Confessions of a Trekker

By: Anne Corke

Dec 07 2011

Tags: , ,

Category: Science Fiction

4 Comments

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It isn’t really wise to admit that you’re a Star Trek fan. Many people, upon hearing this confession, assume that you are a single, near-sighted,  socially backwards geek who lives in your parents’ basement and spends lonely evenings playing with action figures. And, admittedly, this is an accurate description of some Trek fans. I know because I’ve met them at the conventions! Oh good grief! I just admitted that I go to the convention! Oh no, my cover is well and truly blown! I’ll never be taken seriously again, not that I ever was! But there you are, it’s out in the open now. I like Star Trek. And where else would I get the opportunity to meet some of it’s stars but at a convention where guest actors mingle with the attendees and appear on stage to discuss their work and to answer questions from the audience.

I discovered science fiction at a very young age. One Saturday afternoon at the library, I happened to pick up Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles and I’ve been reading and watching sci-fi every since. The first time I saw Star Trek, I wandered into our downstairs rec room in Ottawa to find my Dad watching a new show on the television which featured a fellow with pointy ears. Most peculiar, but Dad seemed to be enjoying it so I sat down to check it out. The year was 1966, the series, the original. Starring Canadian William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley and another Canadian James Doohan, it told the story of the starship Enterprise and it’s five year mission to seek out new life and new civilizations. From our high-tech world of 2011, the original series looks rather hokey, but at the time, it was ground-breaking science fiction programming. And as such, it had a hard time competing with the westerns, detective shows and medical dramas which were the standard prime-time fare in those days. Star Trek never achieved the necessary ratings and was abruptly cancelled in 1969. However the series ran again in syndication and developed a loyal following, prompting several movies and a succession of series: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. For almost twenty years, there was always a Star Trek series airing on television and I watched them all. Every fan has their own favourite series, and mine is Deep Space Nine. To me, the appeal of any television show, any movie, any book, is in the development of the characters and the relationships between them. DS9 had so many diverse characters and so many interesting relationships: Commander Sisko and his son Jake, Chief Medical Officer Dr Julian Bashir and Chief Engineer Miles O’Brien, Dr Bashir and the enigmatic Cardassian Garek, First Officer Kira Nerys and Chief of Security Odo, bar owner Quark (brilliantly portrayed by Armin Shimerman pictured here with Jeremy and I) and Odo, Quark and his brother Rom, Operations Officer Worf and Chief Science Officer Jadzia Dax. Although a darker series than any of the others, DS9 was perhaps the most successful at portraying the human condition, a tribute to the wonderful actors who brought it to life. And, thanks to the conventions, we’ve had the privilege of meeting several of these people, Armin, Rene Auberjonois (Odo) and Terry Farrell (Jadzia), and to delve into their portrayal of their characters. For a science fiction fan and aspiring writer like me, these talks are worth the price of admission alone. And since most of the actors are mingling throughout the weekend, you might just get a chance to have a quiet chat with Rene at breakfast, or to hear Kai Owen (Torchwood) channeling Tom Jones as he sings “The Green Green Grass of Home” at the Klingon Karaoke!

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4 comments on “Confessions of a Trekker”

  1. Great post, its’ true that when you admitt to being a Trekkie you automatically get placed in this horrible threshold of ultra-nerdiness. Perhaps the mainstream popularity of the latest Star Trek movie might help erradicate this.

    Deep Space Nine is my personal favourite Star Trek series as well! It was the show with the most amount of alien cast members…and it yet it is the show that feels the most human. I enjoyed reading your insights.

    P.S, I wrote a short story on my blog which is like a spoof as well as a tribute to Star Trek. It pokes fun, but in a good natured way and as a big Trek fan it is done so with nothing but affection for the show. The story is basically Q toying with all the Captains from each era and then making them battle each other. I don’t know if this counts as spam or not (I apologise if it does)…but I welcome you to have a little read of it. It is called ‘Battle of the Star Trek Captains: Part 2″ on my blog. Again, sorry if this is unwanted spam.

    In the words of Spock; “Live long and prosper” 🙂

    • Thanks for your kind comments. I’ve often thought that DS9 would make an excellent movie but I suppose the powers that be must think otherwise. I liked the latest ST movie although I found the characters a bit one-dimensional. But as I mentioned, it’s the characters and relationships that make a show and in that respect DS9 had so much going for it. So many great unique characters, so well developed, such touching relationships between them. I really liked some of the more playful episodes too (Take me out to the Ballgame, Our Man Bashir, etc.), a nice contrast to the really heart-wrenching episodes like “The Visitor”. I thought the introduction of Vic Fontaine was a stroke of brilliance as well. And who doesn’t love the Ferengi! The Dominion Wars story arc was particularly well done, as was the finale (it still makes me cry!). I never get tired of watching DS9. Cheers, Anne.

  2. Your welcome and yeah I agree, DS9 has that kind of epic feel to it that would just thrive on the Big Screen! For me, the finale of DS9 almost feels like a movie in itself thanks to its awe-inspiring battles and hefty emotional wieght that could rival any summer block-buster. It is indeed a very powerful and excellent closure to an equally impressive show. Even the earlier seasons of DS9 stand out as being so much deeper and consistant when compared to the early days of TNG or Voyager.

    I’m hoping that, since the new Star Trek film has established all of the neccessary background and the new setup, there maybe more of a chance that the upcoming sequel can have time to better build on the characters and their relationships. Well, that’s the hope anyway! I found the new Star Trek to be fun and full of good natured tributes to the show (including a darkly hilarious take on the famous ‘red-shirt’ deaths), the emotional moments were great as well…but yeah, the busy action-packed adventure didn’t give us very much exploration into the classic characters which was a bit of a shame. I am hopeful that there maybe some spark left in the Star Trek franchise yet though, at the very least the new film helped take away the bad taste left by the dissapointing “Enterprise” show.

    DS9 is excellent with its characters, and the wide range of ways it explores those characters makes for great drama. Each character is complex and multi-layered, even the villians had depth to them. I find it hard to choose a favourite, although I always did find Odo to be a possible favourite since I enjoy characters who are conflicted and troubled but yet remain strong enough to always stay true to themselves. It’s perhaps why I’m also a very big fan of Kira Nerys. The more playful episodes were usually very funny but in a witty kind of way, and never loosing sight of the characters even as they loosened up a little. I think that the TOS crossover episode “Trails and “Tribble-ations” was particularly fun. And I too like Vic Fontaine, I like that sort of music (although I wouldn’t want to admit that to my college class mates!) and the extra insights he gave to the characters…if I were in the holodeck I’d probably never be away from his concerts!

    It’s great to share some insights with someone who also loves DS9, it is indeed the best Star Trek series from my point of view. I also love TNG and the original Star Trek, but there’s something extra specail with DS9 that transcends the rest. I apologise that it’s taken me so long to respond to your thoughtful reply, I’m still new to blogging and it took me until just know to find out I had a message to respond to. I assumed it would pop up as a Notification, it wasn’t until I looked through my DashBoard that I realised!

  3. Thanks for your comments. It’ll be interesting to see the next ST movie (I believe they’ve started shooting) as two English actors, Noel Clarke (from Doctor Who) and Benedict Cumberbatch (from BBC’s Sherlock) have joined the cast. As far as the movies go, I tend to think that they should concentrate more on the characters and less on the effects. I loved Wrath of Khan mainly because Ricardo Montalban was such an excellent villain. Another favourite was Voyage Home which was a bit of a romp and didn’t take itself too seriously. Back to the series, I had high hopes for Enterprise when it first went to air as I’m a big Scott Bakula fan from his Quantum Leap days, but there again, the development wasn’t there though they had an interesting group of characters that had great potential. Still I guess it’s easy for us to sit on the sidelines and tell them what they should have done! Nice “chatting” with you and don’t let your friends razz you about Vic Fontaine’s music. Believe me, they don’t write songs like that anymore! Cheers, Anne.


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