Captain’s Log: Stardate 10668.8
It was 40 years ago. Today.

Right after an episode of Daniel Boone, NBC Television aired a Paramount Pictures production filmed on a back lot at Desilu Studios – It was an episode called “Man Trap”, the first aired episode of Star Trek. The beginning of a legacy.

Not really, though. Dismal ratings had NBC push the show to Friday nights and ultimately canceling the series just three years into its five-year run. Considered a total failure, the few of its stars that could get work moved on to other shows. For all intents and purposes, it was over.

Until syndication, where Star Trek found new energy and a following that would lead to five more television series, ten motion pictures and a multi-billion dollar cash cow for Paramount. Experts believe this phenomenon revitalized the science fiction genre, paving the way for television series like Battlestar Galactica, Space 1999 and Firefly, and movies like Star Wars, Alien and E.T.

The model of the Starship Enterprise used for filming the original show hangs in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. NASA’s first space shuttle was named Enterprise, and unveiled in California to the theme of Star Trek with cast members as official guests. Somehow, this failed television series has become a part of our culture and our history.

Why? After all, it’s just a space adventure, right? No. It’s about humanity. Whether you think it was about the psychology of man (Kirk, Spock and McCoy fitting perfectly into Freud’s Id, Ego and Superego) or the premise of our entire race overcoming our differences and working together towards common goals for the benefit of all, there’s a message there.

Despite the threats that come up in each episode or film, it’s a picture of a bright future, for all of us. And whether it was back then during the Cold War or today during terrorist threats and uncertainty in the Middle East, we need that image.

We, as a people, as a race, boldly go. Maybe it’s that simple.

Even now, after the box-office failure of the tenth film “Star Trek: Nemesis”, Paramount has hired J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias, Mission Impossible III) to write and direct an 11th film due out in 2008. They are also putting the finishing touches on a High-Definition re-release of the original episodes with enhanced resolution, re-recorded music and state-of-the-art digital special effects. It'll go from this:

To This:

Happy Birthday, Star Trek. From the captain and crew of the Starship Enterprise.

May you keep going. Boldly.

After all, without that show, we’d be the captain and crew of “Flash” or “SMD” (Slightly More Decadent.)