Tuesday 06 Dec 2016

Star Trek Power
AJ Robinson

TV series come and go. Once in a while a series comes along that's truly special. The original "Star Trek" is one of those rare television series.

Some people might wonder why "Star Trek" memorable. The special effects were often laughable, the sets looked like cardboard and often were. The action was so-so.

What made "Star Trek" different and memorable? Simple, it dared to break the mold, to go where no other television show had gone. That place, where no television show had gone, was Metaphoric, a far away land, populated by viewers, with a special ability.

Aas a child, I never thought about or looked for the hidden meaning of some of the episodes. The social commentary, the racial meaning of some characters or events. I was just a kid enjoying a sci-fi show. That I can still watch it today and enjoy it says a lot about its ability to function on multi-levels

"Charlie X" was an early episode, which it shows, in terms of technology and the set up of the crew and ship. It starts out like some sort of futuristic "little boy playing with his daddy's gun" story. Charlie has been given the power to do anything he thinks of by some aliens, so that he can survive. But, that means he can't live with humans; in a fit of rage, he could kill. So, the aliens come to the Enterprise and spirit him away. Kirk says that they can teach him to not use it, but the alien says no/ Charlie will use it always and thus must live with them. His last words, "I want to stay," echo as he vanishes, and is heartbreaking. There are no winners here, only the best possible resolution, given the situation

The Devil in the Dark has, once again, a classic beginning. The old monster crawling around in the dark story, killing men in a horrible, unspeakable manner. As the head man says: burned to a crisp.

Even though you never saw anything, hearing those words gave me the shivers. Oh, now that is truly good storytelling! For once, the show comes up with a truly unique looking alien; not just someone with their skin painted silver. You honestly believe this creature, the Horta, exists.

Yet, as the story unfolds, we learn that the Horta isn't a mindless beast, but a mother protecting her children. We're given a clue early on. The perfectly round silicon nodules, the eggs of her race.

The miners have found the eggs and began destroying them. We have to wonder, who is the biggest monster:. The men smashing her eggs, or her striking back?

The show also features one of McCoy's best lines:. "I'm a doctor, not a bricklayer," he says. Yet, McCoy does find a way to help her.

Finally, they come to an understanding. The Horta and her children will be allowed to tunnel, the humans will take out the minerals, living together in peace. The head engineer even says that once you get used to Horta, their appearance is all that bad. Was there ever a stronger message about living together in peace?

Balance of Terror, is a thinly veiled remake of the movie, "The Enemy Below." The Romulan ship even has a periscope-like shaft in the center of its bridge. The metaphors abound.

This episode is another old-fashion action story. The Enterprise doing battle with the Romulans. It's a classic cat-and-mouse game, as Kirk and the Romulan Commander, who's never name, try to outwit each other.

Over the course of the story, we see their concerns, uncertainties and similarities. At every turn, each of them acts on the belief that the other is smart and cunning. At no point do they belittle or deride the other; they acknowledge each other as a noble warrior.

In the end, the Commander even comments on that fact. He says they are "of a kind" and might have been friends, in a different reality. A truly powerful statement on the folly of war

The series may have only run for three years and some episodes were rather weak, but when "Star Trek" was good, it was great. There's little mystery as to why it has such an enduring legacy. To this day, I can sit and enjoy one of those old episodes, and I even feel myself getting carried back to the simple childlike glee I felt at watching the crew at their very best

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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