Star Trek Deserved Better
September 8, 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of Star Trek‘s maiden voyage on television sets, when NBC aired the very first episode of the now iconic series. 5 decades have produced 726 episodes from 6 television series (with a 7th on the way), 13 feature length motion pictures, hundreds of novel and comic adaptations, dozens of video games, not to mention the annual influx of conventions put on in the US and around the world. It is a giant among franchises and has stood the test of time. It continues to awe and inspire generations of fans whose greatest wish is to boldly go where no one has gone before.
2016 was the perfect opportunity for Paramount and CBS to seize the day by airing past episodes, film festivals, memorials for the fine actors who have passed. A new series (Star Trek Discovery) is on the way, and it could have been paraded from con to con with exciting information disseminated at every stop. However. even at the grandest event of the year (San Diego Comic Con), all we received was a teaser trailer and zero casting news.
A new Star Trek movie came out this summer, but while mildly entertaining, the screenwriters could have gone for broke, integrating a story from the classic series into the film. “Mirror, Mirror“, “City on the Edge of Forever”, or “Where No Man Has Gone Before” are just some examples of where the 3rd reboot could have gone. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate an original story, but the 50th is the golden anniversary and Star Trek Beyond was not golden.
The Smithsonian Channel did put on an interesting documentary called Building Star Trek, and while the Smithsonian Channel is a subsidy of Showtime (whose parent company is CBS), there was virtually no advertising for it. Not to mention that most people have probably never heard of the network, and have no idea where to find it on their cable guide. If you blinked, you missed it.
That being said, I would like to express a huge kudos to BBC America. The network aired a marathon of the original series’s first two seasons, and it was a thrill to watch Shatner ham it up, Kelly exasperate, and Nimoy employ cool logic. The original forged a feeling of belonging in me that few television series can ever do and it was satisfying to revisit it. It too should have been pushed by Paramount and CBS.
As I stated above, the ST universe is vast, with a plethora of excellent content. Take a look at this video below from the official Star Trek Facebook page. Notice anything missing? If you said, “There is zero content from Deep Space Nine, Voyager, or Enterprise”, you win the prize! I guess the powers that be only deem important the original, TNG (and the only footage for that long standing series was from the motion picture “First Contact”), and the reboots.
I do not mean to be a naysayer, but I have been in love with the adventures of Kirk, Spock, Picard, Riker, Sisko, Janeway, and Archer since I was a little boy. I am also a huge fan of Doctor Who. It’s 50th was celebrated with specials, interviews, an original movie portraying the beginning of the series, a three Doctor extravaganza episode with a bonus glimpse at the newest doctor (Peter Capaldi). While I felt Who was treated with the respect deserved for such a longstanding series, I just wish Star Trek was extended the same.
I didn’t occur to me that Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary was lackluster until you compared it to the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. Having experienced all the fanfare in 2013, Star Trek by comparison didn’t even experience even half of DW had.
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Masterful work, and CBS Paramount can’t ignore Benjamin Lafayette Sisko, Kathryn Janeway, Jonathan Archer, The Animated Series and ALL of the fan films. That’s what makes a show’s anniversary worthwhile.
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