Trekking Through Classic

Here is where two things are likely to happen. First, I am likely to annoy (if not anger) my many Star Trek-loving friends. Second, someone is going to want to snip a corner off my geek card.

My confession: I have never cared much for Star Trek the original television series. Whenever it was on (my dad and sister sometimes watched it), I pretty much just tuned it out and read a book. I thought the stories were boring, the characters uninteresting, the color awful (which isn’t fair because the color of my favorite show, M*A*S*H, has always been pretty bad too), and the acting stilted. When the first Trek film came out, I watched it on HBO with my dad and we were both bored to death (spoiler coming up), especially when my dad figured out a few scenes before the reveal that V’Ger was Voyager. When the credits rolled, my dad said something I always think of when someone mentions the film: “That was a real ass-scratcher of a movie.” I don’t even think I know what that means, but it’s hilarious.

My Scoutmaster drove my troop into Waikiki to see the second motion picture, The Wrath of Khan, and that was (and is still) a good film. And so I have had a kind of dual relationship with Trekkers and with Trek itself. I have enjoyed the films (including Insurrection and Nemesis) while hating the TV show. Because of the circles I’ve usually run in, I have picked up enough of the lore to be conversant at the most basic level with Trekkers and to be able to interpret for the unwashed some of the allusions that have come up. It’s actually the lore that has softened my dislike of the series, and I can now proudly (or ashamedly) say that I have seen at least two episodes of the original series in their entirety: The Trouble with Tribbles and that one with the green woman. I’ve seen pieces of many others, but they are very small pieces.

I’ve actually seen more entire episodes (each) of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager than of Classic, ‘though I haven’t seen very many of them either. I’ve liked most of what I’ve seen, but they were on the air at times when I just didn’t have room for them in my viewing schedule. And forget about the DVDs: have you seen how much just one season of any of them costs? Ridiculous.

Don’t ask me about Enterprise. I don’t even know if I’ve ever seen it.

I realize what this does for my geek cred in some people’s eyes. And you know what? If I ever cared about that, I’d have done something about it. There has had to be room in my life for certain geeky obsessions that exist outside the realm of conventional geekiness, such as baseball, female-fronted symphonic heavy metal, and the pursuit of the perfect pie crust.

But then I watched the first five seasons of The Big Bang Theory on DVD (about which, more later: what I’m drafting this week is actually what sparked this Trek treatise, a kind of digression to get it out of my system), and when the credits rolled on the final episode of that 2011-2012 season, I knew it was time for me to revisit Classic. What the heck. It’s only seventy-something one-hour episodes. I don’t plan to rush through it and it won’t be a first viewing priority, but I think getting through it will make me somehow a better person. This is also true of the Bible and the complete works of William Shakespeare, but have you seen how long those are?

Between now and who knows when, I will use this space to write occasional responses to my Trek viewing. Just a heads-up.

3 Comments

  1. i use to watch trek each night way back when.. but i got bored since all it seemed was kirk kept on sleeping with whatever femae life form was available on what have you planets! i will say that my fave episode was the tribbles…my fav trek was TNG as i liked Commander Troi which was sort of the female version of Spock but a nicer one :) and BBT is best.show.ever !

  2. OK – I am not the same Mel as the one listed previously.

    I like Star Trek and have watched probably all of “Classic” and all of “TNG”. Love both shows. If you did not grow up with “Classic” when compared to later shows in the series, “Classic” can be an “acquired taste”.

    Who knew back in 1969 after 3 years when NBC cancelled the thing, that “classic” would become a cult classic and eventually a huge money making machine for Paramount.

    Which means yes, there is a gap between Classic and TNG. The movies for the most part filled the gap between the Classic generation and the TNG stories.

    Granted not all of the Trek movies were good. Totally agree that the first movie while not bad, was overly too long. They could have cut that thing by 2/3 and get a better story out of it.

    Fortunately successive Star Trek movies were good or better (my favorites being “Watch of Khan”, “Undiscovered Country”, “First Contact” and “Nemisis”. The only exception was the awful “Star Trek V” directed by William Shatner. That movie stunk.

    Anyway, getting back to your post I think it is great that you are getting into the Star Trek universe… you don’t have to be a Trekker to like it… I like it but I am and never will be obsessed with it like how many geeky Trekkers are. Star Trek is just fun escapism and the Classic series is the best when you want something campy and lighthearted.

    If you want I could let you borrow my Star Trek DVDs… No I never bought any of the boxed sets, but for a while Paramount did release select episodes of Classic and TNG in a 4 episodes single DVD edition at $9.99 each.

    Now if you like space opera the two shows that are better than any of the Star Treks are “Babylon 5″ and the re-imagined “Battlestar Galactica”.

  3. Dang.. that should have been “Wrath of Khan” instead of “Watch…” my bad with these crummy text editors…

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