Tag: Star Trek

Star Trek Re-Watch

Star Trek Re-Watch

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As part of the Days of Geek podcast (which, yes, I know I’m supposed to release an episode of today, but I’m not nearly finished editing it yet), I’m doing a Star Trek re-watch. The Original Series. As in, the series that originally ran before I was born.

I grew up watching Trek. One of my earliest memories is sitting in my father’s lap in that old green chair watching “The Immunity Syndrome”. As a three-year-old, the idea of a giant space amoeba eating whole planets was hard to wrap my mind around, but it was pretty cool. I watched every episode of the show over and over as a kid. As a teenager, it came on about 5 minutes after I got home from school for most of my high school years. That started to shift after The Next Generation kicked in, but it didn’t make the move to only early Saturday mornings until just before my first year of university. I kept watching.

As an adult, with cable and a science fiction network, I made it my mission to capture all of the episodes in order on VHS (a mission I’d later extend to TNG as well).

With the exception of the very first one, I’ve seen all of the feature films first run in the theatre. I have seen Star Trek: the Motion Picture on the big screen, but it was many years later in a review theatre.

You might figure out that I love the show. Honestly, Star Trek was a huge influence in my watching and reading habits as a kid and teenager, and is certainly the reason I’m a geek. It’s also at least part of the reason I developed a brain as a teenager when a lot of people around me seemed to be actively trying to avoid using theirs.

I’ve never tried to force feed my own kids the things I love. There’s a lot of variety and I want them free to choose their own path in all things, and that has always included what to watch. I’ve been far more likely to watch what they’re into than watch what I want.

My son thinks I should have made him watch more Star Trek as a kid. However, he’s seen every Trek movie in the theatre that’s released in his lifetime. And he’s watching a fair bit with me lately.

My oldest daughter claims it’s too late. She likes Fantasy better than Science Fiction. But she’ll sit through episodes if we’re watching as a family.

My youngest doesn’t mind and is happy to watch with me. She likes some of the episodes and rolls her eyes at others. I think she likes TNG better.

Thinking about getting my daughters into Star Trek, I’m a little wary of the lack of strong women in the original series. They’re there, but only one on the regular cast and she’s underused a lot of the time. It’s better in TNG and Voyager. I should give DS9 another chance for the same reason. (Never got as far into it. I felt a lot of what was being done on the show, Babylon 5 covered better. With a little time and perspective, now I think I might have missed some good storytelling, especially in the later seasons.)

But if all of my kids aren’t Trekkies, they’ve all caught the spirit of Trek: Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, and a bright future for the human race. What more could a dad hope for?

But the re-watch. That’s where I started, right? I’m less than half way through Season One watching things in order, but I’ve also handpicked episodes for the family to watch for Spocktoberfest. My success rate is high for those. That said, my son has requested “Spock’s Brain”.

Okay, so there are a few not so good episodes (although “Spock’s Brain” is interesting in its own way), but you can learn a lot from them too. Negative examples are still examples. But the good examples from the series tend to be really good, even 47 years on.

It’s all about the stories and the characters. Star Trek, The Original Series, did both of those very well.

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Into Dorkness

Into Dorkness

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Yes, I know that’s been used on any number of internet memes, but it still works. The Star Trek sequel is possibly the biggest genre film release of the year. Sorry Fe Man 3. (Yes, I’m ignoring the second Hunger Games movie. I don’t want to see it. Really.)

I’m going to try to keep this spoiler free.

I think I’ve made my opinion clear in the past on the 2009 Star Trek reboot. The look, feel, sound, overall aesthetic, casting, and acting were all great. So was the writing, for the first half of the movie. The second half, not so much, and to the degree that it spoils the first half for me. But, with a four-year gap between movies, I had some hope that Into Darkness would be better.

My son and I went to see the movie on opening night. I tried to have no expectations to go along with the high hopes. I am, after all, a lifetime Trekkie and I’ve seen every movie in the theatre. (My son has seen every Star Trek movie in the theatre released in his lifetime, which, granted, is only three. But it’s still a tradition.)

It was fun. Not quite enough story for my taste, but a lot of action and a lot of excitement and most of what there was came across pretty solid. Instead of the writing falling apart half way through, I think it actually got stronger overall, with some weaknesses in the last quarter that I can mostly forgive due to what I perceive as the intent behind them. Unnecessary, but forgivable.

The acting was still awesome (note particularly Simon Pegg who wasn’t quite as over the top this time and awesome as Scotty, but everyone was pretty good), as were the audio and visuals. Dynamics between the primary characters were well done. If none of the principals got as much screen time as they deserved, they all served a purpose (although Chekov was a little oddly placed to me, even if it did mostly work). The story worked better this time with a little bit of twistiness this time and no outright stupidities that I caught on first viewing. Most of the issues I had were small ones and there weren’t as many of those as I was afraid of.

Carol Marcus was only vaguely necessary, mostly present for eye candy this time around but also setting up for the next movie.

Did I mention that I loved the new Klingons? They’re a small piece of the movie, but a fun one, and a potential setup for some future conflict.

My ultimate statement after the last Star Trek movie was that the writers needed to do better. They did. From the opening dash through a crimson jungle to the dénouement (always a nice touch when remembered), Into Darkness is worth watching on the big screen and will be getting added to my bluray collection when it comes out.

With JJ taking over the Star Wars resurrection, I wonder what we’ll get for the next edition of Star Trek.

And when.

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