...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...
[Just havin' a little fun at Shatner's expense. He knows I love him.]
Today is the 40th anniversary of Star Trek's first broadcast. From the official website:
On the evening of the 8th of September, following Daniel Boone, this new NBC show premiered with an episode called "The Man Trap." The angle of the story was different, to say the least: It was a love story with a sci-fi twist, borne of a relationship from the doctor's past, featuring a monster that, in the end, just wanted to live. It was moving, tragic and anything but cheesy. The viewers — at least the ones who were paying attention — were hooked.Indeed it has.
This show proved it had something different. It had a unique life that would go on to exist beyond expectation. It stood outside of time, as it tapped into universal themes and epic struggles, and put the cosmos on notice. Things have changed! Primetime on NBC eventually proved that this was no place for something so big, so broad in scope. This three-season show, after all, would go on to spawn four live-action spin-offs, an animated series, ten movies and counting, plus a licensing empire that, to this day, embraces books, videos, exhibits and assorted merchandise.
Like other cultural, artistic or philosophical phemonena (think Mozart, Van Gogh or Jesus) this new show was largely unappreciated in its own time and only later would be seen as what it is today, a world-wide, cultural juggernaut. Thanks to a form of TV recycling called syndication, the show became a hit to generations of young, impressionable kids, including many future scientists, astronauts and actors. What's ironic is that by today's ratings standards, it would have been a hit in its original run. But back then, with only three major networks, it didn't quite pull its weight. It was only with the need to syndicate TV programs, to get more than one bite out of the entertainment cherry, did this show become what it was all along. It just needed a form of resurrection; the people who had heard of it from their parents, teachers, friends or older siblings tuned in after school, prior to the dinner hour. It turned out to be the perfect time to hit this new, fresh audience and the show became lodged in the collective minds of a nation.
Happy birthday Star Trek. And thanks Gene, wherever you are.
Update: Check out the Star Trek 40th Anniversary Carnival at A Mama's Rant. Submit your own post, if you got one.