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Star Trek, The Original Series (TOS): A Necessary Social Commentary, Part 1

I think that the recent reboot of Star Trek has pissed me off.  It kind of implies to me that the old franchise was done incorrectly, that somehow the old should be invalidated by a newer vision, that what is new is necessarily better.  Admittedly, that could be just me becoming an old curmudgeon.  However, I don’t believe that Star Trek (TOS) gets enough credit from the next generation.  (Pun intended.)Image result for star trek the original series
Netflix is a beautiful thing.  I started re-watching the show a while ago, but I’ve deliberately NOT binged this show.  I wanted to take my time with it despite the fact that I have several favorite episodes.  (I’ve watched some of these episodes so often that I can recite dialogue word for word.)  I was deliberate in order to appreciate the subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle social commentaries.  The more I watched, the more it seems to increase my estimation of not only what the show accomplished, but also on how it attempted to change the dialogue of the prevailing thoughts of the time period.Image result for star trek the original series tribbles
Now, if only I could convince my children as to how important this show was.  The problem lies in the fact that my children and students seem to disdain and dismiss Star Trek for its garish costumes, cheesy dialogue, obviously fake sets, and dated special effects.  They don’t understand how technologically cutting edge the effects were for the time period.  Real science fiction writers worked on the show.  Writers such as Robert Bloch, DC Fontana, Theodore Sturgeon, and Harlan Ellison are among some of the published writers that worked on the show.  As a consequence, I don’t understand the lack of awe reflected from the new generation when approaching the series.  Don’t they understand how important Star Trek was to the cultural milieu of the late 60s and early 70s?Related image
The following will be my attempt to communicate the importance of Star Trek as a vehicle for change and why it remains a social, cultural phenomenon.  I don’t intend for it to be boring, so pedantic details will be excluded, and it’s my hope to educate in such a way as to be entertaining.  Since I intend for this discourse to be episodic, I’m sure there will be questions and comments, which I encourage.  I also expect disagreement, which is fine, but be respectful, please.  Also, I’m completely aware that there are whole libraries of social commentaries devoted to Star Trek and its impact on culture.  I’m not trying to rehash what others have said although I probably will, understand that this is what I believe: good, bad, or indifferent.Image result for star trek the original series
I would propose an axiom, and then I will demonstrate it to be true via several examples.
Axiom:  Star Trek is the most influential Science Fiction television program in history!

  1.  It has influenced technology in various ways.
  2.  It has influenced societal mores regarding racial equality.
  3.  It has influenced societal mores regarding gender and self-determination
  4.  It has influenced concepts of militarism and peace.Related image

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Way Cool Wednesday – 6 September 2017 – MATT DOYLE MEDIAStar Trek, the Original Series (TOS): A Necessary Social Commentary, Part 4 – Evil Geek CultStar Trek, The Original Series (TOS): A Necessary Social Commentary, Part 2 – Evil Geek Culttalesoftheblackforestthehorrorjd0127 Recent comment authors

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So, TNG was the series running when I first got into Star Trek, so that’s the one that I tend to turn to the most. But … I can certainly appreciate the original. I bought up a few of the ‘fan collective’ box sets recently and the quality of the original episodes is superb. On the point that the remake indicates that the original is flawed though, I disagree. I ahd a discussion about the films with afriend who got into Star Trek during TOS, and we came to the conclusion that they simply aren’t written for the original fans.… Read more »


As a long-time fan of Star Trek, I would tend to agree that the more Star Trek there is the better. I loved The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager, and even Enterprise. The movies add to a mythos that spans over 50 years. The new movies, however, are a “reboot,” which reek of an attempt at correcting a flawed something that doesn’t require correcting. The motivation appears to be monetary which is irksome. Although I must admit that the story involving Khan was a great twist. Again, I admit to being a curmudgeon. I just want to see the… Read more »


I agree with Matt on this one. In order for the series to survive, it has needed to evolve. The original shows are great and are still there for those who enjoy them. No matter what they do with the franchise in the future, those shows will always be there. I think my dad’s thinking about the reboot being a way to “fix” the franchise is flawed. The movie franchise has made things sleeker and more action oriented so that it could have a mass appeal. JJ Abrams did a hell of a job in this regard. I actually think… Read more »


I’m glad to have started the conversation. Regardless of who you agree with, I’m just happy to see that Star Trek: TOS is getting some positive attention.


[…] that I would cite 4 ways in which Star Trek did this.  If you haven’t read Part 1, click here.1.  Star Trek has influenced […]


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