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Spoiler-Free Zone 08.05.2009

Posted by Yeoman Nacelle Envy in Uncategorized.
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The New, Young Cast?

The New, Young Cast?

This is really just a tease.  It’s part one of my two-part “Review of the New Movie” blog.  Yes, I just saw the film last night.  But there are no spoilers here. It’s not even a review.  No.  It’s actually just a personal “back story.”  

The thing is I really need to come clean about some stuff before I write about the new film. 

Star Trek, The Original Series was my first love.   And because it was my very first, nothing that followed ever was quite as good in my mind.    Ever.   I’m not just talking about the short-lived Animated series, The Next Generation, DS9, Voyager, or Enterprise.   I’m ALSO talking about every one of the movies (including those that featured the original cast). 

Yeah, you heard me right.  And I realize that’s a pretty radical statement.  But we’re speaking about my first love here, see?   Though Wrath of Khan was super crazy cool and Voyage Home was a giddy wacky blast and First Contact was one of my all-time favorites, none of the movies ever fully captured the certain je ne sais quo I adored about the original series.  They were all a touch too light or maybe a bit too dark, a soupçon too “Aliens-y” or a spot too “Star Wars-y,” a tad too deep or a smidge too corny, a morsel too nasty or a dash too tame, a dollop too claustrophobic or a splash too sprawling….   You get the idea.

I’m sure part of this was just the nature of TV vs. film, and maybe part of it was my relative age and all the different eras involved.  Certainly I can chalk a lot of it up to the visual design changes.  For example, to me, nothing ever beat the bold colors and dramatic hard-edges and curves of that lovely, distinctive first bridge set, no matter how much more “realistic” (read: industrial and/or submarine-like) bridges that followed became.

And as for the TV series that came after TOS, don’t misunderstand.  There was some fantastic stuff there.   Cool crap.   Star Trek: The Next Generation had some truly great episodes and wonderful performances (plus, for bad guys, you sure can’t beat them early Borgs.  Yikes).  But in my heart-of-hearts this second show still always paled compared to the original series.  First of all, stylistically that late 80s aesthetic was definitely not an improvement over the hip 60s of TOS.  (Sorry, the sixties were way cooler then the eighties, design-wise.)  SSTNG’s suppository-like Enterprise, Carnival-Cruise-lounge brown/grey bridge, and workout-jumpsuit-with-shoulder-pads costumes never really thrilled me.

And STTNG’s expansive cast (of, ahem, “uneven” thespianic talents) did nothing to improve on the perfect “Ego, Id, Super-Ego” balance of our original three main musketeers. (We tend to forget what an amazing, distilled “perfect storm” of characters – and clashing acting styles that somehow meshed perfectly together – the original Trek trinity was.  Pure chemistry.)  Yes Patrick Stewart was of course terrific always and Brent Spiner did truly fantastic work.  (Though it was always painfully obvious to me that Data was just a poor man’s Spock.  A Spock in positronic clothing.)

DS9 and Enterprise both had wonderful compelling, entertaining stuff going for them.  I mean it.  And – hey – I may be one of the very few Trek fans who thought Voyager had a LOT to offer.  But in the end none of them really floated my boat.  None.  Series nor films.  Not like TOS.  They were all sweet, charming ladies out on a heavy date with me, batting their smoky eyes seductively as they sipped on their Mojitos and made cute small talk, desperately trying to get me to forget my first love.  But as enchanting as they were, they all seemed like shadows.   Pale ghosts.

So there you have it.  Star Trek The Original Series was my first.  And, frankly, that’s why I’ve been so damned excited/terrified to see the new movie.  Perhaps more than any of the other films or TV series.  Because I was hoping against hope that, for the first time since my heart was broken when show went off the air in June of 1969 (I was a fragile, ten-year-old, toe-headed, proto-fanboy at the time), I might have a little taste, just a little whiff, of that ST:TOS experience.  I might recapture, perhaps in an entirely new way, that thrill of my first time.  With my first love.

 For this reason I suspect we older, 50-plus, “first-run” Trekkies (yes, I said Trekk-IE, not Trekkers, dammit  — I’m that old) might be even more eager to embrace this new film than the younger rabid fans.  We’re hoping it might capture something we haven’t actually experienced in years.  40 years, to be exact.

 In my next blog I’ll let you know if it worked out or not.  Stay tuned….

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