Before he gave his life to the service of the Church, the Reverend Peter Organ dedicated his passion to spaceships, sticker albums, orcs and laser-swords. Now married with two children of his own, he’s yet to find a cassock which covers the geek completely, and wonders how he’s going to explain his Warhammer collection to the Bishop…
So what is Anal Star Trek Disorder (ASD)? Not an appalling porn film featuring Neelix and Rom, but rather something I am accused of suffering from. Let me explain.
Mrs Org and I rarely argue, mainly because she knows where the photos are kept, but the other night I had to stand my ground over a matter of geek standards. We were struggling with what DVD to pluck off the shelves and devour (there is some sort of ratio between the number of DVDs you own and the resulting difficulty in choosing what to watch on any given night), but we seemed to be getting somewhere when I suggested a re-watch of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Boy, was I wrong. A can of Regulan blood worms had been opened since it turned out that my definition of re-watch differed massively from Anne-Marie’s.
Apparently, in her world, it was perfectly acceptable not to watch every episode in a re-watch, but rather to cherry-pick the ones you remember enjoying. This struck me as nothing short of heresy; a re-watch is a re-watch, including the good, the bad and the Wesley Crusher, but judging from the reaction on Twitter, I am in a minority in thinking this. So here is my defence:
1. I’m not the geek I used to be.
An episode you initially disliked might speak to you now. Who’s to say that Shades of Grey wasn't in fact a masterpiece, and you were just in a bad mood when you saw it? Well any sane person in the case of Shades clearly, but you get the point - I remember not enjoying the Doctor Who story Ghost Light when I originally saw it, but my tastes have changed over time and I love it now.
2. The memory cheats more often than a Ferengi at Dabo.
How do you know your memory of a particular story isn't cheating you when it comes to a particular story being watchable or not? This obviously will depend a bit on how long it’s been since you last saw it, and also on whether your memory is as unreliable as a bus timetable like mine is.
3. Arm yourself with knowledge!
In the case of tripe, reminding yourself why you thought it was tripe in the first place is no bad thing. A proper re-watch arms you with evidence for that next argument down the pub as to why Dr Pulaski was as annoying as itchy undies (actually, I may be dreading season two more than the first set of TNG episodes). It also raises your awareness of exceptions to the norm (Norm!), such as the one Holodeck story that was good (I seem to remember there was at least one I enjoyed), and the one story in which Wesley didn't make you want to chuck him out the nearest airlock (maybe there was one, guess I'm going to find out).
4. Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.
This is the clincher for me when it comes to arguing that a re-watch needs to include everything; perversely, even watching the bad stories can bring back good memories. There is a bizarre sort of nostalgia attached to watching poop stories like Justice and season two’s The Child. A re-watch of such crapola takes me back to a time when the new episode of TNG was eagerly anticipated, and even its relative duffness was overcome by the fact that it was a new episode featuring those (mostly) great characters on that awesome spaceship. I’m transported back to my parent’s living room, and that feeling of bliss that came from coursework being deferred by the sci-fi treat of the week. Yes, there was also the feeling of disappointment when you realised this was going to be a Wesley Crusher-centred episode, but any Star Trek was good Star Trek back then, and it’s nice to relive those days with a re-watch.
So do I have ASD, or do I hold the only defensible geek definition of "re-watch"? Either way, I'm cracking on with season one, and if I survive the epic challenge, and am not broken by Wesley Crusher1, I’ll let you know.
1. Broken By Wesley Crusher sounds like another bad porn title doesn’t it?