i ain’t no damn trekkie

I’ve spent decades noticing one Star Trek property after another rolling across both the big screen and small, like plagues of locusts across verdant fields of wheat. I was introduced to Star Trek when I started watching The Original Series in its second season. I  couldn’t watch the first season because I was in school and it broadcast on a Thursday evening past my dad’s mandated evening curfew: no T.V. after 8pm on weeknights. When it switched to Friday nights the second season I watched every episode of season 2.

When the third season started I eagerly tuned into the first episode, Spock’s Brain. That episode turned out so bad it turned me off of The Original Series. I have never watched a single complete episode of season 3, not even in reruns. Why was Spock’s Brain so bad? Mid-episode, Bones beamed down to the surface of a planet with a brainless Spock in tow. Bones had attached a device (prop) to Spock’s head, and had a control box (another prop) in his hand to help control brainless Spock. When he pressed a button on the hand-held prop to “control” the brainless Spock, a mechanical clockwork-like clicking sound could be heard coming out of the T.V. I couldn’t believe it. Here was a technologically advanced culture portrayed as using a mechanical clicking sound to convey the brainless character Spock moving and walking. I suddenly realized I could have written everything up to this point better than what I was watching, at which point I turned off the show, and the T.V. itself.

At that moment in my young life a basic rule was born. If a science fiction movie or a television show looked like something I would write, then it wasn’t worth finishing. Because believe me when I say I couldn’t write a lick of decent science fiction you’d want to read if my very life depended on it. But I do have enough good taste to recognize good science fiction when I read or see it.

Television shows are easy to boot to the curb as they are part of your basic streaming/cable service. Movies, especially first run shows in theaters, are tougher to walk out on because of the expense of seeing them (but I have for a few). That’s why I don’t go to very many any more, and haven’t since at least 2017. The pandemic just reinforced my abandonment of theater movies.

I attended the first Star Trek movie and managed to sit through the entire production, but I’ve never since watched it again. The second movie, The Wrath Of Khan, is the only movie I truly enjoyed and the only movie I have watched more than once. I watched The Search for Spock, leaving less than satisfied. I left in the middle of The Voyage Home and never went back to watch another one of the original cast films.

As for The Next Generation I pretty much gave up on it after watching a few of the first season episodes, with one notable exception. Guest star John de Lancie added considerably to every episode he appeared in as the character ‘Q’. I tried to watch those episodes he appeared in. He is a treat to watch. It’s a shame he was never made a starship captain.

I essentially skipped Deep Space 9 and Voyager. I managed to watch a bit of Enterprise, stopping during the Xindi story arc and never going back. As for the modern show Discovery, I absolutely can’t stand it. I assume it’s due to the fact it most certainly isn’t aimed at my age demographic, but still. Discovery (or DISCO to its admiring fans, which says a lot there) started its existence racing off the proverbial cliff with a fungus-powerd starship warpdrive. Fake dilithium crystals were bad enough, but a fungus? Really?

Then there’s Picard. I came by that show through Apple TV+, and I came by Apple TV+ because I purchased my iPhone 11 back in late 2019 before I retired. Apple was handing out free twelve month subscriptions with the purchase of new expensive Apple gear. When I finally redeemed my free subscription in December 2019 it lasted pretty much through 2020. Along with Apple TV+ came a free 30-day subscription to Paramount’s streaming service, so I used that to watch the first season of Picard. By the time I was done I’d done something I hadn’t done since The Original Series; I’d watched most of an entire season of Star Trek. I wasn’t impressed and did not watch Picard season 2, nor will I watch season 3. It’s just not worth my time.

And what about the latest Paramount property, Strange New Worlds? I’m not going to bother. What little I’ve read on other news spots indicates it’s a retread of The Original Series’ first pilot, The Cage. New actors obviously, but Strange New Worlds has its real roots (and a number of its characters) from Discovery, and that’s enough to kill any interest.

If I dislike Star Trek so much, why even talk about it? Good question, and the answer is because I’m tired of seeing it constantly mentioned and written just about everywhere else on the web. Because I’d decided I’d finally had enough. Star Trek in the 1960s was something fun and a way for my friends and I to get excited by the future. Now Star Trek is just another way for Paramount to create a recurring revenue stream called Paramount+. Long gone are the days when I’d channel surf at 2am through the UHF stations until I found one playing an old TOS episode. Those easy days came to an end when it got pulled into Netflix along with everything else Netflix streamed. Now everything Star Trek has been gathered up into Paramount+, and you gotta pay them to watch. No thanks.

This is my first and last rant about Star Trek. It’s finally out of my system. Sorry to have bothered you.