Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh
chris_walsh

After seeing Trek-phile kradical do this, I was moved to do it too:

You scored as Deep Space Nine: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine would be best for you

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Deep Space Nine

70%

The Next Generation

60%

Original

55%

Voyager

50%

Movies

45%

Enterprise

40%

Which Star Trek Series is best for you?
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Yeah, I can buy that.

I've been into Star Trek since age 9, and I've seen it through lots of ups and downs. Deep Space Nine probably took the most risks, and just as importantly had the most risks pay off, of any of the Trek series.

The original series and The Next Generation have special significance for me: the original could be this deranged entertainment machine, with the melodramatic music and knowingly ridiculous planets it sometimes featured, and the charisma of its cast (I've always been a fan of Shatner's acting) helping to smooth over the flaws and cheesiness; and TNG made me a full-fledged fan as it succeeded in thinking bigger (and lasting longer) than the original series. And as TNG was the first Trek to be in first-run in my life, I liked the sense you could get that the series was happening in real time...which was true, of course, for the people making the show, as they figured things out, embellishing the universe as they went along, sometimes stumbling but always trying to produce a good show. And Star Trek's oft-remarked-upon and fundamental optimism stayed put even through the frequent darkness of Deep Space Nine.

I did give Voyager a try, and it certainly had a strong start (plus I had kind of a crush on B'Elanna Torres; hey, there's always been sex appeal in Star Trek), but I think at some level I gave up on it when producer Brannon Braga admitted in the magazine Sci-Fi Universe that Voyager's fundamental flaw was that it wasn't odd enough: the other side of the galaxy (where the show took place) seemed much too much like the rest of the Star Trek galaxy. "Voyager should be the X-Files of Trek," he said, and he'd hoped he could give the show that tang of weirdness, but the other producers weren't pulling in the same direction. Or maybe he didn't really feel that strongly enough, and didn't fight enough for it. But Voyager felt too much like it was marking time, and I lost interest in it. (There were glimmers of hope coming from the cliffhanger where the Borg was faced with a deadlier race than itself giving me some hope, but not enough to get me back into the show full-time.)

Still, I was really happy with the film Star Trek: First Contact, with its story that went to dark places (it was the first PG-13 Trek film) and salvaged the seed of hope that's always been Star Trek's core. Flaws and all, it showed people and aliens (with their own flaws) making something wonderful happen.

And I will say it: Enterprise, after the ill-conceived ninth film Insurrection soured me a little on Star Trek, genuinely excited me IN CONCEPT. I like prequels; I think they can go interesting places, story-wise, even within the limits of established continuity (which Star Trek has kept remarkably consistent for a long time). But the one big thing I hoped Enterprise would portray -- whatever happened that led to the all-out human-Klingon war that led to the Cold War standoff of the original series -- was only barely dealt with. And that could've been the source of HUGE drama, showing how things went so wrong in the Star Trek universe. Enterprise was a show that needed a truly strong roadmap -- hit these key dramatic points, plant those storytelling seeds that would blossom into what we saw from the Kirk era and the Picard era -- and was (I think) hurt the most by not having that.

(Rumor I heard: Notice how Enterprise did its best to take bigger risks in the third and fourth season, with the all-encompassing, nigh-apocalyptic Xindi storyline, the Mirror Universe's origin, and perhaps the strangest cliffhanger of any Star Trek show ever, with the altered-history Earth and the Nazi-occupied East Coast and all that? Where they brought in future 24 producer Manny Cato and gave him lots of rein to (if need be) go nuts? I later heard a rumor that an executive with CBS/Viacom (which controlled UPN, where Enterprise aired) decided at the end of Season Two that the show would only last four seasons, and no more. This is only a rumor, but to me it would explain a lot.)

The frustrations of latter-day Star Trek (especially, for me, with the film Nemesis) gave me a distance from it. But never too much distance; I still read Wil Wheaton almost every day, dip into the Star Trek novels (often written with more care for the continuity than the series and movies were!), make Trek references aplenty in my life, and stop at channels showing episodes when I channel-surf. I love that the original series is back in regular syndication, both in original versions and the "remastered" ones with the redone special effects. And I'm definitely curious to see what J.J. Abrams does with the Star Trek universe when his flashback movie comes out next year. (Maybe I should do my best to avoid spoilers for the film.) I keep returning to my optimism when I encounter Star Trek.

I'll risk being maudlin: Star Trek is a part of me. It's influenced me, shaped me, almost from the moment I first read The World of Star Trek by David Gerrold soon after The Search For Spock came out. Star Trek still had a fundamental pull for me. It's also a big reason I became friends with Mike Pearl. Same with David Carlton, my best friend in the trenches of junior high. Same with Ken Crandall, back when we were grade-school Navy brats and he was still named Kenny. (You see a pattern here...)

You know what all this makes me think? I need to revisit Star Trek. And I think I should do so with Deep Space Nine.
Tags: memes, star trek
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