Star Trek Franchise Wins Peabody Award

The Star Trek franchise is picking up another accolade, this time from the prestigious Peabody Awards. Star Trek is being honored for its groundbreaking messages and enduring history.

Trek Peabody

The Peabody Awards are one of the highest honors in media. Founded in 1940, the Peabody Awards “shine a light on stories that matter.” Awarded to television, radio, and other media, the annual Peabody winners “are a collection of stories that powerfully reflect the pressing social issues and the vibrant emerging voices of our day.” Today the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors announced the 34 winners “elected to represent the most compelling and empowering stories released in broadcasting and streaming media during 2023.” This included Star Trek, honored with the Institutional Award. Other recent winners of the Institutional Award include TODAY, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, The Simpsons, 60 Minutes, Sesame Street, FRONTLINE, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

This is actually Trek’s second Peabody. In 1987 the Next Generation episode “The Big Goodbye” won the Entertainment, Children’s & Youth Award. The first season of Star Trek: Discovery was also nominated for the same award.

Here is the full text of the announcement for Star Trek…

The Institutional Award – Star Trek

The original Star Trek television series aired on NBC for only three seasons, from September 1966 to June 1969. It was fresh, prescient, and so ahead of its time that it couldn’t quite capture the mainstream audience required for hits during a particularly insipid time in television. But fast forward nearly 60 years, and creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision is alive and well, having spawned a media franchise of 13 feature films, 11 television series, and numerous books and comics, with a legendary fan following. Today Star Trek is more vibrant, imaginative, funny, entertaining, and progressive than ever. And these days, we’ve got the special effects to make it look stellar.

The original science-fiction series was set aboard a starship, Enterprise, whose mostly human crew encountered alien life as they traversed the stars, led by the iconic Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner). It was groundbreaking for its diverse cast and for its unapologetically progressive values—exploration over colonialism, cooperation over violence. Its fandom grew over time, and the successors to the original series have updated the franchise without losing its moral core—the dream of a future free from human destruction, poverty, and bigotry. Subsequent captains have served as models of ethical and diverse leadership: The Next Generation’s Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Deep Space Nine’s Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks), and Voyager’s Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) among them.

With every passing decade, new versions have proliferated, attracting new generations of fans. Film reboots directed by J.J. Abrams and Justin Lin revived Kirk and his crew with new, young actors, zippier dialogue, and vastly improved effects in the 2000s and 2010s. The Streaming Era has brought a raft of reimaginings with a variety of sensibilities, from the dark and complicated Star Trek: Discovery to the crowd-pleasing prequel Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (featuring a young Spock!) to the hilariously meta cartoon Star Trek: Lower Decks. As the latest versions of Star Trek invite in a new generation of viewers, the interstellar travelers still encounter danger and difficulty, of course. But the Starfleet crew always comes out on top— and without sacrificing essential values that seem quintessentially human: valor, self-sacrifice, curiosity, compassion, broadmindedness.

“From a groundbreaking television series to an expansive collection of films, novels, comic books and so much more, Star Trek has been delivering joy, wonder, and thought-provoking stories since the 1960s,” said Jones. “With powerful anti-war and anti-discrimination messages, it has blazed trails for all science fiction franchises while winning over passionate fans across the globe. We’re proud to honor Star Trek with Peabody’s Institutional Award.”

Here is a tweet they sent out, having a little bit of fun with Trek…

The Peabody Awards ceremony will be held this year in Los Angeles at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Sunday, June 9, 2024, hosted by Kumail Nanjiani.

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Excellent. I believe William Shatner should accept this on behalf of the franchise.


That would be perfect.

I’m fed up with the Cult of Shat. Rodenberry Jr and Frakes, who has worked in more series and movies than anyone else.

No one cares what you think. How is that? Not very nice, is it? Stop crapping on people for what they like.

This is a major honor. Congrats all around! That’s a nice idea about Shatner, though if it were possible, having all the captains on hand would underscore the decades-long contributions of the franchise.

forget shatner he is not deserving of another ego stroke his ego is already big enough
it should be gene’s son rod that should accept the award on behalf of his late parents

That makes sense too.

I wholeheartedly agree with this!

Can’t disagree with the assessment that “Today Star Trek is more vibrant, imaginative, funny, entertaining, and progressive than ever.” Regardless of how you feel about the quality of that entertainment, you can’t say that the current Trek producers are holding back. They really are embracing a “risk is our business,” “boldly go” mentality.

Hmmm. Interesting take. You’ve given me something to think about.

I disagree.. I think they’re being as safe as they possibly can. Bold would be challenging ideas, not just showcasing the ideas you agree with. Go farther, look at things the other way. That’s what Trek did before 2009.

April fool’s day was last month.


I think as a whole though it is deserved.

hmm….I understand why they said this:

 Today Star Trek is more vibrant, imaginative, funny, entertaining, and progressive than ever”

– but I disagree overall. Specifically on the progressive front. Everything else is purely subjective and not worth debating.

But – as to progressive: original and even Berman era actually had things to say about societal issues and pushed beyond the norms.

New Trek isn’t really doing that. Oh sure, they are ticking all of the diversity checkboxes (*of which I have no problem, don’t at me) but it does feel, due to the lack of actually speaking to current issues, that it is more of a pandering, “we’ll get in trouble if we don’t tick the right casting boxes” more than an actual message or worldview vision that anyone has.

Where is the “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” or “Measure of a Man” or the faith vs secularism of DS9? Where’s the commentary on apartheid, immigration, gun control, abortion, or neofascism?

New Trek has lost the sense of moral, message, and meaning that made Star Trek what it is and has descended to pew MacGuffin without the courage, willingness, or ability to hold the mirror up and say we can strive for more and the future is made by our decisions here and now.

Post o’ the century, right on nkc!

I mostly agree with you, but there was Strange New Worlds’ S2 E2 — “Ad Astra Per Aspera.”

Right, an awful lot of modern Trek is pretty shallow. I would say this started with the 2009 movie, but I think it started to gradually take hold before that with Voyager and Enterprise trying really hard to get those network ratings up. Pity that Trek on streaming has taken a similar path, or at least UPN’s Paramount+’s idea of what Trek should be on streaming.

Let That Be Your Last Battlefield remains one of the most embarrassingly bad episodes of Trek ever. How about Far Beyond the Stars?

Respectfully disagree. It even has a 7.1/10 rating on IMDb.

The Inglorious Treksperts mentioned that Let That Be Your Last Battlefield is always the episode mentioned in trek documentaries as an example of social commentary. Unfortunately, it’s a bad episode and it’s one that hits you on the head with a message rather than be allegorical. Obviously the writers of the post-modern trek prefer this style because they can’t do anything else.

So, the fans according to IMDb and the documentaries, (to your point), say it’s not a bad episode. Other than your opinion, what evidence do you have that it is objectively a bad episode?

I remember LeVar Burton even saying how that episode resonated with him.


Yes! Shame on me for not mentioning Far Beyond the Stars. Not only a great episode of Trek but one the great episodes of television. overall.

FAR is absolutely terrific, top 10 Trek for me, but LET has got the self-destruct scene, which is one of the most compelling moments in that whole season, and elevates it above any number of lesser episodes. I wish they’d shown Doohan his performance here before they shot ST III, because the numb awful realization writ large across his face during this scene as he recites his character’s name and number is really ‘on’ for me.

Excellent points and hard to disagree with most of the points. But I think this “shallowness” and “dumbing down” of stuff is unfortunately not only related with Star Trek. It has kind of become the norm in the whole world last several years. The sad part is Trek could have separated itself from this trend but instead to stay relevant and popular it decided to embrace it. The world is dumbing down and unfortunately Star Trek with it.

oh I disagree that the world is dumbing down any more than it was at the time of TOS.

Remember, TOS competed with Gomer Pyle and Green Acres…the Chuck Lorre shows of their day.

Really? We are living in a world where a woman is baptizing her cars engine with holy water and there is literally a warning in car manuals not to drink the contents of the car batteries. I mean yeah, these may be extreme examples but I don’t think it was this bad before.

There is a great piece in the NYT this week about the idea of “Mid TV” — as in, “just good enough” but we don’t see it as bad.

Look at Star Wars. It attracted me because it wasn’t afraid to say fascism is bad. Now we’ve got modern Star Wars where everyone tip toes around the feelings of fascists.

The world has taken steps backwards. Some things haven’t changed at all but now we gotta tip toe around the feelings of the majority more than ever before.

I won’t disagree that the world has taken a step back in regard to fascism, but when did the new Star Wars tip toe around saying it’s bad? I mean, that emperor dude in the black cloak still seemed pretty bad.

I think the new Acolyte show will attempt a kind of moral relativism / deconstruction of the dark / light sides.

Really opening up the can of worms of ‘from my point of view it’s the Jedi that are evil” idea

Okay, but showing evildoers having a point of view doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an endorsement of that view. Plenty of fictional works explore why these characters do what they do. And by plenty I mean… pretty much all of them.

I agree – but I have the sense that Acolyte will be a more deliberate deconstruction of light side “religion”

Kylo Ren/Ben Solo. I know that trilogy was not popular but not even Anivader got away with everything because he was attractive or whatever the reasoning was. Dude was a fascist and should have been treated as such but instead they listened to the Luke Skywalker was a t*rrorist assholes and it dragged the trilogy down.

I dunno, to this day people still unironically love Vader, even though he’s a bonfide child murderer. Kids even dress up as him, so…

Exactly right.

Yeah a lot of NuTrek is certainly more shallow when you compare it to the older era of Trek. There are a few thought provoking ideas here and there but sadly most of it is now melodrama and silly comedy.

I miss the days when Trek took on social and political issues more directly. Now it’s mostly just saving the galaxy over and over again or using Spock as sitcom fodder.

This is Prodigy erasure!

About time!


From my Alma Mater… love it, and well deserved.

It was fresh, prescient, and so ahead of its time that it couldn’t quite capture the mainstream audience required for hits during a particularly insipid time in television.

Not true, it frequently won its time slot (until it was moved to the death slot), NBC just wanted to kill it because of their clashes with Roddenberry. It remains an urban legend that it wasn’t a ratings success; it was, but there was just so much bad blood between the network and Roddenberry by that point that it didn’t matter. (Plus, it had chronic over-budget issues).

TOS was a hit-job, collateral damage in a creator-network feud, not a natural TV failure.

We should bear in mind that the claim that the original Star Trek was a ratings success is a recent outlier and comes from a behind-the-scenes book These Are the Voyages written decades after the fact, and has been questioned by a Star Trek Fact Check researcher working (also decades after the fact) from primary sources as These Are the Voyages was, but interprets them differently. So at the very least we can consider the claim open to questioning.

I don’t know the TV business but I also suspect that “often hitting the No. 1 spot in its timeslot” and “a hit” may not be considered synonymous by the network (especially given the cost to produce a show), so the emphasis that These Are the Voyages places on the time slot strikes me as cherry-picking. See the “Star Trek in the Top 40?” section of the article above.

At the risk of reigniting flames with at least one regular here, will wholeheartedly endorse Calibruncy’s post. I know one of the main st factcheck guys and if he has an axe to grind, it is about misreprensenting stuff, especially while trying to claim some journalistic high ground that hasn’t been earned.

Cushman doesn’t seem to content to just keep (re)print(ing) the legend and myth, but to make up his own to give him some status and generate some dollars off the gullible.

“Not true, it frequently won its time slot (until it was moved to the death slot), NBC just wanted to kill it because of their clashes with Roddenberry.”

I understand that seems to be the conventional wisdom these days, but I have yet to see any substantive evidence for it. “It frequently won its timeslot” is just another way of saying that it was a marginal success — the type of success that, furthermore, was constantly going over budget. NBC is, first and foremost, a business. If the leadership there indeed make the conscious decision to throw away profits because of a fractious relationship with one producer, there’s got to be more to the story than I’ve seen so far.

Easier to just fire the producer too. Happened on v after 1st miniseries.

Great to hear! 😀

I’ve been a fan since 1968 and has loved it for over 50 years. Even though every show and film have their ups and downs with fans, me included, this is well deserved.

Great that Trek is getting this award.
 One point:
from the dark and complicated Star Trek: Discovery

But the Starfleet crew always comes out on top— and without sacrificing essential values that seem quintessentially human: valor, self-sacrifice, curiosity, compassion, broadmindedness.
Discovery? Nope. Dark, yes. But not all that good stuff. Just a mirror to dystopian sci fi so much in demand in these dark times.