In the introduction to his book "The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic Trekkers", Phil Farrand makes the following observations:
In my travels, I've come across an interesting attitude towards the original Star Trek. I've found that many fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation view the original series like the crazy old uncle that no one wants to talk about at the family reunion. That's unfortunate, because you can't really understand NextGen unless you go back to its beginnings.
There is really good work here. There really is a good reason this series has survived for almost four decades. Once you get past the less polished sets and cheap-looking effects, you find great stories performed by talented actors.
It really was a miracle that Star Trek ever got on the air in the first place. When you recall the TV landscape of the mid-1960's you had westerns, comedies, westerns, variety shows, westerns, cold war spy shows and westerns. There was nothing even remotely like Star Trek
on the air (with the possible exception of Batman)
and that includes Lost in Space,
which despite its claim to be "family" science fiction was actually a children's show.
By 1987, the groundwork had already been laid for a new series. Because of the series' history through TOS, TAS
and the movies, TNG
should have been better than it was. But it too found its footing eventually. But without TOS
there would have been no spin-offs or movies, and by protracted thought, probably no Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Farscape,
and so on. I really believe that. Even if those shows had managed to exist without TOS
they would have been very, very different. If Star Trek
took its inspiration from Forbidden Planet
, then those other shows were a logical extension.
Was TOS heavy-handed in its delivery of morality plays? Sometimes. Was it corny or over-acted? Occasionally. Were the sets, costumes and effects sometimes inferior? Certainly. But TOS had the advantage of being there first, and of being interesting.
Even the "dogs" (Spock's Brain, The Way to Eden,
etc.) at least had good storylines. Who knows, with a little more time and polish and a few re-writes, Spock's Brain
might have been one of TOS' best stories. A better title would definitely have helped!
My original point is, TOS must
be viewed through 1960s eyes in order to be appreciated.