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Trek inspires imagination of what could be

In the evening before bedtime for 5-year-old Alison and my little brother, my father would pop a big bowl of popcorn and settle into his recliner for the newest episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. This would have been 1994-1995, so I guess the show was in re-runs by this point. I remember staring wide-eyed at the TV screen in our living room, trying to understand plots and dialogue that were way over my head – and asking questions that, in an era before DVR, drove my father crazy trying to answer while he was trying to follow the storyline himself.

“Why is that man’s forehead so weird?”

“He’s a Klingon.”

“How come that lady already knew what he was thinking?”

“She’s a Betazoid. She can read people’s minds.”

“How come that girl is crying?”

“I don’t know Alison. We just have to watch and find out.”

Bless that man and his patient heart.

But in time I fell in love with the stories of what happened as our brave Starfleet heroes traveled the galaxy exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations – and boldly going where no one had gone before.

In college I discovered The Original Series and understood where the cult classic franchise had begun. Movies featuring both the TOS and TNG casts found their way from FYE and Hastings into my personal DVD collection. The TOS reboot movies captured my attention, and in the past couple of months I worked my way through the spin-off series Deep Space Nine. Now I’m following the crew of Voyager as they continue the long journey home from the Delta quadrant.

For some of you, that whole spiel was probably gobbledygook – but for my fellow Trekkies/Trekkers, it might have ignited a feeling of excitement and a conviction to watch your favorite series over again from the beginning.

Most if not all TV shows and movies have a way of helping us discover something about ourselves and the world around us. Star Trek is no different and perhaps even takes that discovery to the nth degree – taking viewers to the edge of the final frontier.

In Star Trek we find the world as it could be, a place where we aren’t alone in the universe. The universe is filled with other species – life, but not as we know it. Star Trek reveals advances in technology, in culture, in values, in ways of understanding that almost seem possible as we continue our own journey into a future of almost limitless possibilities.

I’m definitely waiting for the day when I can install my very own replicator and transporter.

Until then, I’ll keep enjoying my favorite space stories on the big and small screen. I’ve seen a few episodes of Enterprise, and I’ll watch them all when I finish Voyager, but the series I really want to binge-watch is one everyone in Russellville should see, regardless of their level of interest in Star Trek.

That’s Star Trek: Discovery – starring Russellville native Sonequa Martin-Green.

Sonequa was cast as the lead of Star Trek: Discovery in 2016, and it began airing in 2017 on CBS All Access. Sonequa, a 2003 Russellville High School graduate and class valedictorian, stars as first officer Michael Burnham of the USS Discovery. Her role represents the first main protagonist of a Star Trek series who is not the captain of the ship in the storyline.

Whether you love Star Trek or not, it has to be pretty cool to watch a “hometown girl” star in a series of a franchise that has reached global acclaim.

I can’t wait to see her in action among the stars – creating the future of our imaginations.

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