National Star Trek Day: A Look Back at This Beloved Show’s History

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In the wide world of movies and TV, few franchises have been as successful and long-lasting as ‘Star Trek.’ Every year on September 8th, fans around the world celebrate National Star Trek Day, commemorating one of the most beloved science fiction worlds of all time. As we mark this special day, let’s take a nostalgic voyage through the history of this beloved franchise that continues to inspire generations.

What is ‘Star Trek’?

If you’ve never watched or read anything from ‘Star Trek,’ you may be in the minority, because the franchise remains one of the highest grossing media franchises of all time. Since its start in the 1960s, ‘Star Trek’ has grossed over $10.7 billion.

‘Star Trek’ envisions a future where humanity has evolved beyond its divisions, with a crew that explores the cosmos aboard the USS Enterprise. With Captain James T. Kirk at the helm along with a diverse crew, ‘Star Trek’ has consistently pushed the boundaries of science fiction storytelling and championed social commentary on a variety of important political and technological subjects.

The genesis of Star ‘Trek’

In 1964, creative screenwriter and producer Gene Roddenberry gave birth to ‘Star Trek,’ originally pitching it to production company Desilu Productions and successfully sealing a deal with NBC to produce the pilot episode. ‘Star Trek’ was unlike anything viewers had ever seen, and it became a foundational element for modern science fiction.

The show had high ratings when it first aired in 1966, though its popularity began to decline by the end of the first season. NBC reduced the show’s budget for the second season, and Roddenberry stepped down as its producer in protest. Fred Freiberger produced the show’s third season before NBC canceled it after 79 episodes.

The franchise expands

By the end of the 1960s, Desilu Productions had rebranded as Paramount. To recoup some of the lost budget for the financially failed ‘Star Trek’ series, Paramount leased the rights to broadcast the show to a variety of television stations. Reruns of the show began in 1969, and in the early 1970s, ‘Star Trek’ finally began to develop the cult following it’s now known for today.

As the original series gained popularity, Paramount realized the franchise could be more popular than it first thought. The studio quickly chose to capitalize on the new following by producing ‘Star Trek: The Animated Series,’ which featured most of the original cast as voice actors for their characters. The animated series quickly spawned a new live-action series and then a movie, which first aired in 1979. The movie became the start of the original ‘Star Trek’ movie series, which comprised six movies between 1979 and 1991.

The universe continues

The original movie series was when ‘Star Trek’ really took off, and now, all in all, the franchise includes three movie series, 11 television series, and a variety of video games, novels, and comic books. The newest generation of ‘Star Trek’ material primarily comprises television shows, including ‘Star Trek: Discovery,’ ‘Star Trek: Picard,’ and several others. These shows are all hosted on the Paramount+ streaming platform, along with all the movies from the entire franchise.