Star Trek: The Original Series

March 18th, 2006 § 2 comments

For the past fews days, I’ve been watching Star Trek: The Original Series in DVD. I bought the boxes as soon as they became available here in Brazil, but had not seen many of the episodes until now. I guess I was a bit afraid I would be disappointed if I saw all episodes — after all, the series is very dated now.

I remember staying awake, when I was a teenager, until much past midnight waiting for some random episode to air in a local TV station. I had to wash my face constantly to keep myself from falling asleep, always anxious because of the station’s tendency to scrap Star Trek everytime another program run late. Most of the times, I would sleep frustrated, because that had happened again. But when I managed to see an episode, oh, the glory of it.

I still marvel at how much sense of wonder the series evoked in me. Today, seeing those old episodes, it’s funny and fascinating to see how much the producers accomplished with so few resources. I can’t help but laugh at the poor techniques used in some episodes. Science on the series is mostly technobabble, a heavy mixture of reality and pseudo-theories, but it works, because it’s not the most important thing.

What really mattered, and what really made me crave for another episode, was the way the series managed to break conventions and perceptions — sometimes contradicting itself, but breaking them anyway. Robert J. Saywer, in the introdution of his recent book, Boarding the Enterprise, writes:

“As William Marshall, who played cyberneticist Dr. Richard Daystrom in the episode ‘The Ultimate Computer’ (Season 2, Episode 24), said in an interview shortly before he passed away, it’s impossible to overstate the impact it had in the 1960s when white Captain Kirk referred to the black Daystrom as ‘Sir.’ Was it any surprise, two decades later, that NASA hired Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura, to help recruit the first minority astronauts? Star Trek gave us an appealing vision of a tolerant future that included everyone.”
Without doubt, this is the great merit of the series. That’s what make it interesting enough to be seen forty years after its creation, despite the poor makeup, the bad scenarios, and the comically exaggerated acting: the fact that it spoke, and still does, of the human condition, something that will never be dated and will always be needed.

§ 2 Responses to Star Trek: The Original Series"

  • I was a huge Star Trek geek back in the day. I have every episode of the original series and The Next Generation on VHS somewhere. I’m starting to think that even the first couple of seasons of ‘The Next Generation’ are rather dated too. I dunno perhaps I’m spoiled these days by Battlestar Galactica which in the past year has become my fave sci-fi show of all time.

  • Ronaldo says:

    I love the Next Generation — more than the Original Series — but it’s really becoming a bit dated. I loved Enterprise, which was as much adventurous as the other series and renewed the visuals of the franchise. Pity it was cancelled.

    But, Battlestar Galactica really wins the match. Battlestar Galactica is the best series of all time, sci-fi or otherwise, in my opinion. It reminds me of the Dune novels, which are as deep and satisfying. The season two finale, in my opinion again, was a masterpiece. Philosophy, religion, ethics, everything is there, in all shadows of grey. Can’t wait for October.

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