Star Trek: The Original Series

American science fiction television series (1966–1969)

Star Trek is a science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry that aired from September 8, 1966 to September 2, 1969. Though the original series was just called Star Trek, it got the nickname Star Trek: The Original Series (ST:TOS or TOS) to make it different from the spinoffs, and from the Star Trek universe or franchise they take up. Set in the 23rd century,[1] the first Star Trek follows the adventures of the starship USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) and its crew, led by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), his First Officer Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and his Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley). William 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.

Early Years


When Star Trek first came on NBC in 1966, it was not successful to begin; ratings were low and advertising revenue was very little. Even at the end of the first season of Star Trek, there were already calls in the network to cancel the series due to its low Nielsen ratings.[2] Bay Area Creature Features host John Stanley in his memoir I Was a TV Horror Host relates how Desilu head Lucille Ball at that time "single handedly" kept Star Trek from being removed from the NBC-TV lineup."[3]

Close to the end of the second season the show was still in danger of being canceled. Its fans succeeded in giving it a third season; but NBC moved the show to the "Friday night death slot" at 10 PM.[4] Star Trek was finally canceled at the end of the third season, making 79 episodes in total. However, this was enough for the show to be stripped in syndication, allowing it to become very popular and gather a large cult following during the 1970s. After the success of the program, five additional television series and eleven movies, including the newest movie Star Trek, which came out in May 2009. Guinness World Records lists the original Star Trek as having more spin-offs than any other television show in history.



  1. "STARTREK.COM: Universe Timeline". Archived from the original on 3 July 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
  2. Nichelle Nichols, Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories, G.P. Putnam & Sons New York, 1994. pp.165–67
  3. From a 1975 discussion Stanley had with Ball, as described on Stanley's website,
  4. William Shatner, Star Trek Memories, Harper Torch, 1994 paperback, p.257