By Isabella Bordonaro
Managing and Online Editor
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa,- In 1966, Science Fiction was an up and coming phenomenon in the television series world. Not many shows attempted it, since technology was not yet advanced, and humans had not even stepped foot on the moon.
One show, though, boldly went where no show had gone before. Not only did they create an innovative Sci-Fi TV show, they taught viewers that space could be reached, and humanity could all coexist peacefully together.
Star Trek first aired on NBC, from 1966 to 1969, according to Dwayne Day, author of the article Star Trek as a Cultural Phenomenon. It was a story about a ship called the U.S.S. Enterprise and its crew, traveling space on a peaceful mission to explore the universe. The main crew consisted of Captain James Kirk, Science Officer Mr. Spock and Doctor Leonard McCoy. Their ship would travel around the galaxy, and gain knowledge about it for the world.
Star Trek was created by Gene Roddenberry, who wanted to make a show that would teach kindness to its viewers, and show that all races could coexist and work together. The show was meant to combat social issues, and teach viewers how humanity could thrive in the future.
The series was canceled after its third season because of low ratings, but it did not die. It thrived more than ever.
Thousands of fans, self-titled as “Trekkies” took the show they loved, and created a massive fandom. They had conventions, wrote new stories and even created new self-made movies branching off of the original stories.
The fan base was so large, that Roddenberry decided to create a movie, titled Star Trek: The Motion Picture. This spawned into a multimillion dollar franchise of seven TV series, and 13 feature films. To this day, the Star Trek fandom continues to be one of the biggest and most passionate. Even with the highly successful relaunch of the new films, there are still conventions and celebrations to bring together both young and older generations of “Trekkies.”
Star Trek depicted a multiracial crew, including a black woman, an Asian, and even an alien. The show continued to break racial barriers, by having the first multi-racial kiss, between Captain Kirk and his crewmate, Lieutenant Uhura. Having this mix of people working peacefully showed that all humans (and aliens) could coexist together if we were kind, and open hearted.
One of the shows most lasting effects though, is the impact it has had on science. Many of the technologies in the show of course did not exist in 1966, like cell phones, computers and space shuttles. These space-age technologies sparked the imagination of the viewers, and allowed them to see what could be potentially possible in the future.
It also inspired many to become interested in science, like Penn State New Kensington student, Nathan Traini. Traini is a self proclaimed “Trekkie” and has loved the series since the first modern feature film in 2009. He believes all should learn from the lessons the series taught.
“Star Trek inspires me to hope for a peaceful humanity, that educational and scientific research is in the interest of all of humans, and instead of funding war and conflict amongst ourselves, we should transfer that energy to making life easier for those in need.”
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this beloved franchise, fans everywhere have been getting together. For example, places in Pittsburgh like the Row House Cinema on Butler Street put on a week long celebration of the series, showing four of the films.
Throughout the rest of US,fans were attending the 50th Anniversary Convention in Las Vegas in August, or getting together in New York for Mission New York, which was a celebration that brought in celebrity guests and exhibits during Labor Day weekend. There was even a new Star Trek movie that came out in July, Star Trek: Beyond, which made $60 million in its opening weekend.
Star Trek has given lovers of the show the ability to connect and interact with each other, and has kept the themes of the show living long and prospering for 50 years, with no signs of dwindling.