I have a confession to make: I’m a Trekkie.
Yes, it’s true. I, indeed, am a nerd.
So much so, in fact, that I actually wrote a blog post on several observations about life that I noticed across the different Star Trek series. It was also about how all of the series are connected through this desire to make viewers think deeper about the episode’s lesson, not just stare blankly at a flickering television screen where spaceships go “pew-pew!”
I originally wrote the post for the official blog of a fan spin-off show – Star Trek: Renegades. For a while, I was elated that my writing was in any public and professional way connected to my favorite television series ever.
One day, I went online to read my post (as I often do to remind myself I'm a real writer). What I found shocked me...
My post was GONE!
Not just the post, but the entire BLOG was gone!
Not only that, but the entire WEBSITE was gone!
At least, in the way I had known it.
In its place was another website. It was still about a sci-fi, fan made television series. It still had all the same actors. Heck, it was still called Renegades! There was just one distinct detail.
The show was no longer associated with Star Trek.
Amaya (2016) explained that Renegades disowned itself from its parent, Star Trek, because “Paramount Pictures and CBS issued new guidelines for Star Trek fan films”. As a result, it was practically impossible for the show to go on as planned (Amaya, 2016). Instead of reshooting to fit the guidelines, Renegades decided to just remove any references to Star Trek and continue as its own show (Amaya, 2016).
I will note that I think Paramount and CBS totally undermined Renegades unfairly. While I haven’t read any specific statements on the reason for this decision, my theory is that it’s because there were other non-fan Star Trek projects in the works, such as Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard. The less competition for these shows, the better.
Can’t have fans creating better shows than the networks, right?
But I digress.
Now, I’ll be honest and say I’ve seen the show myself and I don’t think it stands to the same
quality as other Star Trek shows. Of course, a fan film has a fan-based budget so that makes sense,
but even the story line wasn’t captivating enough for me. Without even the connection to Star Trek,
I feel like the show is simply a cheap knockoff. That’s just my opinion, though.
Nevertheless, when it comes to the official Star Trek series, I’ve found such a profound social justice message throughout the shows, that I can’t get enough of them! Hence, my blog post. It saddened me to know that my post would no longer be out there to encourage readers to check out these iconic shows that I adore.
Then I remembered – duh! I have my own blog now. (Thank you for your patience with my scatterbrain).
Without further ado, here’s (a slightly updated version of) my Star Trek blog post!
Star Trek makes us think. It’s as simple as that. Growing up and watching Star Trek – The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise – that’s the one commonality that has struck me over and over again between all of the shows.
1) It makes us face the dark sides of humanity that we constantly try to ignore…
“Humans do have an amazing capacity for believing what they choose – and excluding that which is painful.” – Commander Spock (“Star Trek: The Original Series”, n.d.)
2) …but it also helps us see the optimistic side…
“Buried deep within you, beneath all the years of pain and anger, there is something that has never been nurtured: the potential to make yourself a better man. And that is what it is to be human. To make yourself more than you are.” – Captain Picard (Star Trek: Nemesis, n.d.)
3) …and it encourages us to value it.
“I can’t save humanity without holding on to what makes me human.” – Captain Archer, Star Trek: Enterprise (Fernandez et. al., 2003)
4) It comforts us and gives us hope when we think nobody understands us…
“If you always see the road ahead of you, it’s not worth the trip.” – Commander Chakotay (“Star Trek: Voyager” Shattered, n.d.)
5) …but it also asks the uncomfortable, existential questions we struggle with daily.
“[W]hat we don’t know about death is far, far greater than what we do know.” – Captain Janeway (“Star Trek: Voyager” Emanations, n.d.)
“And is that the purpose of existence? To care for someone?” – Lieutenant Data, Star Trek: The Next Generation (Bailey et. al. 1990)
6) It scares us when it escalates, in a future context, social issues we see today…
“[T]he Prime directive is not just a set of rules. It is a philosophy, and a very correct one. History has proved again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous.” – Captain Picard, (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”, n.d.)
7) …and it shows us a future we hope we’re heading towards, one where we continue to learn and grow, working together as equals with others no matter what our differences.
“That may be the most important thing to understand about humans. It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions. We are explorers. We explore our lives day by day, and we explore the galaxy, trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge. And that is why I am here. Not to conquer you with weapons or ideas, but to co-exist…and learn.” – Captain Sisko, (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, n.d.)
That’s the beauty of Star Trek. It makes us think. After all, isn’t that what makes us – as sentient beings, as humans – unique?
Amaya, E. (2016, June 25). Renegades fan series removes Star Trek elements in the wake of new guidelines. Bleeding Cool. Retrieved on January 3, 2020, from https://www.bleedingcool.com/2016/06/25/renegades-fan-series-removes-star-trek-elements-in-the-wake-of-new-guidelines/
Fernandez, J. & Matalas, T. (Writers), & Livingston, D. (Director). (2003, Oct. 8). Impulse. [Television series episode] In R. Berman, C. Black, B. Braga, J. Farrel, B.V. Friedman, D.A. Goodman, M.D. Howard, P. Lauritson, P. Strong, M. Sussman, D. Velazquez, S. Welke, & B. Yacobian (Producers), Star Trek: Enterprise. USA: United Paramount Network.
Bailey, D.P. & Bischff, D. (Writers), & Sheerer, R. (Director). (1990, April 23). Tin Man. [Television series episode] In I.S. Behr, H. Beimler, R. Berman, P. Lauritson, D. Livingston, R. Manning, M. Piller, & G. Roddenberry (Producers), Star Trek: The Next Generation. Los Angeles: Broadcast syndication.
"Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" Emissary. (n.d.). Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108214/characters/nm0000984
Star Trek: Nemesis. (n.d.). Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0253754/characters/nm0362766
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" Symbiosis. (n.d.). Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708781/characters/nm0001772
"Star Trek: The Original Series" And the Children Shall Lead. (n.d.). Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708417/characters/nm0000559
"Star Trek: Voyager" Emanations. (n.d.). Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708884/characters/nm0000550
"Star Trek: Voyager" Shattered. (n.d.). Retrieved January 3, 2020, from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708970/characters/nm0000550