I’ve intended to watch Star Trek for years, since I like to watch shows that are culturally significant. If you had asked me years ago to pick between Star Trek and Star Wars, despite having seen neither, I would have picked Star Trek. If I were to speculate about why that is, it’s probably a combination of the fact that I prefer the ’60s to the ’70s and TV shows to movies. I’ve never understood how people can become so involved with movie serieses when there is so little source material and time invested compared to TV shows.
I’ve previously watched Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock during a TV marathon. I’d heard somewhere long ago about the basic plot of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and I thought it sounded delightful, so it had long been on my list of movies to see, but the opportunity never presented itself like it did with II or III. I also saw some (most?) of the first Star Trek reboot movie and all of Galaxy Quest, although I wasn’t aware of its connection to Star Trek beforehand; I just thought the plot sounded interesting.
Here are a few other facts I knew (or thought I knew) about Star Trek just from existing as a human being on this planet:
- The main characters are Captain James T. Kirk, Dr. Spock, Leonard “Bones” McCoy, Uhura, Sulu, Scotty, and Ensign Chekov. I could have named all the actors and probably could have even told you all the characters’ rarely mentioned first names if I was on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (ie. if given multiple choice). (I’ve spent a few hours on Memory Alpha.)
- Shatner, talks, like, this. I might confuse Captain Kirk with Colonel Klink, and though I’ve never watched Hogan’s Heroes either, I have this notion that they are both not very clever.
- Spock is a Vulcan, and Vulcans are very logical. There’s also a real life child psychologist called Dr. Spock, and sometimes I get them confused.
- Chekov is Russian, and he exists because of Davy Jones. He wasn’t an original cast member, but they realized they should have had a Russian on the show because Russians are good at space. He talks about “nuclear wessels” in The Voyage Home. Here’s a quote from an essay I wrote in grade eleven:
Walter Koenig was a member of the cast of Star Trek whose fame could be partly attributed to The Monkees. To revive ratings, Koenig’s character was added, mainly because he resembled Davy Jones.
(Ugh, a misplaced modifier and a dodgy comma. These sentences need to be restructured completely. I understand now why I got such bad marks in English class.)
- “He’s dead, Jim” and “I’m a doctor, not a(n) X” are catch phrases, but I am not sure if I knew they were catch phrases from Star Trek. I don’t know if I was aware that “He’s dead, Jim”, “Everybody’s dead, Dave”, and “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that” were three separate things. I partly blame this on Neopets, because I could swear at least two of those three phrases showed up on the 404 pages, though I can find no proof of this now.
- “To boldly go where no man has gone before” is a quote, but I’m not sure if it was Captain Kirk or Neil Armstrong who said it.
- The line “beam me up, Scotty” is associated with the show, but it was never actually said in that form.
- If you told me Spock was known for saying “Fascinating”, I would have agreed with you, but I likely wouldn’t have been able to come up with that fact on my own.
- “Set phasers to stun” is a thing they said on Star Trek.
- The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
- Whoopi Goldberg saw Star Trek when she was a kid and ran to her mom and said, “There’s a black woman on TV, and she ain’t no maid!”
- The Star Trek theme is instrumental, but there were lyrics to the song that were never used. I have no idea what the song sounds like, and I would not recognize it if I heard it.
- The guys in the red shirts die.
Do we want to get into the other serieses too?
- Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is the captain in another series.
- Kathryn Janeway is another captain, and she is played by Red from Orange is the New Black.
- Wil Wheaton is the kid on one series, and his name ends in an /i/ or you can add an /i/ to the end like Paul -> Paulie. It’s like Artie, but it’s not Artie. I’d know it if I was on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
- There’s a Bad Lip Reading type YouTube channel that does Star Trek videos (I think it actually pre-dates Bad Lip Reading). They say “apple juice” a lot.
- There’s a girl with dark hair and a high ponytail, and I want to say her name is Deana Troi.
- Jonathan Frakes is um, uh, I don’t know. I’d know it if I was on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
- Worf is the weird looking guy.
- Reading Rainbow guy is there too, and he has an X-Men Cyclops thing going on. I’d know his name if I was on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
- There’s also Data. He might be a Vulcan too.
I don’t feel like Star Trek was involved in my life too much before I started watching the series. These are the few anecdotes I remember:
One day in high school, there were some kids talking about having correctly guessed a computer teacher’s password. The password was something like either captainkirk or captainpicard.
One day at work, we got a box of gingerbread men from one of our clients. I noticed a little symbol on the gingerbread men’s shirts and said something to my co-workers like, “Hey, aren’t these little Star Trek guys?” and my boss probably said the girl who made the cookies is a big Star Trek fan. A few months or years later, we went to visit the client and give her a birthday card. I remembered that she liked Star Trek, and I asked my boss if it was her birthday today, and he said yes, and I said how terrible that was, because Leonard Nimoy had died that day.
What follows are my thoughts on my first watch through of The Original Series. (I originally started this log around 1.11 “The Menagerie” (for obvious reasons), so everything before that is not necessarily completely accurate.)