Sunday, May 19, 2013

Blast from the Past: Star Trekkin' (Original Crew)

I saw Star Trek Into Darkness this weekend, as you can see in my review below, and I decided there is more than enough to the 47-year history of the franchise for a Blast from the Past edition, right? I decided the best angle would be to feature a promo for each iteration of the series, from its own time if I can find it. Some people lament the new version, but as you can see, it is an improvement in many areas, as much as I love each earlier attempt. The Original Series debuted the year I was born, and I started watching the reruns as soon as I was old enough to understand them. So I have always had an affinity for all things Trek. Below is a contemporaneous promo for each of the original crew productions, where I could find them. Next week, I'll get into the sequels.

1. Star Trek: The Original Series (1966) - No matter what it has become, this is where it started. All other Treks owe their existence to this cheesy, low-budget, ham-acted, fantastic, awesome show.

2. Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973) - They managed to get most of the voices, and a lot of the writers back for this series. As a 7-year-old, I loved it, but it was over other kids' heads, of course. . . (I had to use a newer Nickelodian promo)

3. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) - Paramount Pictures couldn't be left out of the sci-fi craze after Star Wars came out, so they aborted a Star Trek: Phase II sequel series, and blew it up into a feature film. With. . .mixed results. But it was great to have them back.

4. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) -The original series got two pilot episodes, so it is fitting that the movie franchise got a second try to get it right. And boy, did they. This edition was the most beloved by almost all trekkers, and though it doesn't hold up as well as I'd like, **SPOILER ALERT** it did serve as the inspiration for a lot of the most recent movie.

5. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) - Picking up immediately after part two, this was a crucial film for fans, even if it doesn't rank with the "even numbered" editions, because after part two **SPOILER ALERT** Spock died. How would they bring him back? We can be glad they did though, since he features in much of Trek's future, right up to today.

6. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) - Again, following part three and forming an internal trilogy, this installment is nearly as beloved as part II. It's the one with the whales and the "nuclear wessels." Right after this one, The Next Generation series began filming, and would thereafter run concurrent to the movie series, eventually replacing it on the silver screen.

7. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1988) - After three straight successes, the powers that be were coasting, assuming anything would play, and be a successful sequel. This is the nadir of the original crew productions, though it isn't without some charms. Shatner directed, though I'm not sure that's the problem. It just isn't very good.

8. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) - They got back on track with this, the final voyage for all of the original crew. It was written as a send-off, with retirement clearly in the wings. With The Next Generation itself soon to wrap up its television run, it was clear they were going to pass the baton to them after this one.

William Shatner, James Doohan and Walter Koenig would go on to appear in the first Next Generation movie in 1994, to modest success. Occasionally, a cast member from the original cast would show up on the various television sequels, including Doohan, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley. And the entire cast would star in a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, though it was in re-used footage from The Trouble with Tribbles.

Next week features the sequel series and the movies since the original cast. In the meantime, live long and prosper, and have a great week. Happy Monday!

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