Hobby Hole: Boldly Going into My Star Trek Memories

Note: This was supposed to be published last Friday, but was delayed due to... circumstances.

After buying a ticket to a movie I no longer remember last year, I noticed a small, heart-shaped pin ornately displayed off to the side of the counter. I asked what it was for, and was explained that all proceeds from sales of the pin benefit a children’s charity. Believing fondly in such, I immediately purchased a pin and stuck it into my lapel, where it’s remained ever since.

Here’s the pin in question:

While I enjoy Star Wars, though—at least, the original trilogy and the latter half of the prequels or so—and will continue to rock this pin going forward, it’s the Star Trek series that has always been my one, true sci-fi love.

I won’t bother detailing all the various memorabilia that’s accumulated in my house over the years, or the poorly-constructed scale models I attempted to put together as a child—I was recently told that, should I want to do so again, it would be too nerdy for my wife—but since I’ve just seen the new Star Trek Into Darkness this weekend (IMAX 3D, natch), I thought it’d be fun to reminisce about my top five experiences with the series, and what they mean to me. Because, you know, why not?
  1. The Star Trek Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments: The bane of my wife’s existence, I used to hang these over my Christmas tree on fishing wire to simulate ships flying through space, though they were tethered to light strands with thick green cords. Battery technology has evolved since then, so the modern entries into the collection no longer require such an eyesore, but I now place them sporadically across our tree each year instead. My favorite part, though, is switching the tree on in the morning to hear all the older ornaments “talk” and play their music, particularly the now-stuttering Leonard Nimoy’s “Sh-sh-shuttlecraft to Enterprise….” Apologies to my wife in advance, but I can guarantee our tree collection will only grow from here on out.
  2. Dark Passions and the “Shatnerverse”: Bit of a cop-put, combining these all under one bullet, but I absolutely devoured these novels while not paying attention in French class and, again, during high school when not paying attention during biology and calculus. Set outside official canon, these were nonetheless extremely entertaining and, arguably, quite fulfilling for a Trek fan. The former, an admittedly guilty pleasure, explores the relationships of many of the female characters from the series’ Mirror Universe, while the latter builds upon the storylines established in Star Trek: Generations. I’ve only ever read a couple Star Trek novels, but continue to hold onto my copies with an iron grip.
  3. The Killing Game: This one is likely not toward the top of many lists, if it even makes an appearance. I can hardly disagree, as I barely remember the story’s eventual outcome, or even its overarching plot. What I do recall is the episode’s opening minutes, wherein we hear, and eventually see, the stunningly beautiful Jeri Ryan singing “That Old Black Magic” during a World War II holodeck simulation. Not only did this episode instill a fondness for that song that’s continued to this day, it also solidified in my heart an endless love for the actress, who I continue to admire to this very day.
  4. The Voyage Home: The fourth movie of the original franchise also happened to be the first piece of Star Trek lore I’ve ever come across and occurred long before I understood what Star Trek was. I watched it on VHS first, I believe, or perhaps stumbled across it on cable somewhere, but the glorious interplay between the characters, the humorous blend of modernity with science fiction, and the inclusion of lovable humpback whales—I had a huge animal kick when I was younger, which is why Congo was my most-watched film until I discovered the genius of Office Space—enthralled me to no end. Despite loving First Contact and eventually comprehending the importance and lasting appeal of Wrath of Khan, this easily remains my favorite Star Trek film.
  5. The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1: I’m sure I’m not alone in declaring this episode, which I recently saw in theaters courtesy of Fathom Events, as one, if not the, pivotal moment in The Next Generation. Watching this as a kid, the episode’s phenomenal twist and legendary “To be continued…” blew my mind. While we may take such techniques for granted now and can typically predict such a storyline’s outcome, that was simply not the case in those pre-Internet days. I sincerely hope the next generation will be able to experience such a moment at some point in their lives.
So, what’re your favorite moments from Star Trek history? Or are you a member of the 501st and completely disagree? I must say, if this list were the top six, the 2009 reboot would be tacked right there, if only because it’s guaranteed the world I love so much will certainly live long and prosper.