Star Trek: The 50 Years Club

On the @DoctorWho_BBCA Twitter page, the moderators offered best wishes to Star Trek this way:

Doctor Who, of course, had its 50th anniversary back in 2013. And I’ll be having mine shortly.

I was born the same year Star Trek debuted, but nevertheless when I saw the first magazine cover with Star Trek 50th Anniversary on it, I still had a “no way” moment. Star Trek couldn’t be 50 yet, because I wasn’t 50 yet. Except, of course, our birthdays are a few months apart.

The first Star Trek pilot, which featured Captain Christopher Pike, was rejected by the studio executives. But they ordered a new one—a rare move—and producer Gene Roddenberry developed Captain James T. Kirk and the rest of The Original Series team we all love. Then he cleverly repurposed the footage from the first pilot into a two-part episode.

“The Menagerie Part One” aired while my mom was still in the hospital after giving birth to me. As I remember hearing the story, her roommate didn’t want to watch Star Trek, and there was only one TV in the room, so they watched something else.

By the following week we were home, but Mom didn’t want to watch the second half when she hadn’t seen the first, so she didn’t watch it.

So Mom missed Star Trek two weeks in a row, and it was all my fault. Not that she gives me a lot of grief about it. It rarely comes up. But once you’ve heard a story like that, you don’t forget it.

I was raised by parents who were Trekkies before anyone coined the word Trekkie. Even though it went off the air after only three seasons, it was always in reruns, and we always watched it. Then the movies came out. Delightful, mostly. Then The Next Generation. Heaven. Picard is still my favorite captain.

Star Trek

Why yes, that is a larger-than-life-size cardboard cutout of Captain Picard in my living room. And that bookshelf contains all of our Star Trek novels.

Sisko, Janeway, Archer, I loved them all in turn. But I confess I haven’t seen the reboot version. Had it been a sequel, as the new Doctor Who is, I would have. But I feel about Star Trek the way Russell Davies does about Doctor Who. When he brought back that series, Davies insisted that it not be a reboot, but a continuation, because the show had such a great history, and “I love that history.”

Besides, there will never be any Khan for me but Ricardo Montalban. (Let’s just overlook the absurdity that given two chances to cast a guy named Khan, the producers never picked an actor from the Indian subcontinent. That’s a rant for another day.)

It’s been amusing to me to see the youngsters comparing their first captains the way they have done their first Doctors. I’ve even encountered a few whippersnappers who’ve never seen ST:TOS despite its syndicated ubiquity.

And that’s okay. I have just as much patience for those who first came to Star Trek when Chris Pine was playing Kirk as I do for those who first came to Doctor Who when Christopher Eccleston was playing the Doctor. (For the record, Tom Baker was my first Doctor.) We’re all at different stages of the fandom journey, just as we’re all at different stages in the life journey. What matters is that we’re in this together.

For more Star Trek fun:

This Doctor Who Facebook post includes fans sharing some great Star Trek/Doctor Who mashups.

Mike Rowe revealed the heroic history of the Great Bird of the Galaxy in Episode 32 of his podcast The Way I Heard It.

Mighty Girl shared the story of how Lucille Ball, chair of the Desilu Studios, saved Star Trek.

Everything you ever wanted to know about all the Star Treks is available at the appropriately named Memory Alpha website.


About Kristen Stieffel

Kristen Stieffel is a writer and freelance editor specializing in speculative fiction. She's a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, Christian Editor Connection, and American Christian Fiction Writers.

2 comments on “Star Trek: The 50 Years Club

  1. Try the latest Star Trek movie. It isn’t perfect, but Beyond is worth a watch, with most (but not all) of the troublesome alternate universe issues barely mentioned in a story that perhaps could have happened to the original crew.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: