Thursday, September 08, 2016

50 years of Star Trek

It's 1991, and I'm sitting in the crowded Shrine Auditorium in LA. My parents scheduled a trip to visit my aunt and uncle so that we'd be there for the 25th Anniversary Creation Star Trek Celebration. The only part of the con I attended was the main event -- a showing of the teaser trailer for ST VI: The Undiscovered Country, followed by the Original Series main cast members and Gene Roddenberry on stage together. It would be the last time they would all appear together in one place.

The Undiscovered Country was billed as the farewell to the original cast, one last send-off before turning the future of the franchise over to The Next Generation. If you haven't seen it or don't remember, the teaser was a series of scenes from the Original Series as if they were projected on the surface of the Enterprise. It was a powerful and special moment seeing those scenes together in the loud appreciative audience of fellow Trekkies.

Star Trek had an enormous impact on me. I literally grew up watching these characters every week, and traveled the galaxy on adventures along with them. I watched the movies, collected starship blueprints, read articles in Starlog, and made up my own fan theories. Seeing that teaser was the highlight of the trip. I thought maybe someday it might be available on VHS to watch again. I couldn't have guessed then that "in the future" it would be available anytime on YouTube on a networked pocket computer more powerful than a Starfleet communicator.

What I find most compelling about the Original Series besides the great storytelling and action, even more so than the later series, is a vision that the future can be better. We can work together to make it so, like the crew of the Enterprise -- not in spite of our differences, but because of them.

Happy 50th to Star Trek, and to all of us who kept it alive. Live Long and Prosper.