Continuing on my course of watching all of the Star Trek shows and movies in chronological order, I am wrapping up the original series this week. Once you get past some of the bad acting, dated sets, effects, and tropes this show is really quite good. Many of the themes and stories are relevant, even today as much as they were in the late 60s. Hell some of the themes still challenge us today, though in it’s day I can only imagine how much it made people think.
The beauty of this show, to me, was that it challenged conventional thinking in a way that people aren’t put on the defensive. So many shows, movies, books and the like challenge us by first telling us we’re wrong. We all know how that is. If you hold some tenet, truth, or belief close to your heart and someone tells you that you are wrong you tend to get defensive. Even if you want to know why they feel that way you already start the discussion on the wrong foot. With Star Trek they presented an alternative, a world where conventional thinking, especially that of the 50s and 60s, is outdated. That it has evolved into something better and grander. A better way to live and work with others. A diversity of culture that is familiar but also different. It asked the viewer to imagine this world that is different than their own, imagine what it would be like to live in it, and what they would do when placed in these fantastical situations. Without that automatic defensive wall, it is easier to get people thinking that way.
This show, obviously, is also the fore-bearer of all the great shows and movies we love today. I firmly believe without Star Trek we would not have had Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Falling Skies, and hundreds of other shows past and present that make up amazing sci-fi. Of course we would have had shows like them, but they wouldn’t be the same. Perhaps they’d be as good, but I don’t think so. Star Trek was the first show of it’s kind to bring real intellectual drama to a genre most people considered childish and hokey. It proved that science fiction could be more than just books for children, and shows about laser gun battles with alien invaders. It brought humanity to a genre that was, at the time, all about monsters, flying saucers, and screaming damsels in distress.
If you haven’t seen this show, but you like good sci-fi…then what’s wrong with you? No, honestly I am very much into sci-fi and until this run through the series I’d only seen a few episodes when I was a kid or on the odd one-off spotted while flipping channels. I’m glad I sat down, overcame the dated sets and over-dramatic acting and really experienced the show. Do it, get into it, and you’ll love it.