Does Star Trek Appeal To Kids Today? | TrekMovie.com
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Does Star Trek Appeal To Kids Today? October 20, 2007

by James Trowbridge , Filed under: Trek for Kids , trackback

The second of our series of guest blogs from the TrekMovie.com youth correspondent.

The topic for my October blog is how kids my age (age 10) like Star Trek. Some of my friends know about Star Trek from their parents. For example, one friend has only seen one episode of The Original Series. He said that his dad had shown it to him to see what television was like in the old days. I think that it didn’t hold his attention because we are so used to CGI effects. It is sad that my friends have not seen the newer series or movies like Enterprise or Deep Space Nine. They are more interested in shows like Heroes and video games like Halo. However, another friend of mine said he had seen an episode of Star Trek and wanted to see more. He can’t see more because he doesn’t know what channel it is on and when.

Here are some ways I think they could make Star Trek better for kids my age. Star Trek’s vision of the future has almost become a reality, because now we see automatic doors, cell phones, and microwaves every day. Maybe when they make a new Star Trek, they should give us a new vision of the future that we haven’t seen already.

Another thing is that everybody I know is interested in some kind of video game. There are some Star Trek games, but they are hard to find and only come on a few systems. For example, Star Trek Legacy should be released on other systems such as the PSP and the PC. Because it is not available on any of my game systems, I have not played it before, but I have watched videos of it on YouTube. From what I’ve seen, it looks good. I like the fact that you can play as the Federation, the Romulans, the Klingons, and the Borg, and you can choose different ships. [Editor's NOTE: Legacy is actually available for the PC and Bethesda have released a Trek game for the PSP and the Gameboy...but the fact that kids aren't aware of these games says something]

I also think that they could make some better Star Trek toys. Most of the ones available now are delicate and expensive collectors’ items. Star Trek could learn from another science fiction show I like, Doctor Who. It just came back after a long time off the air, and they have made a lot of toys such as action figures and toy spaceships it is a huge hit with young viewers in England. When the toys for Star Wars came out, I enjoyed playing with the action figures and spaceships, especially when Episodes II and III came out. I think they could make better Star Trek ships and action figures like the ones for Star Wars, that don’t break as easily. It is really hard to play with a headless Archer, a footless T’Pol, or a handless Malcolm Reed who can’t even hold his phase pistol.

I have been thinking on how I can make a little difference. So I am going to try and get some of my friends who have not seen Star Trek to check it out and see how they like it by showing one of the better movies, like Star Trek: First Contact. I am also thinking of restarting the local Star Trek fan club with my dad and some other fans we met at the Las Vegas convention. I hope this helps with the merchandising problems.

Peace and long life,

James T.

 

Comments

1. SirMartman - October 20, 2007

yeh,, it always has,, and it always will

=)

and,, FIRST !

2. Etha Williams - October 20, 2007

“It is really hard to play with a headless Archer, a footless T’Pol, or a handless Malcolm Reed who can’t even hold his phase pistol.”

This was great. I couldn’t stop laughing imagining it…

3. Wayne Zachary - October 20, 2007

I agree totally, Star Trek is a good show for people of all ages because of it optimistic view of the future wrapped up in a fun action/drama context. If kids go into watching it as I did when I was young, with an open mind and thirst for adventure, they will be rewarded each time they tune in!

4. Dennis Bailey - October 20, 2007

Very bright ten year old. Thanks for the thoughts, James T. :)

5. Paul - October 20, 2007

Way to hit the nail on the head kid. The last time I dragged a friend to see a Star Trek movie he fell asleep (I don’t blame him, it was Insurrection) Its just all a matter of making Star Trek relevant again, like you said. While I may have been ambivalent about most of the cast choices, it has done one thing that is imperative. It has generated a lot of buzz, and i think that is great even if a stoner drives the E and Scotty will want to fight zombies. To TPTB, pimp this thing like there’s no tomorrow, the buzz on it is great but there’s still a year to go.

PS Great writing for someone your age I’m just 20 and I know hard it is, keep up the great work!

LLAP

6. Andy Patterson - October 20, 2007

I discovered Star Trek when I was 8 or 9. I’d like kids to be able to see the original show sans the enhanced effects. I’ve always thought it stood on it’s own and was a product of it’s time. And pretty good at that. And for those reasons will be appreciated more. Then they can go see what they meddled with.

7. trektacular - October 20, 2007

The new Trek movie will appeal to kids because it will ratchet up the action and suspense, thats why trek never had the popularity of these other blockbuster movies have had.

8. trektacular - October 20, 2007

Plus the cast is new, attractive and/ or funny. Optimism will just be the icing.

9. Etha Williams - October 20, 2007

By the way James, you are a very articulate writer…have you ever thought about a career involving writing when you grow up?

(I know, I know, you’re just ten, but I had to ask…)

10. Thelin - October 20, 2007

I know when I was 10, TAS appealed alot to me. I think a great way to introduce a whole new generation of young trekkies to Star Trek would be to air TAS on Boomerang and Cartoon Network, and release a line of TAS toys and videogames. I also watched TOS when I was even younger, and I enjoyed it and understood most of the episodes.

11. Admiraldeem - October 20, 2007

My kids all prefer star Wars to Trek. TOS has always skewed older–Lost in Space was the sixties kid fave while Trek drew college and adults audiences more readily.

12. jonboc - October 20, 2007

The imagination and fun of the original series would be appealing to a young kid if you can get them exposed to it before they grow old enough to be jaded by the opinions of peers. Once you have them watching, preferably with a friend, they will get hooked because of the wild colors, the action, fist fights, fun and wild storytelling (greek gods, gangsters, teenagers with incredible powers, witches and people that move so fast they are invisible) Kids, especially younger kids eat this stuff up. TOS in particular, is highly imaginative and there is nothing more fertile that the imagination of a child. Get the kid to watch TOS early enough and they WILL take those adventures to the stars.

Then, as they grow older, they can learn to appreciate it on a whole new level, looking at the excelllent drama and the humor that got by them as kids. They will see, from pop culture in general that this fun science fiction show they used to watch is revered as an all time classic.

It’s all about exposure. It’s true Trek is fighting desperately for exposure. It’s up against TV, movies and video games, Mp3s etc. TV is so fractured these days, with hundreds of channels people have to use TIVO to create their own viewing habbits,. Is it any wonder kids never see the show? When STar Trek was on, every day after school at 4:00 Monday through Friday on one of 3 channels, discovering it is easy. Ask anyone who grew up watching it. But hoping a kid discovers Trek isn’t enough anymore. Kids need a nudge to find it. And that’s why, what James is doing is so fantastic. Trek it is still great entertainment, all kids require, is to be exposed to it. The rest will fall into place naturally.

PS. James… Elite Forces was a rocking good Star Trek first person shooter for PC and Playstation 2. It’s a lot of fun and is based in 24th century Trek, you should look for it. (If you have a way t o play it, it is an older game)

13. Aaron R. (Why is it Sisko was the only captain man enough to be a father?) - October 20, 2007

As a teacher who teaches kids just a year or two older than you James T. I have to say you have a lot of very good points. I tried to show an episode to my classes and it was one of the better episodes to my science class last year and out of 160 kids I would say 140 moaned and groaned all the way through it. (By the way I did pick one that tied into Science as well so as to not just show one to show one if you wondered…) I have a TOS, Voyager, and DS9 poster on the wall in my classroom and most of the kids on the first day when they see it laugh and joke about Star Trek. I find this very, very funny because I live in Las Vegas and we even have the Star Trek rides here! I would think that they would have at least been on the fun ride and liked it but I guess that just plays into the stereotype they have for trek and they don’t go on the ride because they think it is ‘goofy’ or ‘nerdy’… I told my kids that the same people who made Transformers, Mission Impossible 3, and Lost are making the new movie and several of them got a bit more interested. I think the main thing is that Trek was never really written for kids! Trek always aimed for the 18-24 demographic! Star Wars has more whimsy and fun that would appeal to kids. It is like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter… one of those movies is clearly written for younger people and one is more for adults. This is the problem that Trek I feel has had. A lot of the adult fans like a movie that has deep meaning and makes you think (we call this a cerebral movie)… The people that only want cerebral movies sometimes seem more concerned with if the movie has a message or not and don’t care as much for what they consider to be shallow characters and special effects galore. This is why they didn’t like Nemesis or Insurrection because they didn’t think the movies were deep enough. What they don’t understand sometimes is that kids are the future including the future of Star Trek and kids don’t have the attention span or the desire to sit through a long cerebral movie. What the people making the new Trek movie will hopefully do is make one with plenty of action and cool CGI effects but also the deep thinking part that the adults tend to like so everyone is happy. If they do this I think that some more of your friends might be interested in Trek and become fans.

One can only hope and wonder what they have planned for us in the new Trek movie and if it will bring in the fans that Star Trek needs to not be cancelled for good…

Aaron R.

14. Paul B, - October 20, 2007

Excellent essay from a young Trekkie. He makes a lot of great points, especially the need for Trek to show us a new future, reimagined from what we’ve already seen come true.

Keep writing, James! Thanks for sharing Trek with your friends! (And I think you definitely should restart that Star Trek club with your dad. My time in a Trek club as a teen was the best time of my life.)

15. Jon - October 20, 2007

When I was a kid there were 6 TV stations (ch2,4 ,5,7,9,and 11) on our airwaves.It was all very mundane news and maybe an old movie on channel 9,but Star Trek was on ch 11.That’s where I found myself.At 6 o’clock every weekday.My childhood imagination piqued (permanently?).

16. Jared - October 20, 2007

I contuined to be just totally amazed by this youngman! This article reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend recently about how we got introduced to Star Trek. I started watching The Original Series in 1987 when I was 5 years old, on the CBC at 2 on Sundays. I still remember that the first episode I watched was “Devil in the Dark.” I remember just thinking in my 5 yearold mind “lava monster? cool!!.” And I was hooked! TNG started later that year and I dont know that I made an immediate connection between the two, as I remember watching my first TNG episode and wondering why ‘the guy from reading rainbow’ has a thingy on his face.

James T’s letter made think about my fandom. When I was his age the special effects were still pretty low tech so I think TOS still held up better. With toys however I can kinda feel his pain! It was along 3 or 4 years in my young life before those Playmates figures started coming out! It seems that James kinda missed the resurgence of Trek that happened during the TNG era.

My hope for James and all fandom is that this next movie will start a ground swell of intrest in this great franchise again. For my part when anyone says how great Transformer’s or Heroes is I promtly tell them how great the Star Trek will be and how they should go see it.

17. CmdrR. - October 20, 2007

I think CGI overkill is the death of imagination. We’ve all heard and repeated that TOS was so well written because it had to be, because there was precious little quatloos for SFX. But, the lack of flash and trash also gave the show a magical quality. Now, I’m all for hard science, when it services a good story. But, I love the fact that we barely saw how the tricorder actually worked. It just told us exactly what we needed to know to get into trouble and eventually to get out. Transporters didn’t come with gobbledeegook explainations. They just worked. That’s the kind of straightforward “magical” storytelling that hooked me. I hope the new movie remembers that quality. I can’t be 8 again. But, I can sure imagine I am.

18. Buckaroohawk - October 20, 2007

When I was 10 (way back in 1977), I was already a huge Trek fan. I loved the action and the fact that Kirk, Spock and McCoy seemed like real friends. The only thing I didn’t like (even back then) were the FX. They regularly gave me and my friends fits of giggles when we watched.

As I grew older, I discovered the other aspects of Trek; the technological and scientific accuracy, the social relevance, the high quality writing. The show grew up with me, just as I grew up with it. I stuck with it because it had layers and nuances that revealed themselves to me as I became and adult.

Those things are the core of Star Trek, and I still believe that it can continue to cross these demographic boundaries. It’s all about relevence. Make the story timely, then boost the action and wrap it all together with some crackin’ good writing and you’ll get people of all ages in that theater next December.

A good example to follow would be the first Spider-Man film. When we went opening night, there were people of every age bracket there, literally from 8 to 80. It attracted everyone, and Star Trek can do the same thing. It won’t be easy, but I think the Abrams team is on the right track. I like the cast they’ve chosen, now we need to learn a little more about what the film is going to look like and what the story is about. We don’t need specifics, just a catchphrase will do, something that will encapsulate the crux of the story. then we’ll have a better idea of what this new Star Trek will be like, and whether they can capture the wide age-range they’re aiming at.

19. Magic_Al - October 20, 2007

The computer, communication, food, and medical concepts may seem dated, but think how cool it is that so many of their instincts about future technology proved to be right. The show would be harder to watch if it had all turned out to be nonsense.

It still makes sense for a 23rd Century communicator to look like a sort-of-bulky cellphone. Your little cellphone wouldn’t get any bars if the only tower was a starship tens of thousands of miles up.

Transporters and warp drive are still almost as fantastic as they were 40 years ago.

20. Etha Williams - October 20, 2007

“It still makes sense for a 23rd Century communicator to look like a sort-of-bulky cellphone. Your little cellphone wouldn’t get any bars if the only tower was a starship tens of thousands of miles up.”

This has always been my thought when people criticize the bulkiness of communicators. They operate using SUBSPACE communication, for heaven’s sake! It might take quite a bulky piece of hardware to figure out how to make your com signals go faster than the speed of light.

21. NZorak - October 20, 2007

I’m now 34, but I discovered Star Trek at the age of 9 when one of my friends dragged me off to see Star Trek II. I had observed my uncles watching classic Trek years earlier, but didn’t grok it in any way, shape, or form. Star Trek II was pretty amazing, because in two hours, I was instantly a fan. After I went back home after the movie, I started catching old TOS reruns and reading the novels that were out there. It was the optimistic view of the future wrapped up in the context of action and adventure that really appealed to me as well. The characters were immediately memorable and likable as well.

Of course five years later, when Next Gen launched, I immediately got into that show and it remains my favorite TV show of all time.

I think that the suggestions by the original columnist are good ones all around. It is true that real science has followed the path laid out by Star Trek, and it’s moving at an unexpected rate thanks to boundless human ingenuity. Action figures as opposed to collectible sculptures would also probably go a long way towards appealing to the younger generation.

But aside from updating some content and changing some merchandising, is there really anything that needs to be done differently with Trek? I think the first two series are timeless classics that appeal to just about anyone who likes science fiction and possesses a certain level of maturity. Why bother trying to compete with movies like Transformers when it’s audience was never Trek’s demographic to begin with. It may not have all the spark and flair of some of the super high budget popcorn movies, but they do have more staying power.

22. Miguel - October 20, 2007

TNG had an enormous merchandising when it was on the air. DS9 and voyager did as well. However, since then the collectors toys are all there are. They should re-issue some real action figures durable enough to survive a 10 year old.

23. Daniel Broadway - October 20, 2007

Very good read. I reminds me of a few years ago when I played with the action figures. I just turned 24, so I suppose I was 10 when I played with them as well. So 14 years ago.

My father is what got me into loving Star Trek, around age 8. The first character I remember seeing is Data from an episode of TNG. I was instantly a fan. As I watched TNG, I loved it.

Then as I got into my teenage years, I started watching the movies with the TOS crew. I loved that crew as well.

At the age of 13, I became interested in special effects because of Star Trek. I wondered how they did the starships, and my dad told me they were models. Therefore, through out my teenage years, I built the ERTL models of the Enterprises.

Now, at 24, I have gotten into CGI, and I will be applying at ILM in a couple of months for the change to do some CGI on the new Star Trek film. I may not be hired this time, but if I don’t, I can always make it in for Star Trek II.

Well, I rambled. I’m sorry. This kid just brought back memories for me. Thanks James T. I enjoyed it. :)

24. Thomas Jensen - October 20, 2007

There’s a lot of things the Original Star Trek forecasted that came true. The newer series suffer the misfortune of not always being on the cutting edge because the speed of which knowledge increases is quite startling. The predictability of technology is quite uncertain in some cases as well.

I first viewed the show when I was ten and a half. That was on opening day, September 8, 1966. Star Trek was a big thing to my group of friends. Nothing like it was on TV. Many kids in that era wanted to be astronauts, as did I. Star Trek fit right in with the imagination of the youth, because we were thinking about space already.

In actuality, the creative phenomena that was Star Trek has never been quite captured again. It was a product of it’s time and of factors that no longer exist.

And I agree, if kids are going to enjoy this show, get them into it around 7-10 years, so they can enjoy it from a child’s viewpoint. With so much to choose from these days, kids won’t even notice our 42-year-old show, without a little guidance…

25. redstatesrule - October 20, 2007

My Worf lost his arm when I was about three.

I had to build my own “robotic arm.” I can relate. Tragic.

26. Michael Hall - October 20, 2007

Mr. Broadway,

Best of luck on that interview. :-)

27. ZoomZoom - October 20, 2007

#11 I must have been unusual, I got into TOS, without being pushed!, in the early 70′s as a 7 or so year old.
It is interesting to hear the thoughts of a young lad but I honestly do think that the best of original Trek can hold the attention of kids. My 6 year old nephew absolutely loves City on the edge of forever!
As others have said, the remastered fx may help pull a bigger audience in. And of course the new movie.
Heres hoping!

28. Blake Powers - October 20, 2007

That kid is very on. The fact is Star Trek needs to have technology that noone can possibly imagine. All the gadgets on Enterprise need to be nearly inconceivable. I know this cranks up the CG cost but dear lord this is star trek! I have an iPhone that eliminates the magic of more than half the cool stuff on any star trek series.

29. Q - October 20, 2007

I got into Star trek when I was in eighth grade with TNG, and It’s still my favourite Star Trek series today (I’m 18 now- not long, I know). My mother and her younger brothers had been into Star Trek since she was younger, and then she sort of passed it on to me. I don’t think I would have given it a second glance if It hadn’t been for her…..

We watched a few episodes of the original series on Sci-fi on weekends for a long while before my Trek obbsesion really hit, because Mama wanted to. They were good episodes, but that’s not what got me into the show. When they started showing TNG on Spike (the old Spike channel) I just randomly tuned in and watched one day. And then I kept on tuning in and watching and watching, untill I’d seen all seven seasons. At first I just stuck to TNG, but then I wanted to know more and more about the Trek universe, and some information on websites also fueled my curiosity. I wondered what fans were talking about with the other series on all those message boards and all the fan fiction, so I checked them all out.

Now I’m just into everything Trek, but no matter how I’ve tried to make it appeal to my friends over the years, It’s never really clicked. My friends just saw it as an ancient show that our parents watched when they were kids, and never really gave it chance. They also see it as something that I might like on DVD for my birthday, which is very good for me, but that’s all. Today when I start talking about anything Trek, they just ignore me, whine about how they ‘don’t wanna hear about it’, or are like, ‘Star Wars is better.’ It kind of sucks not to have someone to really share the show with ans squeal over the characters and such. My mother and I have gotten my younger sister into TOS though, but that’s about it.

I think the points you brought up Mr. James would have helped my friends get into Star Trek when we were younger; I probably would have been into it when I was ten too if they had better toys. I hope somebody takes note of your suggestions and puts them into action. Maybe then I could bribe my friends to check out the show with one of those sturdier Star Trek action figures…..No, I know I could! *Grins*

Great article, Mr. James T. Rock it, brother!

30. Denny W. - October 20, 2007

…with young fans like James T. leading the way, I think the future of Trek-fandom is in good hands :)

31. Captain Pike - October 20, 2007

You have nailed it James. Star Trek has long been a corporate money engine and has been seriously lacking in fun. DS9 Voyager and Enterprise were all grim adult shows most of the time and didn’t really attract the wide eyed youngsters. For me at age 9 or 10 TOS was a window into a universe of boundless action, adventure and imagination. I had to wait until I was 40 for somebody to make a proper &#$%@ Phaser II toy!

Actually when I think of recent TV series, Stargate SG-1 is the real successor to TOS it terms of capturing that “Planet of the Week” adventure feeling. Maybe Star Trek (2008) will bring that good old TOS seat of the pants Action/Adventure feel back to the franchise. We can only hope.

32. Etha Williams - October 21, 2007

#28 — Yes, but can your iPhone communicate faster than the speed of light ;)?

33. The NCC Factor - October 21, 2007

I’m 15 and began watching Star Trek when I was 8 when BBC2 used to show episodes of Voyager every night. I’ve always loved science but that was the age I was only realising there were genre’s to television shows and so I started to seek out science-fiction. I found Farscape at first, that was quite good, and Stargate also had an appeal but the one I found most interesting was Voyager, even though I didn’t have a clue what was going on (what’s a Delta Quadrant… what’s a warp? I kept asking myself hehe). After about a month of Voyager every weeknight they started airing The Next Generation straight after it. This was the icing on the cake, TWO Star Trek series back-to-back. It was Next Generation that really got me hooked on Trek. I loved the characters, specifically Data and Picard and because I started watching it right from the beginning I began to understand all the treknobabble and Star Trek history. Infact I’d never seen an episode of The Original Series until I was 10 (and that was “And the Children Shall Lead”… imagine my dissapointment, TOS wasn’t regularly broadcast in England then, I think it was on BBC2 on Saturday mornings once a month or something like that). I was also very happy when Enterprise came on Channel 4 but really didn’t start to enjoy it until Season 3. Now a big fan of TNG and VOY I had to seek out DS9 but it was no where to be found! Had to wait until I was 13 and started collecting the box sets of it, now all I need is Season 7, and well… Christmas is coming soon :P

James this article was very impressive and I hope you will continue reporting for Trek Movie for a long time, maybe even if we get a trilogy out of this film! :P Hoping to here a review of Star Trek (2008) from you, since you’ll be one of the first people to see it!

~The NCC Factor

34. Dom - October 21, 2007

I got into Star Trek at a very, very early age: my Dad used to plagiarise the episode he’d watched that night to tell me a bedtime story.

Later on, by the age of 5, I was seeing season three episodes on the then-current run on the BBC (probably late-1970s.) Season three might not be the highest regarded, but to a 4-5 year-old, they were great entertainment and wildly imaginative for a child to watch. I loved stories that are widely derided, such as Spock’s Brain.

By the age of about eight, I was hooked on the next phase of TOS reruns and was watching the movies on VHS. Confession: I went to see indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in preference to Star Trek III, which was just as well since I’d only seen ST:TMP at that point!

I was thrilled when I picked up a comic called Star Trek: The Next Generation and realised that it was a series about a new crew. I was disappointed when I saw TNG, because it lacked the wilder streak of its predecessor and was more like TMP in tone (it was a bit like Monty Python where Graham Chapman appears and says: ‘Stop that! It’s silly!!’) Where had the psychedelic music, the garish colour and the fistfights gone?

But the five-year-old in me will love seeing the new Trek film. The five-year-old part of me loves the sense of adventure and that anything is possible! When we grow up, we often let the child that we were curl up and die. Indeed, the age of the TOS cast meant that the movies were always about growing older. It’s time to embrace this young new crew and recapture that original pioneering spirit!

35. cugel the clever - October 21, 2007

#33

NCC – your post is the most encouraging thing I’ve read for long time regarding the appeal of ST to younger people. Unlike many of the jaded cynics at this forum, who spend most of their time on attacking their least-favourite ST series’, you have the enthusiasm and appreciation for all of the series’ and of the ST concept. It is your generation who will make-or-break this new evolution of the ST concept. Hopefully you can get some of your friends on-board :)

36. FlyingTigress - October 21, 2007

Well written, JamesT!

“I also think that they could make some better Star Trek toys. Most of the ones available now are delicate and expensive collectors’ items.”

Good point. I, personally, haven’t even thought about whether for Trek items — outside of the “expensive collectors items” — were available for purchase. I had assumed that, with SW seemingly more appealing to youngsters, and old farts like myself (or, even fans who came on-line with TNG) being more interested/capable of gravitating towards the collectibles, that there wasn’t much interest out there for the ‘affordable on a youngster’s budget’ ST merch.

Interesting ‘chicken or egg’ situation: Would there already be enough of a market for Trek merchandise interesting-enough for our young correspondent and his friends to justify the initial development+ advertising+ manufacturing costs (typical business model) for the budgetarily-conscious Trek fans, or, do you develop demand for — say, an upcoming set of Star Trek movies (plural intended) and a new generation (no humor intended) of TOS-era Star Trek fans — and go ahead and accept the potential losses on the products, initially, as a long-term investment? Seed money, as it were.

“He said that his dad had shown it to him to see what television was like in the old days”

***sigh*** I HAD to read THAT on my 49th birthday.

(chuckle) Yes… I sometimes miss the days of the turntable (that’s a pre-CD/pre-casette tape/pre iPod-mp3 music player technology) in our middle-class home where you lowered the bird’s beak down onto the record…

(and, I wonder how many, today, wouldn’t understand THAT reference?)

37. munk - October 21, 2007

My son is 8 and he is watching the Sci-Fi channel reruns of Enterprise with me now. We watch 2-3 eps at a time. His interest has grown from Enterprise and he has now watched some TNG including Nemesis, The Wrath of Khan and Voyager. Does it appeal to kids? Well, it does at least to him, prompting intelligent questions about the science and the plots. I’m VERY happy he has a healthy interest in it.

38. Aaron R. (Why is it Sisko was the only captain man enough to be a father?) - October 21, 2007

You can’t force a child to learn, you cant force a child to behave, you can’t force religion upon a child, you can’t force politics on a child, you can’t force a child to hope for there future, and you certainly can’t force a child to like a television show that you like by forcing them to watch it.

All this talk all along the spectrum from nudging to forcing kids to watch makes me sick to my stomache. Its like parents who insist on forcing their religous beliefs on the children they have. IDIC is infinite diversity in infinite combinations not YOU MUST LIKE WHAT MOM AND (or) DAD LIKE.

The goal is to make a movie that captures the interest of the youth market and has them asking Mom and Dad to go see the cool looking movie not to have Mom and Dad dragging them into a theater and thus possibly creating negative resentment about the movie and the parents.

You don’t force someone to drink the cool aid to get them to like something or someone! People that talk about forcing kids into things just because they like them make me feel a bit ill.

Aaron R.

39. COMPASSIONATE GOD - October 21, 2007

One glaring fact about how out of touch modern Trek is:

1. TPB used to actively go after the childen’s market in the 60′s; from Leaf trading cards, View-Master reels, Gold Key comics to the wildly popular AMT model kits, Trek had appeal to children.

2. Jump to the early 70′s syndication period, and what did we see? An explosion of kid-targeted Trek AMT models, the comic book was still in print, but then, more aggressive marketing to kids in the form of Mego’s 8-inch Trek action figures/playsets, new Topps trading cards, Halloween costumes, role-play toys, stickers, and all of the merchandising based on the greatest evidence of Trek’s appeal to kids: The Animated Series. I think it is beyond doubt that Trek had a strong connection to children from the start.

The direct acknowledgement to Trek’s child audience continued into the 80′s–at least with DC Comic’s movie-era comics, and various toy lines.

Though TNG and its sequels found some interest among kids, by the late 80′s/early 90′s, the fumes of Star Wars were more apealing and the child culture had been altered by the simple rollercoaster thrills of video games, making more thoughtful sci-fi “boring”; that’s not intended to insult an entire generation, but the acceptance of the shift in what became the most popular kind of sci-fi was evident.

The future of Trek as a kid-friendly property is a shaky thing; if the PTB attempt to inject too many modern sensibilites (any weak, post-Matrix, post-new-BSG elements), they will surely turn off the long-timers for many of the same reasons which caused innumerable fans to abandon the franchise under Berman…but we already know the new film is not a TOS clone down to the last detail (otherwise it would be a tribute project like New Voyages, Exeter or other fan films).

The new film is in a tough spot. Paramount may have to swallow the idea that in TODAY’s world, everything cannot be “programmed” to appeal to every age group.

40. Enterprisingguy - October 21, 2007

#28

You have a good point about the tech. Your iPhone has a bigger screen than a tricorder AND it’s even in color! The need some high powered imagination to come up with some futuristic gadgets to make us feel we have gone to the future. That’s what the transporters did for TOS and what the replicators and halodecks did for TNG.

41. IrishTrekkie - October 21, 2007

i say one of the things that really got me into star trek was that it was always on t.v. , i am 20 now so i grew up with tng , ds9 , voy , ent, and new movies every few years , i live in Irealand i watched star trek tng on sky and they would show it alot plus that made me want to see the TOS and movies, i mean i had seen 100s of esp of star Trek and i say all the movies before i ever seen any star wars ,

and yea we dont have to water down star trek , we never did , but i do admit its hard with all the other sci fi shows around today, but to get younger fans all we need to do , is make good movies and shows , and i hope the new movies has alot of toys and posters and some new video games ( proper video games not a crap movie tie-in)

42. Lord Garth Formerly of Izar - October 21, 2007

Cute kid

Original Trek was very relevant with kids. From what I’ve been told and vaguely remember Mego Trek, figures, playsets, props, were very hot with and heavilly marketed to kids when Trek went into syndication.

The movies were aimed at more of an adult audience but the Trek arcade game was very popular .

Next Gen was to wanna be cerebral and non-action to be that popular with kids. Though they did a great job marketing toys and games at kids which were bought and hoarded by adult fans and not kids

DS9 could have been huge with kids. Action, actual bad guys, fun characters. but was never properly pushed by Berman, anyone else have a problem figuring out what time it was on???

Voyager and E were unpopular with kids and adults because they were bad

This time I’ll wager we will have toys and playsets on the shelves before the ink is dry on the storyboards. And much like the original series there will be oodles of big splashy action, scantly clad 20 yr old chicks to appeal to today’s kids. Look at Transformers if you want the template

43. VOODOO - October 21, 2007

I’m young and I love Star Trek.

44. theinquisitor - October 21, 2007

My older brother showed me the original Star Trek movies when I was a kid, but when he sat me down to watch the first episode of the Next Generation on it’s first showing on BBC2, I was hooked. Often after the episodes I would rewind them and watch them again. From that time there was Star Trek continually all the way to Enterprise.

And then Star Trek went away.

And then it came back! Woohoo!

45. snake - October 21, 2007

Then TNG came out and i watched that – but wasnt really bothered until i caught the 3rd season in the early 90s which was excellent…(the 3rd season really brought old and new fans together so much so that they just became overall fans…)

Saw Trek V (amazingly i loved it then..i mean i knew it wasnt as good as the previous ones but i still loved it) and then VI at the movies which turned me into a fully blown teenage Trekker (not good when ur at school though!…word of advise to the kid – DON’T go around telling friends you like Star Trek! – although now it might be different…i dunno)

then i just compleatly lost interest in star trek,… sci fi, movies etc and just dropped out of it all (i think it was because i thought original trek was over with VI and although i liked TNG i wasnt as much of a fan as i was TOS and also UK tv never showed the damn series anyway!)- Then in 1994 i picked up a sci fi mag in a store just to see what the news was in the SF world (not internet then really!) and saw a NEW photo of Shatner in the red tunic as Kirk and was like “Whoa! WTF?! a new Star Trek movie with Shatner!! holy shit!! – Kirk and Picard! in the same movie!”…that made me sign up to the Offical Fan Club again and get back into it all – renting TNG eps id never seen etc….then First Contact came out and i was hooked….. but only to the movies – id already lost interest in the rest with Berman became all powerful with DS9 & Voyager….then Insurrection was just a waste of a movie entry and i had some hope for Nemesis – but that proved the same & Ent i only saw the pilot which was average and then i heard horror stories about the following seasons….it was all just the nail in the coffin – not just for me but everyone it seems (although ive since developed a grudging admiration for Ent thanks to the 4th season)

Thing is there hasnt been any thing like Treks II, III and IV since …well Treks II, III and IV – so that has made it difficult for Trek to attract new fans like it did then…same with TNG…
However this new film should see to that…

46. snake - October 21, 2007

DAMNIT!! missed the first part off!:

I became a fan as a kid due to seeing the excellent movies of the 80s – Treks II, III and IV – i was taken to see these along with my family…then i would go home and catch TOS eps on tv…and TMP…when they were on..I think it was Trek III that really turned me though (was a bit young when II was out) and then IV was like my favourite film EVER at the time…i had no interest in Star Wars then as it just seemed too muppety and kiddy where Trek was like serious and rooted in somekind of reality…

(read that bit first – then the post above )

47. The NCC Factor - October 21, 2007

#35 – Wow thanks, you know I don’t post here much but I try to make ‘em gems when I do lol. Well interestingly some of my friends have already expressed interest in seeing John Cho and Simon Pegg in these roles which is very encouraging!

~The NCC Factor

48. The NCC Factor - October 21, 2007

And I don’t believe it, that was post 47, there’s my Star Trek connection just shining through. Haha

49. om - October 21, 2007

Q: Why doesn’t Star Trek appeal to kids these days?

A: Because their enlightened parents refuse to beat the appreciation of the show into their spoiled behinds, that’s why!

50. GKM - October 21, 2007

Gee, I don’t know what Trek episodes you watch, but the ones I’ve seen feature a whole lot more than automated conveniences. How about warp drives, teleportation, A.I., aliens, extra dimensions, and all sorts of radical technologies that are way beyond the scope of anything on the horizon. I don’t see how the superficial background things like communicators and automatic doors would turn any kid off of the show.

51. SebiMeyer - October 21, 2007

Not quite sure if the fact that ST is not a kids show is such a bad thing though. From a 10-year old’s perspective, naturally it is, but don’t we like ST so much because it’s treating difficult themes with open minds? The last thing ST needs is to be dumbed down because someone thinks that will get more viewers. (Although former UPN execs seemed to think otherwise.)

52. Raphael - October 21, 2007

I think you mentioned a very important point: the availability of games. I use a Mac as my home and office PC and also as my game station. The last Star Trek game that was released for the Mac was (IIRC) Star Trek Elite Force II in 2003. I don’t own a TV and I don’t want to spend money just to run Windows on my Intel-based Mac so I have no choice but to not play Star Trek games at all. Which is rather sad since the premise of Star Trek Legacy actually sounds very promising. But even if there were a game that ran on the Mac, I’m not located in the U.S. and thus I’d have to either buy the game in a localized version (which I’d hate) or hope that it would be available as a digital download version which most games aren’t (I have yet to find out why – they would sell a lot more games this way).
I discovered Star Trek about 16 Years ago at the age of 6 but since it only ran very sporadically on local TV stations, I only really got into it a few years ago when the Next Generation DVDs came out. Before then, I knew I loved Star Trek but I didn’t know any characters, I didn’t even know that there were different series and I’d definitely never heard of conventions, action figures, games and the like.

53. Antonin - October 21, 2007

Why doesn’t Star Trek appeal to more kids these days?

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that kids today are receiving such a steady bombardment of profanity, near-explicit sexual imagery and over-the-top violence that something like Star Trek just seems very limp to them. Story-telling? Characters? Most kids just want to see stuff get blown up.

High doses of sex and explicit violence have never been part of the Trek tradition. Even in Trek fiction, that is one of the basic rules all writers must follow: no explicit sex, no hyper-intense violence.

Go to your local mall and listen to the kids. Go to an R-rated movie and look around and see how many kids are there.

Given a choice between “Star Trek” and “Grindhouse,” most kids will choose the latter. Star Trek will be classified as “corny” and “lame.”

54. NCC-73515 - October 21, 2007

#52, Raphael: the localized german version of Legacy includes the original US version. so maybe the other versions also include the US sounds.

back to topic:
i am 22 now and my first contact with star trek was the first movie. my father was watching it and i just passed by and saw a short part of it. i did not like it at that age (5) because i didn’t get it. my mistake was that i avoided trek in general after this for about 3 years.
at the age of 8 or so, i saw the TNG episode “conspiracy” – again, because my father was watching it – and since then i saw all the TNG, VOY and ENT episodes at least 3 times. i know the movies by heart. i’ve also seen about 80% of TOS and 60% of DS9.
i have all the technical manuals and books about klingon.
as for toys: i was never interested in action figures. but i have 9 phasers, 2 tricorders, 4 communicators, 6 large starship models, a FC uniform and almost every PC game :D
most important: it was star trek that made me study biology (the most interdisciplinary natural science).

55. Space » Blog Archive » Days Of Future Passed - October 21, 2007

[...] Does Star Trek Appeal To Kids Today?, TrekMovie.com“Here are some ways I think they could make Star Trek better for kids my age. Star Trek’s vision of the future has almost become a reality, because now we see automatic doors, cell phones, and microwaves every day. Maybe when they make a new Star Trek, they should give us a new vision of the future that we haven’t seen already.“ [...]

56. COMPASSIONATE GOD - October 21, 2007

50. GKM – October 21, 2007
“Gee, I don’t know what Trek episodes you watch, but the ones I’ve seen feature a whole lot more than automated conveniences. How about warp drives, teleportation, A.I., aliens, extra dimensions, and all sorts of radical technologies that are way beyond the scope of anything on the horizon. I don’t see how the superficial background things like communicators and automatic doors would turn any kid off of the show. ”

Agreed! We do not have a cell phone that is completely independent & can call to a vessel out in space, and as you list, no transporters or warp drives. Our experimental weapons are not even in the same conversation with the fictional Phasers….and replicators? Yeah, sure. Real life is still in the Stone Age compared to Trek, so if kids do not find it appealing, it must be the recent history where ST suffered from few good and no great general concepts and stories, along with being brainwashed by the simple excitement of Star Wars, Matrix and video games…not the myth of real-tech catching up with Trek-tech.

57. Mike T. - October 21, 2007

I like James T’s comment that his friend didn’t know what channel or time Trek is on.
I think Sci-Fi is the first “network to air Trek at a regular time week after week.
My local UPN affiliate ( now CW) has bounced every Trek show around or just didn’t air episodes. I was watching DS9 when Spike used to air it and watched episodes I never knew existed.

CBS / Paramount could do themselves a great service and pull TOSR from syndication and air it on CBS on a Friday or Saturday night and advertise the hell out of it. I bet they would get decent ratings that are better than what they get now with the show airing at differnet times in different parts of the US.

Most people I know that like Sci-Fi didn’t even know Enterprise was on the air, the same with the remastered TOS. How can you hope to bring new fans in when they can’t find the shows to watch them.

58. Chris - October 22, 2007

We started watching TOS as a family about a year ago. It’s on every saturday evening here. My kids love it! They bug us if they have to miss it. I grew up watching it and liked it so I figured my kids would too. We don’t have to force them.

We have also showed them most of the non-TNG movies. (Still haven’t seen the first though) A few weeks ago we saw Generations. Here is what my daughter said: “Piccard is just a dummy. He just sits there and when he does do something it’s stupid.” While I find that a tad harsh, her point is well taken. TOS was fun and full of action. It worked because of the great cast, plenty of action and interesting stories. It was no technical marvel, it didn’t have to be.

I hope the new movie returns to that character. Special effects are great, but they don’t make up for a bad plot and character development.

59. Jimtibkirk - October 23, 2007

Great job with your article James T! Looking forward to the next one.

I just attended a big collectible show in Edmonton Canada and was shocked how litte Star Trek merchandise there was. Meanwhile, huge gobs of Star Wars stuff was stacked everywhere. Even shows such as Stargate and Firefly had more to offer than Trek. It seems that at least from a merchandising standpoint, Trek just doesn’t sell right now. Hopefully, the new film will change that. Meantime, I scrounge for what I can find at local stores, shop online, plus visit the Vegas Hilton and get to the odd convention when I can.

60. Demode - October 23, 2007

We need real Star Trek action figures again… an updated version of the Playmates toys. Those where good figures! Very durable, and the perfect size for playsets. I think Trek toys should be made at that scale. The large ones are nice for collectors, but not great for kids… in fact, all of the ‘realistic’ detailing makes them kind of boring looking!

61. Cervantes - October 24, 2007

Bring on the ‘Lego’ Star Trek computer game!

That’ll keep them ( and me ) happy…

62. Classic trek - October 24, 2007

im 41 now and got into the original series during the 1970′s when they were shown on the BBC. i have loved the original series ever since. the other series that followed didnt really do it for me. always remember the que’s of people lining around the block for the motiion picture!

cheers
greg UK

63. Helen Berger - November 2, 2007

Hi 5 James T!

What a positive response from the Trek community. Great article. Love hanging with your family on Halloween.

64. Crazy Guy - May 31, 2009

I agree wholeheartedly with this article (which I’m surprised a TEN-YEAR-OLD wrote… kid must be a genius, ten-year-olds I went to school with mis-spelled every word and its brother).

The toys should be better (and easier to find). There should be more games — preferably arcade shooters along the same lines of Star Trek DAC, or, for variety, games like the classic ones from the eighties, nineties. Those were fun to play. We need more kid-friendly merchandise.

We need a new animated series now, CGI rendered. It could re-tell the stories of the original series and original animated series in the universe of the latest movie, as well as some new ones. Five seasons for five years, ideally. Format it like Star Wars: The Clone Wars, hopefully it could make the same network and time slot.

We need some more action-adventure stories — science is okay, but don’t overdo it.

In all, there are just so many ways you could spread the appeal of Trek to ALL ages. I’ll admit that although I’m a lifelong Trek fan, whenever I saw episodes that looked like a soap opera (I blame YOU, DS9!) or a science lesson (Star Trek: TMP), I was turned off. Episodes formatted like the original series, meshed with some Clone Wars, would be the best way to appeal to wide audiences.

And these are not just my opinions, either. My 11-year-old brother agrees. He’s more of a Star Wars fan, but has been known to watch Captain Picard movies. He didn’t like Shatner’s Kirk because the first time he saw him he was “a hip young OLD person” whose butt was creamed by a mad doctor on a mountaintop. His attitude intensified as we watched TOS-R. But now that Star Trek Abrams has come out, he’s a big fan of THIS vision of Kirk, whom he calls “cool” (I’m inclined to agree, unfortunately — please don’t judge).

We need a better balance between what we know as Star Trek and what kids are interested in these days. Unless someone’s shooting lasers or phasers at someone else, or a spaceship gets blown up, kids aren’t going to be interested. The only way they will otherwise is if we see more episodes like “The Man Trap” or “Tomorrow is Yesterday.” Or “The Doomsday Machine.”

I’ve said enough. Peace out, y’all.

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