I think last week was one of the most passionate ones I've seen in my months of Geek Beatdom. We had competing frenzies, for one, as Twilight and Star Trek battled for news supremacy all across the Internet. It was fandom at its most defining. If aliens came down tomorrow and said "What is this fandom of which you speak?" and I only had ten minutes to explain it before they blew up the Earth, I'd just pull up our archives for the week of November 17th, 2008.

First, I have to say ... way to go, Trek fans. Society has labeled Trekkers/Trekkies the worst and weirdest of the lot. From my own experience, that's never been true. I hope the critics were watching the reaction to Trek because honestly, I saw a lot of intelligent and rational discussion on both sides of the fence. I've written a lot of stories on a lot of geeky topics, I expect to be flamed about 99% of the time, and my Trek guide was one that saw me bracing myself as I handed it over to our editors. I hadn't slept the three days prior to writing it, so I'm surprised it was coherent at all – but I was even more surprised by the pleasant reaction it garnered. (It was a stark contrast to a Twilight piece I did for our Moviefone friends. Yikes.)

For all the passion flying around Trek, I find myself in the rare position of having no opinion whatsoever. It doesn't thrill me, but it doesn't bore me, and I had so little expectation that it didn't disappoint me. In theory, I liked the idea of rebooting Trek, but it's a different thing altogether to see it in action. It doesn't feel right – and that has nothing to do with J.J. Abrams and the Enterprise crew he's assembled. I'm just not sure it should have been done at all.

Theoretically, icons should transcend the individuals playing them. I have no problem recasting Superman, because it's all about the red cape and the S emblem. He's an icon, and whoever puts on the outfit becomes the icon. That's why I didn't think it would be such a big deal to recast Trek. But so far, it's not working for me – it's like seeing Star Wars recast, or Indiana Jones. The iconic status of Trek seems to be tied to its 60s self and original actors. Maybe I'll feel different when I see the movie. I hope so, because I've enjoyed seeing them imitate the costumes, mannerisms, and make-up so far.

It's strange to suddenly feel an attachment to Star Trek. I'm much more of a Star Wars girl – despite all photographic evidence to the contrary. Yes, that's me up there, in all my mini-geekiness, before Lara Croft and ComicCon was a thought and a whisper in my mind. My mom (a devout fan of all things Enterprise) convinced me that I wanted to be a Star Trek officer for Halloween. I agreed, and asked if I could have a red uniform, and be a captain. That's the extent of my memory of the show -- I really liked Captain Picard and wanted to be friends with Wesley Crusher, so that's why I picked the uniform I did. In retrospect, it's me all over, determined Picard see me as an equal, and my "friend" Crusher see me as superior.

What I find striking is how much thought I put into it – it wasn't just "My favorite color is red," I knew where I wanted to be on the Enterprise. And when I put on that uniform, with its cool boots and communicator (the real deal, by the way), my mind was spinning with adventures starring me, Picard, and Crusher. I felt what Trekkies have felt since the first episode ever aired. Trek is, quite simply, pure imagination.

I'm not sure any reboot can tap into that. I'm not even sure how the original series (or any of its spin-offs) did, except that it paints a universe that is, to borrow a phrase from Michael Chabon, "fuzzy around the edges." Star Wars has it too, but it's a universe with an unequal playing field – to be the best, you have to be born a Jedi. Trek was a world you could work your way up in. Your status depended on your smarts. It's that aspect, combined with Trek's vision of universal acceptance, that created a fandom out of outcasts.

That benevolence is something I'm not sure the slick new Trek sells. The little Elisabeth up above knew she would fit in on the bridge of the Enterprise. But I'm not so sure my twerpy self would fit in Abrams' version, which seems intimidating, glossy, and sexy. If this had been the way Trek had introduced itself initially, would it have caught on? Would it have inspired decades of fandom? Documentaries? NASA?

I'm not going to condemn the new movie based on a single trailer, some second-hand descriptions, and a bunch of stills. I'm going to continue to remain neutral, and merely hope that Trek is done right. I may not be all that attached to Kirk and Spock, but I am endlessly thankful for what Gene Roddenberry did for sci-fi. If it wasn't for Trek, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't have a Geek Beat, a Lara Croft costume, or conventions to party at. Trekkies/Trekkers invented that, sustained it, and openly flew the flag while the rest of us were just hoping not to be beat up for our interests. It's that culture I want the film to respect, sustain, and renew. I'm skeptical it can, but if there's one franchise that deserves to come back, it's Star Trek.
categories Cinematical