The original Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which the crew of the Enterprise discovered a mysterious alien planet, was arguably the first great sci-fi franchise.
The franchise’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, wrote in his autobiography, “I didn’t have any idea that Star Trek would grow to be a franchise, and it didn’t matter that I didn’t understand the fundamentals of what I was writing.”
It was Roddan who brought the first Star Trek film to theaters in 1964, and he later said of it, “There was a whole world of possibilities.”
That world of possibility eventually blossomed into Star Trek’s enduring legacy.
But that legacy is more than just a Star Trek franchise.
It also reflects a much larger cultural zeitgeist, a zeitgeist whose worldview has long been shaped by science fiction and fantasy, and whose work can often be seen in mainstream movies and TV shows.
In this week’s episode of Slate’s The Real Thing podcast, we’ll look at how the genre has shaped our thinking about technology, race, and the future of the human race.