Arriving early at the IMAX for opening Thursday’s second show gave me half an hour in the theater to watch the patrons; everywhere was life imitating art. In the nearly 43 years since the franchise premiered on NBC at the start of the 1966 television season, the audience is almost an embodiment of the predictions in Gene Roddenberry’s mind when he first proposed the series nearly 50 years ago.
As we waited, we talked about our expectations with our communicators flipped open. We all had them. and they’re more full featured that the first predictive models. Some of us twittered and texted, others checked news. Still others watched video that had more inherent resolution in the palms of their hands than the original transmission of the first Star Trek episodes.
Video, which offered so little quality that 60s television was produced on film and converted to television at the last minute, has changed places with film. Today, if film is even used for acquisition, it is converted to video for special effects work, and then converted back to support the legacy projection systems that still use it.
More important (POTENTIAL SPOILER AHEAD) the plot requires of the audience an understanding of time-space concepts that Star Trek helped many of us to understand.
The intervening years have expanded our knowledge of these concepts and popularized them to a public beyond sci-fi fans.
The cell phone is boon to nearly everyone except scriptwriters. Its dealt a lethal blow to any script with an O. Henry twist that one party doesn’t know a fact that another party would instantly communicate, if only they had the means to.
You either need a bit of business to disable the cell phone, or recast it as a period piece. This is a problem Star Trek has always had to deal with.
By including characters that exist multiply because of space-time manipulation, today’s Star Trek writers have a rich new vein to mine for a franchise that started when I was a teenager but with this brilliant rebirth will almost certainly outlive me.
We’re not traveling space, but if we’d had the right administrations for the last three decades we well might be. I know that audience was ready. They’d already adopted everything they could get their hands on, and that’s driven life to imitate art in a most wonderful way.