Sci-fi blogs, websites and magazines are a buzz talking about Star Trek The Next Generations 25th Anniversary.
As many of our readers know, we grew up on TNG and would like to share our journey with the Next Generation.
I don’t remember the first time I watched TNG just the challenge of tricking my parents into letting me.
Because I don’t remember how old I was when this happened I googled the UK air date and am surprised to find it was 1990.
Once I was tucked in bed I would stay awake and listen really hard to the TV. As soon as I heard the theme music I would jump out of bed, run downstairs and announce my bellyache, bad dream, boogie man or some other made up ailment that meant I had to watch TV and be tended too.
Looking back my parents must have been pretty clued up that this was happening the same time every week.
It’s difficult for me to pinpoint as a child what initially attracted me to Star Trek but I know it had a great influence shaping my world view right down to my political and religious beliefs (or lack off!). But this influence wasn’t ‘Star Trek believes x, y, z therefore I shall also believe x, y, z’ it was because Star Trek teaches us to question everything and have a responsibility to the truth.
It wasn’t long until we got Sky TV and TNG was on every day at 5pm. I was hungry for more but also wanting friends to ‘get it’. I completely failed to find someone already watching it so I kept on about it to my best friend Teressa (@snoweycampbell). She was my first TiT! (Trekkie in Training).
Teressa was cooler than me so didn’t announce her geekery at school but we could spend hours talking about each weeks episode. We even cried on the phone together after ‘All Good Things’ aired.
Tress went to a different secondary school and that’s when I met Carole. She was very proud of her geek heritage and within a couple of days we had a friendship solidified in Star Trek.
How we survived secondary school is baffling. I once dressed as Captain Picard to school…yes you heard that right. I wore a flesh coloured swimming cap all day. I took a red T-Shirt and coloured in the black parts with a felt tip pen. I think the school bullies thought I was too crazy to risk beating up.
When I think about how TNG has shaped my life, well it reminds me of that TNG episode Tapestry!
When Picard say’s he wished he hadn’t got into a fight with Nausicaans and his life becomes void of excitement and adventure. I can’t imagine how much of ‘me’ would unravel if I had never started watching TNG.
Many fans comment on how Star Trek effects their choice of profession and this is something I can relate too. My first career choice after I left school was to move to Las Vegas and work at the newly opened Star Trek Experience as a Klingon or Bolian or something. To spend all my days with likeminded people. Thinking my parents would roll their eyes if I mentioned Star Trek I pitched it to them as ‘I want to work in some bar in Las Vegas.’ Strangely no support was given to that particular dream of mine.
So I went into the world of Politics instead. Imagine if there was a political movement that wanted the type of society that Humans in the 24th Century live in? If every decision made was based on achieving a vision 400 years away instead of 4 years. I think more people are into the utopian view of the future than the media and pessimists like to believe.
But most of all, TNG taught me about Human behaviour. The most unhuman characters taught us more about ourselves than any other. When I look at the crew of the Enterprise D, they represents camaraderie, friendship and family. Those positive, nurturing human relationships are the backbone for Utopian Society.
To say ‘Happy 25th Anniversary’ to TNG sounds retrospective. I think the real legacy of TNG is still to come. But we might have to wait some ohhh, 400 years?