For over 50 years, Star Trek has captured the imagination of the public and managed to stay relevant in an ever-changing world. Although the original series only lasted for three seasons, the Star Trek franchise has created multiple spin-offs, and movies series, which keep the storyline fresh and continuing for another generation. Why is the series so popular? Just like his character — the wise Captain Kirk — William Shatner may have the answer.
Why does William Shatner think ‘Star Trek’ is so popular?
In an interview with Parade, Shatner provided his opinion on why Star Trek has so many dedicated fans and has lasted for so long. For him, it all comes down to the popularity of the genre.
“Star Trek is science-fiction,” Shatner said, “and science-fiction, to a large group of people, is part of the awe and wonder of the universe. We speculate about what’s out there, and since we have no way of knowing, anyone’s speculation is as valid as anybody else’s. But it is of interest to people who look at the stars at night and wonder what’s out there and whether little green men are flying this way. Could we possibly see life? That brings up the question of death and all the stuff that we have no answers for. Science-fiction speculates an answer, and that, I think, is the fascination.”
Shatner may be on to something. The first season of Star Trek premiered in 1966, just three years before Americans landed on the moon. This was a time when almost the entire population was fascinated by space and what lay beyond our atmosphere.
Since that time, we still can’t say that we know all that much about the vast solar system. And so the curiosity continues.
‘Star Trek’ is a cultural icon
If people are only interested in Star Trek because they love science-fiction, then why isn’t every science-fiction show a hit? It turns out that there are a few very special things about Star Trek that make it stand out from the rest.
According to Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist, one of the things that make Star Trek stand out from the rest of the genre, is that it gives a hopeful view of the future. Instead of a future where technology is about to bring about humankind’s downfall, Star Trek focuses on a future where technology has made our life and society better.
Star Trek was also ahead of its time when it came to social issues. The show debuted in the sixties, an era of intense racial tension, and yet the show has a diverse cast. There are people from almost every ethnic background, men and women, even aliens, all working together — that’s something that was almost unheard of during that time period.
For that reason, Star Trek was a show that people from all walks of life could identify with.
What is the future of ‘Star Trek’?
The Star Trek franchise is still going strong today with several spin-offs and movies. Star Trek: Discovery is set to premiere season three soon, and it has just been announced that it will take place 1,000 years in the future- farther than any other Star Trek series has gone before.
There is also plans for Star Trek: Picard, which will follow Captain Jean-Luc Picard‘s life, and plans for a CBS animated series titled Star Trek: Lower Decks, which will be written by the same writers as Rick and Morty.
With all these new shows set to release, there’s no doubt that the success of Star Trek isn’t coming to an end anytime soon.