The Star Trek media franchise is a multi-billion dollar industry, currently owned by CBS. Gene Roddenberry sold Star Trek to NBC as a classic adventure drama; he pitched the show as "Wagon Train to the Stars" and as Horatio Hornblower in Space. The opening line, "to boldly go where no man has gone before," was taken almost verbatim from a US White House booklet on space produced after the Sputnik flight in 1957. The central trio of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy was modeled on classical mythological storytelling.
Star Trek and its spin-offs have proven highly popular in syndication and are currently shown on TV stations worldwide. The show's cultural impact goes far beyond its longevity and profitability. Star Trek conventions have become popular among its fans, who call themselves "trekkies" or "trekkers". An entire subculture has grown up around the show which was documented in the film Trekkies. Star Trek was the highest-ranked cult show by TV Guide. The franchise has also garnered many comparisons of the Star Wars franchise being rivals in the science fiction genre with many fans and scholars.
The Star Trek franchise inspired some designers of technologies, such as the Palm PDA and the handheld mobile phone. Michael Jones, Chief technologist of Google Earth, has cited the tricorder's mapping capability as one inspiration in the development of Keyhole/Google Earth. It also brought teleportation to popular attention with its depiction of "matter-energy transport", with phrases such as famous misquoted "Beam me up, Scotty" entering the vernacular. In 1976, following a letter-writing campaign, NASA named its prototype space shuttle Enterprise, after the fictional starship. Later, the introductory sequence to Star Trek: Enterprise included footage of this shuttle which, along with images of a naval sailing vessel called the Enterprise, depicted the advancement of human transportation technology.
Beyond Star Trek's fictional innovations, one of its greatest and most significant contributions to TV history is its multicultural and multiracial cast. While common in television shows from the 1970s onward, this was controversial and daring in the 1960s. The Enterprise crew included a Japanese helmsman, a Russian navigator, a black female communications officer, and a Vulcan-Terran first officer. Also, controversial at its time, in the episode Plato's Stepchildren, was Captain Kirk's kiss with Lt. Uhura which became a defining moment in television history as it was believed to be American TV's first scripted interracial kiss.
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