Thursday, September 08, 2016

Star Trek 50

50 years ago today, Star Trek premiered on television, and it's really not an exaggeration to say that a phenomenon was created.

There's going to be a galaxy of think-pieces out there about this over the next few days, some of them thoughtful and some of them mocking, but I'm not likely to read the majority because I know exactly what Star Trek means to me

And I'm not going to get starry-eyed about this (well, maybe a little bit) because we are just talking about a TV show...but the fact is, Star Trek has exerted a huge influence on my life, both personally and professionally, and continues to do so to this day. And I love that.

I found this picture of me as kid a while ago; a photo taken on the morning of Christmas Day 1976, and I'm sitting on the sofa in front of some hideous flock wallpaper in my little Arthur Dent dressing gown, holding my new Dinky Toys U.S.S. Enterprise on the verge of some imagined adventure. I look that kid in the eyes and I think of how he has no idea where that ship is going to take him. I think about the exciting places he'll go to, the challenging ideas that will open up to him, the cool things he will get to see and do, the amazing people he will meet...all thanks to this one space show off the telly.

Ten years ago, I wrote about my thoughts on what was the 40th anniversary - here's what I said then and it still holds true:

Star Trek has been good to me. Through it's fandom I made at lot of friends, had good times and I met the most important woman in my life. It helped me earn my living over the years, helped me kick-start my professional scriptwriting career, kept my journalistic endeavours afloat during lean times, and - oh yeah - it gave me plenty of great stories that kept (and continue to keep) me entertained.

I've been watching bits of the original series in recent weeks and rediscovering some of what it was that made me love this saga. Yeah, it has dated all right, but there's still stuff at the core of that show that shines through, decades later. Let's be honest, if there wasn't something unique about Trek, we wouldn't still be talking about it. Some observers might think that in these troubled times it's naive to hold on to a mythology that talks about unity of purpose and a better tomorrow, but last night I watched a documentary about 9/11 and it made me realise that we need these kind of aspirational stories, now more than ever. Star Trek, like Star Wars and Superman et al, are the heroic myths of our era; reinvented, retold, but always with the same intention.

A decade after writing that, I don't have a lot to add. Star Trek is still here, with its original tales backed up by new books and comics, new movies and very soon a new TV series with a new crew on a new starship. I can't wait to see it. I've been lucky enough to tell a dozen stories in Star Trek's mythos, giving back to something that has - and continues to - mean a lot to me. I hope to carry on...maybe for another fifty years.

Once again, here's to all the continuing voyages...

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