1966 was a very good year.
A certain, extremely talented, writer was born. England won the World Cup.
Star Trek aired.
I've grown up with Star Trek. Along with my avid reading of Marvel and DC comics, the likes of Star Trek, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica and so many others helped me visit strange, new worlds and boldly go (or baldly in the case of Jean-Luc) where I had no chance of actually going in real life.
Gene Roddenberry was a genius to my young mind, and a visionary to my older one. Creating a western in space, along the lines of Wagon Train - except with space ships and aliens rather than wagons, horses and Indians, of course.
Okay, so Star Trek, the actual original pilot, starring Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike instead of William Shatner as Captain James Tiberius Kirk, aired in 1965, but Star Trek as we know it - The Original Series, as it has become - exploded on our television sets a year later, the year of my birth (I'm that talented writer I mentioned, if you hadn't guessed).
As we were born in the same year, I didn't get to see the programme until I was older on one of its many re-runs. It didn't matter to me. At the time, I didn't know what a repeat was. To this day, I'm sure I haven't seen every episode of the three series made. I didn't get the chance, as a child, to watch it that regularly. The main programmes I was able to see each week were The Muppets and Doctor Who - both still favourites to this day (season finale - John Hurt!?!?!?). But I watched Star Trek whenever I could. It was brilliant. I wanted to be Spock. I wanted to see what was in the scanner thing he always looked into. I wanted POINTY EARS!
And then there were the spin offs. The Next Generation. Voyager. Deep Space 9. Enterprise. All good (and occasionally bad) in their own way. I loved TNG. Ryker was a bit too much in places - he reminds me of the Captain Zapp Brannigan from Futurama a little, with his puffed out chest and stance and bravado. Wesley grated. But Jean Luc, Seven of Nine and most especially Data were brilliant. I enjoyed Voyager, though I have yet to (and I have no idea why) watch the final episodes. Deep Space 9 was ok. Not bad, but it didn't grab me, and Enterprise, I wanted to like, and for the most part did, but it was let down by not enough drive from the producers.
Either way, there was plenty to fill my Trekking time. Also, we had the films.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture was amazing. I so loved that film. I was elated when they made an actual movie of the series. I enjoyed all the original movies, to be honest, with The Voyage Home being, probably, my favourite. But then, horror upon horrors, they made a PREQUEL!
I don't know if I was ready. I think I figured they were going to be sort of cashing in on the name. It wouldn't be that good. I could hope, but I think I expected to not really like it.
That shows what I know.
I'd been a fan of Zachary Quinto from his Heroes days, and love him in American Horror Story (both seasons). I wondered how he'd fit into the role of my favourite Vulcan. Extremely well, as it happens. The first of the new Star Trek films was excellent, as far as I'm concerned. Exciting, well plotted and full of life. I wasn't sure of the hot-headed young Kirk at first, but I quickly warmed to him. As for the also young Sulu and Chekov, they're very well written and cast. Chekov is hilarious!
So, it worked. A big thumbs up.
Then, oh my gosh! They were bringing out a sequel with none other than Benedict Cumberbatch!
I honestly couldn't wait. I am desperate for the return of Sherlock, which was my first introduction to Mr. Cumberbatch. His portrayal of the seminal detective grabbed me by the bits and didn't let go. The way the show was done all together was sooo good. If you haven't seen either of the two series, it's a definite must see. Moriarty was brilliant and Martin Freeman as Watson was a delight. I quite like Elementary, but Sherlock is something else!
So, Benedict Cumberbatch as the bad guy? Bring it on!
And what a bad guy? Khan, no less!
Star Trek: Into Darkness is great. Really, a fab film. It brings the Star Trek franchise quite firmly up to date. Plenty of meat and a bit of gristle thrown in for good measure. There's excitement, pathos, humour (you've got to love the ever fine Simon Pegg as Scotty) and lot's more.
I saw the 2D version of the film, but I'm told the 3D effects were excellent. If you're going to make a movie in 3D, give us something to make us glad we sat there with silly glasses on. I was so disappointed with Wrath of the Titans (for many reasons but...) when, at the climactic explosion at the end, it cut to the base camp. Where were the bits of god thrown in our faces, hmmm? One of the reasons the effects in Star Trek (3D, I'm talking about) worked so well is because of the dark, spacey background. Nothing to detract from the object in the foreground. I didn't see, so I don't know, but it appears the 3D was used to good effect. That's what we want. Make us duck out of the way. Make us want to reach out. Don't just give it a bit of depth, as wearing those glasses detracts from the colour and essence of the film - we need something to compensate.
I'm not entirely sure of the romance between Uhura and Spock. I don't remember that from the original series, but hey-ho-daddy-oh. I don't mind. It gives for some interesting dilemmas for Spock. Otherwise, Star Trek: Into Darkness is a definite hit. If you’re not a Star Trek fan, don’t let that put you off. There’s a great deal more to this film than the name.
I wonder if they'll bring the Borg to a third instalment. That'd be good. I still, occasionally, tell people that 'Resistance if futile'. Some even know what I mean.
Oh, one thing. I so wanted Kirk - or better yet, Spock - to, when wondering where they'd go for the start of their 5 year journey, say: "First star on the right, and straight on till morning."
Live longer and prosper, people.