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The Great Trek Rewatch

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I am a sci-fi afficiando. I like basically just about all things sci-fi. That includes Star Trek. And, no, I’m not going to get into a debate about whether Star Trek or Star Wars is better.

Since it’s inception on the 1960s, Trek has gone through a lot of iterations, building on each series as time went on. Then there was the reboot, where they took the characters of the original series and started making new stories based on them with different actors playing the characters.

I have been around for all the series, but I haven’t seen all of them. I watched Star Trek: The Original Series (ST:TOS) as it has come to be known, partly when it was on the air the first time and many times in reruns over the years.

I missed most of Star Trek: The Animated Series (ST:TAS) when it aired. I think there was some other cartoon on at the same time that I wanted to watch more. Yes, kids, this was back in the day when you had to watch cartoons on Saturday morning when they aired, before even video cassette recorders (VCRs) were invented. None of this on-demand streaming you youngsters get to use now.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out in theatres and rebooted interest in the series. This lead to a series of movies based on ST:TOS, which were mostly good and gave the fans something to hang on to and feed their ST fix.

I watched most of Star Trek: The Next Generation (ST:TNG) when it aired but I started working mostly night shifts in the retail bookselling world at the time so I missed most of the last two seasons. It too would lead to a series of movies based on the characters and situations from the series.

Then came Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (ST:DS9) which again I missed most of because of working nights in retail. Yes, I had a VCR back then, but buying tapes to record all the episodes was expensive, especially on a retail assistant manager’s salary. This kept the storylines centered around a single location, the titular Deep Space Nine, a space station orbiting the Bajoran home world and near the only known stable wormhole in the galaxy. This was up against Babylon 5,a similar series based around a space station that was home to diplomats of various alien species who didn’t get along with each other.

Next up was Star Trek: Voyager. I got to see most of the series except for the last two seasons, which I only got to see parts of. This one shot a Federation starship to the other side of the galaxy and followed their attempts to get back home, sort of The Odyssey in space. This let the writers expand out the antagonists that the crew faced, getting away from the standard Klingon / Romulan / Cardassian bad guys.

Then came Star Trek: Enterprise (ST:E) which I watched the first season of but then I had moved into working in IT, and building web apps in the wild heyday of the early Internet. I was so busy always trying to keep up on all the changes in the industry (the Internet changed on a daily basis back then) that I missed most of it. This one took us back to the early days of Earth getting space flight and trying to find its place in the galactic community.

Then came the aforementioned reboots. I saw the movies and enjoyed them. They felt sort of Trek-ish but not quite.

The next series was Star Trek: Discovery, which I only saw the first season before it moved to being on streaming. I didn’t want to add yet another streaming service to have to watch shows I wanted to watch so I had to be content with hearing about it from friends of mine.

Next came Star Trek: Picard, based on the character Jean-Luc Picard, Captain of the Enterprise in ST:TNG. It too was on streaming only so I didn’t see it. From everything I’ve heard, this is the weakest Trek series.

Then came Star Trek: Lower Decks (ST:LD) the second foray into an animated Star Trek series. Given the fifty year gap between it and ST:TAS, you can see a definite change in how animation is approached. ST:TAS was more serious, drawn more realistically, and tried to tell good ‘Trek’ stories. ST:LD takes a more ‘modern’ approach to the animation, making the characters much more ‘cartoony’ and putting them in absurd situations, not even trying to be serious.

Finally, we have Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (ST:SNW) looking at the first Captain of the Starship Enterprise (yes, Kirk was the second Captain) looking at Christopher Pike (the original Captain in the unaired pilot to ST:TOS) and Spock before Kirk and McCoy came on the scene.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I finally decided to get Paramount +, the streaming service that carries all things Star Trek. I’ve decided that I’m going to rewatch the entire Trek canon (still debating if I want to include the reboot movies in that) so I can catch up on all the seasons of the various series I missed.

I’ve watched the first six episodes of ST:TOS at this point. It is interesting to see how storytelling in the 1960s was more episodic, hitting the rest button at the end of each episode so the characters would be the same. This is opposed to later series that had large story arcs and character arcs across seasons, where things changed based on the previous episodes.

And there were some good stories in those early episodes – Charlie X and The Naked Time jump to mind.

Thanks for indulging me in this bit of sci-fi geekery and stroll down memory lane, dear reader.

If you’d like to support my efforts, why not buy me a chocolate chip cookie through my Ko-Fi page?

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