May 17, 2009


Age has always driven plots on STAR TREK.

The issue of age runs from THE ORIGINAL SERIES episode, “The Deadly Years”, to the captaincy of the Enterprise D falling to an obvious member of the AARP; to Kirk’s words in WRATH OF KHAN, “How do I feel? I feel old…and worn out”; to the aging of Jake and Benjamin Sisco in DS9’s “The Visitor”; to T’Pol’s foremother’s crewmate wandering and growing old on a 20th – 21st Century Earth as the first Vulcan to explore the planet; and culminating with an aged, 24th Century Spock in JJ Abram’s new movie STAR TREK.

While I didn’t make the 12:01 am showing on Friday, May 8, I did meet with a few people I dearly love later on Friday night.

My dad is in his late 70’s and started watching STAR TREK in 1966. I was only 9 years old. I don’t remember the earliest episodes, but by the time I turned 11, I had started reading science fiction (Louis Slobodkin’s SPACESHIP UNDER THE APPLE TREE) and watching STAR TREK with him. There wasn’t much else we shared and when the show was cancelled in 1969, we had to wait another 20 years until the first movie premiered in all its pastel blue and gray splendor.

My wife and I snuggled up with the TV and each other when STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION premiered a bit over a month after we got married. My son Josh and daughter Mary were born during the reign of Picard, Riker, Troi, Data, Worf, LaForge and Crusher (on again, off again). Josh grew up watching STAR TREK and while he was a real child of STAR WARS, he and Mary humored me and joined us for the evening premier of STAR TREK: GENERATION. Josh and I even went to see STAR TREK: NEMESIS together and while he liked it just fine, he still prefers blasting droids and storm troopers over a phaser fight.

Jon Gjerde and I went to the STAR TREK movies for years following THE VOYAGE HOME. Once I was married, Jon continued to come to our house and watch the series through ENTERPRISE. Sadly, our regular meetings stopped when the Federation Empire crumbled with the final episode of ENTERPRISE. Not long after that, he got married and though we’ve both grown gray together, our meetings are few and far between.

So, on May 8, 2009, three days before my fifty-second birthday, three generations of Stewart men plus one old friend, met to watch Abram’s STAR TREK.

And it was all there: Leonard Nimoy as the ancient Spock for Dad and me; hints and references to the STAR TREK canon from the movies, for Jon and me; and actors from TV, movies and videogames Josh easily recognized. I am well aware that we’re being manipulated by Paramount executives out to milk a few more dollars from the 43-year-old cash cow – I know, I know, I was tempted by the $1.99 Collector’s Glasses at Burger King, too – but MAN, when all was said and done and we got out of the theater and talked for another fifteen minutes in cold sprinkling rain, we came to a simple consensus: it was a unique time and it was GREAT! No -- it was more than GREAT, it was like walking a bridge between three generations and meeting on the other side as deeper friends.

1 comment:

Austin L said...

This is a really cool little article, Guy... It's great to see how a TV hallmark of the past can still be meaningful, even to someone of my generation. I haven't seen the new Star Trek movie yet; although I have heard it is good, I have been skeptical. But now that it has the stamp of approval from a dedicated Trek fan such as yourself, nothing is holding me back. ;)