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The Dengler Domain: Batman vs. Star Trek

June 24, 2016
Sean Dengler - Columnist , Dysart Reporter

I love television. Growing up, I spent nights watching the next great show on the tube. At my heart, I am a comedy aficionado. Scrubs, The Office, and The '70s Show are still my favorite television shows. The idea of network television dying to the booming streaming content services is true, but television has offered great programs over the years. I am not only talking comedy, but action, drama, science fiction, and westerns. There are two historically significant television shows that largely impacted popular culture. Both television shows lasted three seasons. With the product they set forth on the screen, it is amazing how franchises were spawn off of these television shows. I am talking about Batman and Star Trek: The Original Series, and I want to know which one I would rather watch.

These two shows had very different genres. Star Trek lived in a world of science fiction adventure while Batman cruised around in his Batmobile in his campy, action filled world. Star Trek introduced different alien races like Vulcans, Romulans, and Klingons. It would be hard for a new view to grasp unique traits of all these different alien races. At least Batman was in the comic books so many individuals knew his background. Star Trek was closer to the mainstream society's psychology in the '60s. While the Enterprise cruised the Universe, the United States was in race to land on the moon. This is in stark contrast to a show wear men wore tights and fought criminals. The sound of upbeat music played while the words blam, pop, zippity zap came across the screen as the bad guys flailed in their fights against Batman and Robin.

I do not know whose career were greater at the time of their casting onto the shows, but over the course of their careers, Star Trek's cast takes the case for best acting careers. While everyone on these two shows are remember for their role in Star Trek or Batman, William Shatner was best at breaking away from his Captain Kirk role. He starred in T.J. Hooker, and he won an Emmy Award during his time on Boston Legal. William Shatner crushes Adam West in career longevity. Mr. West has not done much since his turn as Batman nor have I heard of anyone else on the Batman cast doing anything. Besides Mr. Shatner, Star Trek's cast is filled out by a couple interesting comrades. George Takei stayed in the public eye while Leonard Nimoy became a beloved American figure.

Another important category to discuss are the theme songs and intros. Boy, oh, boy. The Batman intro is true to the 1960s. Filmed with bright colors, this animated intro is treat. Batman and Robin punch a few criminals then shake hands like any upstanding crime stoppers. This intro has a wonderful simplicity and beauty. There is a conflict of interest with this intro song. It is the only song I can play on the piano, and yes, this will influence my final decision.

But the iconic phrase, "space is the final frontier," is legendary. When the uttering of this phrase happens, everyone knows what show is being talked about. While the intro does not possess the zippity, zappitiness of the Batman intro, the music score sets up the ginormous Star Trek universe. As a viewer this intro causes me to prepare mentally and emotionally for this exciting extravaganza. In a clever way to bring up the show's title, the Enterprises zips by.

Before I choose my must see 1960s television show, both these franchises are near and dear to my heart. I loved watching the Christopher Nolan Batman films and the JJ Abrams Star Trek films. These amazing franchises succeeded even though these earlier versions were not so hot. With that being said, Star Trek is the winner. This television show was ahead of its time when it graced the airwaves in the late '60s. Look at the evidence, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, were hit television shows many years after the original series. I have not heard of another live action Batman television show. As much as I love campiness of the Batman television series, it did not compare to the cool, futuristic feeling of Star Trek. This show started from nothing and built a whole universe. That's impressive.



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