Playing For The Other Team

9 May



letter HHere at headquarters we are very up-front about where we stand on the Star Wars/Star Trek spectrum. I don’t have anything against Star Trek, per-se. I would even go so far as to say I respect the franchise and hold it up as a top-tier member of the DorkDaddy pantheon of dork-worthy endeavors. I can even say with relative certainty that I have seen every episode of every branch of the Star Trek media conglomerate. I have my certificate of Star Trek competency, even if the certificate itself is stuffed in a drawer somewhere – as opposed to my Star Wars competency certification, which hangs on my wall in a custom mahogany frame alongside my gilded credentials, signed by R2-D2 and C3PO themselves, identifying me as a founding member of the Star Wars Fan Club.

OK, I may be talking in hyperbole there. But I WAS a founding member of the Star Wars Fan Club (in 1978) even if I’ve lost my original membership card. But I digress.

The other night, after reading our nightly dosage of Harry Potter it was time for our routine 10 minutes of Netflix/YouTube before lights-out. We’ve pretty much torn through all the age-appropriate stuff you can stream online (for free). On a whim I typed into the Netflix search box “Star” on the off chance that the original trilogy was available for streaming (fat chance). To my surprise, in the “available for streaming” screen popped up the original 1966 Star Trek series (digitally re-mastered versions).


gore and skin and violence as it existed in 60’s-era television

I looked at my two little cherubs, snuggled at the end of the bed in their pajamas, under the covers, waiting for movies, and did a quick “appropriateness” assessment of my memories of the original series. There’s very little blood (beyond Kirk’s legendary chest scratch). There’s no sex (unless you have a problem with 60’s go-go-dancing outfits), and the “violence” is laughable by today’s standards. Seriously, have you watched Kirk’s epic battle with the Gorn lately?

So I decided it was time. I selected Season 1, Episode 1 (skipped the pilot), flipped my iPhone around, and my big kids got their very first taste of classic Star Trek. If you’ve got kids the same age as mine I must say, truly the only issue you’ll have watching classic Star Trek with them is the pacing. By today’s standards the plot points move incredibly slow. Each of those hour-long episodes could easily be compressed into a half-hour. But my kids stuck it out for 15 minutes or so, enough to warrant giving it another go tonight.

Watching Star Trek with your kids isn’t about indoctrinating a child into another level of nerdiness (as much as UnDorkMommy might think it is). It isn’t even about the lofty socio-political commentaries of the series(es) that academics like to point out. It’s about cultural competence. It’s about being able to hold a conversation with that stranger at the office Christmas party.

In that same way I have used Netflix to educate my children on some of the cultural touchstones of my childhood. We worked our way through the entire “Transformers” and “Voltron” animated series long ago. Recently we’ve covered most of the “He-Man” and “She-Ra” cartoons. Episode IV even powered through all three seasons of “Jem and the Holograms”.  (So, so, so cheezy. We had no idea how bad they were when we were watching them. Trust me. They’re bad.) Next on the list: “Thundercats”.


Every single one of these is currently available, streaming on Netflix.

Certainly “He-Man” and its ilk don’t register quite as high on the cultural-competency scale. But I loved “Transformers” and “He-Man” back in the day, and it gives me and my children something else in common. And even though I never watched “Jem”, my sisters certainly did, and now my children have something in common with their aunties.

That… and the look on the lady’s face after school when she heard Episode IV singing “Woah-o-o Jem is truly outrageous… truly, truly, truly outrageous…!” was priceless.

Like it or not, no matter where you register on the nerd-spectrum, Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and “Beam me up, Scotty” are part of the American lexicon. It’s like football, Loony Tunes, or Elvis. You don’t have to be all crazy into it. You don’t even have to like it, but you have to be aware of it. And if you want to be functional in social situations, you have to have at least a passing knowledge of what it’s about.

Because no matter how averse you may be to the greater dork sciences, the fact of the matter is we have taken over. You can either get on the train or get left behind.

-Dork Dad

12 Responses to “Playing For The Other Team”

  1. larva225 May 9, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    I have 2 videos of my daughter in classic He-Man stance, holding her arm aloft. In one she’s holding a paintbrush screaming “I have the power of paint.” In the other, she’s got bacon and acknowledging its power. Funny, funny stuff, even if the grandparents don’t get it.

  2. bernicky May 9, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    You are wise. No education is complete unless someone can recite “Space: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship, Enterprise, its 5 year mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

    The digitally remastered Star Trek rocks and the cross over episode between Star Trek and DS 9 is one of the best ever. You could actually reach what we here refer to as Nerdvana or Geekdom by introducing your dorklings to the animated series Reboot which is hands down one of the most creative animated series ever produced (that is including The Tick).

  3. my27stars May 9, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    I’m so excited to start introducing Doodle to the feel-good 80’s and 90’s goodness that we grew up on. Get some Thundercats or Captain Planet rocking, buy him some Goosebumps books… yeah… 🙂 As far as Star Trek, I totally agree that it’s a good knowledge to have in your pocket if (when, more likely) it ever comes up. It’s also hard to stand so strongly in the Star Wars camp when you don’t have any Star Trek background knowledge (although, I never could see why they were *are* such polar opposites…) to compare it with. I wish I was raised on a little more geekdom than Three Dog Night and Alice Cooper, but at least I have a decent respect for music, and Jake can always teach me the nerd stuff that I missed. He’s STILL trying to help me remember which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle is which. 🙂

  4. Fred Christensen May 9, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    Help get Charlie off the MTA

    On Thu, May 9, 2013 at 11:09 AM,

  5. Chris Routly (Daddy Doctrines) May 9, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    That’s funny, my 4 year old asked me the other day if there was any Star Wars on Netflix. We looked it up together, and found that that isn’t, but that there is a LOT of Star Trek. I happen to be a big TNG fan, so we watched some of the pilot episode. He was completely lost, but he liked the big spaceship and LOVED the turbolift because ELEVATORS ARE AWESOME!

    • dorkdad May 9, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

      My son came up with some freakishly savant stuff when we first saw Kirk and McCoy. They called on their communicators up to Mr. Spock, and my son said “OH! Mr. Spock!! I know who he is. He’s the guy with the pointy ears, and the blue shirt, and the funny eyebrows and the hair that goes like this!!”

      Have I mentioned that I have never shown any of my children Star Trek stuff before that day?


  6. thebookybunhead May 9, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    I remember catching glimpses of Star Trek when my dad watched them. Fun stuff.

  7. josefkul May 9, 2013 at 11:26 pm #

    I have to agree with you on the Star Wars vs Star Trek debate since I definitely lean toward Star Wars. Still, there were some high moments like the movie Wrath Of Kahn or the ultimate, The Search For Spock. I can also relate to the childhood nostalgia inherent in all of the iconic 80’s cartoons featured above. Thundercats was the best! I’m still waiting for the Thundercats Live action film featuring Vin Deasel as panthro, Brad Pitt as Liono, Scarlett Johansen as Cheetarah and Matthew McConaughey as Tigra.

    • dorkdad May 10, 2013 at 7:11 am #

      You, sir, are a visionary.


  1. To Hell With Normal | - March 24, 2016

    […] was going to be signing autographs at the convention, I knew that it would be an experience my classic Star Trek-loving daughter would appreciate. Add that to the fact that Stan Lee would be making one of his last-ever public appearances (the […]

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