On April 5th, fans of the Star Trek Franchise remember First Contact Day. According to canon, this calendar date marks the day that humanity will make first contact with Vulcans on April 5th, 2063, as depicted by Star Trek: First Contact.

To mark the occasion, The Beat’s Star Trek team is sharing our first contacts with the Franchise. How did you make first contact with Star Trek? Be sure and let us know, either here in the comment section, or over on The Beat’s Bluesky page.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Innerspace Series USS Enterprise Mini-Playset NCC-1701-D.

AVERY KAPLAN: Technically I can’t remember my first contact with Star Trek, as I don’t remember a point in time before I was at least tangentially aware of Star Trek: The Next Generation. But as I’ve previously shared at The Beat, I can vividly remember getting what I have previously referred to as an USS Enterprise-D Polly Pocket. After doing a little more digging, I’ve identified this as one in the TNG “Innerspace Series” of toys. It came with little articulated Picard, Riker and Data and the Shuttlecraft Goddard.

But as far as the shows go, Star Trek: Voyager was the one that really got me hooked. Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) was a formative character for me, as was Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) when she joined the cast. As I also previously mentioned in the link above, the Voyager season 2 premiere, “The 37s,” was a major catalyst for my obsession. 

I do have one other specific memory from when Voy season 2 was airing. After a family dinner at my home on April 8, 1996, my cousin and I sat down to watch the new episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (“Rules of Engagement”) and Voy (“Innocence”). When Tuvok began to sing, my cousin declared his relief that he was already recording his own copy of the episode, as the performance was “Priceless, just priceless!” As a result, this scene is still extra-hilarious to me 28 years later.

Qapla’, and happy First Contact Day to all!

Data and Bones in the hallway of the USS Enterprise-D in the pilot of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Encounter at Farpoint."

D. MORRIS: Okay kids, time to slingshot around the sun and go back in time. A time when there is only reruns of those old scientists. It’s September 1987. My dad, who loved Star Trek as a kid, is watching “Encounter at Farpoint” the two hour premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I don’t really watch the episode but I have a few memories of it (old man Bones!). So watching Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation became a weekly ritual for the family.

When I changed schools in sixth grade, I connected with people because of a mutual appreciation of Star Trek. My now wife and I started dating around the release of the first Abrams movie. Admittedly, my appreciation has waxed and waned over the years. Still Star Trek, like Dragon Ball, connected me with the most cherished people in my life. I can’t say that about many other shows I’ve watched in my life.

Tasha Yar doesn't have time for your shit in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

KELAS LLOYD: My dad was super into sci-fi and fantasy to the point he’d read fantasy books to me and my then-infant sister a chapter at a time on nights he was home. One day he got home from work and told us a new show was starting that was related to an old show he used to watch, and his excitement was contagious. I sat on the couch with him, watched “Encounter at Farpoint” and wasn’t completely hooked, but I did know I had a new hero: Tasha Yar. Getting to stay up past my bedtime was an additional point in its favor. 

The next week he created a game where we dodged the Enterprise-D as it zipped around the screen and then when things started getting ‘adult’ he turned the tv off so I didn’t get hooked yet then either. Episode 3 sold me, though, when I was far too young to get the racism and absolutely in awe of (and a little in love with) Tasha. I got to tell Denise Crosby last year that she played the person who was my first tv crush, even though I didn’t know it at the time, and thankfully she was enthusiastic about that. From then on I was a fan and devoured all the Trek I could, including TOS on VHS.

Yak-eyebrow Spock and OG Pike get all excited about weird flowers in Star Trek: The Original Series' original pilot, "The Cage."

DERRICK CROW: I don’t think I’d call my history with Star Trek interesting, as I would stubborn. In that I was stubborn for way too long, but I’m glad I’m rectifying it now. I simply did not get into Star Trek growing up, I would see The Next Generation playing every once in a while on TV and despite really enjoying sci-fi I just did not give it a chance. I stuck to my Star Wars lane. My high school science teacher who I was good friends with loved Star Trek though, and we would get into multiple heated conversations about how annoyed I made him that I didn’t watch Star Trek. Hahaha. I do look back fondly on that.

I did try to get into Trek many years with The Original Series, I even watched ‘The Cage’ as my very first full Star Trek TV episode. I enjoyed it, I watched a couple of other episodes after that, but somehow fell off. Probably something to do with life. And in bookstores I would look at the pulp Star Trek novels and wonder if I would enjoy them, but never gave in. I did, however, watch all three modern theatrical Star Trek films when they came out – Beyond is the best of the three, fight me – but again, it never went beyond that. Finally, early in 2023 I gave Star Trek: Discovery a chance and I watched the first couple of episodes back-to-back with TOS and found I very much did not like those opening episodes of Discovery but I did still enjoy TOS. Once again, however, I fell off pretty quickly. Probably because of life.

At last – at long last – in late 2023 I was going through an incredibly rough time with a lot of personal stuff and I was at my busiest I’d been in a while, and instead of pushing away from Trek, it called to me like a beacon of hope. I don’t know why exactly, but I finally felt like I had reached a zenith point where I could really appreciate this franchise that had always been calling out to me. Reaching beyond the centuries to take me through a five year mission into space.

I struck that iron while it was at its hottest and for several months Trek was the only thing I watched. It got me through a lot in a short time. I caught up with Discovery, Lower Decks, Strange New Worlds, Prodigy, the Short and Very Short Treks, I watched the original Animated Series, I restarted TOS and started up TNG, and I’m currently working through Picard season two. Yes, I will also be getting to the rest in due time. I even found a nice little bridge crew to call home where I could talk all things Trek, as well as with a few other friends who were very excited to see me diving in, which made me happy.

I’m absolutely thrilled to be on this voyage(r).

Tendi addresses Arex, Scotty and M'Ress on the bridge of the USS Enterprise from The Animated Series. Also, they may all be holograms.

TAIMUR DAR: Star Trek is one of those franchises where even if you’ve never actually consumed any of the media itself, you still have some basic awareness and understanding of the lore. I’ve always had an appreciation and respect for Trek but it was always a property that intimidated me due to how dense it was. The first time I dare to properly explore the franchise was the 2009 reboot film from director J.J. Abrams and writers Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman. Very much like the Ultimate Universe for Marvel, the Kelvin was definitely a great primer for a newbie for me. 

However, I’d say I only truly fell in love with Star Trek and became part of The Beat’s Trek discussion in recent years. I’m an animation fan through and through, and adored Star Trek: Prodigy. But what really clinched it for me was Star Trek: very Short Treks) promotional short films created by Casper Kelly for the 50th anniversary of Star Trek: The Animated Series. My friend Cristina Milizia voiced M’Ress which led me to check out the original Star Trek: TAS episodes which in turn led me down the larger Trek rabbit hole, in particular Lower Decks. Though I’m still making my way through Trek, I’m enjoying making up for lost time. 

Picard speaks to Lily in his office on the Enterprise-E in Star Trek: First Contact.

GEORGE CARMONA 3RD: Star Trek has always been in my life in some form or fashion, growing up in NYC during the late ’70s and early ’80s, because of syndication it felt like the Original Star Trek was always on channel 11. In the summer, Star Trek could be on at noon or midnight, and I was probably watching, especially the midnight airing, hoping to catch “Mirror, Mirror,” or “Balance of Terror.” And I can’t forget the toys, being a comic book kid, it was a bit weird to have Batman and Superman teaming up with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, I couldn’t afford the Enterprise set, but I’d play with my friends whenever we hung out at his place. 

But it’s beyond the fandom as Trek has ingrained itself into my life in some special ways, like having a boss who wrote me into a Star Trek novel, making me the first officer of the Enterprise-C. If it wasn’t for Trek and the Next Generation movie First Contact, I wouldn’t have connected with the woman who would become my Wife, and it’s one of the best coincidences that my favorite niece was born on April 5th, I’m working on bringing her into the Star Trek family.