Today was one of those days where I repeatedly came across something. Without specifically looking for it, Star Trek popped up over and over…on a TV commercial, Facebook, Twitter and other social media. I opened my Amazon Video app to check the availability of a movie my daughter recommended, and Star Trek was featured. Not the most recent films in this long lived franchise, but the three seasons from the original series and the early movies.
Granted, there is a new release, Star Trek Beyond, playing now in theaters. I’ll see it this week. And this year is Star Trek’s 50th anniversary. And…a new television series, Star Trek Discovery, premieres January 2017. However, today, my awareness was pulled again and again to this campy sci-fi phenomenon.
I gave in to the taps on the shoulder. And happily so. I am a Trekkie, and have been since age 14. As an eight year old, when the series premiered, the show was a bit too intense for me. I watched the second episode, Charlie X, and it scared me. Six years later I caught the series in syndication and I was hooked. Hurrying home after school each afternoon, I’d catch the next episode.
Five TV spin offs, an animated series and 13 feature length films later, I’m still a devout fan. I’ve faithfully watched every series and movie. And when I was in between episodes and films, I read Star Trek novels. At one time I owned a couple of hundred paperbacks chronicling the continuing adventures of Kirk, Spock and McCoy. My family can verify that along with the usual fan momentos, I also had in my collection an Enterprise telephone, life size cardboard standees, and a set of Vulcan ears that slipped over my own.
With great pleasure, I settled back this afternoon and watched episode one from the original series, The Man Trap. Although I’ve seen every episode many times, it’s been several years since I’ve watched anything from the television series. Being familiar with the story left me free to see with fresh eyes and a perspective that has shifted since I last viewed Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy, affectionately known as Bones.
I was enchanted, again. I know the sets and special effects are not up to today’s standards. And the women wear short dresses. And William Shatner is dramatic as Captain James T Kirk. But c’mon…it was the 1960s. The stories and concepts were way ahead of their time. The gadgets and science of Star Trek inspired future technology. The cast was multiracial and multicultural.
Watching today, with a tender smile, I loved it still. Why? Because of the relationships and friendships. Kirk, Spock and Bones form an unbreakable bond that continues across time and the galaxy. If one is present, the other two are near by. They journey with each other. Protect each other. Challenge each other. Sacrifice themselves for the others. That strong friendship inspired me as a teen and continues to today. It is unconditional love, respect and trust, combined.
The half human, half Vulcan character Spock, portrayed by Leonard Nimoy, captivated me the most. His struggles with his humanity allowed me to learn more about myself. His attempt to keep his emotions tightly under control was of particular interest to me as I attempted to do the same. Although I was okay expressing positive emotions, and Spock was not, we both clamped down on the negative ones. Our shared journey was to discover how to live with the rawness of powerful emotions that threatened to overwhelm. I was horribly sad when Leonard passed away last year. And grateful to learn today that a documentary, For the Love of Spock, created by Leonard’s son Adam Nimoy, will be released this fall.
I’m glad that today I was reminded of just how important Star Trek has been in my life. In many ways, the impact was much deeper than just me being in the fandom. Star Trek has shaped my life, and taught me to reach, to expand, to grow, and yes…here it comes…to boldly go.
I am thrilled to celebrate 50 years of Trek. I look forward to future films and TV series. As I was saving pictures for my blog post, my grandson Dayan texted to ask if I was aware there was a new Star Trek series coming out. He had no idea I’d been immersed in the franchise all day. It was the final attention getting tap. Dayan introduced me to Doctor Who. It is time for me to introduce him to another long running series.
Live long and prosper, Star Trek.