Takei: Trek Moved TV From 'Brainless Entertainment'By Caillan
January 2, 2005 - 8:41 AM
George Takei (Hikaru Sulu) recently said Star Trek stood out from its predecessors due to its cerebral approach to television.
"What Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry wanted to do was move TV away from brainless entertainment, which it mostly was at the time," Takei said in a Q&A with The Sun. "Gene used science fiction to make commentaries on the political, social and cultural issues of the day like the Vietnam War, civil rights movement and hippy phenomenon. For the audience being able to see past the science fiction to its contemporary relevance, Star Trek was truly engaging."
The actor said he had been amazed at how his Star Trek past has been able to help him champion present-day causes. "I'm something of a political activist and I can be more effective as 'George Takei of Star Trek' than 'George Takei concerned citizen'." One of those causes is the Japanese American National Museum, of which Takei is the chairman. He said the museum highlights the plight of Japanese Americans who were imprisoned after the attacks on Pearl Harbor during the Second World War. "It is a dark chapter of American history, that most people in the US and Japan don't know about. I think it is important for Americans to recognise that our democracy can be fragile, and we need good people in our democratic process to defend those glorious ideals to stop it from failing again."
Takei also commented on the fan support for a proposed Excelsior television series, which he said began after Voyager ended and the producers "invited fans to suggest what the next series should be". Although an Internet campaign was launched supporting a series set on board the Excelsior, Takei said the support fell on deaf ears: "After Paramount invited these suggestions they blinded themselves, put earplugs in and went for a new show called Enterprise instead." As for the Enterprise itself, the actor said it "doesn't keep with Gene Roddenberry's vision", adding that Star Trek was all about looking forwards, not backwards.