A friend of mine always used to tell me that two kinds of people in the world: those who think that there are two kinds of people, and those who don’t. I think he was kidding. I mean, everyone knows there are two kinds of people in the world. It’s just that no one can agree on which kind there are.
Scifi exhibits this same basic duality that everything in nature has. There’s the kind that’s all about the fun and adventure. That would be the kind that resembles the Star Wars movies. This kind has always been more accessible for the average, mundane person. After all, who doesn’t like a fun story? Then there’s the kind that tries to present the audience with ideas and what-if scenarios. What if everyone always had to conform to social norms? What if the world ran out of food? What if mankind goes where no man has gone before? This kind of scifi has always appealed to those who wonder about what’s beneath the surface of things. To put that another way, these sorts of stories appeal to those for whom good things don’t automatically fall into their lap, or find social acceptance difficult to achieve. You would recognize us as nerds.
I certainly enjoyed the original three Star Wars movies (that would be episodes 4, 5, and 6), but my heart has always belonged to Star Trek. For an old Trekkie, the love fest that has accompanied the new Star Trek movie is gratifying to see.
I debated quite a while with myself whether or not to add to the cacophony regarding the new Trek movie. Do I really have anything to add that’s different than this Salon.com essay, or this nostalgic photo essay about the early days of the Trek fandom? Not really. I never participated in the whole Trek fandom thing. I’d like to say that it was because I was above such things, but really it was mostly because I was a student back then and didn’t have extra money for those things. Even so, I went to one scifi convention in 1976 and saw the famous blooper reel from the series. Mind you, this was in the days before video casettes and VCRs. Blooper reels are now very ho hum, and almost ever DVD of a show has them, but back then it was definitely a novelty to see one, especially one from Star Trek.
Here’s a neat insight into how the screenplay for the new movie was put together. And for all the anal nitpickers out there who can only see the trees, and not the forest, here’s the film writers’ rebuttal to all the grousing. I can only say that seeing this movie was almost exactly like when I first saw Trek on TV, thirty odd years ago. People who missed out on the original series, and now wonder what on earth anyone could’ve seen in those cheesy old episodes, can look to this movie as an explanation for why it was such a phenomenon.