Space, The Final Frontier…

Forty-five years ago today, those immortal words were first heard by the American viewing audience.   I wasn’t alive when classic Star Trek first began airing, but I’ve been aware of it for a lot of my life.  A lot of this is thanks to the motion picture franchise.  Ads for Star Trek: The Motion Picture were plastered all across several comic books I had growing up and I recall begging my mom to take me to see it when it arrived at the base theater in Hawaii.   Being a Star Wars fan, I had visions of the movie being something similar…yeah, not so much.

But it still inspired something in me to explore more.  I collected a series of Power Records that featured original adventures of the Enterprise crew and really liked those.   I remember visiting my grandparents in Memphis one summer around this time and seeing that Star Trek was on TV that night.   Again, I begged my mom to watch and she eventually let me, though we had to tune out early.

And then, along came Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and the summer of 1982.  A local station ran a couple of nights of Star Trek repeats in primetime and I tuned in, getting hooked.   Add in a long, cross-country move with a couple of Star Trek novels to help pass the time (one of them was “Mudd’s Angels” which novelized the two Mudd stories and offered a new Mudd adventure) and it was inevitable I guess….

Many of my favorite episodes to this day are ones my dad recommended to me and that we watched together one of my first times through the franchise.  (For example, “A Taste of Armageddon” (aka the one with the war run by computers)).  I’m sure he never imagined what he was creating when he introduced me to the show….

It’s a love I hope to share someday if I’m blessed with kids or with my niece and nephew.  Odds are my nephew could enjoy Star Trek since he already has a love of Star Wars.

Years later, I still love classic Star Trek.  The original 79 episodes aren’t all perfect, but there’s something to like about just about all of them.  In many ways, Star Trek was my first big franchise love.  Classic Trek is my second favorite TV show of all-time, coming in just behind Doctor Who.

And it all began forty-five years ago tonight.  With “The Man Trap.”  Yeah, not exactly a top ten classic, but still a solid introduction to the universe.

And while I understand that there are some who love the new effects, I’m still not entirely sold.  I love how incredible the re-mastering has made the original series look again–so vibrant and colorful.   I’m seeing things I’d missed for years on UHF stations and VHS tapes.   But I’m glad the Blu-Rays let me toggle between updated effects and the originals.  If the new effects bring in new fans, who discover why I love this series so much, so be it.  Hopefully they see the great stories, the Kirk/Spock/McCoy dynamic and all the other little things that make Trek among the greatest tv shows ever made.

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