Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why I Love Star Trek, Essay #9: Andrew Katz

Why I Love Star Trek
By Andrew Katz

I admit often times loudly and proudly of my geek/nerd credentials. As a geek/nerd I believe that loving sci-fi is in my blood. Now in the interest of full disclosure I admit that if push came to shove it is the Original Star Wars (Episodes IV, V, and VII) that are closest to my heart. But I also know that Star Trek is also a love I have as well.

Growing up I occasionally remember watching tidbits of TOS here or there. I knew enough about it to know who Kirk and Spock and Bones were but that was about it. I can admit now that I even passed up on a chance to see The Voyage Home on the big screen.  My father took my brother instead.  If I had to pick a moment when I truly became a Star Trek fan it would have to be when I saw Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered County. For me this is probably my favorite Trek movie (I know it does not have enough Syfy). As a teenager and even now it has everything that I could want in a movie/franchise. It had jokes, action, but it also had a strong plot and interesting characters. Needless to say I was hooked. It was around this time that I started watching the Next Generation.

That is how I came to Star Trek but why do I love it? It has everything, the wanna be scientist in me, the wanna be explorer, the wanna be soldier, the list could go on. But I think for me a big aspect is escapism. Below is my favorite example.

Sunday October 8, 1995 my brother and I were watching the Yankees play the Seattle Mariners in the Division series. This was the first year in my conscious lifetime that the Yankees had made the playoffs. I was so excited, and when the Yankees finally lost (actually they got shafted) in the 11th inning thanks to a crappy call at first base I was devastated.  I was angry, I was depressed, I was exhausted (it was after midnight) but in no condition to sleep. The same was true for my brother. I flipped the channel and there was DS9 just about to rerun the first two Worf episodes. It was the perfect escape.  Never mind that I stayed up probably to about 2 am.  I don’t think there would have been another show that would have allowed me to ignore the fact that my hopes and dreams had just been crushed. Although Trek many times deals with issues that we here on 21st century Earth deal with on a daily basis (losing a baseball game to your rival), the fact that it takes place in the future and in space allows me to always escape (I know that the Yankees will never play a game against the Vulcans).

But what I also love about Star Trek for is its ability to use allegory to address real word issues and themes. Whether these issues are social or political I have always thought that Trek does a good job or presenting a nice liberal view on the situation. I thought it was fitting that DS9 years before Sept 11 looked at how a “democracy” deals with fighting a war where the enemy can be anyone. I have always appreciated how Trek has made me think.

On a geekier level my friends and I enjoyed discussing which country the various empires/aliens represented. Federation=USA, Bajoran=Jews/Israel, Cardassian=Nazi Germany/North Koreans etc.

But on a more basic level it is simply fun. Trek is well acted and the stories are interesting and yes can be funny! And even if not every episode has explosions and phaser fire there is enough action to satisfy my more basic action needs.

I don’t know what else to say about why I love Trek. Sometimes I just wish Star Wars worked as deeply and as well.


  1. I would like to point out that in no way did I instruct Matthew to link to his Star Wars bashing Essay. That was clearly his choice as editor/poster of the blog!

  2. Editorial discretion is a powerful thing. It has treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross, but it's not for the timid.