Why Star Trek? Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura & Sulu's Endless Appeal, Explained

By | September 6, 2020

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William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in the STAR TREK episode, "A Piece of the Action." Original air date, January 12, 1968. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Whether you're a Trekkie, Trekker, or just along for the ride with the crew of the USS Enterprise, Gene Roddenberry's vision of a harmonious future has made an impact on you. Decades after its premiere in 1966, Star Trek continues to offer an optimistic look into the future even when it's overrun with Romulans, Tribbles, and Klingons.

Unlike so much of the science fiction of the 20th century, Star Trek is exceedingly idealistic and that's what keeps audiences coming back. With only three seasons and 79 episodes, TOS continues to provide a utopian vision of tomorrow, something that feels all the more important as the current era becomes more volatile.

Star Trek is an optimistic version of the future

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source: Paramount Domestic Television

Setting aside red shirts and William Shatner's intriguing use of syllables, the one constant in each episode of Star Trek is the optimism with which its cast goes into every situation. Set in a utopian future where Earth no longer cares about race, gender, or nationality, the series explores contemporary problems through a different alien race nearly every week.

Star Trek offers the possibility of progress. It says that no matter how chaotic life is at the moment that some day humanity will be able to put everything aside and move forward as one group of people. It's rare to see such a hopeful view of the future in a genre that's often filled with gloomy, dystopian prospectives.

Categorizing Star Trek as "feel good TV" may be a bit hyperbolic, but its offer of a future without the chaos of the current era (be it the 1960s or the 2010s) is a welcome addition to any television.