By Mike Medeiros
Welcome to the Spirit of Trek, a new column on Priority One Podcast. Each week I will be identifying and celebrating Gene Roddenberry’s vision for humanity by seeking out material on the Internet and within popular culture that embodies the spirit of Star Trek. It was during my recent trip to Las Vegas for Creation Entertainment’s Star Trek Convention; where I encountered people of all ages, from every walk of life, from every part of the world, and from all over the galaxy assembled in one place to celebrate one man’s hope for humanity.
Like many of the attendees, I grew up on Star Trek, whether it was watching it in first run or via its many encore presentations. With its rich history, longevity, and the sheer determination of its fans; Star Trek has even found its way into popular culture, and is rumored to be one of the pillars behind the growth and popularity of the internet. Therefore, I have decided to dedicate this column to celebrate noteworthy examples of Roddenberry’s vision on the Internet and within popular culture and determine how it has started to change us for the better. I hope that you will join me on this journey to discover the reach of Star Trek’s message of peace, cooperation, and friendship as we begin to explore our first strange new world—our own.
For my first article in this series, I’ve decided to talk about Roddenberry’s Mission Log Podcast. I had the pleasure of meeting Rod Roddenberry and hearing him talk about his father, the Roddenberry vision, the documentary Trek Nation, and the new podcast that he was producing during his interview with Trek Radio at STLV. Mission Log is hosted by Ken Ray and John Champion and is produced by Roddenberry Entertainment. Each week Ken and John will chronologically walkthrough an episode of Star Trek in order to figure out its message and determine how it holds up today.
The premise of the show intrigued me, and I gave it a listen. I consumed every episode I could find and found myself still wanting to hear more. At the time of this writing, they had only released a pair of episodes discussing Star Trek: The Original Series’ unaired pilot, The Cage, and the phenomenon’s first episode, The Man Trap. I was surprised and thoroughly pleased to hear what sounded like Majel Barrett’s voice as the show’s moderator, asking questions and moving the show along from segment to segment. The sweepers are specifically created for each show, and pays tribute to the iconic work she did as the voice of the computer. It was beautifully compiled and gave the show a strong Star Trek vibe that had me grinning from ear to ear.
During the first segment of the show, they introduced the episode they will be discussing and provided a brief synopsis of what occurred to get everyone on the same page. They always seemed to have some trivia or some other pertinent tidbit of information regarding the episode at their disposal, such as hand written notes from Gene Roddenberry about the pilot that shed some light into what he was thinking about for the various characters in the episode that could have been, but never was.
Then, Ken and John began to identify the themes and the specific moral stories that the episode described. For the Cage, this included slavery, voyeuristic societies, mythology and religion, and the care that those that wield technology should take in order to prevent being corrupted by it. For the Man Trap, the discussion revolved around the unchecked consumption of natural resources and endangered species protection, among others.
The Majel-like computer voice returned to sweep them into the next segment of the show, which revolved around how well the episode stands up today compared to when it was first aired. They examined production values as well as the overall message. For each of the episodes they discussed, there were certain themes that managed to stay relevant, while others, such as slavery have since fallen from favor. However, they agreed that many of the lessons that Gene Roddenberry discussed, such as the dangers of society evolving into a voyeuristic one and the unbridled consumption of limited resources are even more prevalent today than they were nearly half a century ago.
The Mission Log Podcast examines Star Trek and attempts to identify the lessons and the message that Gene Roddenberry wanted to share with humanity through each and every episode of Star Trek. I highly recommend this podcast, because in the weeks, months, and years to come; they will help all of us remember the spirit of trek. It is up to us to take these messages to heart and share them with the world in order to help make Roddenberry’s vision for humanity a reality. It is my hope that our readers will take the time to subscribe to their RSS feed.
Well, my friends, that is all for this week. I hope you will join me next week as I continue to identify the spirit of trek on the Internet and within popular culture. If you’ve come across something that fits into Roddenberry’s vision of the future, please feel free to share it with me and I may talk about it in a future post. Thank you.
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