How the Original ‘Star Trek’ Addressed the War in Vietnam

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When the TV show “Star Trek” first aired in the late 1960s, the program was nowhere near the blockbuster money machine of syndication and sequels it later became. Ratings were low. Only the sci-fi geeks cared. 

But in the 1970s, fans watching reruns helped helped breathe new life into the franchise—in part, because they appreciated how the show took risks, sometimes wading into the most divisive issues of the day.

Like the war in Vietnam.

The show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, says that setting the drama in space gave him the distance to address hot-button cultural topics. “It seemed to me that perhaps if I wanted to talk about sex, religion, politics, make some comments against Vietnam, and so on…” he said, “that if I had similar situations involving these subjects happening on other planets to little green people—indeed it might get by. And it did.” 



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