5 Awesome Things About Star Trek
If you know anything about Gene Roddenberry’s groundbreaking science-fiction show, you know that it wasn’t even supposed to make it on air in 1966. Yet here we are fifty years later, and Star Trek is still going strong, with new movies and a new TV show slated for 2017.
So we’re celebrating the show’s golden anniversary with our list of five awesome things about Star Trek!
1. Star Trek Created “Fandom”
Sure, there were official fan clubs and letter-writing campaigns long before Star Trek; but trekkers set the standard. In 1968, NBC announced the show would be canceled after its second season. Frenzied fans responded with a blizzard of letters that saved the show for a third season. Much of this grassroots energy was generated by fanzines, collections of stories written by Star Trek die-hards. Fans met at sci-fi conventions (eventually spawning Trek-only conventions) where they swapped zines and celebrated their Trek geekiness. Today, every entertainment franchise has a fandom – and they owe it all to Star Trek!
2. Star Trek Had a Huge Cultural Impact
How many TV shows that air only three seasons have any impact whatsoever, let alone a major cultural influence for fifty years? Before you answer, here’s a list of shows that – like Star Trek – got pulled after three seasons:
Blue Mountain State
My Favorite Martian
I Married Joan
The Greatest American Hero
My Two Dads
Pretty sure people won’t be flocking to theaters for a reboot of the Blue Mountain State universe in 2056!
Meanwhile, Star Trek spawned four more TV spin-offs (soon to be five) and over a dozen feature films, including a reimagined Trek universe in 2009. It spurred public and government interest in the space program. It inspired generations of entrepreneurs, scientists and physicians. It inspired countless everyday folk with its racially diverse and gender integrated crew achieving great things. Star Trek predicted technologies such as the cell phone and automatic doors; and popularized future tech like warp drives, transporters and shield generators that today’s physicists strive to invent.
Heck, there’s an 11-foot model of the Enterprise in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum – unlike Gilligan’s bamboo taxi!
3. The Star Trek Future Rocks
I don’t mean just the cool stuff like starships, phasers and Romulan Ale. I mean that Star Trek depicts a future that’s full of discovery and hope. (And Klingons. But even they aren’t so bad, once you get to know them.)
The plots of the Star Trek shows weren’t just about good versus evil, but about us – about humanity, about where we’re going and how it should be. Reality gives us plenty of reasons to fear tomorrow, but Star Trek consistently reminds us we need to make a future that we want to live in, a future where we’re better off together than alone, where understanding trumps fear. With the will and the vision, anything is possible! That’s the Star Trek message and it’s a good one for this or any age.
4. Star Trek Makes Being Old Cool
Let’s face it, most Star Trek fans these days are kinda . . . old. Not all of them, of course; but a lot of people have grown up with the franchise and been fans for most of their lives. The good news is, in the world of Star Trek, it’s cool to be old! The Original Series actors set that standard themselves, running around and saving the galaxy into their 70s. Heck, Ricardo Montalban was 61 when he portrayed Khan in 1982, and he was built like a Mack truck!
In the Star Trek universe, technology has increased the human life span well over a century – and in reality, modern medicine is headed right in that direction. If 60 is the new 40, wait until the 23rd century – 130 will be the new 100!
5. Star Trek Gave The World . . .
. . . warp drive, “live long and prosper,” miniskirts in the workplace, Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, phasers, the first interracial kiss, Nichelle Nichols, transporters, the Vulcan nerve pinch, tribbles, conventions, Klingons, pointy ears, the Kobayashi Maru, “beam me up, Scotty” (even though Kirk never said it), George Takei, pon farr, The Wrath of Khan, wormholes, “to boldly go” . . .
To be continued on the 100th Anniversary!