Beaming up almost $200 million dollars nationwide, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek has surpassed all doubts of faithful Trekkies. Though the film is sort of a prequel that follows the early years of the original Enterprise crew, it is also a revision from director Abrams who manage to stay faithful to its mythology while still making the film his own.
When Star Trek debuted on NBC in 1966, it didn’t exactly gained warp speed in the ratings. The show aired during the height of the Vietnam War: an era of political upheaval and social rebellion.
People at that time wanted antiheroes such as Clint Eastwood’s “The Man with No Name.” Called by creator and executive producer Gene Roddenberry as “Wagon Train to the stars,” Star Trek was one of the first few shows to have a multi-racial cast. Even the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was a fan of the original due to Nichelle Nichols’ contribution to the show as chief communications officer Uhura, who became a role model for African-Americans.
Star Trek also explored real life problems back in the day such as the Cold War while discussing topics such as racism, politics, and religion. It was the first to have an onscreen interracial kiss between Kirk (William Shatner) and Uhura. Despite a passionate following, NBC cancelled the series in 1969 after three seasons and 79 episodes.
However, when the original was picked up for syndication, people everywhere began exploring the frontier of space with conventions, memorabilia, dressing up like Spock or their favorite Klingon. The success of 1977’s Star Wars proved there was an audience for Star Trek when it made its way to the big screen in 1979. Ten movies, three TV spin-offs and one prequel later, the franchise continues to take the audience to boldly go where no man has gone before.
Abrams’ Star Trek may have came at just the right time, for our world has gone through a great amount of change with Barack Obama as the first African-American President of the United States, our country at war once again, and the economy in a recession. Despite the cynicism that continues to endure the world, the message of Star Trek remains the same: a message of friendship, tolerance, understanding, peace, and hope for a better future.