Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Star Trek: Dramatic Conclusions

by William S. Kowinski

Previously on Soul of Star Trek: When we watch Star Trek, we experience all aspects of it simultaneously. But when we try to explain what Star Trek essentially is, we can try to define each element, so we can appreciate what that element contributes to the whole.

In this mini-series about the soul of Star Trek, we began with a statement about its nature and its importance: that Star Trek is the best known contemporary vision of the future.

We considered the importance of views and visions of the future, particularly in the industrial age and in recent American history, and then specifically in the years when the original Star Trek series was being created and became popular. Why did Star Trek succeed as a vision of the future, when so many other visions didn't?

We looked for our first set of answers in terms of structure. We looked at Star Trek as a more complete vision of the future because it employs the fullness, humanity and complexity of story. Star Trek brings us into its future by telling stories of adventure. We looked at Star Trek as mythology, and saw that allegory was a tool for relating the future to the present.

So as we proceed to other structural elements and descriptions---Star Trek as drama, as television, and as science fiction---we enrich each new element with what we carry with us from earlier explorations. How is this vision of the future expressed? As story. What kind of story? Adventure, extended and raised to a mythology of the future, employing allegory as a way of giving us a perspective on our present and simultaneously portraying a possible future we'd like to live in.

But in a very real way, for the minutes we are watching, we are living in the Star Trek future. How does that happen? Why do we want to live there, and return there, and make that future our own?

And now, the conclusion...

No comments: