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Where Star Trek Creator Gene Roddenberry's Impact Is Felt The Most In Newer TV Shows, According To His Son

Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry would have turned 100 years old this August, and while it's been nearly 30 years since his passing, his legacy has survived and thrived through his work in science fiction (among other things). Roddenberry's influence has been prevalent in many Trek shows, films, games and more over the years, and his metaphorical fingerprints are especially easy to spot if you know what you're looking for like his son Rod Roddenberry does.

Rod Roddenberry and fans around the world have been celebrating his father Gene's centennial both online and off, with initiatives like #ThinkTrek, #TalkTrek, and #WearTrek just to name a few. I had the pleasure of speaking with the current Roddenberry Entertainment CEO, and when I asked where he saw his father most in the newer TV series and other works that came after Gene's death, he responded with:

He is in all Star Treks that are out right now. He may not be in every episode, he may not be in ever scene - and I don’t want to take credit for the writers and directors or producers who create these scenes and these storylines - but anytime there is a scene where there is empathy shown, where there is a character who doesn’t just fire back, that’s where I see my father.

Rod Roddenberry singled out the newer Star Trek shows like Star Trek: Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks, as well as the upcoming shows Prodigy and Strange New Worlds. While these most recent projects are definitely a change of pace and technological advances from the classic days of The Original Series, Roddenberry still sees his father's kindness in them all the same.

Of course, there's been a divide in the Star Trek fandom when it comes to the new shows, as it always goes in pop culture fandom. Some complaints point to the the heavier focus on style and action over substance, claiming them to be compromising Gene Roddenberry's vision for the franchise. Rod Roddenberry doesn't see things that way, however, as he stressed that while new Star Trek: Discovery and others can indeed go harder on action sequences, the elements that are most important for reflecting his father's vision are still present.

I’m so privileged and happy that the people who work on these shows, they aren’t in it just to make sci-fi. I mean, sure some of [the shows] have a lot of gratuitous action. That’s entertainment. But as long as we are also getting the messaging across, then we’ve got Star Trek.

Star Trek is loaded with philosophy and life lessons that any and all viewers can incorporate in their everyday life, which has been a driving point of Gene Roddenberry's centennial celebration. Fans are being encouraged to search and utilize the aforementioned hashtags and more to explore (or re-explore) the principles and values that Roddenberry imbued in Star Trek from its founding. The initiative has been a great way to explore the meat and potatoes behind this beloved franchise, and those who dive in will discover the knowledge will remain relevant long after Roddenberry's centennial celebration is over.

Catch all the Star Trek shows old and new streaming on Paramount+. For more on the Think Trek movement, be sure to visit Roddenberry.com for more information. One has to wonder just how much of Gene Roddenberry's ideals would have popped up in Quentin Tarantino's Star Trek movie that never happened.

Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.