Monday, August 30, 2010

Star Trekking with Cherie

WADL 38 here in Detroit recently ran a "Star Trek" Marathon -- 15 original series episodes over five days.

Watching some of these "viewer favorites" lead me to think about my own favorite episodes; "Star Trek's" creator, the late Gene Roddenberry; and feminism.

Although I would not personally peg Roddenberry as a feminist, he was a brilliant writer with a vivid imagination and the fire to pursue his dream.

He told classic stories with timeless themes. They play as fresh today as when they were written over 40 years ago.

Showing great insight into the human condition, Roddenberry explored racism, ethnocentrism, conflict, power, and patriarchy.

Roddenberry also made the series timeless by creating the "star date" instead of framing it within the Gregorian calendar. The episodes could be anywhere in time.

Much content analysis -- both positive and negative -- has been done regarding the female characters of "Star Trek," .

Perhaps the future isn't all that different from the present. Although humankind is technically advanced, many of the same sexist attitudes and portrayals are still in place. Sound familiar?

Or, maybe this was one of the clever devices used by Roddenberry to express a challenge for change that requires constant checking of our thoughts and attitudes.

Here are my top five favorite episodes, in no particular order, so you can enjoy a mini-marathon anytime -- courtesy of hulu.

Turnabout Intruder A former flame takes over Captain Kirk's body and places his essence in her own. How many female stereotypes can you count here?

The Squire of Gothos Kirk and company become the playmates of a super being who isn't exactly what he appears to be.

Space Seed One of the most famous episodes -- the prelude to the movie "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." William Shatner was intensely jealous of the late Ricardo Montalban -- or, for that matter, any male costar who threatened his place in the patriarchal pecking order.

Plato's Stepchildren. Features the famous interracial kiss. A boundary-pushing Roddenberry first.

Arena This episode teaches an important, timeless lesson in humanity on so many levels. Amazing. It also features one of my favorite extraterrestrials -- the Gorn.

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