In 1964, the year I was born, Gene Roddenberry, a longtime fan of science fiction, drafted a proposal for a science-fiction television series that he called Star Trek. Roddenberry presented his concept to the head of Desilu Studio’s who accepted it and then successfully sold the show to NBC. The first pilot entitled “The Cage” failed. However the NBC executives were still impressed with the concept and made the unusual decision to pay for a second pilot called “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. This pilot proved to be satisfactory to NBC and the network selected Star Trek to be in its upcoming television schedule for the fall of 1966.The first regular episode of Star Trek aired on Thursday, September 8, 1966 from 8:30-9:30 as part of an NBC “sneak preview” block.
I was introduced to Star Trek though reruns growing up. You may know it by it’s retronym as Star Trek: The Original Series (or TOS) but to us it was just Star Trek. The reruns ran daily for years and phases like ” Beam me up Scotty” and “live long and prosper,” became part of daily language. Star Trek and the crew of the Enterprise became part of our lives. A letter writing campaign by fans had kept the show on the air a year beyond it’s intended cancellation date. After the shows cancellation, because of these daily re-runs, the fan base only grew. In January 1972 the “First International Star Trek Convention” was held at the Statler Hilton Hotel in New York. Organizers hoped for a turnout of 500. What they got were “Trekkies” or “Trekkers” if you prefer and an annual phenomenon ” The Convention” that will not die.
In 1966 I was two years old. In 1972 I was eight years old. So no I did not see the first episode air and no I did not attend the first convention. However I am a “Trekkie” just the same. What exactly is a “Trekkie” and how do they differ from “Trekkers” ?
Two documentaries have attempted to answer the question of why millions of people are attracted to the Star Trek Universe. I can not give you an answer any better than they could. I can only tell you why I’m a Trekkie. Everyday for years I watched re-runs of everything from I Love Lucy to Gilligan’s Island. Of all the re-runs I watched one of my favorites was Star Trek. I would watch it every time it was on. I would watch the same episodes again and again. When Nick at Nite ran re-runs for the Dick Van Dyke Show in prime time and the re-runs beat the new programs I understood. These old shows have a quality to them that can not be resisted. Star Trek is one of those shows.
Being a child growing up in the seventies I also loved cartoons. So of course I also loved the cartoon series of Star Trek. This is also known as the animated series or TAS. So I am a Trekkie (ie TOS/TAS).
How does this differ from other Trekkies? Well many people love and enjoy all the various incarnations in the Star Trek Universe: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise and of course all the Movies. For me the love of this universe begins and ends in the TOS/TAS era. I will add to this the two new films by J.J Abrams. I have to admit I really enjoyed them.
What about the other films ? Well, ok… I like Wrath of Khan. If you overlook the errors like Khan knowing Chekov. I didn’t like the retrofitted Enterprise. I hated seeing the ship destroyed in The search For Spock. But what I hated most was Generations and the way Kirk dies.
It was unforgivable!!!
What about the other Trek’s ? Well maybe It’s because I can’t see anyone other than the original crew at the helm. Maybe it’s because I can’t accept Klingons as friendly. Maybe it’s because I can’t accept androids as friendly.
Really… Klingons… on the bridge…of the Enterprise…REALLY?
And Androids…didn’t West World, Alien, Blade Runner and Terminator teach you never trust a machine… even if they do in the sequels?
Maybe it is for all of these reasons but my love of this universe begins and ends with the original crew. Maybe it’s because the Enterprise only has one Captain and his name is James Tiberius Kirk.
Yeah… I said it… you know it…Kirk owns it !
You see where the GEEKUS EXTREMUS Binomial nomenclature comes in now right?
This year Star Trek: The original series celebrates its 47th year. J.J.Abrams created the best movie my son has seen so far this year Star Trek: Into Darkness. This beat even Iron Man 3 on his list. Can you believe it? That tells you that these characters and this ship and their love for each other is special. Even 47 years later.
( Star Trek: Into Darkness releases this Tuesday September 10th to DVD.)
Trekkie vs. Trekker- Well Gene Roddenberry said that the correct term is Trekkie because he invented it. Leonard Nimoy during an anniversary special said the correct term is Trekker.
Well if you look around at fan sites and chat rooms you will find that a lot of people see the term Trekkie as carrying negative connotations. Trekkies have been depicted as clueless, lifeless embarrassing people. Some will argue that fans in an effort to change this image invoked the term Trekkers. Other sites will say that the original trek fans call themselves Trekkers to separate themselves from the new fans who are jumping on the band wagon. So how to reconcile the two?
I call myself a Trekkie. Yes I know there are a lot of negative images connected with being a Trekkie. Because the media focuses on the most extreme examples of fandom Trekkies are seen as people who have slid of the plate in life. But in the 70’s that’s what we were. When the patch on your jean jacket says “beam me up Scotty there is no intelligent life here” people know you’re a fan. Everybody new this phase because everyone watched the same re-runs. Trekkies were simply fans of Star Trek.
Twenty one years after the original series aired a new Trek started. Then more Trek’s came. Each offered new characters and stories. Many fans of the original series were fans of the these new Treks as well. So for me these are the people I call Trekkers. These fans that have continued Trekking with each new Trek. Nothing negative about the term at all. Just a way to distinguish preferences.
So why is this a To Go Boldly article?
Well as a Christian I find that a lot of people prejudge me. That I am automatically all the bad things that can be attributed to a person who calls themselves a Christian. I am judged and condemned without a trial. Saying your a Trekkie is a lot like saying your a Christian. They pull out the torches and pitch forks before you can say live long and prosper. I think To Boldly Go should be about more than just having the courage to go out into the world and doing the things that you want to do. I think To Boldly Go should also be about having the courage to be who you are.
Whether your a Christian or a Trekkie or both… boldly Go and be who you are in the world.
May the Love of Christ be with you always…
… Live Long and Prosper
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