It can’t be a surprise to anyone at this point that my love for television is a life-long affair. Obviously, I can’t remember the very first program I ever watched as a child, or maybe even the first one I loved. But I can remember the first one that really spoke to me and stayed with me long after the final credits rolled.
There was a time in my life before Star Trek, but not much time, and once the show took hold of my heart, it never let go. And I have Gene Roddenberry to thank for that.
Like most people, Roddenberry had weaknesses, and parts of his life that shouldn’t be celebrated, but none of that can change the fact that he created a part of our culture that moved beyond mere entertainment and actually managed to change the world.
There are scientists practicing today because they were inspired by Star Trek. Artists who followed their passion to write, direct, or design graphics because they hoped to work on something as lasting as Star Trek. And there are everyday people—like me—who believe that the future that awaits us is a good one, because our world view has been formed in a very foundational way by Star Trek and the way it can be.
Today (well, as so often, I’m writing past the midnight hour, so technically yesterday), Gene Roddenberry would have been 93 years old. In his early Trek days, he had picked up the nickname of “Great Bird of the Galaxy”. According to the Trek mythology, the coming of the Great Bird was a wonderful event, signifying great prosperity and blessings for the planet he chose. I’m pretty sure Roddenberry actually brought that kind of blessing to this planet, but I’m certain that, at the very least, he and his vision were blessings to me.