Star Trek: The Original Series
Captain James T. Kirk
Star Trek: The Original Series is the brainchild of Gene Roddenberry. Originally conceived in 1964 by Roddenberry, the series went through extensive retooling before it became the series many know and revere.
Little did Roddenberry know that the series, which went through an extremely bumpy three seasons once it hit the airwaves, would become the cult classic it is today, making bona fide stars out of a little-known (at the time) cast.
STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES PREMIERED IN 1966
Star Trek: The Original Series lasted only three seasons and was in trouble the last two. The series premiered on September 8, 1966, after the series’ first pilot, “The Cage,” was deemed “too cerebral” by NBC.
The network, still happy with the concept of Star Trek, then made the unusual call to fund a second pilot. This one, titled “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” was more to the liking of NBC and they chose to move forward with the series.
To know what the series was all about, all one had to do was to listen to the series’ opening credits which were said perfectly by series star William Shatner. “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
The series followed the adventures of the crew of the USS Enterprise, a starship roaming the Milky Way galaxy in the years 2266-2269. With very few exceptions, all episodes (there was 79 total) were standalone episodes.
Although the first run of Star Trek: The Original Series’ three seasons didn’t quite hit its mark, the series eventually became a cult classic that has since spawned a huge following (Trekkies) to go along with a media franchise that comprises 13 feature films, 11 TV series, and toys, games, and books that are never-ending.
THE STAR TREK CAST WAS LED BY WILLIAM SHATNER AND LEONARD NIMOY
What you couldn’t say about the cast then, you can surely say now. When Roddenberry and crew first brought in the cast for the first Star Trek pilot, it was filled with names such as Jeffrey Hunter, Majel Barrett, Peter Duryea, Laurel Goodwin, John Hoyt, and Leonard Nimoy.
Hunter and Nimoy were the two most known in the bunch. But a massive recast was necessary after NBC saw “The Cage” with only Nimoy and Barrett moving forward.
William Shatner was brought on after Hunter chose not to continue with the series. Shatner’s James T. Kirk became the voice of the series and its leading man. Leonard Nimoy returned as Mr. Spock, the half-human, half-Vulcan who was the moral compass for the series.
Joining Shatner and Nimoy were DeForest Kelly as Leonard “Bones” McCoy, James Doohan as Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov, George Takai as Hikaru Sulu, and Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura.
THE SHOW BEGAN THE DECADES-LONG FRANCHISE
The legacy that surrounds Star Trek: The Original Series is one that could never have been expected back in 1969 when the series was canceled. It wasn’t until the series went into syndication in the early ‘70s that fans truly began to tune in.
The advent of Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973-74), which brought back all of the stars from the Original Series to voice their characters, also helped bring Star Trek to the forefront of science fiction television.
Its newfound popularity finally convinced Paramount that it was time to get the band back together, and in 1979, the very first Star Trek movie, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, premiered. The rest, as they say, is history.
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