I find it hard to believe – maybe even a trifle troubling – but it was 50 years ago that the first TV episode of “Star Trek” aired. Although the original series lasted less than three years, the franchise thrived and grew into more than a dozen movies and a number of derivative TV series. And of course there are the myriad ancillary “Star Trek” products and annual Trekkie conventions that keep the memories alive.
As Andrew Fazekas, author of “Star Trek The Official Guide to Our Universe: The True Science Behind the Starship Voyages” opined in this month’s National Geographic, the secret of the show’s highly logical success: “taking real science seriously.”
And all this time I thought it was the audience’s voyeuristic fantasies about which space alien babe Captain Kirk was gonna do the nasty with each week. Talk about going where no man has gone before. I can imagine Kirk thinking to himself before making it with the green-haired Amazon spilling out of her metallic bra: “does the carpet match the drapes?” And I’m sure he had to question with trepidation whether the green-skinned seductress might taste like asparagus or Brussels sprouts.
Did the show take real science seriously when every female of the species across the universe had the same body type (and presumably, parts) as an earthling? Is that how life evolved on planets ten thousand parsecs apart? And how does Fazekas explain a single girl on Rigel 7 coming to adopt the fashions of 1960s Los Angeles? Was she watching “Laugh In” on her tricorder?
Who cared as long as Jim Kirk laid pipe before wiping off some Klingons.
Here is a sampling of the aliens who graced the small screen each week 50 years ago.
And proof that Capt Kirk and his Ensign Johnson moved in on them at warp factor five:
(Sidebar: Thankfully, even Dr. Leonard McCoy got some action once, thanks no doubt to his agent’s cajoling the show’s writers to make some script changes.)