Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Star Trek & Me

So my history with Star Trek goes back, way back.  It goes back to the Original Series from the sixties.  First thing is I am a little young to remember watching the show first run.  I was born in the summer between the second and third seasons.  However in the two areas I grew up in, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, the show was on via syndication sometimes running on multiple days.  My paternal grandmother was very sick.  Due to this I do not have many memories of doing things with her.  I do have memories watching two iconic TV shows with her.  One I loved, the other went over my head.  The one I loved was Star Trek: The original Series, the one that went over my head was Perry Mason.  I was 5 or 6 during this memory, possibly even younger.  To me Star Trek was adventurous, thrilling, cool, and a roller coaster ride. 

Everyone seemed to think Captain Kirk was the man.  My Favorites were Spock, Sulu and Scotty.  Spock was logical and could stop a person without killing them.  Sulu was the navigator, he flew the ship.  He also was a swordsman in an era of phasers.  Scotty was the chief engineer, he kept the ship going.  He knew it like the back of his hand.  Without these men Kirk could not do a thing.  The Original Series had several Alternate history stories.  A few of them were viewed through the idea of parallel development.  This concept that a planet identical to Earth popped up but the details of it history was slightly different. Alternate history literature continues to be a genre I love to this day, Star Trek started all that for me.

 In the seventies to the mid eighties rarely missed the Original Series.  I continued by following the films starting with Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  That came out in 1979, and I was again enthralled by the world.  Everyone was back.  The story was not in sync with the Star Trek philosophy, but as an eleven year old I loved it.  In 1982, my brother and I were supposed to see a Disney film.  Instead we saw Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  Space Seed was a favorite episode of mine, so this blew my mind.  It is still my favorite of the Original Series Films.  I continued to see all the Original series films on the Big Screen.  In 1989, I saw Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in Eugene, Oregon.  This was first showing opening day.  It was the first time I encountered hard core Star Trek fans.  Several folks were in cosplay to see this film.  I knew this existed, but I had not experienced it for myself.  Now, I like things, but when it comes to fandom I am sometimes reluctant to go whole hog.  I can, just don’t for some reason.  Other than a Star Trek : Motion Picture Captain Kirk Action Figure from Mego and Star Trek III: Search for Spock Taco Bell Glasses I had not had much merchandise.  Lately I have bought  an Original series Enterprise Mug, Original Series Glass set and some symbol buttons.  For the most part I have not gone too crazy there either.

During my sophomore year in University, Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted.  I loved it, I was happy to se a new kind of Trek on every week.  It was different from the original show.  The Captain was a diplomat not a cowboy.  The First Officer was in charge of most missions to the planet.  The show was definitely different in tone than the show from the 1960’s.  In some ways it was more cerebral.  I followed it up till Season 5 or 6 in 1992.  I watched the first two seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and tried a few episodes of Star Trek Voyager.  Neither show really hit me.  I am not saying Deep Space Nine was bad, it just did not resonate with me at the time.  I may go back and catch it plus the seasons of Next Generation I missed.  Later I was onboard for the first Season of Enterprise, but that fell flat for me too.  The Next Generation Films were OK, but not great.

In 2009, two things happened that brought Star Trek back into the minds of the general public.  Well actually one was world wide and the other only in Portland, Oregon.  That was the year the J.J. Abrams re-imagining of the Original Series came out in Theaters.  I wanted to see that but Barbara, my ex, refused to watch it.  She thought it was sacrilege and blasphemy to redo the Original Series.  I finally watched it with my brother and his family when it was released on DVD.  The second thing was Atomic Arts began their production of Trek in the Park.  The idea behind this was similar to the tradition of Shakespeare in the Park.  That is holding productions of Shakespeare plays in parks during late spring and summer.  Atomic Arts did this with Original Series Episodes, starting with Amok in Time.  Following years Atomic Arts put on productions of Space Seed, Mirror Mirror, and Journey to Babel.  I tried to go the first three years, but I encountered resistance thanks to Barbara.  Last year I finally went.  It was hot as Hades, but I had a great time.  This year, 2013 in August they will have their final production with Trouble with Tribbles. So if you are in Portland, Oregon in August head out to the Cathedral Park on a Saturday or Sunday.  For more Information go to: http://www.atomic-arts.org/

I saw the sequel to the J.J. Abrams film, Star Trek into Darkness.  I enjoyed it, but it had some things about it that missed the target of the Star Trek philosophy.  I still have a closer relationship to the Original Series than with the others.  That is just where I am and where I am coming from.  So That Is My Not So Humble Opinion.

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