Girls and Boys, it’s time to get out your “Star Trek Concordance” or just keep a Wikipedia’s List of Original Star Trek Episodes. We’re going where no fan has gone before. Well, maybe quite a few fans have gone here before but we’re going anyway.
The other night, several members of my family and I found ourselves discussing which original “Star Trek” episode was the worst. We never did come to a consensus on the worst ever original Trek episode, but the top contenders were in no dispute. “Let This Be Your Last Battlefield,” “Way to Eden” and “Spock’s Brain” were the winners, or losers, depending on your point of view.
We didn’t discuss which episodes were the best, but I can tell you my favorites. “Shore Leave,” which was written by well-known and loved science-fiction and fantasy author Theodore Sturgeon is my No. 1. Getting the second place ribbon is “The Trouble with Tribbles,” written by David Gerrold. Coming in third place is “A Piece of the Action" by David P. Harmon and Gene L. Coon.
If you have not seen these episodes, I suggest you beg or borrow them from some geek friend who has them and watch them. You know you have at least one friend who can hook you up.
If you are a total “Star Trek” geek, you’ll recognize two important things about my top picks. None of them can be described by "Kirk outwits computer," and they are all of a fanciful nature.
I can’t claim to have watched Star Trek in all its incarnations. I have seen most of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” I know I have seen all of “Star Trek: Enterprise.” How could I not when it had Scott Bakula in it? C’mon. The only series I just couldn’t get into was “Star Trek: Voyager.”
Some things about “Voyager” were very good. The holographic doctor and that there was a female captain pleased me. Unfortunately, I just hated some other things so much that I stopped watching and only went back to see the final episode, which turned out to be better than any of the previous episodes I’d seen.
My biggest gripe may seem small but it just bugged the crud out of me. That Chokotay character was more annoying than I can express. All that animal guide and pseudo Native American clap trap was irksome to me. If you wanted to be so in touch with nature and animal spirits and such, you would never put yourself on a spaceship for years at a time. That would be crazy.
Note that I don't have a problem with true Native American culture and lore. It's the way the pop version of it gets used that I don't like.
The original “Star Trek” series will always be my favorite, probably because of a couple of fond associations. My family watched it together on Friday nights (it always was on Friday night where I lived) and the guy I married and I used to go to the student center at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla., to watch "Trek" reruns together. It was on its first round of reruns back then. I’ve been married a long time.
The first science-fiction conventions I attended were back in the 1970s and they all were Trek cons that consisted of a video room where episodes, sometimes interspersed with old science-fiction movies, were played and a dealer’s room full of Trek related items. What you went to those cons for wasn’t the video room or even the cool merchandise you could buy. You went because you knew that you’d be amongst people who understood your affection for Trek and for science-fiction in general.
Back in the olden times, you could go to a Trek con and meet an actor and not pay for an autograph. You might even get to chat a little bit. At Trekon ’76 (yes, I am old), anyone who wanted the chance to meet James Doohan and George Takei, got it.
I got to meet and talk to James Doohan once and George Takei twice!
It was not a sin to watch or read other science fiction and those cons were often a gateway drug for the more generalized science-fiction cons of the day.
The costumes we wore were cheesy and our Klingons didn’t have ridges but those cons were wonderful anyway.
Those were the days.
Back in the early days of Necronomicon, the convention on which I work here in Florida, we used to have Star Trek skits. These were written by my friend Debra Hicks and performed by myself as Spock, Debra as Kirk, Linda Bennett as Scotty and Rolaine Smoot as McCoy. This is the explanation for the very odd photo with mixed Trek costumes. These masterpieces had titles such as “The Search for Scotch,” “Hal Today, Gone Tomorrow,” and “Tomorrow is Yesterday and Today is Too.”
The skits have been gone for a long time but there might be a return for our thirtieth anniversary convention, which is this coming October. If so, I’m going to have to make a new costume ‘cause I'm not that skinny anymore.
There have been some relatively Trek free times in my fannish life but I can count on Trek popping in to make some kind of appearance every few years.
In the mid-1990s, it influenced my work wardrobe greatly. I worked for the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa and for six months I had to wear a Star Trek uniform to work. We had a huge Trek exhibit and there was a rule that there had to be two staffers in some kind of Trek uniform monitoring the exhibit at all times.
When a reception was held for visiting cosmonaut Alexander Serebrov in the exhibit, I had the opportunity to get my picture taken with him. The picture is old and somewhat blurry but it does bring back a fond memory for me and perhaps it will amuse you a little.
It’s about time for me to wind this up but before I go, I just want to say that the most recent “Star Trek” movie made my fannish heart happy. The alternate universe plot device worked well for me. There was a little stupid science but “Star Trek” was always more about people and ideas than the details.
Star Trek has always been about a great adventure and I hope the adventure never ends.
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