One of the advantages of self-employment: should you get hooked on a 4-season show on Netflix, you don’t have to worry about balancing that against an 8-5. You can watch it in the background while you do menial stuff and sacrifice a little sleep. You’ll get through it in no time!
I must admit I never really did get into the latest Star Trek. I remember watching the first couple of episodes and being bored to tears, largely by the fact that most of the Enterprise crew were human (this is also when I lost interested Voyager and the whole ST universe in general). But I recently decided I needed a little distraction here and there so I powered through a few episodes and found myself hopelessly hooked. Even the opening theme song, which I found highly annoying at first, has found itself a home on my playlist.
For anyone who, like me, is at least a semi-trekkie who never gave this show a chance, here are a few reasons why this show deserves a go.
Its themes are current
Current events during the time of the show’s airing (2001-2005) are obvious. Topics covered include terrorism, the ethics of engaging in preemptive wars, ongoing wars between factions, the use of cloned embryos for the sake of saving a life, and xenophobia (clearly intended to mirror racist/anti-immigration sentiment). Of course, any true trekkie will understand that these shows aren’t really about a future where humans interact with alien species, they are an ongoing case study of contemporary society, filled with nagging questions and inconvenient facts about human nature.
I suppose this is only a plus if you like Scott Bakula…but then, what’s not to like? Having watched Quantum Leap religiously as a kid this is perhaps what made the show extra special for me…especially because the show contains a lot of…wait for it…wait for it…TIME TRAVEL! And yes, Bakula (Captian Archer) is the poor sap who’s taken (often unwillingly) into different points in time to change certain outcomes.
The sheer amount of actors who played roles in previous ST shows was quite a surprise for me. This may not have been a huge deal for me had I watched the show as it aired, but having watched it so many years after having watched TNG and DS9 brought back a great deal of nostalgia.
Weyoun (the ‘evil’ Vorta from DS9 that you almost want to like but can’t because he’s the Dominion’s top agent) is back as an almost equally antagonist role (Shran, a commander of the Andorian Imperial Guard) who ends up becoming an invaluable ally. The “Weyoun” personality shows through (or perhaps Jefferey Combs is like this in every production?). Fortunately he makes his way to the ‘good’ side in this series.
DS9’s “General Martok” is clearly back as at least 2 different Klingons (his voice is unmistakable). Brent Spiner (Data, the Android from TNG) plays a sort of “mad scientist” who created super humans. He eventually realizes that “perfecting humans” is a lost cause and turns his attention to cybernetics, and cleverly notes that it may take a couple of generations. In another nod to Quantum Leap, Dean Stockwell (The Admiral in Quantum Leap…and the far less likable Cavil in Galactica) makes his way into the show, though he’s not the one accompanying Scott Bakula into the past.
My only complaint
I wish we’d of seen more of the Romulan Star Empire and perhaps even the war. Perhaps a future series will tackle this one. In the meantime, I suppose I’ll have to get my sci-fi fix elsewhere.