Thursday, May 2, 2013

Where I Have Never Gone Before

Ever since I got Netflix a few years ago I have been slowly working through the Original Star Trek TV series. Right now I think I have 2 episodes left. It is easy to see why the show was so popular in certain circles.

It is also easy to see why there was no season 4.

First; the popularity. I yet to find an episode without a half naked woman. This has to be the sexiest show on TV in 1967. Every show also had at least one fight sequence, usually hand to hand, but occasionally they would just 'blast away' at each other. And, in the era when we are just starting to send men into space for a few days trip to a celestial body we could see nightly, The Enterprise was traveling at the speed of light to places we could not.

Despite some classic episodes, the writing is very uneven. Somehow the story lines in some cases either haven't aged well or were junk 45 years ago. In one of the last episodes appear the Space Hippies. Was there some well-received social message in 1968? Maybe. But if there was it was long gone by 2013.

And then there was the physics.

Why is it that most alien planets seem to be able to violate at least one law of physics? Or maybe in the future we will be able to repeal some of Newton's Laws? Except that it always seems to the lack of a law of physics that enables the aliens to be a step ahead of our intrepid crew.

Either that, or the super computer built 200 years ago that has been powering the planet (without maintenance, to the point where the inhabitants don't even know of the computer's existence) that gives them their power.

Each episode also followed the 1960's formula; balance the drama with a bit of humor, throw in a musical number or two occasionally, and a fight scene every week whether we need one or not.

In Season Three they added the philosophical musing. I don't know if they were trying to go in a different direction or felt secure enough in their audience to become preachy; and these musings are preachy.

I haven't become a pure 'Trekkie'. I can't tell you the author of every episode or go into the reason why Spock pushed the wrong button on his science console in episode 6 of season 2.

But I can tell you that Spock and Kirk drove a 1928 Packard V-12 in the episode where they run into a planet full of aliens who acted like it was 1930's Chicago.

But that's cause I'm a car guy.

Still, over all the series has held up well 45 years later. The dialogue is sometimes a little stilted, and you can tell they used the very best cardboard for some of the sets. AND WHY DOES EVERY DAMN THING ON THE BRIDGE HAVE TO CONSIST SOLELY OF FLASHING LIGHTS!?!?!?!?!?! That, and the noise the redlight below the view screen seemed to make I would been stark raving nuts before the end of season three.

So maybe that's why there was no season four....