This is going to be embarrassing. This is not the sort of confession I’d normally make in a national magazine. But the code of journalistic ethics demands complete disclosure. So here goes, the ugly truth:
I’ve seen every episode of the original Star Trek at least 20 times — and could probably see them 20 times more. Certain favorites (”This Side of Paradise,” ”Space Seed,” ”Devil in the Dark”) I can almost recite verbatim (”I’m a doctor, not a brick layer ”). I’ve seen every Trek film at least once, some several times. I’ve attended more than one Star Trek convention, named several childhood pets after Enterprise crew members (a salamander named Scotty, a guinea pig named Bones), and even own a pair of pointy Spock ears.
To put it bluntly: Ich bin ein Trekkie.
What is it about the show that keeps me watching year after year? Part of the appeal is its message: Unlike a lot of science fiction, Trek offers a happy version of the future, a future that doesn’t make you want to hide under a bed. Not only can the human race survive to the 24th century, Trek promises, but we can survive in style, evolving into a wiser, gentler species. Star Trek preaches a message of tolerance and understanding, offering a vision of the future in which all life forms are considered sacred-even the ones with icky, blobby bodies and fish-eyed faces. That’s pretty comforting news, if you ask me.
Another reason I love the show: After watching Kirk, Spock, and Bones recite the same corny lines year after year, I consider them almost like family. I know the characters as well as I know my own siblings; I know the Enterprise as well as I know my own kitchen.
But the thing I most love about Star Trek is that it’s just plain fun. Warp engines, phasers, Tribbles, transporters, tricorders, Klingons — life doesn’t get much cooler than this.