I’ve a sort of long-term project going on at the moment. I’m working my way through Star Trek, and all the various spin-offs. Nostalgia, I guess.
I’m not sure when it was I first saw Star Trek here in the UK. I must have seen a few in the early seventies, because when it was being run in the late seventies or early eighties, I’m sure it wasn’t the first time I’d seen it. Anyway, I loved it. In those days, the tech didn’t seem too old-fashioned.
Star Trek – The Next Generation did have, admittedly, a lot to live up to. But it seemed okay (apart from the glaring political correctness), and the effects seemed, at the time, to put those of The Original Series to shame.
How different it all seems now. Watching TNG has become more of a chore than anything, and only my obsessive nature is compelling me to watch the last few episodes, and see the thing out to its bitter end. I’m left with the feeling that actually, TOS has stood the test of time better than TNG. Dated, yes, but much less annoying to watch.
What do I find most annoying about TNG? Easy…
1. More than anything else the whole PC attitude. I know PC pervaded everything that appeared in the 80′s; but now that we seem to be retreating from its tyranny, TNG seems to stand out as a particularly pernicious example. When Worf seems to be upset at the prospect of wearing something that looks like a dress, I’m not sure if it’s meant to be humorous when Riker barks ‘That’s an outmoded and sexist attitude’. I don’t think he’d give the same reaction if, for example, Deanna objected to wearing an oily denim boiler suit.
2. Lwaxana Troi. I know that nepotism is rife (or whatever it’s called when promoting one’s spouse) in the entertainment business, but regularly pushing this character into our homes is a step too far. A repellent harpy with no redeeming qualities, I could never understand why they didn’t just beam her out into space. I certainly would.
3. Riker’s womanising. Kirk was bad enough, but that was the 60′s. Watching Riker leering at every attractive female they encounter is just embarrasing. However, since the plot sometimes requires it, I guess it must be endured.
4. The Prime Directive. Obviously a plot device around which entire episodes could be created. Having Riker jump into bed with one of the natives is apparently okay, but when it comes to saving a few lives… Ah, it’s the Prime Directive, you know. We’re going to have to let you all die.
5. Wesley Effing Crusher. I don’t know about you, but I just love hearing about this precocious, talented Wunderkind.
6. The Holodeck. Only there to break in a dangerous fashion, with safety protocols that apparently can be turned off just to make things more interesting. If this was real life, it’d have yellow and black tape across the entrance with a sign saying ‘Do Not Enter Under Any Circumstances’.
7. Dodgy Science. Tachyons, FFS. Do they think we’re idiots?
8. Q. Are we meant to believe that a being that could have as much fun as Q could have would waste his time by pointlessly annoying the crew of Enterprise every few months?
9. Level 3 diagnostics. What happened to levels 1, 2 and 4?
10. The idea that a counsellor should be such a high profile crew member. Whatever next? An aromatherapist on the bridge?
Is there anything I do like about it? Well, there must be something. Data’s always entertaining. You sort of want to be him. Not as much fun as Spock, though. And deep down, you know he’s only there to subtly reinforce the idea that humans are the greatest creatures in the Galaxy (as long as they have the right attitudes, of course). Otherwise, why would he always want to emulate them? Worf’s not too bad, either. No fannying about.
I remember that Voyager (with Mrs. Columbo) used to be my favourite, I wonder what that will seem like now.