Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Happy 50th Anniversary, Star Trek!

Fifty years ago on September 8, 1966, the Federation Starship U.S.S. Enterprise (Starfleet designation NCC-1701) set out on a five-year mission that initially lasted only three years but ultimately went on to encompass an animated television series, 13 motion pictures, five more television series, and countless fan conventions, games, toys, books, and all manner of merchandising.

The Decades channel celebrates the momentous occasion with an all-day marathon on September 8 of Star Trek specials from previous anniversaries and milestone events.

And Me TV presents the original series' first broadcast episode, “The Man Trap,” in the show's usual 9 p.m. timeslot this Saturday, followed by a special Svengoolie screening of the first Star Trek pilot, “The Cage,” in which the only familiar faces are Leonard Nimoy as Spock and Majel Barrett (Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's future wife and Nurse/Doctor Christine Chapel in the original series and movies) as the Enterprise's female executive officer, Number One. And on the same night Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens makes its television debut on all Starz channels!

I have been a Trekker, Trekkie, and all manner of nomenclature associated with dedicated devotees of Star Trek for 36 years, and I shall happily continue to be.

Not only have I had the pleasure of being a fan of the franchise for all those years, but I have also had the honor and privilege of professionally interviewing several of its prominent representatives – original series stars William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy and their Star Trek VI costar Kim Catrall, and Next Generation-ers Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, and John de Lancie. I also had the good fortune to meet Shatner, James Doohan, and Walter Koenig in person. (And I saw Gates McFadden and Alexander Siddig – Siddig El Fadil at the time – at a special Star Trek exhibition at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.)

May Star Trek continue to live long and prosper (as it currently does with the original series on Me TV, Star Trek: The Next Generation on BBC America, theatrical feature films, and the forthcoming CBS television series, Star Trek: Discovery).

--Raj Manoharan

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