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08 Sep 2016

50 Years of Political Messages in Star Trek

50 years ago today, on September 8, 1966, the very first episode of Star Trek, "The Man Trap", aired on NBC. Although this TV production was ambitious and accordingly expensive for its time, no one would have anticipated the long success story of the franchise. Star Trek is the yardstick for intelligent science fiction on television still today. Leading scientists and engineers tell us Star Trek has been an inspiration in their career. And looking beyond the merely scientific or technical aspects of the show, to this day Gene Roddenberry's creation is unrivaled within the genre as a vision of a bright and desirable future. We could say that Star Trek's positive prospect is so powerful that no television producer would dare to enter a competition with the clear market leader in the field of utopian science fiction.

These days, columnists like to muse about what Star Trek would be if Gene Roddenberry were still alive, which they interpret in a way to either praise or criticize recent developments. Would Roddenberry like the Abrams movies? A gay Sulu? Bryan Fuller's still unaired "inclusive" series Star Trek Discovery? I don't like to engage in such speculation, so I rather look back at the political messages I see in Star Trek, and ahead at what I expect from it in the future.

Read the full essay.

Bernd Schneider


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  • 03 Dec 2016

    I think this article is even a bit older and has been resting on my hard drive ever since. We've been waiting so long because the gallery server of TrekCore had trouble that has not been resolved until today. We are going to release most of the rest of the sixth season articles in the next few months.

  • 03 Dec 2016

    I realized that after looking at the "TNG Remastered Blog", and noting the date of publication of the previous article, that it was published exactly one-and-a-half years before this one.

  • 03 Dec 2016

    Glad to have a new entry after all this time. Thanks as always for the hard work. :)

  • 02 Dec 2016

    And how you find them? ;)

  • 30 Nov 2016

    These don't sound like the main characters, but rather supporting ones. The Shenzhou isn't the Discovery, after all.
    I'm glad to hear that "mycologist" is a position in Starfleet. I know a few myself. It will be interesting to see what they can do with this.

  • 30 Nov 2016

    It would make absolute sense for a Chinese character to have a Chinese name. But Starfleet doesn't name your ship based on your origin.

  • 29 Nov 2016

    "The only thing that sounds a bit strange is "Captain Georgiou of the starship Shenzhou". Wouldn't the names make a lot more sense if they were switched?"
    What?? It's the 23rd century. Why can't Michelle Yeoh play a character with a Greek family name? Hell, I wouldn't blink an eye at that in this day & age.

  • 29 Nov 2016

    In one of the deleted scenes the disabled Narada is captured by the Klingons. Even if they dont exactly show this in the film, I think it really explains alot. If the Klingons captured the narada, they would have had a better look at the technology and they would be able advance their technology . Also they would have been able to salvage what ever is left of the kelvin. In addition to having access to Federation Technology and technology from over 100 years in the future, The Klingons will start to mobilize against the federation, considering one of their survey ships was less than 100 thousand km from their border. As a result the Federation would have to militarize also in order to have an advantage over the Klingons.

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