January 31, 2013

Star Trek Viewing Order, Or The Trouble With Tribbles

It's taken a while, but I think the debate has been won for the optimum viewing order of Star Wars: it's Rod Hilton's "Machete Order", IV, V, II, III [as flashback, explaining Darth's reveal, but also leaving it hanging as long as narratively possible] and VI, and tossing Ep. I entirely.

[Technically, Machete Order is only the 2nd best way to introduce your kid to Star Wars; the No. 1 All Time Best is to blow the whole commercialist merchandising Disney Death Star to smithereens by starting with the XBox Kinect Star Wars Galactic Dance Contest]


But what I don't hear, and have never heard, is the best way to introduce your kid to Star Trek. For us, it turned out to be a collector's set of Pez dispensers from Star Trek: The Next Generation which the kid got as a Christmas gift. Tasty fun, but missing a lot of context.

In the absence of any discussion, then, I assumed the place to start would be, Star Wars-style, at the beginning, with Star Trek: The Original Series. And what better for a little kid, right? than "The Trouble With Tribbles"?


So K2 and I got the DVD at the library and sat down to watch it tonight. I guess she liked it well enough, but I am sorry, what a freakshow. On so many levels.

I mean, it seems impossible to imagine discovering Star Trek without Captain Kirk, but he is a total tool. Chekhov and Scotty are both hard for a kid to understand. Spock just seems pissed; McCoy is constantly on the edge, and the women, oh, brother. The mute waitresses in the bar on the Tribble space station were actually wearing little Playboy Bunny-style fairy costumes.

Then the particular Best of TOS DVD we borrowed had four episodes, but one is a 1930s time travel stunt; another is some massacre or other, and the last one is Spock's mating ritual. No way I'm gonna try to explain all that, just to stay faithful to some ridiculous stardate chronology.

PLUS, ST:TOS seems to suffer from the same digital "enhancements" that have ruined Star Wars. The hokey but original model space ships and planets have all been replaced by CG, which seems totally unnecessary.

It all makes me wonder if the entire original TV series is not the Star Trek equivalent of Phantom Menace: completely expendable. Just start with the Star Trek movies. But then what do you do with Khan, who is scary, or the whales, which, what??

Or is it The Next Generation, which, let's face it, is aging pretty rapidly itself? But at least it's all TV-grade content, which might be slightly easier than movies for kids to process. And they do have the Pez heads, which are having their own adventures as I type.


You have to skip Khan because of the whole brain earwig scene, that will scar you for life. Most of the rest of the movies were pretty awesome in 1986 or whatever, but kind of suck now.

TOS is only good if you're hungover. The first couple seasons of TNG are mostly terrible. VOY is completely terrible. DS9 is good, but is going to be about as interesting as CSPAN to a little kid.

And I say all that as a huge ST fan. It's hard to explain what I like about it, because for the most part it's just not that good.

I say wait a few years and go straight to a marathon session of rebooted BSG.

Be careful with those BSG reboot marathons, though...

Be careful with those BSG reboot marathons, though...

For Star Wars, I prefer the Ford Order: IV, V, Raiders of the Lost Ark, VI, The Muppet Show (Season 4, Episode 17)

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