Thursday, April 18, 2024

Why Star Trek?

Star Trek is a billion dollar property for Paramount Pictures. And I've kind of wondered why. It's not the only science fiction show in the 1960s. I remember Land of the Giants and The Time Tunnel. 

There was also Lost in Space which lasted three seasons (the same as Star Trek). It spawned a movie in 1998 and a series in 2018 that lasted three seasons of ten episodes each. I suspect it was shown on a streaming service. I remember my older siblings wanting to watch Lost in Space but I didn't like it because it scared me (I was around 6 years old).

In the '70s there was Space 1999 (which was syndicated) and the Six Million Dollar Man along with The Bionic Woman. Space 1999 lasted two seasons and got worse as the seasons got longer. Then there's Battlestar Galactica. I think it lasted one season. It wasn't very good. (The reboot in the 2000s was much better.)

In the late 70s there was Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. It also lasted two seasons. The last season they totally screwed it up.

So why Star Trek? It wasn't that good. Some episodes were amazing. But a lot of them were just awful. Campy. A friend of mine recently watch the original series (TOS) for the first time and found it... lacking. 

When I was a teenager, I wasn't surprised by Uhura, a black woman on the bridge: a woman who had authority over white men. I just accepted that's how it was. I grew up in a very white area (I didn't see a black person other than on the TV until I was 12 years old). And Sulu didn't bother me at all. My sister dated an Asian boy in high school. Was that part of what made Star Trek special? It probably was at least part of it; I was just too isolated to realize it.

I was watching the "The Apple" episode and Chekov (an obvious Russian) compared the planet to the Garden of Eden. My mother, who happened to hear this wondered why a Russian believed in the Garden of Eden. I said, "Because communism is dead by this time." And that a Russian and Americans could work together is also part of the magic of Star Trek.

A lot of people cite the hope Star Trek displayed. People get along. We don't blow ourselves up. Maybe that is it.

I frankly don't know.

Do you? Let me know in the comments below.

The above photo is being used under Section 107 of the Copyright Act: fair usage.

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