Friday, June 21, 2013

Standing The Test Of Time

Nostalgia can be an amazing trap. I look back on my youth and the things I loved. One of the first things to pop through the haze of my memory is of course Star Wars and Star Trek. These two franchises have stood the test of time. Occasionally I will run past a movie or episode on TV or the Web and will have to stop and watch. As I watch feelings of summers past rush over me. Time spent with friends pretending to be our favorite heroes. Hours of playing with action figures and spaceships. After watching my favorite shows over again, I like to wander into my geek cave and pick up some of those old toys and fly them around the room. 

Unfortunately, there are shows I remember fondly that do not stand the test of my nostalgia. Lately I have been watching Star Blazers again, on the Web. The desire to watch it again is very much rooted in nostalgia. It aired in America in 1978. Yes, I’m that old and older. What I remember of this anime series is it had artwork unlike anything else on television at the time. At the time no one knew what anime was. It also had an actual story line and plot. You had to tune into every episode to follow the story. In the plot for Star Blazers there were several nail biters where you did not know if they were going to survive. As a matter of fact this was the first time I saw some of the good guys die. That was unheard of! 

What I see in the show now is technology that is sadly antiquated. In the show the consoles have levers, switches, and dials. Something I noticed this time around is every station has a flight stick, even communications. What does the communications officer need a flight stick for?!?

Then there is the dialogue. I know speech is going to change over the years and dialogue from almost forty years ago is going to be way different than nowadays. Still, when the fighters launching from the ship they should yell the command, “Launch!” Not saying calmly, “We’re taking off.” 

I know it is good drama to have tensions between different crew members. However, in Star Blazers there really is no chain of command except a captain and the crew. In each episode the crew tends to yell commands at each other and then yell back at one another.

Having said all this there is something refreshing about this old series. In television series today there are the main characters and they go somewhere and meet a group of people. There is conflict with the group of people and then a solution. The next week they do it all over again with a new group of people. With Star Blazers it was all about the mission to get across the galaxy to get a cure for the dying Earth and battle the bad guys all the way. I know some of you out there are going to say, “What about the new Battlestar Galactica? They were all about finding Earth.” You are right. That series is the exception to how it is done now on TV.

Yes, there have been plenty of moments of wincing while watching Star Blazers. The amazing series that I remember as a kid just does not stand the test of time. It is still a good story and plot. I hope the rumors I have heard that there is a reboot to modernize Star Blazers are true. I will be one of the first to watch it when the show hits America.