Losing my illusions
Star Trek, the original series, is on TV Land now, and I'm really starting to wish it weren't. I didn't get to watch it as a child, except on rare occasions when the weekend reruns would be on. It ended its run not long after I was born, but I was, in a sense, of the original Star Trek generation. Some of my friends had phasers and communicators they would bring to school, and the action figures were on the shelves at times. I was very excited when the film version of the show was announced, as I felt like I'd have the chance to see what had intrigued me in the past.
As I got older, I saw most, if not all the episodes in rerun. This was the early days of cable in my neighborhood, and while I never had it, friends did, and I spent a good it of time parked in front of their televisions. I was a Sci-Fi geek--I read it constantly, everything from old pulps to the latest novels the library stocked, at times even standing in bookstores for hours, cramming down Piers Anthony or Poul Anderson or Harry Harrison or Harlan Ellison.
And then, of course, came the Next Generation, along with all the arguments over which show was better, which captain was better, all that crap. Well, I've come to a conclusion, and it's not even close.
The only way to argue that the original series is better is to look at it through that misty-eye lens that the cameraman used whenever one of Kirk's love-interests appears onscreen, because with a handful of exceptions, those episodes are crap. I watch them now and wonder how the series managed to stay afloat for three whole seasons. The episodes range from the slightly watchable to the ludicrous, and whoever came up with the idea of using the music they chose to move from scene to scene should be slapped. It's really that bad.
So here's my advice to anyone who has fond memories of the original series but hasn't seen them in a while--don't watch them. Keep them, fuzzy and vague, in your romantic memory, and in your geekier moments, wonder if Kirk or Picard was the better captain. But don't ever actually put it to the test. It's a painful realization--especially if you see the episode named "The Archons." God, that one was bad.