Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Star Trek: TOS

I was in high school when Star Trek originally aired in prime time. But despite my deep love of science fiction I did not see a single episode during its original airing. We did not have a television in our home until the fall of 1968, and when we did get one, my parents strictly limited evening television viewing. My father was absolute dictator of what was watched when he was at home, and he did not like science fiction.

In the summer of 1970 between my freshman and sophomore years of college one of my brothers - I cannot remember whether it was Frank or Charlie - spent their own money on a tiny black and white TV. We would hole up in my brothers' room while my parents watched Walter Cronkite to view the Star Trek stripped five nights a week. We were enthralled.  We discussed each episode in depth. By the beginning of my college junior year I had seen every episode, many multiple times.

During my junior year, I was a "floor counselor" or what most colleges today call an RA or resident adviser. One of my tasks was to lock the dorm at mid-night two to three nights a week. Part of my routine was to come down to the dormitory small TV lounge and watch Star Trek with a small cadre of devoted fans. We would discuss and debate the merits of each episode. 

Wherever I was for the next decade and a half I watched Star Trek  whenever I could find it. But after that ST: The Next Generation, then Deep Space Nine, then Voyager, and Enterprise took over my attention, most of which I shared with my husband John. A couple of months ago, my husband and I discovered that Netflix streaming provided access to all the Star Trek series.  We began watching TOS together, a few episode a week (and during the holidays sometimes a couple a day).  Not surprisingly, Star Trek still has the ability to enchant and entertain and even to make one pause and think. We may have far surpassed the technical effects of those years, but good story telling is still good story telling. 

One interesting note: back then, in 1967-1969 a television season required 30 shows. Thirty hour long scripted, directed, acted hour long shows. Today a "season" may have as few as 10 to 15 shows. That is important to remember when you hear someone say that Star Trek TOS had "only" three seasons on the air. Those three seasons had nearly 90 shows! Compare that to a series like LOST (which my husband and I also loved) which stretched out  fewer episodes over five years. 

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