For 30 years, fans of Star Trek have followed the exploits of Kirk, Spock, the U.S.S. Enterprise, and the subsequent crews and space ships. Hundreds of thousands of registered fans loyally attend conventions and spend over $400 per year on merchandise generated by the TV series and movies. Trekkies are the only fans listed by name in the Oxford English dictionary.
"Trekkies" refers to fans of all or parts of the Star Trek fictional universe. The Star Trek television show was cancelled in 1969 and in 1972 devoted followers of the series flocked to their first convention, which was held in New York City. In a 1999 documentary called Trekkies, director Roger Nygard examines the impact of this pop phenomenon on some of its most obsessive fans. The film introduces a woman chosen for jury duty in the Whitewater trial who wore her Star Fleet commanding officer's uniform to the courthouse. We meet a 14-year-old fan who has attended 28 conventions to date. Other interesting folk who have been captivated by the television series and the movies include: Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr., who was a fan of the original series because it showed white people and black people working together as equals; Al Gore, according to his Harvard roommate Tommy Lee Jones, who watched the show more than he studied; and Tom Hanks a fan since childhood, who is rumored to know every episode of the series The Next Generation..
Trekkies reveals the desperate lengths people will go to find a sense of meaning and community in their lives. Here entertainment becomes a surrogate religion.