Chronological rewatch from a historical perspective

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Turtletrekker, Sep 9, 2021.

  1. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    I recently decided to take up the task of re-watching Star Trek in chronological order and try to look at it from the perspective of someone who was starting right at the beginning chronologically. To note what would be the first appearance of a character or species or idea from the perspective of the Star Trek timeline and not through production order. To do this I had to separate my perspective as a lifelong fan who remembers when Kirk was the only captain and do away with certain preconceptions of what Star Trek Should be and simply accept the events as they come. In other words, to do away with the notion of certain things violating established canon and simply accept them as canon as they occur.

    However, with over eight hundred entries in the established canon, I decided that I wasn't going to force myself to watch every single bit of it. The time it would take alone is an overwhelming factor. I know that there are episodes in every series that I have no particular desire to revisit, and if they don't add to the history of the franchise, if they were only log entry missions of the week style adventures, I felt justified in giving it a pass.

    So, of course, I started in the middle.

    Despite being the 441st entry and the 8th movie overall, Star Trek First Contact is also legitimately the beginning of the story, so an in media res opening is appropriate.

    The story introduces the newcomer to the three species that are arguably the most important, Humans, Vulcans and Klingons. It shows the pivotal moment in which humanity took its first step towards its larger place in the galaxy. It also states right out in the dialogue what the Star Trek mission statement is and gives our theoretical newcomer an idea of what is to come. it's also a rip-roaring adventure. A Fine Place to Start.

    The first thing I want to say about Star Trek Enterprise is that I actually only went through seasons 1, 2 and 4. I felt that my "pick and choose" approach would not do the Xindi arc appropriate justice, so I made the vow to come back and revisit it once I have finished with my larger project.

    That leaves out 25 episodes and out of the 73 remaining I watched... 41. However, aside from the xindi arc which I plan on revisiting, there are several episodes that I plan to go back and revisit. For instance, I skipped Oasis in season 1 because it was pretty much a beat for beat rehash of Deep Space Nine's far superior Shadowplay. I skipped the In a Mirror Darkly duology and I plan to revisit them after I watch Mirror Mirror. I think by the time I'm done with all of this and finally watch season 3, I will have watched around 70 of the 98 episodes, Which is actually about what I originally suspected I would watch.

    As far as our theoretical first time watcher goes, the show does a solid job of establishing the species and politics of the region and establishing the alliances that would one day form the United Federation of Planets. I like how the Romulans were depicted as unseen aggressors attempting to destabilize the region.

    In my youth, obsessed with my own notion of what I believe Star Trek was, I could not accept such things as the militaristic an aggressive Vulcans, or Romulans who seemingly had cloaks 100 years early before Spock said that such a thing had never been seen before.

    But seen in the context of a first-timer, these things are story progressions rather than canon violations. By the time the story ends, Vulcans are on the peaceful, logical path where we find them in future shows. I even give the apparent Romulan cloaks in Minefield a pass. I consider the so-called cloaks we saw in Minefield and the actual cloaks that we saw in Balance of Terror to be two different types of technology. Until definitively established otherwise, I assume that the cloaks we saw in Minefield are more closely related to holographic cloaking technology that the Romulan vessels were equipped with in their season 4 arc. An illusion of invisibility rather than the real thing.

    By the time we reach These Are the Voyages (I fast-forwarded every part of the episode where either Riker and Troi spoke in order to make it feel more chronological). The only real gap in our theoretical first-timers historical knowledge would be the Romulan War. Well first-timer, welcome to the club. Even the Eugenics Wars were given a verbal rundown In the Augments arc, which was unique in that it calls back to both past events and calls forward to characters yet to come. At least Enterprise did a competent job in depicting the Romulans as an unseen aggressor attempting to destabilize the region. Even if we don't see the actual war, our first timer gets a good look at how the Romulans did things back then and establishes them as a threat moving forward.

    Our first-timer can now move on and watch certain things for the first time with perspective that many of us did not have the first time we watched these episodes. I think it would be neat to be watching the original series for the first time and hear Colonel Green mentioned and say, "hey I know who that is!" Or to meet Khan for the first time and realize that this was the man that the Augments were speaking of with reverence. Or to catch up with T'Pau after all those years rather than meet her for the first time in Amok Time.

    Now we move on to Short Treks.

    We have the chronological first appearances of both Michael Burnham and Saru in The Girl Who Made the Stars and The Farthest Star.

    And then comes a big moment for our first time watcher. The introduction of, arguably, the most important character in this entire endeavor. Spock. We will actually see much of his life before this moment through flashback, including his birth, but this is where our newcomer meets him for the first time.

    And as an introduction to Spock, Q and A works quite nicely. Without being overly expository we learn much about Spock. His intelligence, his curiosity, his humanity and how closely his emotions are to the surface at this point in his life. I also love the irony that one of the biggest mysteries in Star Trek 55-year history, Number One's first name, was outright stated in her first chronological appearance. This chronological first appearance of the character segues quite nicely into his real world first appearance in The Cage, which I watched soon after.

    I also watched the Short Treks Ask Not and The Trouble with Edward before The Cage. A nice look at Pike and an origin for the reproductive proclivities of the Tribbles, but not a first appearance as Phlox had a tribble in his menagerie.

    Which brings me to where I am now, about to start Star Trek Discovery. Our first timer would have the benefit of already having met 6 of the major players from the next two seasons. Due to the serialized nature of the show, I am planning to watch the entirety of the first two seasons. After that, of course, chronologically speaking, I won't be seeing Michael and friends for quite some time.

    Anyway, it was while watching Q and A that I realized that I probably should have been taking notes this whole time and decided to share this experience with my fellow Trek fans here. It's been a fascinating way to look at the franchise. It's making me look at stuff that I thought I knew intimately in an all-new way. Have any of you ever tried a chronological watch through? I would appreciate your thoughts on both your efforts and any thoughts about my approach to my rewatch.

    The adventure is just beginning...
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
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  2. Turd Ferguson

    Turd Ferguson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've considered doing a chronological rewatch, but I found the prospect a bit daunting :lol:

    I considered the first thing would be watching Voyager trapped before the Big Bang in Death Wish.

    Then, Q and Picard at the anti-time anomaly on primordial Earth in All Good Things...

    Next would come the 1930s scenes in The City on the Edge of Forever

    1957 Carbon Creek would follow

    Then the 1986 portion of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

    Then 1996 of Future's End

    Carpenter Street in 2004

    Then the Bell Riots of 2024

    Sprinkle in the post-atomic horror courtroom of Encounter at Farpoint before the 2063 portion of Star Trek: First Contact.

    Everything's pretty cut and dry after that. Watch the entirety of Enterprise (but save the Enterprise-J scene and the 30th century wasteland scene for post-Picard, pre-Disco Season 3!) and save These Are the Voyages... for The Pegasus.

    And, that's where my problems start. How would one watch episodes that overlap? If you're watching The Pegasus, when do you watch the Riker on the holodeck scenes? Just before he talks to Picard about Admiral Pressman? How about the Trials and Tribble-ations scenes in context with The Trouble With Tribbles?
     
  3. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    Well, I'm not being quite that literal. Like I said, I consider Q and A to be Spock's first chronological appearance, but we will revisit his youth at no less than three different points in the timeline, including his birth. If I were being as literal as you, then his first appearance would be in Star Trek V.

    Nope, that way lay madness.
     
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  4. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Worf in the 23rd Century Premium Member

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    Slacker. ;)
     
  5. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    The hard part of the chronological watch is 2369-2375.

    I chronologically watched Buffy/Angel and it was hard enough.

    Are you going to watch Living Witness between Pic and Dis S3? How art you handling Timeless, Endgame, Time’s Arrow and Past Tense?
     
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  6. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    Well, if my final estimation of Enterprise episodes holds throughout, then I'll probably watch around 3/4 of the content.
    I intend to keep the Memory Alpha timeline bookmarked.
     
  7. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    I hope you watch Trials and Tribbleations right after Trouble With Tribbles.
     
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  8. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    I'll probably go in the opposite direction-- re-watch "Troubles..." before "Trials..."
     
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  9. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    Time travel gives me a headache. I will largely follow the narrative and the protagonists. In other words, when the narrative travels through time, our theoretical first time watcher travels with it.
     
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  10. The Habs Fan

    The Habs Fan Commodore Commodore

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    Just throwing this out there, but I feel that this site has the best chronological order of every episode and movie: https://startrekviewingguide.com/

    the only change I would personally make in this list is to move the Short Trek episode Runaway to after Saints of Imperfection and before The Sound of Thunder, because I feel it doesn’t fit anywhere else.
     
  11. Kor

    Kor Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Don't forget the 19th century stuff from "Time's Arrow" (parts 1 and 2). And the 1940s in "Little Green Men." And if we are fitting in other planets, then there are the parts of Sarpeidon's past in "All Our Yesterdays," and Kataan a thousand years ago in "The Inner Light." Though maybe that one doesn't count since Picard didn't actually time travel there.

    Kor
     
  12. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    If you really wanted to crank it up to 11, you’d have to start with the Big Bang scene in Death Wish and then the formation of human life on Earth in All Good Things.
     
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  13. Tim Thomason

    Tim Thomason Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I disagree with their placement of Regeneration. We don't need to know anything about where the Borg came from, and it fits better in its proper time to have Archer and co deal with this unknown race.

    Runaway does fit better later on, given Brother takes place immediately after Will You Take My Hand. I would place Escape Artist after Discovery Season 2, to give him some lede time to escape Stella and build robots.
     
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  14. Ianburns252

    Ianburns252 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Just to try and get my head around it - I assume you are starting the chronology from Earth meets an Alien and for the purposes of what you are doing episodes such as Carpenter St, Futures End, Stormfront and the one where Vulcans are in that small town?

    In terms of Trek history and relevance I would suggest that only the one that may or may not (but I'm pretty sure is not) be T'Pol screwing with them and is actually Vulcans first interaction with humans is relevant anyway.
     
  15. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    I wonder what the very 'last' part would be to watch- I'd think that that would be Discovery's 32nd century.

    Or is there some episode/scene where they went to , say, the 123rd century or even millions or billions of years into the future that I've forgotten about?
     
  16. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, Discovery season 3 will be watched last.
     
  17. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    When are you watching Living Witness?
     
  18. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    In between Picard and Discovery season 3.
     
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  19. Tim Thomason

    Tim Thomason Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Calypso appears to be set after Discovery Season 3.

    As for scenes, there is one scene from Lower Decks that is presumably farther in the future from every other series. The last scene from Living Witness also takes place decades or even centuries after the remainder of the episode, and probably postdates Discovery.
     
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  20. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    Moving on to The Vulcan Hello and The Battle of the Binary Stars, our first time viewer might recall that the last time they saw the Klingons (over 100 years, as per dialogue), it was predicted that cranial reconstruction surgery was going to become a big thing in the future. And it would appear that that was correct. Some Klingons apparently went for some very wild cranial reconstructions.

    This is our first time viewer's first real look at the United Federation of Planets, and all the races they would remember from Enterprise are named checked as working together. Humans, Vulcans, Andorians and Tellarites.

    This would be Sarek's first chronological appearance, and our first time viewer is getting a taste of Sarek's family dynamics for the first time. The family of Sarek, of course, will be very important moving forward, although our first-time viewer would not yet be aware of the relationship between these characters and the Vulcan that they met in Q and A. The telepathic communication between Michael and Sarek here is similar to the communications between T'Pol and Trip a century earlier.

    Stepping outside the perspective of a first time viewer for a moment, I think that Michael Burnham will wind up working as a addition to Sarek's family much more smoothly than Sybok will down the line. Perhaps this will be addressed in Strange New Worlds.

    The Klingons here have cloaks just as the Romulans did a century earlier. Our first time viewer is going to be scratching their head when Spock says such technology doesn't exist a little bit down the line.

    Likewise, given the reverence for the dead that T'Kuvma demonstrates here, the attitude of "the body is just a shell do with it as you will" that will be established in Heart Of Glory will be a seeming contradiction, but not an irreconcilable one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2021