Watching a rerun of Star Trek: the Original Series it suddenly struck me how tired everyone looks. Mind you that was series three when they’d run out of good scripts and were locked in a nightmarish pastiche of former episodes.
But that got me thinking how weird it must have been to drive into work every day to do that show. I mean, back in the sixties none of them can have thought this was going to grow into the monster it has become. Surely one or two of them must have felt a LITTLE silly tucking their trousers into their socks, constantly throwing themselves from side-to-side, running after green women, rolling around with unconvincing lizard monsters. And then having to do it all again in the next episode.
Also, it’s funny to note how little acting some of the actors did outside Star Trek after this. It’s like they gave up. “Well, that’s my career fragged.” Almost a shock to see Nichelle Nichols pop up in ‘Heroes’ recently.
Mind you, that’s true of all Star Trek incarnations. Would you cast William Frakes (Will Ryker), Will Weaton (lil Ensign Crusher ), Brent Spiner (Data), or Gates McFadden (the dancing Doctor) in your show? Did you SEE Brent Spiner in the Outer Limits? There’s a reason they cast him as an android. OK, Voyager’s Jeri Ryan is the exception that proves the rule. Please prove my rule Jeri Ryan. Any time you like.
Back to Star Trek: the Original Series. Has there ever been a TV show which has worked harder for the viewer’s attention? It’s like a hyper-energetic child jumping up and down – “Look at me, look at me!” All dramatic camera angles, vivid colours, mood lighting and THAT music ready to jump out at the merest flick of Leonard Nimoy’s eyebrow. In fact, in a way the original actually looks a lot fresher today than the often lumbering Next Generation which followed it 20 odd years later.
Not series three though. That just looks hard work for everyone involved.