When I found this blog back in January, I was excited. I love Star Trek, I was intrigued by the blog’s premise, and I looked forward to casually following along. Sometime during those early weeks, though, following My Year of Star Trek stopped being so casual. I decided to watch Trek along with the blog. I knew it would be fun, but I didn’t expect it to have even a fraction of the impact it’s had…
1. To grow a deeper appreciation for Star Trek- The Original Series. I was not yet born when TOS first aired, and I was a little girl when reruns would be on in our tiny basement apartment. But TOS was my sister’s Trek; Kirk was her captain; he was her father figure, when I was still too young to realize I needed one. Today, my sister and I are as close as sisters can be; back then, however- we didn’t get along at all. The mere fact that Trek was hers meant that it wasn’t mine. Sure, I’ve always had an appreciation and respect for it in the subsequent years, but there was always something that felt “other” to me. There were only three episodes I remember watching when I was little: The Devil in the Dark (it scared me), Miri (it made me sad and worried), and The Trouble with Tribbles (lots of fun). The blog has helped me finally be able to feel that sense of history and the groundbreaking nature of so much of TOS. Being able to watch episodes and read along with reviews and analysis has given me a new understanding and a deeper connection to the show.
2. To revisit and reflect on an important part of my life with Star Trek: The Next Generation. ST:TNG was my series. I watched it religiously throughout the years it was on, as well as in reruns. I knew all the episode names, and read all the books. I knew the guest stars. What I didn’t have for many of those years, though, was someone to talk Trek with. The TNG years were largely solitary years for me, due to my work and living situation at the time. Being part of a fandom without any real life counterparts to share in it can be lonely- especially back in the pre-internet age. I went to conventions once or twice a year, which was great- but brief. I lived in the NYC area for much of that time, and the show would be on TV pretty often. I lived in an apartment w/a bad cable setup, so the picture was usually scrambled and snow-filled. I taped them anyway. Yup- VHS tapes, episode after episode of fuzzy pictures and garbled dialogue. In the later years, my grandmother started taping episodes for me, labeling them with her barely-legible handwriting. She lived about an hour away from me, and I’d get the tapes when I visited her once or twice a month. I recently found a few of those tapes, and a big smile came to my face when I saw that handwriting I hadn’t seen in decades. Some of these years were bad years for me, but there was always TNG to rely on. Watching the series again, in order, brought back a lot of memories. The show always had a way of leaving me filled with hope, even during darker times. I think of those VHS tapes often, as I touch the Netflix icon with the pad of my fingertip, and any moment of TNG can be at my disposal. Magic, indeed. Who would have imagined this possible back in the day of the scrambled VHS tape? (Oh- nevermind. The obvious answer to that question, of course, is Gene…)
3. To fall head over heels for Deep Space Nine. Oh, I can barely even put my feelings about DS9 onto the page right now. I have absolutely fallen in love with this series- I think it's now officially my favorite Star Trek. The depth is fascinating, the characters are incredibly complex, and I have become completely attached to this world. So much so, that when I found myself on Season 7, episode 17- Penumbra- I had to stop. I'm not ready to hit this final stretch of episodes, not ready to say goodbye to these people yet. I jumped back to seasons 2 & 3, re-watching some of the earlier episodes that I had skimmed over. There’s no more putting it off, though- I should be finished in the next day or so- and I’m not looking forward to finishing.
Shortly after DS9 originally debuted, I was traveling and moving around quite a bit, and I was in a general not-watching-much TV period. Since I had been a huge TNG fan, I did watch DS9 from time to time, and I liked it- but it was too hard to keep up with on an erratic watch schedule. I found it too "serious" and complicated most times when I did catch episodes here and there. Following along and watching with My Year of Star Trek has been the first time I've seen a lot of these episodes, and it's certainly the first time I've had a grasp of the bigger picture. I have come to love its complexity, and the depth in its characters. Every character is fully fleshed out, multifaceted, and inevitably flawed- in the realest of ways. I will miss them. I want to watch this series all over again. I can’t though…Voyager awaits.
4. To learn about honesty and openness in blogging. (I’ll keep this part short, because she probably won’t want me turning the spotlight on her.) AshleyRose has crafted one of the most interesting and insightful blogs I’ve come across in a long time. A big part of that is the honesty and openness with which she writes. She seamlessly blends review, social commentary, and personal reflection in a way that draws us in and keeps us there. At times humorous, at times poignant, and always with an authentic voice. We should all take notes. Plus, she shares her artistic gift. Have you seen me as a Banean/Vulcan?
5. To finally see past Enterprise’s theme song. OK, I’m cheating here- we're not there yet. And I’m partly kidding. But somehow, I just know that upon re-watching and following the blog, I’ll finally be able to look past my feelings on that song and give Enterprise another chance. I’m confident that if anything can help me get past it and give this series the attention it deserves, it’s My Year of Star Trek.
KJ Simpson is a science fiction fan who also loves plants, globes, and theme park history.
She blogs about one of her other passions at www.PlustheMagic.com.