21 May 2014

There is an Enterprise shaped void in my life

My Dad was a Trekkie. It kind of embarrassed me when I was younger. But then Star Trek: The Next Generation came out and since we only had one TV and we watched whatever my Dad watched, I started to watch it. Obviously a lot of what went on in that show went over my head. I just remember having a crush on Wesley Crusher. I also remember wearing a headband over my eyes like Geordi. I could not remember any actual plot lines, and probably most of what went on in every episode went way over my head.

I did not think much of Star Trek after TNG ended. I never watched Deep Space Nine and I don't think I even heard of Voyager. I never saw the Original Series. I did see a few of the movies that came out in the 90's, but mainly for the experience of going to the movies with my Dad, not because I really wanted to see them.

And then I married a Trekkie. I never thought that the phrase "you will marry your Dad" would apply to something like that. After we got married and combined our DVD collections, I still had no interest in the shelf that housed the complete series of the three most recent incarnations of the franchise.

And then my Dad passed away. I helped to write his epitaph. And because the Navy and Star Trek were such integral parts of his life, I came up with "Boldly Gone On His Last Voyage." Seeing it on his headstone still brings me chills and I cannot explain why.

One day, about two years ago, I was browsing Netflix and saw that Star Trek: The Original Series was available for streaming. I decided it was about time that I sat down and watched what both my father and my husband loved.

I will admit I watched it slightly out of order. We began with the movies. I think missed a lot from the first few movies because I had not watched the series yet. But we watched all of the movies (I am NOT including the JJ Abrams reboot in this). I enjoyed them far more than I thought that I would. I don't really have a favorite, but some of my favorite lines and moments did come from The Voyage Home (despite the plot about WHALES). So then it was time to start watching the show.

I of course began at the beginning. I watched the pilot. The original pilot. The one that did not have William Shatner as Captain James T Kirk. I almost stopped. But no, I was committed at this point. And I continued. And I found myself looking forward to Star Trek nights. The show was so much better than I ever gave it credit for. Sure, the technology was lacking, so special effects and set design were laughable by today's standards. But then I thought - this is a show about space that began BEFORE WE HAD EVEN LANDED ON THE MOON. When I put it into the framework, I was a bit more impressed. I could even look past some of the sexism and racism and other -isms that plagued the show because I could tell that there was an attempt at progress (and again, in a time where civil rights were still in question for many). Honestly the series ended much too soon for me.

I was lucky in that by the time I was ready to start on The Next Generation, it was the anniversary and it was about to be released on Blu Ray and select movie theatres were having a special showing of the pilot, another episode, and bonus material. We pre-ordered our tickets and waited to see it on the big screen. And this is where I was really impressed. Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard stole my heart! I could not wait for the second season on the big screen, I had to watch this series as quickly as possible (although we did go see the second season event in the theatre as well). The series was far better than I remember it from when I was a kid. I admit I still had a soft spot in my heart for Wesley Crusher, but I was not as smitten. Instead my attention shifted to William Riker (bearded of course). This show was amazing. I began to look forward to Klingon episodes. I still don't know what it is that draws me to Klingons, but they have remained one of my favorite races from the franchise. If I ever did Star Trek cosplay, I would definitely be a Klingon. I also looked forward to episodes with Q, pain the the ass that he was. Seven seasons was far too short for this series and I could have easily watched it for another seven. I have too many favorite episodes, and even though the perennial fan favorite "The Inner Light" is actually not at the top of the list, upon further reflection I have come to agree that it is one of the more important episodes of the entire franchise. This has remained my favorite series of the franchise.

Deep Space Nine was probably my least favorite of all of the series. I loved the character development, but I could not really get into the characters. I think the saving grace of that entire series were Major Kira. I was drawn to her and to the plight of the Bjoran people. Maybe it is the rebel in me, but I could not help but root for the Bjorans. I even appreciated how spiritual the show was. It was very refreshing. I am also a big fan of Jadzia Dax. I liked the show, and among the standout episodes for me were: the one where Cisco is a science fiction writer but thinks he is crazy; the one where Cisco goes back and has to "sacrifice" himself for a rebellion so he doesn't disrupt the timeline; and the one where they play baseball.

And finally we arrive at Voyager. I was very skeptical about watching it because I was so unimpressed by DS9, but I was committed. And I was so surprised. First of all, Katherine Janeway is a badass. Really, blowing up your guaranteed way home and not knowing if you will ever make it home but determined to try anyway? And I loved that Voyager brought it back to the original mission of Star Trek - to explore new worlds, new life, and new civilizations. To be alone in a distant part of the universe but keep your head and keep to a prime directive and starfleet protocols even when there was no one to answer to if you did not. Very inspiring. I loved seeing her make the tough choices and sticking to her philosophy. I also loved when they finally met the Borg. Yes, the borg are still the enemy, but at least we get more insight into who they are and why they do what they do. And Seven of Nine joining the cast was awesome. Loved her so much. As we got closer to the end of the series, I had mixed feelings. I wanted to see how they got home (of course they were going to get home!) but I was not ready to say goodbye. When I did watch the final episode a few weeks ago, I had very mixed feelings. THAT was how they got home? Really? And the way the show officially ended? No, I wanted more! I was not ready to say goodbye. I know it is up to my imagination to see how they all adjusted back to life on Earth, but I wanted to see it. 

It has been about three weeks since I watched the final episode. And now I have an Enterprise shaped void in my life. Through this journey, I have become a proud Trekkie. I am my father's daughter after all.