Last year I decided I was going to work my way through every Star Trek movie and TV episode in the order that they came out in theaters or on TV. Throughout my child I have watched quite a few episodes but I wanted to get the full experience. It has been and is going to be one hell of a journey:
- 79 The Original Series episodes
- I skipped the Animated Series since it isn’t great and isn’t considered canon
- 6 The Original Series movies
- 178 The Next Generation episodes
- 4 of The Next Generation movies
- 176 Deep Space Nine episodes
- 172 Voyager Episodes
- 98 Enterprise Episodes
- 3 of the reboot movies
That totals up to 703 TV episodes and 13 movies. Don’t forget about Star Trek: Discovery which is the new TV series that comes out later this year. As of right now I have watched all of the TOS seasons, the first 4 movies and am currently on the 2nd season of The Next Generation.
The Original Series is what it is. Sometimes you end up with a fantastic adventure like “The Trouble With Tribbles” or “Mirror, Mirror”and sometimes you end up watching Kirk and the gang battle some sentient cloud of particles. The special effects are terrible by modern standards but they made due with it. This way made up for with good acting, fantastic dialogue and originality. My favorite character is Bones who DeForest Kelly plays perfectly (Karl Urban does a great job in the reboot as well). He is the perfect mix of grumpy and humorous. In my opinion just the dynamic between him and Spock alone makes up for every lame moment in the show.
Skipping over The Animated Series, next up for me was the first Star Trek movie: Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The first thing you notice is that the video quality, special effects quality and set quality is vastly improved. This makes sense since this movie came out about 11 years after the series ended. It is about an alien living vessel called V’Ger inside a massive cloud of energy that is moving towards earth. The enterprise crew eventually gets aboard the vessel and finds out that V’Ger (not to be confused with V-Giny from Futurama) is originally the Voyager 6 space probe. The whole movie is all over the place and the villain is initially a cloud which, as I mentioned in the paragraph above, I am an not a fan of.
Now we get to the good stuff. The Wrath of Khan is considered by most to be the best Star Trek movie for a reason. I wouldn’t quite put it at the top but it is definitely in my top 3. It has everything you could ask for: plenty of action, some devastating and emotionally crushing moments and probably the best one word line in a movie screamed out by a William Shatner at the top of his game. The best part of Wrath of Khan though is Khan himself. Ricardo Montalban plays the bad guy perfectly which was something that was drastically lacking from the first film. Without this film I doubt the Star Trek franchise goes on for as long as it has.
The Search for Spock is not considered to be one of the better Star Trek movies but I for one think it is very underrated. It might be because the premise that Spock, who died in the previous film, was essentially brought back to life in a slightly cheesy way, that it had a more of a feel of one of the TOS TV episodes rather than movies or that it came after and two of the greatest Star Trek movies. One aspect that resonates with me is how good Deforest Kelley was as McCoy carrying Spock’s living spirit. He had some of the best moments of the movie like: when he tries the neck pinch. The other aspect that was pretty decent in my opinion was a pre-Back To The Future Christopher Lloyd playing the Klingon Kruge. He wasn’t to the level of Montalban’s Khan but added some important grandness to the role and movie. Also, the Enterprise blows up. So there is that.
For a movie that had very little time in space or on some alien planet, to not have the USS Enterprise almost its entirety, be called a Star Trek movie, to be considered a great movie, and what I think is the best of all the Star Trek movies seems very unusual. But The Voyage Home is fantastic in every way imaginable. Upon arriving home to face trial for the events The Search for Spock the crew finds earth being attached by an alien probe trying to contact the extinct humpback whale. To solve this they travel back in time to 1986 in San Francisco to find a whale to talk to the probe. Throughout this there are many instances of comic relief like Spock in the whale tank, Chekov asking about “Nuclear Wessels” during the Cold War or the rescue of Chekov from the hospital. These mixed with all the intense moments makes this a must watch for anybody.
Well that is it for now. As I venture through the rest of the Star Trek franchise I will throw up my thoughts in blog form.