When Star Trek ended everyone thought, that was it. Syndication proved otherwise. Soon it was on every night and the first fans were telling people, “I told you it was good.” Or new viewers were asking, “Why didn’t we know about this and why is it not still on.” People loved the stories and action. It was both dramatic and exciting. This is the “it” I mentioned earlier. They showed other writers of television, as well as the studios themselves, that this could be done and have a possibility of being profitable. More and more people began writing what they really wanted to write. There has been some good and some bad like anything else, but the writing gloves came off more or less. (I know censors have been and always will be there for television.) I am talking about dramatic content becoming broader as to what was acceptable on television. It was a wonderful thing. That response to Gene Rodenberry’s vision has brought us many great television shows.
There has been; Battlestar Galactica, (new and old). Babylon 5, Farscape, many more Star Trek series and more to come of those I am sure, the quintessential Sci-Fi series, The X-Files, Warehouse 13, and on and on. The confidence and belief it would be allowed on Television came from the success of the original Star Trek. It is what I have come to think of as the Beatles effect. The Beatles began writing and playing what they wanted and it worked so others followed that path. J.R.R. Tolkien did it for fantasy literature by reinvigorating old style faerie tales and many have followed that path as well. Every now and then a particular genre of art gets a boost from serious talent and it is never the same again.
Like Tolkien and especially the Beatles, culture was affected as well. Think about that for a minute. Our whole culture was affected by a t.v. show that only lasted for 79 episodes. Everyone has seen a Star Trek episode unless they have never seen a t.v. especially now a day with five different television series and god knows how many episodes of some kind of Star Trek. I have heard there are those who deny ever watching an episode. Like I said, they don’t own a TV. Or they are one of that who have probably seen an episode or two and just thinks it is a badge of honor to say they never saw one. Even the people who truly have never watched any Star Trek know about it. Most everyone is familiar with the names Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy. Others who have seen a few episodes would also know the names of Uhura, Sulu, Chekov, and Scotty. Beam me up Scotty is a phrase everyone knows. That is truly a part of our culture.
So, as I thank the Beatles for Led Zeppelin, J.R.R. Tolkien for Terry Brooks, I thank Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek for The X-Files. I hope the journeys continue to go where no one has gone before.