Hey, everybody! Did you hear about that awesome new show coming out on NBC in a week? It is a fun looking sci-fi show called Star Trek, staring William Shatner (far right in the above photo) as Captain Kirk, an intrepid space ship commander on some sort of mission of exploration. Also featured in the above photo are Leonard Nemoy as Spock, a weird looking alien character, and Grace Lee Whitney as Rand.
“Wait, wait, wait,” you’re all saying at this point. “New show? Dude, did you get hit on the head or something? This is Star Trek. Everybody knows Star Trek. Heck, it turns 50 next week!”
Well, I thought as my way of celebrating, I would do my own re-watch/recap of the series, except I would lock away the lifetime of memories in my head and pretend that this is a brand new show I am watching for the very first time. And so, for the next three years, on the 50th anniversary of each episode’s original broadcast, I will post a recap of the latest episode. And in that recap, I will write it as if the only Star Trek that exists is that episode and any episodes that had aired previously.
I won’t be pretending it is 1966. But I will act as if none of the later shows exist. And I will also try my best to pointedly ignore any references to or influences of Trek in other works. So I won’t be saying anything like, “Wow, the crew of this ship, and in fact the whole set-up of the show, seem vaguely reminiscent of the show in that awesome 90's flick Galaxy Quest.”
Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why? Why pretend you’ve never seen the show before? And above that, why pretend that the show hasn’t existed before?” Simple. I want to look at Star Trek from a fresh perspective. Episode summaries and retrospective looks are a dime a dozen. I could head on over to Memory Alpha or grab Allan Asherman’s The Star Trek Compendium off of my bookshelf if that is all I want, no need to write something new myself. Rather, I thought it would be fun to recapture discovering Trek for the first time, and looking at it as it was when it was fresh and new, without hundreds of tie-in novels, a plethora of films, and a handful of sequel/prequel series distracting from the purity of the original.
I hope the commenters may play along to some extent, but I won’t be a complete dick about it, diligently policing comments and deleting any offending ones. But, for example, I really hope the comments on Space Seed aren’t full of people saying things like, “Gee, I wonder if we’ll ever see Khan again,” or, “I’m sure this will never come back to bite Kirk in the ass, nudge nudge, say no more!”
For this, I will of course be watching the episodes in broadcast order. I’ll be using the Blu-ray release, but I will not be watching the “remastered” versions. Rather, I’ll be watching it with the original sfx. Not that this causes a huge difference in the narrative, but there may be occasional subtle differences. The most obvious difference I can imedietly think of is if, say, during Where No Man Has Gone Before, if I comment on the strange lack of the opening narration (“Space... The final frontier!”) and you, having watched the remastered version, think to yourself, “What lack of narration?” well, now you know why.
I may also pretend that the James Blish novelizations, originally published between 1967 and 1978, were instead published concurrently with each episode’s broadcast, thus allowing me to also comment on those, and point out some of the interesting differences that exist (often because Blish’s works were based on earlier drafts of the scripts). What to you think, would that be interesting to include as a bit extra, or should I just focus on only the show itself?
So, I hope you all join me, starting next week and continuing over the course of the next three years, as we take a fresh look at a classic, and dive in to that exciting brand new series called Star Trek!
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