Sunday, April 23, 2006

Re–Energized (part I of II)

I am a geek. I’m proud of this fact and will let my geek flag fly wherever I go. I am a card-carrying member in good standing, mind you, of my geekship. There is no self-respecting fan-boy out there who doesn’t have a special place in his heart for Star Trek. The original 78 episodes of the series started in 1966. There have been five television series and ten feature films. I grew up on the syndicated reruns of the original. I am steeped in Trek lore. The adventures of Kirk, Spock & McCoy introduced me to the wonders of science fiction. It is for this reason that I, Evil Chicken, am very pleased with this announcement…

Yup; Star Trek is going to return. Rick Berman, the man who has helmed the Star Trek universe since Star Trek the Next Generation, is out. Paramount has named new producers and given the reins to Mr. J.J. Abrams (creator of Alias & Lost and the writer/director of Mission Impossible III – which BTW has great early spin). Not too shabby. This is the shot in the arm that the franchise needs. After Enterprise, Star Trek needed a rest. After Nemesis (the tenth & worst film of the series), it needed time to lick its wounds and heal. (I’ll rant about the movies in part II of this wonderful and heartfelt blog.)

The post Classic Star Trek TV experience in the nutshell…

I loved Star Trek the Next Generation. Once the writing team hit its stride and the cast congealed, it was TV magic. The Enterprise – D was a decidedly different vessel than NCC – 1701. Captain Picard (played by the amazing Patrick Stewart) was almost a polar opposite of Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), but it most certainly kept me watching. It was about the story and making the 23d century a real place. Deep Space Nine took a couple of seasons for it to do the same, but in the end I cared about what happened to Captain Sisko and his crew. Voyager just never jelled for me; it never seemed real and in any type of fiction that’s exactly what you are selling, “reality.” I think it was Tom Clancy who said, “The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense.” Amen. With all due respect to the character of Seven of Nine, Voyager never did. It was wooden, fake. There was no passion or center. It became generic and because of this viewer ship nose-dived. They done went and poisoned the well. Enterprise did a much better job of character development and story telling but unfortunately due to Voyager, people had tuned out. I know that I did. I forgot that it was on. Too bad really, I hear that it got pretty good toward the end. If I get a chance I’ll catch it on DVD.

Star Trek is one of those properties that should inspire the viewer. The casual fan should come away feeling a little bit of hope for the future; hope in knowing that we didn’t blow ourselves up and that, just maybe, the human adventure is just beginning. In today’s world, that’s refreshing. Speaking of today’s world, how many inventors and storytellers have been influenced by Star Trek? If you have a flip cellular phone, a GPS unit, a laptop or a PDA then you may have first seen them being used on a show in the sixties that almost lasted for three seasons. Yeah we are still working on matter transportation and warp drive technology but give it time; the Romulan Empire wasn’t built in a day.

I can’t wait to see what J.J. Abrams has up his sleeve for bringing Star Trek back to the big screen and to the public’s mind. It sounds like the fate of the Federation is in good hands. I’ll be there opening night to confirm my suspicions.

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