It’s difficult not to reminisce when an old TV show that you adore has a new incarnation.
Airing today, is the premiere episode of Star Trek: Discovery.
While there will be tens if not hundreds or thousands of blog posts reviewing the first episode of the new series. I’ve decided to have a retrospective look back, at one of, if not, my favourite TV show of all time.
For me, my first real experiences of Star Trek, were the movies. Captain Kirk, Spock & co as they continued their journeys around the galaxy and fought epic space battles. Sci-fi and computers was something I was very keen on from a very young age. Coming from a somewhat deprived upbringing by a single parent who was working as hard as they could to bring money in and food on the table, meant things like computers were far out of reach, and I would go round friends houses to play games on their Spectrum’s or Commodore computers.
One thing I could do from home, was rent movies. I specifically recall my first Star Trek exposure being Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
This would go on to this day to be my favourite film out of all the many Star Trek films. As a kid, I didn’t really follow it all, but it had all those big moments. A horrible insect like creature that would enter Chekov’s body via his ear, and enable Khan to control his actions. Epic space battles, the genesis planet and of course. Spock’s death, which at the time and being my first exposure to Trek I wouldn’t fully understand it’s significance.
From there, my young imagination at home would run wild. Whatever I could find to pretend to be a star ship, would be, and whatever I could pretend to be enemy ships, again would be. I didn’t need original figures or toy ships. I had my imagination, and that’s all a child needs.
Of course back then, there were only 4 channels on TV. Unlike today, where you can probably find Star Trek in one form or another airing on a channel somewhere, it really wasn’t on TV much, so my exposure again was limited to home movie rentals, and with thing’s like the Internet still a way off. A young boy like me had no idea if and when further movies would appear.
Fast forward to 1990 and my Mum would re-marry. On the 26th September 1990, a new Star Trek series would air in the UK for the first time. Some 3 years after it originally started in the States! Unheard of now, in fact Star Trek: Discovery will be available to watch in the UK on Netflix just hours after it get’s it’s Television premiere in the US.
It turned out my new stepdad was a big fan of the original series. So the first episode of TNG was put on. Encounter at Farpoint. To be honest, as a 10 year old, I found the early TNG episodes slow and pretty boring. My stepdad moaned that the show was practically the same as the show that had come some 20 years before it, even the planet sets still looked crap. I think between the both of us, we got bored of TNG pretty quickly, and it didn’t take long before neither of us continued watching it.
So fast forward again to 1995. Now Satellite TV in the UK has took off, and the advent of the Premier League in 1992 saw Sky TV grab the rights to domestic football in the UK. This was a massive game changer for UK TV, and it helped subscribers flock to Sky in order to get their fix of football. With it also came all these extra TV channels. Mostly, still airing a load of crap if I’m honest.
I was now a geeky 15 year old, getting home after School would see Sky One put on to watch the X-Men cartoon, and not too long after that at 5pm, Sky decided to start showing Star Trek: The Next Generation at 5pm, every day. This every day part was key. By this time the 6th season on TNG was either airing in the US or about to finish. Sky had the rights to show new episodes also, which meant it arrived much sooner in the UK, but it also meant on weekdays, there would be 6 whole seasons of TNG to get through. Of course when I re-watched Encounter at Farpoint again, I wasn’t expecting to get hooked. Star Trek basically stayed on at 5pm, because nothing else any better was on. I watched those first few episodes of season 1, mainly for nostalgia purposes. As Season 1 finished, I probably still wasn’t that bothered, Season 2 aired and it was much of the same. I think a lot of people will agree that Season 3 of TNG was a game changer. Stories were much better, the direction was better, the show seemed to have a bigger budget, and storylines were just also, better. Now I was hooked. Before I knew it we were through all 6 seasons of TNG. Now what!!!
Deep Space Nine.
Deep Space Nine was fairly new at this point, but Sky decided they would air all the current episodes back to back, suddenly there was more to this world than just the next generation, and with season 7 of TNG about to start, a 2nd season of DS9 on the horizon, and Sky again then opting to show every episode of TNG daily, of which I would watch every episode AGAIN for a 2nd time.
This whole television program was now consuming me.
Books would be purchased. Model star ships would be purchased. Yes. I was turning into one of those. I was turning into. A Trekkie. Star Trek: Voyager would come and go and give another 7 years of adventures in the 24th century.
Then Star Trek: Enterprise came along, and I hated it.
I must admit I still have not seen every episode of the original series. I’m not a huge fan of it, and going back before the original series, kind of annoyed me. There was also continuation parts that didn’t make sense to Star Trek canon. At this point I was very geeky about Trek, and understood the timeline. How can we have a series based before TOS. It’s just going to mess up the timeline.
Like those first few episodes of TNG, I was one of those people that turned off Enterprise early on. It would be a fateful mistake. Not only would it bring an end to Star Trek being on TV. Enterprise once I actually revisited it years later, was actually really good, and because of poor viewing figures from people like me, we lost it far earlier than was intended and I’m sure we missed out on some great stories.
Of course since then we’ve seen a film franchise reboot and, I was really hoping if a new TV series came along, it would explore that original Star Trek timeline from that movie reboot, the destruction of Romulus, and what is happening some 50+ years since the last episode of TNG in the Alpha quadrant, and a chance again for Star Trek to invent future technologies. But with Discovery we are going backwards yet again, and again we’re going for a prequel based before the adventures of Kirk & Spock!
I eagerly await to get home this evening, to turn on the TV and watch the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery. Between becoming a Trekkie and the airing of this new TV series, I have been to Star Trek exhibitions (a review of one is coming soon) Anniversary conventions, spent numerous hours playing Star Trek computer games, read numerous books, watched every episode of TNG at least 3 times, watched every episode of DS9 and Voyager at least twice, spent a ridiculous amount of money on model star ships (which all sit in their boxes collecting dust, because I actually HATE clutter, what was I thinking!!) but I have never dressed up!!! Or done Cosplay as it’s called. Fancy dress never really has been my thing!
Live long and prosper.