Alex Langley asked me to write a blurb on why I love TNG so much for his new book, a follow up to his “Geek Handbook”. I am honored to be asked to contribute, and here is my answer:
When Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered I was 8 years old. My dad was very excited for the premiere, and that made me excited. Watching that show would be the birth of a life-long love of Sci-fi. To my child’s mind, here was an amazing, magical show where anything could happen. They had a magical play place in the holodeck. Strange looking aliens were integral to the show. You never knew what amazing thing they would encounter next week.
More than that, I loved Diana Troi. Growing up in a small town in West Texas, I witnessed casual misogyny every day, even at my young age. In elementary school, I was already battling with a society that considered boys to be stronger, tougher, and smarter. In PE, I wanted to play soccer with the boys, but they would openly ignore me and never pass me the ball. The PE coach didn’t understand why I didn’t just hang out in the shade and braid my hair with the other girls. I was a very smart tomboy, but was made to feel inferior because I wasn’t pretty like my female classmates. Even the teachers made me feel like I was too smart, and should probably not be so obvious about always knowing the right answer. I wasn’t too young to see the annoyance on everyone’s face every time I raised my hand. I didn’t understand what I was doing “wrong” because my parents encouraged me to be myself.
Once per week, I would watch Star Trek: The Next Generation. Tasha, of course, was tough and smart. Beverly was brilliant and an excellent caretaker of the crew on the ship.
But Diana, a beautiful woman (whose beauty was rarely remarked upon and not once used as a tool) was a trusted advisor to the incredible Captain Picard. A bridge officer. Simply for her ability to perceive, understand, and empathize with others. That had a powerful impact on me.
For me, at such a young age, to see a woman in a very powerful, trusted position, not in SPITE of her “feminine” qualities but BECAUSE of them, affected me in a way I wouldn’t truly understand until many years later.
I will always be grateful to Star Trek: The Next Generation for giving me seven years of weekly lessons in not giving up, always making use of the gifts you are given in life, and NEVER trusting a Ferengi no matter what they say.