54 years doesn't sound anything like a franchise at all, it sounds like a lifetime. The one spanning two generations, live-action and animated series, films, comics, graphic novels and a following of fanatics in the name of fans.
As we celebrate September the 8th as Star Trek Day, there's a lot planned for the 54th anniversary, from cast members reuniting to 24-hour virtual celebrations and the CBS All Access holding an all-day streaming event. But the day, the original Star Trek television show premiered, might just be perfect to reflect on the past and mull over the future. And it's been both controversy-free and controversy-filled 54 years. Depends on how you look at it.
Much ado about a scene
Same-sex kiss or interracial kiss, Star Trek has been there and done that and mind you during times when none would dare. The controversy is more perceived than reality. What is more controversial? The presence of LGBTQ characters or the lack thereof? But in the sixties, when bold content was yet to lift its head and look us in the eye, the interracial kiss between the 'white' Capt. James T Kirk and 'black' Lt. Nyota Uhura did create a flutter but also set an example. An inter-racial kiss, on American television, in the sixties was like NBC sticking its neck out.
What...Two women kissing onscreen!
The inter-racial kiss may have been received well by the proponents of racial equality but it was the Trills kissing each other (Officer Dax who is reunited with another Trill, i.e her wife from the previous birth) in the episode Rejoined of Deep Space Nine that made a couple of TV stations at the time refusing to air the episode unless the kiss was cut. Remember this is mid-nineties. Before the era of Game of Thrones or OTT content. Need we say the fans finally caught hold of both the episode and the scene?
Unsuitable for children. Period.
Given the gigantic cultural influence of the series, the ruckus over the possibility of an episode not suitable to its large juvenile fan base is understandable. This is why time and again, many of the episodes have crossed a line with the guidelines of several TV stations and broadcasters. It's a known fact among the ardent fans that episodes titled Miri, The Empath, Whom Gods Destroy, Plato's Stepchildren, Patterns of Force were banned, especially by the BBC in UK, for its content comprising torture, violence unpleasant depiction of the already gory death, starvation and poverty, slavery etc. There are a lot of things you can get away with in any fictional series, sci-fi all the more. Which is why the Star Trek franchise has cashed in on its premise for no holds barred plot. Be it terrorism to getting away with genocide, a lot many times the subject and its interpretation in the franchise has come under a scanner.
Star Trek, just on the right track
Welcome Blu del Barrio and @ianaIexander to the #StarTrekFamily! They will be playing Adira, Star Trek's first non-binary character, and Gray, Star Trek's first transgender character in #StarTrekDiscovery Season 3. Learn more about Blu in this @glaad Q&A: https://t.co/gd54tVl8p0 pic.twitter.com/WroJ32n7Cp— Star Trek on CBS All Access (@startrekcbs) September 2, 2020
A series that imagines the future of humankind and planet Earth itself must have a few thoughts when it comes to its own future. For Star Trek fans it was a moment of pride when the franchise big bosses announced the introduction of the franchise's first non-binary and transgender characters in Star Trek: Discovery. In sync with its philosophy of inclusivity and equality. While the non-binary character is called Adira, Gray happens to be its first transgender character. The exemplary part being that the trans character will be played by trans actor Ian Alexander. Why just in Star Trek world, here's raising a toast to Captain James T. Kirk's, "the dream that became reality and spread throughout the stars."