” when the Captain ordered, “Warp Factor Nine!”
The Star Trek genes are secure in my next generation. I know this is true because when we flip by THE Next Generation, she inquires, “That’s the stinky Star Trek, right Daddy?”
That's my girl!
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