I 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.
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).