Well, my deadline (January 27) for finishing The Prolific Trek came and went without much fanfare. I didn’t quite make my goal, despite allowing myself ample time to do so in December and January. Frankly, I seemed to run out of steam when I started Enterprise (
Enterprise is definitely not my favorite of the series), and with life being busier than ever, it was easy to slow down on my journey.
I’m not giving up… just extending my deadline of bit. Season 4 of Enterprise and 3 TNG movies lay ahead of me. I’ll finish before the end of February because, ultimately, I’ve really enjoyed this rewatch immensely.
What happens when I finish my Prolific Trek? Well, my intention is to continue blogging. I still owe some reflections on Voyager and Enterprise. Plus, it has been pointed out to me that I haven’t actually watched all of Star Trek. Discovery, the series currently in production, is still hanging out there in the ether. So, I’ll need to watch it and blog about it.
Anyways, that was a really roundabout way of saying I’m not done.
I didn’t come here just to tell you all I’m still here. I also have some Star Trek to discuss (
my one fan breathes, “About damn time!”).
For 2016, I got a Star Trek version of one of those desk/box calendars where you pull off a page a day. At first, I just threw the pages away, but at some point, I started saving the ones that spoke to me in some way.
So, I’m going to use this post, created on the one-year anniversary-ish of my Trek’s beginning, to reflect on these pages.
The first page that I saved was the cover of the calendar, and it can really only be seen with a picture. Since Star Trek first aired in 1966, the phrase “to boldly go where no man has gone before” has been the guiding principle. Exploration is the key to Star Trek, but I do find it interesting that they used the TOS version of the phrase. TNG claims that it is going “where no one has gone before.” A bit more politically correct and gender neutral, eh? The funny thing is that, because I grew up with TNG, the TOS version always sticks out like a sore thumb to me.
Tuesday, February 9:
Spock: Captain, our Prime Directive of Non-interference.
Kirk: That refers to a living, growing culture… do you think this one is?
–Star Trek: The Original Series, The Return of the Archons
According to the rest of this calendar entry, this episode aired on February 9, 1967, and marks the first time the Prime Directive was mentioned in Star Trek. I haven’t talked about the Prime Directive during my Prolific Trek much. This strikes me as strange because I’d originally tapped the Prime Directive as one of the topics most in need of a good discussion. I’m guessing that is precisely the reason I held this calendar entry aside. I wanted to have something to spark a discussion about the moral and ethical dilemma that is the Prime Directive. Most importantly, I think a discussion regarding its inconsistent handling on the various shows warrants thorough analysis. Hopefully, as I continue this blog, I can find a place for such a discussion.
Wednesday, February 10:
“They used to say if man could fly, he’d have wings… but he did fly. He discovered he had to. Do you wish that the first Apollo mission hadn’t reached the moon, or that we hadn’t gone on to Mars and then to the nearest star? That’s like saying you wish that you still operated with scalpels and sewed your patients up with catgut like your great-great-great-great-grandfather used to. I’m in command. I could order this, but I’m not. Because Dr. McCoy is right in pointing out the enormous danger potential in any contact with life and intelligence as fantastically advanced as this. But i must point out that the possibilities, the potential for knowledge and advancement, is equally great. Risk. Risk is our business. That’s what this starship is all about. That’s why we’re aboard her.”
–Captain James T. Kirk, Star Trek: The Original Series, Return to Tomorrow
This is probably my favorite quote from Captain Kirk. Unlike Captain Picard, Kirk certainly isn’t known for his rousing speeches. But occasionally, he does find the ability to truly give a great monologue. I’m not going to discuss this quote further because I’ve apparently already addressed and analyzed Kirk’s monologue and its representation of the Rodenberry vision in my Season 2 recap.
Saturday, February 13:
“The character of Flint in the [TOS] episode Requiem for Methuselah was a nearly immortal human who took on many different identities during his millennia of existence. Among the many roles he played in his long life, Flint claimed to be several famous historical figures, including Leonardo Da Vinci. When the hologram of Da Vinci became a recurring character on Voyager, Captian Janeway would note in Concerning Flight that Kirk had once met the famed artist and inventor, which was a callback to this episode.”
So, not all of the calendar entries are quotes from the series. Some are facts. Some, like this one, are kind of dull. Even after a bit of reflection, I’m still not completely sure why I saved this one. The only reason I can come up with is that I wanted to pay attention to Janeway’s reference in Concerning Flight and see if I caught the reference.
Thursday, February 25:
McCoy: I don’t see no points on your ears, boy, but you sound like a Vulcan.
Data: No, sir. I am an Android.
McCoy: Almost as bad.
–Star Trek: The Next Generation, Encounter at Farpoint
Ah, Bones… Bones was almost certainly my favorite character on TOS, and I loved his bitter, sarcastic jabs toward Spock and Vulcans. Seeing that his opinions haven’t changed nearly 100 years later when TNG begins just seems so appropriate. Also, I’m sure I saved this entry specifically because I was in the middle of watching Season 3 of TOS at the time, and I couldn’t contain my excitement regarding Bones’s cameo on the TNG pilot.
Friday, February 26:
TOS: By Any Other Name (Romeo & Juliet); Dagger of the Mind (Macbeth); The Conscience of the King (Hamlet); Wink of an Eye (The Winter’s Tale); All Our Yesterdays (Macbeth); Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Hamlet)
TAS: How Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth (King Lear)
TNG: Thine Own Self (Hamlet)
DS9: Past Prologue (The Tempest); Once More Unto the Breach (Henry V); The Dogs of War (Julius Caesar)
Voyager: Mortal Coil (Hamlet)
Okay, so this isn’t a direct quote from the calendar, but the calendar entry for February 26 discusses By Any Other Name, the first Star Trek episode to use a Shakespearean title. It then provides the complete list of Star Trek titles with Shakespear connections. When I reviewed Star Trek VI back in October, I talked pretty extensively about Star Trek’s relationship with Shakespeare.
Notably, Enterprise does not have a single episode on this list. Even The Animated Series, with its minimal 22 episodes, managed a Shakespeare reference. I’ll blog about this more extensively at some point in the near future, but there are times when Enterprise really doesn’t feel like “Star Trek.” At this moment, I can’t really put my finger on exactly what it is, but there’s just a certain quality that makes it stand out from the five other series. So, perhaps it is fitting that Enterprise is the only series to not pay homage to Billy Shakespeare.
Friday, March 18:
Spock Prime: There are so few Vulcans left, we cannot afford to ignore each other.
Spock: Then why did you send Kirk aboard when you alone could have explained the truth!
Spock Prime: Because you needed each other. I could not deprive you of the revelation of all that you could accomplish together, of a friendship that will define you both in ways you cannot yet realize.
–Star Trek 2009
Anyone who has read much of this blog, understands my love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with the JJ-verse, and I certainly had a lot of criticism for Star Trek 2009 when I blogged about it in July. But Leonard Nimoy’s appearance in the film is the absolute highlight. As I said in my blog, Nimoy “grounds the film. He makes it feel like a Star Trek film because he gets Star Trek, and he understands the characters within the universe.”
Saving this page from my calendar was a clear recognition of the strength of the Nimoy performance in the film. Additionally, I think it is a great critique on the Kirk/Spock relationship in general. Its clear, especially through the movies, that the Kirk/Spock relationship is something special. And to hear the half-Vulcan science officer describe it simply as “a friendship that will define you both in ways you cannot yet realize” is a testament to how much Kirk ultimately means to him.
Sunday, April 10:
“A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory, LLAP.”
This calendar entry is headlined “Trek Trivia” and is a discussion of Leonard Nimoy’s activity on Twitter and a tribute to his death. It finishes with the quote above. This would be Nimoy’s final tweet, taking place just five days before his death. Its a beautiful tweet, and I’m sure, knowing that the end of his fight with COPD was near, Nimoy took great pains in crafting a perfect message. He may not have known it would be his last, but it is certainly fitting.
I also adore the final four letters on the tweet: LLAP. Live Long and Prosper were the words made famous by Nimoy, and the Vulcan greeting is probably one of the most quintessentially Star Trek things in existence. Nimoy may not have coined the phrase. He probably didn’t even coin the LLAP acronym. But he did use LLAP to sign off every single tweet he makes. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but I’ve signed off every post of The Prolific Trek with #LLAP as a tribute to Nimoy.
Sunday, April 17:
“I’m going to tell you something very–I never thought I’d hear myself say–But it seems I’ve missed you. I don’t know if I could stand to lose you again.”
–Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
The odd-numbered movie trope held true when I reviewed Star Trek III in May, but this quote is still worthy of recognition. Bones is a bit of a crotchety old man, and he loves giving a hard time to the half-Vulcan first officer. Any astute viewer, however, will notice that their relationship goes much deeper than the snarky comments they make back and forth. And Bones’s recognition that he did, in fact, miss Spock and doesn’t want to lose him is a nice homage to their relationship.
Face it. I’m a sucker for anything relating to Bones and Spock.
Monday, May 2:
“Friendship must dare to risk, Counselor, or else it’s not friendship.”
–Captain Jean Luc Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Conspiracy
I know. I’m as surprised as you are that it took me until May to save a Picard quote. (I kid I kid). Anyways, it is somewhat fitting that this quote would have been one I saved because I have been thinking a lot about friendship and what friendship means lately. For Picard in this episode, friendship means trusting his friend and investigating his friend’s suspicions even though such trust could come at a great professional price. And I suppose, in a way, that is sort of the essence of friendship. It’s not friendship if you don’t trust or stick your neck out for the other person.
Monday, July 18:
Spock: … Where would you estimate we belong, Miss Keeler?
Edith Keeler: You? At his side, as if you’ve always been there and always will.
–Star Trek: The Original Series, City on the Edge of Forever
Of course, The City on the Edge of Forever is one of my favorite TOS episodes. I even went so far as to describe it as “damn near perfect” in my review. It is an episode that so perfectly captures and focuses on the characters on screen, developing ideas and a memorable love interest for Kirk in a way that very few episodes of Star Trek (or television in general) are able to do. But this line is a recognition that Kirk and Spock have had a relationship that feeds off of each other from very early in the series. This episode comes at the end of season one, and the writers of the show already recognize that Spock belongs at Kirk’s side. They can only exist together.
Monday, July 25:
Bethany: You must think we’re barbaric. All the things humanity’s accomplished–building ships like this, traveling to other worlds–and we’re still down there shooting each other.
Archer: The progress on earth, it didn’t happen overnight.
–Star Trek: Enterprise, North Star
Thursday, August 11:
Travers: There’s still war in the future?
Archer: On earth–between human beings–war has been eliminated. BUt the galaxy’s a big place, with thousands of species. Not all of them have the same values we have.”
–Star Trek: Enterprise, Storm Front: Part II
It’s fitting that the next two pages I saved were Enterprise quotes regarding the same topic: the progress of humanity from a violent and turbulent time. Without getting too political, it is hard to look at society today and be very positive. As a nation, we’re divided. As a species, we’re seeing huge amounts of global turmoil. Frankly, it doesn’t look good. But Star Trek has always been about hope. One day, humanity will reach the Rodenberry vision of exploration and personal growth, moving past violence, hatred, and all sorts of other horrible qualities we suffer from currently.
Sure, it’s fiction, but I’m going to take solace in the hope espoused here by Archer.
And it’s at this point that I realize this is going to have to be split into two posts. I apparently kept far too many calendar pages throughout the year, and I’m not going to be able to reflect on them all here. Well, I could, but then no one would read them.
Anyways, thanks for taking this Prolific Trek with me. I’ll be back soon with another post, and in the meantime, I’m still watching Star Trek.