To Boldly Go…

For thirty two years, I have successfully avoided the Star Trek franchise in all its incarnations.

Now, for those of you familiar with my personality and/or work, this fact may be surprising for two reasons:

  1. My plays and musicals are rife with allusions to Start Trek.  Perhaps the most notable reference occurs in Dani Girl, when Marty chastises Dani for failing to distinguish between the Captains Kirk and Picard.  One of my favorite jokes in the script, incidentally.
  2. I am a huge dork.

In fact, it may because of the depth of my dorkdom that I have refused to watch a single episode of any of the iconic television series, and avoided their cinematic adaptations like the plague.  You see, I am an enormous fan of Star Wars, loyal to the death.  And, naturally, I saw this as an impediment to enjoying a sci-fi institution that had garnered an equally rabid fan base of mom’s basement-dwelling Mountain Dew drinkers.

One could simply not appreciate both, right?  That would be like rooting for the Yankees and the Red Sox.

This erroneous belief in the competitive nature of creative projects is one that I’ll save for another post.  Suffice it to say, I stubbornly refused to watch anything vaguely Trek-related until…

Last weekend I finally broke down and watched the most recent addition to the Star Trek universe (creatively titled Star Trek), starring fellow Pittsburgher and CMU-alum Zach Quinto (who I saw play a pretty mean Modern Major General when he was a senior in high school).

And I will admit this much: the Trekies have Star Wars beat when it comes to not screwing everything up with a prequel.  I know, I know, it’s not technically a prequel with the whole time travel/alternate reality thing, but you get my point — Star Trek is kind of good.

Who would’ve thunk it?  A franchise that has lasted fifty five years, spawned six TV series, eleven feature films, and captured the imaginations of millions of perpetually adolescent men who will never kiss a girl, actually has some merit to it.

Now, despite having never actually seen the show, I couldn’t help but be at least generally familiar with the show’s major characters: the brash Kirk, the logical Spock, the… Scottish Scotty.  They’ve permeated popular culture, as have many of their most famous quotations…

Live long and prosper.

Damnit, Jim, I’m a doctor not a (insert thing that Bones is not).

I’m giving her all she’s got, Captain.  (Kirk resists urge to respond with That’s what he said.)

But there is one quote that, despite (or perhaps because of) coming into contact with a thousand times, I never really heard.  It’s nicely delivered in this film by Leonard Nimoy, just as the closing credits are about to roll.

Space: The Final Frontier, it begins.  These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.  Her ongoing mission…

It’s the next part that really resonated with me, because, as a writer, I cannot more clearly articulate my own ongoing mission:

To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.


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