When I was in junior high school I was a huge Star Trek fan, a Trekkie for sure. At the time Star Trek: The Next Generation was in full swing and the original cast was still making movies (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country came out around this time). I stopped following Star Trek around the time that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine came out and only sporadically caught the films on video (and completely missed the Voyager and Enterprise series). Recently I picked up some of the Next Generation series DVDs from the library and was reminded how much I loved this show and its message. For the past few weeks I’ve been watching various seasons of TNG and yesterday I watched the films First Contact and Nemesis, the latter of which nearly brought me to tears (yes I’m that much of a lush).
I think what I enjoy more than anything in the Star Trek universe is creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future. His vision of a time when humanity has let go of so many of the things that keep us held down and pushed back. TNG was a series of morality tales that tried to answer many of our deepest questions about life, death, and what it is to be human. And to me that is what makes this show, and the movies, so special. Not the flashy special effects or the action, but the stories and the lessons that they teach.