I had a bit of an incident yesterday, so to be safe and look after myself I decided to stay in the couch and mindlessly watch Netflix. I accidentally caught up with the mindless sitcom I had been watching and found myself at a loss – until I realised all of Star Trek: The Original Series is on there.
I didn’t get into sci-fi at all until I was in my late twenties. Aside from a Robert A Heinlein book sci-fi wasn’t really anything that existed in my household growing up and when you don’t grow up with it, it can be difficult to find a way in. I watched Star Wars when I was 25 and I caught a couple of episodes of Star Trek Voyager on the TV when I was in my teens, but I never really fell for anything until I started watching TOS. I don’t know if it’s the campy acting, the bad special effects or all above that got me hooked, but I’m in it for life now.
One thing I noticed in rewatching the first episode (not counting the weird pilot) is how inclusive it is for being a show that’s this old. In the first episode alone you get women in speaking parts who aren’t love interests. You have an asian in a speaking part, you have two black actors in speaking parts who talk in swahili with each other, you have an off-hand mention of a person of Mexican heritage. I’m not saying that ST:ToS doesn’t have problems of its own, because boy does it ever, but all in all that’s still pretty impressive for a show from the 60s. They tried, you know? And in trying, they showed that representation does make a difference. Compared to some modern mainstream shows, ST:ToS really is something extraordinary.