On September 8, 1966, exactly 50 years ago today, the very first episode ofStar Trek aired on television. More than just science fiction, it dared to imagine a future for humanity where it had moved past war, inequality, and poverty, replacing them with tolerance, exploration, and hope....
Star Trek has had many incarnations over the years—there have been six television shows, 726 total episodes, 13 movies, and one reboot—but its primary mission has stayed the same. The result is a series that won countless awards (31 Emmys!) but has also fostered a massive fandom that includes actors, politicians, and more....President Barack Obama is a fan.
On-screen, it helped popularize diversity in popular entertainment. It made all its viewers feel included and inspired.
- A beautiful example is Leslie Jones telling the story of seeing Whoopi Goldberg on television for the first time and being so thrilled to see someone who looked like her.
- And that connects back to Goldberg, when she saw Uhura on Star Trek at age nine. “I looked at it and I went screaming through the house,” she said, “‘Come here, mom, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.”
- (This quote is from a Whoopi that still knew she was black and that all black people hadn't made it yet. This version of Whoopi Goldberg seems long gone.)