Boldly Going: A First-Timer’s Journey Through Star Trek

29 Aug

Originally published September 8, 2009 at

Star Trek turns 43 today. To most people, that fact probably doesn’t mean much. It didn’t used to mean much to me.

To a small group of people — call them Trekkies or Trekkers (I know the latter is the “preferred” term, but it’s all kind of made up anyway, right?) — the anniversary of Star Trek‘s premiere means a lot. For those devoted individuals, it’s more than a show; it’s a way of life. That’s an oversimplification, of course, but can you think of another television show that’s had the effect on its fans the way Star Trek has? I’ll answer for you. No. I’ll readily admit that I’ve come to Trek late in life. I was a casual viewer of both ToS and Next Generation growing up, but most of my experience was with the Star Trek films, which I liked but to this day I still haven’t seen them all (I’m still missing The Motion Picture and Insurrection). I always enjoyed what I saw, but apparently not enough to seek it out further or even keep watching. Let’s chalk these now-damnable mistakes up to youth and inexperience.

All that changed with the release of this year’s Star Trek reboot directed by J.J. Abrams. Though the movie had its problems, I loved it pretty unabashedly; more than that, however, I could tell something had changed inside of me. I wanted to do nothing but watch Star Trek for the rest of my life. Just ask my wife, who had to put up with weeks of asking if I’d like to watch a movie or a TV show, only to be met with “But that’s not Star Trek.” I was kidding, of course, because I haven’t actually started watching the show until now — though it wasn’t for lack of desire. Curse you, Amazon backorder.

Without being able to actually begin watching the series yet, I took to the Internets and read what I could. I bought all four collectible glasses from Burger King and drank from them regularly (some might say I filled them with Gene Roddenberry Kool-Aid, but those are just the haters. Actually, it was Coke Zero: none of Coca-Cola’s calories and very little of its taste). I even attended my first Chicago-area ‘Star Trek Expo,’ a fan event scheduled to host dozens of vendors, film screenings of Star Trek II and III and even a visit from the Captain himself, one William Shatner. By the time the event rolled around, Shatner had backed out due to “low ticket sales” and had been replaced by Sean Kenney, who played original Captain Christopher Pike in “The Menagerie Parts 1 and 2.” The whole expo was a rather sorry affair, with only a few “vendors” basically selling VHS tapes they no longer wanted and a rather unhappy-seeming Kenney sitting alone at a table ready to sign autographs for no one. I was one of eight people in attendance. Still, it was good to see Wrath of Khan on the big screen.

I’m getting away from my original point. Or am I? The intent of all of this is to basically out myself as a born-again Trekkie. Or Trekker. Whatever. 43 years after it first aired on TV, I’ve fallen in love with Star Trek. As a result, I’ve committed to watching every single episode of every single incarnation of Star Trek, from The Original Series to the Scott Bakula-heavy Enterprise. And, like any good starship captain, I plan to document my exploits weekly in this very space. I’ll be watching one to two episodes per week, writing about the show from the perspective of a first-time viewer, I’m in uncharted territory. A Star Trek virgin.

Not for long.

I hope you’ll take this journey with me.

One Response to “Boldly Going: A First-Timer’s Journey Through Star Trek

  1. Nick February 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    I’m so happy you’ve rebooted the Boldly Going reviews! I’m looking forward to reading more. Now… get cracking! 🙂

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