To boldly go where no review has gone before

“Space–the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before.”

These words, spoken by Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise, were present during the opening credits of every episode of “Star Trek: The Original Series.” This 1960’s sci-fi television show is one of the most influential in television history, as it opened the floodgates for four more Star Trek TV shows and 12 (and counting) Trek movies.

The Original Series, or TOS for short, is also just a dang good TV series. It features inventive plot lines and good acting, as any good sci-fi action/adventure drama series should. It also introduced several famous quotes, with the famous “Live Long and Prosper” phrase hailing from this series.

Another thing that makes TOS unique is that it cleverly analyzes relevant social issues while disguising them as sci-fi-ish plot points. It presents these topics, which range from racism to romance, in a way that lets viewers ponder them while also enjoying a good episode of sci-fi adventure. The show also famously contains the first-ever interracial kiss on a television series.

Of course, there are many issues with the show. As it was produced on a low budget, the special and practical effects are of very low quality, even by 1960s standards. When watching TOS, I am often struck by how fake the ‘aliens’ look, and by how outdated the ‘futuristic’ devices seem. In addition, most of the fight scenes in the series showcase some of the worst fake martial arts I have ever seen. I find it especially funny that the Enterprise’s engineers are smart enough to maintain a starship capable of rendering planets desolate, and yet they think that they can subdue an intruder by doing a bellyflop from the top of some scaffolding in the engine room.

That said, the superb characters in the series more than make up for the technical issues. Captain James T. Kirk, commanding officer of the Enterprise, is my second-favorite sci-fi character of all time (The Doctor takes first place), and aside from his bad fake martial arts and the occasional botched line, he is portrayed perfectly by William Shatner. Kirk truly is an icon in the science fiction genre, as is his second officer, Mr. Spock. That pointy-eared, logical half-Vulcan is another of the most famous sci-fi characters of all time, and he is absolutely deserving of every last bit of adoration he receives from Trekkies everywhere.

TOS may be almost 60 years old, but it remains a classic, high-quality television series and an icon of the science fiction genre.

5 star(ship)s.