46 years ago today, we saw this for the first time:

more below the orange wormhole.

On September 8th, 1966 an unknown science fiction series debuted with its inaugural episode.

After a first pilot

and a second

the first of which was eventually edited into the show's only two part episode.

The last day of filming for Star Trek was January 9, 1969, and after 79 episodes NBC cancelled the show in February despite fans' attempt at another letter-writing campaign. One newspaper columnist advised a protesting viewer:
You Star Trek fans have fought the "good fight," but the show has been cancelled and there's nothing to be done now.
In 2011, the decision to cancel Star Trek by NBC was ranked #4 on the TV Guide Network special, 25 Biggest TV Blunders 2.
The five-year mission, aborted three years in, resumed for two years in 1973 (if you accept this show's timeline as part of Star Trek canon. Many do not.)
At the end of the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, all licenses for Star Trek spin-off fiction were renegotiated and the animated series was essentially "decanonized" by Gene Roddenberry's office. Writers of the novels, comics and role-playing games were prohibited from using concepts from the animated series in their works.

Yes, the animation was terrible, but we got some good scripts out of this half hour Saturday morning excursion. And some great writers, like D.C. Fontana, David Gerrold, and......

Larry Niven's "The Slaver Weapon", adapted from his own short story "The Soft Weapon". It includes some elements from his Known Space mythos such as the Kzinti and the Slavers. This is the only Kirk-era TV or movie story in which Kirk didn't appear. This episode also has the distinction of being the only exception to the animated episodes usually showing nobody dying or being killed onscreen.
Next was the big screen

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

That movie was what we were actually waiting for, I think. It has a TV look because it was originally intended as a miniseries.

From that day forward, the franchise really came back to life.

More theatrical movies, and then in 1987, new faces on the small screen:

And the new faces just kept on coming.

And the fan films!

From 1966 to 2009: back to the big screen to start all over again.

To the mighty Starship Enterprise, launched on this day in 1966.

May she fly forever.

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