Coming hard on the heels of the conclusion of my marathon review of all one hundred fifty-six episodes of the Twilight Zone series I’ve decided to handle the Star Trek series in a decidedly different manner. Instead of providing mostly a plot synopsis followed by a short critique of the show I’ll instead tackle each episode as it relates to the series as a whole. For instance, Star Trek consists of the personalities of the main characters interacting in whatever plot is provided that week. And those plots have components that can include action, drama, melodrama, romance and even comedy. And over time the characters develop predictable behaviors. What I intend to do is compare the characteristics of a particular episode with the typical or average portrayal of these characteristics in the series.
What I think this will allow is the maximum opportunity for mockery. And let me be clear. I am doing this to take potshots and make fun of the awful acting and bad scripts that makes up the bulk of Star Trek. I watched Star Trek as a child and at the time I thought it was fantastic. I have a permanent warm spot in my heart for the show but I also recognize how extremely awful a lot of it is. And right at the center of this awfulness is William Shatner. His patented brand of overacting is by turns hilariously bad and embarrassingly painful to watch. I will rate the levels of bad and may have to invent a Shatner Scale to accomplish this.
But I want to acknowledge that Shatner is also very good at certain types of humor. There are scenes in Star Trek where he is as amusing as anything that was on television at the time. These are relatively brief and somewhat infrequent. But when something is done well, I’ll celebrate it. And there are other outbursts of good acting that occasionally intrude on the dreck. I will definitely note those too.
So that’s fair warning for really devoted fans of the show. I have no reverence for this show but I am fond of it. I will mock it viciously but I will also point out the good stuff that also exists in it. I will talk about how the show uses or abuses various science fiction tropes of the time. I will rate the plots and discuss inconsistencies that annoy the nerd in me. I will talk about the character development (such as it is) of the lead actors and of course I will delve into the strange and frightening study of William Shatner’s acting technique. I intend to do one episode a week. That will give enough time to lavish all the loving attention each episode deserves.
I know that I will learn a lot about bad television and I hope I provide a faithful portrait of one of the most influential and durable science fiction franchises around. So, I watched the first episode and was surprised to learn that “The Man Trap” was the first televised episode. I had assumed that “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” which I had understood was the second pilot, had aired first. So here I’m learning new things about Star Trek right from the git go.
Now, I will boldly go where no sensible blogger has gone before. Dun ta dun ta dun dun dun dun …. da dunnnn!