My Trekker Timeline - part 1 of 2

At the risk of revealing too much information (not of the grossly personal or stuff-only-a-doctor-should-hear variety, but just generally speaking) too early, I thought it would be fun to trot out my history of Star Trek fandom, sharing a list of bullet-points of interest along this particular 25-year stretch of the space-time continuum. The list ended up being longer than I thought, but it shouldn't bore you (too much) ... turns out something noteworthy about Trek happened almost every year. You're welcome to follow the handy-dandy chart included below. Enjoy!

circa 1984 -- Curious about Star Trek, more to contrast it with Star Wars than for any other reason, I acquire (can't remember how) a videocassette -- Betamax! -- of the Original Series episode "Shore Leave", and watch it a few times over the course of a year or so. I'm mildly fascinated by my first introduction to Star Trek, even though this was probably one of the worst episodes to be introduced to it with. Fandom factor: leaving spacedock on maneuvering thrusters.

1986 -- During a lull in the curriculum of a high-school science class, the teacher is playing Star Trek III: The Search For Spock on video. My fascination begins to grow at a steady pace; soon afterward I obtain the "Space Seed" episode on video so I can figure out who the hell this Khan guy is before watching Star Trek II. Fandom factor: half impulse.

1987 -- Not yet having enough interest in Star Trek to see the movies on the big screen, I wait to watch Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home until it hits video. Being a big fan of time-travel stories, it wins me over big-time, and I would soon regret not having seen it in the theater, or being ready for the arrival of the new Next Generation series. Fandom factor: warp 1.5.

1988 -- Somewhere between "11001001" and "The Neutral Zone", I become completely and totally enthralled with Star Trek: The Next Generation and begin waiting anxiously for each new episode, regrettably missing the repeat telecasts of the first several episodes. By now I have officially crossed over from the Star Wars camp and will never look back.* Fandom factor: warp 7.

1989 -- Due to my hyper-accelerated fandom, I develop a momentary warp-field imbalance (in contemporary parlance, a "geek-out") that causes me to phase into "get-a-life" territory, but it's counterbalanced by the eventual realization that Dr. Pulaski, although she had her moments, wasn't much more than a female Bones McCoy and never really gelled with the rest of the cast. Fandom factor: stabilizing at warp 9.

1990 -- "The Best of Both Worlds" arrives, and the Borg scare the hell out of us. Star Trek: TNG hits its stride, and it will stay there for years. I've been recording each and every episode on VHS tape -- finally catching those few unseen first-season episodes when the show goes into daily reruns -- to watch and re-watch and treasure "forever" (until the advent of the DVD season box set). But fortunately, I waited to see Star Trek V until it went to video. Fandom factor: warp 9.

1991 -- Star Trek hits its 25th Anniversary, and it's in the prime of its life. (Weren't we all when we were 25?) The occasion is bittersweet, with the loss of Gene Roddenberry and the original crew taking its final film voyage together, but I've never been prouder of being a Trek fan. I'm making audiotapes of selected episodes to listen to in the usually-quiet little bookstore where I worked at the time. Fandom factor: remaining constant at warp 9.

1992 -- Plans are announced for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. A whole new Trek series ... with one of my favorite characters, Chief O'Brien, as a regular! Wahoo! Can life get any better? Fandom factor: maintaining warp 9.

1994 -- Another bittersweet moment, with the TV voyages of The Next Generation coming to an end (prematurely, in my opinion). I watch the Enterprise-D crew's feature-film debut, Star Trek: Generations, four times in the theatre, but partly because I'm living in a small town and there's really nothing else to do within a 40-mile radius. When I realize that this movie was primarily the studio's way of making room for the next TV series, I begin having my first inklings that Star Trek has begun a slow orbital decay. Fandom factor: drops slightly to warp 8.5.

In the interest of avoiding a ridiculously long blog entry, I felt this was a natural dividing line between parts one and two; I'll explain why in the second half, coming up soon. Stay tuned...!

*figure of speech ... hey, once a Star Wars fan, always a Star Wars fan.

No comments: