Google commemorates 46 years of Star Trek with a really cool animated doodle today. I won’t give away all the secrets, but will say take a moment to move your mouse around the doodle and look for the highlighted areas. The doodle does a great job of capturing the drama, sound affects, and some of the corniness of Star Trek.
Star Trek was the brainchild of Gene Rodenberry, an American screenwriter and producer. It is hard to believe, due to the incredible popularity Star Trek enjoys today, but its beginnings did not go quite so smooth. In a sense, Star Trek was far ahead of its time both literally and figuratively. The original series only lasted from 1966 to 1969 and enjoyed meager ratings. It wasn’t until the 1970s that they began to enjoy a cult following and the reruns gained popularity. This eventually led to a whole new enterprise of movies and shows. Oddly enough, though nominated for several, Start Trek never received an Emmy award.
I know that my appreciation for Star Trek didn’t develop until I was much older. I was much more drawn to the light sabers and shootouts of Star Wars as a child. However, as I got older and had the chance to watch Star Trek again, I realized that the characters on the show were very good. There’s no doubt that Star Trek was more cerebral than many of the other science fiction shows of the 70s and 80s. I especially loved the spin-off shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.
The Star Trek series can teach us a lot today, I believe. While the theme of the show was to search space as “the final frontier”, I believe the show crossed a much more important frontier. The frontier I refer to is that of human understanding and tolerance. The crew of U.S.S. Enterprise set out to boldly explore and learn from other cultures. As they followed their prime directive, they didn’t seek to interfere with culture, but simply to learn from them. This put them in difficult predicaments at times just as it does for us here in the real life. I believe we would do well to honor the legacy of Star Trek by taking a moment to assess our view of the world around us and learn not only to tolerate people, but to respect them as well. In the words of Spock, I end with this wish for you to “live long and prosper”!