This series has become a cultural icon. After only 3 seasons, it was prematurely cut off (yes, still a sore point for some of us). Still without that sense of loss, I don’t know if the fans would have come so far out of the woodwork, petitioning for years for a resurgence. It looked at first as though it would come in the form of a new series (aside from The Animated Series), which turned into Star Trek: The Motion Picture and its own series of films.
Though it began before I was born, Star Trek: The Next Generation was what I grew up on. I watched reruns alongside new episodes, as well as Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. I latched onto those shows with a fervor–dare I say a craze–that has abated recently. However, I still get nostalgic when I watch the odd episode or so.
I blew through nearly every one of the novels, both the good and the bad. I read and reread. I had the action figures, the phasers, a tricorder, a Klingon disruptor; I may or may not have learned a few Klingon phrases from the back seat of my family’s car on road trips. Despite the spacious back seat, I crammed myself between technical manuals, the Star Trek Encyclopedia, and however many novels I was reading at the time. I forced my friends and my brother and sister to play Star Trek all the time, drawing consoles and constructing “Padds” out of cardboard, supplying the special effects with my imagination. I never dressed up, other than one Halloween when I went as Data.
Star Trek grabbed hold of my imagination and did not let go. It’s formative to my childhood creativity, leading to where I am today with my stalwart love of Science Fiction and Fantasy in nearly every medium. I started out by writing Star Trek fanfic, absolutely sure I’d one day get a script published (Star Trek was one of the only shows out there with an open submission policy for scripts). Since then, I’ve had a love of writing, of creating a world that I could populate with interesting characters, telling a story that meant something.
Star Trek is solid science fiction. Yes, in the early days the production value was nowhere near what we’re used to; however, that did not stop Gene Roddenberry and his team from confronting significant social issues. He blended excellent storytelling with a compelling philosophy and a worldview driven by honor, decency, bravery, and social awareness. He set forth an idealistic future, one that is quite far off, seeming all the more unattainable.
Take some time this week, go to your library or get on Netflix (now streaming TNG, TOS, Enterprise, and Voyager) and watch a few episodes. Revel in the camp of The Original Series, bask in the allusions to Moby Dick and Shakespeare seen throughout the films, look at the political and social commentaries spread throughout each of the different series and renew your appreciation for the fantastic franchise.
Expect more Star Trek-themed posts in the near future…