When, what and why ?
Star Trek began it's journey in 1966, over 30 years ago, coming from the mind of the late Gene Roddenberry. While it seems like Star Trek is all and only Science Fiction, that's not exactly the most important thing about Star Trek. What Gene had in mind, was to show us a future, where people live in peace, co-existing and working with each other. Where we put our petty racial differences aside and go for a higher purpose. Peace instead of greed. Space exploration instead of war.
So, why would it be one of the few shows I would show my kids (again, it's just a F-I-G-U-R-E O-F S-P-E-E-C-H) ?
What Gene created was a hope for a better future. And at the same it sets standards, teaches us values. This alone would make a pretty boring show. Star Trek is absolutely no boring. It's fun, there's a lot of humor (DS9 and VOY can get not just me, a die-hard Trek fan, but also my bro and sis, who are not fans, rolling on the floor laughing out loud). There's drama, suspense, good stories, character development, the best special effects, the best actors, and also the best music one can buy (don't believe me ? Try the "Inner Light" orchestral suite, conducted by Jay Chattaway, performed by the DS9 orchestra, or go to the Request page).
How'd it go after the first pilot ?
From this point on forward, Star Trek has always been progressive, always striving forward. A few examples:
In the middle of the Cold War (when the Original Series aired), they put a Russian (Chekov) right in the middle of the bridge. The original crew also included a black woman (Uhura), an Asian (Sulu), and an alien (Spock).
On the Next Generation series they put a Klingon on the bridge. Klingons were enemies when the Original Series was running. The Klingon (Worf) would even make it to commanding officer of the Defiant.
Later on Deep Space Nine, they put a black man (Sisko) as the commandig officer. It took him three years of hard work to make it from commander to captain.
On Voyager, they put a female Captain to go boldly where no one has gone before. (on TOS, it was still "To boldly where no man has gone before"). She has proven that women are no less than man, and the other way around. Which was also shown earlier in TNG series, with women as commaning officers.
The first inter-racial kiss ever shown on TV was Kirk with Uhura.
A lesbian kiss has also been shown (DS9).
Star Trek has always been ahead with technology. While most ideas will never make it to reality, many ideas from Star Trek has been put to reality with more or less success (hypospray, tricorder, voice controlled computers, etc.)
Many times it offers us a different point of view, since there are a lot of alien, why should we expect them to think the same way we do ?
Religion and faith plays a big part in Star Trek, even with the technological advancement it's still an issue.
Loads of Emmy's prove the high quality of the show.
Also, Star Trek always had the best guest-stars you can imagine. You wanna hear some, well, you better take a seat then, here it comes: beautiful Joan Colling (TOS), Oscar nominated James Cromwell (TNG, DS9), Oscar winning Whoopi Goldberg (recurring TNG), the Mamas and the Papas (group from the 60s) Michelle Phillips (TNG), always evil Frank Langella (DS9), Mick Fleetwood from the Fleetwood Mack (TNG), the then unknown Teri Hatcher, now Bond girl (TNG), Dutch Famke Janssen, also Bond girl (TNG), the now famous Ashley Judd (TNG), first black female to fly in space, dr. Mae Jamison (TNG), Professor Stephen Hawking as himself (TNG), Mad Dog "Murdock" Dwight Schultz (TNG), "Stepfather" & "Millennium" Terry O'Quinn, Paul Sorvino (TNG), "Cheers" Kelsey Grammar (TNG), "M*A*S*H" David Odgen Stiers (TNG), NBA star James Worthy (TNG), movie oldie William Sadler (DS9), multi-awarded Christopher Plummer (TOS), David Warner (TOS, TNG), Iggy Pop (DS9), multi-talented Vanessa Williams (DS9). And many many more TV and movie stars.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. For more, I'd suggest you watch it yourself.
One more time all series in a row:
The Original Series (TOS) "To boldly go where no man
has gone before":
Crew: Captain Kirk, mr. Spock, Chief Medical Officer "Bones" McCoy, Chekov, Uhura, Sulu, Scotty.
Ship: U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701.
What goes on: the Enterprise explores the Galaxy and along the way nice and bad things happen.
The Next Generation (TNG) "To boldly go where no one
has gone before":
Crew: Captain Picard, Commander Will Riker, Lieutenant Commander Data, Lieutenant Commander Geordi LaForge, Counselor Deanna Troi, Chief Medical Officer Beverly Crusher, her son Wesley Crusher (left 4th season). Lieutenant (Commander) Worf.
Ship: U.S.S. Enterprise-D NCC-1701-D.
What goes on: same as TOS. 'Cept this time, they have bigger budgets, better technology, which makes it nicer to watch.
Deep Space Nine (DS9) "Beyond
the final frontier":
Crew: Captain Benjamin Sisko, his son Jake Sisko, First Officer Major Kira Nerys, Science Officer Jadzia Dax, Chief Medical Officer Julian Bashir, Chief of Operations Miles O'Brien, Chief of Security Odo, Quark, Strategic Operations Officer Worf (beginning of 4th season).
Station: Deep Space Nine (formerly named Terek Nor).
Ship: U.S.S. Defiant NX-74205.
What goes on: Shortly after the occupation of Bajor, the Cardassians abandon Terek Nor. After the Federation has been asked to help Bajor out, and a crew is assigned to DS9, a wormhole is discovered, linking the Alpha Quadrant and the Gamma Quadrant (previously unexplored because of the great distance, about 90.000 light years). What lies behind the wormhole is not all pleasant stuff, and eventually the Dominion, a combined race out to conquer absolutely everything, will make itself present. The wormhole is now the key to the future of the Federation. With only DS9 to guard it.
the new frontier":
Crew: Captain Kathryn Janeway, First Officer Chakotay, Chief Engineer B'elanna Torres, Helmsman Tom Paris, Operations Officer Harry Kim (hey, that sounds familiar ?), Chief of Security/Tactical Officer Tuvok, Emergency Medical Holographic program The Doctor, Neelix, Kes (left start of 4th season), and the newly recruited former Borg Seven of Nine (born Annika Hansen).
Ship: Voyager NCC-74656.
What goes on: While on its first assignment (dealing with the current Maquis problems going on in the Badlands), the ship is thrown 70.000 light years into the Delta Quadrant by a dying alien with a last wish. This trip would normally take 75 years. Now Captain Janeway must not only find a preferrably faster way home, she also has to deal with her crew and try to blend the Maquis crew with it. While this seems an almost impossible task, Janeway earned the trust and admiration of both crews. A long journey awaits.