A little while ago, some colleagues asked me: “Which do you prefer – Star Trek or Star Wars?” (My answer is below.*)
On 6 September, and on 8 September, in the year 1966, Star Trek screened in Canada and the USA respectively. It did so-so business till cancellation in 1969, but the moribund series was syndicated and then it took off, since the law of diminishing returns (or re-runs) does not apply to the World of Television.
The episodes are almost unendurable now, but you can plow through a myriad spin-offs and film franchise products that represent geometric growth (but we prefer to call it geometric decay). If you try to sit through one of the films, prepare yourself by laying on plenty of liquor, and settle in for a wan, flabby, bland, and flatulent evening.
The Varnished Culture is sad to note that The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is staging a Star Trek concert to ‘mark’ the anniversary of the US television debut of the saga of the good ship Enterprise. They’re doing Raiders of the Lost Ark in November, too – what the hell is going on?
Which allows us to segue to Star Wars, first released in 1977, with 6 emanations, and plenty more in the works, including one in post production that will mark, on release next year, 40 years. Count them. Forty years of this stuff, and in the region of $6.5 billion in receipts as a gross (apt word). One infers that George Lucas (circa 1974/75) discovered a dusty, arcane, abandoned grimoire in an obscure Californian bookshop, took it home and decided to spurn film-making for the dark art of money-making.
I’ve only seen the first and second of them (maybe the third…I can’t recall), which means I’ve actually seen episodes 4, 5 and possibly 6. Whatever. That is enough: nowhere is there a hint of subtlety, credibility or anything remotely smacking of entertainment. Star Wars has to be the most infantile film franchise in several generations, a space opera so lame that it’s like a damp pack of Cheesy Puffs.
(*And the answer to the question posed above? Star Trek or Star Wars? “I hate them both.”)