Considering its first incarnation lasted only three TV seasons before it was canceled in 1969, Star Trek is one of the most successful television franchises in the medium. It has spawned multiple TV and movie spin-offs, a burgeoning collectibles industry, and legions of devoted fans who debate the show’s meaning and subtleties and don’t seem to mind when they are parodied as nerdy geeks. They have organized many conventions devoted to the show.
The original Star Trek TV series debuted on the NBC television network on September 8, 1966. While it gradually developed its devoted fan base, the show never had huge ratings, but they were good enough for it to last three seasons. The last episode of the original show aired on June 3, 1969.
It was canceled then, but the Star Trek juggernaut had yet to begin. After it went off the air its fans began a lengthy campaign to resurrect the program, which led to the first of its movies, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which opened in 1979 and had most of the TV show’s original cast. It was followed by several sequels, and the success of these films enabled series creator Gene Roddenberry to launch a spin-off series called Star Trek: The Next Generation, which debuted in 1987, more than twenty years after the original series debuted.
That show lasted for seven years before wrapping it up in 1994. It too had several big screen versions. Another spin-off series called Deep Space Nine ran from 1993 to 1999; a third, Star Trek Voyager ran from 1995 to 2001, and a fourth, Star Trek: Enterprise followed that.
Theresa Beatty is an avid reader of science fiction who has attended Star Trek conventions.