When I was four or five, my family had BBC 2 on, and on it was a sci fi show. I didn’t understand it, I found it boring then, but this time it was different. A pale skinned creature, with tubes stuck out of its face, an emotionless slate, and blinking lights and robotic implants. I had to run outside. It was the Borg. I was watching a show called Star Trek.
On this day, nerds across the world (including me) celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, a show that began in America in 1966, was not popular, was cancelled after various budget cuts, revived through syndication on American TV, spreading worldwide, and spawning a multi million dollar film and TV franchise, with the latest series, Star Trek Discovery, which is set to be released next year. While not the first Star Trek series I was alive to see come out (that honour goes to Enterprise, which is kind of bad), its the first one I am interested to see coming out. So for this blog post, I will explain why I like Star Trek, and my connections.
What I like most about the show isn’t the flashy effects, nor the lasers, what I love are the themes that the writers tell. Its especially impressive in the early years, when the budget was a piece of string. Sure you have the odd duds here and there, but people, effects mean nothing. Its just a fancy, moving painted background. What matters is writing, plot, and character. And more often than not, Star Trek always gave its fans that. The show touched on themes of life, death, love, war, gender, sexuality, as well as giving views on society of the time that the show was made. It wasn’t a mindless laser fest, it had a brain. The moral lessons in it are stuff that any one of you reading can follow. While the show is set in the 23rd and 24th Century, it does not mean that anything has changed about the human condition.
Star Trek basically is with me wherever you and I go. TV shows and movies influenced by its creation, it basically created the first real fandom, that has spawned into comic con and all those fantastic fan fic writers. Yes my friends, Star Trek gave birth to shipping. And on a more personal note, you wonder why I am called Benjamin Lewis Attwood? That would be right, I am named after Benjamin Sisko, commander and later captain of Deep Space 9. 1701 is also in my phone number (won’t say which one, I don’t want you ringing me).
In conclusion, Star Trek is an important part of my life, and in all our lives. Its quite amazing that a show from the 60’s has stayed in popular culture for 50 years, it is quite amazing. While there are parts of the franchise that aren’t as well loved by fans, there’s a lot that is beloved. And while recent instalments in the franchise focus on effects over plot, it cannot be said the franchise is still as popular as ever.