EDITORIAL: 10 Things About Star Trek I Am Thankful For

Star Trek toast

It’s Thanksgiving here in America, and the idea of the holiday, without its specific history, is something we can all get behind: being grateful for the good things in our lives. It’s simple, it’s universal, and it usually comes with a giant delicious meal. So in honor of that, this fan is going to list the top ten things that make her thankful for Star Trek, even though there are definitely more than a hundred.

Here goes, in reverse order:

10. “I, Mudd”

I, Mudd - Scott, McCoy, Chekov

I grew up on the original Star Trek, and this episode used to make us just howl when we were kids. As soon as they decided that the way to foil Harry Mudd’s androids was to act like a bunch of wackos, the episode got ridiculously fun. Kirk standing with his foot on a “dead” Scotty, the dancing, Spock tormenting Norman with his logic descriptions, and all the silliness that came out of it made it an event every time it came on TV, and that was back in the day before streaming, on demand, or even (gasp) VCRs.

9. The Reboots

Star Trek reboot cast

See that look in Kirk’s eyes? That’s the look readers have right now, as they’re thinking, “The reboots? What is WRONG with you?” But you know what? They make a lot of mis-steps, but the one thing they nailed perfectly is the casting, because it pays tribute to what was truly great about the original series. All those actors? They get it, they’ve embraced those characters, honoring the originals and bringing something new to the table at the same time. And more than that, without those reboots, Star Trek would have been a dead franchise by now, just entertainment history, and my fierce fandom might have stayed in the closet. My nerd flag is flying high these days, and I can write about Star Trek, talk about it, and proudly display my iPhone case with the insignia on it (and gold command color, always). Those reboots got Star Trek back into the modern conversation, and for that I am grateful.

8. Worf’s Parents

Worf and his parents

Don’t laugh!

There’s so much talk about the diversity on all the different Star Trek series, and I used to joke for years, “Where are the Jews? Where are my people?” And then Worf’s parents came along, and they seemed very, very Jewish to me. Okay, maybe they’re not, but maybe they are, because they FELT Jewish.

7. Captain Jellico

Captain Jellico (Ronny Cox)

He wasn’t a barrel of laughs, and he didn’t like Captain Picard’s fish, but he got Deanna Troi in a Starfleet uniform, and she had earned it long before. Thank you, Captain Jellico.

6. Seven of Nine

Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan)

I already really liked Voyager, and I was pissed when I read that they were adding a sexy woman in a catsuit to the show. I thought they were giving in to fanboys and creeps and it was a sexist, terrible idea.

Well maybe it was done for sexist reasons, but Seven of Nine was a brilliant add to an already great show, outfit notwithstanding. She was a unique character, brilliant and strong, and like any self-respecting weirdo, very confused about things that everybody else found completely normal, as she readjusted to being human. She offered a completely different perspective on everything, and extolled the virtues of cheesecake. My kind of gal.

5. Captain Picard

Captain Picard

Oh boy was I skeptical of a new Star Trek show, back in 1987. And then what was going on with that skinny bald dude as the captain? I was sure they were going to screw it up.

They didn’t. The show revitalized the franchise and Captain Jean-Luc Picard became one of the greatest heroes in all of fiction. I want him to be President, of the country or of the galaxy. My husband and I wanted him to officiate at our wedding. I want him to resolve all disputes, be everyone’s boss, and help us all figure out what to do in times of trouble.

I once started a new job with a big title and big salary, more responsibility than I’d ever had before, and my boss’ boss’ boss called me into his big corner office on the first day and gave me a speech about the type of leader he wanted me to be. When he finished, he looked at me expectantly. I took a deep breath, and said what I was sure would not go over well: “You know who you just described? Captain Picard.”

His body language changed completely. He smiled, finally. “I LOVE Captain Picard!” he told me. Good choice.

4. Voyager

Star Trek Voyager

It’s not that there was something wrong with the original Star Trek, TNG, or Deep Space Nine. Honestly. But Voyager was the first Trek show that really put women front and center. There were strong female characters already, but they weren’t the stars, they weren’t driving the stories and leading the crew. Suddenly we had Captain Janeway, who was a great captain–let the arguments begin!–and still had compassion and a personal relationship with each member of her crew. We had B’Elanna Torres, the first real female Chief Engineer since those early episodes of TNG and the brief engine room reign of Lt. Commander Sarah MacDougal. (Yes, I’m still glad Geordi took over.)

Voyager put the women front and center, and as a female fan, it was long-awaited, and magnificent.

3. Trials and Tribble-ations

Trials And Tribble-ations

Deep Space Nine was a good series, with compelling characters, but when it took a leap back in time to visit the Enterprise under James T. Kirk’s command and revisit those tribbles, it made magic. They restored and rebuilt old sets, recreated old school uniforms, and gave the characters the same awe that the viewers had as they tried to get close to Kirk and Spock and save the day without revealing themselves. The integration was seamless and beautiful. I could watch it a hundred times.

2. Gene Roddenberry’s Idea That We Might Evolve Into Being Nice People

William Shatner, Gene Roddenberry, and Patrick Stewart

Isn’t this the premise of the whole thing? Star Trek gave us sci-fi that wasn’t about space battles, although it had them, or technology, although it was cool. It was about the idea that maybe humans will actually figure things out, stop being jerks, and evolve into what we can be. Maybe we can be bigger than we are, one day, and still be fun and have adventures, and make mistakes, and learn from them. That vision, no matter which series hooked you, is a revelation, and is rarely seen in other shows and movies about the future. Grateful that somebody understood how important that is, and that no matter what went on in terms of the entertainment business and politics and commercialism, that vision persisted, and thrived.

1. Spock

Spock

I was a kid when I started watching Star Trek, a pre-adolescent girl brimming with over-the-top emotions and thoughts that flew through my head a mile a minute, and there was Spock. What I connected to wasn’t that he didn’t have emotions, but that he DID have them, and he had to control them, along with everyone else’s perception of who he was. He was the alienated teen, and I was right there with him. He was the alien I thought I was, and it didn’t matter that he was male or grown-up to me; he was what I felt like, down to the secret feeling of one’s own superiority that teenagers have. I’d never seen anyone like him. Happy Thanksgiving, Spock, and everybody.

A final note: I could not be more thankful for the TrekMovie team. Everyone here is a fan, and we all donate our time and efforts to this site because we want to be a part of it. They’re all amazing, dedicated, smart people and I am lucky to be one of them.

LLAP.

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I am thankful for the hilarious people on this website. Endless fun for me ;)

I’m thankful for the music of George Duning and more generally, the music of Star Trek. I’m sure you remember Captain Kirk’s inspiring speech in “Return to Tomorrow”. “Risk is our business” Kirk says with a vigor that would have inspired John F Kennedy. Behind him is Duning’s inspiring music which slowly builds to a crescendo that makes you believe any dream or goal is possible. That little peace of music that starts so slowly and then ends so loud and inspiring reminds me of the journey of “Star Trek” itself. A NBC TV series that reportedly never found its audience. A show that floundered during its first 2 seasons and was half heartedly renewed for a final season. The Third Season was given so little financial support that only one episode, “The Paradise Syndrome” was filmed on Location. The show is quietly cancelled in 1969. But within the next 2-3 years, a mania begins to develop over “Star Trek” reruns. Fans are eating up the series every night at 6:00pm throughout the nation and a large fan base of all ages are just chomping at the bit for new Trek. Jerry Goldsmith’s wonderful score for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” also reminds me of the visit that Star Trek took to get to the silver screen. Kirk & Scotty in the space pod make a slow but anxious journey toward the refitted Enterprise. The music slowly builds until the Enterprise is staring back at James T Kirk. The music… Read more »

Recomended coment, nicely constructed about a beloved theme.

I am thankful for the franchise as a whole, and The Original Series in particular. It was a constant for me as I grew up in a chaotic household. My parents fought endlessly, I moved every year to a new home and a new school, and was shuffled through the foster care system for a year. Through out it all was Star Trek. I could escape into the adventures of the Enterprise crews and forget my troubles. Then, I came out, and Star Trek helped me see that no matter the issues we see today, there is always a chance for a brighter future. I hope Star Trek continues to shine the light on the positive aspects of our culture as we make our way into the future.

I’m grateful that my nerd fixation of childhood has flourished so well that it is my NEW nerd fixation in middle age. (Yay, ST Discovery!) I expect still to be fixating while they wipe the Jell-O from my quivering chin many years from now.

yep.

sometimes you need a hard ass like Jellico during war time. shame he didn’t show up in ds9.

‘get it done’.

Jellico was a terrific captain and played by a terrific actor. In a parallel universe, you can imagine Jellico comfortably being the lead character in a Star Trek show.
It’s significant that a character who was supposed to be an antagonist actually gained more sympathy than the regular characters in his brief appearance. Riker behaved like a preening prima donna and, apparently, it was supposed to a ‘bad guy’ thing that Jellico insisted Deanna not dress like a stripper on the bridge. I work in a notoriously scruffy profession (the media) but I always dress smart because I do believe in a degree of formality in the workplace. It’s a matter of self-respect as much as anything.

That was a beautiful list, thank you for it :)

Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving!

Love this list! I was reading along and thinking, “Wow, I agree so much with what she says here,” and “I agree so much with what she says there,” and by the time I’d finished reading your #2, I was thinking that you could BE me; had I written this article in some sort of fugue state or something?

And then I scrolled down enough to see your #1 and promptly burst out laughing, because Spock will always be my #1 reason for loving Star Trek. There are lots MORE reasons to love it — your #2 is so important — but Spock is such a complex and interesting character that the writer in me adores him. So many different kinds of people see themselves in him; it says something about our secret core that so very many people identify with a half-Vulcan. And he’s such a genuinely GOOD person, so ethical and altruistic, that we can only become better people by identifying with him.

Happy Thanksgiving, Laurie Ulster, and thanks for a fun article!

Corylea, you made my day. Thank you! And happy Thanksgiving to you too! I keep waiting for someone to attack my love for Janeway.

What a perfect list. Thank you Laurie for bringing back these great memories!

Thanks! So glad you liked it.

please forgive englishe, i am russia.

i come to study english in uk, but i very much like star trek, and i like to watch star trek. i am in englande very little time, and i have hard stress.

i like star trek so very nice, and i get excite when i watch it. i get very excite. one time, i get so excite that i pick up telephone and call mother in russia. it 2am in perm, russian federation. i am so excite about star trek that i shout to mother (in russia) “I AM HAPPY FROM STAR TREK”. my mother, she say “boy, what you say?” i shout to mother on telephone “I AM HAPPY FROM STAR TREK”. my mother, she say “boy, you no marry uk girl”. i shout to mother on telephone “IS NOT GIRL, IS STAR TREK, I AM HAPPY FROM STAR TREK”. my mother get very anger at this. but she not get scared at all.

Only 10? no fair. Of course Spock is #1. :]

I applaud you for lauding Voyager so highly. It was and is a magnificent show with some of the best characters and stories in all of Star Trek – Voyager got it right more often than not. If you are a nay-sayer, watch it again on Netflix right away.

Totally agree! Great characters & stories, very much in the spirit of the original and TNG.

I would be thankful for a large version of the title picture of this article. ;-)
I have actually never seen this one before. Is it from Star Trek V? Thus, I am thankful for this site still bringing on new things about Trek for even a life-long fan such as I.

When the production of “Star Trek V” wrapped, Paramount held a press conference where the cast lifted a glass of champagne to salute and celebrate the wrap of the movie.
That’s where the picture is from and the ceremony appears as an extra (along with Harve Bennett’s emotional plea to the Paramount Salespeople) on the Trek V DVD and Blu Ray.
Another thing that we are all thankful for is that when Bill
Shatner forgot Walter Koenig’s name when he introduced each cast member, Walter didn’t impale Bill with the Cake knife that was somewhere nearby. “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” would never have happened had Walter done this.

Oh, wow. Thanks! It seems I do need to upgrade the movies from DVD to BluRay. Regarding Shatner: I remember him being on a late night talkshow when Koenig came on stage just to give him a kiss and a slap in the face. Must have been around that time.

Honestly Trek isn’t perfect and it has its missteps like any franchise but I generally love it all. It took me a long time to finally accept Enterprise (gave up on it after first season and never watched it again until just three years ago where I watched the the entire show and oddly just rewatched third season recently) but I love it now. Same with the Kelvin Timeline films. I didn’t love them but didn’t hate them either. They were fun distractions and it was nice seeing a variation of the TOS characters again.

But yeah all in all its just great we have so much Trek to rewatch over and over again for infinity. When Discovery premieres we will now have 6 shows and 13 films. Thats pretty cool and I love that all the crews are so different from each other. Even the KT films its the same characters but being in a different universe you do look at them separately from the TOS characters which makes them an addition to the franchise and not a substitute. And I can’t wait until we get Discovery and see how different those characters will be as well.

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