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I guess I just like liking things

I don’t remember the first episode of Star Trek I ever saw, but I do remember that an episode of Star Trek was one of the first things on TV to scare me. I was at a friend’s house with my family, and I couldn’t have been any older than 6 or 7. Someone was flipping through the channels and landed on the episode “The Man Trap” right as the salt monster (warning: link contains salt monster) made an appearance. Yowza!  Freaked me out for days!

I’ve since heard many times over that “the sets were terrible” and “the costumes were cheap and ridiculous” in The Original Series.  I’ve heard many people say they “can’t get past that.” That’s their loss, because Star Trek is awesome.  TV fans should love it because it changed the face of television forever. Sci-fi fans should love it because, come on, it’s Star Trek! History fans should love it because it contains many snapshots of the world in a way no other show was doing at the time – covering major issues of the day with a thin veneer of sci-fi let them get away with a lot.

I went to my first (and only, so far) Star Trek convention when I was a sophomore in high school. Mark Lenard and Grace Lee Whitney were the guest speakers, and I couldn’t believe I was even in the same room with them. I bought a T-shirt that has long ago disappeared, I saw people in costumes in public, and I saw bootlegged videos of bloopers from the show – it blew me away.

Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted a few months after I went to that convention. I saw the first couple of episodes, but then didn’t catch up with the rest of it until years later. It wasn’t the Star Trek I knew, but I came to love it.  I missed Deep Space 9 when it was on, but watched the first couple seasons of Voyager and Enterprise. I’ve seen all the movies (and I’m sure I’ll rank them for you here some day), and I just really love Star Trek.

Part of why I love Star Trek is that there’s so much of it to love.  For every bad episode, there are a ton of good ones. I’ve just recently finished a start-to-finish run-through of ST:TNG, and have started on ST:DS9. After that, I’m planning to hit all of Voyager (sass me if you want – I’ll sic B’Elanna on you!) and Enterprise. Star Trek is like pie: even when it’s not the best, it’s still pretty good.

Another reason I love Star Trek is that there are so many great characters. Spock and Data are two of my favorites, but I could list twenty or so without even trying too hard.  Looking for leadership training? Kirk and Picard offer you two different paths to draw from. Looking for someone like you, except in the future? For me that was Barclay. Looking for hope that racism can die out? Uhura, Chekov, Worf, Chakotay… even if the characters weren’t always handled correctly, the hope was always there.

I think that’s the best part about Star Trek, that hope. Is it realistic?  Ehhhhh…. depends who you talk to. But I think most everyone would agree the ideas it presents are worthwhile. Putting aside your differences to accomplish the amazing sounds like a pretty good way to spend a future.  Hey, I love Firefly as much as the next guy, but sometimes it’s nice to dream about things working out.

As to the whole “Star Wars vs. Star Trek” debate? Meh. Non-issue, I say. I’ve always liked Star Trek more, but I like Star Wars just fine. As time has gone on, the percentages have gone from 49/51 Trek to more of a 40/60 Trek, but I still like them both.

Besides, since Star Trek is what supposedly happens to us in the future, they probably get together to watch Star Wars on the holodeck anyway.

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