In celebration of the DVD release of J.J. Abrams' reboot of the classic Star Trek
franchise I thought that it would be cool to share some thoughts from the creator
of the original Star Trek.....
"I think probably the most often asked question about the show is: "Why the Star
Trek Phenomenon?" And it could be an important question because you can ask:
"How can a simple space opera with blinking lights and zap-guns and a goblin
with pointy ears reach out and touch the hearts and minds of literally millions of
people and become a cult in some cases?" Obviously, what this means is, that
television has incredible power.
They're saying that if Star Trek can do this, then perhaps another carefully calculated
show could move people in other directions, as to keep selfish interest to creating
other cults for selfish purposes, industrial cartels, political parties, governments.
Ultimate power in this world, as you know,
has always been one simple thing: the control and manipulation of minds.
Fortunately, in the attempt however to manipulate people through any "so called
Star Trek Formula" is doomed to failure, and I'll tell you why in just a moment.
First of all, our show did not reach and affect all these people because it was deep
and great literature. Star Trek was not Ibsen or Shakespeare. To get a prime time
show "network show" on the air and to keep it there, you must attract and hold a
minimum of 18 million people every week. You have to do that in order to move
people away from Gomer Pyle, Bonanza, Beverly Hill Billies and so on. And we
tried to do this with entertainment, action, adventure, conflict and so on.
But once we got on the air, and within the limits of those accident ratio limits, we
did not accept the myth, that the television audience has an infantile mind. We had
an idea, and we had a premise, and we still believe that. As a matter of fact we
decided to risk the whole show on that premise.
We believed that the often ridiculed mass audience is sick of this world's petty
nationalism and all it's old ways and old hatreds, and that people are not only willing
but anxious to think beyond most petty beliefs that have for so long kept mankind divided.
So you see that the formula, the magic ingredient that many people keep seeking and many of
them keep missing is really not in Star Trek. It is in the audience. There is an
intelligent life form out on the other side of that television too.
The whole show was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and
wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but to take a special delight in
differences in ideas and differences in life forms. We tried to say that the worst
possible thing that can happen to all of us is for the future to somehow press us
into a common mould, where we begin to act and talk and look and think alike. If
we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, take a positive delight in
those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not
deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out
there. And I think that this is what people responded to.
The result of that was that seven years after being dropped by the network of
saying those things, there are now more people watching it than ever before. And
if you ascribe those things to any mystic or scriptural brilliance in Star Trek, you
miss the entire point. For Star Trek proofs, as faulty as individual episodes could
be, is that the much-maligned common man and common woman has an
enormous hunger for brotherhood. They are ready for the 23rd century now, and
they are light-years ahead of their petty governments and their visionless leaders."