Sunday, August 25, 2013

Science Fiction Non-Fiction: John D. F. Black (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

"I'm absolutely convinced that it can work, but I will not commit that I believe it will work.  Only the audience knows what it will go for.  They will either buy The Next Generation, or they won't.  They will either accept it because it's hooked onto the old Star Trek and is moving forward into a new dimension or they will say, 'There's no Kirk!'." 
-Writer John D.F. Black who penned The Naked Time for Star Trek: The Original Series on Star Trek: The Next Generation for which he, logically, co-penned The Naked Now (Starlog #119, p.12).

I've spent a good deal of time researching information regarding the inaugural launch of Star Trek: The Next Generation via Starlog Magazine and other sources.  It's incredible to me how many people thought ST:TNG would fail.  It didn't have a prayer or at least many involved previously with ST:TOS were indeed dubious - not Black, but many. Perhaps it was a bit of possessiveness over the original and the personal stake many of the former players had who were involved with the growing legacy of that classic original. There are many reasons and variables to be sure, but it was interesting to see how many people didn't believe in it and would ultimately be proven wrong.

I can't say I wouldn't have felt the same way especially based on seeing those first episodes of ST:TNG Season One.  I certainly didn't feel the flavor of the beloved classic in those installments.  But somewhere along the way that started to change.  Episodes began to capture the essence of the original series and honor it, but more importantly began to feel like a vibrant and entirely original Star Trek beast of its own.  It's taking some time to discover them, but the legacy does live on and sometimes you can seen where Star Trek: The Next Generation gets it right and where its going on the strength of its own unique path.  Rather than feeling like the series is all wrong, it begins to feel entirely right and original in its own way.  I suppose if it hadn't coalesced around this dynamic cast with better writing perhaps it might have been doomed.

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