When and how did you become a Star Trek fan?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Lance, Jul 27, 2018.

  1. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    May 12, 2004
    Lancaster, PA
    I didn't really discover "organized" fandom until I went to college in the late seventies/early eighties. Before that, as J.T.B. recalled, I just had one or two friends in school who were also into Star Trek, Marvel comics, etc. (I met my best friend in junior high because she spotted me reading a DOC SAVAGE novel at lunch and introduced herself. Or maybe it was a CAPTAIN AMERICA comic?)

    Conveniently, the TOS movies started up around the same time my college SF club formed . . . ..
  2. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Jun 30, 2004
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    It was the pre-publicity for "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (aka TMP) that made me into an avid ST fan, way back in December 1979. The nightly newspaper here in Sydney carried a week of facinating updates from the set by Aussie journalist, James Oram, who did interviews and observations during filming. It made me recall the animated Star Trek series (TAS), which played in colour reruns on "The Super Flying Fun Show" breakfast television, with Miss Marilyn!

    I hadn't really seen much of the original live-action series (TOS). The clincher was an intriguing review of TMP made by a school friend at my 21st birthday party. He'd just been to the Australian gala premiere in Sydney - the old marble and retro-art deco Paramount Theatre had been populated by wacky fans in costume, who applauded all the opening credits and each actor's first scene - and it all really intrigued me. The movie didn't open for general release for another week

    Meanwhile, I encountered the novelization in the local supermarket (read it in a weekend), bought the soundtrack with a birthday gift certificate, and finally went (by myself) to see the movie - and was blown away by it. I have since worked out that it had to be a daytime session on Christmas Eve, and I came home with second hand copies of several Blish and Foster adaptations of TOS and TAS episodes. (I recall showing my grandmother my already-expanding collection of Trek stuff on Christmas Day!) With TMP, I felt like I was on that starship; thanks to director Robert Wise, whose direction made the whole film so real to me. I needed to see the movie about four times before finally spotting the cool, new aliens I'd seen in the official program book, the LP's inner sleeve, and Starlog and Starburst magazines.

    Later, discovering organised ST fandom via the monthly ANZAC House episode marathons, I was shocked that most diehard TOS fans hated the movie and called it "boring". For me, I was ready for the sequel the next week, and how did I scream when I realised TMP was originally to have been "Star Trek: Phase II", a weekly TV show! Oh well, I spent the next few years reading ST novels, catching up on old TOS and TAS I hadn't seen and researching details on ST II.

    In the 70s and 80s, Sydney- and Melbourne-based fans of "Star Trek" ("the original series") owed a lot to each other in keeping their fandom alive. Communal watching of episodes in USA was often reported from university dorms in the 60s, and Australians living in our two biggest capitals were able to tap into that phenomenon with Bob Johnston's "Star Trek" Marathons at ANZAC House, opposite our Hyde Park. Bob would send episodes down to the Melbourne fans to run monthly Marathons, too.

    Seeing TOS (six episodes, later five episodes plus a TAS ep.,) on the big screen at monthly gatherings was how our original fans got their Star Trek fix - and how new fans, drawn into fandom by ST:TMP, caught up with what had gone before. The TV network holding the rights to TOS had sat on them after first-run, rather than repeat the episodes (only about eight when colour TV debuted in 1975).

    The marathons in the CBD offered a regular meeting place for fans, a place to buy the rarer merchandise and fanzines, and two intermissions where shy and gregarious fans alike could strike up a conversation with a new friend over a devon-and-cheese sandwich (later - toasted as jaffles!) and a paper cup of Coca-Cola. And know they would have at least an appreciation of Star Trek in common, if nothing else.

    A few months before ST II arrived in cinemas, a rival TV network snapped up the rights to TOS... and fandom just got stronger. The marathons survived - barely - two venue moves after ANZAC House (and its theatrette) was demolished.

    TMP is still my favourite ST movie (now equaled by the 2009 film), and perhaps my favourite movie of all time.

    The Lights of Zetar
    by Ian McLean, on Flickr

    For the longest time, my elusive episode of the original series was "The Lights of Zetar". I'd heard it wasn't too good but written by Lamb Chop's puppeteer Mum, Shari Lewis(!). Finally, it was advertised as airing on a Sunday afternoon in the 80s, when a group of diehard "Star Trek" fans were committed to dressing in Starfleet uniform to sell food at a "Doctor Who" function that was being filmed for a TV news segment. (The British TV journalist, Janet Street-Porter, was very impressed that I'd gone to the trouble of Andorian makeup in addition to my red Starfleet shirt.)

    I set up the VCR and we ventured off for the big event. We finished much earlier than expected and I arrived home, with me still dressed as an Andorian - but with just minutes to spare before the episode began its broadcast. Since I was now home to watch (and tape it), I had to switch tapes to my commercials-free version, and line up the new tape at its proper place. A frantic few moments, which my parents thought was quite hilarious and quite unnecessary. Breathlessly, I collapsed into a chair just as the episode started.

    Suddenly, a carload of unexpected relatives arrived: my brother, his wife, her parents, I think, and perhaps even my sister-in-law's sister!

    My mother let them all in, and was asking who wanted tea and coffee, just as the camera on TV was panning the dead researchers of Memory Alpha - and there were two dead Andorians lying on the floor! Now, I'd read the "Star Trek Concordance" many times, but Bjo Trimble had never mentioned there were Andorians in that episode! So I was getting quite excited and animated.

    My relatives, who knew I was an avid fan, just stood there, shaking their heads sadly.

    "We knew he liked 'Star Trek'," they said, "but we had no idea he got dressed up just to watch the episodes..."
  3. Smellmet

    Smellmet Commodore Commodore

    Aug 5, 2013
    The Northern Shires of England.
    My introduction to Star Trek consisted of watching TOS reruns on my father's knee some point in the late 70's as 4-5 year old, and I loved it straight away - trying to pick the star the the Enterprise would come whooshing out of in the opening credits, from there I was taken to watch TMP as my first visit to the big screen at the age of 6, and whilst I didn't really get a lot of it, I remember loving the spectacle. From there I was bought the 'Dinky' Enterprise and D7 Battlecruiser models for Christmas, which I loved. I was already a fan at this point but the film that cemented it for me was TWOK, which my gran took me to see in Sheffield in 1982, she fell asleep during the showing and I just sat there and watched it again. My gran woke up at some point during the second showing, none the wiser. Then when we left the theatre and it was dark, she realised what had happened. My parents went mental.
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  4. Janeway_74656

    Janeway_74656 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Oct 4, 2018
    My interest in Star Trek has a long and vague history.
    As a child, I remember reaching up a shelf and pressing a button on my dad's model of the TOS Enterprise, where it then played the TOS intro music and the nacelles lit up. I recall playing with Borg action figures without knowing what they were.
    I also have (now fond) memories of always hanging the hallmark Voyager ornament on the Christmas tree every year, because it was a cool looking space ship, but I had no idea it was from Star Trek: Voyager or how much that ship would mean to me. Since it looked cool, I asked my dad about it, and he told me it was a ship that got thrown to the other side of the galaxy, and it would take 70 years for Captain Janeway to get it and her crew home. I was like "Oh, that's cool." and went about decorating the tree without much more thought about it. Funny how it's my favorite Trek ship now, lol. A few years later my dad sat me down and told me that we were going to watch some of the most important TV episodes in sci-fi history. And so we watched "Q Who" and "The Best of Both Worlds" parts 1 & 2. I thought it was cool, of course, but I still wasn't a diehard fan yet.
    Enter March 2018. I was at the house and had nothing to do, so I decided to spend time with my dad while he watched TV. It turned out he was watching Voyager's final episode, "Endgame," and when the Borg showed up (thanks to watching the Best of Both Worlds previously, I already knew the Borg were a huge deal), I knew things just got real, so the TV had my full and undivided attention. I watched the future Janeway pwn the Borg Queen and get Voyager home, and I was hooked. From that evening onward, I have been a diehard Star Trek and Voyager fan. LLAP.
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  5. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Jun 14, 2005
    On the subject of the "rerun era," I recently came across a digital archive of my old hometown newspaper. This will give some idea of what was available for the ten-year-old me to watch after school in 1979, around the time the "Star Trek movie" came out. Also before school, 7 and 7:30 am!

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  6. CommanderTrip

    CommanderTrip Captain Captain

    Jan 4, 2003
    Baltar's Mind
    My exposure to Star Trek was quite by accident. I first started watching the show I think around 1999 (it was Voyager's fifth season). As a kid,one christmas my father gave me a gameboy game. I was big into Star Wars at the time, but he ended up giving me a copy of Star Trek: The Next Generation for game boy. I was grateful to get any gift, and started playing right away, not really knowing what I was doing or who any of the characters were.

    This was my first step into the world of Trek. (lol)

    Next up, I naturally became a little curious as to what this whole Star Trek thing was about, and I remember seeing my grandfather watch Generations and First Contact on HBO at the time. That was the first time I ever sat down to watch some Star Trek, mostly because as a kid, the borg looked like technozombies and that was enough to get my interest.

    From there, I found Voyager and TNG. Then I started to watch the TOS movies when they were first released on DVD as Directors Editions. I watched the movies so I could understand who that Kirk guy was that died in Generations, the second Trek movie I ever saw. Followed by DS9 and Enterprise. Then I saved the best for last and finally watched TOS.


    Good Times.
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  7. Fabaulti

    Fabaulti Cadet Newbie

    Oct 10, 2018
    My father is a huge Sci-Fi fan and he absolutely loves Star Trek. As a child I tended to stay away from any sort of boring SF series he was watching/reading deeming it boring and (most of the time) too old.

    I decided to give Star Trek a go last summer, for two reasons: me becoming inexplicably drawn to older media and entertainment to the point where I refuse to watch anything post-80s and my wish to spend more time with my father, considering I'll soon leave home and we won't eachother so much.

    When I started watching TOS I thought I wouldn't enjoy it one bit, but was I wrong! I did not expect Star Trek to have such a big impact on me to the point where I became actively engaged in the fandom.
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  8. Butters

    Butters Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 18, 2008
    My very first Star Trek experience was a Christmas gift. One Christmas, that I barely remember, I received a Spock figure, in motion picture uniform. I also got a few Star Wars figures too that year.

    Next memory, very close, but we had TFS on Betamax, a pirate copy most likely. I saw a tiny bit, up until Chekhov reports a lifesign in spocks quarters. I thought it was a ghost. But dad turned it off, probably to go pinch coal from the sidings. There was a miners strike at the time, and the winter was harsh.

    After that, skip forward a few years, 1989 probably, when I watch TWOK on BBC. I recorded it on our new VHS, then TFS and TVH straight after. And about the same time, a neighbour or uncle lends us his tapes, one at a time of TNG season one. Dad dismisses it. I’m intrigued, but still have transformers and the ghostbusters comic to distract me. But then I see Space Seed, and I connect TWOK to TOS, and boom, the synapses fused and before I knew it, I was writing chronologies and arguing about Klingon foreheads at school. Then TFF came out, and i watched it on Sky Movies.

    Happy days.
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  9. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Admiral Admiral

    Sep 14, 2004
    My first experience with Trek came as many others' here: watching TOS in syndication in the '70's. I was not immediately a fan. I was maybe six and I was at a neighbor's house and it came time for the regular nightly Trek showing on a local station. I sat through the whole episode, and I remember going home thinking, "That had to be the dumbest thing I've ever seen in my life."

    Mind you, the episode was "Catspaw," and to this day I still think it has to be one of the dumbest things I've ever seen in my life, so not an auspicious start for me.

    I didn't really become a fan until years later when I got to see episodes like "Balance of Terror" (which triggers my love of naval war movies), "The Corbomite Maneuver" (a great space alien encounter story), "Shore Leave" (which is just outright fun) and "Space Seed" a bajillion times as the local station tried to cash in on the release of TWoK, which I saw in the theater with my brother. All this made me a die-hard TOS fan, and seeing "The Cage" uncut made me wish that was the TOS I had gotten.

    As for being a Trek fan in general, my overall feelings are mixed. As with my first TOS experience, "Encounter at Farpoint" didn't exactly endear me to TNG. Even though I watched it faithfully I always found it preachy and condescending. "Genesis" is literally the only episode in the whole run that I enjoyed without reservation. DS9 is my next favorite, because it tempers the TNG preachiness with some down-to-earth pragmatism. I'm the weirdo concerning ENT. Most of this series' fans think it only got good in seasons three and four, while I wish it had stuck to what was done in one and two, which I thought were fantastic. And VOY...started stupid, ended stupid and was filled mostly with stupid along the way. I liked the B'Lanna centric episodes "Dreadnought" and "Prototype" and "The Omega Directive" is the single episode where I had any respect for Kathryn Janeway. I'm not a big reader of the tie-in novels because the few I have read were greatly underwhelming (and in one instance was "Catspaw" level dumb.)
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  10. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    Mum made me watch it. Everything that followed is her fault.
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  11. StarTrekRecuts

    StarTrekRecuts Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    May 12, 2018
    When i was young we use to get all the demo disks and one of the demos was star trek voyager elite force, we played the demo and we liked it.

    Then once we stayed up late and we seen the people from the game and we was like hey it's them people from that game we have.

    later on we found VHS tapes of most of the STV episodes and we watched them, then we got lot of the TNG but at the time i was like it looks too old and did not watch them.

    It was awhile until i started watching another series, i think it was bit more of TNG or DS9 next one of them.

    With DS9 i tried to watch it but i got bored, it was not until around season 3 i started watching it and i had no idea about what happened before with the war and how it started.

    I pretty much watched it on TV every week until around season 5 when i was able to watch all the episodes without waiting a week for them and i enjoyed it.

    TNG i started to enjoy more as well when i got older, then next was ENT which i loved.

    I pretty much like all of them, i can't say much about the TOS as i've not got around to watching most of it but a few episodes.
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  12. MANT!

    MANT! Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 14, 2005
    in Atomo-vision
    1st showing fan here, wayy back in 1966, my mother, an avid twilight Zone and Outer Limits fan, sat me next to her on the couch to watch the premiere episode of the new NBC series Star Trek..(my dad was away on business) that Salt Vampire scared the crap outta me..saw just about every episode first run after that..any I missed, I saw again during the summer re-runs. My parents even let me stay up on Friday nights at 10 PM during the 3rd season!

    After it's cancellation, I started to watch the re-runs at 6PM every night on a local TV station and got the model kits of the Klingon Battlecruiser and the Big E and made them, by the mid-70s I got into the local fandom scene going to several Star Trek Association for Revival (S.T.A.R.) conventions in Sacramento, and joining the club..Went to the Federation Trading Post in Berkeley to stock up on posters fanzines and episode guides..those conventions were fantastic in the amateurs of the whole thing..many autographs were free...screenshots of favorite episodes were traded and sold..was a fun time to be a fan, before everything became corporate... Very glad I lived through those times.. When the fans "owned" Star Trek before the dark times..before Creation Entertainment... :rommie:
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  13. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 28, 2007
    ★•* The Paper Men *•★
    It's easy to be nostaglic for those days before TMP and TNG... a very different time. When you were a fan, it wasn't casual -- you recognized the tremendous milestone that Star Trek achieved. I remember reading Star Log magazines and clinging to every little bit of hope that Star Trek would be revived. And that feeling of seeing TMP for the first time. I won't ever forget it. And the aftermath... walking away and kind of feeling a little ambivalent, as TMP tried to be too much like 2001: A Space Odyssey. The painfully long slow crawl through V'ger... But seeing the cast back in action was so amazing. I was hoping for more of a TV series return, rather than a string of TOS movies. But in the end, it probably worked out better with TNG (despite that first season being such a letdown). Yeah, it kind of sucks about how commercialized Star Trek became. But the side benefits sort of made up for it.
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  14. Eman1986

    Eman1986 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Nov 13, 2017
    Well, I was born December of 86, so my first Star Trek memories were watching Undiscovered Country and TNG, namely TNG and their movies is when I got really into it though.

    I was obsessed by middle and high school watching DS9 and Voyager. But immediately after when Enterprise came out I dropped the franchise entirely because I hated that show so much, oddly enough.
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  15. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 28, 2007
    ★•* The Paper Men *•★
    ENT started out too slowly, too difficult to believe... not in terms of technology relative to TOS, but in how boy scout it was. It was pre-Federation, early Starfleet. Yet, it was a fleet... and thus military in nature. Captains, commanders, lieutenants, ensigns... But the first season didn't feel very "peace time" military. That did eventually change. If you abandoned ENT during the 1st season, you missed some good Star Trek.
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  16. Eman1986

    Eman1986 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Nov 13, 2017
    Hey man, I came back to the franchise after being a devout Battlestar disciple, but I did come back! For holodeck ending with beer belly Riker. Then to see them go with a mediocre prequel setting..again.

    I will say that the last season of Enterprise from what I've seen was good, but I'd rather Tyrell myself than finish season 1.
  17. Khan 2.0

    Khan 2.0 Commodore Commodore

    Aug 30, 2013
    earth...but when?...spock?
    became a Trek fan through seeing the original cast movies - was taken to see II & III as a young kid which I enjoyed as much as a kid could (remember having a few items like the Trek II fold out poster magazine and III ERTL figures and program and storybook) but really became a fan with IV (was buying the IV starlog magazine, DC comic and even saw it again as part of a I-IV Trekathon at local cin) and eagerly awaited V and enjoyed it although could tell even at that age when you think every movie is the best ever that something wasn't quite right with the FX, tone, feel of it (bought the various V stuff at the time starlog magazine, DC comic, novel, Shatners Making Of book,)and then 1991 was such a great time to be a Trek fan with the build up to the 25th ann/Trek VI - buying the various TOFC magazines and DC comics with the little VI updates... then getting the official VI starlog magazine, the DC delux adaptation, the PB novel, the 27x40 teaser/movie posters (and also for the previous movies), the Altman/Gross unofficial making of VI book, the Cinefantastique VI and 25th ann issues, the 25th Ann starlog magazine with the silver cover, various model kits, updated Compendium etc (even though VI didn't hit the cinema in UK until Feb 92 so had totally spoiled the plot many times over!).. that era was such a happy time :)

    with TOS obviously had seen the odd episode on tv at 6pm inbetween the movies, so initially it looked silly/fun almost like a live action cartoon when compared to the expensive realistic looking movies but when it came out on VHS inbetween V and VI watched them all properly and it was obvious they were more than that and some were absolute classics.

    after VI I kind of tuned out of Trek as that was it for TOS and wasn't a huge fan of TNG like I was of TOS despite s3 being amazing and the whole Unification/VI thing (hadn't really seen the later seasons, it wasn't easy trying to see them in UK anyway as think BBC had stopped showing them after season 3or4 and Sky had got it so just had to rent the important eps like Unification, Relics, AGT), the new DS9 initially was interesting as it was another show but then looked boring (I rented the pilot and saw one of the early eps then didn't bother. Same with Voyager. I still haven't bothered with those shows lol) and I started to get into other stuff anyway (more adult 15/18 rated SF like Aliens, Terminator, Predator, Blade Runner, Carpenter/Verhovan etc plus I had lots of study to get through).. It wasn't until I flicked though a Starburst about some point in 93 or 94 to see what was going on in the world of SF and saw a new picture of Shatner in "Star Trek VII" (as the magazine called the much anticipated crossover film with TNG that I remember reading about in the pages of the making of VI book speculating about the Trek VII/TNG movie) that I flipped out and decided it was time to find out WTF was going on and get back into Trek ASAP which I pretty much stayed with despite the one/two punch of Insurrection/Nemesis coming after the near TOS movie quality of First Contact, and the uninteresting blandness (to me) of DS9/Voy.

    And then the announcement of the JJ film in 06/07 was such a huge deal for Trek at the time (huge budget, cool 'in' director, current movie stars like bana, the original characters, nimoy) esp after the demise of Berman Trek (I didn't even watch Enterprise until after it was cancelled and found s3/4 to be great) so it boosted my fanship and it was great when it did so well and to have 'original' Trek back on the big screen and in such a big way and for Trek to be cool again (like it had been to varying degrees in the IV, BOBW, VI and FC eras)..then too long await for STID but felt awesome at the time..and then Beyond just felt a massive missed opportunity for the 50th (after being initially teased with the Shatner coming back). as for Discovery will watch it on dvd when it comes out as no stream stuff :)
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  18. SpocksOddSocks

    SpocksOddSocks Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    May 30, 2015
    You can put me down as another one who can't remember a time without being a fan. I grew up with my mum and grandparents (and for some time my uncle lived at home too). My granddad was the only one who wasn't a fan, so I grew up with TOS repeats on the BBC.

    The first film I saw at the cinema will have been Final Frontier.

    I'm old enough to remember TNG starting on the beeb (though we didn't get it until 1990). I also recall, vaguely, the Argos catalogue (or possibly Grattens) getting a range of Star Trek toys at some point before 1990, then being really disappointed when they turned out to be early TNG things (which I'd never even heard of at this point).

    I liked TNG from when it first started here though, but the rest of my family were unconvinced for some time.

    I didn't really get a chance to miss TNG when it ended, but I certainly did miss bit DS9 and Voyager, and was very disappointed when the next series was going to be a prequel.

    Whilst I watched Enterprise throughout, I was always lacklustre with it (particularly from the third series), and wasn't sad to see it go. I was, however, sad there wasn't going to be more Trek.
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  19. Eman1986

    Eman1986 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Nov 13, 2017
    Kinda surprised to see a huge TOS fan like the first two JJ Abrams films but hate Beyond, most of the ones i’ve Known were the opposite, hated those two, but loved that one due to the TOS away mission feel of it.

    You should try to finish DS9 if you get a chance. First two seasons are slow, but once the Dominon war starts, the show gets amazing, hands down the best show for me besides TOS and TNG, and at times better I think. As far as being one of the more serious sci-fi series, its up there with Battlestar Galactica and Babylon 5.
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  20. Khan 2.0

    Khan 2.0 Commodore Commodore

    Aug 30, 2013
    earth...but when?...spock?
    yeh maybe its because Im first and foremost a TOS Movie fan so ST09/ID felt more influenced by I-VI than Beyond which felt more like a big s3 TOS ep (with some troubling shades of Insurrection)...and also was disappointed when Orcis Days Of Shatner Past movie got shelved for it so probably held some kind of subconscious grudge against it lol

    and yes I should def check out DS9/Voy now, actually have saved pretty much the whole of Voy
    to watch but haven't yet touched one ep! (yet have rewatched a bunch of TNG and some TNG s4-7 not seen before - still haven't seen every ep yet!)