Why It’s Impossible To Beat The Original “Star Trek” TV Series
Anatomy of a Sci-Fi TV Classic Amidst New Arrivals And Honorable Replicas
Upon viewing the opening sequence of any random episode of the original 1960s Star Trek television series, such as, “Miri” or “Metamorphosis,” the viewer immediately knows what to expect: an entertaining ride. The story and action are set up in the tease, and boom — the theme music commences and the segment begins to boil. The crew of the Enterprise begins a quest to some mystic or fantastic world. They receive a distress signal, or their journey is disrupted by an alien force who we’re certain at one point will zap at least one of the crew members across the planet’s surface with a resounding bolt.
Trek fans ultimately craved similar segments, and eagerly anticipated small-screen viewings upon hearing of The Next Generation’s debut (in 1987 via its first-run syndication). But after a while, as many critics observed, one kept waiting for something to happen.
But nothing ever did.
Oh, sure, the late, great DeForest Kelley from original Trek reemerged as Dr. Leonard McCoy for a cameo appearance in TNG’s pilot episode. And later, Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock and even James Doohan’s Mr. Montgomery Scott came aboard that new edition of his Enterprise (in episodes, by the way, that just so happen to be the highest-rated and best-loved segments in Generation’s history). Even William Shatner’s iconic Captain Kirk made his way into the Next Generation universe when he paired with Patrick Stewart’s TNG character Captain Picard for the big-screen Star Trek Generations in 1994.
But the combined sacred triad of Shatner’s Kirk (stoicism), Nimoy’s Spock (logic), and Kelley’s McCoy (emotion) were nowhere to be seen in any weekly TV spot, where they ultimately belong.
The Originals Played By The Originals Back On TV
Truth be told, original and true Star Trek fans, “Trekkers” and “Trekkies” alike (the former is concerned with the show’s philosophy; the latter focuses on the more trivial [or “Tribbial?”] aspects of the series) never asked for the film series (the second of which, The Wrath of Kahn, released in 1982, is at least superior to the TV sequels), or a Next Generation, or new…