Thursday, May 12, 2005

Boldly going, going, gone. (Click PODCAST)

I’m stunned. It's hard to believe that with the cancellation of "STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE", for the first time in18 years there will not be a STAR TREK series on the air. I have spent an abnormal amount of time engaged in water cooler talk as to why the latest STAR TREK spin-off failed to last more than 4 seasons. I do consider myself a TREK fan but I am hesitant to use terms like Trekkie or Trekker. I see STAR TREK the same way I see religion. It can be a great source of comfort, it should be used in moderation and I don't want to associate with or be associated with its followers. These devoted fans by the way recently raised over 15 million dollars to keep this fifth TREK series on the air, forcing them to delay moving out of their parent’s basements for at least... Well I guess they had the disposable income anyway. Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are Trekkies or Trekkers. Go rent the documentary TREKKIES and you will know what I am talking about.

What Gene Roddenberry pitched, as "Wagon Train to the Stars" became much more than what WilliamShatner described on SNL as, "...just a TV show!" Roddenberry managed to address the problems of the day that would not have been addressed otherwise on TV, by using outer space as its backdrop. The show inspired many to reach for the stars by studying science. People of color and women seeing Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) on the Enterprise bridge saw a future that included them. The show inspired new technology and it's packaging. Imagine what your cell phone or home computer would look like without STAR TREK as inspiration. Gene Rodenbery's vision also showed us a future where people of all races worked and played together (including TV's first interracial kiss Plato's Stepchildren).

I know that I'm making this sound bigger than just the cancellation of a TV show. I liked Enterprise and was not bothered by the multiple episode story lines. I still saw Gene Roddenberry's original intentions realized in this latest STAR TREK franchise. I liked that Captain Jonathan Archer’s (Scott Bakula ) Enterprise and crew was less sophisticated than Captain Kirk's or Picard's. The bottom line is that it doesn't matter if you are battling an unknown alien threat or debating the moral implications of interfering with the development of an alien species, as long as the show is well written and well acted, that’s all that matters.

One of the great things about Trek is that you can never run out of story ideas. All you have to do is look at today's newsmakers, paint them green and stick them on another planet.

Fear not Trekkies or Trekkers. Even though we are saying goodbye to Captain Archer’s Enterprise, the franchise will live long and prosper. There is now talk about an 11th STAR TREK feature scheduled for release in 2007. I look forward to it, just don’t expect to see me at the first screening and I definitely wont be in uniform because to quote Groucho Marx, "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member".

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa

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