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. Created by Gene Roddenberry and airing on CBS from 1966-1969, Star Trek was pitched to the studios as “Wagon Train to the Stars” since westerns were very popular at the time. The show got weak ratings even though it was nominated for several Emmy awards. When fans found out the show was going to be cancelled in the second season they started a letter-writing campaign that saved the show, but then CBS moved it to Friday nights, which is almost always a ‘kiss of death’ for a TV show. While the name of the show is actually Star Trek, most people refer to it as either Classic Trek or Star Trek: The Original Series to avoid confusing it with the overall Star Trek franchise. Star Trek is notable for tackling contemporary issues such as racism, sexism and a desire for peace (keep in mind this was in the height of the Vietnam War). Star Trek had the first interracial kiss on a television series. The show’s ideals of mankind overcoming its petty problems to live together in peace in a semi-utopian society appealed to so many people, the show has become world-famous and arguably the most influential sci-fi television series ever made. The Setting: 23rd century Earth and surrounding galactic space. The Main Races: Humans Vulcans – The first aliens to make contact with Earth, Vulcans are a race of people who base their society on logic and controlling/suppressing their emotions. They are notable for having pointed ears and green blood, but have other biological differences from humans, however they are genetically similar enough to allow crossbreeding. Klingons – The primary antagonists of the series, Klingons are a warlike race, noted for preferring hand to hand combat. They typically have dark skin and prefer goatees with the occasional Fu Manchu style mustache Romulans – An enemy race unseen in one of Earth’s first space battles, Romulans are known for taking no prisoners during combat. Their ships have cloaking (invisibility) devices and are recognized by the stylized bird painted on the underside. In the episode that introduces the Romulans (Balance of Terror) no one knows what they look like, so I won’t spoil that here for those that don’t know. Other – Andorians (blue skin, white hair and antennae) and Tellerites (fur covered and pig faced) are founding members of the Federation of Planets, but are not seen much (mainly due to makeup costs). Most other races seen in Star Trek look like humans with only minor makeup alterations. The Main characters: Captain James Tiberius Kirk – Iowa-born all-American type. Smart but impulsive, He’s one of the youngest captains in the fleet Mr. (Commander) Spock – Half Vulcan/Half Human science officer and first officer (after the death of Gary Mitchell) usually assumes the role of the voice of reason, always deferring to logic to handle a situation Dr. Leonard H. McCoy – Nicknamed “Bones” by Kirk, he is the person who advises the captain to use his emotions and human nature to solve problems. The Kirk/Spock/McCoy relationship is sometimes compared to the id/ego/superego in psychology. The Supporting characters: Lt. Commander Montgomery “Scotty” Scott – Scottish Chief Engineer of the ship, he prefers studying tech manuals over shore leave, but doesn’t hesitate to join someone in a drink Lt. Nyota Uhura – Communications officer who occasionally tries to draw out Spock’s human side. Her quarters’ décor indicated she is of African heritage, but it is never made clear Lt. Hikaru Sulu – Originally assigned to astrosciences, Sulu soon took over as the ship’s primary helmsman and tactical officer. From San Francisco, California Ensign Pavel Chekov – Joining the crew a year into its 5 year mission he served as both navigator and security chief. A Russian, and very proud of it, he commonly mistakes historical achievements to be credited to Russians. (added to the show in year two to try to get a younger demographic, his first appearances had him wearing a wig to look like The Monkees’ Day Jones) Nurse Christine Chapel – Ever-present nurse in sickbay who harbors a not-very-well-hidden crush on Mr. Spock (played by Majel Barrett, the wife of Gene Roddenberry) From wikipedia: Last year Paramount started releasing remastered versions of the episodes, many with new special effect shots replacing every shot of the Enterprise and other space vessels, as well as fixing errors (like a missing phaser beam in the episode "The Naked Time"). These episodes are broadcast in syndication and available on iTunes. Suggested links: http://www.startrek.com/ http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Main_Page http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/index.htm Star Trek: The Animated Series Although like the original series, this was also titled Star Trek, the 1973-74 animated series is usually called Star Trek: The Animated Series or The Animated Adventures. Picking up where the ‘66-’69 series left off, the animated episodes continue the five year mission of the Enterprise under the lead of Captain Kirk. With no makeup budget restricting them, they added more aliens notably a Caitian (a cat-faced race) crewmember named Lt. M’Ress and Ensign Chekov replaced by an Edosian (a race with three arms and legs) named Lt. Arex. All of the original cast members returned to voice their characters (other than the missing Chekov), with James (Scotty) Doohan voicing Arex (as well as MANY of the other characters) and Majel Barrett voicing M’Ress. From wikipedia: Star Trek: Phase II In 1977 Paramount announced they would be launching a fourth television network, led by a new Star Trek series. The show was well into production with casting done, sets and effects models built and scripts written... but the success of Close Encounters of The Third Kind and Star Wars led Paramount to believe they would be better served my making a theatrical film. The Paramount Television Service never happened (or it could be said it was shelved and later redone as UPN) and Star Trek: Phase II was reborn as Star Trek: The Motion Picture IF YOU ARE NOT AT ALL FAMILIAR WITH THE FILMS, SPOILERS ARE IN THE FOLLOWING DESCRIPTIONS I have tried to keep it brief to keep spoilers to a minimum. Star Trek: The Motion Picture After undergoing a major refit, The Enterprise is on a re-launch voyage overseen by the newly-promoted Admiral Kirk. A mysterious cloud is discovered to be passing through Klingon space heading for Earth, destroying ships that get in its way. Kirk takes command of the Enterprise, disregarding the complaints of Commander Decker, and they set off to investigate the cloud. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan A sequel to the episode "The Space Seed" featuring the 20th century villain Khan, this is the first part of the "Genesis Trilogy" The USS Reliant is taken over by the super-human Khan, who then steals The Genesis Device, an experimental device that is intended to create habitable planets out of dead ones, but can also be used as a weapon. Khen then sets off to get revenge on the man who marooned him years before, James T. Kirk. Star Trek III: The Search For Spock Kirk is still trying to cope with the death of his friend, and McCoy seems to be developing a split personality. The Enterprise is ordered to be dismantled, but Kirk and his friends steal it before that can happen in order to return to the Genesis planet. A Klingon captain has found out about the Genesis device and also sets off to the Genesis planet to find out the secret of the weapon. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Using the "borrowed" ship, Kirk and company head to Earth to face the consequences of stealing the Enterprise only to find an alien probe has approched Earth and is sending out a signal that is wreaking havoc. They quickly figure out how to stop the probe, but it means travelling back in time. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier The Enterprise crew are on vacation while the new 1701-A is undergoing final repairs when they get orders to rescue a group of ambassadors who have been taken hostage... by Spock's half-brother Sybok. Star Trek VI: The Undicovered Country While escorting the Klingon leader to Earth for a peace treaty, the chancellor is killed, apparently by Enterprise crewmembers. Kirk and McCoy are blamed and sent to a Klingon penal planet. A murder mystery has to be solved while Kirk and Bones do thier best just to stay alive. Star Trek: Generations The first of the Next Generation films, Generations starts off with Kirk sacrificing himself to save the passengers and crew of the Enterprise-B from an energy ribbon called The Nexus. After entering The Nexus himself, Captain Picard finds Kirk alive and well, living in a perpetual dream world.