Tuesday, 31 March 2015
125 Star Trek
First watched : 1973
From Dr Who it was a natural leap to the other regular sci-fi programme on BBC1, once it had moved from Mondays to Fridays and no longer clashed with Coronation Street.
Star Trek of course was already old by this time having been cancelled in 1969 and its Peace Corps optimism with William Shatner's Captain Kirk as JFK substitute seemed all the more anachronistic as Nixon drowned in the Watergate scandal. Despite that the show's re-runs were building a cult following that has endured for decades.
I have to say I'm not a fully paid up Trekkie and thought the show always promised more than it delivered. At 50 minutes the episodes were a touch too long and too many of the storylines had an intriguing premise dissipating into woolly moralising. I was also a bit too young to understand the many literary and philosophical allusions.
I also thought it was a bit formulaic with the characters set in stone. Kirk would kiss the girl and grapple with some knotty ethical dilemna, the alien Spock would muse over some conflict between intellect and emotion and the blatantly racist Dr McCoy would voice his suspicions about him while Scotty fretted over the strains put on the ship.
My favourite character was Chekov played by Walter Koenig who joined in the second series to introduce a younger element to the show. Koenig was picked for his resemblance to Davy Jones of The Monkees. Though very intelligent Chekov was impetuous and frequently had to be rescued from scrapes by the others; as the token Russian character he was never allowed to be truly heroic. The BBC seemed to show episodes from the three series in a random order so I could never be sure that Chekov was going to be in it.