It would be hard to find a work of science fiction with a greater real-world impact than Star
Trek. The futuristic television show, created by Gene Roddenberry, debuted in the USA in 1966.
While creating exciting stories about "strange new worlds and new civilizations," Roddenberry used
the space drama to comment on social and ethical issues.
The crew of the starship Enterprise was racially diverse, a landmark achievement in the
1960s. Working together, they used reason, compassion, and determination to solve problems while
exploring the unknown. Of course, as the show took place hundreds of years in the future, the crew
possessed an endless supply of fantastic weapons and devices. Many of these creations went on to
influence real-world medical, military, communication, and other inventions.
The original series aired for just three seasons, but fan interest steadily grew, leading to the
release of a cartoon series in the 1970s. That was followed by a number of live action movies. Then,
in 1987, a brand new television series set in the Star Trek universe debuted. Even after Gene
Roddenberry's death in 1991, more TV series and movies were made. Eventually, the franchise was
"rebooted" with the 2009 blockbuster film simply entitled Star Trek.
Over the decades, the franchise has stayed true to Roddenberry's vision. Star Trek continues
to address important issues such as medical ethics, disease, and war. So, despite taking place in the
distant future, each Star Trek movie as well as TV show has something to say about the world we
live in now.