The original, classic, really old Star Trek

I'm writing reviews of the original Star Trek this summer. Here's something of an introduction to the approach I plan to take.

I saw the original Trek many, many times when I was a kid, and I know it well. I swore I'd never review it. It's been done so many times, and it's such a daunting task, reviewing a beloved classic that started such a huge franchise. But the 2009 movie got me renting the digitally remastered version that came out recently, with re-recorded music and new, faithfully recreated special effects. And I just found myself writing reviews.

So here's the deal. I'm not going to commit to reviewing anything other than the original series. I'm not going to nitpick. I'm not going to try to catch everything. I'm not going to make a point of counting or tracking stuff unless I feel like it. I'm not going to try to see it through the eyes of someone watching it in the 1960s or 1970s, or try to recapture how I felt when I first saw it as a kid (although there will be mentions). I'm just going to talk about the episodes, what I think they mean, why some of them were truly great, why some of them sucked, and how I see them now.

Since I thought it would be fun to add a second perspective, I invited Ben, a long-time friend that I actually met through Star Trek back in the 1990s, to contribute a paragraph or three about each episode. Fortunately, he agreed.

While I'm here, I also want to mention something important about Star Trek in an historical context, something you probably already know (or remember, if you were around then). In the sixties, television shows were all about white people, and by that I mean white men. Women were romantic interests, housewives and mothers, or figures of fun like Lucille Ball. In 1965, I Spy took a huge step forward by casting an African-American man in a starring role (Bill Cosby). And the following year Star Trek took another when Gene Roddenberry insisted on putting an Asian man and an African American woman on the bridge of the Enterprise. This was no small thing at the time; it was a big freaking deal, and not easy for Roddenberry to do. Because those first steps were taken, we see an Asian man and an African American woman on the bridge of the Enterprise today, and it's no big deal at all.

Finally, I'm aware that the episodes ran out of production order. but we're going by the air date order in the DVD sets. If you're trying classic Trek for the first time, I strongly recommend that you watch them on DVD or online. The original episodes are fifty minutes long, and the amount of footage usually cut for commercials these days makes the story too choppy.

And do keep in mind that because this show stars William Shatner and was filmed in the sixties with a very small budget, you must expect a certain amount of cheese.

So let's go where I swore I'd never go. Star Trek reviews. Engage.
---
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can't wait. And hey, I like my Shatner with extra cheese.
Anna