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Author Topic: Tut University Presents: Star Trek: The Original Series 101  (Read 141 times)

Diego Tutweiller

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Tut University Presents: Star Trek: The Original Series 101
« on: December 02, 2016, 02:39:42 am »
If you know me, you know that I can be a very negative person. I dislike about 75% of the films that I see and I am very cynical about the state of filmmaking today. I hate Democrats, Republicans, eggplant, dubstep, processed cheese, Zack Snyder, insurance companies, communism, tabloids, country music, and the entire state of Florida. And I put a lot of energy into my many hatreds... as evidenced by this course's predecessor. I think about these things so much, the world sometimes seems very depressing. And when things get that way, I know there's only one thing to do. Watch Star Trek.

This wonderful show is appreciated to this day for its wit, prescience, and political statements. Not only is it original and well-written, but it created a climate in pop culture that gave rise to the creation of many other sci-fi franchises everyone loves today, Star Wars included. Many years later, it would contribute to the inspiration behind Firefly, the spiritual successor to Star Trek, in that it was a space western with something to say, but was sadly cut short before it could finish saying it. It, like Star Trek, has much to teach us. But Star Trek alone possesses the warmth and poetry that neither its many sequels nor its many imitators have been able to duplicate.

Today, Star Trek is best known as an under-performing Paramount property comprised of a movie in which a crazy man plots his revenge on Kirk, a second movie in which a crazy man plots his revenge on Kirk, and a third movie in which a crazy man plots his revenge on Kirk. But the Original Series, unlike Abrams' Star Wars Trek, was not made for its dazzling special effects. Rather, it was made for its unwaveringly optimistic view of the future, and for the morals it so expertly imparts upon its viewers. Its flawless characterization and endlessly inventive stories more than make up for its low budget-- a concept that has, sadly, been lost to time.

In this thread, I will post some thoughts on why this series is still relevant today (perhaps now more than ever). Feel free to join in. I know some of you know and love this show as well, and any insights you may have are more than welcome. It will be nice to have something positive to say for a change.

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Diego Tutweiller

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The Ultimate Computer: Season 2, Episode 24

Since I have no interest in doing these in order, I'll start with an episode that is wholly relevant to our present-day political situation. In The Ultimate Computer, a black science man invents a computer intelligent enough to run an entire starship with only a few members of the crew left over to service it. When the Enterprise is chosen as the perfect candidate for a test voyage utilizing the new device, Kirk has to deal with the prospect of becoming "non-essential personnel."

When I watched this episode again recently, I was struck with the realization that it serves as a perfect explanation for the reasoning behind a certain election you may have heard about recently. The idea of technological progress itself is not terrible, but in the words of Kirk, "There are some things men must do to remain men." I believe this is how many working-class voters in the rust belt felt this past November when they cast their votes. At the very idea of the ship being taken over by a machine, the audience has a gut reaction of outrage, the kind that cannot be attributed to "logical" thought. But as the episode proceeds, we begin to understand that humans, with all their eccentricities, are often indisputably superior to the machines they create.

A secondary conflict with Spock rounds out this episode's intelligent social commentary. The ever-logical first officer finds the computer "fascinating" and praises its creator's genius and ingenuity. However, when push comes to shove, he completely rejects it, saying "Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them. Captain, the starship also runs on loyalty to one man. And nothing can replace it, or him."

Oh, Spock. Such wisdom.



Anyway, I thought some of the more politically-minded folk on here would find this episode intriguing (Neville especially).
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Robert Neville

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Anyway, I thought some of the more politically-minded folk on here would find this episode intriguing (Neville especially).

It sounds interesting indeed. By a weird coincidence, you've posted this soon after I read Wikipedia article on Project Cybersyn, which actually tried to do just that on the scale of an entire country, and was remarkably promising for 1972 technology. (Though MAGI in Japanese Evangelion is probably the closest fictional counterpart.) I wonder what Raynor thinks about it.


 

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