My Journey to Star Trek: The Next Generation
I am working my way through all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, currently on season three, and decided to talk about my own Trek into enjoying this series after being closed minded to it for a few years. Today’s posting is about overcoming prejudice and being more open minded, a theme regularly addressed in Star Trek.
It was the mid 70s, 74 or 75 when we got Cable TV in our home town, I fell in love with Channel 11, WPIX out of New York City. I was about 12 years old at the time and they had great shows with wonderful cartoons and old movies like Abbott & Costello films, Godzilla movies and TV shows from the 60s and 70s such as The Munsters. Then there was this show called Star Trek. I do not remember watching my first episode but one thing I do remember is that I was instantly hooked to this fascinating show. I couldn’t get enough of it. I lived and breathed Star Trek. This was back in the day prior to the internet so if I wanted Star Trek information I really had to dig for it. I remember one of the many times when I had eye surgery and during my recovery my mother bought me a model kit of the Tricorder from the series. I went through countless model kits of the Enterprise and could never get those damned nacelles to stay upright!
I really enjoyed and was thrilled with the Star Trek movies. Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home were my favorites. Then in the mid 80s I began to hear about a new Star Trek series that Gene Roddenberry was trying to put together. There were so many rumors to sift through but eventually the premise was that it would have completely new characters and none of the originals characters and would be set about 80-100 years after the events of the original Star Trek series. It was to be called Star Trek: The Next Generation. Like a giant pair of wood and steel doors which guard an ancient castle my mind slammed shut with considerable force. Before even seeing one small scene my mind was closed. I just thought this new series would meet with quick failure. In my way of thinking it was impossible to have a successful Star Trek series without Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy. I turned my nose up at this series and didn’t even try to watch it.
However, after a couple of years I had heard that the show was a success. However, I still couldn’t bring myself to watch it. They had an older Captain and a man who was an android trying to be human. Plus a they had a freaking Klingon working on the bridge!!! That’s not Star Trek I would howl! Then in 1992 or 1993 I began hanging out with my friend George Cheatle and his family. He has a son, Mark, who was into the the new series. There were some cold winter days when there was nothing much to do but hang out with Mark and some of his friends and watch Star Trek: the Next Generation. I do not remember the first episode that I watched but one thing I do know is that over the next few months I really began to enjoy the show. The writing was very good and I came to really like all of the characters. I particularly liked Captain Pickard. He was different than James Kirk but still a man to be respected and he carried a persona which commanded respect. I am very interested in those that carry power and authority. Data, an android seeking to become more human, was also a very likable character. People with superior reasoning skills and intellect with a predilection toward logic have always been traits that I admired. The main thing which turned me on to the franchise were the stories. Running for 7 season TNG has even more quality episodes than its predecessor. From alien encounters to time travel the series always covered themes which I had admired from the original series.
Through the years my affection for Star Trek: The Next Generation has grown. I would say my affection for TNG is equal to the original series. For me, that says something considerable. I enjoyed all the movies…well except for Nemesis which was a bit depressing. I was disappointed that the TNG cast would not make anymore movies yet I do think the series had grown a little stale and JJ. Abrams has breathed new life into the franchise. Maybe that is a topic for another entry all of its own?
Some wonder if TNG will be rebooted like the original series? I was very open to different actors playing Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy et al. But when it comes to new actors playing Picard, Data and Riker I can suddenly feel the giant pair of wood and steel doors in my mind starting to slam shut again!
Posted on September 25, 2012, in Captain's Log... and tagged Brent Spiner, Gene Roddenberry, Jonathan Frakes, Patrick Stewart, Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, William Shatner. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.