Sunday, September 11, 2016

Happy Anniversary Star Trek

This week (specifically Thursday) was the 50th anniversary of the premier of Star Trek on NBC. I was about 17 months old when it premiered and four years old when it was cancelled.  When I was in grade school, I started watching reruns of the show during that period when Trek was over and there was no anticipation of any future Trek. I don't remember exactly how I discovered it or which episode I saw first, but I was quickly consumed by its high tech, diverse and hopeful vision of the future.

I love Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings; I encountered both during the 1970s and immediately became a huge fan. But Star Trek has always been my favorite and had an incalculable impact on who I am today. Star Trek has not only given me thousands of hours of entertainment, but has helped to shape my world view.

Star Trek portrays a future where humanity has discarded all the old -isms that have lead to nothing but sorrow, pain and death. Racism, sexism, nationalism, hatred and criminality have all been erased by the show's fictional 23rd century. Humanity is united in peace, democracy and the idea that every individual has the right of self-determination but that we work best together as one people. Of course, it's easier to do that in Star Trek's world of limitless resources, but it's a vision of a kinder, more benevolent and enlightened humanity that's worth striving for. It's a vision I've seen us move towards during my lifetime, but there's still far to go.

So thank you Star Trek. You've spawned hundreds of episodes of four (soon to be five) additional TV series, 13 movies, hundreds of books, and millions of fans. Despite setbacks, cancellations, slashed budgets, and feuding stars, Star Trek endures.

And hopefully carries the rest of humanity along with it.

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