The upcoming statement isnâ€™t exactly going to set the internet on fire, but here goes: Iâ€™ve got a bit of a beef with Harlan Ellison, namely for his oft-crowed, dependably nerd-enraging assertion that the OG Star Trek series was nothing more than a â€œcop show in space.â€ Although said statement does serve to nicely deflate the pomposity that has grown around the franchiseâ€™s later incarnations, it also dismisses the very factor that made the concept so memorable for a casual fan such as myself; namely that earnest essence of parable-rich weirdness which went far beyond the cardboard sets and aliens with Russian accents. Computers being talked to death, OK Corrals in space, evil designated by goatees: these are the things that linger past the phasers and prime directives.
Star Trek, director J.J. Abramsâ€™ much-ballyhooed attempt at giving the ravaged franchise a reboot, doesnâ€™t exactly prove Harlan right, but it doesnâ€™t really go out of its way to find new frontiers, either. Although undeniably a lot of fun — along with his standard snappy patter, TV vet Abramsâ€™ command of both pacing and big screen environs has grown visibly since Mission: Impossible 3 — the final impression is of a slightly self-conscious undertaking kept so busy appeasing both nervous hardcores (Kirk still likes green chicks!) and newbies alike (but he also misses his father, in easily recognizable blockbuster fashion!) that it never quite manages to blaze its own trail.