This is the first post of a new blog.

Hooray!

Now that the festivities are behind us, I’m going to get a little metaphysical with you. Most of you, probably all but two of the total number of people who read this, are doing so well after my later posts have come out. You’ve traveled back through the archives and old posts and arrived here at post number one. All I can say, not knowing how my later posts turn out, is that I hope these early ones are as good as the later ones.

Anyway, you’re all here now, both from the present and from the future, so pull up a chair and let me tell you something: I like Star Trek. I like it a lot. I wouldn’t say I love it, though. I enjoy the adventures, the characters, the creativity and visual effects, and I like the writing. There are some masterpieces in television and film that the various Star Trek series have given us. The cultural impact is enormous. Love it or hate it, you can’t deny its influence.

As I said, though, I neither love nor hate it. I just like it. I’m a science fiction fan, among other things, and read a lot of book, watch a lot of TV and see a lot of movies in the genre. I’d say I’m more than a casual fan of Star Trek. I remember quotes and scenes from the different series and I remember details of plot and characters because I take my viewing seriously. It’s the least I can do as an audience member. And I try to do it for every series I invest serious time with. Star Trek, being a series I like a lot, warrants such participation on my part.

Yet, I don’t love it way many fans do. I don’t consider myself either a Trekkie or a Trekker. I’m a fan, yes, but this is one of those series that seems to require a certain devotion that I’m not able to give. I know not every serious Star Trek fan dresses up in a Star Fleet uniform at conventions (or at home) or can read Hamlet in Klingon. Those are the fans who go the extra mile and they’ll get no ridicule from me on this board. we all have our hobbies, so whatever makes you happy and doesn’t land you in jail is cool with me. The passionate fans who don’t dress up still exceed my level of commitment to the series.

Before you thinking this just me expounding the virtues of sitting on the fence, know that I am going somewhere with this. I do have a point here.

I think I enjoy the series just enough to respect what goes into it, what comes out of it and to still be at a comfortable distance to watch it objectively.

As separate series of events recently led me to the realization that after all these years and all the Star Trek shows and films, there was an area in which my viewing was lacking. A good friend, whom we’ll call Michael, is a serious, passion fan of Star Trek. As far as I know, he doesn’t not dress up as a Klingon. He is, however, encyclopedic in his knowledge of all things Classic Trek. I think we were discussing an episode of the original series and I realized I had never seen it before. I’d seen a lot of the 1960’s series after school, at 4 o’clock, Monday to Friday, growing up, but this episode I’d not seen. It got me thinking that there were likely other episodes of that series I’d not caught growing up (or in the years since). Also, it was the series I’d seen the longest time ago, so my recollections were hazy. At the time, it was just another show I watched, albeit an entertaining one. So, whereas I came to The Next Generation and subsequent series more recently and was more knowledgeable about those episodes, the original series (TOS, as the shorthand has it) was sort of the forgotten one for me.

I decided I wanted to see them again, from start to finish. I’d catch up on the ones I missed and see if my memories lined up with the actual episodes.

I sat down to watch “The Cage” one evening. The original pilot, as you’re probably aware, which NBC rejected. I’ll get to me reaction to the episode in a moment, but first, as I watched it, I thought of Michael telling me he wished he could see my reactions as I rediscovered this show. It occurred to me that I had to tell him my thoughts. I decided to email him. Here’s what I said:

***

So, last night I watched “The Cage.” Here are my thoughts…

It was more or less as I remembered it.
I can see why NBC was on the fence about it, saying it was too brainy, but I guess the quality of writing and production values was strong enough for them to see the potential.
From knowing what Star Trek would become as a franchise, there are number things that really show Gene hadn’t nailed down his timeline or physics just yet (“The Time Barrier’s been broken!” Really? Um…okay. “Time Warp Factor 7!” Let’s do the Time Warp agaaaain!…And then the music and the montage of the Enterprise heading to the planet? I guess Gene was aiming for something cinematic). Still, the vision is there and most of the elements.
Best line: “The WOMEN!” (yelled by Spock, no less)
Speaking of Spock, that was damn weird seeing him emote so casually.
Good stuff.
***
I wasn’t trying to be a comedian with The Time Warp joke, I just know that Michael takes his Trek seriously and we have a wonderful witty repartee whereby we play dumb and insult something the other guy likes in the most profoundly silly way. So, I’m sometimes deliberately a goof is what I’m saying.
I stand by my thoughts on that episode and later decided to expand a little when I reached “The Menagerie”. The thing to remember was that I did enjoy the episode and later came to enjoy the series all over again. So, what follows are my thoughts on the episodes as I watch them.
Now, I do have a system for this, of sorts. First, I watch the episode. I didn’t make notes or anything, just watched it. Then, I’d write my thoughts. I would not look up other opinions or even consult the Star Trek Wiki “Memory Alpha”‘s Trivia sections. I’d only look at MA if I needed to get a spelling right or something. Sometimes I don’t even do that and will let a misspelled name stand because I didn’t look it up. After, I write my thoughts and email to Michael, only then do I allow myself to consult Memory Alpha. Sometimes I’m surprised by what I miss. However, I figure that if I didn’t know or understand going in, it keep my opinion honest. If I’m ill-informed about something, it’s my mistake and that’s what I’m bravely putting out there.
I welcome comments, rebuttals and intelligent discourse. I don’t know everything.
Lastly, for better or worse, I’m watching the series in Production Order, not Air Date order. I figure the Production Order is closest to Gene Roddenberry and the rest of the production staff’s original vision. I’m not out to recreate the experience of ’60s viewers to this then-new series. I’ll try to see it from their point of view at times, but I feel it’s best to explore the overall story as it was created. You may think I wrong-headed in this approach, but you can always start your own blog and do it your way. No hard feelings!
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