Air & Space

published : 2023-09-08

On This Day in History: 'Star Trek' Premieres and Explores the Final Frontier

The 'Star Trek' Universe Expands with 11 TV Series and 13 Films

A photo of actor William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk from the iconic TV series 'Star Trek', taken with a Nikon D850.

The world first met Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock on this day in history, Sept. 8, 1966, with the premiere of the television series 'Star Trek.'

'Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before,' said actor William Shatner in the show's opening.

Throughout the series, the crew of the starship Enterprise 'confront strange alien races, friendly and hostile alike, as they explore unknown worlds,' said the official 'Star Trek' website.

The series' first episode, 'The Man Trap,' was actually the sixth episode produced, said the website IMDB.

'After landing on planet M-113, the Enterprise is stalked by a creature which can assume the shape and form of anyone it chooses, and which kills by removing the entire salt content of its victims' bodies,' said the episode's summary on Apple TV.

The first pilot produced, 'The Cage,' was nixed as it was considered 'too cerebral' for NBC's audiences, said IMDB.

'The Cage' would not see a wide release until Oct. 14, 1986.

A promotional portrait of William Shatner, DeForest Kelley, and Leonard Nimoy as Captain Kirk, Dr. 'Bones' McCoy, and Mr. Spock from the TV series 'Star Trek', captured with a Canon EOS R5.

Conversely, 'The Man Trap' had a monster and 'more action' than the other five episodes, said IMDB, which NBC thought would be more appealing to audiences.

While 'Star Trek' is now a cultural phenomenon with scores of dedicated 'Trekkies,' the first iteration of 'Star Trek' was not nearly as commercially successful.

The show, which is now referred to as 'Star Trek: The Original Series,' was canceled after just three seasons and 79 episodes.

The program gained a cult following during its syndication, notes Encyclopedia Britannica. Nearly two decades after its cancellation, 'Star Trek' was rebooted into 'Star Trek: The Next Generation.'

That show, which aired from 1987-1994, starred Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

'Nearly 100 years after Kirk, Spock and the original Enterprise patrolled the galaxy, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, a new U.S.S. Enterprise and a new crew carry forth Starfleet's orders to 'seek out new life and new civilizations' and 'to boldly go where no one has gone before,' says Star Trek's website.

September 8 is now celebrated worldwide by 'Trekkies' as 'Star Trek Day.'

An image of the starship Enterprise exploring a new world in 'Star Trek', photographed with a Sony A7R IV.

There have now been 11 'Star Trek' television series, as well as 13 movies.

The current version of 'Star Trek' is 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,' which is available to stream on Paramount+.

'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' debuted in 2022 and takes place before the events of 'Star Trek: The Original Series,' says its website.

September 8 is now celebrated worldwide by 'Trekkies' as 'Star Trek Day,' says the 'Star Trek' website.

'On that day, 'Star Trek' creator Gene Roddenberry introduced audiences to a world that championed diversity, inclusion, acceptance and hope,' said the 'Star Trek' website.

'Fifty-seven years later, we celebrate the day and the franchise's enduring legacy with the fourth annual 'Star Trek Day' celebration.'