Getting Into Star Trek Edit
At some point in early 2017, my computer broke so for a while I resorted to binge watching various shows on Netflix via PS3. The Office (U.S version) was one of them, and is now one of my favorite shows. There was a void in my life when it ended. Out of boredom, I hesitantly decided to watch Star Trek. Before this point, the only Star Trek content I've seen were Star Trek: First Contact and the first two J.J. Abrams films, but this was years before watching the shows and I didn't really care for them because I lacked important context and attachment to the universe which the shows would have provided. I decided to watch in chronological order (sort of), so I started with Enterprise, then moved onto TOS, TOS films, TNG, TNG films, DS9, and then Voyager. Discovery was airing the first season during my DS9 stint, so I shifted between those two at the time. I haven't read any of the books or played any of the games, with the exception of Star Trek Online which I played a little bit during DS9 and Voyager but have since lost interest in.
I really enjoyed Enterprise, and had a similar emptiness in me like I had with the Office when it was over. I found myself missing it when I was watching TNG and DS9, and I ended up watching though it again when I finished Voyager. I really hated the opening theme music when I first watched it and I always skipped past it. Not only did it make me want to dive out the airlock, I thought it was really out of place, and then it was made even worse in the 3rd season. However, during my second time watching, I found myself actually enjoying the theme music which really surprised me. It felt really inspiring and I usually let it play through, sometimes even singing or humming along, only rarely skipping it when I really wanted to get to watching the episode. I still hate the updated version though. My favorite characters are Tucker and T'Pol, I felt they had good chemistry and I wish they would have taken their relationship further. I found Captain Jonathan Archer a little annoying at times but he has grown on me. I don't think too much of the finale, positively or negatively, but what they did to Trucker was downright dirty, and it should not have been treated like it was a TNG episode. Overall, it's my favorite Star Trek series and I feel it has the best pilot episode.
The Original Series Edit
My first time watching TOS was not pleasant. Not only did I dislike it, but I outright hated most of it. I had to push myself through just to finish. Being from the 1960s and lacking a budget, it looks like a cheap high school play of the same era. The outfits, the sets, the characters, the designs, the overacting; they all look and feel dated. I wasn't trilled with a lot of the writing/plots either. I often felt the philosophical/moral message of the week was too on the nose. I know racism is bad without the need of having weirdly colored aliens act out some form of obvious allegory. I don't care for many of the characters and I think Captain Kirk is the worst captain in the main cast of any series. He's a walking cliche/tv trope. How often does he have a 'Girl of the Week,' some of which who are even old flames? How is one supposed to care about his romantic relationships if the show doesn't even take them seriously? They come out of nowhere and are never mentioned again. Other problems of the era include all those silly karate chops Knifehand strike and defeating robots with logic bombs. And how many times did historical and/or mythological figures turn out to be aliens? It's not a bad concept but the number of times it happened feels somewhat unauthentic, corny, hokey, and very 1960s. Sometimes it seemed like the series wanted to be a weird fantasy show instead of science-fiction. I remember watching most episodes and thinking how ridiculous and annoying they were. After finishing all the other live-action shows, which I loved, TOS was what I looked back on and considered "the bad one." However, with all that being said, I really enjoyed TOS during my second time, regardless of how bad I think the writing is. I find it charming.
The Animated Series Edit
I never intended on watching TAS but I jumped into it anyway sometime after finishing Voyager and before I started over with Enterprise again. I was not happy with TAS. I found it more annoying than even TOS, with even worse writing, pacing, acting, sound effects, and everything else. I don't think it's worth watching outside of purely analytical purposes. I wasn't surprised to find out that Gene Roddenberry wanted to strike it from canon, however, I do think some of its lore, such as the Earth-Kzin Wars, should be explored more. I'd love to see more cat people such as the Caitians and Kzinti in live-action, and not as those random background characters.
The Next Generation Edit
When I began watching TNG, I didn't like to think of it as a sequel or spin-off, but rather what TOS should have been. It had good production value, a more modern/futuristic and believable look, and better characters in my opinion. I really liked Captain Picard. My favorite captain is a tossup between him and Janeway. I didn't care for Data at first, but he grew on me over the seasons. I thought Counselor Deanna Troi was annoying. While Wesley Crusher isn't all that fun, at least he isn't boring nothing burger Jake Sisko from DS9. 80s spandex uniforms aside, I could watch the show and not feel like it was an 80s/90s show only pretending to be in the future.
Deep Space 9 Edit
My favorite characters are Odo, Kira Nerys, and Ezri Dax. I remember liking Jadzia Dax and Julian Bashir early on but I lost interest with them over time. It took a while for Benjamin Sisko to grow on me, but I find the theatrical way he talks as weird and distracting, even more so than Kirk. Overall I like how the show put more emphasis on characters, and how it explored the darker and grittier aspects of the universe. You can't have a perfect little clubhouse when your neighbors hate everything about you and threaten your very existence. "It's easy to be a saint in paradise."
I was disappointed that it was a prequel, as that tends to limit your story. Generally, I find it best to move forward in the timeline, expanding the universe, seeing the consequences of actions. At least with Enterprise, the hook was "how did the Federation come to be?" Discovery is just 10 years before Kirk because reasons, that doesn't really add any intrigue. I thought it had a promising pilot episode and I liked the main character Michael Burnham, but that's about it. Everyone else I thought was boring. I felt that the Klingon stuff was played out, and I think the Mirror Universe story was unnecessary. They could have done more with the Mirror Universe had the show taken place in the future. I haven't seen any season 2 episodes, but I read about some of the plot. While not thinking too much of season 1, I was interested in seeing where they'd take it from there. I had some early concerns though when it was revealed that Christopher Pike and Spock were coming back. I was worried it would feel like it was coming into weird fanfiction territory. But after reading some episode summaries, I became a little excited at their inclusion. It helps tie the show into the rest of the franchise. I wasn't thrilled with the alien redesigns though, specifically the Talosians, which even had a pre-existing character now with an entirely different head shape. Why not simply make a new alien species if you're just going to make an alien look like a completely different species? I like what they did with the Saurians though, where it wasn't so much a redesign, but an update in special effects. I also like the inclusion of more 21st century lore, such as World War 3 and other tidbits of that era.
While I never cared for the orchestral stuff that Star Trek traditionally used, Voyager has my favorite file info. I actually found myself not skipping it early on because it made me feel good. I like most of the characters and I like the premise of them being stuck far away from home. I was disappointed with the finale, it seemed all so sudden and abrupt. DS9 has multi-episode arcs and you knew the end of the Dominion War was coming, but Voyager was still doing random stories of the week and it got to the end without buildup. Earth was just there, and the credits rolled. It would have been nice to see them return to Earth and react to changes that happened over the years since they've been gone, maybe even see family.
Favorite/Worst Episodes/Movies Edit
I tend to favor episodes that leave an emotional impact, so "The Inner Light" and "The Visitor" come to mind as episodes that made me sad. Others that I particularly remember well are "Little Green Men", "Trials and Tribble-ations", and "Emanations". My favorite movies are The Voyage Home and First Contact. As far as episodes I dislike/hate, I won't go into too many specifics, and I'll ignore TAS here because I think the whole thing is a dumpster fire. I generally hate the Klingon/Worf focused episodes and "courtroom" dramas. I found them boring and obnoxious most of the time. I get it, Klingons are passionate jerkfaces and someone really has it out for our hero on trial, but I'm not interested in a "Klingon honor" or "talking at" episode. I also hated "The Offspring" where Data makes a robot daughter. I thought the robot-like talking Lal did was overtly annoying. I also don't think of robots as living creatures, so it's hard for me to care about their plight too much. A TOS episode I remember being particularly annoyed at is "The Alternative Factor", which was at one point my most disliked. A recurring element was playing an obnoxious visual and audio effect. Now take that and imagine it being for an entire series, and that leaves you with TAS. Upon my second viewing of TOS, my views changed as they did with most episodes. With that being said, "I, Mudd" is my most disliked TOS episode. It has more of the robot-like talking that I mentioned before, it uses the cliche logic bomb to disable the robots by having these characters acting all silly and speaking falsehoods. If a computer falls apart because you lied to it or pretended to be doing something you weren't, I fail to see how these machines could be considered advanced, let alone last millions of years. Writers in the 1960s had a funny idea of how computers work.
Pet Peeves Edit
One of my greatest pet peeves about the franchise is when someone says "my people." Do people actually talk like that? I'm anti-social so I wouldn't really know, but it sounds so unnatural to me. It's weird when Worf, or Odo, or some other rebel without a cause is going on about "my people." Just because I'm a white human, that doesn't mean all white people or humans are "my people." Same applies to literally any adjective for a person. I don't entirely remember, but I feel like they only did this with aliens.
What You Leave Behind Edit
What I like most about Star Trek is the idea of exploring space and that we aren't alone in the universe. And the lore. I'm a huge lore nerd and it breaks my heart when various lore and continuity is contradicted. Spot the cat changes breeds, genders, and has kittens. Do I need to headcanon that Spot is an alien cat species that randomly changes appearance and physiology throughout its life, and it's never mentioned on-screen because the characters are aware of such alien cats? Because I will if I have to. I don't know how to explain Data's graduation, removable but then non-removable ears, and flotation devices though... so there's that. Anyway, I usually find myself reading Memory Alpha pages related to various episodes I've just seen, particularly episodes I've found interesting in some way; to find out background information, random trivia, references to other episodes/movies, and Easter Eggs. I've also been writing fanfiction, which I started while watching DS9 on April 16, 2018 (according to my word document), so I've needed to read up on lore (and re-watch episodes) to make sure things are consistent, and then adding to it. I primarily started writing fanfiction as a way of reconciling continuity errors, and I remember watching DS9 and thinking about the clear contradictions between not only the appearance of but the methodology of the Trill as shown in TNG, so I got up and starting outlining story ideas. Piece by piece it grew, from a single "episode," to an entire series, and then another one, followed by another, and then another. What started as a means of rationalizing existing content, it quickly grew into its own thing and I expanded my love of writing in ways I never expected, whether I'm writing Star Trek stories or something else entirely. Although sometimes I question whether or not I've written too much smut, or maybe not enough.