David on Star Trek (TOS)

Having almost literally grown up on the original Star Trek, it holds a special place in my TV show heart, warts and all. Having said that, while I enjoy all things Trek, I'm hardly a costume-wearing, convention-attending fan. Consider: "fan" is short for "fanatic," and I'm not a fanatic about anything. Fanaticism implies blind worship, and I'm far too realistic and objective for such behavior. (I find the old SNL skit with William Shatner to be funny for all of the "wrong" reasons...)

Yes, the acting was hammy and over-the-top. The sets and effects were laughably bad. Some of the "messages" were beat-you-over-the-head obvious. But for me, the pros outweighed the cons. Whereas nearly every other science fiction television series was (and, surprisingly, remains) doom-and-gloom, with lame monsters-of-the-week and frustrating back-where-we-started plots, Trek was, more often than not, optimistic, uplifting and forward-looking.

Trek regularly tackled issues of its day, and while that makes some episodes painfully dated, others are surprisingly prescient, with messages that are easily transposed onto current-day topics. It was daring for its time, particularly with respect to race and gender, yet society seems to believe we've moved past such things; the awful truth is that we haven't. Enlightenment, I fear, may still be generations away, if we don't obliterate ourselves first.

The show had moments of brilliance that transcend the half-century that's passed since its day. This was down to the writers: bold, brave visionaries that the producers wisely tapped. Granted, even the best of Trek's stories were saddled with bad acting and threadbare sets, but those who cannot look past these superficial flaws are to be pitied.

As an aside, being a student of music as well as cinema, I've always considered the score to be well-above-average, particularly for the first two seasons. Thankfully, nearly every minute of original music was released on a limited-edition CD set, which I was lucky enough to obtain. The set features a number of sound effects in addition to music; it was surprising to learn how many sounds were created by the orchestra—the iconic transporter sound, for example, was in fact generated with musical instruments!


Favorite episode: "City on the Edge of Forever" (no doubt no surprise)

Least-favorite episode: There are many, but "And the Children Shall Lead" bubbles to the top of my list

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