I’m much more of a Star Wars fan than Star Trek, but they each have their place. For me, Star Trek meant hanging out with my brothers while Kirk, Spock and McCoy solved the galaxy’s problems. And in 1976, a Star Trek store opened in town! They had all sorts of cool stuff, like this incredibly nice uniform shirt I found in my mom’s attic recently.
One very gentle wash later and it was all ready to be worn again.
Of course, I was extremely lucky in that the family down the street was friends with Mark Lenard, the man who played Sarek, Spock’s father. He ALSO played Urko in Planet of the Apes tv series, so when we saw his car every now and then, we knew there were going to be some ultra-cool things to play with – real Vulcan ears, gorilla masks, etc. And his daughter, who is about my age, played with us, too, so we had another girl to chase with worms and such (though I seem to recall that she was tougher than the girls who lived on our street).
For me, Star Trek has bundled into it all these great memories. So of course I want to make my son a part of that! But where to start? And at what age? Well, first it was showing him that old shirt, which I’m happy to say looks like it was made for him.
And while you may not have an old shirt lying around, you might have something from your old Trekkie days – an action figure, a lunchbox – go see what your parents didn’t throw out yet.
Once I got him to think the shirt was cool, it was time to watch. I skipped the animated series and went straight for Trouble with Tribbles. It seems the most kid-friendly: No green dancing girls, overt sexual innuendo or complicated plots about Nazis or ancient Romans. Just some bad guys, some good guys and a few silly guys, and it all ends with hundred of tribbles “bonking that guy on his head.” It was a successful foray into a mainstay of my childhood. And since he’s here to replace me anyway, he might as well know what’s important, right?
Where do you fall on the sci-fi spectrum? Do you teach both Star Wars and Star Trek to your kids? If you’re into Star Trek, which episode did you start with? What’s on your most kid-friendly episode list?