Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage
Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016
On Thursday night, I went to see Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage
. It is a live orchestral performance of Star Trek
music, accompanied by a cinematic clip show. A week has passed, and I'm just now forming my opinion.
I was supposed to review the show. Simple enough, I thought: I would bang out a quick few paragraphs before lunch the next day. But I typed and deleted, typed and deleted, typed and deleted, and eventually just started to forget about the assignment. I realized I didn't have a lot to say.
Granted, while I was there, I was slotting my experiences into positives and negatives. The Klingon medley was strong, with well-chosen clips, and the choice to signal intermission with the cliffhanger music from storied The Next Generation
two-parter "The Best of Both Worlds" was clever. James Horner's breathless, arresting Star Trek II
theme—the best music from the franchise—was given the proper spotlight as the second half's overture. Picard's poignant flute melody from "The Inner Light" made a welcome appearance, too.
Yet there were moments when the show felt like a Wikipedia article set to music or like watching out-of-context YouTube clips. There were moments everything onscreen felt too familiar. Granted, I've seen all of Star Trek
except for The Animated Series
and the later seasons of Enterprise
, so there's very little in the Trek
universe I haven't encountered. Some of the Voyager
or Deep Space Nine
scenes would have been nearly incomprehensible for a casual audience—the guys behind me, perhaps, who giggled at the special-effects shots or made obvious "may the Force be with you" jokes.
But after the show, I waited for more realizations. As a lifelong Star Trek
fan, I often find myself waiting—waiting for the next film, the next series, for news of either
. Yet there was nothing new, nothing from The Ultimate Voyage
that elicited any special feeling. Sure, the encore came close, as conductor Justin Freer practically boogied, conducting the Original Series' campy theme with obvious glee while black-and-white production and backstage stills—one in welcome homage to series creator Gene Roddenberry—flashed. Otherwise, it was a 50-year retrospective, with the clips and music well-chosen, but nothing new.
The true highlight of the evening actually came in the lobby during the intermission. At first it seemed like everyone was dressed either in evening wear or, at best, Star Trek
T-shirts. Scattered here and there, though, were folks in uniform—a few The Next Generation
outfits, one from Enterprise
, and one man who looked nothing short of dignified in his late-season Deep Space Nine
The night was worth it just to be immersed in my subculture—even briefly, and even if I'd been too self-conscious to wear one of my own uniforms. Still, I left wondering if, like me, those Trek faithful had been waiting, too.