01 January 2009

To Boldly Go...

The spouse and I saw out 2008 in the best possible way: Wednesday we took a trip to the Arizona Science Center to see "Star Trek: The Exhibition" purporting to be "the world’s most comprehensive collection of authentic Star Trek ships, sets, costumes and props from all five series and ten films."

Yeh, okay, I'll give them that.

For $20 we got to walk around and look at original costumes, props and ship models. We also got to see a lot of recreated props, make ups, ships and sets that came off more as creepy than fascinating.

A lot of effort has gone into gathering all these things into one place, but really it seems more like a tired old display of the personal collection from some fiftysomething fanboy. Many of the plastic screens protecting the objects were chipped and cracked, the domes covering authentic props were so filthy inside that it was hard to see through. The Federation of the 23rd century will be a dingy and poorly kept place if this exhibition is any indication.

While it was neat to see the original costumes and read up on the origins of the original series ("Let's make it a 'Wagon Train' to the stars!") the collection on a whole seemed spotty at best, aimed less at the aficionado and more at the casual "Star Trek" viewer ("You mean William Shatner did something before "Boston Legal"?).

It was neat having the entire "Star Trek" universe laid out in chronological order -- although the only two series I ever watched were the original show (when it originally aired, thank you very much) and "The Next Generation" so a lot of what else happened in that universe meant nothing to me -- as well as the section that showed the chronology of ships called "Enterprise."

What it could have used was a little more focus on the original show. I mean, seriously, it started the whole thing. So what if it was not a huge ratings hit when it first aired in the 1960s? It is the wellspring from which everything else sprang. Instead of photographs of the cool matte paintings done for the original series (pictured) why not the original art itself? This was all done in the days before CGI and digital video. It was done BY HAND, for crying out loud, yet the best homage they can give to it is a photograph? Sigh.

After, we went to Pei Wei and had a really great Asian lunch, although I think the cap fell off the jar of spice as my Pei Wei Spicy was WAY too spicy.

You can read more about the Arizona Science Center exhibition here.

The next stop for the tour is Detroit, although it says it opens there in February while the posters at the Science Center said it was running here through May. Maybe they will achieve that duality through some kind of space / time continuum.

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