When I was growing up, my dad and I didn’t spend a lot of time together watching TV. We had different interests. I like Ninja Turtles and G.I. Joe; he liked Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson. We were in different worlds with different viewing preferences. Then one day, I saw him watching some show with guys in different color shirts carrying laser pistols. I was amazed that my dad would be watching something so cool. Even better, he let me watch it with him! We watched Kirk and Spock battle a strange looking orange blob thing in some caves and it was awesome! After the episode my dad explained a bit about the show and I was hooked from that day on. You trekkies out there already know which episode my dad and I watched but for those who don’t, it was Episode 25 of Season 1 “The Devil in the Dark”.
I originally fell in love with the Star Trek universe because it made a connection between my dad and I that wasn’t there before. As I watched more of it I fell in love with the characters but more importantly, the story, the story of a future Earth that had stopped fighting with itself and worked together to accomplish their mission. That mission is laid out for us in the opening credits of every episode of Star Trek and later Star Trek: The Next Generation, “To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before”. I fell in love with this mission, the “Captain’s Oath”, and wanted to see every episode of Star Trek that I could.
Star Trek: TNG began its run in September of 1987 and began a long run of Star Trek shows that ran through 2005 with the finale of Star Trek: Enterprise. We journeyed with Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew for 7 amazing seasons. In 1993 we saw the baton passed to Commander Benjamin Sisko as took command of the Federation space station Deep Space Nine for 7 great seasons. 1995 brought us something bigger as Star Trek expanded their universe with Captain Kathryn Janeway of the starship Voyager as they fought their way home after being stranded in the Delta Quadrant, 75,000 light years from Earth. Janeway was the first and only female captain to lead a cast/crew in a Star Trek series. Captain Jonathan Archer led his crew in the last installment in Star Trek’s run. Archer was the captain of Earth’s first warp 5 capable ship and the show took place around the year 2150, a century before the original Star Trek.
All of these series were masterfully written and focused on character development. From Kirk and his strong confidence and adventures as a “ladies man” to Picard and his quiet strength and love for his crew to Sisko and his unwanted role as the Emissary to the Prophets and battles with his nemesis Gul Dukat to Janeway and her unwavering commitment to get her crew home to Archer and the pressure he put on himself to succeed in his mission and captain a ship driven by engines his father designed, we saw these captains develop into the characters we love still today. Fans of the shows grew to love these captains and their crews. There are still debates about which crew is the best 9 years after the finale of the last show (Enterprise). I am torn between TNG and DS9 and would love to hear your opinions. Star Trek was always more than just a fictional universe it was a glimpse at what we could be a glimpse of what we all wanted to be. With the success of J.J. Abrams “reboot” of Kirk and his crew, I believe that television is more than ready for another journey into the Star Trek universe. I know I am!
Now that you have heard me ramble on about the greatest sci-fi franchise ever, it is your turn. We want to hear your thoughts and memories of these shows. I want to see a debate about who the best captain is. What was your favorite series? Favorite episode? Favorite characters? We want to hear it all! I will start it. The best captain is Picard, favorite series is DS9, favorite episode is “All Good Things” (TNG finale and one of the best finales of any genre ever…ever). What do you guys think? Comment below or tweet me @JasonBarwick!