But Suppose You Maybe WANT Some Technobabble…

I can’t remember the first episode of Star Trek I saw, but it was an obsession from around third grade through ninth grade. Every afternoon at 4, some subset of my family watched the original series and The Next Generation. TNG was without a doubt my favorite. When DS9 and Voyager started, I was not particularly impressed, but they eventually grew on me. After a significant lapse, I rediscovered them on late night cable repeats, along with Enterprise, which had aired on UPN and was impossible to get clearly on my family’s rabbit-eared TV.

As an adult, I remembered the dark and complex stories of DS9, and I started buying the DVDs and showing them to Meredith. She sums up the rest of the story quite well. Where we differ in our approaches is that I actually enjoy the technobabble. I completely agree with her that it’s not actually important, but it is still fun to learn the theoretical workings of the tech. It gives you perspective on tech situations. You know before the exposition if something is a big deal or not. On the other hand, when bad writers screw it up and change capabilities on a whim, you can’t un-notice it. This is an alright tradeoff to me. You can expect to hear a lot more on this in my analyses.

Additionally, I will be giving you backstory ties to older episodes, overarching canon and behind-the-scenes facts involving the writing and production of the series. I won’t tell you every little thing I know about an episode, but if I think it’s interesting and relevant, I’ll bring it up.

Well, It Was Better Than Learning Elvish, or, How Meredith Came to Star Trek

People can get into some pretty crazy things in the name of love.

I guess I should count my blessings; had things been different I might have found myself having to learn everything about basketball, or cars, or a splinter religious sect. As it was, my boyfriend experienced a Star Trek Renaissance soon after we started dating, and the thing I had to learn everything about was the Star Trek universe.

I was a geek already, of course, just not that specific brand. My general areas of expertise were literature, British comedy, old movies, and constitutional law. My sci-fi grounding was in Quantum Leap, Back to the Future, A Wrinkle in Time, 1950s-aliens-as-a-metaphor-for-communism, and the Star Wars MOVIES (first person to say “expanded universe” gets a throat punch).

I wan’t sure how to approach Star Trek. As indicated by my threats, I’d done an excellent job so far of ignoring the swirls of “extra business” around my beloved Star Wars (keeping me safe from the most capricious of Lucas’ cruelties), but with Star Trek knowledge of the “extras” seemed mandatory. It just seemed so big, and people had had (at that time) forty years to think about it and make up backstories for every episode so complete that they included a fully functional foreign language.

If I’m not going to take that shit from Tolkien, I thought, I’m sure not going to take it from Gene Roddenberry. Continue reading