According to the latest issue of Newsweek, “Star Trek is way cool.”
As reported by Newsweek, the reason for Star Trek being cool is because the geeks have inherited both the earth and the White House. Another factor is the coolness factor of Director J.J. Abrams.For non-fans, the Newsweek article explained the origins of Star Trek and how it used to be “uncool.” Most non-fans had a negative association with the term “Trekkies,” first coined to describe Trek fans, and even many Star Trek fans distanced themselves from the term, preferring to use “Trekkers” in its place.
It helps to have a “cool” character in the movie in the presence of Mr. Spock. Some see parallels between the character of Spock and the current President, Barack Obama. “Spock’s cool, analytical nature feels more fascinating and topical than ever now that we’ve put a sort of Vulcan in the White House. All through the election campaign, columnists compared President Obama’s unflappably logical demeanor and prominent ears with Mr. Spock’s. But as Spock’s complicated racial backstory is spun out in detail in the new ‘Trek,” right back into childhood, the Obama parallels keep deepening. Like Obama, Spock is the product of a mixed marriage (actually, an interstellar mixed marriage), and he suffers blunt manifestations of prejudice as a result.”
Another article in the same issue of Newsweek featured Star Trek: The Next Generation writer Leonard Mlodinow (The Dauphin,) who reminisced about his time with Star Trek. Mlodinow credits the success of Star Trek as much to the writers as to the actors who made their characters famous. “The cast wasn’t the key to Star Trek‘s success,” said Mlodinow. “Nor were the characters, since the original Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation (the one with Patrick Stewart) and the later series all employed different heroes and villains. Yet again and again Paramount did capture the lightning. If it wasn’t Nimoy and his fellow stars, or even the characters they played, how do we account for the more than 40-year run of Star Trek? I would like to think it was the work of a few of us talented scribes, marching in lockstep with the genius series creator. Since Star Trek, unlike James Bond, Star Wars and most other mega-franchises, is the child of television, its vision is really the vision of its writers.”
Mlodinow saw Gene Roddenberry occasionally during his time on the set. Roddenberry liked to speak about what life would be like in the 24th century, when The Next Generation took place. “He spoke with more certainty about the future than I had about the present, a certainty that I suppose comes from knowing that all over the world attorneys and models and kids like I used to be have studied your every word,” said Mlodinow. “Sometimes he would remind us of simple things, like the fact that Vulcans don’t smile. Other times he’d explain how human nature will have evolved, that personal acrimony will have been conquered, so there could be no conflict among the crew. Some writers tried to sneak in a little conflict anyway, so you didn’t have to depend on heavily armed two-headed aliens.”