By Way of Introduction

imageI have been working my way through the DVD collection of Star Trek Next Generation (STNG). As I near the end of the series, I have been planning to write a couple of posts that are inspired by Star Trek, but not Trek-heavy and not a “series.” Just a post here and a post there that are based on the show. I wasn’t sure how to announce this idea until today. Aye, you have given me the perfect prompt lassie (Linda).

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “I/eye/aye.” Use one, use ‘em all – just make it yours. And have fun!

Star Trek is a more-than-meets-the-eye kind of television series. Star Trek leaves an aftertaste to your viewing. It’s similar to The Twilight Zone in that regard, but I think a bit more heavy handed than the Zone. What Rod Serling was able to do with a last minute plot twist, Gene Roddenberry and the writers and producers of Star Trek The Original Series (TOS) and STNG tended to put right up front and kept hammering on during the hour-long episodes. What Serling did with camera angles and lighting, Star Trek did with more obvious special effects. If there was a moral message in a Star Trek episode, you almost always saw it coming.

Maybe that’s a problem that’s endemic to a show like Star Trek. The story is continuing, unfolding week after week with most of the cast and crew intact. I know Jean-Luc Picard and I know how he thinks, the kind of leader he is and the fact that he is a historian and an archeologist and that he is governed by both disciplines. I know Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge, Commanders Data and Riker and both Doctors Crusher and Pulaski, not to mention the STNG eye-candy Counselor Troi. My daughter recently informed me that Dr. Crusher and Counselor Troi rebelled at the way their characters were treated in the scripts and I am far enough along in the series to see the changes the producers agreed to.

Having grown up on the original Star Trek, I knew those characters very well, too. Sadly, my favorite character, Spock, passed away recently. That is, actor Leonard Nimoy passed away but it’s hard not to think of him as Spock. I read both of his books on the subject, “I’m Not Spock” and the follow-up “I Am Spock” and I think Spock must have been an interesting struggle for Mr. Nimoy.

Four characters from the original series appeared in STNG even though the series were set about 100 years apart. Dr. McCoy had a cameo appearance on the first episode of STNG. Spock is featured in a 2-part episode that was one of most viewed episodes ever. Sarek, Spock’s father appears in a couple of STNG episodes as well as his appearance in a TOS episode. In addition, the actor who played Sarek (Mark Lenard) appeared as a Romulan in an early TOS episode. Sorry, I didn’t mean for this bit of history to go on so long. I’m getting to the point though. While I’m still digressing, I might as well mention that Mark Lenard also played a Klingon in one of the Start Trek movies.

The fourth character to span the 100 years between TOS and STNG was Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott. If you say “Aye” to a Star Trek fan, Scotty is the character that comes to mind. Scotty appears in the STNG episode “Relics” and he was treated so rudely by Mr. La Forge that you knew he would find some way to redeem himself as show worked its way toward the delivery of its old-doesn’t-mean-useless message. Now that I’ve passed the 60-year mark, I find that message comforting. Scotty struggles with the dual dilemma that too much has changed and that he’s too old to go back to school, as it were. It’s time to move on.

Captain Picard
Yes, I own a Captain Picard action figure. And it’s pronounced “fig-ur” just so you know.

Scotty ends up saving the day while teaching Mr. La Forge a lesson. Captain Picard proves once again that he can command a starship, mentor younger crew members, see the big picture and hold his liquor quite well. Scotty does move on, but not necessarily into retirement.

As I look back at the uneditable (rules are rules) post above, I realize that I didn’t do very well on my goal to be light on Star Trek. I’ll edit those posts in my drafts folder so they will be easier for the non-trekkie to tolerate. I will work on that because there are serious lessons to be learned from the enterprise that was/is Star Trek (aye lads and lassies, that pun was intended).

51 thoughts on “By Way of Introduction

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  1. I am not a Trekkie. It’s kinda funny, but I most remember watching Star Trek from when I would hang out at The Big Blue House with Drew, and her obnoxious brother would monopolize the tv…her obnoxious brother was The Mister of course. He’s definitely a Trekkie. But he doesn’t have any action dolls ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Fig-ur” “Fig-ur” as Captain Picard would say. Definitely not a doll. I think I’m fighting a losing battle here. I promise to lighten up on the trek stuff in the other posts because there are some serious lessons in that show. Maybe I should have used a picture of the replica Phaser that I have :)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. There are still a lot of us Star Trek fans out there. I was touched by all the tributes I read to Leonard Nimoy on his passing. Yes, lots of references to the navy you are right with docks. I think there was sick bay as well. :)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a Star Trek nerd. My girlfriend and I have worked our way through DS9 on Netflix and we’re now in Season 5 of Voyager. Do you renember Seven of Nine in her well-endowed body suit? Anyways, when that is done, we will go back to the original and then STNG. I don’t mind your ST heavy posts. This one made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. My daughter is working her way through STNG on Netflix. Of course, we took a couple of days to watch the better Spock-centered episodes from TOS. I hope I can thread the needle here and keep everyone engaged.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes it’s pretty good! Have you seen LOST yet? That’s another good series. Mixed reviews on the final episode (which caused a huge online fight at the time of its airing) but good nonetheless. It was so upsetting for me that I haven’t followed another series as intently since. Although I have my eye on Blacklist and Sherlock – – I’ve seen a few episodes but need to start from the beginning.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I got into trouble with my daughter for watching random episodes of Lost out of order during the occasional marathons that have aired. I’ll add SG to the bucket list. Of course, my daughter would put Lost and Breaking Bad ahead of that.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Good post. Well, honestly I am not much aware of the Star Trek characters and its plot. However, when I was a kid I had this collection of G.I. Joe action figures, their vehicles and armor and so on along with Cobra action figures. I used to create my own stories and action sequences (probably inspired from movies that I watched then). I also was a big fan of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you will read the ones I am still working on Sharukh. If I succeed, the Treckies will all be saying “I knew that, he’s right” and the non-trek fans will still get the message.


  4. I think I watched every show of Star Trek and most of the shows of STNG. I don’t remember what the next series was called. I know I tried showing it and decided it wasn’t for me. Hearing about Leonard Nimoy passing on put a capital M on Mortal for me. This isn’t to say I’m afraid of death, but this sad event got me pondering on the subject for a while.

    These new posts you’re planning sound interesting. I wait to see what you come up with. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Glynis. I think Deep Space Nine snuck in while STNG was still airing. Then Voyager. I wasn’t a big fan of DSN. I tried to like Voyager and I watched a lot of episodes, but I think I prefer the randomness of the missions of TOS and STNG than the limited mission of the other two. I didn’t see very many episodes of Enterprise. For me, I don’t like the idea that something came before Kirk, Spock and McCoy. I hope I can pull this off.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting comparison to what Serling was doing with TZ, Dan. I’ve always been a fairly casual ST fan, and even then, my experience is confined pretty much to TOS and the movies. It’s funny — I really do enjoy ST when I see it, but it’s never grabbed me the way it does a lot of people. Maybe that’s because, as you indicate here, its moralizing isn’t as subtle as what we get on TZ (which itself gets dinged by some people for being too heavy-handed at times). Whatever the reason, I look forward to seeing what you come up with as you work your way through TNG. As for your Picard figure, uh, does he have his foot up on a toilet? O_o

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Paul. His foot is on a box. I’m sure the cup has “tea earl grey, hot” and he does have a weapon so “action figure” not doll. STNG was better at dealing with moral issues, or maybe just reflecting a different time. One key difference is the way so many ST original series episodes seem out of date while so many Zone episodes seem timeless. Maybe I’m writing about the wrong program. Oh wait, somebody already has a great blog about the Twilight Zone ;)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. LOL! I can’t tell you how many times my guy friends “correct me” when I call their toys dolls. “No, they’re ACTION FIGURES DEBORAH!!” they say. :)
    Great history and write up on the two series. I’ve seen every episode of the TOS, but not STNG. I watched more of the Voyager series with Captain Janeway though. I liked the actress Kate Mulgrew. I had watched the soap opera she was in way back when…Ryan’s Hope, and she was one character I like the most on that soap. She brought that same spunky, quit wit, and intelligence to the Voyager series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah. I watched a lot of Voyager episodes and I did like Captain Janeway. A friend and I went to a product launch in New York City that was supposed to feature Patrick Stewart as the keynote speaker. He couldn’t make it, so they substituted Kate Mulgrew. We were disappointed, but she was a very interesting speaker. I think the characters on Voyager were richer than the other series. Oh, and they are action figures :).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes, if you were only going to see and hear Patrick Stewart and wouldn’t have gone if it were just Kate Mulgrew I understand why you were disappointed! I hope in the end you’re glad you went though.

        I think Barbie should be reclassified as an “action figure”. She’s got all sorts of stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, Dan, I’ve already told you that I’m a big fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation. And also how much I love your Captain Picard figure! (So great that he has a little tea cup!) ST:TNG definitely tackled a lot of issues — race, acceptance, etc. — and like TZ (IMO), it was always done in an entertaining way. In fact, had I not read this post of yours, I wouldn’t have automatically thought “morals/messages” when someone said “Star Trek”, whereas with TZ, yes, that’s the first thing I’d think. But having YOU point it out, yes, I can instantly look back at all those fantastic ST episodes and say, “Yes! Look what they were tackling here. It wasn’t just an entertaining story. You could learn something from it.” And again, that’s the mark of a GOOD show. There’s far too little of that today. You’ve made me want to rewatch ST:TNG from episode 1 all the way through!

    And if I may add to your Star Trek history lesson… I always enjoyed seeing Majel Barrett-Roddenberry in both TOS (as nurse Christine Chapel) and TNG (as sassy Lwaxana Troi)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for mentioning Majel Barrett’s ongoing role Wendy, she was a continuous part of the series. Star Trek didn’t always have the best scripts/stories like the Zone, but every now and then, they had a gem. If you do watch STNG, skip “Code of Honor” – awful.


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