Thursday, September 28, 2017

Star Trek-The Next Generation At 30: Boldly Going Where No One Had Gone Before

Star Trek: The Next Generation pulled off something that was probably considered impossible. It showcased that Star Trek was not a concept dependent on simply one set of characters. Still hard for me to believe that before September 28th,1987, there was only on Star Trek cast. One Star Trek TV series. And that extended into the movies as well. I personally first heard of Star Trek: The Next Generation  via a preview on the family's VHS copy of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. The preview went out of its way to showcase the characters. In particular LeVar Burton as Geordi LeForge, whom the preview described as "a man with unique vision". I knew LeVar from PBS's Reading Rainbow, a favorite of mine at the age of 7. The idea of him playing a blind navigator on this show excited me.

TNG's premier episode "Encounter At Farpoint" was going to be airing on a Monday night. I was in first grade then. And my bedtime was about 8:30-9PM. It took some soul searching on my parents part. But I was allowed an 'exception" that night, a word my parents both used referring to a deviation from my typical bedtime. Recall actually falling asleep at the tale end of the episode. But remember being fixated (at age 7) on this world with this omnipotent entity Q pursuing the Enterprise, putting Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew on trial for humanities crimes, Q freezing Lieutenant Tasha Yar for vocally resisting him. And finally two jellyfish like aliens being reunited as lovers in the end. It was all the buzz the next day at school-with many having a similar experience to mine.

Closure to this experience came at a Bangor, Maine Sci Fi show two years ago. I couldn't pay anyone for autographs, much to my bewilderment. One of the sci fi stars there was Denise Crosby, who of course portrayed Tasha Yar in TNG's first season. I told her the same story that was just written in here about how I first saw the series. Crosby was genuinely touched. And gave me a big hug, thanking me for sharing the story with her. Its an experience I'll never forget.. What I did not tell her was of the many different opinions of the show from when the show first aired. Both my mother and the school phys ed teacher at the time were very faithful to classic Star Trek in 1987. My mother for her part felt it was "too much flash". And disliked Captain Picard's "by the book" attitude.

By the early 90's, TNG had swiftly become part of Sunday night family viewing in my household at 6PM. Afterwards was the show Life Goes On. Watching the android Data learning about humanity mimicked my (and likely many other) preteens experience learning of their own world. And the morality plays and social issues brought up by the show gave TNG two important qualities. It served to make it excellent,thrilling entertainment. But also showcase how humanity could learn from its own mistakes. And keep on striving to do better. At the time, it all felt like a morality that asked only to learn from it. No blind devotion, no murder in its name. Just entertaining futurism and morality plays on important life lessons.

This overview of Star Trek: The Next Generation might seem overly personal to some. Perhaps even egotistical. Yet as the saying goes, the personal is political. Have always lived knowing that this show has generally had a positive effect on everyone whose ever consistently watched it. While 1990's era cynicism cast a lot of doubt on TNG's scientific plausibility and some of its characters (in particular Wesley Crusher and the empathic counselor Deanna Troi), TNG represents an excellent standard for what a Star Trek series could be. It allowed Trek to endure outside the trappings of its original cast. It gave Star Trek its own future. Its own timeline. And made the Trek future (at least something close to it) something look forward to. And that's what TNG means to me as it turns 30.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Star Trek VI: 25 Years Of The Undiscovered Country

            Star Trek stood by itself 30 years ago. There was only one Star Trek,with one cast of characters. Then a year later, Star Trek: The Next Generation came along. During seasons 4 and 5 of that show,Star Trek as a whole celebrated its 25th anniversary.1991 was also the year where I went to my Star Trek convention-the only one my area ever put on,met actress Nichelle Nichols and got a chance to go to the theaters to see my second Star Trek movie on the big screen. That movie was Star Trek VI:The Undiscovered Country. Whats interesting about today is that this movie itself is now currently experiencing its own 25th anniversary.

                The Undiscovered Country was announced amid a rumor mill that I'd heard play out at a local comic store called The Wizards Den.  One thing that was known about the film was that it was going to be the final film to feature the entirety of the original Star Trek cast. Another story (which thankfully turned out to be total rumor) was that the entire original crew of the Enterprise would be killed off in the film. As with most Star Trek films made after 1984,the films production had an air of secrecy. There were a few things I did now based on info included in the Star Trek 25th anniversary special.

                  Those two realities of the film were that The Undiscovered Country would involve Klingon's. And that it would be a who dunnit. That turned out to be something of an understatement. The story involves a reluctant James T Kirk (and the crew of the Enterprise) being accused of attacking a Klingon vessel (and murdering Chancellor Gorkon,who was on board) at the dawn of peace negotiations following due to a disaster crippling the Klingon's energy resources. Solving this mystery unravels a conspiracy within both the Federation and Klingon empires by those who'd stand to lose from such a peace between the two societies.

                   Star Trek has always functioned best as sci fi social allegory paralleling current events on Earth within its universe. The Undiscovered Country's plot about a Klingon energy production facility called Praxis exploding and the need for a mutually beneficial peace paralleled the relationship between America and the Perestroika era USSR following the Chernobyl disaster. Director Nicholas Meyer had a big role in this element of the story. Using the character of General Chang (played by Christopher Plummer),he inserted his love of Shakespeare by including elements of The Bard's Hamlet into the story. That includes the title of the film itself.

                      One thing that enhances the films story is the memorable characters. Even ones who were only to appear in the film. A young Kim Cattrall appears as the Vulcan Lieutenant Valeris. Her interactions with Spock and the crew during their investigation of the Klingon/Federation conspiracy make her so endearing and memorable,one might be sad she winds up the villain of the piece. Still though,a villain of some complexity. Same goes for Christopher Plummer as the pompous General Chang. Iman makes an appearance as the clever and treacherous shape shifter Martia. Who actually provides Kirk with an interesting (if brief) prison love scene on the icy penal colony of Rura Penthe.

                        James Kirk himself is a major plot point during this film. Spock volunteers him for a mission to meet Chancellor Gorkon's ship as an escort to a peace conference. The humorous send up is Spock quoting the Vulcan proverb that says "only Nixon could go to China". Kirk is presented as a man who distrusts Klingon's due to the death of his son. The behavior of the racially diverse crew members of the Enterprise during an awkward state dinner with the Klingon's  indicates that,while humanity has solved its own issues with bigotry,that they would still need to take time to deal with alien races with very different values and cultural traits than humanity.

                         Michael Dorn,who portrayed Worf in Star Trek The Next Generation also appeared in the film as his characters grandfather. This character was an attorney pressed into service to defend Kirk and Dr.McCoy during their murder trial on the Klingon home world of Kronos,which actually gets its official name in this movie. Also,this is also the first Star Trek to feature any characters dealing with problems associated with zero gravity. After the attack on Gorkon's ship,the gravity is knocked out. And this provides an opportunity to set up the assassination plot that characterizes the film.

                           In the end,I view this as one of the original Star Trek films that got everything completely right. It had memorable side characters,plenty of what the late DeForest Kelly referred to as "Star Trek moments" relating to its type of humor,very magisterial action sequences filled with manic Shakespeare quotations and (most importantly to me,anyway) some of the best and most topical senses of social commentary in a Star Trek film. At the end of the day,its about the contrivances some will create in the face of their fears of change. And that comes together to make this one of Star Trek's finest theatrical moments.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Star Trek-First Contact: A 20th Anniversary Perspective

        Star Trek-First Contact celebrated its 20th anniversary one week ago today. It was a film that had a great deal riding on it. It would be the first motion picture to fully showcase the characters from Star Trek-The Next Generation. Not only that,but the events of the previous movie Star Trek-Generations necessitated the design of a brand new Starship Enterprise. Specifically NCC-1701-E. The movie's creators Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga (at the time working primarily on UPN's Star Trek-Voyager) also decided that the plot of the film should focus around the TNG era of Star Trek's most frightening nemesis: the Borg. 

The plot of the movie dealt with the new Enterprise E and its grew travelling back in time when a Borg vessel used a time vortex to assimilate humanity in its past-following an invasion of Earth that Starfleet had thwarted. The Borg had gone back to stop first contact,humanity's initial contact with an extraterrestrial species,the Vulcan's,following the first faster then light speed interstellar voyage by Zefram Cochrane. Through some interference on the part of the Enterprises's crew,the Borg's attempts to stop first contact are successfully stopped. And Cochrane,though initially reluctant,does make his warp flight before the Enterprise crew return to their now restored timeline.

All of the events that led up to the Star Trek universe had been the topic of many commercially released novels and fan fiction about the show prior to this movie. The character of Zefram Cochrane was even introduced in the original Star Trek TV episode "Metamorphosis". James Cromwell portrayed the role of Cochrane in this film. He is the catalyst for the movie's events. Not only that,but he was also the central element of the movies most enduring theme: what motivates idolatry. The crew of the Enterprise view Cochrane as a heroic figure from their time period. Cochrane himself is a damaged cynic who views his first warp speed flight as a chance to make his personal fortune.

One excellent character in the film is the wise and calculated astro physicist Lily Sloane,portrayed by Alfre Woodard. Her level head and no nonsense manner balance out the extreme actions of Captain Jean Luc Picard in the film. And that's a good lead in to my personal observations of the film. When First Contact's trailers were first shown on television in the summer of 1996,they came across as disappointing and unappealing. In fact,there was a long period where I had absolutely no interest in seeing the movie. My parents convinced me to give it a chance. After seeing it,my opinion was downgraded. However,time has given far more clarity to those angry and disappointed thoughts.

First Contact was actually one of the TNG era casts most successful films from a strictly commercial standpoint. However,the weakness I observed in the film is best summed up by what BBC film critic Emily Carlisle said of the film at the time. And that was that it was a more action and less character focused film than the majority of Star Trek movies. Even objectively,I'd have to look at the mid 1990's to try to explain some of this. At this point,the subersive and underground "mean people" culture of the 1980's had come into the mainstream of pop culture. In this highly sarcastic culture,Star Trek was often snidely referred to as a retro (even campy) joke from an idealistic past.

Star Trek in general was experiencing its 30th anniversary the year First Contact came out. And I was deeply involved in the literature about the writing and development of this film. Its creators made no bones about wanting to create a film for a more modern (and presumably less cerebral) audience. So in the film,the Borg are more overtly hostile and horror movie zombie like in nature. Also,Jean Luc Picard is almost totally out of character as a vengeful character acting more like Rambo,with an enormous dose of PTSD. Not to mention jokes about the normally gentle Counselor Troi getting drunk simply to curry favor with Zefram Cochrane.

As with any film,its all a matter of taste. I personally felt it represent the beginning of Star Trek's downfall. And still do now. A good part of that has to do that its action/catch phrase based nature essentially laid the groundwork for J.J. Abrams' modern day Star Trek reboots. So if someone loves Star Trek for its wit,characters and futuristic social commentary,this film really offers little for such an audience. If one views Star Trek as action driven sci fi in need of cultural updates to suit changing trends,this movie might just be for you. With Star Trek just about to reemerge from its 11 year slumber on TV in May of 2017,First Contact may eventually come to be seen a bit differently.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Star Trek's Golden Anniversary: Boldly Going To A Future Where No One Has Gone Before

Tomorrow will be a very special day for admirers of Star Trek. It'll be the 50th anniversary of the original series of the show first airing on NBC. There has been some vital Trek related events this year. The first was the third edition of the still controversial reboot movie series staring Chris Pine called Star Trek Beyond-which as of this writing I have yet to see. Even more exciting is the announcement of the first Star Trek TV series in over a decade to be premiere early in 2017. Trek alumni Bryan Fuller and Nicholas Meyer will be prominently involved in its writing as well.

Personally, I don't think there's much to say about Star Trek that isn't well known to many. Especially in the post 9/11 world,much of which has been devoid of any new Star Trek on TV,the shows ability to entertain and enlighten with vital science fiction concepts and a socially progressive message is actually becoming a lot more seriously understood than it was in my own personal generation. So to celebrate Star Trek's 50th anniversary,I'm going to run down the pros and cons about Star Trek's production and impact on society. It will be rather subjective. But you may still find some universal truths in it too.

Trek Pros:
*Seeing racial equality and understanding as a strength. This point was brought up by YouTube columnist Steve Shives on his list video about Star Trek. Its also somewhat ironic that another YouTube user I'm aware of pointed out the need for Star Trek in current society without realizing it. And all by this person stating that racial diversity was actually a huge weakness.

*Star Trek has provided us with many unique scientific concepts. It practically invented the cell phone,the smart phone and the internet tablet. Not to mention the ideas of tricorder's,phasers,
holodecks and food replicators all being studied as possible future technologies. Have to wonder when humanity will be able to handle the invention of Isaac Asimov's positronic brain that Data had in Star Trek The Next Generation.

*During times when the positive social changes of the 1960's were being challenged by regressive and theocratic politics,Star Trek remained in existence in some form to remind its viewers not to give into cynicism. That the future could be hopeful,productive,full of new adventures and even humor.

Trek Cons:
*Taking Star Trek out of syndication. After the negative personal experience Gene Roddenberry had the original Star Trek series,the following two spin offs The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine were sent straight to syndication. And became very successful. The next spin off Voyager launched the now defunct UPN (United Paramount Network).

That series popularity faltered some. After the failure of its followup prequel Enterprise in 2005,the series ended and took UPN with it. There has not been another Star Trek spin off on TV since. With much of the upcoming new series set to air on CBS's new streaming channel All Access,one can only hope the people in charge will soon learn the lesson from the terrible mistake of making Star Trek exclusive to a specific network.

*Star Trek being considered cheesy. I was in adolescence in the 1990's. So this part may be the most subjective. As early as the mid 80s,stand up and skit comedy began depicting some of the acting and low budget effects of the original Star Trek. This often led to Star Trek being seen as "wonderful cheese" or some other such thing,even within its own fandom. Luckily after the demise of the prequel series Enterprise,this attitude began to change. And most people began to realize how significant Star Trek was socially and to the world of technology.

*Star Trek post 9/11. Realize this was already hinted at. But while its true any long running TV show (including spin offs) needs its breaks to keep from growing stale,Star Trek's decade off TV after 2005 was a gaping loss. When reality was dominated by reminders that many of the 60's social changes in race,sex and politics were not yet fully resolved,I personally cannot think of a time when something such as Star Trek,with its implicit social commentary,was more needed.

So there's the basic pros and cons to Star Trek. They don't apply that much to the actual content of the show. But more so to how Star Trek has been presented at different times. Its a happy decision to see that Star Trek has such a strong,positive and above all more well rounded understanding with people today. Even the satire of it is more affectionate so it seems. Now as it is about to return to the small screen,Star Trek can harness its great cultural power and influence to help humanity boldly going to the future it really could use to go to.

Steve Shive's YouTube Video '5 Awesome Things About Star Trek'

Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy:1931-2015

                                       This morning after breakfast I had the great misfortune of learning that actor Leonard Nimoy-famous for,among many things,for his portrayal of famous half Vulcan/half human (and American television icon) Spock throughout the Star Trek saga. He passed away of end stage COPD this morning at his home in Bel Air at the age of 83. In this day and age? The idea of a someone from America's silent generation passing away should not shock me. But I am not a cynic. I am a full blooded human. And it does have an emotional effect on me.

                                    One of the things that fascinated me most about Nimoy and his famous character over the years is how much he said for anyone (such as myself) of an overtly biracial heritage. In his case? Spock was a character who basically had an emotionally based half (human) and a logical based half (Vulcan). And Nimoy made sure to infuse his character with that duel nature as his core element. And through 79 original Start Trek episodes, six motion pictures plus guest appearance in Star Trek The Next Generation and JJ Abrams' two relaunch Trek films? Nimoy never lost sight of Spock's depth of duality.

                                     There are those two ways to view the man's passing for me. The emotional human way would be that the character of Spock was representative of me growing up being able to see different people as creatures of death,not merely hollow shells of mostly water just living to die. On the logical Vulcan level? That would best be expressed in a line Nimoy himself voiced,speaking to his younger self as Spock in the animated Star Trek episode 'The Infinite Vulcan'.  He explained how logic would enable one to face death without tears-by understanding that all life comes to an end when time demands it. In closing I would like to wish my deepest sympathies to Nimoy's family,co-stars and close friends for the loss of this talented actor,director,poet,singer and (as I learned a decade ago) photographer. Live long and prosper!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Star Trek And The Communist Connection: My Outlook On An Apparently Popular Conspiracy Theory

            Star Trek has been completely out of circulation in terms of delivering new television episodes for nearly a decade now. One possible reason I've made mention of previous to this is that after 9/11,society in general changed. There came a paranoia of a kind seldom seen since the height of the Cold War in America. In terms of immigration and tolerance of the Muslim faith in particular,the general world stage became increasingly exclusionist. A science fiction television show that celebrated optimism and humanity simply had no place in such an environment. Yet there was perhaps something deeper in Star Trek's absence. Something that ironically threw back to what was actually a prime period for the show in general.

            Having spent my adolescence during the 1990's,I can say from personal experience that it was a time where genuine cultural education played second fiddle to conspiracy theories. There were many-ranging from President Kennedy's assassination to whether or not George Washington chopped down that cherry tree. In the "keeping it real" era,tall tales were suddenly viewed with suspicion. One of these conspiracy theories I was personally exposed to even before the advent of the internet was that the Star Trek universe was a communist one. Two possible reasons were presented. One was because of Gene Roddenberry's left wing political views. And also because in the future Star Trek presented,money no longer existed.

             Being an American of course,I am of course very much a child of capitalism. I am a consumer and therefore benefit the economy. However I am also of the last American generation to have some memory of the Cold War-albeit the time of Perestroika  to be specific. So my understanding of American democratic capitalism is fairly well rounded. However all I'd ever heard of Communism was the basics,as well as Cold War era propaganda from both sides which ultimately said nothing. So based on my more well rounded knowledge of Communism-as envisioned by Karl Marx and of course my knowledge of Star Trek,I'd like to make an attempt at breaking down the facts and fiction of this matter. Well,the science fiction of it anyway.

             In the most basic terms,my personal conclusion is that Star Trek doesn't advocate or represent Soviet era communism. In fact in the debut episode of Star Trek The Next Generation Encounter At Farpoint, Jean-Luc Picard refers to the 20'th century principles of capitalism and communism as being "nonsense that's centuries behind us" to Q. This points to the principles of Star Trek as being related to neither political party. That being said its also important to remember that Star Trek is set in the 23'rd and 24th centuries. Its no doubt to me that on a sociological level,human beings of that period would look upon both said political parties much the same way as we'd view what was stated in The Mayflower Compact as it would apply to the current US constitution.

                 That brings me to the next level of all this in Star Trek's difference in perspective. Many of us course look back at the Salem witch trails today with the same disgust and embarrassment that the characters in Star Trek look upon some of the competitive militaristic intrigue of our real life society. That in fact points to the very function of Star Trek on a sociopolitical level for its admirers: showing our absurdities through the mirror of our possible future. In the Star Trek universe? There is no poverty,technology had genuinely eliminated the need for possessions and the United Federation Of Planets emerges as a mostly functional social  democratic  organization that,all the same embraces contemporary military ranking and hierarchy. So does any of these relate the fictional Federation to...say Soviet communism?

                   My answer to that is absolutely not. Originally Soviet type communism was a proletariat,one party despotic dictatorship which used humanistic ideologies to create classicist political descent in the developing countries it intended to overtake. Once massive revolutions around matters of economic and civil rights had finally overthrown said nations own government,the Soviet's then took complete power-creating an atmosphere of eugenics-through-terror where the Utopian ideologies were a mask for massive crimes against humanity. And,in fact communist governments ended up being as based in prejudice as their nemesis's despite their dogmatic approach to revolution.As a result,today just about anyone with a social democratic/humanist political leaning is considered to be a communistic oriented individual. In The Star Trek universe there is a world government on Earth-actually a more elaborate United Nations representing many different political systems.

                    The simple reality of Star Trek's political atmosphere doesn't relate to capitalism,no. Nor does it relate to communism. Terms such as "sold","money" and other phrases that a contemporary Communist party member would never use are used alternately by various Star Trek characters in its long history. What may sway some into thinking Star Trek presents a pro communist view of humanity's future is its strong sense of justice for the rights of,in their case,all sentient and intelligent life. The values of racial respect,sexual and educational equality were all a part of the communist ideology. But in that case were used in a totally dishonest fashion.  Star Trek presents a universe where the talk of our time,as it were,is actually put into action. And the best part is humanity still presents itself as fallible in the future,even to despotism in that future. That's what makes Star Trek's vision wonderful,non totalitarian and not related to the communist party.

                    I sincerely hope that this made some sense of this particular conspiracy
theory.Truth is that I'm not really sure if Star Trek absence has any connection at all to its perceived linkage with a the failed and corrupt Communist party. With the current president of the United States involved in multiple conspiracy theories surrounding his citizenship and is himself too often branded a communist sympathizer? Perhaps the world simply isn't able to deal with the message Star Trek delivers right now. Star Trek is not communism. Star Trek isn't capitalism. Star Trek is futurism. It hasn't been written in real life yet. The important thing Star Trek admirers should continue to keep in mind is its positive influence on social democracy and the values of justice and freedom. No one is threatened with arrest or execution if they don't like Star Trek. So in that light Star Trek may be more needed now than ever-if nothing more than to keep these type of conspiracy theories from continuing to overshadow the good its existence has done for humanity.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Gene Roddenberry-The Day The Great Bird Flew Away

                    On this day in 1991,an extraordinary day occurred-not only in my life but to those who admired,and perhaps felt that their lives were saved in some way by, Star Trek. The shows creator Gene Roddenberry passed away at the age of 70 from what was described as cardiopulmonary arrest. What I personally remember most was that the Star Trek-The Next Generation two part story 'Unification' contained a special dedicatory preface to him before the episode began. It was a sad day for sure. It felt as if I had lost a family member. The just and progressive universe Roddenberry projected in Star Trek was extremely inspiration to anyone who marched to the beat of their own drummer,and were fascinated by the possibilities about how humanity would interact with others in the cosmos. It was so positive for the imagination and creativity.

                       What can be said about Gene Roddenberry today? One of the most important factors in Roddenberry's life was the fact that he was born in what William Strauss's documentary novel Generations describes as the GI generation-having been born later in that particular era in 1921. These were the generation who,in youth through early middle age,lived through the Great Depression and fought the second world war. Historically they were known as great intellects and industrialists-able to create great physical feats in a then unheard of shortness of time. Yet at the same time,many of that generation seemed to lack what many might call a soul. They tended to view the human race,and the world, with a clinical cynicism and were usually more competitive than cooperative with other people. The most important thing about Gene Roddenberry is that,in this context,he was a complete generational aberration.

                       Gene himself ranked above the ninetieth percentile administrated for his college entrance exam,however he chose to follow what he called the "solidly blue collar" political science curriculum. During World War 2 he was in the US Air Force and was awarded some of its highest honors. As a trouble shooter for Pan Am in the late 1940's and later work with the LAPD in the 1950's,Gene was exposed to a very well rounded side of life. He was able to experience first hand the ironies of post war America: the contradictions of hope for a better country combined with the fearful paranoia of McCarthyism.  In the late 50's he of course became interested in television writing. And his initial ideas of course mostly had to do with then contemporary police drama. But gradually this grew into new ideas for Roddenberry's creativity and his personal growth as well.

                    Beginning production on the first Star Trek pilot in 1963,he of course managed to convince NBC to commission as second pilot-starring William Shatner as (strangely enough at the time) a James R. Kirk. A few tweaks to this idea and television history was made. Gene Roddenberry's legacy with Star Trek was its encouragement of progressive social ideas to a nation that was facing sometimes frightening social change. He vehemently advocated and praised the idea of the Starship Enterprise as a "spaceship Earth"-representing many different races celebrating a familial sense of teamwork-exploring the cosmos while making pointed social commentary along the way. During an era when most of society was motivated by the fear of a premature death to humanity by weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons,Star Trek-at its very least,showcased that humanity had a happy future to look forward to.

                    The story of Gene Roddenberry's vision projected in Star Trek has come very near to having a very sad ending,however. Almost exactly at the time of his passing,American pop culture made an almost total about face rejection of just about everything that Star Trek had stood for. A complete sense of anger and cynicism overtook people as science fiction-including some elements of later Star Trek spin-off's,became more and more focused on violence and lack of hope. The most cynical aspect of this began to come into the public's view of Roddenberry following his death. The "Great Bird" suddenly became known as being a mildly lecherous person,with drug habits of epic proportions who primarily entered into the world of television writing due to the lack of quality income from his LAPD career. And therefore,long story short,Star Trek as he'd conceived it seemed to die a long and slow death as well.

                    It might seem that little has changed. The societal cynicism and often very anti humanistic viewpoints touted from the early 1990's onward are still strongly in place. And as of today no new Star Trek series currently runs on television. At the same time,reruns of the many branches that came out of Gene's original idea-from The Next Generation,DS9 and Voyager are always on the air somewhere in the world. And who knows-perhaps someone who has lost hope in life gathered the same inspiration from Gene's vision of the future of humanity as the earliest generation of Star Trek admirers. To me what Gene Roddenberry created with Star Trek is all about generations: the ethics of the generation before him,the one after him who challenged authority and were out to change the world and most importantly,the cynically hopeless later generation who actually needed what Star Trek had to offer more than even they realized. No matter his public perceptions,flaws and foibles Gene Roddenberry will always represent to me the best qualities of futurist humanism.