Star Trek (Original Series)

560px-star_trek_tos_logo-svgYears: 1966-1969

Synopsis: In the mid 23rd century, the crew of the starship Enterprise boldly goes where no one has gone before.

Pros: Part sci-fi action-adventure, part space western, part head trip, the original series aimed to bring everything to the plate. Possibly the most diverse cast of the 1960s.

Cons: Can be a mixed bag on writing quality. There are several episodes that either may make one see why it’s still beloved or why is was canceled after three seasons. The 1960s aesthetic can seem a bit dated for today’s viewer.

The series creator, Gene Roddenberry, perhaps worked harder than any other writer-producer to make this show happen. The first pilot, “The Cage,” was produced in 1964, with Jeffery Hunter as Captain Pike, Majel Berrett as the first officer, and Leonard Nimoy as science officer Spock. Being a progressive sci-fi story, it had such quirky production issues as Vina’s green Orion appearance being muted by the film processors before they knew she was supposed to look green. It was rejected by NBC for being too cerebral, too slow, Barrett’s strong female presence, and Spock’s “satanic” appearance, but NBC was still interested. In some ways, I like this pilot better than the second, if only because it was more independent minded.

After negotiations between Roddenberry and NBC, the more action oriented “Where No Man Has Gone Before” was then produced the next year. Spock was the only character retained (Majel Berrett returned in the regular series as Nurse Chapel). NBC liked the second pilot enough to move forward, in spite of a “satanic” Spock and the strong female presence and sacrifice of Dr. Elizabeth Dehner (Sally Kellerman). It was indeed more of an action-oriented plot, and still holds up today as a strong piece of science. Though not without causing some continuity curiosities, like Spock’s seemingly more emotional presence, “The Cage” was later incorporated into Star Trek cannon. In spite of its brief tenure on the air, this show proved to be the seed of one of the most successful and long running franchises in history without truly sacrificing the original series’ ideals.

Star Trek Franchise

Official Sites:
The Cage
Where No Man Has Gone Before
Official Series Website

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