August 18, 2022

#08-232: Star Trek

Spock, Kirk, and McCoy from The Original Series

Note: Sometimes a TV series transcends its humble origins and becomes an important cultural phenomenon. That's what happened with the show Star Trek.

Get Ready: Which would you rather see in a leader: action (sometimes without thinking), cold logic, or warm compassion? Why?

"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!"

With these words on September 8, 1966, a great new adventure began: the TV series Star Trek. Every episode began with the same solemn recitation by James T. Kirk, Captain of the USS Enterprise.

After The Original Series (called by fans TOS) came eight more live-action TV series (sequels and prequels to the original, one of which aired just this year), three animated series, and 13 feature films, as well as games, over 850 novels and other works of fiction, toys, and other "merch." To date this has earned an estimated $10.6 billion US in revenue. (Fans of the series are called "Trekkies," though the more serious ones prefer "Trekkers.")

TOS, broadcast for just three years, featured a trio of lead characters.

Most important, in his position as well as in the plots, was the afore-mentioned Captain James Tiberius Kirk, played by actor William Shatner. "All too human," as they say, he was passionate and often aggressive, but a good leader who put the well-being of his crew and the importance of his mission above any personal feelings.

His First Officer was also his Science Officer, named simply "Spock," but often referred to as "Mr. Spock" or by one of his many titles through the years, such as Lieutenant Spock, Commander Spock, and Ambassador Spock. He was played by Leonard Nimoy. Of mixed ancestry, his alien, Vulcan side made him extremely logical and generally impervious to emotion, though sometimes his human side peeked out.

Balancing Spock's cold, logical nature was the third lead, Doctor Leonard H. McCoy, nicknamed by the Captain, "Bones" (a medical reference), played by DeForrest Kelley. Though a doctor, it is his compassion, his humanity, that rules his decision-making, rather than "pure science," as with Spock.

These personalities play well in the scripts. Kirk, the man of action, might consult with his two assistants, with Spock arguing for the logical but sometimes cold and cruel option, and "Bones" pushing for the compassionate, humane choice.

In the end, things always seemed to work out all right.


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. alien
  2. animated
  3. humane
  4. impervious
  5. live-action
  6. merch
  7. passionate
  8. prequels
  9. revenue
  10. trek

  1. tender; compassionate; sympathetic
  2. from another planet
  3. a journey; a trip
  4. not like a cartoon
  5. income
  6. goods for sale; merchandise
  7. ruled by strong feelings
  8. like a cartoon
  9. not able to be affected by
  10. stories that come before others

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for August 18, 2022

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. b; 2. h; 3. a; 4. i; 5. d; 6. f; 7. g; 8. j; 9. e; 10. c