Thursday, September 8, 2016

To boldly go where no man has gone before



Today is a landmark - it marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek first premiering on tv.  The only sci-fi show anywhere near that is Dr. Who, which had it's 50th a couple of years ago.

Seeing posts about it makes me think about what it Star Trek has meant to me.

I was not yet two years old when it premiered, and five when it went off the air.  I remember asking my mother if I could watch it and she said I was to young at the time.  What I do remember is when the Star Trek cartoon premiered on Saturday mornings.  (It also shows how old I am in that I remember when the only time to watch cartoons was Saturday mornings).  I thought it was great, and of course I (in a move that would happen again in my life many times) I had to be a smart ass about it - I remember telling my mom that now I could watch Star Trek because it was a cartoon.  Of course that ended up with me having a sore butt and spending the morning in my room.

It was a couple of years later, when I was probably 11 (so 1975?), and Channel 2 from Denver had reruns on every weekday at 4pm. I would make sure I was home in time to plop myself down and watch it.  I loved everything about it.  I was too young to realize the acting was cheesy, the sets were cheap and the special effects were next to non-existent.  It was the worlds and the characters and the stories   I also remember how angry I was when they swapped it out for "Lost in Space".

I remember listening to "Inside Star Trek" several times, and reading the World of Star Trek ( as well as the Blueprints and Technical Manual).  Yes, I saw and enjoyed Star Wars, but Trek truly held my heart.



It was four years later that Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out.  For the first time I got to see Star Trek when it came out.  I bought the comic adaption and the novelization.  The movie was, well it was beautiful but disappointing.  Wanting to have a Star Trek movie and then getting such a poor script for it - but I did not give up hope.

In 1982 my perseverance was rewarded - with the cry of Khaaannn!!!!  Wrath of Khan may still be one of my favorite of the movies.  I think I saw it two or three times in the theater, and then once it came out on VHS we would rent it over and over.  It was a go to movie.



I graduated high school and college and even got married - but I still remember sitting in our tiny apartment as my wife and I turned in to watch "Encounter at Farpoint".  Here was a brand new Star Trek - all new crew but it captured what I loved about the original.  And yes - McCoy was in it in a cameo.  And the saucer section split off from the rest of the ship - something I had read about years before in the Star Trek: Blueprints and had so wanted to see.

Over the next few years we faithfully followed the series to it's end, though didn't get that involved in the later spin offs.  I watched Deep Space Nine a bit, Voyager a bit less, and when Enterprise came out I think I saw only a single episode.  New movies were coming out, but only the even numbered movies didn't suck.

The new rebooted version did a good job of both paying tribute to the old series, as well as paving the way for all new stories with the new versions of the classic crew.  I don't really think they needed to revisit Khan in the reboot (i.e. Into Darkness) and could have gone directly to the latest movie (Beyond), but I still look forward to more movies as well as the new series coming out next year.




Just so that I don't get completely away from gaming - at Gencon this year I saw "Star Trek Panic" - I didn't even hesitate for a second before handing over my money and walking away with it (my only regret was finding it for a 40% discount half an hour later :-( ).  A variant on the fun co-operative game Castle Panic - I am finding it even more difficult as you now have to deal with the ships SHOOTING at you - so they are causing damage every turn!  Each player is one of the crew with special abilities and they have mechanics for turning and moving the enterprise - which they give you a cardboard model of in the center of the board.

I also saw and picked up Star Trek: Five-Year Mission - a co-operative card game where you can play as either the original or next generation crew.  I haven't had a chance to play it yet, but I don't regret getting it.

Star Trek has been part of my life for almost as long as I can remember (and I'm only two years older than it).  The positive view of the future has shaped a large part of who I am, and I do not regret it at all.

Even though we have lost many of the Star Trek family, from the "Great Bird of the Galaxy" Gene Roddenberry himself to Deforest Kelly (McCoy), Leonard Nimoy (Spock), James Doohan (Scotty) and Anton Yelchin (Checkov in the reboot), the spirit of Star Trek will go on forever.

Live Long and Prosper Star Trek

Because it is all fun and games . . .

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