Sunday Herald Life - - TELEVISION & RADIO -

THERE’S a chance this al­ready ex­ists in a pri­vate video booth in some cos­play dun­geon, and I’ve just missed it in the crowd, but I wouldn’t mind one day seeing an ex­cit­ing mini-se­ries set in the Star Trek uni­verse ex­plor­ing the heroic his­tory of Star Fleet’s uni­form designers. Specif­i­cally, a plot­line ex­plor­ing the ur­gent ques­tion of just who dropped just what into the Chief Fash­ion Of­fi­cer’s Kool Aid around 2265, the year we first caught up with Kirk, Spock, Bones and com­pany in the orig­i­nal Trek.

The lat­est ad­di­tion to the boldly going fran­chise, Star Trek: Dis­cov­ery, which beamed down cour­tesy of Net­flix last week, is set one decade be­fore Cap­tain Kirk’s crew set out on their adventures. It looks pretty de­cent, with a vibrant cast, if a bit pre­dictably dark-grimwar-in-spacey. But, to be frank, the uni­forms haven’t re­ally moved along the cat­walk too much from the drab blue Thun­der­birdsy boiler suits that dis­tin­guished the team in the pre­vi­ous square-jawed pre­quel, Star Trek: En­ter­prise, which, if I’m keeping my star­dates straight (a job even Spock was find­ing tricky by the end), was set 100 years be­fore Kirk’s time. Sure, these new/old Dis­cov­ery boiler suits are a lit­tle snug­ger and sleeker, and look a tad more rub­bery, giv­ing and hard-wear­ing – just the sort of utilitarian, sponge-down, stain-resistant combo, in fact, you’d prob­a­bly want to zip your­self into if you were ex­plor­ing the cold, strange vast­nesses of space while be­ing har­ried by weird and war­like en­e­mies who are prob­a­bly just mis­un­der­stood and have their own prob­lems, if you’d just all sit down and talk about it. But given we’re only ten years away from the Kirk era, you have to won­der: what the hell hap­pened next? How did they make the quantum leap from this square Mil­i­tary Dynorod In Space look to the bright, swing­ing Whisky A Go Go styles rocked by Uhura and the gang?

It seems a stretch, but I guess it’s not so far-fetched. If you were to com­pare archive pho­tographs of Carn­aby Street circa 1956 and 1968, you would see a sim­i­larly rad­i­cal change, and I’d like to think that sim­i­lar dy­nam­ics are in play in the Trek cos­mos. In the fantasy fash­ion space opera run­ning in my mind, the cli­mac­tic scene is much like the mo­ment in Mad Men when Roger Ster­ling took LSD for the first time. Hav­ing let the su­gar lump dis­solve on his tongue, our square-jawed Star Fleet Chief Of Cos­tume plunges into a crys­tal Pop Art vor­tex of hyper aware­ness and self-re­al­i­sa­tion, then wakes to find a note he wrote to him­self from the very depths of his trip: “Vi­brat­ing Pri­mary Colours! Mid-calf trousers with flares! High-top Bea­tle Boots! Miniskirts! Miniskirts!! MINISKIRTS!!!”

The omi­nous ques­tion, of course, is, after this bold break­through, what ter­ri­ble calamity oc­curred in Trek so­ci­ety to cause them to regress to the hideous smart one­sies worn by JeanLuc Pi­card’s band in Star Trek: The Next Gen­er­a­tion? A chill­ing vision of the fu­ture, in­deed.

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