Star Trek at 50

William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek

50 Years. It is hard to believe. I still remember where I was and who I was watching with on September 8, 1966, when Star Trek premiered on NBC. If only we knew then what we know now.

The anniversary has triggered a deluge of comments on social media and, as is usual in this day and age a great deal of controversy. And why not? The original series, now formally known as TOS, has been followed by four more, plus an animated series. And a fifth is on its way. On this date we can also count a franchise of 13 films. I’m not going to even try to total the number of novels, comic books, works of non-fiction about the Star Trek world and the success of the concept. Or the number of doctoral dissertations written about this phenomena, or the number of college courses taught on Star Trek themes. It is all a moving target.

And because in these days of social media anything and everything becomes an issue for debate, it should be noted that while many commentators see Star Trek as a noble venture which presented sensitive and controversial issues to a world not ready to openly discuss them and encouraged generations of young people to pursue careers in the sciences, others see Star Trek as a fable describing a utopian world to which even it was not faithful. Like most of these disputes, where is some truth in both positions.

 

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