Thursday, May 7, 2009

To explore strange new worlds

J.J. Abram's reboot of the Star Trek franchise opens tomorrow. Noel and I aren't planning to go see it until Sunday -- too much graduation-related hoopla for the rest of the weekend -- and the search for a babysitter (difficult when the entire college population is leaving town) left me briefly anxious that I wouldn't get to see it right away.

That's a worry based on my long but spotty history with all things Trek. In high school I was a total Trek nerd. I watched the original series in syndication on a local UHF channel (and dragooned my younger brother into watching it with me whenever I was left in charge of the house). I read the novels. I read the novelizations. I read the photo-novels. I wrote fan fiction. I saw all the movies. I went to the local SF con and bought stickers reading "It had the virtue of never having been tried."

But by the time Next Generation started, I had moved on, to a certain extent. I watched it sporadically, getting engrossed in the Borg storyline. I defended poor Deanna Troi, everyone's least favorite character, because I have a soft spot for the underdog (and because I secretly wanted to be like her). But I didn't get into any of the ancillary fandom, and I didn't even make a serious effort to be completist about the series. And my disconnection from the later elements of the franchise -- Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise -- has been pure and complete.

So it's with some mixed feelings that I look forward to the new movie. Frankly, my excitement about it stems almost equally from its Trekkiness and from its Abramsicity. I am deeply connected to ST:TOS, in a way that I'll never be able to shake. I imagine that the movie is going to reawaken all those old loves and obsessions. Yet it's a part of my past, not my present. I don't have the long-term bona fides, born of serious dedication through the wilderness years, to claim the cultural moment as my due. I'll be a bystander. Enjoying myself, sure, but with neither pride of ownership nor standing to complain.

1 comment:

dougb0 said...

I would never allow myself to be "dragooned." Seriously, where do you come up with these words?