It was early 1965, and NBC had just passed on “The Cage”, the pilot episode for a science fiction show the network had been considering picking up for their fall season. “Too cerebral”, they said. But they let creator Gene Roddenberry try again. He kept the starship Enterprise, but recast its crew, save for the grinning, excitable science officer played by Leonard Nimoy.
The Spock audiences met on the night of Sept. 8, 1966, when “The Man Trap” became the first Star Trek episode broadcast, was far more sedate and enigmatic character than he’d been in the pilot, and so he would forever remain. Several of the 13 movies and most of the seven small-screen series have been Spockless, but the half-Vulcan, half-human scientist is the franchise’s ambassador in perpetuity. When the 83-year-old Nimoy died last year, he got a eulogy from President Barack Obama — like the Enterprise’s Executive Officer, a pioneer of mixed parentage with a reputation for keeping cool in the face of hostility and panic. “I loved Spock”, the president said.Chris Klimek
I wasn’t much of a fan of the Original Series, probably because my first contact with Star Trek was actually ‘The Next Generation’, but the show as a whole has kept a remarkable appeal at its 50th anniversary. I started rewatching Voyager a couple of weeks ago on Netflix and, despite feeling a little quaint and tame compared to other deeper series (like the new Battlestar Galactica), it still retains a certain quality, a confidence that we can prevail in the face of adversities if we can manage to work together, a sense of optimism for the future and humanity that few other series have managed to inspire. And we certainly need a touch of optimism in today’s turbulent world.