(written from a Production point of view)
Star Trek: The Original Series (referred to as Star Trek prior to any spin-offs) is the first Star Trek series. The first episode of the show aired on 6 September 1966 on CTV in Canada, followed by a 8 September 1966 airing on NBC in America. The show was created by Gene Roddenberry as a "Wagon Train to the Stars". Star Trek was set in the 23rd century and featured the voyages of the starship USS Enterprise.
Star Trek was later informally dubbed The Original Series, or TOS, after several spin-offs aired. The show lasted three seasons until canceled in 1969. When the show first aired on TV, and until lowering budget issues in its third season resulted in a noticable drop in quality episodes and placed in a 10 pm Friday night death slot by the network, Star Trek regularly performed respectably in its time slot. After it was canceled and went into syndication, however, its popularity exploded. It featured themes such as a Utopian society and racial equality, and the first African-American officer in a recurring role.
Ten years later, Star Trek: The Motion Picture reunited the cast on the big screen aboard a refurbished USS Enterprise. They appeared in five subsequent films, ending with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in 1991, during production of the spin-off series Star Trek: The Next Generation and shortly before Gene Roddenberry's death. Several original series characters also appeared in the seventh movie, Star Trek Generations, and in other Star Trek productions.
In addition, the following regulars were listed in the end credits as co-stars:
- James Doohan as Scotty
- Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
- George Takei as Sulu
- Walter Koenig as Chekov (1967-1969)
- Majel Barrett-Roddenberry as Christine Chapel
- Gene Roddenberry – Creator, Writer, Producer, Executive Producer
- Gene L. Coon – Writer, Producer
- John Meredyth Lucas – Writer, Producer, Director
- Fred Freiberger – Producer (1968-69)
- Robert Justman – Associate Producer (Season 1-2), Co-Producer (Season 3), First Assistant Director (two pilots)
- D.C. Fontana – Writer, Script Consultant (1967-68)
- Steven W. Carabatsos – Writer, Story Consultant (1966)
- John D.F. Black – Associate Producer, Writer, Story Editor (1966)
- Arthur H. Singer – Story Consultant (1968-69)
- Byron Haskin – Associate Producer (first pilot)
- Walter "Matt" Jefferies – Production Designer, Art Director
- William E. Snyder – Director of Photography (first pilot)
- Ernest Haller – Director of Photography (second pilot)
- Jerry Finnerman – Director of Photography (61 episodes, 1966-1968)
- Keith Smith – Director of Photography (1 episode, 1967)
- Al Francis – Director of Photography (16 episodes, 1968-1969), Camera Operator (61 episodes, 1966-1968)
- James Rugg – Supervisor of Special Effects
- Rolland M. Brooks – Art Director (34 episodes, 1965-1967)
- Fred B. Phillips – Make-up Artist
- Robert Dawn – Make-up Artist (second pilot)
- William Ware Theiss – Costume Designer
- Gregg Peters – First Assistant Director (Season 1), Unit Production Manager (Season 2-3), Associate Producer (Season 3)
- Claude Binyon, Jr. – Assistant Director (third season)
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TOS Season 1, 29 episodes:
TOS Season 2, 26 episodes:
TOS Season 3, 24 episodes:
Behind the scenes
Star Trek was created by Gene Roddenberry, whose interest in science fiction dated back to the 1940s when he came into contact with Astounding Stories. Roddenberry's first produced science fiction story was The Secret Weapon of 117, which aired in 1956 on the Chevron Theatre anthology show. By 1963 Roddenberry was producing his first television series, The Lieutenant, at MGM.
In 1963, MGM was of the opinion that "true-to-life" television dramas were becoming less popular and an action-adventure show would be more profitable (this prediction turned out to be right, and led to series such as The Man from U.N.C.L.E). Roddenberry had already been working on a science fiction concept called Star Trek since 1960, and when he told MGM about his ideas, they were willing to take a look at them. As the production of The Lieutenant came to an end, Roddenberry delivered his first Star Trek draft to MGM. The studio was, however, not enthusiastic about the concept, and a series was never produced.
Roddenberry tried to sell his "wagon train to the stars" format to several production studios afterward, but to no avail. In 1964, it was rumored that Desilu was interested in buying a new television series. Desilu was a much smaller company than MGM, but Roddenberry took his chances, greatly aided with the help of Desilu Executive Herb Solow. This led to a three-year deal with Desilu in April 1964.
The first attempt to sell the Star Trek format to broadcasting network CBS (Desilu had a first proposal deal with the network) failed. CBS chose another science fiction project, Irwin Allen's more family-oriented Lost in Space instead of Roddenberry's more cerebral approach. But in May 1964, NBC's Vice-President of Programming Mort Werner agreed to give Roddenberry the chance to write three story outlines, one of which NBC would select to turn into a pilot.
One of the submitted story lines, dated 29 June 1964, was an outline for "The Cage", and this was the story picked up by NBC. Now, the daunting task that Roddenberry and his crew faced was to develop the Star Trek universe from scratch. Roddenberry recruited many people around him to help think up his version of the future. The RAND Corporation's Harvey P. Lynn acted as a scientific consultant, Pato Guzman was hired as art director, with Matt Jefferies as an assisting production designer. This phase of creativity and brainstorming lasted throughout the summer, until in the last week of September 1964 the final draft of the "The Cage" script was delivered to NBC, after which shooting of the pilot was approved.
The first pilot
In early October, preparations for shooting "The Cage" began. A few changes in the production crew were made: Roddenberry hired Morris Chapnick, who had worked with him on The Lieutenant, as his assistant. Pato Guzman left to return to Chile and was replaced by Franz Bachelin. Matt Jefferies finalized the design for the Enterprise and various props and interiors. By November 1964, the sets were ready to be constructed on stages Culver Studios Stage 14, 15, and 16. Roddenberry was not happy with the stages, since they had uneven floors and were not soundproof, as Culver Studios had been established in the silent movie era when soundproofing had not been an issue to consider. Eventually, in 1966, the rest of the series was shot on Paramount stages 9 and 10, which were in better shape.
Casting of the characters was not a problem, apart from the lead role of Captain Pike (still known as "Captain April" at this point, later renamed "Captain Winter" before finally choosing "Pike") who Roddenberry convinced Jeffrey Hunter to play. Leonard Nimoy (Spock) had worked with Roddenberry on The Lieutenant. Majel Barrett, also a familiar face from The Lieutenant, got the part of the ship's female first officer, Number One. Veteran character actor John Hoyt, who had worked on many science fiction and fantasy projects before, was chosen to play the role of Doctor Phil Boyce. Young Peter Duryea and Laurel Goodwin were hired as José Tyler and Yeoman J.M. Colt, respectively. The extras were cast from a diversity of ethnic groups, which was significant because integration was not a usual occurrence in 1960s television, and segregation was still a reality in the United States.
To produce the pilot episode, Robert Justman was hired as assistant director; he had worked on The Outer Limits shortly before. Makeup artist Fred Phillips was brought in as well, whose first job it was to create Spock's ears. Another veteran from The Outer Limits was producer-director Byron Haskin, who joined as associate producer. On 27 November 1964, the first scenes of "The Cage" (or "The Menagerie," as it was briefly known), were shot. Filming was scheduled to be eleven days, however the production went highly over budget and over schedule, resulting in sixteen shooting days and US$164,248 plus expenses.
But there were still a lot of visual effects to be made. An eleven-foot filming model of the USS Enterprise, designed by Matt Jefferies, was built by Richard Datin, Mel Keys, and Vernon Sion in Volmer Jensen's model shop, and was delivered to the Howard Anderson Company on 29 December 1964.
In February 1965, the final version of "The Cage" was delivered at NBC and screened in New York City. NBC officials liked the first pilot. Desilu's Herb Solow says that NBC was surprised by how realistic it looked, and that it was "the most fantastic thing we've ever seen." The reason the pilot was rejected was because it was believed that it would attract only a small audience, and they wanted more action and adventure. They also had problems with the "satanic" Spock and the female first officer (Number One). However, NBC was convinced that Star Trek could be made into a television series, and that NBC itself had been at fault for choosing the "The Cage" script from the original three stories pitched. Also, after spending US$630,000 on "The Cage" (the most expensive TV pilot at the time), they didn't want to have their money wasted. NBC then made the unprecedented move to order a second pilot.
The second pilot
For the second pilot, NBC requested three story outlines again. These were "Where No Man Has Gone Before" by Samuel A. Peeples, and "Mudd's Women" and "The Omega Glory" by Roddenberry. Although it was the most expensive of the three, NBC chose "Where No Man Has Gone Before", as it had the most action and most outer space spectacle. However, the other two premises were also made into episodes of the series later.
Filming the second pilot began in July 1965, and took nine days to complete. The entire cast of "The Cage" was replaced except Spock. Jeffrey Hunter chose not to reprise his role as Captain Pike, mostly by the advice of his wife, who felt that "science fiction ruins her husband's career". Roddenberry wanted both Lloyd Bridges and Jack Lord for the role of the new captain, however both declined. Finally William Shatner, who had previous science fiction experience acting in episodes of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, was chosen. The new captain was named James R. Kirk (later renamed James T. Kirk).
For the role of the chief medical officer, Roddenberry chose veteran actor Paul Fix. Canadian actor James Doohan got the role of chief engineer Scott, and young Japanese-American George Takei was featured as ship's physicist Sulu. The latter two reprised their roles in the upcoming series, though Sulu was a helmsman in the series. Other actors considered for being regulars were Lloyd Haynes as communications officer Alden and Andrea Dromm as Yeoman Smith, but neither of them were re-hired after the pilot.
Many of the production staff were replaced. Robert Dawn served as head make-up artist, however Fred Phillips returned to the position in the series itself. Academy Award winner cinematographer Ernest Haller came out of semi-retirement to work as the director of photography. Associate producer Byron Haskin was replaced by Robert Justman, who now shared double duties as producer and assistant director.
The Enterprise model was updated for the second pilot, and many new outer space effects shots were made, most of which were reused in the series itself. The sets were also updated a bit, most notably the main bridge and the transporter room. Most of the uniforms, props, and sets were reused from "The Cage", however some new props (including the never-seen-again phaser rifle) and a brand new matte painting (the planet Delta Vega) were made specially for this episode.
"Where No Man Has Gone Before" was accepted by NBC and the first season of a regular series was ordered for broadcasting in the 1966-67 television season. History was made.
The series begins
Preparation for the first regular season began in early 1966. All the Enterprise interior sets were updated, as well as the introduction of brand new uniforms. The look of the show became more colorful and more vivid. The Enterprise model was also updated once more. Also, the entire production was moved from Desilu's Culver City studios to the main Gower Street studio's Stage 9 and 10 (Paramount Stage 31 and 32 from 1967 onward) in Hollywood.
Kirk (Shatner) and Spock (Nimoy) were kept as the series stars, with Grace Lee Whitney joining the two as Yeoman Janice Rand (replacing Andrea Dromm as Yeoman Smith). Whitney had worked with Roddenberry a year before on an unsold pilot titled Police Story. Publicity photos promoting the new series were made at this time, with the three of them, mostly using props left from the two pilots (most notably the aforementioned phaser rifle). Shatner and Nimoy wore their new uniforms on these photographs, while Whitney had to wear an old, pilot version.
Scott (Doohan) and Sulu (Takei) were also kept, the latter becoming the ship's helmsman instead of physicist. Two additions made the Enterprise main crew complete: DeForest Kelley was hired to play the new chief medical officer, Leonard McCoy, as Roddenberry had known him from previous projects, including the aforementioned Police Story. Actress Nichelle Nichols got the role of communications officer Uhura, who became a symbol of the racial and gender diversity of the show. Nichols was a last minute addition, weeks before filming began on the first regular episode.
Jerry Finnerman became the new director of photography, while Fred Phillips, Matt Jefferies, and Rolland M. Brooks returned to their former positions. Writer John D.F. Black was brought in as the second associate producer (next to Justman). While Roddenberry and Black handled the script and story issues, Justman was in charge of the physical aspects of production.
Filming of the first regular episode, "The Corbomite Maneuver" began on 24 May 1966. Finally Star Trek debuted on NBC with a "Sneak Preview" episode at 8:30 pm (EST) on 8 September 1966. NBC chose "The Man Trap" (the fifth episode in production order) to air first, mainly because they felt it was more of a "traditional monster story" and featured more action.
The first season
In August 1966, several changes were made in the Star Trek production staff. Roddenberry stepped down as line producer and became the executive producer. His replacement was Gene L. Coon, who also regularly contributed to the series as a writer. While Black had also left the series, story editor Steven W. Carabatsos came in, sharing story duties with Roddenberry and Coon. To handle post-production, Edward K. Milkis was brought in by Justman. Carabatsos had left Star Trek near the end of the season, and was replaced by D.C. Fontana, formerly Roddenberry's secretary and a writer for the series.
- See: Syndication
Due to the overall length of the episodes of The Original Series, several minutes of each episode are frequently cut during the show's reruns, notably on the Sci-Fi Channel. Starting in April 2006, the G4 network began airing the full length episodes in "Uncut Marathons" on Saturdays. G4 stopped airing these full-length versions in November 2006, and has discontinued its run of Star Trek 2.0, which was a trivia-oriented and interactive version of the show for the viewers.
For current airings see Where to watch.
The Original Series has been nominated for and won a number of awards over the years. Some of the awards include:
- The series was nominated for thirteen Emmy Awards during its run, but did not win any.
- It was nominated eight times for the "Best Dramatic Presentation" Hugo Award, sweeping the nominees in 1968. It won twice, and Roddenberry won a special award in 1968.
- The 2003 "Pop Culture Award" in the TV Land Awards.
- The 2005 Saturn Award for "Best DVD Retro Television Release."
- See the main article.
On 31 August 2006, CBS Paramount Television announced that, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Star Trek, the show would return to broadcast syndication for the first time in sixteen years. The series' 79 episodes were digitally remastered with all new visual effects and music. The refurbished episodes have been converted from the original film to high-definition video, making it on par with modern television formats.
- TOS directors
- TOS performers
- TOS recurring characters
- TOS writers
- Character crossover appearances
- Undeveloped TOS episodes
- Desilu Stage 9
- Desilu Stage 10
- Star Trek Writers/Directors Guide
- Star Trek: The Original Series novels
- Star Trek: The Original Series comics (DC)
- Star Trek: The Original Series comics (IDW)
- Star Trek: The Original Series soundtracks
- Star Trek: The Original Series on VHS
- Star Trek: The Original Series on Betamax
- Star Trek: The Original Series on CED
- Star Trek: The Original Series on LaserDisc
- Star Trek: The Original Series on DVD
- Star Trek: The Original Series on Blu-ray
|Star Trek television series|
|The Original Series • The Animated Series • The Next Generation • Deep Space Nine • Voyager • Enterprise • Discovery • Picard • Lower Decks • Prodigy • Strange New Worlds|
|Companion series: After Trek • Short Treks • The Ready Room|
|In development: Untitled Section 31 series • Untitled Khan series|
- Star Trek: The Original Series at Wikipedia
- Star Trek: The Original Series at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- Star Trek: The Original Series at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- Star Trek: The Original Series at the Movie and TV Wiki
- Public Radio Special: The Peace Message in Star Trek