I was never much of a Trekkie. When I was young I thought the original series was hokey and the special effects cheesy. I learned to appreciate it later on but still never fell in love with it. I watched Next Generation for a while and Deep Space Nine for the first few years and then I was done. I prefer the original cast over all the others. I’m a Kirk man, not Picard. I love Spock, I hate Worf.
I’ve seen all the movies. I like the one with the whales the best. I think Wrath of Khan is overrated. I fell asleep during one of them; I woke up and the Enterprise was crashing into some planet’s surface.
So when Star Trek: The Exhibition showed up at the Saint Louis Science Center back in October, I wasn’t the first in line. No one sent me free passes and I wasn’t going to pay for the privilege of looking at replica phasers and Star Fleet uniforms. But then Sister and Brother-in-Law 2 came up over the weekend and wanted to go and they were springing for my ticket, so “beam me up, Scotty.”
You know you’re in Trek Nerdvana when you approach the building and all those familiar sound effects start booming at the entrance. Once inside, you can take part in the first of three nifty photo opportunities. Nifty except for the fact that you can’t actually take photos in the exhibit hall. No, the ST:TE people will take the photo for you — and charge you for the print.
Seriously, Star Trek? Haven’t you made enough money over these many years? You’re already charging people just to walk through the hall, do you really need that extra cash for an 8×10 glossy?
At the first photo-op you sit in Capt. Kirk’s chair in front of a green screen and when they take the photo it looks like you’re on the bridge of the Enterprise, along with Spock and the gang. We didn’t buy it.
From there you go inside where you’re greeted by a desk with various scripts to peruse, a lineup of all the Star Trek movie posters and a video about Gene Roddenberry. There’s a kiosk with artist sketches and a lot of information about the space program. Then you encounter a large wall dedicated to a timetable of Trek history.
Once you’ve earned your Ph.D in Trekology, it’s onto the Hall of Replicas: Klingon thrones and shuttlecrafts and tri-corders and tribbles and the Borg cube (which looked suspiciously like the Death Star) and all the various Enterprises. Various costumes and weapons as well as a display of alien heads. I doubt if anything of importance was left out.
From there you enter a room made up to look like the bridge of the Enterprise from the Next Generation days, where you can get your picture taken sitting in Picard’s chair and saying, “engage” — but we didn’t. Next door was a replica of the transporter chamber, another photo-op that we opted out of. I don’t trust transporter chambers, even fake ones.
The exhibit ends with the awe-inspiring Glass Case of Captains’ Uniforms. Turns out Shatner was considerably shorter than the other captains. But he made up for it in bravado.
So, how was Star Trek: The Exhibition? Well, it’s very thorough. It’s arguably the finest traveling exhibition of memorabilia ever dedicated to a television show. I’ve certainly been to less interesting exhibitions. If you’re an avid Trekkie, I would recommend it. But then if you are, you’ve probably already seen it.
And you’re probably offended that I didn’t call you a Trekker. Nerd.
Star Trek: The Exhibition runs through May 28. http://www.slsc.org/