Star Trek has always been a big, big part of my life. My mum is the biggest “Trekkie” you will ever find, & my sister & I were raised with it in our lives.
When we moved into our new house it was made sure we had space for a Star Trek shelf, to keep all my mum’s official books. It’s right above the Buffy shelf, & share it’s space with a couple of X Files books too.
This is a real thing in my real house.
When I was in primary school my mum’s text tone for her little Nokia was “Hab SoSlI’ Quch!”, which is the Klingon insult: ‘Your mother has a smooth forehead’. My sister & I used to sneak into her bedroom & spend our mornings having laughing together in our mum’s bed with an alarm set on her Starship Enterprise alarm clock for us to get up & start our day.
When they brought back the series as a film franchise in 2009 I remember going to the cinema with my family & my next door neighbours & us all buzzing to see it. When it was over we ran around the empty cinema dancing to the music over the credits & loving that we could finally appreciate being alive in a time of new Star Trek stuff.
And when Leonard Nimoy died in February my mum & I sat & cried in the car for ages when twitter broke the news to us. I’d seen it trending while she was driving & didn’t know at all how to break the news, & as soon as she’d parked the car I burst into tears before telling her.
Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the very first episode of Star Trek airing on television back in 1966, & it’s caused mass celebration worldwide. #StarTrek50 has been trending on basically ever form of social media all day, with massive organisations like NASA paying tribute to the show that inspired so many. Facebook even launched a new set of like buttons in the forms of various characters to celebrate.
I love Star Trek. The original series is hilarious to watch, & the new film franchise is pretty incredible but the one that’s closest to my family’s hearts is The Next Generation. Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard is as good as it gets & it’s possibly the least cheesy out of all the series. So much of my childhood was watching with my mum & trying to figure out what was happening in all the adventures & explorations the Enterprise got up to, each episode starting with the infamous quote: “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.” narrated by Patrick Stewarts silky voice.
But then of course, I also love Voyager for bringing us the first female captain in the Star Trek franchise with the brilliant Kate Mulgrew, now famed for her role as Red in Orange is the New Black, as Captain Kathryn Janeway.
She’s so bloody cool.
Star Trek paved the way for so many things. For science fiction in general, but for interest in space travel (the moon landing wasn’t till three years after the original series started), for today’s mass scale fan conventions, for videotape sales, for other star themed franchises, for women & minorities involvement in space programs, and possibly most importantly; for women of colour on television.
Nichelle Nichols as Lieutenant Uhura was one of the first black female characters on American television not portrayed as a servant which was completely groundbreaking in the US society at the time. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr famously said that Star Trek was the only television show him & his wife would allow their children to stay up to watch, because of the power of seeing a black women working side by side amongst others on it. A kiss between Uhura & Kirk was also the first interracial kiss on U.S. television, something which at the time caused mass scandal.
Today Star Trek has just released it’s third film in it’s reboot series to massive success, with a brilliant cast of scarily well cast actors playing the same characters from the original series. It brings the iconic characters of Kirk & Spock back into the limelight, with the very talented Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto portraying them. Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock, was also involved in the reboot brilliantly as Spock from the future, leaving his last film role as the same one that he was infamous for.
This photo demonstrates what I meant about the scarily accurate casting for the new Star Trek franchise. Look at this article for more photos of the full cast – & prepare yourself because I think when my mum first sent me the link to the photos she captioned it “OMG!!!” which means it’s a really, really big deal.
This year’s film brought more groundbreaking content by introducing Hikaro Sulu, now played by John Cho, as an openly gay man with a husband & a child. It also correlates with George Takei, the original actor to play Sulu who came out publicly as gay in 2005,
Stupidly it’s still rare to see in cinema, & making it happen without a tragic story hand in hand with it to such a timeless character in such an iconic series was ICONIC. Fifty years on & still breaking boundaries, & basically sticking their middle finger up to every racist, sexist, homophobic bigot out there. I love it.
Star Trek is revolutionary. And it still going strong fifty years on shows how much it still means to everyone.
So live long & prosper, & happy #StarTrek50.