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Beaming Away Loneliness

One fan looks at how The Animated Series helped him adjust to a period of change in his life.

Graphic illustration of Captain Kirk with his fists on his hips and Scotty, McCoy, and Spock holding his tricorder behind him

"I should probably start writing this piece."

"After all, I do have a deadline to meet."

At least that's what I tell myself while standing at the back window looking out at the homes that border our street. Just beyond that is a forest, appearing lifeless and naked in the cold winter sun. You know, the more I think about it, the more I can't believe I've already been living here for over a year. I've no idea where the time went and, while I've been fortunate enough to make some friends since coming here, I can't help but still experience the pangs of loneliness from time to time.

You see, I came to eastern Ontario after 37 years in the same town. It's where I was born. Where I grew up. It's where I met the love of my life and where I first became a father. I knew the area like the back of my hand and had friendships stretching all the way back to when I was a kid. Had it been up to me, I never would've left in the first place. But, as I am sure many of you know, sometimes you just don't have a choice in the matter. Now, don't get me wrong. My new town is very nice. It's quiet and clean, and the people are all really friendly. In fact, if I'm being honest, it has oftentimes proven itself to be the perfect environment for a freelance writer such as myself to get some work done.

Sulu and Uhura offer aid in lifting McCoy up after enduring a prank in the rec room in 'The Practical Joker'

"The Practical Joker"

However, that hasn't always been enough to get me through the day. It's no secret that moving to a new location can be a daunting experience. One often accompanied by feelings of isolation and loneliness. During such times, finding solace in familiar and comforting sources of entertainment becomes crucial — at least as I have come to learn. Star Trek: The Animated Series served as one such source for me; offering a unique blend of adventure, camaraderie, and optimism that helped inject some much needed familiarity amidst the challenge of relocation.

One of the key elements that made Star Trek: The Animated Series such a comforting companion for me during this time of loneliness was its emphasis on inclusivity and diversity. The show, which originally aired on NBC back in the 1970s, was ahead of its time in portraying a diverse crew working together harmoniously on the starship Enterprise. Watching characters of various species and backgrounds collaborate helped foster a sense of belonging and acceptance, offering a comforting reminder that diversity is a strength rather than a source of division.

A weapon locks onto Sulu as he, Uhura, and Spock stand atop of a trap aboard a frozen planet set up by the Kzinti in 'The Slaver Weapon'

"The Slaver Weapon"

Moreover, the animated format of the series allows for imaginative storytelling, taking viewers on adventures beyond the constraints of live-action productions. This escapism was particularly valuable for me during the earliest days of grappling with the challenges of my new, slightly more isolated environment. The show spent a lot of time introducing me to captivating alien worlds and species, providing a rather welcome distraction from the difficulties of acclimating to a new place. The charming animated approach to these stories also allowed for a more whimsical and light-hearted tone, adding a layer of warmth and humour that I've come to appreciate even more over the years — even before it began serving as a soothing balm of sorts during the darkest of moments.

The central theme of exploration in Star Trek also resonates strongly in the animated series as well. As with its live-action counterpart, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the rest crew of the Enterprise continue to embark on a number of different missions to explore new frontiers, encounter new civilizations, and seek out new life spread throughout the stars. This theme of exploration mirrored my own experience, having just moved to a new and unfamiliar location. Just as the characters in Star Trek boldly go where no one has gone before, I quickly found myself facing the uncertainty of a new environment. However, the show's central theme allowed me to actually draw inspiration from the idea of embracing the unknown and discovering the richness that lay beyond what I had reluctantly left behind.

The Enterprise landing party along with Bem on the surface of Delta Theta III, with Kirk, Sulu, Spock, and McCoy all face the Pandronian


The relationships among the crew members in the animated series also contributes significantly to the show's ability to alleviate loneliness. The camaraderie and mutual respect displayed in each episode by characters like Captain Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy help create a strong sense of connection that transcends the screen. For someone feeling isolated in a new place like I was, witnessing the strong bonds among the crew members helped evoke a comforting sense of companionship. The crew's ability to overcome challenges together reinforces the idea that even in the face of loneliness, one can find strength and support through interpersonal connections.

At the same time, the moral and ethical dilemmas explored in Star Trek: The Animated Series offered some valuable insights that resonated with me while navigating the uneasiness of my new surroundings. The show often delves into issues of justice, morality, and diplomacy, encouraging its viewers to take a moment to look inward at their own values. I found this reflective aspect of the series to be rather therapeutic, especially given the feelings of isolation that seemed to be constantly agitated within me, providing an opportunity for introspection and a somewhat surprising renewed sense of purpose that allowed me to face each new day with a stronger sense of positivity than the day before. Add to this the realization that I wasn't wholly alone, but accompanied by a 'crew' that consisted of a wonderfully supportive wife, positive daughter, and encouraging in-laws, and eventually the shroud of darkness that had, at one time, sat so firmly within finally began to ebb away.

A Vulcan, Tellarite, human, and Gorn sit side-by-side and look ahead in 'The Time Trap'

"The Time Trap"

As a bit of a side point, we must also remember that the enduring legacy of Star Trek, with its numerous series and films, has resulted in the creation of a dedicated fan community. In my work as a freelance writer, I often find myself engaging with this community, be it through the online forums, conventions, or interactions on social media. While I wouldn't say they are always positive, in those first few months following my move, I learned to appreciate them as never before. Initially and unintentionally taking said interactions for granted, I soon came to discover that these can actually be a powerful antidote to combating the sting of loneliness. Sharing the love for Star Trek with like-minded, positive and respectful individuals helped provide a sense of belonging and some rather meaningful connections besides. This communal aspect of being a Star Trek fan can be particularly valuable for those who have recently moved and are seeking to build new social circles. In fact, it was a mutual love of Star Trek that actually resulted in me making my first friend just a few months following our move.

In conclusion, take it from someone who knows first hand. Star Trek: The Animated Series does in fact offer a multifaceted remedy for loneliness when faced with the challenges of moving to a new place. Its themes of diversity, exploration, camaraderie, and ethical contemplation provide both a comforting escape and a source of inspiration. By immersing oneself in the world of this animated medium, and by extension the Star Trek franchise as a whole, individuals can find solace, foster a sense of connection, and gain valuable perspectives that help navigate the complexities of a new environment — thus, embracing the fundamentals of Star Trek and finding a coping mechanism of sorts amidst the uncertainties of unexpected relocation.