Star Trek Mission New York Celebrates the 50th AnniversarySeptember 6, 2016
In celebration of Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, pop culture event organizer ReedPOP, of New York Comic Con fame) threw the game-changing series a weekend-long party with the convention Star Trek Mission New York. Pulling together actors from all series, NASA, the United States Postal Service and more, the event took place from Sept. 2 to 4.
Covering this convention was a daunting task. Only recently introduced to Star Trek, my knowledge doesn’t go far beyond the original series and knowledge about the prime directive. I can have a conversation about how cute the Tribbles are, but if you go off into alien types and their personalities you will certainly be speaking a different language to me. As a child, the series always looked too serious to me, and I would often flip the channel to something a bit brighter. I started to become interested in this landmark series earlier in the year, when my brother and his now wife married in a ceremony and reception that was rife with nods.
What I learned about this series over the course of the weekend was that Star Trek encompasses a wide range of people, who are all so willing to share their love to anyone who shows an interest. I was never once lambasted for my lack of knowledge, but instead welcomed into the fold. I checked out the exhibits, a few panels, and met with game developers to talk about the much beloved series, its 50th anniversary and its enduring popularity.
One of the panels I attended was Growing Up Trek. Moderator Mark A. Altman sat down with Rod Roddenberry (Gene Rodenberry’s son) and Adam and Julie Nimoy (Leonard Nimoy’s children). The group chatted about what it was like to grow up in the Star Trek fold. The kids also discussed burying the hatchet between the infamous riffs between Nimoy, Roddenberry and William Shatner. Not only that, but Adam and Julie talked about the documentaries they have coming out based on their father. Adam’s documentary, For the Love of Spock, will be released on Sept. 9 and discusses the lasting legacy the actor has on the world. Julie’s documentary, Highly Illogical: A special tribute to Leonard Nimoy, is currently in development and has an Indiegogo campaign to support its production. Fans may know that Nimoy passed away in 2015 due to complications of COPD.
Rod Roddenberry discussed what it was like to grow up in contention of his father, and how he came to love and fully embrace the series. He says the show finally connected with him when, “I fell head over heels in love with the humanity.” Rod was only 19 when his father Gene passed away.
Some other ways Star Trek is being celebrated for the anniversary on Sept. 8 is the U.S. Postal Service releasing stamps. There are four different kinds of stamps that capture the nostalgic essence of the show’s history. They are on sale now at the USPS website.
Another favorite exhibit of mine was NASAs. Throughout the years, Star Trek has inspired many NASA scientists to look to the stars. The space organization was on hand to to talk about how Star Trek has inspired heir programs and continues to push them to explore the universe. Guests took time to learn about the future of aviation, asteroid-deterrents and space voyages. All of these are within the near future.
Another highlight of the three-day convention were the vendors. Some of the biggest were the video games. One of the standouts was Star Trek Bridge Crew. It’s fitting that Star Trek ventures onto one of the newest frontiers of video game entertainment. Assemble a crew and take to the U.S.S. Aegis to explore an uncharted sector of space known as the Trench. There are rescue missions, battles and a lot more promised. The folks at Bridge Crew allowed me a spin on the game that comes out Nov. 29 on the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and HTC Vive. It was my first experience with virtual reality, and I must say it was a thrilling ride. The controls were easy to learn and once you get in the swing of things, it quickly becomes second nature.
In addition, I met with and talked with the good folks at mobile app game Star Trek Timelines, and PC-turned-console game Star Trek Online. These passion projects offer a lot of fun to players complete with rich stories, expansive universe and plenty of fan favorite characters.
Star Trek Mission New York was a weekend filled with splendor celebrating a series that has stood up against the test of time over and over again.
Happy 50th Anniversary, Star Trek, and to many more years of exploring the final frontier.