Star Trek: The Original Series

Common Sense Media says

A cultural icon that's lived long and prospered.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

The show's overall message is to respect one another's differences. Storylines often revolve around alien races with different social norms than humans (sexism, racism, politics), but the Enterprise crew isn't supposed to interfere.

Positive role models

While the characters all have their quirks (and a few flaws), the Enterprise crew is quite intrepid and resourceful overall, often getting out of tricky situations via teamwork or ingenuity.

Violence & scariness

Most episodes include some fighting, be it characters physically wrestling each other or using "phasers" (their weapons) or photon torpedoes. But blood is never shown. Mind control is a frequent plotpoint.

Sexy stuff

Women wear skimpy, skin-tight outfits (with mini-skirts and go-go boots). Some alien races portray women as subservient, while others have women in power. Crew members often flirt -- most notably, Capt. Kirk, who falls in love quite often. Some kissing (including a groundbreaking interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura).

Language

Mild overall. "Dammit, Jim!" -- uttered by Bones -- occurs in many episodes.

Consumerism

Lots of Star Trek products out there, but nothing in the show itself.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking by adults in social settings. Scotty is often involved in drinking contests with other humans and aliens.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, compared to today's visually stunning special effects, this show was very low-budget in both props and special effects and may consequently seem silly to modern kids. But beyond that, the series was a metaphor for the upheaval of the 1960s. Behind the storylines of space travel and aliens are important social commentaries on racism, sexism, politics, and the fear that machines might one day rule the world. Taken at face value, though, most of the adventures are pretty innocent and are fine for young tweens and up.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Iconic series STAR TREK -- a show that's launched a thousand spin-offs, movies, books, games, action figures, and conventions -- chronicles the adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise, a spaceship representing the United Federation of Planets in the 23rd century. The ship is on a mission to explore the space frontier, but the show itself isn't as much about space as it is about the people on the Enterprise. Among them are brash, emotional Capt. Kirk (William Shatner); logical Vulcan Spock (Leonard Nimoy); and hot-headed Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley). Creator Gene Roddenberry also made a point of including crew members of various ethnic backgrounds, including Japanese Lt. Hikaru Sulu (George Takei), Russian Ensign Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig), and Scottish Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery "Scotty" Scott (James Doohan), and African-American Lt. Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols).

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

In their 80 episodes, the original Star Trek crew encountered deadly diseases, alien races, time warps, beautiful women in skin-tight outfits, and furry creatures called Tribbles. Kirk was put on trial for crimes against humanity, split into two alter-egos (good and evil), and cloned into an android. Forty years later, the series still succeeds in syndication because its messages about racism, sexism, politics, and respecting differences really are timeless (even if the special effects aren't ... though the early episodes are being remastered and enhanced with more up-to-date effects and imagery). At the core of the show is the idea that humans are complex creatures, and dilemmas often have no right or wrong answer.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the importance of respecting differences and not asking others to conform. Parents, stress the value of teamwork, even when not all participants agree.

  • What would our world be like if money was no longer used? If sickness and injuries were easily healed with high-tech medicine? If we could travel the universe and visit other planets? Would you be afraid, or would you embrace new ideas and new concepts?

TV details

Cast:DeForest Kelley, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner
Networks:G4, Syndicated, TV Land
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Space and aliens
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Star Trek: The Original Series was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 13 year old Written byTsion June 23, 2009
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

An Engaging Show with Outdated Effects but Role Models to Die For...

STAR TREK is a perfect TV series. It is engaging, action-packed (though not too action-oriented for kids), and it's brimming with positive messages and role models. In fact, aside from some laser rays, tense images, and infrequent mild language ("d**n it man, I'm a doctor, not a physicist!"), the show has nothing wrong with it. Characters are kind and tolerant of each other, and courage, bravery, sacrifice, and kindness are recurring themes of the show that always take center stage from the sci-fi fights. Highly recommended.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old January 2, 2010
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

THIS IS THE BEST TV SHOW EVER!!!

I have just started watching Star Trek, and I think that this is the best show that I've ever watched in my life! It's got good role models, and positive messages. (Though Kirk does kiss the girls too much!) Favorite line of all time: "Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not an engineer!"
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Kid, 8 years old August 19, 2009
AGE
7
QUALITY
 
I HAVE A STAR TREK COMIC AND I LOVE THE SHOW BUT I HAVE NOT SEEN IT IN A LONG TIME
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models

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