Thursday, September 8, 2016
The conversation went something like this:
"Dad, can I stay up past my bedtime to watch the new Star Trek TV show?"
"How much past your bedtime?"
"It's only a half-hour."
"I don't know..."
"Please? It looks like a great show! I know you'll like it, too!"
"Well... I guess that would be ok."
(What can I tell you - my Dad was a great guy!)
And that's how 10-year-old Chuck got to watch the first episode of the original Star Trek TV show when it premiered on this day in 1966.
That first episode - "The Man Trap" - isn't one of the better episodes in the run of the series - but I was absolutely hooked.
This was a show that checked off so many boxes - loaded with imagination, adventure, heroism, beautiful women, monsters, special effects, drama, intelligent stories and compelling characters - how could I resist?
Even in black-and-white (we didn't own a color television set yet), it immediately became my favorite show - I don't remember ever missing an episode.
I was heartbroken when they announced it was cancelled after two seasons, thrilled when it was revived for one more season, and sad when it ended "for good."
But then - the reruns! The show ran and ran and ran in syndication, and fandom started holding conventions - it was an idea that wouldn't die. Star Trek held on as comic books and (a quite excellent) cartoon series.
There were reports of a new TV series with the original crew, but instead they started a new series of films. The first one was disappointing, but the second was a classic. The rest are a mix of fantastic and, well, not so much.
Then there were the new TV series, including Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise - with more in the works.
So why does Star Trek continue on and on when so many others have come and gone without a ripple?
There are lots of reasons, including its optimistic vision of the future, peopled by fascinating characters, thrown into adventures beyond imagination. Or perhaps it is the archetype foundation as a "Wagon Train to the stars." Or, if you prefer, a military / exploration mission with infinite story possibilities.
It's a combination of all those things - cracking good stories, humor, a canvas that allows for any kind of story you want to tell - and it has sparked the imagination of countless fans.
All I know is, I don't want it to ever end.
Oh, one more thing: thank, Dad!