top of page
  • Gayle Certeza

Trekkie at Fifty


In the Netflix-bingeing stage of the lockdown I asked family and friends what was good to watch. A friend mentioned Star Trek. She was sure I was going to love it because it was Jungian, referring to the philosophy and psychology of Carl Jung.


Intrigued, I decided to check it out. My husband’s childhood memories of Star Trek were fistfights and gunfights. My sole recollection was Spock, he had pointy ears and he looked funny.


Watching a 1960s science fiction in 2020 is a challenge. Like most people, I’ve already watched so many superhero movies with sleek graphics, complex animation and over the top action sequences. Next to them Star Trek looked woefully old-fashioned. Alien landscapes were portrayed through colored foam rocks. The costumes were rubbery and gimmicky. The special effects were rudimentary. And the action sequences with laser lights, what seemed to be firecrackers and smoke effects were bordering on funny. We plodded on, there was not much to do, we were on lockdown anyway.


Then slowly, we started to see beyond the basic production values and marveled at the complexity of the stories. In 40 minutes, the average run time of the show, the writers were able to deliver punches, comic relief, romance, suspense and moral dilemmas.


My husband found Captain James T. Kirk entertaining. He got nostalgic watching the gunfights he saw when he was a kid. It took him sometime to warm up to Captain Jean-Luc Picard when we moved to Star Trek: Next Generation. I adored Spock. I loved that he found everything, “Fascinating!” From strange creatures to fantastic worlds and even to the composition of the steel used to imprison him — everything was fascinating.


Before long, we were drawn to the stories. In one episode Captain Kirk accidentally stumbled into a parallel world peopled by alter egos and met bearded evil Spock. Some episodes touched on the relationship of restraint and desire. There were episodes on powerful beings and their capacity for good and destruction. A number of episodes explored what it meant to be human. My friend was right, these were right up the Jungian alleys of identity and duality.


By the time we got to season three of the original series, we were avid fans of Captain Kirk and Spock. We also loved action man Doctor McCoy, cool-as-cucumber Lt. Uhura and no-nonsense Lt. Commander Scott. We realized we had turned into gushing fans when we saw Lt. Commander Scott in an episode in Star Trek Next Generation and I exclaimed to my husband, “Mars look, it’s Scotty!”


Star Trek: The Next Generation was more cerebral and the ideas it presented were more complex. Captain Jean-Luc Picard led his crew in exploring worlds and encountering dilemmas in distant galaxies. What is reality? Can androids become human? Who is important, the individual or the collective? What is justice? What is power?


Every night, our ritual now involved turning off the lights and listening to a Star Trek Captain (first Kirk, now Picard) announcing where the Starship Enterprise was heading on its mission to explore strange new worlds. What I love the most about Star Trek is its premise: in the year 2266, racism, gender, poverty and war are no longer big issues. Humanity has transcended all these devastating problems and we had become a better and a more enlightened race. Watching Star Trek during a pandemic is perhaps escapism. On the other hand, it may also be idealism. But no doubt, it sure is entertaining.


After watching close to two hundred episodes, my husband dubbed the two of us Star Trekkies. Our kids roll their eyeballs because we pepper our conversations with Trekkie catchphrases.

When I tell my husband I am going for a walk, he points his forefinger at me a la Picard and says, “Engage!”


When I ask the kids to wash dishes or clean up, I add — “Make it so.”


And when my husband regales me with everyday stuff like the 7-11 store nearby is closed or the price of pork has increased, I raise my eyebrow like Spock and declare, “Fascinating!”




2 Comments


Head Crone
Head Crone
Jun 12, 2021

Fascinating!!!

Like

charinisacp
charinisacp
Jun 09, 2021

Mag 52 na lang ako wala pa talaga akong napanood na episode ng star trek..😁😁

Like
bottom of page