Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The final frontier

So Star Trek will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary this coming September 8.  I know people now refer to it as Star Trek: The Original Series, to differentiate it from the myriad shows that followed in the franchise…but I’ve never been one to follow the crowd.  (I’m a loner, Dottie.  A rebel.)  I suppose if I gave it a good deal of thought it’s probably because outside of TOS, I was never a huge fan of the other entries in the Star Trek universe.  Sure, I’ve watched episodes of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine…but they really weren’t my cup of Luzianne, as it were.  They’re good television…but my personal preference is for the first series.  And I say this as someone who’s sat down with all of the Star Trek films…the only exception being the latest one, Star Trek Beyond (2016).

To cash in on commemorate Trek’s semi centennial, the Heroes & Icons channel has acquired all five series in the franchise: TOS, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise.  They’re running them six days a week, and though H&I’s promos said they would be “back-to-back,” this really only applies to Sunday nights; Monday through Friday the block is interrupted by Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and NYPD Blue.  H&I’s ads for the Star Trek schedule addition also boasted that TOS would be shown “uncut.”

Here’s why I’m a mite skeptical.  I pulled out my first season Star Trek set and watched the premiere episode, “The Man Trap”—and clocked that sucka at fifty minutes.  There is no way on this once-green Earth that Heroes & Icons can squeeze all those mesothelioma, catheter, and reverse mortgage commercials in the span of ten minutes.  I suspect the only way the channel can accomplish this is by subtly altering the running time of each episode by speeding it up…and I say “subtly” with a large dose of sarcasm because while they think they’re getting away with it they’re not.  FETV does this frequently with their Lone Ranger reruns, and the reason I know they’re speeding them up is that when I hear Gerald Mohr say “He was a fabulous individual…” it’s in a much higher register than the actor’s usual speaking voice.

Interestingly, my father has taken to Heroes & Icons’ Star Trek acquisitions like a duck to water.  (Well, not the last three Trek series—they air past his bedtime.)  To be honest, I thought the DISH austerity program here at Rancho Yesteryear would cause me to go cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs…but it seems to be affecting the ‘rents far more.  I have to confess getting a kick out of seeing my mother yell at the television set: “There is not one goddamn thing on!”

As for me…well, I have been revisiting the show through the magic of DVD.  I’m not one of those people who read too much into the show (“It’s an allegory on the human condition”); I just enjoyed watching it as a kid (I thought Spock was one of the coolest characters on TV…and the fact that all the female members of the Enterprise wore shorty-short skirts as part of their uniform stoked my adolescent fantasies).  It still holds up…even the sub-par episodes.


Caftan Woman said...

Me (in old coot voice): What the hell is "TOS"?

I'm a rebel too. I've been to hundreds of baseball games and never once participated in the wave. Edgy!

Todd Mason said...

And no woman among the regular cast could have non-large breasts. It was hard to miss. Even if France Nuyen, even under all that makeup, was perhaps my favorite actress in TOS episodes (Nuyen and Shatner had co-starred in the Broadway production of THE WORLD OF SUZY WONG, during which Nuyen cheerfully told a reporter from LIFE magazine that Shatner could always use a shoulder massage before each performance, and Nuyen was reasonably happy to oblige.

You may draw your own conclusions. One can be happy that both could be asked about this, almost six decades later.

And, hey, where's the cartoon series?

Ivan G Shreve Jr said...

Todd inquired:

And, hey, where's the cartoon series?

Heroes & Icons is adding it Sunday nights at 7pm EDT beginning September 4!