Along with the Star Wars universal (and also The Matrix and The Marvel universes), the other one that made an impact on my real life has been Star Trek in particular Star Trek: The Next Generation and Captain Jean Luc Picard. Image source: Nerdist
There are lessons on leadership, empathy, scientific deduction, stress management, time management and crisis management in each of the episodes.
Read These First:-
- TV Shows 101: Reviewing Amazing Star Trek TV Series That I Have Watched – Part 1
- TV Shows 101: A Quick Guide to Star Trek – Part 1
- TV Shows 101: A Quick Guide to Star Trek – Part 2
Image source: IMDB
Star Trek: The Original Series (Stardate 2265-2269)
Watching the Star Trek series will not be complete without watching the series that started the very journey where no man has gone before. We have finally come face to face with Captain James T. Kirk and USS Enterprise.
And before we proceed further, just remember one thing – this TV series was created in the 1960s so seeing ladies with very, very short uniforms. In fact, the whole series is rated 7++ which means my youngest kid can watch it in the same manner as watching kiddy cartoons.
When referring to the Original Series, it is worth mentioning the actors & actresses who played one of the most memorable characters in deep space:-
- William Shatner as James Tiberius Kirk, commanding officer of the USS Enterprise and only student at Starfleet Academy to defeat the Kobayashi Maru test and is the third captain to take the helms of the USS Enterprise (after Captain Pike). William Shatner is also well known on another TV series from my childhood – T J Hooker.
- Leonard Nimoy as Mr Spock, first officer and science officer. He has the distinction of being the first half-Vulcan, half-Human child among the other Vulcans. Both Leonard Nimoy and his Spock is also Sheldon from Big Bang Theory’s favourite real-life and fictional hero.
- DeForest Kelley as Leonard McCoy, chief medical officer. He hates the logic and the cold emotion part of Mr Spock but in reality, he is indeed probably one of the closest friends that Mr Spock will have.
- James Doohan as Montgomery Scott, chief engineer of USS Enterprise and often look at the Starship as his girlfriend. All you need to do to make Scotty angry is to say something bad about the Enterprise. He is well known for the phrase “Beam Up Scotty”
- Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura, communications officer. She is probably the most famous and beautiful Afro-American female actress of the 1960s. Lt Uhura is often calm even in the dire situation but she has a special concern for Captain Kirk and Mr Spock
- Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov, navigator and security/tactical officer. Mr Chekov was actually a newcomer to the series and hardly made an impact on me.
- George Takei as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman. Mr Sulu is the one who pilots the Starship and often is on the away team.
- Majel Barrett as Nurse Christine Chapel, medical officer. A special mention about Majel Barrett – she was the voice behind the computer in the Star Trek: The Next Generation and also acted as Counselor Deanna Troi’s mother, Lwaxana Troi, Federation ambassador and the Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed
One can totally understand Mr Sulu’s attention to Lt Uhura’s beauty and charm. It was brilliant of Gene Roddenberry to cast Nichelle Nichols in Star Trek. Image source: SYFY
The mainstay of the fleet in the Original Series no doubt is the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701):-
The USS Enterprise was a 23rd century Federation Constitution-class starship operated by Starfleet. It was also the first ship to bear the name Enterprise with this registry. Launched in 2245, the ship was commanded by Captain Robert April until 2250, when the command of the ship was turned over to April’s First Officer Christopher Pike.
During the Klingon War, the Enterprise and its crew were intentionally left out of the fighting by Starfleet Command as they considered the Enterprise to be the “best of Starfleet” and wanted them to survive. At some point between 2254 and 2256 the Enterprise got a refit that radically changed its design and appearance.
Pike’s command of the Enterprise ended around 2265 when Pike was promoted to fleet captain and command of the ship was turned over to Captain James T. Kirk. In the course of its career, the Enterprise became the most celebrated starship of its time. It was later identified as “the original Enterprise” or “Kirk’s ship”.
In its forty years of service and discovery, through upgrades and at least two refits, the Enterprise took part in numerous first contacts, military engagements, and time travels. The vessel achieved its most lasting fame from a five-year mission (2265-2270) under the command of Captain Kirk.
One thing that I can never understand – why the bridge of all Star Trek bridge stations does not come with a proper seat belt? We can fly at light speed and yet we have people flying over their stations when the starship is hit with photon torpedoes. Image source: Pinterest
Given the visual effect technology of the 1960s, the interior of the USS Enterprise is rather rough, crude and admittedly laughable. The series relied more on good acting and a strong storyline than on visual effects. However, this series did not last long and it was due to NBC’s own screw up:-
In March 1968, though, NBC instead moved the show to 10:00 pm Friday night, an hour undesirable for its younger audience, so as not to conflict with the highly successful Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In on Monday evenings, from whose time slot Laugh-In producer George Schlatter had angrily demanded it not be rescheduled. In addition to the undesirable time slot, Star Trek was now being seen on only 181 of NBC’s 210 affiliates.
As a result of this and his own growing exhaustion, Gene Roddenberry chose to withdraw from the stress of the daily production of Star Trek, though he remained nominally in charge as its “executive producer”. Roddenberry reduced his direct involvement in Star Trek before the start of the 1968–69 television season and was replaced by Fred Freiberger as the producer of the television series.
NBC next reduced Star Trek’s budget by a significant amount per episode, as the per-minute commercial price had dropped from $39,000 to $36,000 compared to the season-two time slot. This caused what many perceive as a significant decline in quality for the 1968–69 season. William Shatner felt that the main characters became increasingly compromised or exaggerated while being involved in increasingly improbable storylines.
While NBC paid lip service to expand Star Trek’s audience, it [now] slashed our production budget until it was actually 10% lower than it had been in our first season.
In 2011, the decision to cancel Star Trek by NBC was ranked number four on the TV Guide Network special, 25 Biggest TV Blunders 2.
Despite the cancellation of the Original Series, it was not the end of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701 and its excellent crew with the continuation of the star exploration adventure.
They continued in the subsequent Star Trek movies, starting off with Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979 which was made for USD44 million but went on to be a blockbuster with a collection of USD139 million.
The franchise has to say thanks to the Star Wars madness of 1977 for the continued audience interest.
Image source: IMDB
Star Trek: The Animated Series (Stardate 2269-2270)
I usually don’t give much attention to animations of a well-known TV series mainly because these animations were usually watered down to the level of children as the viewers. What you will have in the end is a screwed version of the original series. It is rather rare to have animations that bring the same emotions and spirit as the original series.
So, once I completed watching the Original Series which is not much – it only ran for 3 seasons with 79 episodes which are pitiful considering the next TV series, Star Trek: The Next Generation ran for 7 seasons with 178 episodes. The next series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager also ran for 7 seasons with 176 and 172 episodes respectively.
So I proceeded with Star Trek, the Animated Series with caution but in the end, I was not disappointed with the storyline. It was voiced by the same actors who acted in the Original Series and the animation did not fall far from the Original Series in form of storyline and scope. Of course, using animations, the producers were able to expand their imagination a bit more.
Produced in 1973 just after the end of the Original Series, it only ran for 2 seasons with 22 episodes which were too bad because this animation was good indeed and on par with the Original Series. They should have produced more episodes.
To be continued in Part 3…