You’ll probably find somewhere, and more than once, the shared fact that I believe one of my earliest memories to be sitting in my father’s lap watching “The Immunity Syndrome”, you know, the episode with the giant space amoeba. It’s hazy memory: the small TV screen, the spaceships, the splash of color and giant single-celled organism, the old green chair (which I might be filling in without actually remembering).
You probably know that I’m a diehard original series fan. As a kid, as a teen, as an adult. I watched it with dad when I was small. I spent most of high school with it coming on just a few minutes after I got off the bus. I’ve seen every movie first run in the theater beginning with The Search for Spock. The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan came later in theatres for me, long after first run, but still wanting that theatrical experience.
I love The Next Generation, the Star Trek of my teen years.
I tried to love Deep Space Nine, which was hard for some reason at that point in my life, but I came back to it in later seasons and enjoyed it. I’ve rediscovered it recently, watching from the beginning and it’s a lot better than I remember.
Voyager was fun, cranking up the technobabble, but giving me a new cast of characters to watch come together.
I hated the theme song for Enterprise, but the show wasn’t bad, and had moved into some great storytelling just as it got cancelled.
There was a long wait until the reboot movies, which most folks will know I’m not really a fan of. Action movies with a Star Trek overlay and an essential Star Trek-ness removed. The third one was better, but I’d put it no higher in rating than The Final Frontier.
I want to love Discovery. It’s trying to be Star Trek but isn’t satisfying in the same way. It’s a different kind of storytelling, necessarily considering the story it’s trying to tell, and maybe showing one of those bumps along the way to the future we actually want. To my viewing, it’s also not giving sufficient respect to the original concept of Star Trek. I have said that I’ve decided it’s good science fiction, but I haven’t decided it’s good Star Trek. I also haven’t actually finished watching the first season because I’ve been disappointed in a variety of ways during the first ten episodes. There’s still hope.
But I’ve been a fan of Star Trek as long as I can remember and I don’t see that changing until I’m no longer able to remember. Sometime after I stop breathing, sometime after my heart stops, from a certain strictly physical point of view, brain activity ends and I’ll technically stop being a fan. But that won’t change the decades when I was.
I credited Star Trek for helping me with social attitudes being more progressive in my mind than they may have been in society at the time. I credit it for helping me to learn to use my brain when some many people around me were trying hard to abandon theirs. I credit it in no small part for the person I’ve become.
Star Trek has been summarized by many people over the decades, and I’m no exception. In my eyes Star Trek is about what it means to be human and the path towards a positive, inclusive future where we all strive to be better than we are. It’s a storytelling collective to give us hope that there are better days ahead, that we will mature and get better as a species. There will be, and are, bumps along the road, and we will work together to overcome them.
Star Trek is about hope for a brighter future, inclusion in the diversity of human experience, recognition that we all have a place in that experience, and the drive make that experience better than it is.
Star Trek. Always Star Trek. Gloriously, eternally, through every incarnation and fresh aesthetic, back to the core, Star Trek.
I have been, and always shall be, a fan.
Live long and prosper.