Star Trek (the original series) wasn’t the first science fiction T.V. show I ever saw but it was the first that was geared for adults with live actors. By today’s standards the special effects were hokey and the dialog sometimes seemed a bit contrived but the show had many of the things I think of as components of great speculative fiction. It was not a simple man versus monster, human versus alien, good guy versus bad guy space swashbuckler (although those can be fun). No, Star Trek had substance. It provoked thought. It explored fundamental aspects of human nature and culture. But I think what I liked most about Star Trek (in all of its incarnations) was that it provided a hopeful picture of humanity’s future. It showed a humanity that had overcome prejudice and superstition, had learned to work together, and which strived to understand those who were different, not fear them. Of course when all else failed they could still fire a full spread of photon torpedoes but that was a last resort, not the preferred option.
Some of the many “big issue” topics that the original series examined were:
Absolute power. Star Trek: The Original Series – Where No Man Has Gone Before
Cultural stagnation. Star Trek: The Original Series – The Return of the Archons
Racial prejudice. Star Trek: The Original Series – Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
Here is a link to the Star Trek website where you can watch full length original series episodes. Fair warning though, there are ads so you will need to disable your ad blocker.