Thursday, July 14, 2011

Star Trek: The Original Series - Season One

Thanks to Netflix adding the majority of the Star Trek Universe series to their streaming library, I'm taking the opportunity to watch the Original Series. I grew up watching and loving the The Next Generation. While I saw many of the Original Series episodes, it never captured me the way that TNG did.

I'm watching the remastered versions of the episodes. The updated effects are very nice and surprisingly fit in well enough with the live-action portions of the show. Well done, Paramount! Now I want the Special Editions where additional characters are added and Chekov is replaced with a thinly-veiled racial stereotype CGI character... oh wait - George Lucas doesn't own Star Trek and therefore can't ruin this property too. Excellent.

Some thoughts on season one:

It's been a long time since I watched a show where the actors kept up their motions as the credit roll even if none of their dialog comes through. I like how they often making exaggerated motions and ceasing even pretending to talk. It's kind of breaking the fourth wall.

One element that stands out to me is the transporter. I've never been a fan of the idea of transporters - not as an element in a story or a plot device, rather the prospect of actually using one. The thought of using one as depicted in the original series and made using the technology they would have imagined at that time - truly terrifying! It occurs to me now that the transporter was viewed more as a telephone call or a radio broadcast that requires no computation rather than a highly complex operation that would have required the equivalent of a planet-sized computer at the time.

The first pilot, the Cage, was interesting enough. It kept up well with the science fiction of the time and had some very good character development. A series with Captain Pike and "Number One" with Yeoman Rand would have been interesting indeed. The love triangle that we see the beginnings of surely would have led to some fun developments. Spock was a bit more enthusiastic. The overall feeling was much more military - sort of like a WWII navy picture of the time.

The second pilot, Where No Man Has Gone Before, was certainly more polished. The cast was more dynamic, and the costumes were *slightly* better, though still needing improvement even for the time. The most notable aspect I picked up on that I had never noticed previously was the flirtatious nature of Uhura, especially demonstrated toward Spock. In retrospect, I'm glad that the recent movie picked up on that and took it further.

Wow - this show is sexist. Damn. Though I like the short skirts and scantily-clad womens.

Overall I have to say that the first season of TOS is really solid. Comparatively, especially in sci-fi, it seems that the first season of a show is typically not the best - more like a shakedown cruise. As I move on to the second and third seasons, I have to wonder if the show gets better or worse. I didn't notice much of the brash Kirk and overly scientific Spock. There's a strong balance between Kirk-Spock-Bones that I like quite a bit.