I know it's not about gaming per se, but Star Trek is at least as nerdy as gaming, and besides, there have been more than one game (some of them roleplaying games, even) set in the Star Trek universe. Anyway, it's my blog, and I'll blog about what I want.
So here we go.
Before we get started, I want to give you a little background. I grew up on Star Trek. As a young boy, I loved looking up at the stars and thinking about the vast cosmos in which we lived. So naturally, any story set in outer space strongly appealed to me. I watched Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica. I was a fan of the original Star Wars trilogy (although, apparently unlike other young male fans, I wanted to be Luke Skywalker instead of Darth Vader) – the new trilogy destroyed my love of the series so thoroughly that I no longer count myself a Star Wars fan at all; after I saw Episode II, I took a long hard look at the entire franchise and realised that the only thing about it that had kept me a fan was nostalgia – remembering the joy I had once gotten as a child from the films, but no longer had.
But of all of these, Star Trek has always remained my favourite. Unlike other fictional universes based around space travel, it focused more on exploration and lofty ideals than on action.
As a child, I would watch the reruns every chance I got. When the first episode of The Next Generation aired, my father let me stay up late to watch it, even though it was a school night. I didn't get to see many episodes when they first aired; the time slot was too late at night. But I've since seen them all. Many of them didn't appeal to me; I found them boring or too focused on technology instead of ethical issues or exploration. My favourite episodes are the ones that deal with fascinating moral dilemmas, like 'The Pegasus,' 'Who Watches the Watchers,' or 'The Measure of a Man.'
I also tend to enjoy those episodes that serve as character study (such as 'Lower Decks') or dealt with particularly interesting physics or temporal issues (like 'Cause and Effect'). But as a whole, I much preferred the original series, in large part because the characters were more compelling. Especially the three main characters (Kirk, Spock, and McCoy), who had a fascinating dynamic and played well off of each other. My favourite original series episode was 'The Tholian Web,' because I got to see Spock in command of the Enterprise. Another favourite was 'For the World Is Hollow, and I Have Touched the Sky,' in which not only are some fascinating social issues examined, but we get to see Dr. McCoy take centre stage.
I was never very fond of Deep Space Nine; the characters didn't appeal to me, and the stories weren't all that interesting. I did, at the suggestion of a friend, watch the entirety of Voyager, which was good, though not as good as the original series or TNG. There were some really good episodes (my favourite being 'Prototype,' which analysed some hefty social issues), but also some really hokey ones (in particular, I found the episodes dealing with spiritual topics, like 'Barge of the Dead,' to be most annoying, as they violate the Star Trek universe's lack of supernatural phenomena).
Anyway, that's a really lengthy prelude, but I think it's important to understand why I rank the films the way that I do. And with that out of the way, let's get to it!
Needless to say, there will be spoilers ahead.
Did you catch that? Because it's really super important. Let me say it again, just to be sure: if you have not seen the films I'm describing below, you will encounter spoilers ahead. One more time, for emphasis:
12. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
The characters didn't have their usual charm, the story was lame, the humour fell flat, and the very premise was odious. I watched this film once in the cinema, and was so disgusted that I have not seen it since.
11. Star Trek: Insurrection
10. Star Trek: Nemesis
9. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
An interesting side note, however: as I was fact checking this article, I found a video on youtube that condenses this film down into 10 minutes. It was surprisingly improved. I think that 10 minutes is probably a little too condensed; if someone were to edit this down into 45 to 50 minutes, I think it would probably be a really good film that was worth watching.
8. Star Trek: Generations
7. Star Trek: First Contact
6. Star Trek: Into Darkness
5. Star Trek III: The Search for Spockcracked.com article that ranks the Trek films, Search for Spock is sort of the middle chapter of an unofficial trilogy, and that pulls it up a bit in my rankings as well. The characterisation is a bit weak, the villain a little pointless, and (I'll admit it) the lack of Kirstie Alley in the role of Saavik make this film a little harder to watch that it really should be. But the quest to rescue Spock after the climax of the previous film, the emotionally charged destruction of the Enterprise, and the resolution in which Spock is restored all serve to secure this film's place in the top 5 for me.
4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Anyway, I hate to say it, but because of the comedic aspect of this film, it was perhaps the most popular with non-trekkies before the Abrams reboot, and I kind of resent that a little bit. Still, for all of that, it's a good film, with a strong story, good characterisation, and the humour is enjoyable. It's earned its spot at number 4.
3. Star Trek (the J.J. Abrams reboot)
2. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
And finally, the grand prize winner, in the top spot...
Drum roll please...
1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Anyway. I think that's plenty for this week. I'll see you back here next time. Until then,