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).
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.
(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.