Sunday, May 10, 2009

To Boldly Go Where I've Been Since 1968

When I was a little boy I watched Star Trek-Classic first run with my father. I then watched it over and over as a tween and teenager in NY. (6PM-Channel 11 WPIX). It appeared opposite the Brady Bunch and in those pre-Tivo, VHS days the first to get the kid's T.V. rule meant that often Tribbles lost out to "Oh MY Nose!" and "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha." Yes kids, we did not all have our own T.V.

Nonetheless, I was able to watch each of the originals dozens of times. It played at 11 P.M. when I was in college and was often on around the dorms. Except the one with the female Romulan commander which for some reason I have only caught about 3 times in all these years.

When Star Trek the Next Generation (STNG) came on I found it annoying and derivative in the first season so did not watch it. I am firmly in the Kirk over Picard wing of Trekdom. Lately a few episodes with the Borg and Q have me thinking the show was not as horrible as I once believed.

DeepSpace 9 had Quark's bar but I did not watch it obsessively as they did not go anywhere and Sisco is pretty much a downer, although a pretty good Captain.

Voyager has two assets and they are both attached to Jeri Ryan. Star Trek meets Lost in Space just did not do it for me. By that time the idea that an advanced science ship could not find a way back to Federation Space year after year just because of time and distance was more implausible than midichlorians.

Finally, came Enterprise. I like Scott Backula and the characters were more likeable and clicked more than those on TNG, but I often could not make time for it. Still, as the brilliant libertarian lawyer, Ilya Somin notes, it is before the Federation went Socialist. (Dave if you could embed this I would be eternally grateful)

When TNG and the movies came out Gene Rodenberry no longer had to deal with the Network brass. Thus the preachy, one world, leftism he favored wiped out the gung ho New Frontierism of the old series. That tension made Star Trek better than when Roddenberry and his acolytes had untrammeled power to get rid of currency, or even credits. That is why Star Trek The Motion Picture (STMP), usually called The Motion Sickness, was such a horror. Rodenberry got what he wanted.

The genetically enhanced Ricardo Montobaln saved the Franchise. I liked III, and IV. I tolerated the other horrible movies but grew livid when in Generations they killed Kirk and did so lamely. I saw one more with the Borg and stopped going.

Now, Kirk and the gang are back but with new actors and actresses. It is a fantastic ride. I do not fully agree with Jonah here. Spock is ok, but the logical criticisms are on the money. Who cares. Go see this picture.

At last we again have a Kirk that does not give a hoot about the Prime Directive or feminism. An irascible, brandy sipping Bones. A contained, insufferable, know it all Spock, and all of the supporting actors are great as well.

Romulan Ale does not have this kind of kick. See it on the big screen and see it soon.


Powaqqatsi said...

I loved seeing the orgin of the nickname "Bones".

Interestingly, my history with Star Trek is almost an exact parallel to yours except for Enterprise with Scott Backula. I had become so disgusted with it's immediate predecessors that I never bothered.

J. said...

I LOVED the original "Star Trek," which I watched again and again when I was a tween and teen, like you. But after some initial trepidation got into TNG -- and also watched "Voyager" later, though not for Jeri Ryan. (Couldn't get into DS9 or "Enterprise," even though I really like Scott Bakula -- huge "Quantum Leap" fan.) The movies, however, left me cold, which is why I've been a bit nervous about the latest one. But EVERYONE I know says it's AMAZING, so hopefully we can get a sitter or a playdate for the kid this weekend and check it out.

Btw, what made the original Star Trek great, IMHO, were the stories and the chemistry between the characters. Indeed, that's all it really takes to make a great show or movie: a good story and characters we care about. But that's been lost in all the special effects. Sad.

(P.S. All verification words are in Klingon this week.)