chronicles the 23rd century adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise
, one of twelve state-of-the-art starships representing Starfleet, the exploration branch of the United Federation of Planets, an alliance of alien races including Earth, Vulcan, Tellar, and Andor. Captain James T. Kirk
, the youngest starship captain in the Fleet, commands the Enterprise
with a combination of brashness, authority, and imagination. The half-Vulcan/half-human Mr. Spock
serves as his extremely logical and efficient First Officer and Science Officer. The ship's chief medical officer is Dr. Leonard McCoy
, who has supreme medical authority on the ship and tends to the physical and mental needs of the Enterprise
's crew of approximately 430.
Other ranking crew members include: Montgomery Scott
, a man dedicated to his ship engines but not adverse to a bit of shore leave; Hikaru Sulu
, helmsman and a man of many hobbies ranging from botany to fencing, Nyota Uhura
, the extremely competent head of Communications, and Pavel Chekov
, brash young navigator with a fierce pride in his native Russia.
was created by producer Gene Roddenberry, who sold the series as a "Wagon Train to the Stars" to the executives at NBC, even though the final result bore very little resemblance to the initial sales pitch. Roddenberry first produced the 1964 pilot "The Cage," featuring Jeffrey Hunter as Enterprise
captain Christopher Pike
(early drafts listed him as Captain Spring and Winter). When NBC rejected that pilot, Roddenberry took the extraordinary step of producing a second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before," recasting William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk. NBC was impressed and bought the series.
The series premiered on NBC on Thursday, September 8, 1966 in the 8:30-9:30 PM time slot with the episode "The Man Trap." Both of the pilots were originally aired, although "The Cage" was restructured as a flashback episode of sorts in the two-parter "The Menagerie." The show never received high ratings but gathered a small but devoted fan following. NBC considered canceling the series in its second year but a letter-writing campaign purportedly saved it. However, NBC moved the series to a later Friday night time slot and Roddenberry left his position as executive producer in protest. Since then Star Trek
has run almost continuously in syndication and has inspired an animated series, six feature films, and four additional spin-off television shows as of 2012. The show has spawned a huge amount of merchandise, including novels, comic books, memorabilia, and games. Fans have created vast amount of fan fiction and even low-budget web episodes, some involving original creators. Despite its short network run, Star Trek has become one of the most successful shows in television history.
The Remastering Project
In late 2006, CBS Television began an effort to remaster the episodes of the original series for syndication. The project will require approximately two years to complete (there are 79 original series episodes and they debut at the rate of approximately one per week, with pauses from time to time); the project will therefore likely lead into the next Star Trek film in 2008.
The CBS team has carefully cleaned each episode to restore the original colors, remove dust hairs and other debris from the master images and remaster the sound. Space vessels, including the Enterprise
, have been updated with CGI effects. Planets (for orbital scenes) have been replaced by nice looking CGI effects. Additional effects have been added here and there; some of these are discussed in the entries for individual episodes.