Whenever someone asks me, “do you like Star Trek?” I feel that I must construct my answer very carefully so as not to give the wrong impression about myself. There can be such a negative stigma associated with being a Star Trek fan. I would never want the person to think that I am some sort of obsessed fanatic who attends Star Trek conventions, learns to speak Klingon or wears Spock ears. I will rather reluctantly admit that, yes, I do like Star Trek and hope that the coming response is not entirely negative. Although my liking of Star Trek does not extend to the lengths that Dawn Hanna’s does, I felt an emotional and nostalgic attachment to what her essay entitled Hooked On Trek had to say about Star Trek. In this paper I will demonstrate that Dawn Hanna, in her essay Hooked On Trek (1994), is able to justify her addiction to Star Trek by revealing the program’s capacity to engage in serious issues, its equivalency to modern mythology and ability to make her think. Hanna makes an emotional and nostalgic connection with the reader, enabling the reader to justify his or her own liking of Star Trek, thereby strengthening her point.
When I was a child, I’m sure the appeal of Star Trek had more to do with the space ships, aliens and phasers than anything else, but as I grew up, the subject matter of episodes I had already seen came into my focus. Although the original Star Trek series definitely has a strong cornball element, with bad acting and even worse special effects, the subject matter was almost always of some serious nature. I can recall episodes that dealt with complex sociological issues such as euthanasia, homosexuality and racial prejudice. Some episodes dealt with technological premises and scientific principals that I do not even grasp and simply have to take for granted that the show’s writers do. Hanna defends the original series as being “a show which dealt with the big questions and topical issues of the time: whether it was Spock dealing with a Vulcan-bashing crew member or Capt. Kirk coping with his animal self. Or Dr. McCoy facing the prospect of life with a terminal disease” (83). Television is filled with endless amounts of situation comedies and now reality programming. As far as fictional programs are concerned, most of what is on the television is simply fluff.