The date was September 8, 1966 and NBC launched a new weekly science fiction television program, that would dispite low ratings, would eventually explode into a juggernaut franchise that would affect the lives of millions — including yours truly (although I would not be born for another 15 months).
The program was Star Trek and it followed the adventures of the crew of the starship Enterprise on their five year mission (though the series would only last for three seasons initially). Led by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy), the crew of the Enterprise explored strange new worlds, seeked out new life and new civilizations, and boldy went where no man had gone before.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock on Talos IV you’re well aware that Star Trek: The Original Series went on to spawn five additional spin-off series and ten motion pictures – with an eleventh planned for 2007. Created by Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek has become a multi-billion dollar franchise and is still viewed worldwide on television today. Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock have become pop icons. The fanbase has garnished the distinction of being known as “Trekkies” (and/or “Trekkers” for the later generation). The language of the fictional Klingon alien race has become an official language. And NASA named the first space shuttle Enterprise — to name just a few impacts that Star Trek has made.
By all accounts I would be considered a “Trekkie.” I have been a Star Trek fan for as long as I can remember. I grew up watching reruns on television and have seen all original 79 episodes countless times. I saw all ten Star Trek movies in the theaters more than once (not just on DVD), and I’m still likely to shed a tear at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn.
I could go on to discuss Star Trek: The Next Generation (which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2007) and the other spin-off series that also make up the Trek franchise, but this post is about the series that started it all. I just wanted to take a moment and geek-out a little bit and get my nerd on…
Star Trek has been — and always will be — my friend. Live long and prosper.