On Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary, What Does The Franchise Mean To You?

Enterprise Star Trek Anniversary Birthday Cake Candles

Tomorrow marks 50 years since the first episode of Star Trek hit the television air waves. The TrekMovie staff take this opportunity to talk about how some of us came to love the franchise. If you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to assume that Star Trek means something special to you. Whether you’re a super fan, a new fan, a Trekkie, or a Trekker, we want you to tell us: what does the franchise mean to you?

Header image by Sam Woolley

We asked the TrekMovie staff how they got into Star Trek. Here’s what they had to say:

“My first memory of Star Trek is drawing the Enterprise”

My parents introduced us to Star Trek by showing us TNG on Sunday nights as part of our Family Home Evening. Instead of a big, elaborate Sunday dinner we would just eat sandwiches and snacks and watch the adventures of the Enterprise-D. But my first ever memory of Star Trek is drawing a picture of the Enterprise (no bloody A, B, C, or D) when I was in first-grade.
–Jared Whitley

“It gave me direction. I can’t imagine life without Star Trek”

My love affair with Star Trek began in 1979 at the tender age of 6, and I remember it vividly. I walked into the family living room, where my Dad was watching this show I had never seen before. He told me that he was watching something called Star Trek, and I, probably more out of boredom than anything else, plopped down on the rug in front of the tv and started to watch. The episode, I realized later, was “The Enterprise Incident”, a pretty solid third season show. It dealt with Romulans, disappearing ships, characters in disguise, faked deaths, and assorted other things that absolutely riveted this first grader. I immediately began pressing my Dad for more information, who told me we could watch it again the following week (this was before we had a VCR). For the next few years, I made sure to be in front of the tv at 6pm on Saturday night.

Turns out it was a good time to become a fan. A few months later (or weeks, for all I know) I began to see ads for a Star Trek movie that featured all the same people that were on the show. My Dad and I saw Star Trek: The Motion Picture on opening weekend, and while my six-year-old mind had a hard time grasping the more metaphysical aspects of the film, I was completely sucked into the world the movie showed me, and became an even bigger fan. I gleefully devoured the short-lived Marvel Comics series and whatever books I could get my hands on that would allow me to learn more about this magical world I had discovered.

As I got older, I realized that the show was far more than action-adventure. It often dealt with heady ideas and had an inherent humanism to it that has kept me coming back for the last 37 years. It gave me a direction and affects my thinking to this very day.

I can’t imagine what my life would be like had I never wandered into that living room.

Thank you, Gene.
–Brian Drew

“Star Trek helped shape me into the scientist I am today”

Star Trek has always been a part of my life. I grew up as The Next Generation was airing in its first run on television. My parents would have friends over every week to watch new episodes. Later in life, I would watch TNG in syndication and slowly got into the other series and movies. About a decade ago I attended my first convention, and my life changed forever. Walking into a hotel and meeting thousands of people who shared a common interest meant we were all instantly friends. Star Trek inspired me to want to explore the world around us, so, yeah, I give Star Trek credit for shaping me into the scientist I am today.
–Kayla Iacovino

“Trek influenced my decision to study Sociology”

Star Trek is “comfort food” for me, especially TOS and TNG. I was introduced to TOS at the young age of 6, right as the first season of TNG as was airing. So for a period of time, TOS was the only Trek I knew. Getting to know TOS and, then airing weekly, TNG got me through a rough patch when my parents suddenly announced a trial separation and I was whisked off by my mom to live with her parents in another state. Captain Kirk and Wesley Crusher became important role models for me. Kirk was a sort of aspirational version of myself (not afraid of change or new challenges), and was a bit of a pseudo-father figure too. Wes was important because it showed smart, sensitive, kids had a place in the future and would be treated with respect.

As I grew up, my love of tech, how things worked, and general curiosity about the world and the people on it, all intersected in Star Trek. Through books like The Star Trek Compendium and the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, I learned about behind the scenes information and they helped frame the episode plots with context, often pointing out how episodes were allegories for real-world events and issues. Books like the Mr. Scott’s Guide to the Enterprise, and The Next Generation Technical Manual fed my love of Trek tech, and of course influenced my interest in tinkering with present day computers. Seeing the intersection of pop-culture, social commentary and the strong humanist message in Trek, influenced my decision to study Sociology in school. Trek has shaped me, given me so much entertainment, and food-for-thought throughout my life; I’m excited to see where Trek takes me next.
–Matt Wright

“I absolutely wore those VHS tapes out”

I was a lad of only four years old in 1986 when I watched my first episode of Star Trek. Paramount had begun releasing the series on VHS that year, and my dad picked up a copy of “A Piece of the Action.” My father loved Star Trek and mobster films, so this episode was the perfect intersection of his two interests. For me, I loved how our heroes came upon a familiar looking society and, after being captured multiple times, went on to save the day by acting like the very gangsters they sought to pacify (although my appreciation for that episode has grown as I have aged).

Seeing that I was hooked on that episode, my dad showed me three VHS tapes that included episodes that had been recorded off of television. The episodes included “Amok Time,” “Obsession,” “The Changeling,” “Journey to Babel,” “The Menagerie,” “Charlie X,” “The Naked Time,” “The Enemy Within,” “Mudd’s Women,” “Miri,” “Dagger of the Mind,” “Balance of Terror,” “The Galileo Seven,” “The Squire of Gothos,” “Arena,” “Court Martial,” “Space Seed,” “Errand of Mercy,” and “The Devil in the Dark.”

I absolutely wore those VHS tapes out, watching episodes over and over again, as well as the first four feature films. During my Summer breaks from school, I would watch reruns of The Original Series every day. It was not until the series was released on Blu-ray in 2009 that I watched it in its proper order. The first Star Trek movie I saw in theaters was The Final Frontier at the age of seven. I recall this fondly as I started crying my eyes out because I thought we were in the wrong theater. As this was the first Star Trek feature to begin without the opening titles, I mistakenly thought we were watching the wrong film.

Being as young as I was, I did not realize that there was a new incarnation of Star Trek on television until 1990. My dad did not watch it, as he was more attached to TOS. It was easy to get caught up on the episodes I had missed as TNG aired every night. The first series I watched from beginning to end, week in and week out, was Deep Space Nine, which remains my favorite to this day. While I love that series so dearly, I will never relinquish my love for TOS, a show that I truly grew up on.
–John Duchak

“It was my mom that got my eyes on Star Trek for the first time”

My mom used to tell me that she watched Star Trek when she was in the hospital recovering from my birth, but I had to tell her that it actually premiered six months after I was born. It doesn’t matter; it was still my mom that got my eyes on it for the first time. I was probably about 10, and got hooked almost immediately. The show delivered good news: there might be a future that included peace, hope, and bold adventure, and it came in bright colors, featured space travel, and was fun! As bizarre as it sounds, there was no fictional character better than Spock for an adolescent girl to connect with. I watched every episode, every time it was on, read The Making of Star Trek and The World of Star Trek over and over again, and longed for the day when the vision in this show would be shared by millions … because I had no idea that was already happening.

So while my mom was the first one to put the show on for me to see, no one told me about it or said it was good: the show did all the work, and that was that. Star Trek fan for life.
–Laurie Ulster

“Star Trek has always been in the background, I just pulled it up to the front page of my life story”

I have a lot of Star Trek memories that have led up to this point in my life where I’m recognized more as Starfleetmom than by my real name. I remember watching TOS on TV in the 70s as a kid. I remember getting really excited when I saw the trailer for the STIV at the movie theater when I went to see Silverado with my big brother. I remember having a new puppy in 2000 & the family couldn’t decide on what to name him… until we were watching The Voyage Home on TV one day. We all looked at Spock and looked at my pointy-eared schnauzer pup and unanimously decided to name him Mr. Spock. I remember going to Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas for the first time with my best friend and finding out that she was a Trekkie, too. I cried because she read every word of the museum timeline with me and I knew no other women than would do that. I laughed as she recited the Encyclopedia of Borg to a woman there that was dragged along by her Trekkie husband.

I remember when James Doohan died and my best friend and I decided right then that we should go to a convention and see these icons before we lost any more. At that 40th anniversary in Las Vegas, we were in awe of the people who knew all the episode names and minor characters. When we got home I remember recording and watching all of VOY and DS9 in order on Spike TV, which was broadcasting it daily. I recorded every episode on VHS tapes and reused them weekly, just like my mom did for her soap operas. In short, I remember certain milestones, but I have no Come to Jesus (or Come to Starfleet) moment. It’s like Trek has always just been there in the background and then around the turn of the century I just pulled it up to the front page of my life story. Since our first convention my circle of friends and circle of influence has expanded greatly and the Star Trek relationships and experiences have greatly enhanced my life and my happiness.
–Christine Rideout

“My love affair with Star Trek grew as I did”

Syndication is where I first was exposed to The Original Series, although my earliest memory was playing with my original MEGO Scotty figure, which I no longer have. My love affair grew as I did, and seeing The Wrath of Khan on the big screen as a 12-year old, when it was first released in theaters, cemented Star Trek in my life. I still remember one of the patrons crying as Spock died on screen. It’s a moment that continues to resonate with me. After Star Trek II, I went back to watch, and watch, and watch TOS again and again on my local UHF channel (this was before VCR’s, digital recorders, streaming, etc.). During these rewatches, the one Star Trek episode which I always was excited to see was “City on the Edge of Forever”, which to this day is still my favorite of all-time; watching Kirk as he allows Edith Keeler to die to protect the future still hits me in the feels. His sacrifice to do what was right for the needs of many will be a theme which his character would revisit often, up until his death.
–Rich Schepis

“Star Trek always meant the hope of fixing my heart issue through science”

It was 1974, the world was transfixed by the kidnapping of 19-year-old Patricia “Patty” Hearst, granddaughter of publisher William Randolph Hearst. What was the Symbionese Liberation Army? I didn’t care, I was watching Star Trek The Animated Series. I was also four. While TOS technically was my first introduction to Star Trek, but the animated series was mine. I felt like I had discovered it. When Star Wars was first popular, my grandmother’s total lack of pop culture knowledge put MEGO Trek figures in my lap instead of Luke and Leia and I began to take that as a sign. After the 1970s has passed, and in the 80’s without reruns or the Internet, I often wondered if it was just something my childhood mind had manufactured, but by then I was into all things Trek and eagerly awaiting the new Star Trek: The Next Generation. I am so glad I get to experience the thrill of a new show again and I owe it all to a shirtless half-goat, half-man with cloven hooves was bellowing “FRIEND KIRK!”

More than that, Star Trek always meant the hope of fixing my heart issue though science and helped bring me closer to my Grandfather.
–Aaron Harvey

Those are just a few of our stories. What’s yours? Tell us in the comments. And follow along during our live tweet of “Space Seed” tonight at 8pm PDT!

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“I am so glad I get to experience the thrill of a new show again and I owe it all to a shirtless half-goat, half-man with cloven hooves was bellowing “FRIEND KIRK!”

I just watched this one!!!

Gotta love an animated TOS episode where Spock drinks beer.

I watched TOS reruns in the 70s. It fueled my love for science and I eventually became a pharmacist.

I discovered Star Trek on the afternoon reruns in the 70’s. I cannot give you an exact age but I recall being enthralled with the show when I was at least 8. I continued watching the reruns all through the 70’s and remember being absolutely thrilled when I heard there was going to be TMP. I enjoyed the positive view of humanities future the show presented even at that early age, Most sci-fi centered around some sort of horrid post apocalyptic kind of thing. I liked that that future show did not do that. And as I got older, I started to see the deeper connections of the episodes. So not only did I enjoy it for the ray guns and cheap aliens as a kid, but I was able to watch again much older and see the episodes in entirely new ways. And that just cemented Trek for me as the great Sci-Fi franchise it is.

TOS has always been a part of my life, since first watching it back in1973. There is something deeply magical in it. Something intangible that continues to boldly resonate like no show has gone before… or will do. I love it! For all its cheap sets and dodgy costumes, somehow it transported me to strange, new worlds and adventures that continue to reverberate in my heart.

Thank you to all who continued to make myths matter!

50 years old tomorrow. Pretty incredible. When I first got into Star Trek it was only about 30 years old, I honestly have a hard time believing that it is actually half a century old now. I mean, what’s next, 60,… 70…??

When I got into Star Trek, it was about twenty years old, quite young compared to what it is now. I look forward to the next 50 years.

The first time I saw Star Trek I was an 8 year-old and was allowed to stay up late with my 13 year-old brother and my dad to watch “Spectre of the Gun” during an original 1969 broadcast. I was thrilled that there was such a “grown up” approach to other worlds and possibilities (much better than “Lost in Space” and other Irwin Allen fare). Then, when Philadelphia’s UHF station, Channel 48, ran the reruns in the early 70s it was a treasure trove of intelligent exploration of themes and hopefulness. I looked at the black and white certainty of Kirk and his selflessness for his crew as traits akin to my father, whom I idolized. At the time it was a serendipitous conflagration of: the excitement of worlds unexplored; fears to be faced; friends to be made; the power of science and reason; the certainty of one’s morals; and the familiarity and trust of a family. Indeed, I considered the bridge of the Enterprise as another home. Plus great dialog and the occasional cool shit to see. As I got older and gained some objectivity, I realized that there was simplicity in the viewpoints and there was a strong Amercianism to the (ahem) enterprise. But I never lost my love for the spirit of the show. The Next Generation took a fuller view and matched my 20s/30s mindset and then the franchise reached its zenith with DS9 and its nuanced shades of grey. Voyager and Enterprise made for great television with occasional moments of transcendence — and I especially the Manny Coto-driven sensibility of Enterprise’s 4th season that started to fulfill the promise of what that series could be and circle back to the love of TOS. The movies were always, to me, a way to enjoy the essence of Star Trek in a hyperbolic way. However, Star Trek, for me, is and always shall be about family and how the family faces possibilities with hope, some irony, and always with affection — albeit grudgingly at times. The trek into the undiscovered we make together is the most meaningful trek of all. Happy 50th Anniversary.

conflagration => conflation

It seems like I was into it since birth. My parents watched it; both re-runs of TOS, new episodes of TNG, and even DS9 and Voyager when they first premiered. I liked the ships and technology most back then, which is probably a big reason why I’m an engineer now. :)

However, now that I’m older, I think the thing I love most about Star Trek is the hope for the future that it encourages. Thinking about us all working together as a species, to help each other, and explore makes me very emotional. I’d absolutely love it if we could get over ourselves and get out there.

Blame it on my dad. He gave me science fiction books to read. First time watching it and I was hooked. My mom thinks I am weird. It is a fantasy world I would like to live in. I enjoy meeting the fans and the cast.

I remember watching TOS as a teenager. But I was somewhat turned off by Kirk’s character, as a sort of an arrogant, beat-up-the-bad-guy womanizer. I was much more intrigued by Spock, especially his abilities, and his relationship with Bones. After the full-length movies were released (which I absolutely loved), I began to rewatch TOS and learn it was more cerebral. I started becoming more appreciative the story lines and writing. But It wasn’t until TNG that I really felt attracted to watching Star Trek again. I loved the complex characters and their interrelationships. During the late 80s, after surviving a divorce and the suicide of a loved one, watching TNG in the evenings seemed to bring a sense of steadiness, calm and hope to a very tumultuous time in my life. I’d watch reruns of TOS repeatedly and then I’d watch new TNG episodes until they became reruns and I’d watch those repeatedly. I was so excited when the Generations movie came out, bringing both TOS and TNG together! I found it harder to dive into DS9 and VGR, partially because of the more serial nature of the shows. But years later, and thanks to Netflix I have watched these again and again and love them as well. DS9 is now my favorite of all the shows. Star Trek — whether watching shows on Netflix, the latest movies, fan film productions, listening to the myriad of related podcasts or connecting with other fans at conventions — continues to have a very positive effect in my life. And an added plus: my husband loves Star Trek too! We’re both looking forward to Discovery!

As a kid, I watched Star Trek from day one (“The Man Trap” on 9/8/66) and was very upset when it was ripped away from me in 1969. Then it came back, slowly, to be sure, but it came back. Let’s never be without it again, okay?

When I was five, in 1975, with a toy phaser that screeched so loudly that I was only allowed to use it outside, Trek made me want to be a scientist. When I got older, I realized that I loved words and ideas more – and Trek was full of those. By then, the movies had inspired me to read Shakespeare, Milton and Melville.

Star Trek means everything to me. It changed my life in ways I could not imagine. My outlook on life and society has been influenced by the ideals of Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets. It has been there for me when I have been down and has helped me smile thru the hardest times, along with my incredible family, of course. It has bonded my cousin and myself to such an extent that we consider each other brothers instead of mere cousins. I owe so much to it.

I love Star Trek.

I was a kid when I discovered TNG during its original run. My friend and I had a combined set of about 30 Playmates star trek action figures and 2 shuttle Goddards, for which we built entire cardboard, fairly well-detailed starship interiors including bridge, quarters, engineering and shuttlebay. Not to mention fleets of Micromachines starships!


I wasn’t the only one!

It was my 4th grade babysitter (1970) that introduced me to TOS before it was called TOS. She helped me understand that it could be our future. By the time 5 years had passed, I’d seen every episode, I thought, many, many times and then a new episode I hadn’t seen came on (Space Seed) and, well. . . Talk about a last ‘First run’ episode! Wow! Anyway, I grew up with TOS, went to every movie on opening day (from TMP to STB), watched TNG as it began along with DS9 and VOY. ENT was a bit more difficult to see, we lived in a small town that only got 2 stations, and it didn’t play on either. A college friend taped them in LA and sent them to us in Nebraska. After we moved back to the Pacific NorthWest, I decided I was tired of my wife and kids rolling their eyes every time Star Trek came on or entered a conversation, and I began buying the seasons and movies and we CHRONOLOGICALLY watched the entire Star Trek franchise one episode per night at a time. We started with ENT and when Voyager (finally) came home, it was about a week before ST09 hit the theaters. Now the whole family is hooked, all because of my 4th grade babysitter 46 years ago.

Celebrating Trek’s 50th (and my own) at the National Air and Space Museum tomorrow night and into Friday. Will (hopefully) watch the Premiere Ep exactly 50 years to the day- with a whole passel of others who love the series the way many of us here do.

Spock: Captain, heat dissipation units are at maximum and we are approaching the tolerance level.

Scotty: Aye, and those flamin’ beasties are causin’ a waxy build-up on my nice shiny hull.

McCoy: Jim, don’t just sit there. Blow out the candles, dammit!

Kirk: Mr. Sulu, fire main extinguishers. But… first… makeawish!


It gives me hope.

Does anyone else keep counting 51 candles? Have I been brainwashed by a Cardassian captor?

I think I also counted 51 candles. This Birthday Cake Enterprise must be from the future. That’s the only logical explanation. :)

This is Star Trek’s 51st year.

I was 8 years old when it came on in 1966 and I have never stopped watching it, of course, not every night but I continue to watch it and the other series/movies either on TV or DVD/BluRay. The main thing that Star Trek means to my wife and I are the friendships we have made over the years with other fans by going to the conventions and the former Star Trek: The Experience. This franchise will endure and continue to evolve as time goes by. While some may look at TOS as see a very dated TV show, due to effects or acting or stories, others will see their future unfold. I have yet to command my own starship as CAPT Kirk did, but I can still dream like I did back in 1966 that one day I will. Thank you, Star Trek and Happy Birthday!

I’ve been Trekkin since the first run in the 60’s when as a young lad i’d get tostay up late and watch it with my Dad. When TOS went into reruns in the 70’s I was by then full on 100% USDA Choice All American Trek Nerd and have been ever since. Seriously, i’ve been a fan since many of your parents were still in diapers!

I wish I could say that Trek caused me to go into a science or military career because it didn’t. I made a half hearted attempt to break into the entertainment industry – specifically Trek – back in the 80’s (can you see my green envious eyes pointed directly at Bryan Fuller right now?). Still, because of Trek I have the best life long friends that anyone could ever ask for. I have had (and am still having) a wonderful fun life. Had a blast going to conventions before they were cool and dressing in costume before the term cosplay was ever invented.

Trek has also allowed me to relate with my father in ways that would not have been possible (he was a jock and I was so not) yet we always had this in common and could share together.

I’ve been with the franchise from the beginning. I’ve embraced every movie and every series – warts and all – because it was Trek. I can’t imagine a world without it or the kind of person i’d be today without it. Can you say Pottersville?

Looking forward, onward and upward for the new Discovery series. Young minds, new ideas. We must be tolerant.


It’s Star Treks 50th Anniversary tomorrow? I had no idea, Paramount & CBS kept that quiet? Tomorrow would have been a perfect time to release a new Star Trek film, it would have done so well… Happy 50th Birthday Star Trek!

Star Trek TOS, TAS and the TOS movies made me who I am today. I bought my kids a TOS Enterprise stuffy and TAS to share some of that hoping they have as much fun exploring TOS Trek as I did. I now have degrees in Chemical and Mechanical Engineering in addition to Management because deep down I think I still want to end up Captain Kirk exploring new worlds with the crew. TOS was Wagon Train to the Stars – humanity on the frontier overcoming conflict and adversity. When I was 5 years old in 1985 I would wake up early on Saturday mornings to watch The Animated Series on the CBC (in Canada). I remember sneaking up late and catching The Doomsday Machine and being blown away. I would watch TOS with my Dad and he took me to Star Trek III. For the longest time Star Trek: The Motion Picture was my all time favorite movie (as I grew up I came to realize why Star Trek II was the better movie). Between my Dad and Trek I knew was going to be an engineer and was going to do new things. Star Trek TOS showed you that regardless of what we learn, there will always be more. There will always be a better way to do something. There will always be a need for us to better ourselves. Ironically I would say my conservative politics came from Trek – the United Federation of *cough * NATO standing for freedom/free market/individual human rights way of developing the universe was going to triumph over the socialist Klingon group-think mentality. I ended up getting into history to find out about the aircraft carrier Enterprise and when the CVN-65 Enterprise was featured in the Hunt for Red October I got into Tom Clancy and developed a love for techno thrillers. Totally got why Nicholas Meyer went Horatio Hornblower for Star Trek II; loved the uniforms, the sets, the stories. The Genesis Saga (II, III, IV and VI) is penultimate Trek. The Genesis Device was an awesome plot piece. When TNG came out, I think I was 10, I remember wondering where was the Enterprise-A (for some reason I assumed TNG was going to be the Enterprise-A with Captain Kirk training the next generation including Saavik after Star Trek IV). Call me the last Trekkie – I watched TNG, but never loved it, hated the Enterprise-D design. I was a kid and I hated kids on the bridge. I remember being excited on one episode when a Constitution class cruiser I thought was mentioned and it ended up being the Stargazer (but loved the Stargazer bridge, ship, etc reminded me of the Trek I loved but was hoping for a Connie refit). And it was like that every episode (except maybe the Borg) – looking for little hints to TOS like Sarek’s return. I was super happy when during the 25th anniversary KXLY (I think a Spokane station??) ran TOS instead of TNG every day of the week. I bought FASA Trek manuals and went hardcore into TOS novels. I did watch DS9 but by then I feel I gave up on new Trek (although ironically DS9 was awesome in the end). Did get super excited about Enterprise (No transporters, can’t beam out, Andorians, Vulcans, Tellarites – we need dilithium crystals and mines and mining corporations. We can’t get help from UESPA, we are too far away. The Captain is representing humanity. First contacts gone wrong. No phasers on stun with our machines guns and nuclear weapons, how will we get out of this? Is there a place for a post-WW3 Earth in the cosmos? Can Andorians and Vulcans get along with our help? Romulan war – will we nuke them back? First contact with the Klingons will be so brutal! Push it to warp 5, will the ship explode?). I was horrified when the first episode we get phasers on stun, transporters and us being best friends with the Klingons in the first hour. Again I watched Enterprise but for Scott Bakula whom I loved in Quantum Leap but eventually jumped ship (ironically again it got good once I stopped watching in the last season). TOS Reboot brought some of this back. But it’s nice to know we will always have TOS. Bought the DVDs; watched Friday’s Child with the family (couldn’t even remember it) and it was awesome. Still humming the music from TOS. Wagon Train to the Stars is downright awesome.

OK, I guess I’m the old fart here. I am an original “66er”, having watched “The Man Trap” on 9/8/66. I’m still surprised my parents let me watch it on our 1 TV, a black and white 21 inch screen. I was hooked IMMEDIATELY and insisted on watching all of the episodes that I was allowed to.

2nd season, which was 8:30pm ET Fridays, my friends and I had a floating party. Each week we were at someone else’s house, ate snacks and played cards and games until 8:30. We watched “Star Trek” for the hour, then went back to our games (and food).

Senior year in college, I lived off campus. Saturday night ritual was to make mac & cheese for dinner, then eat it during the 6pm WPIX rerun of the week.

Star Trek to me was imagination. I first started watching it as a kid in the mid 70s. I loved all kinds of sci fi. But Star Trek was much more. Stories and battles and aliens. The. TMP came out and the rest is history. I had the pleasure of watching all the movies in the big theater and all of the Eps on TV. I have read over 100 Star Trek books. I have made some good friends here on Trek Movie Especially in the Live Chat room. Lost one in Del Trame aka British Naval Dude. With out Star Trek. I don’t think my life would have been as exciting. However Illogical Spock would say it is.

Star Trek has influenced my thinking and shaped my values my whole life. But beyond that it gave me self-confidence by accepting me as a good person.

I started with a few episodes of TNG after school and loved not only the Farpoint story and ending but also a certain Admiral (McCoy). “Well, this is a new ship, but she’s got the right name. Now you remember that, you hear? You treat her like a lady, and she’ll always bring you home.” I teared up at that. By the end of the pilot the Enterprise was my home. A few weeks later I encountered another Star Trek. One that didn’t have “The Next Generation” or then in German “Das nächste Jahrhundert” behind its name and I was curious. The show looked older and the visuals were less good but I watched it. And I immediately fell in love with McCoy and the show from the first episode.
Suddenly the lesser visuals were perfectly believable. The humour, sometimes coming from mistranslation into German or deliberate changes to make it more suitable and fun for kids, sold it to me. McCoy stayed my favourite but the whole crew rapidly became my best TV friends. DeForest Kelley not only acted naturally but he created a character that was simultaneously cranky and had great empathy, bantering with Spock and rescuing people, standing up to and for his friends, lazy and a workhorse. He was me.
I loved fairytales at that age and the princesses like any girl but many of the stories had a black and white view of characters. You could be good and look nice or bad and ugly. You could work hard and be good but not lazy and good. McCoy was everything. Sometimes he was logical, sometimes emotional, sometimes angry, sometimes gentle but always, always a good person. I could finally see myself as a good person, which gave me self-confidence. Slowly my average school grades got better and I became one of the best students. I started reading Star Trek books and got to know other Trekkies and we talked all the time about our love for TOS and the other shows and discussed all the deep and meaningful things touched upon.

This rounded view of a human being was one of the most important lessons in life. The show tried hard to make clear that one could be mistaken or wrong and still be a good person or right and still be an asshole.
It taught me there was a difference between an idea/intention, action and outcome. Each could be right or wrong. I learned that often there was no or no straight line from good intentions to a good outcome. Sometimes the bad guy got away or crew members died but it was still a success.

Whenever I think about a problem I always think about how Star Trek would look at it. How Star Trek would try to deal with people involved in that problem. What position would Star Trek take and how would it be justified. If I can convincingly make the case to myself that Star Trek would take a certain position, I know I can take that position and it will be the good and right one.

Star Trek acts as a guide to critical thinking build on the promise for a better future for all of humanity.

I’ve been a Trek fan my whole life. I was born at the tail end of 1975 and all I know is that I’ve been a fan of the show since birth (only Star Trek and Superman can make that claim, my love for Star Wars and Batman came a few years later). It probably influenced me in more ways than I care to admit. I do know that it fostered my love for space exploration and I probably am a scientist because of it. As much as I love and obsess over Star Wars, I really do believe that Star Trek holds a special place in my heart that no other franchise that I love can ever attain.

Happy Birthday, Star Trek. Tomorrow I will celebrate by watching The Man Trap and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (the irony that the 25th Anniversary movie is celebrating its 25th Anniversary is not lost on me): the first aired and the last aired adventure of our beloved crew. If there’s time I’ll throw in Where No Man Has Gone Before.

I was 12 years old always found in channel without subtitle because I am deaf, but I love watching their actions to doing. TOS are always my favorites all my life and make me writers of my stories 🖖🏻

The first word that was spoken out of my mouth as a child was Spock. Not momma, not dadda, but Spock. Been a Trekkie literally since birth!

Trek for me was always about hope. That’s why my favorite movies to this day, are the trilogy of films 2,3, & 4. All the bedazzlement of TMP got me to watch the movies, even though I was too young, (age 6) at the time, to fully understand the plot. The realized concept of TOS is, & will “always be, my friend.”

My Nana, Aunt Phyl and Grandpa lived a block and a half down the road from me when I was growing up.
Some Saturday night in the early 70’s, my brother and I walked over to visit them and as the evening news ended they were getting ready to watch a rerun of “Star Trek”.
Turns out my first episode was “The Naked Time”. What an exiting and perfect episode to start my fandom with.
This episode really shows you the insides of all of the characters and I was hooked from that moment on.
The following week I went to my favorite book store and purchased “The World of Star Trek” and “The Making of Star Trek”. The show was hot and the Trek books and Calendars had a special place of honor in this pre-Waldenbooks, pre-Super bookstore.
It was so exciting to read about the legendary episodes of “Trek” like “The City on the Edge of Forever” and “Amok Time”…Since “Star Trek” was airing 2 or 3 times nightly in reruns back then, I could read in my TV Guide and just anticipate that in 2 nights I would be watching these “legendary” episodes for the first time.
As the years went on, I got to sit in a huge 1940’s style movie theatre watching “Star Trek: the Motion Picture” and then 2 1/2 years later “The Wrath of Khan” with my Aunt and Nana. They loved seeing the crew of the Enterprise and I loved watching these adventures with them.
Home Video came to be a big factor in the next few years and it allowed me the chance to watch these classic episodes with my family whenever we had the need. When my Nana developed a form of dementia in the mid 80’s, watching “The Search for Spock” with her was almost a transforming experience. She and I could lose ourselves in “Star Trek” and for a brief time it felt like she was her old self. She could almost quote the dialogue before the actors spoke it.
We took her to see “The Voyage Home” and again..it was a magical time to be with them.
Now 50 years later, my aunt, Nana, Grandpa and Dad. who didn’t watch “Star Trek” but got me to fall in love with baseball are all gone. My brother who built me a cardboard bridge of the Enterprise that was better than the MEGO Enterprise bridge is thankfully still around. My Mom is now in a Nursing Home and she always encouraged my enjoyment of all things “Star Trek”.
So for me, the 50th anniversary is all about family…Our family on the Bridge with a few missing key crewmen and my own family, few in number ..mostly gone…but who brought “Star Trek” to me and “Star Trek” will always be about them for me.
Thanks to my wife who gives me a reason to live and we can boldly go where no man has gone before together.

I remember vividly: It was 1966 and I was 9 and we were visiting my grandmother. While the adults sat at the kitchen table chatting, I sat alone in the living room watching tv. No remote back then, I was kneeling in front of the first color tv I’d ever seen, turning a huge knob, checking out every station. I suddenly came upon a close-up image of a guy with pointed ears. Wow! What was this? Hypnotized, I stayed in front of the tv, even when my mom kept telling me it was time to leave. My aunt came into the living room and told me I was watching Star Trek but it was a dumb show. Well I didn’t think so. Every week thereafter I would beg my mother to let me watch it. And I did… for the next 50 years! Every rerun, every series, every movie.
All of the characters stood for something and stressed that humanity (somehow) overcame their differences, learned to live together and met the unknown, united with courage, faith in each other and a respect for all living things.
Pretty good philosophy to live by, I think. Just wish I knew what we’re waiting for…
(PS: years later I recognized that first episode I was watching was “Miri.”)


In 2009, after Star Trek emerged from the shadows with J.J. Abrams very successful new movie, I began to contemplate once again what allows Star Trek to ressurect itself repeatedly in the eyes of popular culture. I also began to reflect on what has kept me glued to it since the early 1980’s. I began to call my take on it the 3 H’s of Star Trek, and particularly Gene Roddenberry’s vision of it.

I have seen every Star Trek movie multiple times; and every episode of every series. I have never shunned any new Trek, although some is clearly more praiseworthy than others. In fact, I think Star Trek has run the gamut from really awful to quite brilliant–and this spectrum of quality began with the original series. When people find out I’m a Star Trek fan, I always joke that I don’t wear Spock ears and I don’t dress up like a Klingon (not that there’s anything wrong with doing either!). It’s just my way of saying that there are all kinds of Star Trek fans, and most of us are quite rooted in reality.

I can appreciate Star Trek as big budget entertainment as well as thoughtful science fiction. I have never found the two versions to be incompatible. But for me, Star Trek is best when it moves me and reminds me that how I live and conduct my life actually matters; that being a citizen of this planet is a privilege to be taken seriously. And that’s where the three H’s come in:

Heroism: From the pilot for the original series to Star Trek Beyond fifty years later, Star Trek has always been about heroes–and not just humans doing extraordinary things, but also humans just doing the right thing. Every iteration of Star Trek has been built upon great characters who exemplify the best of humanity. This has always brought me back for more, because I usually find myself feeling good about humanity at the end of any Star Trek episode or film.

Humanism: Gene Roddenberry was never subtle about his perspective that humans are at the center of the universe; that we control our destiny, and that we have the capacity to overcome our violent and divisive urges. It is no wonder that so many of the TOS episodes involved Kirk blowing up computers, or exposing false “Gods” to people who were being controlled by them (prime directive be damned!). Gene believed that we humans do best when we chart the course to our own future. He believed that imposing dogma and rigid belief systems stifles human potential and limits our ability to advance. I believe this too.

Hopefulness: Star Trek is nothing if it is not hopeful! No, it’s hardly a new observation about Star Trek, but it’s surely a big part of its charm. Imagine a world, Star Trek says, where disease and war are virtually wiped out on the planet Earth. Imagine a world where diversity is not only tolerated, but celebrated. Imagine a world where religion no longer divides people, but can be practiced with mutual respect. Imagine a world where greed is eliminated, and national boundaries are irrelevant. These are hard things to believe in in 2016, but perhaps more important than ever to reflect upon some fifty years after Star Trek came into being.

And at Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, I still find myself feeling hopeful–for a better world to come, and for 50 more year of Star Trek adventures. I am thrilled about the new series (it’s just been too long!), and I sure hope there will be more movies with this wonderful new cast that JJ Abrams assembled. There is room for both in the Star Trek universe, and for so much more…

My dad introduced me to TOS when i was 6 or 7. He LOVED and because i loved my dad… i loved it too. What got me hook, line & sinker was TNG. Watching the evolution of what man kind could become, absolutely fascinated me. I firmly believe to this day, man kind will travel the stars in ways similar to Star Trek.

Like millions of other fans, I feel like Star Trek has always been a part of my life. But growing up in the sixties, I was the kid on the block who didn’t fit in: shy, introspective, and quiet. I was into NASA, chemistry sets, photography, and telescopes, and discovered music during the British Invasion. I was also in love with all forms of science fiction, believing that I was born in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just give me The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone and Lost in Space, and I’d be happy. But above all, I was in love with television. September 8, 1966. I can still remember that remarkable Monday evening lying in front of my cousin’s TV set. I was all of twelve years old when three guys in cool uniforms “materialized” out of thin air on an alien planet. “Whoa! How’d they do that?” Who were these guys? Where was their rocket ship? This was cool! I’d never seen anything like this before. But there it was — “in living color on NBC.” If you were lucky enough to be there, you’re a part of this historical and often chronicled event. Star Trek’s moment of conception. Star Trek’s big bang. And that started a change. A change not only in me, but in millions of other people as well. Something was happening not only to the genre of science fiction, but perhaps to humanity itself. No longer were spacemen the “shoot ‘em up” Buck Rogers characters, but they were evolving into role models. They were still human, but suddenly they were dealing with human emotions, human frailties, everyday human problems. And inside of an hour’s time, they taught us how to deal with these problems — and sometimes taught us that problems have no solution except that of acceptance. Big lessons to a small person. I was also too naive at the time to comprehend it, but something was also happening to the stories as well. They were intelligent, thought provoking, and sometimes even controversial. They were real stories about real people — a mirror image of the times we were living through. Vietnam, over population, race hatred, religion — subjects that 1960’s television just didn’t tackle — brought to light through a careful blend of drama and humor. I even have to admit today that when I needed role models the most, Jim Kirk taught me as much about life’s “duties and responsibilities” than any real person I’d ever known. I wanted to be Kirk! From 1966 to 1969, my three best friends were Jim, Spock and Bones. Then suddenly, Star Trek is canceled. The dim time. Lights out. I’m disappointed, but resigned: no show EVER comes back. But I’m hooked. I’ve taken refuge in the fanzines of the time. The Monster Times, Castle of Frankenstein, Sci-Fi Times and Marvel Comics were the staple on my life. And that was it. There were no VCR’s then. No Pause, no Playback, no watching your favorite episode when you wanted. No renting a night’s worth of episodes for your own ST marathon. Wasn’t possible. I remember holding a hand-held microphone from a cassette recorder (Panasonic, single speaker, blue record button) to the television speaker to capture episodes on tape, imploring other members of my household to please be quiet. There was no informal conduit available to learn that Trek fans were even out there. There were no support groups, no twelve-step programs, and no multi-media telecommunications industry desperate for programming. In 1969, man landed on the moon. I watched in fascination at how primitive the whole process looked: three guys stuck in a capsule wearing Michelin tire-man space suits. They couldn’t breathe, couldn’t walk around. You call this exploring? This was the cutting edge of twentieth century technology; feats heralded as “giant leaps.” My grandfather watched in awe as a man stepped foot on another planet in his lifetime as I, on the other hand, fell asleep. I was crestfallen that this was the best we could do. God, we had so far to go. In 1970, Trek debuted in syndication on WPIX Channel Eleven in New York. It was on once a week, but soon grabbed an early evening time slot Monday through Friday. This was a renaissance for me. Watching each night, I could see the characters evolve, the scripts improve, note the episode titles and writers. There were no anthologies then; no reference books to look up facts. Episodes were recalled as “The Planet Killer,” the “Parallel Universe one,” “The one where they went back in time.” TV Guide would give a short plot synopsis for the upcoming week, like “Kirk tries to deactivate a weapon which is digesting entire planets.” Oh, “the Planet Killer one.” No matter. I wanted to… Read more »

It’s September 8 over here in Japan. Really, there is just one thing to say… Space, the final frontier… I started watching Star Trek not long after my father’s death; or rather I should say I became aware of it not long after. Mom had decided to haul my sister and me up to Klamath for the family camping event. It had been my father’s favorite place after all. It was a nutty idea, two small kids (We’re talking pre-school age here) on a 10 hour, 2 day trip to Northern California (Extreme Northern California) to go fishing. I don’t remember which city we stopped in for the night, but I do remember it was my first time in a hotel (It was either a Red Lion that became a Motel 6 or a Motel 6 that became a Red Lion. The Hyatt it wasn’t) and I was fascinated by such things as the elevator and the ice machine… for about 5 minutes. Then I became bored. My mother, in a fit of desperation no doubt, turned on the TV and there was Star Trek. It was ‘That Which Survives’, not one of the better episodes, but I do remember Scotty crawling in the Jefferies Tube complaining about how it feels like red ants all over his body. It must have had some kind of effect as I do remember trying to use the motel’s elevator as a turbolift to get to the Enterprise. The camping trip was a bit of a disaster. Oh, Klamath was beautiful as always, and I love my family. But the problem was that it rained. Our tent leaked. We got flooded out. We moved into one of the rental cabins (Which also leaked, but not as bad as the tent). It, too, had a TV and it too was showing Star Trek. The episode this time was Amok Time. It’s funny, but it had a huge impact on me. Seeing Spock grieve for the death (He thought) of Captain Kirk, but still be in control… I was very young, I did not know how to deal or express my grief about my father. Death was something that I didn’t understand; all I really knew was that my Daddy had gone. Seeing Spock though, it gave me a way to express that, to grieve. It almost gave me permission to, silly as it sounds. If Spock could do it, I could. Besides, Mom told me that Dad had liked Star Trek. In a way, I could also still be connected with him through the Enterprise. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise… Star Trek started to be a regular show for me. I liked watching it, I liked it a lot. I think a lot of the messages went right over my head, being a kid it’s all about the phasers and Klingons, and Kirk-fu, or wishing you could do a Vulcan nerve pinch on your sister (Something I was accused of doing a few times), but it was all fun. I watched the movies on video or TV, I watched the old show on TV when it was on. I even watched the animated series. Heck, I remember getting Mom to host a Star Trek party (as opposed to a Super Bowl party) by renting Star Trek I – IV one year. Her 50 year mission, to explore strange new worlds… The one day I heard on my TV that there would be new Star Trek. I was so excited! I couldn’t wait for it to start… Except, who’s the bald guy? There’s a Klingon on the bridge?! That is SO not the Enterprise! People often talk about which Trek is their Trek. Are they TOS? TNG? DS9? What? I started with The Original Series, but I fell in love with The Next Generation. That became MY Star Trek. It also became the height of what you can say was my Star Trek fandom. I HAD to be home to watch it. I had the toys (Some of them pretty awful), I had the uniform. I started going to conventions. Yes, I learned Klingon and spent chunks of both junior and senior high debating starship technical specifications with my friends. Stereotypical trekkie? Oh yeah. But it was fun, so much fun. I found myself being able to connect with adults in ways that I couldn’t else wise. There was a huge community out there, and one I could kinda, sortta reach on the Internet (Then just starting to take off). More than that, the messages were starting to hit home. I was getting old enough that it became more than just the adventure, the morals behind Star Trek were making themselves known, and causing me to think and I loved that. I loved… Read more »

The first episode of Star Trek I ever watched was “Amok Time”. My parents, brother and myself had had our car run out of gas about a mile from home. People we knew saw this happen and invited us into their house and the husband gave my dad a ride to the gas station to fill our gas can. The show had just begun when I sat down in front of their television set.

That was forty-five years ago. I’ve been a life long fan. So many of us kept the dream alive through the 1970s. We bought comic books. We bought novels. We bought action figures. We attended conventions. And when we finally got our show back, we did everything we could to keep from losing it a second time.

Now it’s 2016 and we have a new show in production and I firmly believe it will be amazing because the creative minds behind it are some of Trek’s best people. Looking forward to the future.

Star Trek has had an incredible impact on me. I started watching it during a darker time in my life and it gave me hope for the future. I credit it for saving my life – http://www.undeniableruth.com/2016/09/08/star-trek-saved-my-life/.

Back when Star Trek was about ten years old, my parents took a picture of me, all of one or two, holding a doll that appears to be Mr. Spock in a red shirt. (Maybe it is Scotty as it should be. Hard to tell.) It’s one of those old Mego dolls- I wish I still had it, but I definitely have memories of it and my parents still have the photo somewhere.

That, combined with my brother’s handful of Trek books (which I still have) meant the show was a presence in my life since, well, I was born. I didn’t become the rabid Trekkie I remain to this day until about ten years later, when I saw Star Trek IV (what a great way to be introduced to the franchise!) when it came out. And it’s only increased since.

Happy 50th, Star Trek!

Life and family. My brother and I have maintained a close relationship because of our love for Star Trek, even in moments of life where we differed dramatically on certain views. And my life will never be the same. Star Trek inspired me to work hard. I work in the engineering department in the Navy (wearing blue, not red thankfully) and recently got my engineering degree. Happy Birthday Star Trek! Thank you.

I first knew Star Trek as ‘that space show after mass’ when I was a very young kid growing up in the early 90s (the BBC ran TOS on Sunday afternoons at the time) and I have a distinct early memory of watching ‘Arena’ in my living room with my dad and older sister.

However, my main connection to Star Trek is through my relationship to my cousin/best friend Ciaran as he was the one who properly introduced me to it. We grew up together and are as close as brothers. We are now both avid fans of the franchise (TNG being our favourite series) and a lot of the time we spend together is devoted to watching and talking about the shows and movies. So, for both of us, Trek has a very special importance in both of our lives for which I am immeasurably grateful.

Also, more recently, I now have my girlfriend Abi to share my fandom with, and both of us attended ‘Star Trek: The Exhibition’ in Blackpool just last week for my birthday which I thoroughly enjoyed (getting to sit in the captain’s chair of the original Enterprise being the highlight).

More generally, Star Trek portrays a world I want to live in. I’ve always been fascinated by space exploration and the possibilities for life on other worlds, and Star Trek both satisfies and increases that fascination for me. Also, the message of peace, tolerance and optimism strikes a very strong chord with my personal beliefs and ideals for the future of mankind. Getting to explore ‘strange new worlds’ and interact with the species and cultures depicted in the franchise over its history is my ultimate fantasy.

Happy 50th birthday, Star Trek! Here’s to another 50 years of Star Trek and beyond!

Guys, I’m the “Ciaran” from this story. lol

Star trek has been a major influence on me, through out my life. it helped me use my imagination. It helped me begin to write Sci-fi and dream a lot bigger than before.

Very nice guys. LLAP

I THINK I remember the third season on NBC, but of course as many of us in our fifties, I remember the reruns as my first Trek experience. As a latch-key kid of divorce and an only child, I remember coming in from school each day to see my friends on the Enterprise. Now I am one of the rare Trekkies that also loves Lost in Space (to me it was my first love…and I learned about family from the Robinsons)….however I learned my greatest lessons from Star Trek. I learned the value and need of friendship and working together. Family doesn’t have to be blood, it can be a group who found each other by circumstance. I have always wanted to find the “Spock” to my “Kirk”….the Trek Trinity is the the way understood friendship and the model I have for it. The “Family of Friends” working together for a common goal that the crew of the Enterprise showed me is how I have lived my life and I thank Star Trek and the many, many people who worked on it for that.

I haveone of the the all time great Mom’s, but when she’s gone it will be just me. Not sure I will ever have an actual family, but in the example of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, and Chekov I know I have a family that can’t be beat in the great friends I have made….

I was also and still am a diehard fan of “Lost in Space”….Completely different show than “Star Trek” but in its own charming way…it could also be very entertaining.

when I read/hear the words ‘star trek’, I think one thing-hope.

shame about the recent movies-


Star Trek has been with me my entire life…a good “imaginary” friend who engaged my imagination as a child and never let go. As a boy in the 70’s, it was exciting. It was fun. When you’re 8 years old, you don’t care about people getting along. When you’re playing at recess in school and you’re the captain, and your friend is the Gorn, all you know is you’re about to get ready to rumble. Sure, we knew Kirk spared the Gorn’s life at the end…big deal…on the school yard…the Gorn dies…as did Captain Kirk! Time and time again lol I suppose that’s one reason I never warmed up to the high pedestal so many like to place Star Trek on. For me, as a kid, what hooked me and my friends in the neighborhood was the action. The fighting. Fists flying, Kirk delivering drop-kicks, Spock mixing it up with a neck-pinch. Vulcan fights to the death. Battles on Treiskellion. Tied at the wrists, rib-kicking scrapping with Captain Tracy…also The phasers and the communicators. Coolest things ever. The transporter. We could talk for hours about where we would “beam” to. We would naturally “grow” into unerstanding the higher ideals, and they are nice. But they have never been the real foundation of the Trek I grew to love as a child. That’s why I don’t subscribe to the “meaning” of Star Trek that so many others do. Sure, it’s there…but so is the action. So is the sex. So is the humor. It’s all a delicate balance that sadly was lost in the spin-offs. Od course, it began with the enlightened Roddenberry in The Motion Picture and evloved into the action-less TNG, which really liked to preach the impending perfection of the human race…..ha. But that’s ok, many loved it and I simply dismissed it. I learned to be cool headed, and observe before acting, from Spock. I learned to be compassionate, but if pushed, push back…harder…from Kirk. I learned to question authority from Bones. Many of life’s lessons were first introduced to me on Star Trek, long before I had to address them in real-life. But it wasn’t pie-in-the-sky utpoian ideas…people in the original Star Trek were flawed…they made mistakes. They apologized. They kissed. Oh yes, they kissed… a LOT. More lessons learned, from the eyes of a child, lol Also, forget the morality plays…I loved the ships! The Enterprise. The blueprints. The technical manual. The model kits. The tech was so imaginative and cool I couldn’t get enough info or pics. I devoured magazines like Starlog and the Star Trek Poster Books. There was no internet and the pickings were slim indeed. I’ve enjoyed growing with Trek. I’ve enjoyed watching it flourish, and have been sad to see it stumble. But it always gets up. In January Star Trek will once again, return to where it belongs…on television. And the adventure…as well as my adventure…continues. LLAP Star Trek fans! Happy 50th Star Trek…keep on Trekkin’.

I am one year younger than Star Trek, almost to the day. I lived in the UK at the time and I remember Star Trek was the 1st adult show I watched, and as a kid I got the whole diversity thing quite early in life. I remember then watching other shows and wondering why things like racism and war were a thing.
I think Star Trek molded me into the liberal thinking person I am today, for which I am eternally grateful.
I do not think less of people who do not get Star Trek, but I assume people who do are probably smarter than average.

Star Trek got me interested in science and logic, so it is from that I respectfully must correct the first line of the article that goes “Tomorrow marks 50 years since the first episode of Star Trek hit the television air waves. ”

I actuality, Star Trek first hit the television air waves on Sep 6 on CTV in Canada. The Canadian broadcasts of episodes happened on Tuesday evenings, the NBC broadcast was the following Thursday.

This actually put NBC in a weird position since in order to get the episode up to CTV early they needed to use a competitors equipment (ABC) who had the infrastructure at the time to do that.

My dad would tell me that night’s Star Trek episode as my bedtime story in the first five years of my life. Most nights, I could see the stars out of the window and Concorde would trigger a sonic boom loud enough to rattle items on my chest of drawers. Star Trek, even before I watched it, gave space and technology a context in which I could start to build a world view.

Needless to say, I loved the show when I watched it. There’s so much in the original show to capture young minds: it’s full of colour, the music is bordering on melodramatic, the monsters and effects are ambitious and don’t always work, but young minds, in particular, ‘fill in’ the missing details, perceiving blood and life where censorship and effects can’t supply them.

More than that, the characters and adventures are painted in broad strokes. There’s a moral core, but there are still fights, explosions and women falling into the captain’s arms (‘Yuck!’ All that kissing’ gross!’ six year old me used to think!)

As for the likes of multi-ethnic crew members, I just saw that as normal. I didn’t know anything about racial politics as a five year old and cared even less.

Essentially, Star Trek gave us a world where everyone had accepted the US constitution as the best moral code. The crew were strong individuals with a strong sense of morality. It also avoided our characters lecturing too much: Kirk and co would more often get lectured by the likes of the Organians as a form of ‘course correction.’ Even so, the most positive thing in the original Star Trek was that racial and gender equality wasn’t something they tended to bother talking about; it had been there so long that it was just normal.

And perhaps that’s where I have a problem with what came later.

Between Star Trek and Cosmos, I believed we could really reach for the stars in my lifetime. In Star Trek, characters acted rather than talked.

The later spinoffs reflect the way society has changed. Vietnam and Watergate gave America a major case of identity crisis. Where Kirk and co believed in the Federation constitution, which was based on the US constitution, now people actually get mainstream media coverage claiming Soviet communism wasn’t so bad and that it was just the fault of the people who ran it.

People are afraid of big business, but they don’t trust small business either. Society now looks inwards. People say there are too many things to sort out on Earth before we look towards space travel. People bury themselves in identity politics and professionally get offended on their own behalf or that of others. Supporters of insane religions murder millions, where in the last century it was supporters of murderous atheist personality cults such as that of Stalin, Mao and Kim Il Sung.

Meanwhile, that dream to explore, the ‘rêve d’etoiles’, to borrow from the Reeves-Stevenses’ novel Prime Directive, seems ever further away.

Regardless, as I see the human race bury itself in navel-gazing squabbles and stupid petty wars, I look at the original Star Trek and it still gives me hope. I’m 41 now and I still hope to see real space travel become possible in this lifetime. Star Trek gave me a sense of perspective about our place in the universe; a sense that we’re very small and there’s a big place for us to have a lot of adventure, to learn in and to move on from this one world. Star Trek taught me that the Earth is just a waiting room and that there’s a whole universe to explore out there. Let’s stop arguments and fighting and just boldly go out there.

I’ve watched from the time of TMP onwards, so ever since I was a toddler.

Star Trek for me is not something I obsesses over anymore, as I once did as a kid. Hell, I don’t even watch it regularly these days. But it has always occupied a place in my life, and it will continue to do so until I die. For me Star Trek is best described in the manner used in the old Star Trek 6 teaser. Star Trek has been a guide and a friend to me. It has stimulated my mind. Given me refuge and hope in times of crisis. Shown me the ideals to live by, which in turn has informed my career, interaction with others and my human compassion.

I don’t need to re-watch it all or pour over details of how warp nacelles work anymore. I just know that without it’s influence I likely would not be who I am today, and would probably be a more bitter, angry and miserable man in its absence.

star trek means everything to me. i can’t imagine the person i would be without it.

Thumbs up.