A Trek to Remember

The Star Trek series,when it went on air in the US in 1966,was considered a failure.

Written by PriyankaPereira | Published: July 5, 2012 3:07:48 am

The Star Trek series,when it went on air in the US in 1966,was considered a failure. Way ahead of its time,the show,created by Gene Roddenbury,was taken off air after three seasons. However,in the ’70s,fans began holding conventions and actively lobbying to bring it back on air. The unusual stories combined with a social commentary which mirrored issues of the time,won the show a cult status. In India,it became the country’s introduction to science-fiction shows and made characters such as Kirk and Spock into household names.

It is this legacy that Gene’s son Rod wants to explore through a two-hour documentary,titled Trek Nation. “This is my tribute to one of the greatest shows we have ever seen on television and it is also a tribute from a son to a father,” says Rod.

Rod’s agenda for the show is simple: to celebrate the life of the person who envisioned this series. “Through interviews with fans and former cast members,as well as never-seen-before videos from the Roddenberry family’s collection,the show is an attempt to understand the immense impact my father’s work has had on the rest of the world,” says Rod. The documentary will be aired on Discovery Science in two parts — on July 14 and 21.

The documentary is also an attempt on Rod’s part to understand his father as a person and writer. His oldest memories of Star Trek date back to his days at home. His father,obsessed by the idea of future,had his office at their residence. Gene worked day in and day out to make this show,the concept of which was a hard one to sell. “I remember walking into his office as a kid and seeing a huge projector where he watched most of his work. Whichever episodes I watched of the series,I watched there,” says Rod,who admits he didn’t understand the concept then. “I watched it like I would watch any other show without prodding much at the essence,” he adds.

His interest further waned when his father passed away when Rod was just 17. “After he passed away,I wasn’t keen on watching the series and,over the years,I lost track. It is when I met people who would express interest in Star Trek and talk about how much they loved the show that I actually realised its importance,” he says. Over the years,Rod discovered various fan clubs of Star Trek,which made him wake up to its cult status. This also triggered him to go back and watch the series. “I have the Trekkies or the fans of Star Trek to thank for inspiring me to make this documentary. I have interviewed a few of them in the documentary and their passion for the show is heartwarming,” he adds. The documentary also charts the evolution of the concept and Gene’s passion for it.

Johnson D’Souza,an architect and a huge fan of Star Trek,talks about the diversity that Gene portrayed in his show,which also made the show a great watch. “It was for the first time in the history of television that there were no gender or racial biases. Asians,Americans and Africans all worked in harmony on the show for a better future,” says D’Souza. Like his father,Rod too believes that the future envisaged by Star Trek is a possibility and through this documentary,he wants to make sure it comes true.

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