Commentary

Star Trek: Bigger Than Ever

TNG delta shieldStar Trek turns 50 years old this fall.  It has never been more popular with the rebooted J.J. Abrams movies bringing more people into the Trek universe.  Star Trek on Netflix has also helped greatly.  I have been a fan since I saw my first episode, “Operation, Annihilate”, in reruns at age 3.  Since then I have watched as series come and go.  Each time a series ends, it was always a bit sad.  Was Star Trek to come back on the air?  Fortunately, the answer has turned out to be, “yes.”  It has been over a decade since Trek has graced the small screen, but it is coming in about 6 months.

  • 726 Episodes
  • 5 live action, 1 animated series
  • 13 movies
  • 700+novels
  • 1st female in authority
  • 1st interracial kiss on TV
  • 1st ethnically diverse cast
  • 1 series, possibly 1 movie in the works
  • source of technological innovations

Star Trek gives us heroes.  We don’t often see people on TV that can be positive role models worth imitating.  Captain Kirk and Captain Picard among others have given me people to look up to.  The casts of Trek provide a rich fabric of really good people.  They may have their flaws, but they give us a sense of responsibility, duty, and respect.  The diversity of the casts also provide something to strive for in this white male dominated society.  I still see it all the time in the technology field.  It makes me sad and wanting of the Trek universe.

We think we’ve come so far. Torture of heretics, burning of witches, is all ancient history. Then, before you can blink an eye, suddenly, it threatens to start all over again. –Captain Jean-Luc Picard, “The Drumhead”

Gene Roddenberry had a radical view of the future.  It was in stark contrast to that which we had seen to that point.  He believed that in the future there will be no greed, no hunger, and all the children will know how to read.  That is such a profound statement.  If you take away greed, there is no more money.  That leads to a utopian society.  Gene also believed that there should be no intra-ship conflict.  Conflict had to come from outside of the ship, from aliens and planets.  This made writing episodes difficult.  A good episode of TV is based in conflict.  His ideas led to an optimistic view of the future which many have found to be exciting, entertaining, and thrilling.  This is the type of future we should be hoping for.

Star Trek gives me a warm feeling.  It makes me feel part of something that is much bigger.  It is a safe place that provides comfort in tough times.  An episode of Trek can put a smile on my face just from watching it.  Star Trek has always been big.  It is getting bigger due to an increase in popularity.  Think about Gene’s view of the future.  Is this the future that you might want?