Thursday, October 06, 2016
Star Trek at 50
Okay first I was going to write a review on the newest Trek film "Beyond", and then after seeing it I thought what's one more stupid review of a film. And then with all the hoopla of Star Trek turning 50 I thought maybe I should do something about why Start Trek appeals to me. So bear with me while I try and write something a bit different then your standard review.
While I was growing up Star Trek was a show that was running in syndication on a local station in New York city. I loved science-fiction, so me loving Star Trek wasn't a surprise. It was an uplifting and well written series. With writers like D.C. Fontana, David Gerrold, Robert Bloch, Theodore Sturgeon, and Harlan Ellison how could a series go wrong. Why it didn't do well back in it's original viewing was probably due to several factors, but which don't matter now. Because the series was in syndication for so long so many of my fellow peers watched it also. What also happened was that there were other science-fiction series that followed. I was an avid fan of Space 1999, and the British series created by Gerry Anderson UFO, and don't forget I was a fan of Dr Who also.
Of course back in the day before cable it was hard to find these programs. Some played on UHF stations, and I remember very well trying to align the TV's antenna to get the signal in just right. These shows held a certain mystic for a small boy from New York city. They were seeds for a very fertile young mind. Imagination was fueled by these shows, and I'm certain that I'm not the only one who was very much influenced by these shows.
Star Trek was more then science fiction though. It was about family. It's crew was family, and we enjoyed the adventures they were on. That's why the latest Star Trek film "Beyond" is such a classic. The writers and creators of the film got it. They knew that it was the characters that we all liked, and that the new cast does that so well. At the end of the film when they show a still photo of the old crew on the bridge of the Enterprise that seals it for me. Dedicating it to Leonard Nimoy and Anton was a nice touch, but one I got. People come and go. That's what life is, but an idea like Star Trek keeps going and perpetuates other memories in new fans. Now with the new series and new crew we are given new stories, but with the same fun and loving family we always knew.
That's why Star Trek is what it is. It isn't a running cliff-hanger show where we wonder what will happen to our characters. We are vested in the characters, and the shows are well written enough to not insult us. There is no gimmick for higher ratings. If you consider how good shows survive it's because they don't talk down to its audience. Star Trek never did.
That is not to say that Star Trek has it's misses. I can remember on Star Trek: The Next Generation I was always amazed that within 5 or ten minutes the writers could rescue the crew with some sci-fi jargon, and a miraculous plot development. My wife and I would get a big kick out of how things would resolve. But hey it's only television, and it worked for many fans, and I can't say I didn't watch it, How the Enterprise went from a exploration vessel to a luxury cruise liner with even a ten forward on board with the beautiful and mysterious bar tender(Whoopi Goldberg) tending bar is beyond me. But I digress, I think how Star Trek evolved for it's fans throughout the years is something that someone could write a great dissertation for their college thesis. For now I'll say that Star Trek survives today and flourishes because of it's fan base, and that fan base has been in the making for about several decades now.
The series is forward thinking, and a family relate-able TV show. That's why it's lasted. The topics it's covered hits home and still does. Star Trek's fans are legion, and they could give you a million reasons why the like the series, but one reason Star Trek will continue is because we love the characters, and they share our optimism for the future.
It will be interesting how Star Trek evolves now. But one one thing is for sure I'm sure we'll be celebrating its 60th, and 75th anniversary in future, and they're will be more material to talk about and discuss. So as our favorite Vulcan would say "live long, and prosper" because Star Trek will be around for some time and that makes us all a bit happier.