This is more of a tribute than a review, and it's been a long time coming. It seems only right to include a tribute to the sci-fi universe that started it all for me. Tim's love of sci-fi started earlier; and I believe he caught the original series the first time around (you must remember that Tim is much, much older than me). We probably should have included this sooner. At any rate, with Deep Space 9 ending its seven-season run (which show was, in my opinion, the finest of the three spin-off series), the time seemed right for a tribute.
As a Trek fan, there's a lot I could tell you about all four series (plus the movies). I've read the books and I know the histories; I know the characters, the actors, and the where-are-they-nows. There are a lot of wonderful sites out there that could give you these things, however, so I'm not going to waste your time and mine trying to duplicate them. What I will do is tell you why I think this show is so special and why the Star Trek universe has enjoyed such longevity; and also, if you're a not a fan, why you should start at the beginning, and if you are a fan of the later incarnations, why you should go back to the beginning.
My first real experience with Star Trek occurred in 1982 when my sister took me to see the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." From there, I was hooked.
At an age when most of the other girls my age were starting to think about boys and hanging out at the local skating rink, I was busy trying to arrange my tasks around watching Star Trek. This was no easy task: at the time I became an avid fan, I had only one precious hour a week during which I could catch my show in syndication - Saturdays at 6:00 p.m., and I usually either had to fight my brother John tooth and nail for control of the TV during that hour or try to keep my sister from dragging me off for an outing (to John, I was wasting my time over a cheesy 60s show; to Kathy, her once-constant companion little sister seemed to have developed treacherous new loyalties. Neither one of them understood that I had been sucked into a new universe and was enthralled).
Due to these and other obstacles, it took me a long, long time to see all 79 episodes of Gene Roddenberry's brainchild. Now I could probably watch the first minute of each episode and give you its title without a problem. I have seen all the movies and have also watched its succeeding three spin-off shows, albeit not so religiously as I had once watched the originals.
Last fall, the SciFi Channel bought the entire original series and began airing them each weekday evening. Steve hadn't been as familiar with the original series, and so we made a point of watching it after dinner each night. For me, this was the first time I had made an effort to regularly catch the shows for at least ten years or more, and it didn't take me long to rediscover why.
Of all the shows, the original remains my favorite. Yes, the newer shows are wonderful, with better special effects, certainly, better produced, and probably better acted. The original series is filled with cheap props, bloopers, cheesy lines and acting; you can see the strings on some of the robots; Shatner, a once-talented actor, got caught in his character and became a self-parody; and it was all over in three years. But the original show had heart. It was rich in plot and setting, and I loved the characters, every one - I really cared about what happened to them. Many would disagree with me, but my least favorite Star Trek was The Next Generation, because when I separated them out, I didn't really like any of those characters (with the sometime-exception of Picard). You could feel for Spock while he struggled with his humanity, but how could you feel for an android struggling to be more human when he couldn't feel anything himself?
Star Trek answers a need in people. Gene Roddenberry would say, I think, that it shows people a hopeful future in our time of chaos. I don't deny the validity of his statement; however, I would say that, besides providing its fans with quality science fiction, Star Trek shows us a world where there are still limits to be pushed. Human beings are born with an innate need to explore their environment, but we have reached an age where our few remaining frontiers are primarily the sea and the sky. Perhaps this is why the most die-hard fans call themselves "Trekkers" - in answer to an inborn need to explore, even if the exploration takes place in another reality.
The show was never perfect in any of its incarnations, but it strove to attain the ideals dear to most of us - peace, equality, respect, teamwork, nobility, courage, and exploration from within and without. It is this that have maintained Star Trek's legacy and caused it to profoundly impact our culture.
The Star Trek Log Book
Star Trek: TNG Log Book
Star Trek: DS9 Log Book
Star Trek: Voyager Log Book