Happy Birthday, Star Trek! On this day in history, in 1966, the television series ″Star Trek″ began its mission of ″to boldly go where no man has gone before″! Gene Roddenberry′s vision on a ′Wagon Train to the Stars′ was launched with mixed reviews. But here we are today, celebrating the Star Trek 50th anniversary. Several networks are running marathons today. The SyFy Channel is running a marathon of Star Trek movies. The Decades Channel is running a marathon of documentaries on the series. BBC America is running a marathon for the next four days, showing many episodes of ″Star Trek: The Next Generation″ and, starting at 8:30pm EDT tonight, all of the episodes of first two seasons of the original series! The Hero and Icon Channel got a head start last Sunday, running a bunch of documentaries followed by two episodes of the animated series, as well as episodes from all 5 ′live action′ series. H&I shows an episode from all 5 Star Trek series every evening from Monday through Friday as part of its regular programming.

Star Trek 50th Anniversary

Back in 1991 during the 25th anniversary, a national poll showed that some 53% of Americans were Star Trek fans, often called ′Trekkies′ or ′Trekkers′. The series is still very popular, thanks largely to reruns on TV and new movies ever couple of years. This coming January, the sixth TV series will begin its 5-year voyage, ″Star Trek: Discovery″. The 5th series, ″Star Trek: Enterprise″, takes place about 150 years before the original series as humans just begin exploring the galaxy. The new series will be set about 10 years before Kirk and Spock begin their voyages.

To say that Star Trek is a cultural phenomenon is putting it mildly. The series inspired a generation, or two, of technology freaks that pretty much created our modern world. The flip-phone was directly created in order to look like Captain Kirk′s communicator. Spock′s computer cards closely resemble the old 3.5-inch floppy disks. McCoy′s ′bio-bed′ in Sick Bay looks very much like what one would find in any hospital today with various ′life signs′ displayed on a screen. Even other aspects, such as ion drives, anti-matter and holograms have become realities. One science project has actually ′transported′ photons from one location to another. Today′s 3-D printers may be the 1st generation of replicators seen on the series.

Yes, the Star Trek 50th anniversary is a big deal and deserves marathons today. On this day in history, in 1966, the world watched a positive vision of the future thanks to Gene Roddenberry. A vision where humanity solved many of its ancient problems like poverty and hunger. But the characters are still very much human, driven by emotions. Thanks to quality scripts and fine acting, we, the fans, have embraced these characters and the whole Star Trek concept. So much so that after 50 years, the vision of Star Trek remains as beloved as ever.

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