The 1960s Star Trek was the series that I grew up on. I was a Star Trek fan before Star Wars ever made it to the movie theatre. I knew that I had a nostalgic connection to Star Trek but I wasn’t sure how it would hold up fifty years after the episodes first aired.
Thanks to Netflix, I recently was able to rewatch Star Trek: The Next Generation. Having finished that, I moved on to Deep Space Nine. I got a few episodes into it and really wasn’t enjoying it. The same feeling I had when Deep Space Nine first aired. But Netflix had another option for me: the original Star Trek.
I just finished watching the first season and I will say that I think the original series holds up very well to anything today and definitely to any of the succeeding Star Trek series. Yes there are cheesy moments and some of the special effects are not great, but overall it is a great series.
William Shatner’s acting sometimes gets made fun of but in the context of Star Trek and paired with Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, it works well. One of the strengths of this series is the chemistry between the actors. One piece of trivia: Chekov does not appear at all in the first season and Sulu is probably in about half the episodes.
The storylines are thought provoking, digging into issues of life, humanity, war and peace. There is one episode where there are two planets at war but their battles are by computer, destroying no physical structures, but requiring citizens to show up to suicide chambers. They tried to fight a deadly war without experiencing the horrors, leading to a cheapening of life.
Two of my favourite episodes in this season were The Balance of Terror and The City on the Edge of Forever. It was in this season that the Romulans and Klingons were introduced. Much of the later Star Trek mythology has its origins in this season. There is even a character very much like Q from the Next Generation.
If it has been a while or if you have never watched them, I encourage you to check out the original Star Trek.