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Star Trek Stuff

What's so great about Star Trek anyway?

USS Enterprise plaque
      - boldly going and stuff 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.

Picard's 'flute' from TNG's
      'The Inner Light' 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 A Tricorder from TNG 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 good things...

Star Trek: The Adventure

Chateau Picard wine bottle from 'Nemesis'
  - 2267 was a very good year. Apparently. 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...

Scorpion attack craft from Star Trek:
  Nemesis 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 inside...

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 10 minutes.

A tatty pistol. With no trigger. 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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Friday, Aug 15 2003
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