Star Trek: The Original Series TV Poster Image

Star Trek: The Original Series



A cultural icon that's lived long and prospered.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show's overall message is one of empathy and respecting 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).


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


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, Star Trek: The Original Series 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.

What's the story?

Iconic series STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES -- 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?


Forty years after it's premiere, this 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). In their 80 episodes, the Star Trek: The Original Series 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. But 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 in Star Trek: The Original Series. Parents, stress the value of teamwork, even when not all participants agree. How can people from different backgrounds come together to collaborate and achieve their goals?

  • 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?

  • A lot of the messages in Star Trek are meant to be social commentary on major issues in the 1960s. Which ones are still relevant today? How are racism, sexism, and prejudice portrayed in the Star Trek universe?

  • The show portrayed ground-breaking diversity in its cast. Why do media role models matter?

  • How do the characters in Star Trek: The Original Series demonstrate empathy and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Premiere date:September 8, 1966
Cast:DeForest Kelley, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner
Networks:G4, Syndicated, TV Land
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Space and aliens
Character strengths:Empathy, Teamwork
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Parent Written byCooldee April 21, 2010

For ages 11 and up, but please beware of younger children watching this show-it can scare them!

Please beware of the violence, even though blood is not shown, and the messages that are given are the following: Respect, duty, loyality, and friendship. I love this show!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byStefanLasiewski January 6, 2014

Great, but watch out for male and female sexual stereotypes

I started watching this with my 9 year old son. The series is very entertaining for him and me and we will continue to watch it. I appreciate that the series was progressive for the era, but this show reminds me how far we've progressed since then. I forgot that the series isn't all about spaceships, exploration and aliens, and *whoa* I wasn't quite prepared for some of the content. I don't have a problem with my children watching positive (but age appropriate) sexual role models, which in my mind means people hugging, kissing, a little passion and treating each other with respect and acting maturely. However, Star Trek is almost comical in it's 1967 view of woman as sexual creatures. Watch out for the outdated sexual stereotypes-- all women wear sexy miniskirts, and two out of three of the main woman characters are assistants to men and often do little except stand there and look attentive, such as Yeoman Rand nor Nurse Chapel. Uhura's shapely legs are often framed quite conspicuously and wow are those skirts short. We're only on episode 8, and I've already had to pause and talk about the sexual allure presented in "Mudd's Women", Charlie slapping a woman's rear and the almost-rape scene in "Charlie X", and in "The Naked Time" why does Yeoman Rand need a man's help (Spock) to get past the drunk man into the elevator when I'm sure she's strong enough to figure it out on her own, etc. These topics are presented in an innocent and light way, as was appropriate for television in 1967. But I had to pause the show a couple of times and comment about why those things were wrong and 'outdated'. And I'll tough briefly on the male stereotypes: men must always present a strong, tough face to the outside world. Forget your true emotions, let's fix this with a fist fight! While the women seem lose their heads too often, men are always able to be strong and quick and can fix any problem. Clearly each episode tells us a moral story, but the moral may not be understood by some children. Other then that, we've seen about 5 corpses. I guess it's okay for a 9 year old to see that, and he's seen worse elsewhere, and I can't shelter my kids forever, but I'm not sure I feel good about that.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Parent of a 13 year old Written byTsion June 23, 2009

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