I’ve been watching this a lot the past few weeks and coming to a new conclusion as to what it means to me. I had previously held it as ‘the establishment in space’ as opposed to Star Wars’ rebels in space or Doctor Who’s anti-establishment rebel making trouble trough time and space.
But it occurs to me that Kirk and his crew were trained by Star Fleet to handle certain situations only to encounter situations that often defied human knowledge. Rather than sticking to the book, Kirk trusted his instincts and made judgement calls (that were often rather pigheaded or plain foolish) and stumbled through a fantastic experience only to miraculously survive to tell the tale.
In my opinion, Star Trek got a bit complacent and bogged down in its success over the years leading to lackluster films and TV programs wrapped up in continuity rather than the ingenuity of its seminal years. But at its heart, Star Trek isn’t about cops and robbers in space. It’s about the human experience (as shown in the rarely talked about 1978 Motion Picture and again in the Star Trek: The Next Generation series finale ‘All Good Things…’ which was recently released on blu-ray).
It can be fun to see a war with the Klingons and Data’s evil twin team up with the daughter of Tasha Yar from a parallel reality to partner with Lursa and B’Etor… but in my opinion these adventures pale against the more relevant stories that explore what it is to be human in an otherworldly reality. Especially the really whacked out episodes…
Below is a pretty neat BBC documentary on Trek that interviews the creators and stars on what began as a dinner time sci-fi program and ballooned into a cultural phenomenon.
… and be ready for Nichelle Nichols crooning the Gene Roddenberry torch song (and an unexpected narration by Doctor Who, Paul McGann).
Expect more reviews to come (including the Motion Picture).