To many Star Trek fans, Trek is a philosophy, a way of life, an ideal to aspire to or even a bible of some kind. But to actor Brent Spiner, who portrayed one of Trek's most beloved characters, Lt. Cmdr. Data, Star Trek is really just about entertainment.
In a lengthy and ''fascinating'' (we really wanted to write ''intriguing,'' as Data would always say on The Next Generation, but we had to go with Spock's catchword on that one) interview with UK Theater Network, Spiner spoke about Star Trek and how a lot of fans — Trekkies or Trekkers, if you like, depending where you lean about that whole other kettle of fish—view the sci-fi series with an almost cult-like fervor :
But like Star Trek, for example, there's a — I wouldn't call it cult, necessarily, but there is a large number of people who take it very, very seriously and build their lives around it. It's a religion to them almost.
To me, it's basically a western set in space and we're trying to entertain people. And, yes, there is a little bit of a kind of philosophy running through it that's kind of tame.
Then Brent Spiner adds:
I think there is an illusion about it. You know, if you ask somebody, why has Star Trek lasted so long, they always say the same thing: because it has a positive vision of the future. But to tell you the truth, I don't know what is so positive about it. We are still blowing people away. We carry guns. It's a joke. It's like that illusion that it is somehow all about peace. It's really not. It is a western, it is a shoot'em up. But it does have elements that are nice, like the fact that all people are celebrated for who they are, their differences rather than their similarities, and I think that's a very positive thing. The positive thing about it is just that it depicts a future, and that is somehow reassuring, that there is going to be a future. I don't think it necessarily depicts a future that's better or worse than where we live right now.
There is conflict [...] How is it that we are always blowing people up and blasting our phasers?
That's the shoot'em up, that's the western. They asked Gene Roddenberry, he said, "Well, it's 'Wagon Train to the stars'."
Since we're on the subject of fandom, what about those many, many Star Trek fans who still have a hard time separating Brent Spiner the actor from Data, the android character he played for seven years on Star Trek : The Next Generation and four films?
It is kind of peculiar. Even to this day, if I write something on Twitter that is so counter to what Data would have been, if it's ironic or if it's sarcastic, whatever, the things that I am, people think: "Oh man, I don't really like you. You're not like I thought you were." And my reaction is: "That's too bad! You know, you're not like I thought you were either! I thought you were an adult." (Laughs.)
(via Trek Web)