Alan Smithee

Star Trek is Great

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The year was 1987 and it was fall. My old man (aka Dad) has me and the entire family lined up on the sofa for the premiere of the first Star Trek series to be on television since he was a boy of 10 years old. I, being a child of a mere 7 years, had no idea what to expect of this new show, but damnit if I wasn’t excited.

“Encounter at Farpoint” was my first real taste of American science fiction at its finest (even though that episode does suck). Of course I was shown the occasional original Star Trek when an episode was available, and we had bootleg copies of the Star Trek movies, but seeing Star Trek The Next Generation was the real I WAS THERE moment of my life.

From that point on, it was a regular occurrence for us in the Reed family, we’d get ready for the show by making homemade pizzas and settling in for the episode without fail. This was a family tradition for all seven seasons of the series, all the way until May 1994 when the show went off the air.

This was no small feat either, being a military family, we were used to having to uproot and move every couple of years when the old man got reassigned to a new post. It’s just one of those accepted things that has to happen, no biggie. But fie on thee if we missed one episode of this beloved show, FIE I SAY! But, for those seven years, I grew from awkward pre-pubescence into awkward teenager preparing for high school. The NES was king when it came on TV, and the SNES was king shortly after. There were a ton of things that happened in that series’ run.

Now that I’m an adult and over 20 years has passed since the premiere of the series, I have the luck…or should I say we all have the luck, of being able to watch every single episode of the show and pretty much all other Star Trek shows at the click of a mouse or a touch of a finger to a capacitive touch screen. It’s a great time to be alive, no doubt.

I decided at the beginning of the year that I was going to make myself watch every single episode of the long running series from beginning to end. I’m talking Star Trek, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, and even the terrible Animated Series. I’m talking all of it.

I caught a few episodes, namely a season or so, of the original series and found myself falling in love with William Shatner on a level more than I ever experienced before. You see, I knew that I liked him from the movies and from his other television appearances…mainly Boston Legal being his highpoint in recent memory. But the James T. Kirk of the 60s was a vapor inducing swarthy kung fu hunk-o-man that was big-dicking it across the cosmos. I realized that as cool and collected that Picard may be and as fair and honest as Sisko was, none of them could hold a candle to old Kirk, the man is just a legend.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all my captains dearly, but Kirk is a force of nature that can’t be stopped, only slowed by his two faithful companions Spock and McCoy. A seemingly unwritten love triangle of humanity’s best and worst traits. On one hand you have Spock’s logic and cold calculating Vulcan side, and on the other you have the bleeding heart McCoy. There’s something about the cast of TOS that was just magic…and is evidently true due to how many movies they all filmed together. Anyways I’m getting off point.

After seeing The Original Series for a few weeks, I made the jump over to The Next Generation, especially focusing on the first season in order to relive those moments of my childhood and realized that the show, while inherently good, was mired in the in the time it was created. The set pieces were always of a taupe color (just look at the bridge again) and the design of the Enterprise model reminded me of car styles of that generation, overly curvy while also feeling obscenely obtuse.

In other words, it really didn’t age well.

There is just no words for how prolific this series has been to my development as both a geek and a normal human being. I was never one of those hardcore Trekkers who wanted to join Starfleet Academy, or even one of the many who went on the experience when it was in Vegas, but the show and philosophy of humanity becoming more than what it is, is something that I’m sure going to pass along to my “next generation” and hopefully will have even more amazing storylines to pass along to them…even though there are plenty, hundreds even, of quality episodes to show them when they’re of the right age. Oh I think around 7 will suffice.

Thank you Gene Roddenberry for helping bring together at least two generations of my family. You are missed.

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