3. Other posters jumped in claiming progressive features of 60's TV westerns.
If #3 is correct, then great. If so, Star Trek has laudable features in common with TV westerns. Both were engaged in substantive social commentary. If art can serve a moral function (i.e., allow us to explore moral questions and allow artists to take moral stances), then both Star Trek and TV Westerns appear to share this facet.
NOTE: It is still my contention that Star Trek did more than the TV westerns. It was very multi-racial/multi-ethnic for it's time. The bridge of the Enterprise was rainbow of men and women working in unison. In addition, Trek could get away with stories that other shows could not, because it was in a fanciful setting. It could make direct comments about race hatred and segregation (i.e., it's stupid), because the message more easily slid past the censors.
If you researched Star Trek
's development you'd know that Adult Westerns, like the ones you mentioned, were the inspiration/template for Star Trek
. Roddenberry, who worked on Adult Westerns, wanted to do for Science Fiction what those shows did for Westerns.
wasn't alone in it's "rainbow" approach to casting. The Networks and studios were pretty much ordering shows to hire non-whites for new programs. Roddenberry didn't come up with this in a vacuum. Mission: Impossible
and Hogan's Heroes
had multi-ethnic casts, Hogan came out a year before Star Trek
and MI the same year.
As others have pointed out, the Adult Westerns did tackle social issues, including racism and segregation. And they didn't have to invent aliens and use allegory to do it. The censors of that time weren't that concerned with those particular topics. Language and nudity were probably bigger concerns. Kirk using "hell" or Barbara Eden's navel were more important than some Indian on Gunsmoke
being forced off his land by white men or aliens on Star Trek fighting a genocidal war.
Captain Nebula wrote:
Nerys Myk wrote:
So I have to ask, why isn't it Star Trek?
For the same reason that much of Enterprise doesn't feel like Star Trek.
The Star Trek 'Mission Statement'
Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. ...to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no man has gone before.
How many strange new worlds did nuTrek explore?
How much new life and how many new civilizations?
And did they boldly go... where no one has gone... before?
Its not a mission statement. It an opening monologue. Star Trek doesn't have to limit it's self to those mentioned in the monologue. Nor has it. Sometimes they went to new worlds, other times they went to "old" worlds.