Thursday, 28 September 2017

30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation



Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered on US television 30 years ago today! A seminal series foreshadowing technology we now use on a daily basis. From touchscreens to voice assistants...

I wouldn't see Encounter at Farpoint until the following summer and become a fully-fledged fan until after Doctor Who was cancelled in 1989. Star Trek: The Next Generation filled a void vacated by timey-wimey adventures and I had a teenage crush on Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) who vied for poster space with actresses Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder.

Avidly read Marvel UK's official magazine, which republished DC Comics' strips and Starlog articles. When the magazine folded in 1992, I switched to the defunct Starlog magazine. Collected Playmates' action figures and accessories and amassed Galoob's Micro Machines as an undergraduate. Playmates' electronic USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D still has pride of place in my collection.

It's worth noting I attended my first ever comic con in 1996 at university. The highlight was an informative Q&A with Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) model maker Chris Boyd. He talked fondly of meeting the late Leonard Nimoy at Forbidden Planet and shared an amusing anecdote involving Marina Sirtis on the set of Star Trek: Generations. She allegedly suffered from serious 'gas' following a restaurant meal and...

Later in the Q&A the subject of the Star Wars prequels arose. Boyd confirmed that the title was Shadows of the Empire! The assembled throng raved. However, knowing that this was not the case, having read an article in Edge magazine, I pointed out that Shadows of the Empire was a multi-platform marketing project centered on the launch of Nintendo's upcoming 64-bit games console known at the time as the Ultra 64. My comments were met with derision. History would suggest otherwise.

Star Trek: The Next Generation first-run episodes switched from BBC2 to Sky 1 and was the first series I binge-viewed thanks to a friend stockpiling episodes on VHS whilst I was away studying for a degree in Media Production.

Star Trek would see further television spin-offs including Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. However, none of them would capture my imagination the way The Next Generation did until Discovery, which premiered this week on CBS All Access and Netflix outside the US.

This evening I'm going to watch Yesterday's Enterprise, The Dauphin and The Best of Both Worlds Pt I & II on Netflix. Incidentally, CBS commissioned digitally remastered episodes of the entire seven seasons and the results are spectacular. It's like watching a brand new series in high-definition with Dolby Digital Plus surround sound.

You can buy the S1-7 boxset on Blu-ray disc from Amazon.

What are your memories? Let me know in the comments below.