Except for watching ME-TV or Antenna-TV reruns, people under the age of 40 missed out on the TV series of the 1950s and 1960s that presented moral dilemmas, dystopian futures, and other think-pieces intended to push the envelope of one’s imagination and possibilities. Science fiction was brought to the small screen in ways that examined current events and controversies of the day while providing “wholesome” entertainment unlike the sex-dominated TV fare of today.
Check out this list to see where your 1960s series favorites rank in terms of popularity. Interestingly, numbers one and two on that list are my favorites, too: The Twilight Zone and Star Trek (Original Series). Alternate earth scenarios, time loops, alien visitations, what-if scenarios, examination of key decisions that changed history, the consequences of moral (or immoral choices), etc.
Many of the episodes of those series were prescient and very insightful, and the lessons from those shows remain applicable even today. A lot can be learned from those old reruns! Take for example “The Omega Glory” (Star Trek Season 2, Episode 23) which was first broadcast on 1 March 1968. That episode depicted an alternate Earth in which a worldwide biological war devastated the planet, leaving two groups pitted against each other a couple of hundred years later – the “Yangs” and the “Kohms.” CAPT Kirk and Mr. Spock deduced that the Caucasian-appearing Yangs and Chinese-appearing Kohms corresponded to 20th century Earth’s “Yankees” and “Communists,” and that these two groups remained at war even after biological warfare had devastated their civilizations.
The storyline of the episode is not as important as the parallel context and the subsequent analyses and opinions of people who interpreted the meaning/intent of the episode’s author based on their own ideological biases. The story was written by Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, at the height of the Cold War. In 1968, America was enmeshed in the Vietnam War, with some national security experts concerned that Communist China would set aside their complex history, tensions, and competition with the Vietnamese and expand the war by greatly increasing military and economic aid
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