Retro Thursday: Legacy of Star Trek continues
As part of “Star Trek” week, I’m doing a Retro Thursday posting from 2006. This is a story I wrote in September 2006 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of “Star Trek.”
“Star Trek” fans can celebrate this month, as the science fiction legacy commemorates going boldly into the future for 40 years.
“Star Trek” first aired on NBC in September 1966, and despite middling ratings that caused the series to be canceled after three years, the show became a cultural force.
Since, “Star Trek” has spawned 10 motion pictures, five television series and millions in merchandise sales and inspired thousands of fans.
Dara Fogel taught several courses on the philosophy of “Star Trek” while completing her doctorate in ethics and social-political philosophy at the University of Oklahoma.
” ‘Star Trek’ shows a society that has overcome its fears and differences in order to create a world where hate, fear and disease are aberrations rather than the norm,” Fogel said via e-mail.
Further, “Star Trek” forecast several developments in society and technology.
As explored in a recent History Channel special, “Star Trek” influenced technology on multiple fronts.
Graphic novel publisher Larry Young, who wrote the comic-book series “Astronauts in Trouble,” talked about the various kinds of technology ” Trek” pushed forward.
“The Emmy-nominated special ‘How William Shatner Changed the World’ (credits) ‘Star Trek’ with influencing everything from cell phones with their snap-open, commmunicator-style form to Palm Pilots, which echo the functionality of the series’ tricorders, to, dang, laser technology and deep-space probes,” Young said in an e-mail interview.
“Many, many scientists, engineers, doctors and other professionals exposed to (‘Star Trek’) at a young age can’t help but see those adventures and think it might not be a bad thing to address those disciplines in the real world.”
Fogel said “Star Trek” helped promote space travel.
“The exposure to images of space travel invigorated and sustained support for America’s space program, indirectly helping to inspire all the technology developed as a result of that program. The Very Large Array (VLA) program, which scans the skies for signs of extraterrestrial life, has also drawn much support from ‘Star Trek’ fans.”
Young’s background as a “Star Trek” fan paid off for him in 1992, when he worked on “Star Trek Logs: An MTV Big Picture Special Edition” around the release of “Star Trek VI.” The show starred Marina Sirtis as Counselor Troi, showcasing the events of the film.
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