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Revisiting Trek

May 1, 2009

I don’t know if I’d ever label myself a Trekkie, but I definitely went through a Star Trek phase as a kid. For me, it was The Next Generation. I was hooked on the adventures of Picard and crew and, by association, the original cast films. I caught a dozen or so episodes of the original series and even tried to invest myself in Deep Space Nine and Voyager, but then I discovered cars and girls and such and Trek sort of fell by the wayside. By the time Enterprise aired, I couldn’t be bothered.

Now, fifteen or so years later, Star Trek is being rebooted, and I’m chomping at the bit to see the new J.J. Abrams-helmed flick. After years of feasting on brooding sci-fi the likes of Battlestar Galactica, I’m finding the optimistic premise of Trek quite refreshing. 

In the runup to the movie’s release, I decided to go out and purchase the first season of the original series on Blu-ray. Now that Nolan and I have watched four or so episodes, I’m compelled to say a few words about it.

First, the transfer is amazing. I had no idea the original series could look so good. The picture quality is really quite good…easily a match for broadcast HD…and the enhanced effects are lovingly rendered to improve the space shots without distracting from the overall look of the show. I love how they managed to make the Enterprise look so good, yet still have the appearance of a model (albeit with far more detail).

Second, I can’t help but reflect on how far scripted television has come in the last forty years. The episodes I’ve watched have all been a variation on the exact same theme. Some infection or intruder gets its way aboard the Enterprise and drama ensues. Logic is defied. Characters fall prey to amazing stupidity. For example, one episode (“The Enemy Within”) features an away team stranded on a freezing planet because of a transporter malfunction. Why does no one think “hey, we’ve got a shuttlecraft”?

Third, even for the cheesiness, there’s no denying the show’s charm. Even if it doesn’t live up to the promise of its premise (and let’s face it, not many Treks have), the characters are so iconic that you can’t really help but smile to see them in action. 

Revisiting the original series, I feel now more than ever that a reboot is exactly what the franchise needs. It’s been drifitng aimlessly since the mid-nineties, and storytelling and effects have advanced to a point where I think the full promise of Star Trek may finally be realized. If the advance screenings are any indication, it has.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 7, 2009 7:51 pm

    I’m confident JJ will not fail us. There’s been a few decent moments in the Trek franchise. But it’s high time that someone takes serious look at everything it could and should be. Also, if you haven’t already seen the doc “Trekkies”—do. You’re darling wife will even like it. I promise.

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