Boldly Going Where I Had Never Gone Before: My Star Trek Obsession

Growing up I was only ever aware of two Star Treks: The Original Series, and The Next Generation.  Those were the only episodes I had ever seen adult family members watching (although I do have a vague memory of a Voyager episode, but as a kid I always thought it was just TNG).  As a child, the only episode I watched myself was from TNG. As a teenager, I watched a few episodes of TOS and TNG and really loved them.  And over time I became aware of the fact that “other” versions of Star Trek existed, but at the time they weren’t really on my radar.  Then, a few years ago, I discovered that TNG was available on Netflix.  Since this was my favourite of the “two” Star Treks, I was determined to watch every episode.  It was then that I truly began to learn about the other Treks and I realized that TNG was not the only Star Trek available on Netflix.  And not too long afterwards, Discovery started to airThus began an on-and-off tv marathon that spanned a few years…

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Netflix: The final frontier. These are the adventures of the geek girl Stephanie. Her three-year mission: to explore strange new Star Treks. To seek out new favourite characters and new favourite episodes.  To boldly go where no Yarn Monster has gone before!

The Original Series: Sci-fi gold.  It has everything: low budget props and special effects (the results are often hilarious), thought provoking episodes that explore contemporary issues through a futuristic lens, and tribbles!  If you can look past the occasional instance of sexism this show is really fantastic.  Without it, we would not have any of the other Star Treks.  The characters have become such iconic fixtures of pop culture that you do not necessarily need to be a Trekkie to be familiar with them or their quirks.  It may not be the “best” version of Star Trek in existence, but it is certainly an important series within this franchise. Favourite Characters: Spock, Dr. McCoy, Chekov

The Animated Series: This was not as bad as I thought it would be.  I mean, the animation is pretty simplistic, but this show was actually pretty good.  I loved that there were more aliens – non-human looking aliens to be specific.  I am assuming this is because it was easier to animate other species for this show rather than make aliens out of costumes/prosthetics for TOS.  I loved seeing a character like Arex on the bridge, but a character like that would have most likely been more difficult to create for the live-action original series.  I was also impressed that there were some good stories and that it wasn’t all fluff.  Favourite Characters: Spock, Dr. McCoy, Arex

The Next Generation: This show will always hold a special place in my heart; this was my first.  As a child, I saw an episode at my grandparent’s place which involved Data pretending he was Sherlock Holmes.  And growing up I heard my mum talk about the Borg a lot.  So I guess that’s why my favourite TNG episodes are the  ones that revolve around Data and/or The Borg.  (That could even explain my love of robots – especially space robots).  As a whole, I’d say most of the stories aren’t as hard hitting as they are in later Treks, but because of the nostalgia surrounding TNG, it will always be one of my favourites. Favourite Characters: Data, Picard, Lwaxana

Deep Space Nine: I thought I would never love a Star Trek as much as I loved TNG and boy was I wrong.  I love how dark DS9 gets and how perfectly binge-worthy it is.  The relationship between religion and science on this show is fantastic and, apart from The Borg, DS9 produced my absolute some of my favourite Star Trek villains.  As a writer, I really enjoyed how many stories revolve around the art of story telling and writing itself.  And since this was the Trek I was watching while I was really getting back into writing, I related to a lot of those moments. Favourite Characters: Odo, Quark, Garak

Voyager: Janeway is, without a doubt, one of the strongest Star Trek captains.  Coming off of DS9 I was a little disappointed with the stories in Voyager by comparison.  However, as the series progressed I began to enjoy the stories more and more, especially once the Borg were introduced.  I have always loved the characters in Voyager right from the very beginning; their relationships are a little more interesting because of the situation Voyager is in. I’m just a little disappointed that the constant journey through the Delta Quandrant means I didn’t get to know the villains as intimately as the ones in DS9.  Favourite Characters: Neelix, Seven, The Doctor

Enterprise: It took me a while to get on board with this one, but it did eventually grow on me.  It’s not a bad show, but coming immediately after 3 strong incarnations of Star Trek, this one just felt a little weaker.  By season 3, however, I felt it had gotten much stronger as a series. I enjoyed the characters, and seeing the early versions of many of the well known Trek staples, but the stories were a little more simplistic compared to what had come before. Still, I enjoyed the progression of the show. Overall, I found it entertaining and likable. Favourite Characters: Porthos, Porthos, Porthos! (or Trip, Phlox, Archer)

Discovery: Season 2 was much stronger than Season 1, so I am looking forward to see how the show progresses.  To be fair, I’ve realized that season 1 is often the weakest season for all of the other Treks that have come before.  However, I think that this is probably the weakest Star Trek so far.  At times, the show feels as if it could just be any generic space adventure if it weren’t for the inclusion of some Star Trek staples here and there.  I enjoy this show, and I want it to grow and succeed, but sometimes it feels a bit too separate from the other Star Treks. Favourite Characters: Saru, Pike, Tilly

Bonus Favourites Across All Series: I love every single character that Jeffrey Combs has played, particularly Weyoun, Brunt, and Shran.  Really hoping he eventually gets a cameo in Discovery.

Favourite Trek: Deep Space Nine!  I loved the stories and the characters, and something about it just really clicked with me.  And being able to see the documentary in theatres only solidified my love for DS9. This is one Trek series that I would gladly watch over, and over, and over again.

Ranking the Captains:

1 – The Holy Trinity: Picard, Sisko, Janeway.  (Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, and Kate Mulgrew, respectively). Nothing anyone can say will convince me that these are not the best Star Trek captains ever.  Which one is my top favourite?  I can’t decide!  I love them all for different reasons! Picard is the classic/perfect Starfleet captain, Sisko is creative and Picard’s opposite in all the right ways, and Janeway is just a badass adventurer who makes her own rules.  They are all amazing.

2 – Scott Bakula as Jonathan Archer. First of all, he’s a dog person, so that makes him a winner in my book. He was a fun captain, but he had his dark moments. Chronologically, he is the first captain to face the difficult decisions that have become familiar across the franchise, so I liked how this character reacted to those difficult situations.

3 – Anson Mount as Captain Pike.  I enjoyed Pike’s brief storyline in TOS, but we never really get to learn about the character.  Not only did I love seeing Pike appear on Discovery, but I really liked what Mount brought to the character.  His Pike was familiar and yet new.

4 – William Shatner as James T. Kirk. The classic Trek captain.  The nostalgia is probably my favourite thing about this captain, as he just doesn’t measure up to the others for me.  I think that part of the problem is that I have seen Shatner at a convention.  From listening to his panel, I found I didn’t like him all that much as a person and that has affected how I view Kirk.

5 – Jason Isaacs as Gabriel Lorca. Spoiler: he’s evil.  So even though I enjoyed Isaacs’ portrayal of the character, he’s pretty low on my list. Absolutely not the kind of Starfleet captain I would even come close to admiring, but he was an interesting character and ended up being a pretty cool villain.

6 – Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham.  Not a captain, I know (hence the last place ranking).  But she is the main character of Discovery, and the captains are typically the main characters of their respective series. Discovery has had a new captain every season and I feel like perhaps Burnham will get that honour in time.  Although Saru is a better acting-captain under pressure, Burnham has potential for growth and could eventually become a strong captain.

What now…?  Time to marathon all of the movies while I await the release of Picard!

 

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