One recent “Lass is More” minisode dealt with the different ways in which my children view television as compared to how I did at that age (and do now). I feel like it needs something of an revisit though, so here goes…
My daughter, she’s eight, much to my happiness, worked her way through “Star Trek: The Next Generation” for much of last year (roughly an episode a day). Now she is avidly viewing “Star Trek: Voyager” at the same clip.
Completely as an aside, I may have told Patrick Stewart this first bit when I interviewed him last year, but I’m not sure quite what he made of it. You see, I couldn’t tell him, at least not so he would necessarily believe it, the truth of the matter – I in no way influenced her decision to watch the show and she was loving “TNG.” I said it, but how could he possibly accept it?
Truth be told, she loves both series. She is fascinated by them, the stories they tell, and the characters they show. She has even recognized some of the funny things, like just how many “anomalies” the show features, either in time, in space, or in both.
These two series are not the first two she watched from beginning to end, that might be “Gilligan’s Island,” but there was no doubt upon finishing “TNG” that she would instantly move on to another “Star Trek” series. It was never a question, the only thing that concerned her is which “Trek” series she should start.
These trips she’s taking with the Enterprise and Voyager would not have been possible a few years ago, at least not as easily. She is watching the series on Netflix (or if that fails, Amazon, which is what she used for “Gilligan”).
From my end, it is an amazing, wonderful thing to watch. Perhaps I’m being silly, but I think her exposure to them somehow broadens her horizons. That is, after all, kind of the point of the “Star Trek” series, isn’t it?
Growing up, I used to watch syndicated reruns, usually sitcoms, all the time at her age, and had to take whatever episode they were showing me at that time. Eventually, when I was in graduate school, I was able to heavily use my VCR to record all the “Buffy” episodes when FX started running them in order to, nearly, catch up in time for the last two seasons of the show. But, that was as close as I was able to come to what she’s doing and I was only able to make it happen when I was 12 or 13 years older than she is now.
The availability of these series and the bandwidth required to stream them is something truly amazing and it will, eventually radically alter the way we see, and consume, television. For my daughter it has already started to do that, but that’s just for older series. Eventually it will influence the way in which new series are produced to a far greater extent than it does today. That’s something that Daniel Fienberg touched upon in the most recent “Lass is More,” but as he indicated no one quite knows what direction any of that will take.
There is another entire discussion to be had here about girls (or women) and science fiction. I won’t get into that here and now as it undoubtedly requires its own piece, but I will say that one of the things I love about her watching “Voyager” is seeing Janeway as the ship’s captain. I don’t know if my daughter finds anything remarkable about the show offering a female captain, but for a franchise which is, at its best, entirely about what we should strive for as a world, I like her seeing a woman in charge of the vessel.
One day, I will write that article, but not today.
photo credit: Paramount