If you were paying attention, there was something funny in Google’s look on this September 8th… An image with a Star Trek theme adorns Google’s writing above its search bar…
The Star Trek story illustrates the adventures of humans and aliens who joined Starfleet, a peace-loving group that lives in space and also a space organization called the United Federation of Planets, a kind of UN version of space life, so imagined by Gene Rodenberry.
The initial idea that was initiated by Gene Rodenberry in 1963 was about how human life 200 years in the future. This best describes the Star Trek story. Although the Star Trek story was originally told to go against the flow of problems around the 60s, but this concept eventually sold well in the international market until the late 1970s.
Now from that brief history, Star Trek developed into a product that sells well in the American and International markets. Even TVRI, the national channel television in Indonesia had aired it.
Back on topic, what are you exactly doing to celebrate the Star Trek Day? The best and easiest way to celebrate Star Trek Day is simply taking the time to marathon the original series. Take care on the first episode, it is easily rated as one of the spookiest and unnerving of all episodes. But if you wish to know about the walkthrough of where-should-I-begin, let us guide you. Here is a quick guide.
The Original Series (TOS)
The first Star Trek series, better known today as Star Trek: The Original Series, first aired in the United States in 1966. Tells of the adventures of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) spacecraft with crew captain James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner), Spock commander from planet Vulcan (Leonard Nimoy), doctor Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and others. The series was first broadcast less well-known and after three years was finally cancelled.
Strangely, even after being cancelled the popularity of this series soared. Because of high production costs, NBC television studios then sold broadcast rights to local stations. This is where Star Trek experienced a revival and many people became loyal fans.
The Animated Series
After that in 1973 Star Trek returned in the form of animation or cartoons. Still with the same characters and voiced by the original actors, the series is named Star Trek: The Animated Series and only lasts for two years.
In 1978 there were plans to revive this television series. Captain Kirk will again be played by Shatner in the Star Trek: Phase II series, but Nimoy refuses to return as Spock, so a replacement is found to play another Vulcan character, Xon (David Gautreaux). Another additional character is planned, Ilia from planet Delta (Persis Khambatta).
Before this plan could be realized, George Lucas launched the film Star Wars and exploded as a huge success around the world. The Star Trek producer then slams the wheel and processes the scenario for the television series to become a feature film called Star Trek I: The Motion Picture.
In this movie, Gautreaux got a small role and Khambatta continued to play Ilia. All the main actors from the television film again played their respective roles, including Nimoy. The film also achieved success at the box office and continued with the following films which until now (2013) had twelve (including the first film). See Widescreen Film.
The Next Generation (TNG)
In addition, since 1987, other Star Trek series have also been made, starring different crews. Star Trek: The Next Generation tells about the crew of Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) with Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes). The time is about a century after the first series. This series lasted for seven years.
Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine began in 1993 and tells a space station led by commander (and later captain) Benjamin Sisko (Brooks Avery). This station is located near the Bajor planet and a wormhole that leads to the gamma quadrant (ie the other quarters of the Milky Way galaxy – illustrated that the earth is located in the alpha quadrant). As a result, many alien species stop by and conflicts occur between them. Like its predecessor, this series was also closed after seven years.
Star Trek: Voyager, as the name suggests, describes the journey of the USS Voyager spacecraft (NCC-74656) with captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) who was thrown into the delta quadrant (ie the quarters of other parts of the Milky Way galaxy) by an alien force and looking for a way back to earth. This series began in 1995 and closed seven years later. The 5th series of the Star Trek franchise continues the spirit of exploration and the discovery of new values that began in ST: TOS. One of the values and order of the old society that was broken down was the appointment of a woman to be the captain of a ship, something as taboo as the racial-kissing scene between Captain Kirk (a white man) and Lieutenant Uhura (a black woman) in the 1960s in one of the ST: TOS episodes.
The last series produced was Star Trek: Enterprise (originally referred to as Enterprise only), which tells the adventure of the Enterprise NX-01 aircraft under the leadership of Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula). This series is the first series prequel, with a background of about a century before.
Racial Equality Issues behind the Movie
The Star Trek series was showed in the 60’s in The United States which had a history of racial struggles. Slavery had been legal in the United States for much of its history as people were able to buy, sell, and dispose of others as if they were property. The abolition of slavery was one of the aims accomplished through the American Civil War.
Even after the war, though, racism flourished. Segregation was practiced in many locations throughout the first half of the 20th century as people were denied basic rights.
This reached a head in the 1960s as the civil rights movement gained ground and as white supremacist groups fought back. In 1963, the bombing of an African American Church in Birmingham, Alabama left four schoolgirls dead and several others injured. In 1965, the killing of Jimmie Lee Jackson by a state trooper during a peaceful protest drew attention to the struggle for equality. Jackson’s death inspired the three Selma to Montgomery marches of that same year.
When those marches were met with violent opposition from law enforcement as well as civilians, the nation was shocked by the images of brutality. Just five months later, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Less than three years after that, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. While the primary racial divide was between white and black Americans, other minorities were also repressed.
This was the backdrop for many Star Trek episodes. In an era when racism was rampant, Star Trek featured a racially mixed crew. Prominent bridge officers included Lieutenant Uhura as a communications officer of African descent and Lieutenant Sulu as an Asian helmsman. Having cast members in such important roles was revolutionary for the time.
Star Trek promotes equality by not saying much of anything. Just look at the original crew. Yes, you have the charismatic and handsome Captain Kirk, but you also have Spock (an alien), Sulu (Asian) Chekov (A Russian during the Cold War), Nurse Chapel (female), and Uhura (Black Female). They didn’t say anything about race, they just worked together as a team of professionals in an era when segregation and tensions between races was exceptionally high and most Americans were fearful of the Russians. Yet this show had them all working together and solving problems in ways that were unheard of at the time.
The Next Generation did the same thing. The Chief Engineer was black, the original Security Chief was first a woman and then a Klingon (originally an enemy of the original crew), and the Doctor was a woman. They were, again, equals. No one called out race as a major point of contention amid the crews, preferring instead to work together to solve the problems they faced rather than create new ones. And that had a huge impact on people.
Star Trek did what most shows and books at the time simply pat themselves on the back for but never directly included. It was all too common to have the white lead say “We’ve learned from the past mistakes” and never show it. Instead, Trek simply said “Here’s a problem, and I need these professionals to get to work. Yes, I’m aware our Chief Engineer is black, what about it?”
Ignore their different characteristics, like Kirk’s charm, or Sulu’s coolness, or Spock’s ruthless yet likeable logic. Take them at face value, if even for a bit. Kirk’s a white male, Sulu’s an Asian male, Chekov was a Russian male, Uhura’s African American female, and Spock is, well… Spock.
This very crew setup suggests many things. For one, race doesn’t matter on the Enterprise. In an age where African Americans and Asians were discriminated against simply by their skin color, Star Trek defied the status quo. By casting them, Star Trek showed a future where people of all races could work together with no or little issues. The crew didn’t care that Uhura was black, or Sulu was Asian, they valued them because of their talents, skills, and experience. I mean, Chekov was Russian, and this aired during the Cold War. Which meant the US was terrified of the Russians? In the reboots, Sulu is even gay, too. That was unexpected.
TNG followed up on that, elaborating a bit further. The Chief Engineer, Geordi, was black, but displayed his value to the crew several times. Data was an android, and that, like race, would open up a whole alley of discrimination simply because he wasn’t a biological being. The ship’s doctor was a woman, as was the ship’s therapist, and the tactical officer was even a Klingon, kind of like the more distant equivalent of Chekov. They, like the TOS crew, had put aside racial and gender bias and evaluated the crew members based on their ability to do what they were tasked to do.
Unfortunately, racism and gender bias hadn’t fully gone away. Commander Hobson of the Sutherland believed Data wouldn’t a good captain simply because he was an android, an example of racism. The world, even 51 years after the Civil Rights Act, is still gripped in the throes of racism and bias. This election cycle, we now have a President-elect who campaigned about shutting Muslims out of the country because of his irrational fear of terrorists, and because they were Muslim.
The point is, Star Trek pioneered the advancement of humanity towards a more equal world, though said world is not even close to what Roddenberry imagined. In the face of all this hate and vile, remember what made Star Trek ground-breaking, tolerance.
Star Trek series become so popular because of their theme which has various viewpoints; culture, the value of loyalty, arbitrariness, imperialism, war equipment, peace, religion, racism, human rights, feminism, and certainly technology, embracing the science, sexuality and gender, and so on… These made Star Trek become one of the most saleable series of all time.
So, why don’t we join and celebrates the positive vibes which comes along with the movies all at once? Let’s put together some themed snacks and get yourself ready to do a marathon movie! There is no better way to get in the spirit of Star Trek Day!