Trekathon: All Good Things

May 18th, 2013

738 movies or episodes down.

(Memory Alpha says 728, but I count five of the two-part episodes in their syndication versions, not their original aired versions).

What did I learn from all that?

First, I became a Star Trek fan. Before I did this I was just someone who liked Star Trek. But after watching the whole thing I found I liked it a lot more than I thought I did, and liked it in a broad way. I learned to appreciate The Next Generation and The Original Series a lot more than I did before, I found flaws in Deep Space 9 that I hadn’t appreciated, and I even found some things to like in Voyager. Enterprise was the genuine surprise – I was expecting bad, I got (for the most part) good.

Secondly, I found out that there’s a lot more to being ‘Trek’ than I thought. When reading the books about Star Trek I used to find the Roddenberry philosophy stuff a bit annoying and pretentious. But having watched the whole thing, I can now see there’s a core to what it means to be Star Trek present in that philosophy. As I mentioned before, it’s most obvious when it’s missing, as in the first Abrams Star Trek, or Season 3 of Enterprise.

Thirdly, I had a good history lesson in TV. With Star Trek stretching over nearly 50 years of TV history, the changes are interesting, and tell you a lot about what’s going on with the people who run TV networks.

To finish things up, a few more lists.

First, the classic episodes. My own notes put 65 episodes down as great or better, but there are 16 that stand out for me.

Next Generation:

  • Yesterday’s Enterprise
  • The Best of Both Worlds
  • Darmok
  • Cause and Effect
  • The Inner Light
  • Chain of Command, Part II
  • Frame of Mind
  • Parallels
  • All Good Things… (I)
  • All Good Things… (II)

Deep Space Nine:

  • Duet
  • The Wire
  • The Visitor
  • Hard Time
  • Trials and Trbbleations

Enterprise:

  • In A Mirror Darkly, Part I

(Yes, no Original Series – there’s a lot of great episodes, but nothing that quite makes it to this level).

There were about 30 writers with more than 10 credits on Star Trek. So now we have the top 6 and bottom 6 writers:

Top 6:

  • Peter Allan Fields (16 credits) – The Inner Light.
  • René Echevarria (43 credits) – Lower Decks, I, Borg, Trials and Tribble-ations.
  • Ronald D. Moore (64 credits) – Yesterday’s Enterprise, Trials and Tribble-ations.
  • Chris Black (13 credits) – Countdown, Proving Ground
  • Michael Piller (44 credits) – The Best of Both Worlds
  • Robert Hewitt Wolfe (40 credits) – The Wire, Had Time

Bottom 6:

  • DC Fontana (19 credits) – This Way to Eden
  • Lisa Klink (15 credits) – Favorite Son
  • Gene Roddenberry (17 credits) – Datalore, Mudd’s Women
  • Maurice Hurley (12 credits) – Shades of Grey
  • Raf Green (11 credits) – Virtuoso
  • Hans Beimler (37 credits) – What You Leave Behind, His Way

This isn’t a totally fair picture, of course – not very much separates Robert Wolfe from DC Fontana. The main reason Hans Beimler comes in absolute last place is my deep and abiding hatred of Vic Fontaine. And almost all of the most prolific (30 plus credits) writers have at least one stinker and one great to their name.

Poor old Gene gets the hardest rap from this – he was a great series creator, but the episodes he wrote himself just weren’t that great.

That was 32,792 minutes – or 546 and a half hours, or just short of 23 days. Of which, by the way, around 1,817 minutes was the opening and closing credits (1 and a quarter days).

I’ve written 117,327 words on this whole thing, or about twice as many words as there are in an average novel.

And that’s it. Well, there’s still a few more things to do. There are about a dozen non-Trek things I want to review specifically in terms of the influence that Trek has had on them. And after that, well, maybe some more normal blogging for a year or two at least.

But for now, Live Long and Prosper.