Set Phasers on Mid-Life Crisis
September 8, 2006 9:57 AM   Subscribe

Star Trek is forty today. The basics of the series are well-known, the cultural impact is worldwide, and the letter-writing campaign to get a third season out of the network has spawned thousands of imitators, though only a very few are ever successful. The show has spawned twenty-seven other series and five hundred movies. (Okay, maybe not that many.) Though exhorted by the original series' star to Get a life, the fans of Star Trek -- whether they call themselves Trekkies or Trekkers -- are without a doubt the nutbars inspiration for the joys and insanity of all media fandom which has followed. I am proud to name myself among them. K'Plagh!
posted by tzikeh (44 comments total)
posted by keswick at 10:01 AM on September 8, 2006

Time is the fire in which we burn.
posted by cowbellemoo at 10:07 AM on September 8, 2006 [2 favorites]

posted by riotgrrl69 at 10:14 AM on September 8, 2006

Ooooh, NSFW tribute video! Still, very funny. Though a bit tough on those of us who have problems with the embarrassment cringe factor.
posted by tzikeh at 10:21 AM on September 8, 2006


Kerchoo! to you too!
posted by mk1gti at 10:22 AM on September 8, 2006

I got a brief chuckle out of the obviously disinterested answers from The Shat and SalsaBoy in this CNN piece yesterday.

As much as I have loved Star Trek for 30 of those 40 years, I have reached the point where I am in complete agreement with the title of the article: "What's Left To Say?"
posted by briank at 10:24 AM on September 8, 2006

"No sneeze guard on the salad bar! Dirty silverware stored next to clean! Kirk, you will be cited!"
- Khan Noonian Singh
The Restaurant Enterprise
posted by zek at 10:28 AM on September 8, 2006

Orig. series was great. The others? Not.
posted by wfc123 at 10:33 AM on September 8, 2006

"What's Left To Say?"

Would it help if Khan stabbed Kirk through the heart with a stingray? Boy howdy, then we'd have ourselves a hoe-down!
posted by tzikeh at 10:35 AM on September 8, 2006

There are some choice items in the Christie's auction. Mock all you want, but any one of those spacecraft models would be rather sweet to own.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:36 AM on September 8, 2006

There was an interview somewhere with Shatner this week in which he said that he was terrified of the concept of any actual space travel because he couldn't stomach (so to speak) the idea of being stuck in the craft in the galactic void and having to vomit.

Anyway, groundbreaking series and cultural signpost ... without a doubt. Happy 40th, "Star Trek."
posted by blucevalo at 10:37 AM on September 8, 2006

Nothing left to say but ... (flash)
posted by LordSludge at 10:46 AM on September 8, 2006

Was successful? I was a member over there and I'm not sure that the miniseries was all that gratifying.

Sure, it was nice to see some plot-threads tied up, but it was 22 hours worth of plot compressed into 180 minutes.

And then those fans made a circle and started shooting at one another...
posted by vhsiv at 10:51 AM on September 8, 2006

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
posted by ND¢ at 10:57 AM on September 8, 2006

what keswick said.
posted by i_cola at 10:59 AM on September 8, 2006

I'm not a nerd. I'm a 16th level Paladin.

K'Plagh to you too tzikeh. I'd write more, but experiencing the Pon Far right now. Great post though.
posted by Dantien at 11:23 AM on September 8, 2006

NSFW tribute video!

There was nothing NSFW in that video. If you were thinking of something NSFW, the fault lies within you.

*cocks eyebrow*
posted by languagehat at 11:38 AM on September 8, 2006

Qapla' putaQ!
posted by Guy Smiley at 11:43 AM on September 8, 2006

"I believe in humanity. We are an incredible species. We're still just a child creature, we're still being nasty to each other. And all children go through those phases. We're growing up, we're moving into adolescence now. When we grow up - man, we're going to be something!" - Gene Roddenberry, 1985

If standing behind this guy's unique and optimistic vision of humanity's future makes me a nerd, sign me up.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:47 AM on September 8, 2006 [1 favorite]

Happy 40th ya Big Old Bird!
posted by ZachsMind at 11:47 AM on September 8, 2006

Yeah, it's the philosophy and ambience behind Star Trek that makes it great, not the minutae.
posted by riotgrrl69 at 11:53 AM on September 8, 2006

Orig. series was great. The others? Not.

Grandpa, I thought we told you not to leave your room.
posted by Plutor at 11:54 AM on September 8, 2006

You needn't go to an auction to have an Enterprise to call your own. Make a kit - if one is still available.
posted by Cranberry at 11:58 AM on September 8, 2006

While I love sci-fi in general, I really never got in to Star Trek. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the contributions is has made to the science fiction community and that it has provided a wonderful outlet for nerds everywhere (I say this with great love, many of my friends are trekkies), I just never drank the cool aid. My problem was that everything was just too clean and people were too civil. It's only a couple of hundred years in the future, I really could never buy that humanity had worked out all it's troubles and lived in this utopic vision.

Someone mentioned Farscape upthread and to me that was a far superior show. As was Firefly and the newest incarnation of Battlestar Galactica. If you want to go cinematic, Aliens and Outland also captured what I envisioned the future to be; a hard and unforgiving place. That is just what space is.

But even as I type that last paragraph, I realize that those shows are a reaction to Star Trek and thus wouldn't have ever existed without it. And so, while it was never my thing I join the rest of you in salute: Happy 40th!
posted by quin at 12:16 PM on September 8, 2006

"I was pleased that in those days when you couldn't even get blacks on television, that I not only had a black, but a black woman, and a black officer [on 'Star Trek']." - Gene Roddenberry, 1991

That might sound kinda racist with hindsight, but it was also historic. Star Trek was the program with the first interracial kiss on american prime time. The series also made an impact in ways that don't show up on lists of firsts.

I can't find the exact quote on the Web, but I remember once reading an interview with Nichelle Nichols who said that during the run of Star Trek, she was introduced to Martin Luther King Jr., and she apologized for her work on Star Trek and was very embarrassed by it, fearing that she was making black people look stupid, cuz all she did on the show was take phone calls for the white captain, and MLK set her straight.

Her character was on the bridge. She was not only fielding the Captain's calls. She was a top ranking officer in charge of the ship's communications. She was the liason between the ship and all those alien races out there. She was representing a future for black women that Nichols hadn't foreseen. He urged her to stay on the show, because he knew it was making a quiet but significant impact on young black women and their aspirations and goals. He was right.

So you nerd callers? Go right on doing that. We got astronauts and civil rights leaders as fans of Star Trek. We nerds are in great company.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:29 PM on September 8, 2006

I'm sorry for commenting yet again on my own post (lame, lame) - but if you all want a good laugh, check out the video clips on CNN:

I now rank Shatner and Nimoy among the great comedy duos of all time. I'm glad my roommate is in the shower and can't hear me laughing this loudly.
posted by tzikeh at 12:53 PM on September 8, 2006

Next Generation practically raised me. (Actually, I went straight from Reading Rainbow to Next Gen, so if I ever meet LeVar Burton someday it'll be...weird. At the least.)

Yes, it was aliens with funny foreheads, but the inherent philosophy and humanism (for all that I now disagree with aspects of both, as presented by the show) made me who I am today. Not many other shows I'd feel proud of saying that about...
posted by kalimac at 1:29 PM on September 8, 2006

My favorite tribute, which I happened to watch again the other night and it only gets better:

What IS this thing? There's no useful purpose for there to be a bunch of chompy, crushy things in the middle of a hallway! I mean, we shouldn't have to do this! It makes no logical sense! Why is it here?
Because it's on the television show.
Well, forget it! I'm not doing it! This episode was BADLY WRITTEN!
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:31 PM on September 8, 2006

CunningLinguist, thanks for posting that -- that's my favorite scene in Galaxy Quest , and you're right, it is an excellent tribute to Star Trek.

Makes me think we should have a thread just for Star Trek parodies and spoofs. This is a good one a friend recently sent to me. (4 minutes, SFW, embedded QT)
posted by mosk at 1:56 PM on September 8, 2006

"we should have a thread just for Star Trek parodies and spoofs"

what's wrong with this thread? Why not just do that here?
posted by ZachsMind at 2:15 PM on September 8, 2006

The 'optimism' of ST is laughable really. Humans are at peace but the show projects obvious racial stereotypes into hostile aliens. It does reflect humanity, but not in the way the nerds think it does.
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:56 PM on September 8, 2006

I'll wave my nerd flag high for this one. If I had a JPEG of my "Flight Deck Officer Certificate" (mine is the "deluxe" version with the insignia and the ribbons etc.), a Trek fan club thing from the early 70's, I'd post it. There is a tribble sitting on top of this monitor, here at work.

We discussed this a while back, but have you seen this TV Guide exclusive confirmation?

Milk the cash cow, Paramount. Milk the cash cow. But yeah, I'll watch it, and buy it on DVD. :)

Trek On, my uber-nerdly cohorts!
posted by zoogleplex at 4:59 PM on September 8, 2006

That might sound kinda racist with hindsight

Huh? In what way could taking pride in having gotten blacks and women onto a show, as real characters, in a time when that was extremely uncommon, possibly "sound racist"?
posted by languagehat at 5:14 PM on September 8, 2006

I'm not a Star Trek fan per say but I love what the show has done for science and science-fiction. Happy Birthday!
posted by Vindaloo at 5:56 PM on September 8, 2006

"Spock, I.. believe... I'm... in love.. with Edith Keeler."

"Jim, Edith Keeler must die."

"Then.. who.. will... portray.. the.. evil.. matriarch... on... 'Dynasty'"?
posted by wfc123 at 6:54 PM on September 8, 2006

the show projects obvious racial stereotypes into hostile aliens.

Dammit, I've been saying that for years!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:06 PM on September 8, 2006

Ahem. It's spelled Qapla'.
posted by EarBucket at 7:12 PM on September 8, 2006

I think you'll find that it's spelled Image Hosted by
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:33 PM on September 8, 2006

And of course you can't appreciate MetaFilter threads until you've read them in the original Klingon. *rimshot* Thank you ladies and gentlemen I'll be here all week. Be sure to tip your waitresses! Good night!
posted by ZachsMind at 9:26 PM on September 8, 2006

"You don't want a boyfriend / What you want is Mr. Spock"
posted by Guy Smiley at 10:19 PM on September 8, 2006

Always a trekkie. Never a Trekker.

Happy 40th. Live long and... well, you know.
posted by soyjoy at 10:27 PM on September 9, 2006

K'plagh? Is that like the sound of klingons dropping into the toilet?

posted by taursir at 1:44 AM on September 10, 2006

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