William Shatner will always be Captain Kirk to me
I miss Star Trek.
Not this new, whiz-bang, 90210 Star Trek that we have now. I mean my Star Trek.
It’s not that I don’t like J.J. Abrams’ new version of the sci-fi classic. I actually enjoyed it. There’s a lot of fun stuff there.
But I miss the real Captain Kirk. I miss Shatner and Nimoy, Nichols and Koenig, Doohan and Kelley (yeah, I know they’re both dead).
While I never went so far as to get dressed up in a Star Trek uniform, I was definitely a trekker growing up. I’ve seen all the episodes of all the shows. I’ve seen the films more than a dozen times each. And yes, I’ve gone to conventions (although the last one I attended was in 1993 or so).
When I saw Star Trek in 2009, it took me at least half the movie to even get over the idea that Nimoy and Shatner were gone. And when the film didn’t suck, I knew that the original era of Star Trek was over. Going forward there would be a new generation of fans who would eat up Star Trek and for them, Chris Pine would always be Kirk; Zachary Quinto would always be Spock; Simon Pegg would always be Scotty.
But… Star Trek just doesn’t feel like Star Trek to me anymore.
Last week I watched for the first time in years Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Although not considered the best of films, it really is quite a good movie. Sure, it spends a little too much time panning the U.S.S. Enterprise in the beginning, ogling it like a stripper on a pole, but overall it’s a fairly strong movie. There are some great moments between Kirk, Spock and McCoy, the effects are respectable, the story is entertaining.
It lacks the action that runs rampant in the later films, but I think that’s okay. It represents an aspect of Trek that the others films really never do. Old fashion science fiction storytelling.
But seeing Shatner and those guys all young and in their prime again, it felt great. For a period of time I felt reunited with old friends. Yeah, it’s a geek thing, but still.
I still love Star Trek, but I felt as if I’d let it go. That after Abrams’ version, which smartly didn’t erase the past but simply made itself an alternate universe, I slowly let go of my attachment to the franchise.
But The Motion Picture brought it back for me. Made me remember that it was something that I had spent a large chunk of my life really loving. I even wrote short stories featuring Star Trek characters back in the day, I loved it that much.
And so, I miss it. I miss what Star Trek was to me, as I know it was the same thing for millions of others. And I wonder if they feel the same way? Do they hold on to it like a kid’s blanket, refusing to let it go no matter how many holes it has, or have they moved on. Have they found something new to occupy their pop-culture starved brains?
Or maybe they’ve have better luck making the transition from Star Trek to StarTrek 2.0. Maybe I’ll get there, but for now, my heart belongs to TOS, TNG, DS9 and VOY. And, yeah, maybe ENT, too.