Thursday, 10 November 2011

Live long and prosper, to all:)

Kirk and Spock off to uncharted worlds in search of excitement, adventure... alien sleepovers...:)

How can anyone not know what I speak of?

Yes, of course, the wonderful series that is Star Trek:)
(I'd better qualify that this post will only deal with the original Star Trek series)

Publicity photo of Leonard Nimoy and
William Shatner as Mr. Spock and
Captain Kirk.

Well, how on earth can I possibly summarise such an excellent, excellent series in a single post? I guess I'll begin by saying that Star Trek is a science-fiction feast for anyone who's remotely discovery-inclined.

The series is premised on fascinating journeys by the crew of the Starship Enterprise into previously unexplored galaxies, searching for anything and everything that exists out there.

And if the plot isn't enough to make one salivate (remember, it was the first of its kind; Star Wars came just a bit later), the characters are brilliant.

Publicity photo of
William Shatner as
Captain Kirk.

First off, there's the Captain of the Starship Enterprise, Captain James Tiberius Kirk.

The original Kirk, played by William Shatner, was brash, impetuous, entirely woman-ogling, and always humorous; oh, and he could kick some mean alien and human butt when he had to.

Kirk's charm lies I think in how human he is, not too smart, not too dumb, and above all, a fine counterpoint to his second in command, Spock.

Leonard Nimoy speaking at his
panel at Emerald City Comicon
March 13, 2010, taken by Kelly Walker
(from Wikimedia Commons)

Ah, what can one say about Spock? The First Officer of the Enterprise, he's by far my favourite character in the whole series, played beyond excellence by Leonard Nimoy.

With pointy ears and a logical disposition, Spock is a mixed Vulcan-human who looks remarkably like an elf (the Lord of the Rings kind) lost in space; an elf with a phaser instead of a bow and arrow, and an uncomfortable suit instead of uncomfortable LOTR elf clothes:D.

Spock's attraction lies in his unthinking elegance, his faithfulness to logic, and his constant struggle to live up to his logical Vulcan ideals despite his capacity for human emotion, something brought out most of the time by Kirk's obvious influence on him. Being half human and half Vulcan left Spock some scars, carefully and logically supressed. But it's Spock's traumatic past and unusual roots that ultimately help him to mix logic and emotion together whenever it's necessary (read: whenever it suits him and saves Kirk/the Enterprise).

There is an endearing sweetness to Spock, a sweetness that somehow contradicts not at all with his enigmatic expressions, incredible strength, the Vulcan mind meld and, of course, the split finger salute that I am now programmed for life with ('Live long and prosper' is equal to 'May the Force be With You' in my mind).

Hmmmm, this post is getting too focused on my favourite character, isn't it? Okay then, on to the others ...

Walter Koenig played the Russian officer Pavel Chekov, no doubt a chracter introduced (during the Cold War) to signify a united world on Earth, where the US and Russia now work side by side to explore the world outside this planet.

Hmmm, speaking of unity, I've always found it particularly cool that Star Trek helped to shatter both racial and gender boundaries for American TV. Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols, was one of the first black characters on American TV, and one of the first black women on American TV. And of course, she and Kirk shared TV's first interracial kiss.

Right, I can only make a mention now of the ship's Dr McCoy/Bones (played by DeForest Kelley). He was Spock's main nemesis on the ship, and his presence made Star Trek reruns so worth watching.... simply to witness the many humorous, sarcasm-filled conversations between these two characters.

Moving on... George Takei played Hikaru Sulu, a representation of Asia and Asians in the crew. Reading up on Sulu's character, I discovered an explanation of how his surname was arrived at by Star Trek's creator, Gene Roddenberry - seems Roddenberry wanted to represent the whole of Asia in Sulu's character, and (looking at a map) noticed that the waters of the Sulu Sea touched all shores of Asia. Am unsure whether this geographical tidbit is true technically, but it's still an inspiring way to find a name methinks.

Lastly, who can forget Scotty (full name Montgomery Scott, played by James Doohan), the ship's aptly/strangely named engineer (apt/strange because he actually was Scottish, with a Scottish accent to boot hmmmm).

There's nothing much to add, I think. Star Trek was one of the most visually, intellectually and emotionally satisfying rides on TV, if one could suspend disbelief at the thought of pointy-eared aliens and warp speed, something I managed to do with no effort at all. The show was simply brilliant in so many little ways that many people would be unaware of perhaps until they start thinking of the world as a kind of universe to be explored with our very own danger-courting starships

Man, I loved - still adore - Star Trek so, so much, despite having apparently 'grown up' as they say. Can't thank Gene Roddenberry enough for creating a series which feeds the mind and heart so generously.

I'm just glad that most of the follow-up series' and movies - though unable to top the original series, in my mind - have for the most part given a realistic, believable take on an imaginative world beloved by so many, and done justice to the spirit that Star Trek embodied: the enthusiasm and courage to go where no man has gone before.

Live long and prosper, all:)

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