Friday, September 08, 2006

Star Trek

The state of TIAH

September 8th, 2006

in 1571, riots in the streets of London prompt another round of bloody sacrifices from Aztec conqueror Mectezuma, this time from the Tower of London. Spaniards who had been tasked by the emperor to bring him young children for the sacrifice let many slip away, and Mectezuma is enraged when he doesn't have the 24 children that he called for. He strikes the Spanish captain of the guard, Jorge Calderon, and calls him a weak-willed coward. Although Calderon bears this insult with grace, the entire Spanish contingent inside London hears of it and relations between the Aztecs and Spanish sour. Since most of Mectezuma's warriors are off pursuing Queen Elizabeth in the north, the majority of the occupation force in London is comprised of Spanish soldiers, and they have now turned slightly more sympathetic to the English they are supposedly guarding.

in 1966, the most influential science fiction series in television history debuts on NBC. Star Trek, the dream of El Paso-born producer Bob Wesley, suffers through a couple of dismal seasons at the beginning, but spent its 4th, 5th and 6th seasons at the top of the Nielsen ratings, and stayed in the top ten until the series was finally canceled in 1977. Its final episode, The Final Frontier, became the most-watched television episode of the 1970's, seen by over 60% of the households in America. This prompted Desilu, the company that produced the series, to put together a motion picture deal with the cast while they were still available, and the crew of the Enterprise made 4 popular feature films before William Shatner, one of the stars of the franchise, announced that he was not going to appear as Captain Kirk anymore. Desilu then put together a second series based around the Sulu character played by George Takei, entitled Star Trek: Excelsior. Takei's Captain Sulu became the first Asian-American lead character on American television, another ground-breaking move by a series that had been hailed for its multicultural diversity. When Excelsior left the small screen in 1996, its crew also made 4 feature films. Although not as popular as the original series' films, they did generate enough interest to spawn a 3rd series in the universe, which debuted in 2006. Star Trek: Dark Mirror, set in the violent parallel universe of Imperial Earth as seen in such episodes as Mirror, Mirror, Dark Reflection and Broken Mirror, hit the television world with a bang, claiming the top spot on the ratings since its debut and not letting go. Although Wesley himself has passed on, his vision is still enjoyed by millions around the world, and will probably remain popular for as long as people hope of a future where humanity is united at last.

in 1974, President Gerald Ford, the nation's first chief executive appointed to office, refuses to grant a pardon to former President Richard Nixon. Nixon claimed to have Ford's word on tape guaranteeing such a pardon, but several prominent Republicans wanted Nixon excised from the party altogether, and pressured Ford to prosecute him. Nixon's trial was a media circus, but it became very apparent very quickly that he had abused the office of the presidency and committed countless crimes while trying to suppress his political enemies. As this news came out, virtually every Republican leader in the nation denounced him, even those who had defended him prior to the trial. When he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in a minimum-security prison, Ford's popularity soared. Although the Democrats padded their Congressional majorities in the 1976 elections, Ford himself was elected to the office he held by appointment by running under the slogan “An Honest Republican.”

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