Last week Star Trek turned 50. The fabled Enterprise joins the club.
Star Trek and Doctor Who have more in common than just their venerable age. Both have captured the imagination of generations. Both inspire fans to achieve new heights. Both have impacted their culture far beyond their original expectations.
Doctor Who, of course, was an accident. The BBC needed to fill a half hour on Saturday evenings. The network’s first female producer and one of its first directors of color, both of them young and untried, took on the challenge and created something that turned out to be magic.
Star Trek, on the other hand, was intentional. Gene Roddenberry had a vision for his creation. He wanted to demonstrate that humanity could achieve peace and equality. Still, it’s unlikely he anticipated the reaction he got.
The art that is Star Trek – a television show made by actors and costumers and set people and lighting people, and made possible by the intervention of a certain famous comedian – inspires science. Fans grow up to be engineers, explorers, astronauts. The magic that is Doctor Who – the mad man in a box – inspires art. Writers, painters, producers, musicians, all touched with that fantastical brush. Together, they make up the right and left sides of the human brain.
The Doctor and all the various Star Fleet captains are scientists. They use their science to seek out wonder and magic across the boundless universe. We live in a world of physical laws and engineering miracles – and we do it with the magic of imagination.
Welcome to 50 years, Star Trek. May we prosper many more together.
Uhura of the Enterprise poses with some of the astronauts of color she inspired (source)
How much do the creators of The Librarians love Doctor Who?
The Library has a Time Machine Room.
Watch and listen:
My husband and I recently discovered a Doctor Who meetup in our area.
I’ve been hosting occasional Doctor Who nights at home, but the friend I was hosting them for moved away, and too often it’s ended up being just one or two of us. When the group announced a screening of “Rose” and “Spearhead from Space,” I was excited by the prospect of watching my show with a whole roomful of fellow fans. I was excited by the choice of episodes: new Doctors, new companions, new eras – “Spearhead” was the first color episode – linked by the Autons. I was excited by the location, a local DW-themed bar where I’ve enjoyed nerdery paired with proper fish-and-chips and British beer on many prior occasions.
Unfortunately, the meetup sprang from a group of MST-3K fans, and it showed. The catcalls began with Mickey’s first appearance and grew steadily louder as the drink flowed and the production values went backwards in time. Much of “Spearhead” was impossible to hear. (Fortunately I’d seen it before.) Instead of feeling included, I felt even more outcast: a fan among fans, and still the only one who actually wanted to watch.
I didn’t fit in with the group members I managed to talk to, either. One was an older man who assumed I knew less than him, and who considers Eleven the best Doctor: in other words, an overgrown twelve-year-old. The other was a pleasant enough woman, but her priorities seemed to be shots and Star Trek, with DW as a distant third. Nice people, but not what I was hoping for. Back in November I went to a screening of “Genesis of the Daleks” in an old-style movie theater with a hundred or more people in the audience, many of them in costume. Those people watched with love, and a few unavoidable giggles, and I felt much more at home in that much larger crowd.
Still, I’ll probably go back. Seeing my show on a big screen with a Boddingtons and proper English chips is too much to pass up. I do enjoy meeting other nerds, even if I don’t click with them right away. I’ll just make sure I’ve seen the eps before, so I don’t miss anything when the booze gets too much for my fellow fans.
I’ll also see about planning another DW night at home. A few of my friends should see “Spearhead…” and maybe “Rose” again as well. 🙂
… here’s something I wrote for her way back when on my other blog:
I am the beginning and the ending
the start and finish of your life
the common thread.
Newborn you took my hand and ran
and what came after
was more than you knew
more than you believed
could ever be.
And now when things look black
as music fades and lights go dim
you return to me, reach out again
share a smile.
You tried so valiantly
to go on living
though you knew it couldn’t be
though you knew you’d had your time
the scant hope was worth the effort.
And in the end it seems
that final effort
that scant hope
was just what you needed
what it took
to save the world one last time
to complete your final adventure
to step bravely into death
accepting what must be
cherishing what came before.
And so dying you seek out that last smile
to warm you in the snow
cool you in the flame
as you close the chapter
pass the torch
conclude the verse
and let the song go on and on
I’ve mentioned before that the fandom has always been divisive. Here’s the evidence I couldn’t find at the time:
Fan letters via tumblr, origin unclear
This link suggests the Radio Times is the source.
The letters were posted following Patrick Troughton’s succession to the role. They hit all the marks: Angry fan loves the change. Angry fan hates the change. Happy fan loves everything.
I enjoy being fan #3. 🙂