It’s hard to believe now, but Star Trek used to have ugly people in it. That’s when it was good--when there were more than a few people on the TV shows or in the films that didn’t look like movie stars. In a post-JJ Abrams world, everything is sleek and chromed. Now we have Chris Pine, a six-packed, pouty-lipped, corvette-riding madman. What possible use could he have for William Shatner’s infamous girdle?
We also had more blank spots back then. And we were fine with it. Because that was when things were good.
What was Kirk like at the Academy? How did he wind up with the gallant crew aboard the Enterprise? What was their very first mission like? There was a mystery there, whole chunks of story left untold. “There are always possibilities,” Spock said...
And there was a life beyond Kirk too. We had Picard and Sisko, Janeway and whoever the hell Scott Bakula played. Star Trek was always moving forward (well, except for when Scott Bakula was doing whatever the hell he was doing). There was more.
Now? Not so much.
It turns out Kirk was a pussyhound with daddy issues at the Academy. It turns out he came to work with the crew of the Enterprise through a series of alarmingly contrived circumstances. And that first mission they undertook was an earth-shattering, time-bending clusterfuck that allowed big time hacks Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (and then eventually Damon “Let the Mystery Fade” Lindelof) to run roughshod over the greatest science fiction movie of all time.
And now this:
Whatever happened to boldly going where no one has gone before? We’ve been here before! We don’t need to go back. We don’t need a tiny universe where everyone is related and everything is explained. Star Trek used to be the thinking man’s science fiction. But this doesn’t really look like a lot of thought was put into anything. JJ Abrams lens flares? Check. Spock’s half-sister? Check. Harry Mudd? Check. What’s bold? What’s new?
It’s a hard thing to watch a ball fumble for a decade or more. You can hope someone will eventually pick it up and score. But sometimes you just have to remember when some of the players were ugly. When the mysteries were big. And when things were good.