When people say “Star Trek’s Golden Age” I think back to 1996.
Trek had, pardon the pun, the best of both worlds. In the present, Trek was in production all the time. Deep Space Nine and Voyager were being filmed. Johnathan Frakes gave us First Contact. Emerging technologies were starting to give us interactive Star Trek software that was beginning to fulfil the promise of creating authentic Star Trek experiences. In the world of merchandise, the novels were continuing to take us to new frontiers, where a TV budget they couldn’t even take us. There was little doubt that Star Trek had a future ahead of it.
Being the thirtieth anniversary, it also meant that it had a past that was worth celebrating too. The original cast returned of sorts, in DS9’s “Trials and Tribbleations”. Then, Sulu and Rand actually did return in “Flashback”. In the meantime, there was celebration elsewhere, the novels did the first inter show cross over (the four part Invasion series), something that is common place today. The BBC gave away an entire night to our show for its Star Trek night, and there was a full Radio Times Special..
Star Trek seemed invincible, to me. The only problem I had was that the show wasn’t massively popular in my neck of the woods, and there weren’t a lot of fans for me to associate with.
Shortly afterwards, the decline started. We went down to one Trek show (not necessarily a bad thing). The success on both big and small screen was beginning to diminish. Finally the decision was taken to pull the plug in 2005.
The JJ films, while successful were polarising, and while I deeply enjoyed them, they were tantalising brief windows into the Trek mythos for someone like me who was used to almost daily new adventures in Trek. While there are comics etc that do continue the story it always feels that spin-off media is secondary to the films and shows. Nevertheless, hype around the film brought me into the Trek fandom community, something I couldn’t access as a 15-year-old. Over the past 10 years or so, I’ve been able to party with friends, meet some of my favourite actors, and be part of the growing Trek scene.
As I write this, we’re reaching the end of SDCC, we’ve seen the new props, we’ve had our second trailer, and I honestly feel as excited as I did in 1996. New Star Trek characters to meet, new ships to learn about, and hopefully, fantastic new stories to enjoy. But most of all, I am part of the Star Trek fan community, and I will be able to share all of these adventures with my fellow Trek fans. It’s like the same kid I was back in 1996 is being awoken.
Some people are concerned, and those concerns are valid. As much as I love Trek, it is far from perfect, going all the way back to the Original series. But the message, and the adventures they inspire are like nothing on earth.
So, let’s do this together.
Be Kind.. Be Respectful. Be Trek.