22 Star Trek
What creator Gene Roddenberry pitched as “Wagon Train to the stars” instead built a legacy far greater than any classic TV Western. The voyages of the starship Enterprise, captained by the swaggering, impulsive James T. Kirk (William Shatner), created the modern concept of fandom as we know it. And with his pointy ears and retro-future haircut, Leonard Nimoy’s half-alien science officer, Mr. Spock, became the face that launched a thousand ‘ships (a.k.a. fan fiction about the sorts of relationships the show did not feature). Since the original series, there have been 13
Trek movies, seven live-action spinoffs, and three animated series. Many of these follow-ups have offered their own magic, from Patrick Stewart’s thunderous lead performance on
The Next Generation
to the serialized political epic Deep Space Nine to the powerful empathy of the current Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
And some of them have been much more consistent than the adventures of Kirk, Spock, and the irascible Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley). But the dramatic highs of the Sixties show, and its audacious world-building, made the entire franchise — and the larger sci-fi/fantasy/fan ecosystem — possible.