To finish out the 50th, TrekMovie’s Jared Whitley looks at the franchise’s five decades of history, dividing them according to the classical “Ages of Man” – Golden Age, Silver Age, etc – but with an appropriately Trek twist. Today he looks at the first 10 years.
As the 50th anniversary winds down, we at TrekMovie thought out would be important to take a look back at how various periods of Trek history have been different from one another, decade by decade.
One curiosity long extant in comic book culture is dividing its history according to terms from the classical Ages of Man – Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age – with some level of debate about when each started and ended. (The only one everybody seems to agree upon is the Golden Age started with the creation of Superman in 1938.)
But if you were to give the same treatment to Star Trek, how would you divide its various epochs? If you just cut it up it by decade, you’d have two awkward half-decades (in the 2010s and 1960s). There has to be a better way to do it, one that follows various trends that have shaped the phenomenon.
And because this is the Internet (and more importantly because this is Star Trek), you are all invited (and obliged) to argue about it in the comment section.
Golden Age: 1966 to 1976
As with Superman, the start of this one is pretty easy. The franchise began with airing of The Man Trap on Sept. 8, 1966 in the USA. True, it’s not the first episode in continuity, but it was the announcement to the world that science fiction could look a little different than Flash Gordon. Note that of course The Cage had been filmed a year earlier, but fans wouldn’t see any of it until The Menagerie in 1967 or all of it until its restoration in 1988.
The Golden Age includes all of The Original Series and all of The Animated Series, which includes the franchise’s first Emmy Win with “How Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth” in 1974. TAS wouldn’t have been possible without Trek’s conquering syndicated television; by 1972, reruns of the show were so popular the AP labeled it “the show that won’t die.” That year would also see the first ever Star Trek convention in 1972.
Finding an exact point with which to end the Golden Age is a little tricky, so I’ve settled on Sept. 17, 1976 – a decade after Man Trap almost to the day – with NASA’s christening the Shuttle Enterprise and this classic photo.
I love how Gene is optimistically looking to the future while Walter can’t hide just how miserable he is.
NASA’s naming convention includes explorers (Colombia), concepts (Discovery), and mythology (Apollo) – but it also includes a TV show, thanks to Trekkies writing letters to the White House asking that the first Space Shuttle be named Enterprise.
Now because the Gold / Silver / etc. Age is a little inadequate for something as futuristic as Star Trek, we’ve renamed each of these something more appropriate. Therefore, Trek first decade is The Dilithium Age.
- Start: Sept. 1966
- End: Sept. 1976
- Episodes: 101 – 79 (TOS), 22 (TAS)
- Movies: 0
Return tomorrow when we enter Trek’s Silver Age!
|Read the rest of the 5 Ages of Trek:|
|The 5 Ages of Trek – Day 2|
|The 5 Ages of Trek – Day 3|
|The 5 Ages of Trek – Day 4|
|The 5 Ages of Trek – Day 5|