Boldly Going For 45 Years… and Counting

On this date, 45 years ago, television audiences first heard the immortal words “Space… the final frontier…”  And thus began the voyages of the starship Enterprise.  There are very few stories in pop culture that have the staying power of Star Trek.  Fewer still can claim to be have lasted so long.  Not bad for a little show that was rejected right from the beginning and got cancelled after each and every season in its initial 3-year run.  And even then, we walked on the moon less than 2 months later.  Then, just like today, NBC was a bit short sighted when it came to seeing potential.  It was renewed by fans.  Fans kept it going.  These fans grew up and passed it on to their children.  And all of those fans shaped the future.  The first space shuttle?  Enterprise.  And she was christened in front of the original bridge crew in 1976.  The profession most inspired by a single fictional character?  Engineering.  Scotty shaped the very future he showed us.  Look around.  The only things we haven’t achieved that Star Trek had are warp drive and transporters… and transporters have been in development for years.

45 years.  5 live action tv shows totalling 726 episodes.  1 animated series.  10 movies and a reboot with a sequel in the works.  More novels than you can probably read in your lifetime.  Comics published across nearly every publisher past and present since 1967.  Countless fanfics and fan films.  And all the merchandise you could ever want, up to and including your very own Tribble that is NOT actually born pregnant.  This is the legacy of Star Trek, made possible because the fans wouldn’t give up on it.  Why?  Simple.  In the years after the JFK assassination, little things like the civil rights movement and the Vietnam conflict shook our country to its foundations.  A generation was in the process of just giving up.  Star Trek gave the idea of hope.  It promoted the possibility that we might actually make it out of the 20th century alive and well.  It introduced people to the idea of multiracial harmony.  It tore down barriers.  And more than that, it proved what creator Gene Roddenberry had been saying all along, that TV audiences really did have a brain… a concept that the networks are still trying to figure out.

It’s easy to go on and on, extolling the virtues of Trekdom.  Every good sci-fi blogger does that on an important anniversary.  But I don’t want to do that today.  Instead, I’d like to call out to the fans because, as I pointed out already, Trek survived then and now because of fans.  What made you a fan?  What kept you involved in Trek?  What did Trek do to influence your life directly?  What’s your favorite Trek moment?  Speak up!  Comment to this and spread the Trek around.

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