How I Turned My Spouse Into a Trekkie
by Joseph Avery-North
It began innocently enough. There was no nefarious intent, no agenda, no attempt at cult-like indoctrination but, as time went on, I freely admit it, I did develop an agenda – to immerse my wife in one of the best damn television franchises ever.
My introduction to Star Trek came by accident. I was a little child of four, learning to read, and I was looking through the TV guide. I mistook “Star Trek” for “Star Wars“, I changed the channel and was disappointed. But only briefly because I was soon captivated. I was hooked from that young age. I still remember the first episode I saw – The Devil in the Dark. Did the moral of that episode imprint on four year old me? I can’t say for certain but a lifelong fan was born.
When I was growing up there was only Star Trek (what we’ve come to call The Original Series, or TOS) in reruns, The Animated Series (which I don’t recall being shown for long in my area) the first few movies, novels of varying quality (but I read all of them) and then TNG was announced. It became a hit, the movies with the original cast continued, DS9 came along and the franchise was truly born.
Fifty-four years after The Original Series premiered the count now stands at eight television series (with more coming) thirteen movies, a bazillion novels, comics, toys, etc, etc.
Now, I’m not one of those people that thinks “All Star Trek is good Star Trek“. I have an opinion, I think for myself, I don’t do trends or bandwagons. Crap is crap so when it came time to share my love of Star Trek with my spouse I was selective in how it started.
She was of course familiar with the franchise, what with not living under a rock and all prior to our meeting (and you’d have to try very hard to be oblivious to a pop culture phenomenon). She’d seen some scattered episodes of various shows with her parents when she was younger and random episodes of the different series during our years together. When she decided to give Star Trek a real watch, I picked some of the best episodes TOS had to offer.
She loved them, loved the characters, the on-screen chemistry of the actors, especially the “Big Three” and, of course, a young William Shatner.
Let’s be blunt – first season Shatner was a damn good looking, charismatic man and his acting was subtle and nuanced. Hell, the man did more, and better, acting with just his facial expressions than most actors can do with everything they’ve got. The hammy, big pause, over-the-top caricature the average non-fan has in mind is a myth perpetuated by hack comedians desperate for a laugh because they can’t write decent material… but that’s an article in and of itself.
After some select highlights from TOS we decided to watch the shows in in-universe chronological order so we went to Enterprise. I like Enterprise. I enjoyed it from the start and was disappointed it was cancelled. (And I still don’t understand how the same people that railed against Enterprise for “breaking canon” can sing the praises of Discovery… but that’s another article too.) Like me, my wife’s favourite characters were Trip, T’Pol and Malcolm.
Being British herself, my wife was especially fond of Malcolm. In fact, one of my favourite memories of watching it together was during the episode “Minefield“. When Malcolm’s leg was pinned to the hull and Archer injected him with a pain killer my wife got a big smile that matched the heavily medicated Malcolm’s and she chanted “Say it… say it…” When Malcolm said “Please sir, may I have some more?” my wife clapped and cheered “Yaaay!” It was simply adorable. I love my wife.
After Enterprise we decided to skip full viewings of TOS, TNG and DS9 and went to Voyager. My wife had watched some of it with her late mother when she was younger so it was special for her. All shows have their flaws, all fans have their favourites and yes, I absolutely consider Voyager to be superior to TNG in almost every way. Pound for pound, dollar for dollar, VOY has more relatable characters and better actors than TNG.
And again, that’s another article… see what I’m doing? I’m laying the groundwork for future articles!
After VOY, we went to TNG and it was painful. There are some shining, nay, stellar, moments but TNG is the most difficult to watch. For me, it’s more dated than TOS and it lacks the charm. If I tried, I could salvage one worthwhile season of selected episodes out of the seven the show ran for. In fact, after Best of Both Worlds we stopped and just watched the high points that came later like Chain of Command.
And one low point… I asked her one day, “Honey, do you want to watch what is one of the absolute worst Star Trek episodes ever?” She bit, we sat down and watched Sub Rosa. Yep, the one where Beverly gets off reading her grandmother’s erotic diaries (with Troi encouraging her) and banging a space ghost. Eeeeww! Icky, yucky, gross! Much groaning and cringing ensued.
After that we jumped into select episodes of DS9, another show my wife found herself loving although we skipped the Bajoran religious heavy episodes. My wife has her favourites across all the series, actors and characters, and has since surprised me by making random, spontaneous Star Trek references in conversation.
My favourite was her growling like Worf and saying “You have no honour!” after getting off the phone with a shady, deceitful landlord. I was shocked. I just stared at her and broke into a smile. She laughed and said, “What can I say? You’ve turned me into… um… is it a nerd or a geek?”
“A geek, honey, it’s a geek. Although Trekkie works too,” I replied and couldn’t help kissing her. I love my wife.