Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by ZapBrannigan, Sep 3, 2013.
We didn't have such illusions in the good old days.
The problem I have with this view is that unlike the past when I had to rely strictly on memory or when a network would choose to rerun an episode or film on television I can now revisit whatever I want whenever I want. I can watch an old film back-to-back with a new one or an old series episode back-to-back with a current rebooted film. I can compare the two right then and there and not have to rely simply on nostaligia tinted memory.
Well, in some cases, yes. In others, though, the originals simply aren't available. It's easy to claim, for example, that Star Trek was the only show on television discussing serious issues in the '60s when (for example) The Defenders is nonexistent on home video.
But that's not really the same as a series rebooted for a newer version and not being able to compare the original and reboot side-by-side. It's also easier to see how much something has dated (as well as our expanded perceptions with added experience acquired over the years) if we don't have to rely strictly on memory.
But to your point it's hard to make a case for other shows doing similar things as TOS when those other shows are largely forgotten and (as you said) not even available on video. And no matter how excellent another work was if it failed to make a mark on the collective consciousness of the audience back then it likely won't make much of an impression if it's raised in discussion decades later.
Granted, it isn't the same, but I think it adequately demonstrates how much of our sense of media history is informed by our hazy and often nostalgic memories rather than the immediacy of being able to re-watch everything. For properties that are remade, it makes sense that the originals are available, since the new version represents free advertising for the older works. Much of the rest of media simply isn't available like that, though.
If you're going to dismiss The Defenders and comparable programs because they "failed to make a mark on the collective consciousness of the audience" like Star Trek has, you won't have much to talk about. (At the time it was on, The Defenders was Emmy-nominated four years in a row, and peaked at #18 in the Nielsen ratings. I'd call that a mark.)
But it's not just about memory of the facts. The brain constructs narratives to make sense of the world, and we have a bias toward constructing consistent ones. The more time we have to mull over something, whether it's a TV show or a personal memory, the more time we have to revise the narratives we construct to explain it to ourselves, and the more excuses we come up with to rationalize or forgive things that would stand out more jarringly if the experience were new. It's like relationships -- we learn to excuse and even enjoy the quirks of our friends or loved ones that annoyed or even offended us initially, because we train our brains to find them more acceptable -- we revise our narratives about those people and the reasons for their behavior, because we want those narratives to fit a consistent model of "person I like." By the same token, as I said, we learn to forgive things about the old, familiar Trek that we're unforgiving of in something new. We see them differently because we're applying different narrative constructs to them.
Uh, no. I can look at things I liked as a kid (LIS) and nostalgia isn't colouring what I can see now. And I can cite other examples as well. But while I can see what I might have missed when watching TOS when I was younger my now adult perspective can appreciate more all the good things it did. I can appreciate it even while seeing its missteps because the good far outweighs the bad. Nostalgia wouldn't be enough if there wasn't a substantial measure of quality to begin with.
And when I can put "The Corbomite Maneuver" or "Balance Of Terror" or "The Doomsday Machine" or the majority of the 79 episodes side-by-side with a contemporary reboot even with the disparity of forty years difference in production standards between then and now then I can call garbage when I smell it. I can compare the writing and plot and conceptualizing and world building and characterization and a whole host of things side-by-side and clearly see the difference.
I really like Batman and Christopher Nolan clearly diverged from how things had been done before. And while I don't agree with everything he did he got more right than wrong in my eyes. I really like James Bond and I think Daniel Craig is mostly giving me a character I like over what we've been getting for decades.
There are things I think are clearly being done better than they were before and others that are really lacking in comparison to what has been done before.
I like "The Anti-Matter Man" simply because it gives Guy Williams a chance to be a major part in the story and to play two roles.
I'm sure Mr. Williams liked it for the same reason...
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