As a young boy, in the early 90’s, I was fascinated with the VHS cover boxes for the original Star Trek television show. I can still remember exactly where they were near the counter at my local video store, Videorama. I knew of Star Trek and had seen bits and pieces of it on TV, but it wasn’t something anyone in my family talked about. And outside of renting the Trouble with the Tribbles episode, I didn’t spend any real time watching The Original Series.
Once The Next Generation (TNG) was on the air, I became fascinated with the Playmate toy commercials, especially the transporter commercial. I was so young, I believed there was a way the toy transported the figure across the room.
I discovered Star Wars in 1995, when the THX re-releases came out, and I planted my flag as a Star Wars fan during that year. Star Trek seemed dull, stuffy, and nowhere near as fun as Star Wars, so I didn’t give it much thought until one Christmas Eve when I was fifteen. I was visiting my grandmother and I was an angsty teen. Upset with my family, I found myself sitting in a chair looking for something to watch and that’s when I stumbled upon a TNG marathon. I fell in love almost instantly. The characters were incredible and the stories so vast! I wanted to watch more, but after that holiday fling, I didn’t seek out the series further for another fifteen years.
My next memory of Star Trek came when I began working at Blockbuster in 2001. An assistant manager from a different store came over to work one evening and we got along great. He was excited for a new Star Trek called Enterprise that was about to debut (September 2001). I remember thinking how I wish I was in on this Star Trek thing, because I wanted to be this excited for a series! He was practically bouncing off the walls. The next week when he came in, he gushed about the series and I told myself one day, I’d give it a watch.
I met another person while working at Blockbuster who sort of mentored me with movies. He was ten or fifteen years older than me, so he recommended all sorts of sci-fi movies I had never watched or heard of before like Enemy Mine and Brazil. When he discovered I hadn’t seen Star Trek, he told me the truth about the franchise at that time. The even movies were good, the odd movies were less than good, but they were all worth watching. Just a couple of months (November 2001) after the debut of Enterprise, Star Trek: The Motion Picture Directors Edition DVD was released, and I purchased it and began my watch of the Star Trek films. I made it all the way up to Nemesis (which to this day I still haven’t seen all the way through) which was released in March 2002.
I really enjoyed some of the films, others were meh, and despite the new special effects, The Original Motion Picture was an absolute bore. I discovered quickly, I was a bigger fan of the Next Generation crew, so I had hoped to purchase the DVD sets of TNG that were being produced at the time. I never got around to it because they were very expensive.
I found myself working at a movie theater when JJ Abram’s Star Trek was released in 2009. I wasn’t interested. My watching of the Star Trek movies felt isolated to seven years earlier, and without my movie mentor around, I just wasn’t compelled to watch it. That was, until my current mentor and boss, mentioned I needed to see it. He told me how good it was and how he thought I’d really enjoy it. I took his advice and caught a screening. He wasn’t wrong, I fell in love with the film. I loved the vibe, the design, the cast, and the music.
When I first started dating my wife, we both picked a movie to show each other that we hadn’t seen. She picked Frozen for me and I picked the 2009 Star Trek for her.
In 2012, I was watching a web series called The Guild, created by Felicia Day. She created a music video for a song called, “Now I’m The One That’s Cool” that was catchy. In the song, it mentioned watching “Next Gen every night” and it occurred to me that I finally had a chance to do that. Netflix streaming was a thing by this point and The Next Generation was available to watch. So, one night, I turned it on and a year later, I finished The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager.
I was skeptical about starting Deep Space Nine, because I had watched Babylon 5 in the early 2000’s and was quite loyal to that show. I knew the history and similarities in set up, but I decided to give it a chance and I’m so glad I did. Despite loving the crew from TNG the most, Deep Space Nine is my favorite Trek.
As I finished with Voyager, I decided to start with The Original Series, but I didn’t make it very far. I gave up with an intention on finishing it sometime, but I’m just not a TOS guy. I also began Enterprise, but a couple dozen episodes in, I’m still not hooked. I watch one here and there, but it’s just not my cup of tea.
In 2014, I met Tim Russ, who portrayed Tuvok in Voyager at a comic con that was held in a family fun park. This photo was taken at the bowling alley, which cracks me up when I walk into these massive conventions these days.
I never had a Star Trek of my own until Discovery debuted in 2017 on what was then called CBS All-Access. It wasn’t astounding, but I really enjoyed the show and was so excited for a new Star Trek series. I finally got a chance to feel what that manager I had met at Blockbuster was feeling. Since then, I’ve watched everything new Star Trek that has been released, as well as read dozens of novels, hate played through the 2013 video game, then played through a bunch of older games, rewatched most of TNG and DS9, read new and old comics, and the list goes on and on. Just typing this out, and realizing I’ve only been really watching Star Trek for a little over ten years seems absurd, because it feels like a lifetime.
The characters and stories have had such a profound impact on my daily life. A little Picard watches over me at work.
In my therapy sessions, when I need a safe person to assist in my EDMR, Jean Luc is there.
In a way, Picard has become a surrogate father for me. The ideals he possesses and how he presents himself is exactly the man I want to be.
It’s not unusual for me to sleep when my wife is out of town to the ambient sounds of a ship.
Just this past week, I finally started watching Picard Season Three. I’m halfway through and I’ve slowed down my watch just so I can savor each episode. It’s choked me up so many times already, and that really made me take note of exactly how much this franchise means to me, especially this particular group of characters.
Last night, I went ahead and bought Star Trek Resurgence, the latest Trek video game and despite playing just fifteen minutes, I can already tell I’m going to love this game. Then again, after slogging through the 2013 game, any new Star Trek game had to be better.
I know a lot of people like to trash the JJ Abrams Star Trek and reboots and reimaginings in general, but if it wasn’t for that film, I don’t think I ever would’ve found the love I have for Star Trek like I do. It was a gateway into the franchise. Now I much prefer TNG or DS9 to watching any of the Abrams Trek movies, but without that spark I never would have seeked out the previous series.
There’s not much of a point to this post, I just wanted to share my Star Trek history and see how this fandom came to be. I’m sure I’ll have some thoughts on Picard and Resurgence in a few weeks.