directed by Roger Nygard
(Paramount, 1997)

Trekkies is an honest look at the Star Trek phenomenan -- from the inside.

Denise Crosby, who earned her place in the Trek pantheon by playing security officer Tasha Yar in the first season of The Next Generation, hosts this celebration and spoof of fandom. Sure, we've all seen plenty of interviews with the casts over the years, but this documentary shines the spotlight on the fans and the roots of their obsession with Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future.

We meet Barbara Adams, the high-profile Whitewater juror who insisted on wearing her Star Fleet uniform to trial. We meet teenager Gabriel Koerner, a second-generation Trekkie, who wields big words like a phaser as he shows off his collected memorabilia. We travel to Riverside, Iowa, the future birthplace of Capt. James T. Kirk, where people gather to celebrate his unbirthday in a big way. ("This year we had a girl come," one celebrant boasts.) You can't help but feel embarrassed for some of these people.

Numerous actors from Star Trek, The Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and Voyager share their thoughts on their fans, relating their experiences fondly (and with a touch of resignation) as they discuss the endless conventions and fandom's impact on their lives and careers.

Crosby and director Roger Nygard capture all of this and present -- with what I can only assume is a mixture of warm regard, concealed mirth and vague horror -- a series of extreme cases, from a man who paid $40 to sample John "Q" de Lancie's germs in a half-empty cup of water to a woman who eases her tension by standing on her porch and gazing in the direction of Brent "Data" Spiner's home. There are also touching stories, such as James "Scotty" Doohan's recollection of a woman whose fan letter was also a suicide note -- and whose life was turned around by a touch of human compassion.

At the heart of it all, however, is a philosophy and an optimistic world view that, science-fiction trappings aside, strikes a positive chord in an increasingly cynical world. Trekkies may be presented as geeks to the world at large, but it's a select form of geekdom that, at its worst, harms no one and, at its best, helps many. That's not a bad direction to boldly go.

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 16 November 2002

Buy it from