Just finished watching a two-part episode of classic Star Trek. I know all the old episodes backwards and forwards, since as a kid I made audiocassette tapes of the after-school reruns, and listened to them over and over. (The writers were never confident that the special effects would be any good, so a character always says, “Captain, the enemy vessel is approaching,” narrating whatever is supposed to be happening. With the time-saving device of a voice-over Captain’s log entry, Star Trek episodes turn out to be wonderful radio plays. In fact, my sister recorded the sound of a few episodes that I didn’t get to see at the time, so for years I knew a couple of episodes only as audio plays.
Thanks to my audio tapes, I remember almost every musical cue, every line of dialogue, every… Shatnerian… pause. But my visual memories are not as strong, so I as I have been watching the episodes again, I end up appreciating facial expressions, background business, and set details. This time around, I’m also amusing myself by noticing how the show reused various standing sets and set pieces.
But the real joy comes from hearing my kids gasp at the plot twists, laugh at the jokes, and applaud as the closing credits roll.
It’s good to be a geek.