I love Trekkies. Not because I am one, and not because I want to be one. I mean I have never had the opportunity to play one on television, nor have I ever gone to a convention, but I think I’d like to… on both counts. I mean, I did go to the new Star Trek on opening night… on an IMAX screen no less, but I didn’t initiate it. A friend invited me. It was a lot of fun though, and for the record, going to a movie with a theater full of devout fans really adds to the delight factor of the film. The only exception being the last three, which were actually the first three Star Wars movies, episodes 1 and 2 anyway… the second one was so bad I boycotted the third one and have still not seen it. I mean let’s be honest, after episode 2 ended… I witnessed a theater of adult males openly crying out of sheer disappointment, I mean let’s face it that was the day the power of the force lost all its power.
I guess more than anything, I just like the idea of Trekkies. Now before I go any further, I know that there are going to be those that get a bit frumpy at my use of the word Trekkie as opposed Trekker. I never even knew this was an issue in the Star Trek fan microcosm until I watched the documentary Trekkies.
Apparently, a Trekkie is one kind of fan and a Trekker is another, but no one can really agree what the official definition of each term is. So I think it breaks down to which word you like the sound of most, that’s what you will label yourself as. I guess in a vague way it’s the difference between calling yourself a Buddhist or Zen Buddhist, or maybe a Catholic or a Protestant, a Druid or a Wiccan, a cat person or a dog person… paper or plastic. The core perspective is the same, it’s just the label is what is different.
So left them fight… better make that debate. Let them vigorously debate about it all they want, but honestly people, WWGRD, What Would Gene Roddenberry Do? I do have some friends that are Trekkie-ish, which enables me to be a bit of a vicarious Trekkie, which I do enjoy the hell out of. I participate by buying these friends the occasional action figure, or toy phaser, or a USS Enterprise model with buttons that make launching photon torpedo sounds and such. I have three words for you Star Trek marketing gurus… Star Trek Legos! They would sell like, like Margaritas in Cancun. Mmmm, margaritas, sigh…
(Note to self, stop by the liquor store on my way home from work.)
Right, so about this vicarious Trekkie thing, this also means that I can watch the television shows and enjoy the movies, well, except for 5, UNLESS, yes there is actually a way to sit through and enjoy Star Trek 5. It’s called RiffTrax. Thanks Mike! Still, all of this enjoyment aside, I don’t really invest in anything more Trekkie than that. I don’t go to club meetings. I don’t know any substantial Star Trek trivia. I mean I know Kirk was a captain and a man-whore, and has the middle initial T. I know that Spock is really Leonard Nimoy, or maybe it’s the other way around. And I know that if some bloke on the away team is sporting a red jumper, I’ll be taking two drinks once he inevitably dies (one of the rules when playing a Star Trek drinking game).
I know some people give Trekkies a hard time mainly because they don’t really get it, but I’d like to point out that they make the extreme acceptable. They gave the people the ok, to dress up and go to movies. I mean Comic-Con would still be a groovy idea that a few guys had one night hanging out in the garage playing their Atari 2600 if it had not been for the clear message of support and success fans continue to give Star Trek. They have helped infect the world with the belief that it’s ok to be an adult and dress up when it’s not Halloween.
Besides, I absolutely love the random and creative discussions that come about as a result of this type of fan participation. Things like, who would win in a fight between a Jedi and a Vulcan. To which I think we all know the answer, neither, because it would be both illogical and in conflict with the way of the force. Granted a Sith and a Vulcan, that is a different story. All I know for sure (which I’m completely making up) is that if that Vulcan were in fact Spock, hands down, that Sith would be Spock’s bitch every single time… no exceptions.
I don’t see this as any than sporting debates and the fanaticism about fantasy football, or any other fantasy sporting events that people obsess about. Personally, I don’t see a lot of difference between a sports hero and a superhero. I mean sure the Flash might be able to steal bases better than Ty Cobb, but my guess is that he probably can’t hit worth a damn. Well, that and one is real person and the other is a fictional character.
So, when it comes to life as a proxy Trekkie, as long as I have friends who are willing to believe and engage, I’m happy to support them with Pez, toys, the occasion Star Trek movie marathon, and, yes, if needed, my personal contribution in helping them down a warp core breach.
Live long and na-nu… or something.
Any of you have your own kind of vicarious fanism?
Google Images, key words: warp core breach, Trekkie, Trekkies Spock, and wwrgd.
As I understand it, the difference between Trekkie and Trekker is that only a Trekkie will dress up in full uniform with phaser, tricorder, and stick-on pointed ears. Trekkers will watch the episodes and movies, read the novels, and buy some of the tchotchkes, but only a Trekkie will stand in line at a con, in a home-made costume, just to get an autograph from Grace Lee Whitney. And not feel embarrassed.
Disappointed by Star Wars 1 & 2, eh? Were those the ones with that bloody Jar Jar Binks and that stupid coughing cyborg? I mean, what’s up with that? He’s a frickin’ CYBORG, for Yoda’s sake. Why is he COUGHING? He has no LUNGS!
I suppose the one thing that can be said, is that science fiction has become diverse enough to allow for many different views of the future, and of the universe. And life, and everything.
I makes sense, but what I noticed in the documentary is that out of all the fans that were dressed up, some called themselves Trekkies and some went with Trekkers. I saw no difference, but they were very adamant about what they wanted to be called. It seemed to be one of those “agree to disagree” discussions. Granted that was a number of years ago. They may have been a motion to create an official definition for each. Although I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the one to ask. 🙂
Oh and brilliant closing Dave, you did Douglas proud.
I shall only say this…For all of those who loved the original Star Wars movies-myself included to the point of having a Darth Spud in my “Mancave”-and bash the newest additions, keep in mind one thing. No matter how much you disagree with Lucas, you remain sour in harsh economical times with little more than a Han Solo figurine in your closet to turn to, while Lucas continues to rake in piles of cash on Jar Jar Binks schwag. As for Genes Kids, someone needs to start a thread or grow a bigger response to Leonard Nimoy hanging up the sky blue uniform to run a huge shadow company called Massive Dynamic. Then again, these are tough times for us all and no one is safe out there…so…I guess we are all on the Fringe is some way or another.
Yeah, I had never heard of “Trekkers” or a fandom split before this movie was reviewed in the paper (InB4 “young people don’t read the newspaper!”). To me, a “Trekkie” was anyone with more than a passing interest in Star Trek, which means I am a “Trekkie”. I don’t go to the conventions or dress up in the costumes, or memorize technical manuals, but I know a fair amount from seeing the movies and spinoff series. I can tell you DS9 was the best series and Enterprise the worst, and I have a poorly completed U.S.S. Voyager model in the closet back home. I can carry on discussions about at least a few of the characters and think Roddenberry’s vision of the future is one we should avoid. The new Star Trek movie was quite good and just what the franchise needed. And TWO things can make Star Trek V funny: 1. Rifftrax, 2. SFDebris’ opinionated review on his youtube channel.
p.s. you really haven’t seen Revenge of the Sith, Rich? While not quite on the level of the original trilogy, it is a MASSIVE improvement over Episodes I&II and quite enjoyable
It is true, I have not seen Revenge of the Sith. At first it was out of spite, and now it’s more of the principle of the thing… which really doesn’t make a lot of sense because I have such an affinity for bad movies, thanks to MST3K. Still there is a certain amount of self satisfaction in being able to say I have never seen it. I guess it’s my way of giving the finger to George, even though he’ll never ever notice. And even though it affects him no way, shape, or form, at least I know I’m telling the sod to bugger off. 🙂
It’s a good thing you didn’t get into the whole Star Trek vs Star Wars or Kirk vs Picard debate, or you’d have fannish people from both sides clamoring for your head, Richard. Looks like you’ve got yourself a popular post.
But – Trekkie vs Trekker? The editors of Wikipedia have taken a stab at it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trekkie#Trekkie_vs._Trekker
Perhaps one reason I never dressed in costume (besides the expense) is that all I could pull off would be a fat, pale, toothless old Klingon, or perhaps an overweight engineer, like Scotty in his later years. I did attend a con in the late ’80s, and it was fascinating, especially the two young ladies wandering about in bits of fur that concealed little, and earned the ire of my (now ex-)spouse.
For my money, Star Wars #5 – Empire Strikes Back – would have to be the best in terms of sheer movie-making. At least, it was the best-crafted, it didn’t have any memorably annoying characters like Jar Jar binks or Ewoks, and it had a well put together story. I realize that this opinion will paint a target on my back, but so be it.
And it’s nice to see another fan of Fringe posting, Scott. I was delighted to see Nimoy as William Bell at the end of season 1. Certainly more delighted than I was over the content of his latest book of photography. http://www.amazon.com/Full-Body-Project-Photographs-Leonard/dp/0979472725
I may be a full-figured fella, but I don’t kid myself that anyone really wants to see my acres of flab.
You know Dave, I figure that if I ever dressed up in a Trek outfit it would have to be as an expendable crew member, because that really seems like the only logical choice. 🙂 I’m actually with you on #5. As far as story telling goes it was the best told story of the 6.
A friend and I were having this very conversation a few days ago… at the wine party actually, and it essentially we agreed that the story telling was much stronger in original 3 films as opposed to the new ones. The stories were well, just told better. Special effects does not a story make… could that pass as a yodaism? Sure they can be used to assist in the story telling, but they should never take priority over the actual story.
“Special effects does not a story make…”
Couldn’t agree more. Attention, James Cameron, Michael Bay, McG, et al. Tell a damn story, already! For Avatar to be knocked from its #1 spot by a chick flick, should tell everyone something.
However, in my experience, we hairless apes learn this sort of lesson very slowly, if at all.
Thanks Richard, enjoyed the smirk 🙂
I can’t understand the importance of defining oneself as a “Trekker” oppposed to a “Trekkie” and if you asked me to choose between Star Wars and Star Trek, I will not be able to. I consider myself a Trekkie though never have done the dress up thing or attended a convention. DS9 is certainly the best series.
Interesting, didn’t realise Leonard appears in Fringe, only caught the first series…
You didn’t mention Whovians!
Gasp! OMFG! You are SO right! And I count myself firmly in the camp of Whovians. Was introduced to Dr. Who (played by Tom Baker) back in about 1987. The local public broadcasting station was airing episodes on Friday nights, and I would tape them on a friend’s VCR. I still have many of those tapes, which I plan to transfer to DVD.
I love the new series, by the way. It is everything that the original series concept could have been, and much more. Gone are the aliens made of papier mache and bubble-pack sprayed green (thanks to CGI). Gone are the cheesy optical effects. Gone are the musical scores played by one guy with a Casio synthesizer.
Setting aside all the SF themes, and all the action sequences, this new series of Dr. Who is among the best television EVER. Period. All you have to do is look at the chemistry between David Tennant and Billie Piper, fed by those wonderful scripts, and you know you are watching true MAGIC.
And don’t forget Torchwood. The best spinoff series I think I have ever seen. Many a time, I would sit down to watch, and find that an hour had passed, during which I didn’t have a single thought for anything beyond the screen. Torchwood is, for me, the very definition of captivating. The characters are richly drawn, complex and deep without being contrived. Russell T Davies has created two modern masterworks, in my opinion.
As a footnote, Torchwood series 4 is apparently on its way. Also, for Torchwood fans, there is a one-off audio-only special available from the BBC as a free MP3. Set at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, just before the first power-on, you can find part one here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mpjaTRZF10
And I have the full episode on MP3, if anyone wants it.
Now, where’s my great big long muffler? K-9, have you seen my muffler?
I regret having to say this but, sadly, I’ve never seen a Dr. Who episode. I never had access to it growing up. For the first 20 years of my life I only had access to 3 television channels. This also explains why I’ve never seen Sesame Street. There was the occasional after school television watching at friends who had cable, but this was only for about an hour and then I had to get home. I have added some titles to my Netflix list. It’s just that there are so many, I’m not really sure where to start. What episodes would you suggest I start with?
I had no idea that there were still TV markets – even 20 years ago – that still had only the old ABC / CBS / NBC triumvirate for their viewing pleasure. That’s how I grew up in the ’60s. Wow. Yeah, I’m old.
My suggestion would be to start with the first season of the new series, starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper. They stand on their own two feet, without needing a reference to or understanding of the original series which ran from about 1963 to 1989 on the BBC.
The first season is where we first meet Capt. Jack Harkness, and it’s an experience not to be missed. The two series – Dr. Who and Torchwood – interleave and cross back & forth a bit as you go. An ideal situation would be to see all the first season of Dr. Who, then all the first season of Torchwood, and so on. Chronological order will be best, and referring to the online episode guides and air dates will help a lot in the experience of seeing the show as it was intended. There are story arcs and crossover points that are easier to follow if the shows are seen in the original order of broadcast.
Aside from that, the original series episodes are a lot of fun, too. There are a few multi-episode extravaganzas, such as “Trial of a Time Lord” that need to be seen in order. Here too, the online episode guides will be a help. If possible, start with the Tom Baker episodes. Later doctors, such as Peter Davisson and Colin Baker were good, but Tom Baker was, for so many Brits (and Americans) the ONLY true Dr. Who.
Thanks Dave. I’ll get that added to my Netflix queue.
Look for sites online, too. That’s how I’ve been catching up on back episodes of Top Gear, at http://www.casttv.com/shows/top-gear/
Best car show ever.
I know I’ve seen at least a couple episodes of Torchwood online. Go get ’em, Richard!