Before we leave the New Wave era of science fiction history, a lot at two significant developments on television. TV began to catch up with what was happening in books and films. Dr Who began on British TV in 1963, and Star Trek began on American TV in 1966. Both had such enduring appeal that they have been revived in recent years.
This is a British science-fiction television programme produced by the BBC since 1963. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called "the Doctor", an extraterrestrial being from the planet Gallifrey. The Doctor explores the universe in a time-travelling space ship called the TARDIS, an acronym which stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. Accompanied by a number of companions, the Doctor combats a variety of foes, while working to save civilisations and help people in need.
The show is a significant part of British popular culture, and elsewhere it has gained a cult following. It has influenced generations of British television professionals, many of whom grew up watching the series. The programme originally ran from 1963 to 1989. There was an unsuccessful attempt to revive regular production in 1996 with a backdoor pilot, in the form of a television film titled Doctor Who. The programme was relaunched in 2005, and since then has been produced in-house by BBC Wales in Cardiff. Doctor Who has also spawned numerous spin-offs, including comic books, films, novels, audio dramas, and the television series Torchwood(2006–2011), The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007–2011), K-9 (2009–2010), and Class (2016–present), and has been the subject of many parodies and references in popular culture.
Twelve actors have headlined the series as the Doctor. The transition from one actor to another is written into the plot of the show with the concept of regeneration into a new incarnation – an idea introduced in 1966 to allow the show to continue after the departure of original lead William Hartnell who was becoming very ill at the time. The concept is that this is a Time Lord trait through which the character of the Doctor takes on a new body and personality to recover from a severe injury or anything that would otherwise kill a normal person. Each actor's portrayal differs, but all represent stages in the life of the same character and form a single narrative. The time-travelling feature of the plot means that different incarnations of the Doctor occasionally meet.
This is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry that follows the adventures of the starship USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) and its crew. It later acquired the retronym of Star Trek: The Original Series (Star Trek: TOS or simply TOS) to distinguish the show within the media franchise that it began.
The show is set in the Milky Way galaxy, roughly during the 2260s. The ship and crew are led by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), first officer and science officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and chief medical officer Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley). Shatner's voice-over introduction during each episode's opening credits stated the starship's purpose:
Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
Star Trek in particular had mass appeal because it returned to the original Victorian fascination with exploring, at the same time as painting the future bright. At heart they are explorers and ambassadors. The future all works out, poverty, disease and war have gone, Earth is all one nation, going out and making friends in the galaxy. This too broke new ground. Nichelle Nichols, who played the communications officer Uhura, was the first black woman in a major TV role.
Star Trek aired on NBC from September 8, 1966, to June 3, 1969, and was actually seen first on September 6, 1966, on Canada's CTV network. Star Trek's Nielsen ratings while on NBC were low, and the network canceled it after three seasons and 79 episodes. Several years later, the series became a bona fide hit in broadcast syndication, remaining so throughout the 1970s, achieving cult classic status and a developing influence on popular culture. Star Trek eventually spawned a franchise, consisting of five additional television series, thirteen feature films, numerous books, games, and toys, and is now widely considered one of the most popular and influential television series of all time.
Ann Marie Thomas is the author of three medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz