Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek: TOS’

Over the last few weeks I’ve been “binge-ing” on the TV series: “Star Trek: Enterprise“.   There are ninety-eight episodes representing over seventy hours of viewing so it was quite an investment of time!!  The series originally ran from 2001 through 2005 and I saw about twenty-five of the episodes when they originally aired.  I’m not sure why I never watched them all, but I’m nearly positive I didn’t as I remembered so few.  The series is about the first Starship Enterprise and humanity’s first attempts to explore “deep space” with the development of a Warp-5 capable spaceship.
Now, with full disclosure, I am a “Trekkie” and saw all of the original series (Star Trek: TOS) in their initial broadcasts and have subsequently viewed them all at least three times and most of them far, far more than that as I used to watch them back in the ’70’s and ’80’s when they were in syndication.  Back then, you could watch them day after day and so see most of the 79 episodes four times in a single year.  In fact, you could see them more than that as the series ran on a couple of different channels a various times of day.  Yeah, I know, a bit OCD!!
Anyway, as SciFi goes, like most of the other Star Trek franchises, this is not very good.  In terms of special effects, it is pretty good to outstanding – particularly for TV.  In terms of acting, the series starts out MUCH better than TOS (The Original Series) or TNG (The Next Generation).  TOS never had a chance to explain much of its back history and TNG was incredibly stiff in its first season.  Picard (played by Patrick Steward) was particularly wooden.  In terms of “realism”, this series is pretty much the same as all the others – little or none.
Does any of that (bad science, poor realism) matter?  Not one iota!!  The show is about humanity and our efforts to deal with “ultimate” issues: war, racism, sexism, slavery, social justice, etc.   All the things which have always made all of / each of the Star Trek franchise TV series great viewing.
This is a VERY good TV series which I thoroughly enjoyed watching!  I hate to say it, but it is every bit as good as the best episodes of TOS and TNG.
(I was never a big fan of DS9 (Star Trek: Deep Space 9) or Star Trek: Voyager and barely watched any of either.  Just a couple of seasons of each and then the odd episode.  I recognize that both of those series have their fans, but as neither of those series have had a sniff of interest in getting turned into a movie franchise, I think my opinion is justified.  I will admit, though, that now they are available (more or less free) on Netflix, I will be watching them both as and when I have time.  I doubt I’ll be binge-ing on them, though.)
As with both TOS and TNG, the stories all center around the senior staff and the most interesting characters are the Captain (Jonathan Archer played by Scott Bakula) and the main alien – as in TOS – the Vulcan First Officer (T’Pol played by Jolene Blalock).  Over the course of the series, the former goes from being an idealistic explorer to a military commander and diplomat while the latter goes from being an emotionally suppressed Vulcan to an openly emotional “almost human” female.  As such, the stories are mostly self-contained episodes with sub-story arcs which span a couple of episodes to the entire series.  Watching the whole series in compressed mode, therefore, made it seem much more understandable to me as I was easily able to remember nuances which I almost certainly would have missed (or forgotten) if I had viewed the series over a four year time span.
If you consider yourself a “Trekkie”, you must watch this series.  If you just want enjoyable SciFi about space exploration and humans meeting alien species, this is a great series.  As I said, it’s well written and character driven and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it and highly recommend it.
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But Star Trek has done far more than that.  It has given us a legacy — a message man can create a future worth living for…  a future that is full of optimism, hope, excitement, and challenge.  A future that proudly proclaims man’s ability to survive in peace and reach for the stars as his reward.
Whither Star Trek?
It really doesn’t matter.  We have its legacy…  all we have to do is use it.
  —  Stephen E. Whitfield, Gene Roddenberry
from their book: “The Making of Star Trek
[One of my favorite scenes from the original series occurred in the episode “The Ultimate Computer“, in which Captain Kirk tries to explain how he feels about being the captain of the Enterprise:
Captain Kirk: “Do you know the one…  ‘All I ask is a tall ship?‘”
Dr. McCoy: “It’s a line from a poem, a very old poem, isn’t it?
Kirk: “Twentieth century Earth.  ‘All I… ask is a tall ship and a star… to steer her by.’
You…  You could feel the wind at your back in those days.  The sounds of the sea… beneath you, and even if you take away the wind and the water… it’s still the same. 
The ship is yours.  You can feel her.  And the stars are still there, Bones.
[The full poem being quoted by Kirk is titled:  “Sea Fever” and was written by John Masefield
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
Now personally, I’m a land-lubber, but even I can appreciate the sentiment of beauty, strength, grace, and hope in commanding a tall-ship and a loyal crew facing the vast challenge of the open ocean – which at that time must have seemed as immense as all of outer space now seems to us.  —  KMAB]

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