So I guess the 45th anniversary of Star Trek occurred this past week. Crazy. I guess it deserves a blog post…
I’m not quite certain what my first exposure to Star Trek was. It had to be around the age of 6 or 7. I vaguely remember visiting a family friend’s house on vacation and seeing parts of The Next Generation on TV; I remember Borg babies, a concept the franchise eventually dropped in favor of complete assimiliation, not assimiliation and procreation. I think I walked downstairs before going to bed and seeing my dad watching the series finale of The Next Generation, or at least some special. That would have been in 1992. I do know that my family moved to the Green Bay area in January of 1992, and eventually into our house in Green Bay around that same summer, and our first night in the new home, just me, my mom and my brothers, we found an old black and white tv left behind by the former owners, which we hooked up and watched the original series Star Trek episode “The Apple”. I think I saw a handful of episodes of either Star Trek series after that, and maybe one or two Deep Space Nine, but by the time of the premiere of Star Trek Voyager, I was hooked and my dad recorded it for me so I could watch it after school the next day. Over the years I would watch it with my dad, with a friend who would come over and watch every episode of Enterprise with me, and even with a seminary student who lived with us for a few summers.
Star Trek in some form or other was a central part of my life up to the cancellation of Star Trek Enterprise. Following Enterprise, my interest in the franchise waned quite a bit…I needed new stories, new adventures, new discoveries, and shows like Stargate SG-1, The 4400, and Andromeda helped fill the void. Around that time I also borrowed a copy of the complete series of Deep Space Nine from a coworker (bootleg Asian version), so I caught up on what I had missed originally (and Deep Space Nine is by far the best series of the Star Trek franchise).I was very excited when JJ Abrams rebooted the franchise after Star Trek Nemesis (flawed director, halfway decent script, but who the heck decided to open the movie three days before The Two Towers opened??), and I actually have the movie playing in the background right now as I write this to keep me in the Star Trek mindset. Unlike most Trekkies, I didn’t hate the new Star Trek; quite the opposite.
Side observation – the number of girls I’ve met who grew up watching Star Trek sitting on their daddy’s lap is quite high. Seems to be a common father daughter bonding experience for many. Hoping one day to continue the tradition.
I read a lot of the books growing up. I’m sure Star Trek helped contribute to my current heavy weight, as I’d sit and read book after book instead of doing other activities. It could have been escapism; life in fundamentalism was often frustrating, confusing, and worth escaping from. Yet in general I think it was the sense of adventure, wonder, and otherworldlyness that kept me reading. I remember going to summer camp with one or two of the books in my backpack, and every chance we had for free time, I’d go to my cabin or bunk and read one of the books. Yes, life was lonely, and I truly did not have many friends my own age until I moved here to Minneapolis. But at the time I didn’t mind so much.
Star Trek is important. Alongside Star Wars, it helped shape and create my interests in fiction and life. Yet from an adult perspective, I can see now what I didn’t see as a kid. I own all seven seasons of Star Trek The Next Generation on dvd (which Netflix has made near irrelevant), and certain episodes and nearly whole seasons I can’t watch because the liberal agenda is just staggering and overpowering. I understand fully why the liberal community loves Star Trek; Gene Roddenberry was a huge liberal. Yet I still love and respect him, more for creating Star Trek than anything else. Star Trek ultimately failed and lost viewership because it became all about the liberal agenda; certain episodes are merely vague allegories disguised as science fiction (Enterprise’s Stigma and similar episodes are a heavy handed AIDS reference). Star Trek lost what made it so fun for me and others growing up with it: phasers, transporters, space battles, buddy relationships, conspiracies, etc. Star Trek always had that swashbuckling adventure sense to it, and the writers forgot about it. JJ Abrams has brought that back, hopefully.
I still love Star Trek. I look back at it fondly. I still plan on watching all of Deep Space Nine through once again. But I think my next big immersion in the franchise, aside from any new movies or TV shows (hopefully!!), will be either with my daughter or girlfriend or wife or whomever. I want to share Star Trek with people and see if they find in it what I saw.
Live long and prosper.
I miss Star Trek…