I was born in 1966, and so was Star Trek. Both of us, of course, were conceived earlier — myself in 1965, and Star Trek in 1964 as Gene Roddenberry began formulating the mythology that he and many others would develop and transform into one of the grandest and most expansive science fiction ideas ever.
I’ve always loved Star Trek. It was one of the first TV series I ever watched (my mother was a fan right out of the gate, and I’m sure she didn’t discourage me from picking up the late-afternoon habit when the series went into reruns in the early 1970s), and remains my greatest love in all of TV. Other series like The Prisoner and Twin Peaks have blown my mind and cemented their place in my consciousness, but the ideas, performances and dynamic appeal of Star Trek have stuck with me throughout all the years of my life.
The key appeal of the original series was family. Kirk, Spock and McCoy were like your parents, often bickering but always backing each other up in a crisis; Scotty, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov were like beloved siblings or cousins. You didn’t get to see as much of them, but they were always a joy to hang out with and a reminder that the universe is much bigger than just the usual four walls of your own home.
45 years ago tonight, the original Star Trek hit the airwaves. I had planned to write a lengthy essay celebrating this anniversary, then something went wrong either on Tumblr or my computer, and the piece disappeared into the ether. Complaining about the tragic loss of this essay, a friend on Twitter asked “Did Kirk and Spock have sex [in your essay]?” I responded, “Of course; but they had to, to save the ship.”
That mini-tribute to slash fiction out of the way, I’m going to take the lazy way out and link to some of my more substantial Star Trek posts of the past few years. But before I do, I do want to extend a sincere and heartfelt thank you to Gene Roddenberry, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, Gene Coon, Bob Justman, Herb Solow, D.C. Fontana, Harlan Ellison, Majel Barrett, Jerome Bixby, and everyone else living or now passed on, who contributed to Star Trek. The series, and all the movies and sequel series it inspired, have had a profound and lasting impact on my life. It might be nerdy to admit it, but Roddenberry’s progressive, hopeful vision of the future is one of the very foundations of the way I see the world, and of the hopes and dreams I still have for it, no matter how cynical or blinkered I might get on any given day.
Here are some Star Trek articles I wrote that I think express my feelings pretty well:
The 25 Best Original Star Trek Episodes
Does Anyone Really Care About Star Trek Anymore?
My review of J.J. Abrams’s 2009 Star Trek
…and a bonus, the only Star Trek item to ever bring a tear to my eye:
Star Trek VI Teaser Trailer on YouTube