What's so great about Star Trek anyway?
I like Star Trek. But I'm not a Trekkie
or anything (or even a Trekker), honest. I don't own a replica TNG
uniform, and I don't discuss the program with my friends as if it was
real (and I definitely don't say "That would never happen", or "Data
would never say that"). In this way, I can pretend I'm not sad or
geeky, although I realise I'm probably not convincing anyone.
One of the things I like about Star Trek is that it suggests an
optimistic future for the human race. We haven't been enslaved by
aliens with superior technology, we haven't been wiped out by killer
robots and we haven't blown ourselves up with a great fat bomb (er,
although there was allegedly a 3rd World War a while back). Earth has
become, for the most part, a good place to live for the entire
population - no-one is hungry or poor, and there's plenty of free time
for people to do exactly what they want. I think that's nice. Oh, and
I also like the shiny gadgets and the big space-battles.
My favourite episode is probably The Inner Light from TNG season 5, where
Picard lives an entire life on a long-dead planet - helped, as is often
the case in Star Trek, by a probe the crew find floating around in
space. By the way, don't bother clicking on the episode trailer on the
Star Trek site - it completely misrepresents the episode.
For me, TNG is the best Star Trek series by a fair distance, although
DS9 came close in its final season. The Original Series probably had
the best chemistry between the main characters, but has dated very badly
(er, saying that, it is forty-odd years old, so it kind of has a right
to age). I really loved it when I was little, but it has sadly moved
down to 3rd place in my list. Voyager never really fulfilled its
potential, and finally became the worst example of the "reset-button"
problem that plagues all of the Star Trek series. (The reset-button
phenomenon is where a character learns a valuable lesson or goes through
a whole life-changing experience in a particular episode and then
essentially "forgets" the whole thing in the next episode.) Of all the
Star Trek series, Enterprise is the worst of the lot, and I've pretty
much got to the point where I can't be bothered to watch it (although
the last few episodes of season two are an improvement). It's a shame
that writers eventually run out of good story lines, but I suppose all
Star Trek: The Adventure
You know, there's
something wonderful about living a childhood dream - to see full-sized
spacecraft first-hand; to stand at tactical on the bridge of the Enterprise;
to tweak Spock's ears until he asks you to stop it in a polite monotone.
Well, you can do all these things (except for the last one) at Star Trek: The Adventure, an exhibition housed in a
specially built construction in the corner of Hyde Park (Speaker's Corner to
be precise). Or at least you could, that is, until they closed the doors
for the last time on April 30 2003. It's taken me so long to write this
page that the whole exhibition has upped and left. Oops. I thought I'd
publish it anyway, just in case my regular reader finds it interesting...
And so it was that Phil, Fiona and I set forth on a cold crisp
February morning on the train to London for a day of things Trek. The
building itself looked pretty impressive from the outside but, rather
worryingly, the barriers that force people to queue zig-zaggily in front of
the entrance were completely empty. Maybe the whole thing was going to be a
waste of our hard-earned £15. Nonetheless, we ventured bravely
The exhibition experience was a strange combination of giving Star Trek a
more solid, realistic feel, and emphasising that the whole thing is a load
of fakery made up by a bunch of people with long hair and beards. Let's take
the props, for instance - the full-sized Scorpion attack craft from Star
Trek: Nemesis was convincing in almost every detail, whereas some
of the weapons looked like bits of tat you could knock up in your garage in
In a way, it was a shame that we went on such a quiet day (a
Monday afternoon in early February 2003), as it would've been fun to see
some of the more obsessive fans seriously discussing the merits of each
exhibit. As it was, we only saw one bloke wearing a Star Trek uniform, and
he didn't really make too much of a fool of himself (other than wearing the
uniform of course which, to some, is enough).
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