Besides Pokémon, another franchise’s anniversary arrives this year. Star Trek, the science fiction franchise, celebrates its 50th anniversary. Created by screenwriter and producer, Gene Roddenberry; the three season NBC program chronicled the events, adventures and missions of Captain James Tiberius Kirk, his Science Officer and Commander Mr. Spock, and the crew of the starship Enterprise.
Star Trek is considered by many to be a stable foundation of the Sci-Fi genre, and is also regarded as one of the most influential television shows in history. Despite running for only three years, Star Trek is a decades old cult phenomenon, with significant history and notoriety. Roddenberry supposedly wanted a sophisticated story with futuristic analogies to the realistic issues facing the world at the time.
Confronting moral dilemmas, such as sexism, racism and conflicting religions, Star Trek came to teach viewers that any problem could be overcome, as was demonstrated by the charismatic Captain Kirk and his loyal, multiracial (and alien) crew.
The show hit many obstacles. Producers had doubts about the diversity and moral lessons that Roddenberry wanted to convey. Many came to dislike Spock for his supposedly demonic appearance and the show was criticized for blatantly flaunting controversial subjects. But, the show continued to explain to the world that many issues could be resolved with determination and camaraderie.
The show’s crewmembers featured characters of multiple ethnicities and backgrounds. With the Southern Medical Officer Leonard “Bones” McCoy, the Scotsman engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, the Japanese-American helmsman Hikaru Sulu, the Russian Ensign Pavel Chekov, and the most notable and controversial of all, the female African Communications Officer, Uhura, the show exhibited peace, loyalty, friendship and the occasional romance between the crewmembers with rare occurrences of violence between them. Kirk, Bones and Spock were considered the main characters, simultaneously trading logic, passion and humor between them.
Despite the hardships and controversies, the show gained a loyal following, leading to six movies, several books and comics, and multiple documentaries revolving around the show, the concept, and the many people involved in it. Viewers discovered the many life forms they shared the world with and found that sometimes there were similarities to real life in unlikely places. From a trial involving an ex-girlfriend to parents who may not understand a child’s choices, one thing is certain: comparability can be found anywhere, even “Where no man has gone before”.
This article was written by Kendall McLeod.