July was definitely a Trek-filled month! Not only did I make decent progress on both the Original Series AND Next Generation, but I also managed to complete all six of the original cast films. Star Trek Beyond also premiered and the title of the new, and fast approaching, Star Trek show was announced. Star Trek: Discovery, helmed by Bryan Fuller, premiers in January on CBS and it is still my mission to watch as much Star Trek as I can before that moment arrives!
The Original Series continues as normal: progressive for its time period, charming, sincere and with a dedication to moral conundrums with (ideally) non-violent solutions. When I first started this Trekification the only episode of TOS I had watched was “Space Seed” where Khan is first introduced, which is episode twenty-two of season one. This month I managed to finally close the gap. I rewatched “Space Seed” and damn is it good. It’s probably up there as one of my favorite TOS episodes, ridiculous leaping and rolling fight choreography included! This month, I also hit the first episode with Romulans, got the first slingshot around the sun and got an episode focused on a futuristic Shakespearean acting troupe! I mean, what more could I want?! I truly love TOS and its characters though I will say the methodical pacing and typically fifty minute episode runtimes mean I’m limited to about three episodes at a maximum before I need to switch to over to something else.
If I want that something else to still be within the Star Trek universe, with a few clicks of the controller or a couple taps of my fingers I move over to Star Trek: The Next Generation. What fascinates me most about TNG is how drastically the quality improves once season two is finished. If you go back to my earliest Trekification post (and if you haven’t already you totally should read this exciting journey from the beginning!) you’ll see my initial thoughts on TNG and its initially poor quality and the uptick in quality starting in season three. Now that I’ve finished the third season and made significant progress on the fourth I am extremely happy to see it was not a temporary switch. If anything, the fourth season proves that the show keeps getting better as it goes along. It’s like something clicked amongst the writers and production staff and I hope, whatever it might be, it keeps clicking through the end of season seven! Season four also gave me what is now one of my favorite episodes, “Remember Me”, which features Dr. Beverly Crusher being AWESOME as the universe disappears bit by bit around her. It’s obviously not at the same level as episodes like “Yesterday’s Enterprise” or “Best of Both Worlds” but it is definitely up there. And you know what’s really nice? Most episodes are up at that level now. Subpar episodes are becoming a rarity on the show, whereas it used to be the exact opposite.
And that’s a really nice change.
But I watched more than just shows in July. In my introduction I mentioned the original cast movies. The only one still unseen after watching The Final Frontier last month was Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. So I sat down and watched it and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Growing up, the repeated mantra I heard about Star Trek movies was that the odd numbered films were bad. The even numbered were good. When considering the first six I mostly agree. The even numbered ones are definitely the best, though I personally thoroughly enjoyed The Search for Spock and don’t think it deserves to be lobbed into the same company as The Original Motion Picture or The Final Frontier. I had no knowledge whatsoever of the plot of The Undiscovered Country going in and I was genuinely delighted by the complex political and cultural clash delivered by the film. The fact there are villains among both Klingons and the Federation is wonderful, the team up of imprisoned Kirk and McCoy offered a great dynamic while Spock calmly and methodically tears the Enterprise apart to find the evidence to prove their innocence. Plus, Christopher Plummer walking around as a Shakespeare quoting antagonistic Klingon? Can’t get much better than that!
Another thing I mentioned in my introduction was the premier of Star Trek Beyond. The Moose totally went to go see it opening weekend. I’ve marked it in my ongoing tally below but I will refrain from talking about my thoughts on the film here because there’s an Impolite Conversation all about it coming your way Wednesday! So keep your eyes alert and focused for that post!
And now the tally! Here’s the progress I’ve made so far in my Trekification:
Original Pilot: “The Cage” COMPLETE!
Star Trek: The Original Series: Season 1, Episodes 1-22)
Star Trek: The Animated Series: Season 1. Season 2. COMPLETE!
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 1. Season 2. Season 3. Season 4 (Episodes 1-14)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Pilot
Star Trek: Voyager: Pilot
Movies (TOS): Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Star Trek IV: Voyage Home. Star Trek V: Final Frontier. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. COMPLETE!
Movies (TNG): Star Trek Generations. Star Trek: First Contact. Star Trek: Insurrection.
Movies (Reboot): Star Trek. Star Trek Into Darkness. Star Trek Beyond.
I’ll be back in August with my next update. My main goal is to finish season one TOS (which shouldn’t be too difficult), finish TNG season four and try to blast through as much of five as possible. We’ll see how it goes! If you want to keep track of my progress I tweet throughout the month @colehcampbell with #Trekification. Follow along!