From the pilot episode, which aired in September 1966 on NBC, Star Trek has taken people ‘where no man has gone before'. The show has served as a guide, escorting fans through the previously unexplored areas of science fiction territory in their minds. It is because of Gene Roddenberry's utopian vision of the future that science fiction has a more mainstream appeal to all generations. His legacy lives on through the modern visionaries his work has inspired.
The history of the Star Trek phenomenon started with Gene Roddenberry but it was fueled by the events of the world around the fans. Space exploration was fast becoming a reality with the "space race" that was raging between the United States and Russia. People around the world could only imagine what awaited the human race on the other side of Earth's atmosphere, picturing a universe that was fraught with peril and full of wonders. Gene Roddenberry's "Star Trek" gave the world an idea of what might be waiting for those souls that dared to brave the ‘final frontier'. It united the culture and the history of that era.
Gene Roddenberry produced the first pilot, The Cage, in December 1964 but it was rejected by NBC. Network executives claimed the pilot put too much emphasis on the intellectual concept behind Roddenberry's vision. NBC agreed to allow Roddenberry to make changes that would allow for more excitement for the action and adventure aspect of the show, making it more of a commercial success. In 1965 Roddenberry came back with a pilot that showed off the acting talents of William Shatner as the captain of the Enterprise and it received NBC's stamp of approval. No one involved in this process had any way of knowing they were making television history.
The original cast for Star Trek included William Shatner as Captain James Kirk, with Leonard Nimoy as the unshakable and always logical Spock. The duo was a good pairing, allowing Spock's logic to temper Kirk's cowboy instinct. The show also featured DeForest Kelley as Dr. "Bones" McCoy and the beautiful Uhura, played by Nicholle Nichols, who shared television's first interracial kiss with Captain Kirk. James Doohan played Montgomery ‘Scotty' Scott, the ship's chief engineer. These are just a few of the favorites on a cast of actors that never dreamed their impact would reach so far or that they would be so well received.
"Star Trek" started its sci fy romance with fans as a little known show with little known actors and a very small budget. It only made it through two seasons before NBC decided to cancel the show. This idea went over poorly with the fans and NBC received over 100,000 letters requesting a third season. NBC gave the fans what they wanted but the show aired on Friday nights when most of the fans would be out for the evening, enjoying their weekends. The show was cancelled after season three, due to the poor ratings.
Although not a major mainstream success, the show had an impact that was unprecedented among TV viewers. Star Trek fans flocked to Star Trek conventions dressed as their favorite characters from the show, calling themselves "trekkies", a term that described their loyalties to the show and its more far-reaching concepts of space exploration and a utopian civilization. Season one featured 29 episodes which ran from September 1966 through April 1967. Season two had 26 episodes and ran from September 1967 to March 1968. Season three offered 24 episodes and ran from September 1968 to June 1969. In three seasons, Star Trek captured the hearts and imaginations of a world-wide culture.
Take a little break from the humdrum and Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before! Check out some of the best Star Trek TV Series moments! Do you have a favorite Star Trek Series? How about a favorite Star Trek movie? Who is your favorite character? Is your favorite Star Trek moment shown?