The Star Trek Fandom: Live Long and Prosper
“Space…the final frontier”, “Beam Me Up Scotty”, or how about “Live Long and Prosper” (more accurately, “dif-tor-heh-smusma” in Vulcan lingo). These words immediately bring the same thing to mind for millions of people around the globe…Star Trek. From its beginnings on TV to now numerous film franchises, comics, and Trekkie conventions held around the world, Star Trek is one of the largest and most long-standing fandoms on the planet.
Making its television debut in 1966, Star Trek has since, far surpassed the imaginations of not only its creators but of its millions of viewers around the world. Star Trek is more than just a TV show or a film franchise for many. It’s more than just a convention to go to every year, or an excuse to put on Vulcan ears, either. For some, if not most, it’s a way of life. Star Trek is not only one of the most financially successful franchises in history, but it’s also one of the most memorable, popular, culturally iconic and most referenced of series of all time. Plus, without Star Trek’s help, would we really know who William Shatner is? You’re welcome, Priceline.
Thankfully too, costume design and acting have improved a great deal since the days of Shatner and his nemesis Gorn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJ-ATwRq5KY
Ironically enough, Star Trek’s reruns garnered more of a cult following than it had achieved popularity while originally airing. From 1973-74 there was an animated series titled, Star Trek: The Animated Series. How original. In 1979 the first Star Trek film was released to audiences, also very originally titled, Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (A Vulcan must have come up with the titles)
And it wasn’t just film and television that decided to take a leap of faith into the deep and vast science fiction galaxies either. Books, comics, merchandise and more were all game to dip their toes into this lucrative water. Mission to Hortius was written by Mac Reynolds and published in 1968 – the plot of which is unnecessary to get into. Suffice it to say, they’re in space, they have a mission and it’s to Hortius. Or is it? Read the book to find out more. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/217697.Mission_to_Horatius
Then in 1970 James Blish wrote the novel Spock Must Die! Oh no! Not Spock! Phew, it’s just the title. http://www.amazon.com/Spock-Must-Die-Star-Trek/dp/0553246348
And if it books weren’t enough, we have comics too. In fact, since 1967 Star Trek comics have been almost continuously written non-stop.
In 1967 a board game came out based on the series (really? I have to look this up on Amazon…), DVD games have been released in recent years, and even video games have been a prominent staple in the franchise too. Is there anything Star Trek hasn’t affected? Ready for this? It has even been an inspiration for some magazines, and not just in the U.S. – incredible.
The film did well enough that Paramount Pictures decided to make a sequel – which we all know is usually a bad idea. In this case though, it was kind of like Terminator 2, better than the original. What is it with sci-fi movies, huh? In fact, IMDB users rate the original film at a 6.4, while the sequel has an incredible 7.7 star rating. Anyway, in 1982 Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan opened in theaters, much to the delight of many a fan, and of course the film studios. I can still hear William Shatner yelling “Khaaaaaaaaaaan!”
Over the course of the next decade, six other films were released including, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991).
During this time, more specifically in 1987, Star Trek: The Next Generation was launched on television and ran until 1994. Instead of leading man Shatner or Leonard Nimoy, we now had Patrick Stewart as captain of the starship Enterprise, leading the fearless crew through space.
In 1993 the spin-off Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was created, and while it wasn’t nearly as popular as the original two series, it did achieve enough success from audiences that it managed to last a noteworthy seven seasons. In 1995 yet another spin-off aired titled, Star Trek: Voyager airing until 2001. At the show’s end, came new beginnings with one other series, Enterprise starring Scott Bakula as the ship’s captain. The series ended in 2005.
While no new series have aired since then, fans of the franchise should be jumping up and down right about now, because rumor has it, that by this time next year, 2017, we should have already been through the first season of the latest in the Star Trek television series. This one doesn’t have a name yet, but we’re hoping it’ll be something cool like, “Klingon Diaries” or “Vulcan Death Grip: The Ultimate End”. I’m sure the producers will come up with something better, though. That’s, after all, what they get paid to do.
1991 wasn’t the end of Star Trek films either. Far from it. In fact, since ‘91, six other films have been released with another on its way this year (2016), titled Star Trek Beyond. The latest film franchise produced by JJ Abrams, and starring Chris Pine, has injected new excitement into the Star Trek fandom. But what we know is this; when this film franchise comes to an end, it won’t be the last. If history is any indicator, Star Trek will always “Live Long and Prosper.”
Are you a Trekkie? If so, then you probably know that Trekkies are competing right now on Fanpage.com, to win a copy of Star Trek: The Movie, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack!…on Vinyl!… autographed by all of the main cast! Yes, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy the whole gang. It’s really awesome (I’ve seen it). Can you envision this timeless piece of Star Trek history donning the walls of your Trekkie-esque abode? Then download the fanpage app on iTunes or Google Play, create your Star Trek fanpage, move up the leaderboard, and become the biggest fan!