I’ve been rewatching Star Trek recently and simultaneously introducing Andie to it. At the time of writing, we’re coming up on the end of season six of The Next Generation and a few episodes deep in Deep Space Nine, because yes, I’m one of those people who likes to watch overlapping shows chronologically so the few-and-far-between crossover episodes happen at the “right” time.
I’ve been really enjoying them. I reached something of a saturation point with Star Trek in my late teens and early twenties as it was on TV an awful lot and it was one of those shows I liked to record every episode of on video. I started collecting the official videos at one point and even had some of the more ostentatious box sets — such as the awesome Data one which had a metallic mould of Brent Spiner’s face — but eventually reached a point where I simply parted ways with it, not because I was no longer enjoying it or had seen it all — to date, there’s a significant chunk of Deep Space Nine I’ve never seen, I’ve not seen beyond the first season of Voyager and I’ve been surprised how little I remember of The Next Generation — but simply because there were lots of other things vying for my attention.
With the modern age of video on demand, though, you can watch a show like Star Trek at your own pace when it’s convenient to you, and with no fear of missing episodes because you’re out on Wednesday nights at 6pm or whatever. This gives the shows a much greater feeling of coherence than if you’re watching disjointed — and sometimes out-of-sequence — episodes once a week on the television, and makes it into a much more enjoyable experience as a result.
Although I’m enjoying revisiting The Next Generation — and, as noted above, have actually forgotten a significant amount of it, so rewatching these episodes feels quite “fresh” — the main thing I’m looking forward to is the completely new episodes of Deep Space Nine. For some reason, when I was younger, I and my family regarded Deep Space Nine as “the boring one” in the Star Trek pantheon, with it not getting truly interesting until the fourth season, when they sped up the theme tune a bit, gave Sisko a badass starship to fly around with and decided it was high time the Klingons started being villains again. Watching it with more mature eyes and — I like to think, anyway — refined tastes, I’m liking it a lot more than I used to for its emphasis on characterisation and relationships over tales of derring-do in space. It’s a good complement to The Next Generation, and watching them in parallel as we have been really highlights this.
Also Odo is a work of genius, combining witty writing with some wonderfully deadpan delivery by Rene Auberjonois. I’m especially interested to find out more about his particular story arc, as that’s something I’ve only seen dribs and drabs of here and there; I stopped collecting the videos and watching the show just as the Dominion storyline was getting underway.
There’s still a long way to go before we’ve watched all of them, but I’m not complaining; the shows — with the possible exception of the first couple of seasons of The Next Generation — very much stand up to the test of time and, while occasionally cheesy (rocking camera shots while people throw themselves around the set ahoy!) remain some of the most interesting, enjoyable, dramatic, emotional and thought-provoking television there has ever been.
Here’s to the final frontier.