A Week Ago, the Future's 40th
(OK, if there's a JIB this year for the most confusing post title, I'm in the running!)
Last Friday, September 8th, was the 40th anniversary of the premiere of the iconic science fiction television show, Star Trek. Soccer Dad wrote yesterday about the planned re-release of the original 79 episodes, digitally remastered with improved special effects. It sounds like this is the best of both worlds (to co-opt a title from the later Trek series); unlike the 1997 special editions of Star Wars - about which I vented my spleen earlier this week - this retains all original plot, scenes and dialogue unchanged, while fixing the key aspect of the series that arguably hasn't aged well - the visual effects. Keep the function, fix the form!
I've touched before on the special place Star Trek held for me in my adolescence. Like this post itself, I came to the show somewhat late; certainly not during its original television run in 1966-68, as evidenced by the fact that I can only remember it being aired on a daily basis. But it didn't take me long to make up for lost time, and by age 12 or so I had seen nearly every episode a dozen times - no mean feat in the days before VCRs. In my prime, I could identify 90% of the episodes within the first 20-30 seconds, and many of my favorites in less than 10. (OK... Name That Trek!)
The show hit me on multiple levels; my sense of adventure, fascination with science fiction and space travel, hero worship, character identification, sentimentality. Every aspect of the show, even the musical riffs, contributed to this perfect mix. I know this touches on a debate that itself is now almost two decades old (hard to believe!), but I'll stick with my unchanged view that none of the later Trek series, despite their superior production values and technological effects, came close to capturing the magic of the original. I like to think this is more than just a generational issue, but some genuine perfect chemistry in the original Trek that could never again be duplicated or copied.*
May the Original Trek 79 live long and prosper in their refurbished homes!
*In fact I have a "grand theory" on the subject that I'll get to writing about someday