STAR TREK: Visiting An Old Friend For The First Time In Decades And Discovering It's Still Realy Boring...

Kevin Long
Kevin Long's picture

I thought it might interest you to know, dear readers, that in the last year or so, I've watched a half dozen or so Trek episodes, including a couple I'd never seen before, as they aired after I gave up on the franchise.

"Gave up the franchise?" You ask.
"You must be new here," I reply.
"But how can you choose not to watch Star Trek? It's Star Trek! It's Awsome! It's..."
"Yeah, ok, run along now, sonny. The grown ups are talking, ok?"

Anyway, as anyone who's perused this site or my own site knows, I'm not a Trekie. Or Treker. Or Trekazoid. Or Compulsive Trekerbaiter, or whatever the hell they're calling themselves this week. Oh, sure, I watched it as a kid, and I'll always have a fondness in my heart for TOS, but the movies didn't have a good batting average, TNG never did anything apart from bore me silly, DS9 was a pathetic rip-off of Babylon 5, and finally I just decided "You know, if they're not even going to try anymore, then why should I even pretend to pay attention?"

I added it up the other day, and realized it had been EIGHTEEN YEARS since I'd last watched any Star Trek.

Consequently, my kids have inhereted an unthinking hatred of Trek from me, which was never my intention, and it's basically bad parenting to make kids intolerant of something that's merely a matter of taste. So I decided to expose them to it (Unwillingly) to see if any of it appealed to them. Also, it was kind of an interesting experiment, as they're all fairly well versed in *other* SF (B5, all the Gates, Dr. Who, Macross, and plenty of books) but they had no exposure to Trek at all.

So I decided to show them a couple good TOS episodes before they lost patience with it

- Balance of Terror, which they liked, and which I knew the eldest would like, since he liked it when it was "The Enemy Below" staring Robert Mitchum and Kurt Jurgens. He also liked it when it was "Killers of the Deep" on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

- City on the Edge of Forever, which they liked

- The Doomsday Machine, which they loved ("It actually feels like one of them could die!")

- Trouble with Tribbles, which they loved

- The Ultimate Computer, which kind of bored them, though one of 'em thought Daystom's breakdown at the end was kind of moving

- Spectre of the Gun, which my eldest and youngest loved, but the middle one didn't care for

- Errand of Mercy, which all of them hated, and they couldn't even get through. Sensing I was losing them, and getting a bit bored with shows I'd seen a zillion times in my youth, I moved on to "Journey to Babel," which they thought interesting, and "Space Seed," which bored them all silly. Seriously, have you watched that one lately? Khan or no Khan, it's a crap episode.

Then we moved on to the movies:

- The Wrath of Khan, which they all felt was really good

-The Search For Spock, which they all liked the first half of, felt the second half was horribly dull, apart from Kirk's reaction at David's death, and the destruction of the enterprise. Surprisingly, killing Krugh did nothing for them.

-The Voyage Home - opinion devided. Youngest felt it was the funniest and hence best, eldest thought it was the only genuine SF plot in the movies, and hence the best, middle thought it was inferior to Khan (For me, The Voyage Home is my favorite, with Khan coming in second). Then we jumped to:

-The Undiscovered Country, which I still really enjoyed, though it was a lot more disjointed than I remembered it being. None of them liked it, and the eldest hated it, though he admitted it had a number of good scenes.

Since they knew the TOS cast by now, I decided to move on to subsequent shows that featured the TOS cast in some capacity, excepting "Farpoint," which is too terrible to foist on them.

As it happened that they really liked Sarek, I showed them "Sarek," and they all declared it great. I have to admit I was pretty moved by it, too. Then we watched "Unification, parts 1 and 2," which was better than I remembered, and they all enjoyed it well enough, though not as much as "Sarek." (And one was really sad when Sarek died. "Is he really dead?" yeah. "But it happened offscreen. He was such a major character, and they killed him offscreen?" Yeah, I felt cheated, too)

- Relics - I had fond memories of this one, but it pretty much sucked, and my youngest and middle kid both commented on how poorly they were treating Scotty. "He's got a broken arm! He's an old man! Why are they making him WALK to the doctor?" "They're just leaving him in that strange room all alone and ignoring him?"

- The DS9 Tribbles episode, which was better than I remembered, and was officially the last episode of any Trek I'd ever seen. Mostly it just pissed me off at the time, but that was unfair of me in retrospect.

- The Voyager/Sulu episode, which honestly was a piece of crap. "How long did they make this after The Undiscovered Country, dad?" I dunno. Maybe five years? "Wow, they went to all the trouble to put all this together, and none of it had anything to do with anything."

And that was that.

Yesterday, because of an argument with a friend, I watched the first Borg episode of TNG, which I remembered as being a barn-burner back in the day, and which clearly blew the budget for about six weeks on either side, and which had some interesting moments, but was really poorly directed. ("THis is a teaser? Some nobody blabbering and spiling her drink? It goes on for five minutes!") And it was so sloooooow. Afterwards, the kids had fun playing "If this had been a Stargate episode," where they'd act out a scene from the ep from memory two ways, once as in the show, once as though it were an episode of any Gate show. That was pretty hilarious.

----------TNG Version----------------
ACTION: [All the kids open the door, enter the room, go to the dinner table, laboriously choose chairs, sit down, stare at each other intensely for a bit, then one of 'em leans forward, pauses for a moment, and then quetly says] "We must destroy that ship." SCENE!

----------Stargate Version-----------
ACTION: [Kids already at the at the table.] We must destroy that ship!

Middle kid: "And then we can be home in time for movie night!"

Eldest: "What, you think maybe 'Oldschool?'"

Youngest: "Indeed."


Today we watched the one where Q loses his powers, which I remembered as being pretty good, and was, in fact, great. They all liked it.

So, all in all, the kid's opinion was mixed:


"It's an OK show, it's not great, but I can kinda' see what all the fuss was about."

"Can we please stop watching this crap now?"

I dunno, I just thought you'd be interested.
Kevin Long is a well-reviewed Science Fiction author, who has written three full-length anthologies, and is at work on several other projects. He used to blog under the name “Republibot 3.0,” but now that his stalker is dead, and he can afford to be less paranoid, he uses his real name. His personal website is here: and his smashwords page is here Yes, he doesn't much like Star Trek. Deal with it, and buy one of his books anyway. He’s got a wife and an indeterminate kids to support!