Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Star Trek Conspiracy

As I watch television "push the envelope" of public morals into the gutter, I sometimes wonder if it is not merely a quest for profits, but an agenda. Television appeals to the publics' lowest common denominator, and as such reduces that quantity each year. Sure, some of it is simply a way to get ratings by being more shocking and outrageous (far easier than having talent) than the next person, but plenty of evidence exists that all things being equal, the networks are more comfortable with shows that make middle Americans who still retain a sense of decorum and morality less comfortable.

Nationally known movie critic Micheal Medved once penned a book called "Hollywood vs. America" in which he delivered convincing proof that the studios were not delivering R rated movies because the market demanded it, but because the Hollywood subculture's idea of "art" was stuff that shocked and upset middle America. He showed that the lower rated a movie, the more money it made on average. Yet for years after his book, Hollywood continued to churn out more R movies than G movies. Some have since then caught on.

What has this to do with Star Trek? Actors in this cult classic series have long complained that NBC never gave the show a fair shot. It only got a second season because of an unprecedented letter-writing campaign from the shows' fans. Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) said this in her memoirs, "While NBC paid lip service to expanding Star Trek's audience, it [now] slashed our production budget until it was actually ten percent lower than it had been in our first season....This is why in the third season you saw fewer outdoor location shots, for example. Top writers, top guest stars, top anything you needed was harder to come by. Thus, Star Trek's demise became a self-fulfilling prophecy. And I can assure you, that is exactly as it was meant to be."

In addition, NBC moved the show to the "Friday Night Death Slot", the graveyard of television shows. That probably finished it after a mere three seasons. Despite its short run as a TV show, it inspired six major films. It also inspired a number of spin-off shows, all of which were pale shadows of the original series and all of which did not share the same view of the universe as Star Trek.

While many have tried to spin Star Trek, the Original Series, as anti-Judeo-Christian, the evidence is otherwise. In the 2nd Pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before" a crewman begins to develop God-like powers. Some characters argued that it was a good thing, that they were on the verge of a new and better homo sapiens, but the clear lesson of the show was that humans are failed moral creatures who cannot be trusted with such power. Such a message is definitely at odds with the "find the god within you" advice of our dumbed-down moral climate. And that climate was amongst the upper crust in the arts crowd long before it trickled down to Oprah.

That theme was not restricted to that single episode, but the series contained material even more unacceptable to the secular left.... In "Bread and Circuses" the crew of the Enterprise found a planet which was like Earth except that the Roman Empire survived into the 20th century. The show ended with Uhura telling Kirk that the "good guys" being persecuted were not Sun Worshippers, as they supposed, but SON worshippers, as in the Son of God. That was not the way radical secularists wanted Sci-Fi to go. Especially objectionable- people loved the show and it also had many values that the left approved of, such as racial equality. Some folks liked that message, they just did not like that message in a package that contained a lot of other rules about their personal behavior.

So like many of the original cast, I hold to the theory that NBC execs wanted the show gone, even if it was replaced with souless-spin offs later. They never expound on WHY the execs would want a hit show to go under, but I have a conspiracy theory which I hope to enjoy floating. I suspect the reason for this was, in part, that the show supported many traditional Jewish and Christian values, and that was not acceptable to entertainment people in the late 1960s.


Blogger Grand Intellect said...

Anybody can see that NBC hates success, they consistently rank 4th and 5th in the ratings. They give the finger to the American public on a regular basis. They would be dead already if they weren't owned by GE\Universal.

11:55 AM, June 12, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you seriously writing articles about Star Trek now? I thought this was Arkansas Watch. At least it no longer pretends to have any relevance.

4:33 PM, June 16, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If that's the extent of your contribution to the topic, I invite you to buzz off and annoy others elsewhere.

Regular readers of this site know that AW routinely covers things not directly related to Arkansas.

4:55 PM, June 16, 2008  

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