Happy Birthday Patrick Stewart…
Written by Jimmy
It’s Friday the 13th. And it’s Patrick Stewart’s Birthday. We’re sure he’s known for all sorts of great Shakespearean Roles, but for us it is pretty simple: he is Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek Next Generation.
And for four years of our lives, he was the primary source of TV Entertainment.
We lived in Moscow from 1991-1995. Russian TV wasn’t very good so we relied heavily on imports of Videos from the US. My saint of a sister supplied us with Seinfeld’s and LA Laws and the occasional Simpsons.
But we also knew a guy from the US Embassy who had a friend who taped Star Trek Next Generation. And we got hooked on Season 1, Episode 1 and watched every show for those four years. We were the 7th family in circulation so had to wait a long time for the tapes. And we promised ourselves to “just watch 1′ each night, but typically we watched the whole tape (7 Episodes) the very first weekend we recieved them. We would never be very good with a drug addition. We’d pretty much over-dose Day 1.
We swore to the world Star Trek Next Generation was the most amazing show ever written. We felt there hadn’t been evil like the Borg since the Bible. We worshipped Hugh and talked to him over the famous American Breakfast at the US Embassy (every Sunday, US Citizen’s only)
And we thought Hugh and Edward Scissorhands were the same person; the movie was 1990 and Hugh appeared in 1992, so me-thinks the Star Trek Writers were inspired by Johnny Depp.
We were met with a lot of strange looks, especially during our infrequent trips back to the US. From our perspective, those Americans just didn’t get the extraordinary work of art that was appearing on their TV’s.
In 1995 we moved to London. We got cable. There were 178 channels. We had all the Star Trek Next Generation episodes we wanted. We tried a few.
They weren’t really that good.
So, here’s to Patrick Stewart and the extraordinary art form that was Star Trek Next Generation. This was art of time and place – specifically 1991-1995 in Moscow without other TV. In that context the show holds up very well.
We have a lot of things like that:
1. Hangers: we don’t get nearly as excited anymore with Hangers. We couldn’t get enough in Russia.
2. Cashews: Kathy had to roast them herself after we bought them raw from the local market. That was 1991 Christmas dinner.
3. Queen, Greatest Hits Volume 2. One of three CD’s we had at the Dacha.
4. The Now Series: I would buy the latest Now series at Heathrow and we’d listen all the way through 5-6 times. We’d love it.
5. Men Behaving Badly: the series was on special sale at Heathrow and we watched every episode. Thought it was ridiculously amazing. Now? Not so much.
The list goes on. The kids were on it for a while, but they’ve shaped up.