Clichés… in… spaaaaace!

You know, it’s weird, but even though I was a big ol’ Star Trek dork in junior high school (it was almost kind of cool for a while, since Next Generation was first launching at the time), I’ve really never seen that much of the original ’60s TV series. A handful of episodes decades ago, but mostly just bits and pieces of fuzzy, worn, chopped-up prints on syndicated TV. For the most part, my Trek indoctrination happened through the movies, the early seasons of Next Generation, an embarrassing number of novels, and even (gulp) the Saturday morning cartoon. So I am relishing the prospect of watching the restored episodes on Blu-ray — it’s a sort of back-to-basics project under the best possible circumstances.

That said, the very first episode, “The Man Trap,” has been unintentionally amusing — in exactly eight minutes, 29 seconds, Dr. McCoy had already uttered his trademark line, “He’s dead, Jim.” Well, technically it was simply, “Dead, Jim,” this time, but whatever! It’s the spirit of the thing.

Some of the episode has surprised me, like the bit where Uhura comes on to Spock — a slightly uncomfortable (and really awfully out-of-character) way to establish what’s the deal with Vulcans. However: Nichelle Nichols was crazy gorgeous. Bummer that she didn’t do her sexy fan dance until she was eligible for retirement.

Edit: Uh… I just got a part in the second episode where Uhura starts singing a really weird song about Spock, and now I don’t even know what to think. Everything I believed about Star Trek is a lie.

16 thoughts on “Clichés… in… spaaaaace!

  1. Nerd time: “The Man Trap” isn’t the first episode of the series, but it is the first one that was aired back in 1966. “Where No Man Has Gone Before” was the second pilot after the too-cerebral “The Cage” was shelved, and “The Corbomite Maneuver” was the first regular episode they made. Both were aired early in Season One, but it’s a bit weird when certain characters go missing (like Uhura and McCoy) because they hadn’t joined the cast yet.

  2. Yes, I know how the early episode sequencing was a mess, but “The Man Trap” is the first episode on the DVD, so.

  3. Never liked the original series. I’m a huge Next Generation fan, though. Picard out!

  4. Whoa, you’re right about the jarring changes — “Where No Man Has Gone Before” is like going back to TNG season 1 from season 5. The uniforms and characters are all wrong. Spock’s microfiche reader is awesome, though.

  5. I’m also watching through ToS on DVD for the first time, albiet in Cliff Notes mode (I watch the first and last 10 minutes of each episode). Call me cynical, but my main motivation for watching it is to innoculate me against liking this remake. I feel that Hollywood aught to rerun old movies in theaters as often as TV networks rerun old TV shows, so that the incentives for remakes vanish. Hollywood, make something original or lose even more of my time and money to video games. Or plain old TV.

  6. The Man Trap was awful. Taken as a whole though, the first season of the original Star Trek was some of the best sci-fi I’ve ever watched. Good enough that it made me like the original series better than pretty much anything but the movies.

    Looking forward to your thoughts on Balance of Terror. Ooh, and Space Seed. So good…

  7. Parish, I know you have a particular dislike for Family Guy, but there was a pretty good B plot wherein the entire TNG cast is reunited. Patrick yelling at Wil Wheaton is hilarious and something I’d like to believe happened on set all the time.

  8. TOS was revolutionary for the time, but if it was shown today, nobody would give a crap. I find evidence for this stance in the fact that Enterprise tanked so terribly. Out of all the shows, Enterprise was probably closest to recreating the spirit of TOS in both theme, form, substance, consistency, and corn.

  9. @Vega: I love the idea of movie theaters screening older movies! It would get my ass in a movie theater far more often.

  10. mrbuu82, where I live there’s an “old-time movie theater” that plays classic movies (and independent and foreign films). But I’m not sure if that’s what you mean.

  11. @QPCES: Exactly! I need to see if I have one of those kinds of theaters in my area then.

  12. I just wanna own a copy of Star Trek someday where the ship’s crew can be heard screaming as the Enterprise whips past the camera during the opening credits. Is that too much to ask?

  13. Nichelle Nichols may be getting on in years, but she sure can still sing! I saw her at DragonCon a couple years ago and she belted out a tune for us in between telling old Star Trek on-the-set stories. It was pretty great.

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