Will Star Trek feel like Star Trek?

SNL Get A Life

So, this was my most recent experience as a Star Trek consumer: Earlier this year, at the Presbyterian Women’s book sale at our church, I picked up a trio of old Star Trek episodes on VHS for something like 50 cents a pop.

When I got home and my 12-year-old daughter saw the tapes, she pointed at me and screamed, “Neeeeerrrrrd!”

And she hadn’t even seen the Saturday Night Live episode where William Shatner asks a Treekker played by Jon Lovitz, “Have you ever kissed a girl?” and tells the whole crowd at a Star Trek convention to, “Get a life.” (The video is above, and the Shatner portion starts at the 2:30 point.) Yes, Star Trek‘s reputation as the benchmark show for sci-fi obsessed geeks still residing in their parents’ basements has trickled all the way down to today’s tweens, which makes the impending opening of the Star Trek movie this week really interesting.

Left to right: Chekov (Anton Yelchin), James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Bones (Karl Urban), Sulu (John Cho), and Uhura (Zoë Saldana) in "Star Trek." Photo from Industrial Light and Magic.

Left to right: Chekov (Anton Yelchin), James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Bones (Karl Urban), Sulu (John Cho), and Uhura (Zoë Saldana) in the new "Star Trek" film, which opens Thursday. Photo from Industrial Light and Magic.

Yes, there is a Star Trek movie opening this week, the latest in the reboot trend that has touched franchises such as James Bond and Batman. Normally, it would be silly to say, “yes, there is a Star Trek movie opening this week,” for the latest installment of a franchise this iconic. And yes, the movie is getting a lot of ballyhoo.

But then again, some of the ads for Star Trek, like ones rolling during the NBA Playoffs, have almost been unrecognizable as Star Trek. There are lots of hot young actors, hard charging music and things blowing up real good. One of the headlines on the current issue of Entertainment Weekly touts Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana as “Sexy new Kirk & Uhura.” Sexy? Star Trek?

Well, that is one of the delicate lines this reboot is dancing, as do other reboots: recrafting the old show for a new audience with new sensibilities while leaving enough of the franchise in to make it recognizable and satisfying to the established fans.

How well director J.J. Abrams pulls that off will be the key to whether the Star Trek brand, now 43 years old, continues to live long and prosper.

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4 Responses to Will Star Trek feel like Star Trek?

  1. Bobbi says:

    I’m so excited!! I love J.J. Abrams, so I feel like the movie is going to be good. I didn’t love the original Star Trek series, I became a HUGE fan with Star Trek: The Next Generation.

    My inner geek is getting excited!!

  2. I have missed the entire phenomenon known as STAR TREK. I never really watched the TV show or any of its sequels. I went to the first few movies; was even asked to take a meeting with Leonard Nimoy about writing one of them (the one he directed), but knowing nothing about the series, I begged off. I couldn’t be less interested in this current movie. Some things should just drift off into the mist of memory and become icons of pop culture without getting re-invented.

  3. Rick St. Peter says:

    Rich-

    I could not disagree more with Chazz Pogue!! I loved the original series when I was a kid (in syndication of course), I loved the cartoon and I REALLY loved The Next Generation (I may be the only person other than family members of those involved with the film who enjoyed Nemesis!!)…I never really got into Voyager or Deep Space Nine or Enterprise but I have been patiently waiting for what’s next…

    My problem is twofold: 1. I am sick of reboots and origin stories…certainly George Lucas has all but ruined Star Wars with his hideous and unwatchable prequels combined with that ridiculous Clone Wars series. Who cares about young Anakin Skywalker and now, who cares about Darth Vader? You watch Star Wars now, you see a whiny kid complaining about Obi Wan holding him back!! 2. Kind of what you are alluding to in your post Rich…I am sure it is going to be a good film, JJ Abrams is clearly a talented guy…but will it still be Star Trek? As much as I like the new James Bond flicks, are they really Bond movies? Or are they a desperate attempt to be the Bourne films? I like them, but they are missing that not quite tongue and cheek quality that made the Bond films iconic…Will Star Trek be the same thing? Will I care?? I hope so, I will find out on May 7!!

    Peace
    Rick St. Peter

  4. Chelsea C. says:

    Ha! I had the same reaction that your daughter did last week… My dad pulled out a \”klingon laser\” (a piece of black plastic that blinks) that he got out of a cereal box and started \”shooting me\” with it.

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