Tuesday, October 7, 2014
#WeirdEd Week 26- Star Trek TOS
It's been 26 weeks of #WeirdEd and I haven't written a Star Trek-specific chat. TWENTY-SIX WEEKS! Do you have any idea how many strange, new worlds that is? If George Lucas were writing it, it would be dozens of parsecs!* If JJ Abrams were writing it I'd just copy a chat someone else wrote and change some of the names around and then not admit to anything ever.**
We need some bright future in our lives this week. I'm betting we have all hit that point in the school year where the shine is off, some of the cracks are starting to show, and moods are in need of a boost. What better way than with one of the most hopeful shows in television history?
Trek was about a coming together for a common goal. Creator Gene Roddenberry but white, black, Japanese, Russian, Scot, and alien together on the bridge of the flagship of the United Federation of Planets. This was the crew that would encounter strange, new worlds and seek out new life and new civilizations. One of the most mixed casts in television up to that point (and still much more mixed than anything you'll find on most networks) boldly went where no one had gone before. And let's not forget that Star Trek premiered in 1966, so featuring a Russian and a Japanese man were actually bigger deals than it might seem like today.
From Tribbles to Klingons to Gorn, the crew of the Enterprise always sent their best men and women to deal with the problem, which doesn't really make sense since why are you sending the entire chain of command on every away mission? Someone always got sacrificed to the Television Gods of This Situation Is Serious***. Roddenberry was ahead of the curve on tech as well. Watch early Trek episodes and you'll see Mr. Spock placing discs into a drive to pull up information. Yeah, Star Trek had floppy discs**** before we all had computers. Cell phones were flip phones for a long time because nerds who grew up watching Kirk call for two to beam up loved the swagger James T. flipped his communicator open with. The first interracial kiss on television was Star Trek's.
It was a show that mixed serious and funny with mixed results, and was occasionally bad, but never unwatchable. Sure, the sets were cheap and every planet looked the same. The uniforms were too tight and some of the dialogue was marble-mouthed. But the ideas were pure. Trek was a smart show with ideals and a conscience (more things I'll never forgive JJ for forgetting). It was the best future. Humanity was over our petty squabbles and were reaching out to the stars. Not to destroy but to find and learn about.
*let us not forget a parsec is a measure of distance, not time. Star Wars isn't science fiction, it's pure fantasy
**Seriously, JJ sucked at Trek. Good luck, Yoda
***Read Redshirts by John Scalzi for a hilarious take on this
****ask your parents, kids