Star Trek

Fifty years ago, a phenomenon was born.  A television series embraced and enjoyed to this day.

Star Trek.

There’s probably not much new about this series that I could relate here.  It’s known around the world.  But for those who may not be as familiar with the Original Series and its numerous spinoffs, here’s a bit of background.

Gene Roddenberry, a World War II vet, was a Los Angeles policeman in the 1950s.  He was assigned to the public information division and eventually began work as a technical advisor on police and district attorney-based TV series.  That led to writing scripts.  By 1956, he left the police force to write full time for various series.  But being a fan of classic science fiction and having a solid vision of the kind of series he wanted to write, Roddenberry began working on Star Trek.  It was to be a science fiction show for adults.  Of course there would be action and adventure; but the setting would present an idealized future, where the problems of 20th century Earth, for all intents and purposes, would be solved.  No war.  No poverty.  No prejudices.

Roddenberry finally found a home for his series with Desilu, the company that produced I Love Lucy and The Untouchables.  (Lucille Ball herself okayed Star Trek, along with another ground-breaking series, Mission: Impossible.)  After two pilots were produced, Star Trek was sold to NBC for broadcast.  And on September 8, 1966, the series debuted.  On the verge of cancellation after two seasons, the show was saved through a fan write-in campaign.  But season three was the last.  The Original Series ceased production.

Who knows what might have happened after that?  But TV is a hungry medium and reruns of old series are a staple of programming.  Interest in Star Trek grew as people watched episodes over and over again.  Fans gathered for conventions.  Books were published, continuing the series.  Enthusiasm for Trek never waned.  The series presented a vision of hope for the future, and that resonated with the viewers.

You know the story from there.  The adventures of the crew of the Starship Enterprise fired the imagination and devotion of legions of fans.  From the Original Series to the Animated Series.  Then the Next Generation to Deep Space Nine to Voyager and, finally, Enterprise, we have followed the people of the United Federation of Planets.  And those are just the TV series.  To date, there have six movies continuing the adventures of the Original Series and four movies about the crew of the Next Generation.

And there’s no end in sight.  In 2009, J. J. Abrams wrote and directed a big screen reboot version of the Original Series.  A new cast portrayed the characters we’ve known and loved for years.  That movie was a hit and there have been two sequels with another planned.  The Star Trek universe is scheduled to return as a streaming series, Star Trek: Discovery, in 2017.  And over the past 50 years, hundreds of books that have been published about the various series, both fiction and non-fiction.

To celebrate the anniversary of Star Trek and the impact the series has had on entertainment and even science, check out the titles below.  Or click on one of the highlighted titles above.


TV series

Star Trek (The Original Series)
Star Trek: the Next Generation
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Voyager
Enterprise

 

Movies (The Original Series)

Star Trek: the Motion Picture
Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan
Star Trek III: the Search for Spock
Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home
Star Trek V: the Final Frontier
Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country

 

Movies (The Next Generation)

Star Trek Generations
Star Trek: First Contact
Star Trek: Insurrection
Star Trek: Nemesis

 

Reboot

Star Trek
Star Trek: Into Darkness

 

Documentaries

The Captains
Trek Nation
Trekkies 2

 

Flickr: CC          : Star Trek          Photo by milton.guerrero