Star Trek is without argument the most influential and recognizable science-fiction television series ever produced. The cultural significance of the Star Trek franchise cannot be overstated, not just for its presence as a standard bearer for TV sci-fi, but for its work in introducing scientific concepts to mass audiences and advancing the notions of tolerance and equality within popular culture.
If you’re looking for a single, epiphanous moment to signify the importance of Star Trek to both television and society at large, this is it: The first scripted interracial kiss in American TV history happened on Star Trek, in the episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” between Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhura. That the Star Trek franchise also inspired almost every modern mobile gadget, from the smartphone to the tablet computer, is simply icing on the cake.
Yet, for all its well-earned accolades, Star Trek has been scandalously overlooked by major television awards. In fact, in the nearly 50 years that Star Trek has been on the air, with six television series and over 700 episodes to its credit, only once has any Star Trek show won a non-technical Emmy award.
WHAT IS THE ONLY MAJOR EMMY AWARD THE STAR TREK FRANCHISE EVER WON?
In 1975, Star Trek: The Animated Series won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Entertainment Children’s Series. That’s right: The only incarnation of Trek to win a non-technical Emmy was the cartoon, which only lasted one season.
Star Trek has been nominated for 155 Emmys and has won 33, but 32 of those wins were in technical categories, including makeup, costumes, sound editing, art direction, visual effects, and musical score. No Star Trek episode or series has ever won a major primetime Emmy.
Both the original Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation were nominated for Best Drama Series, but neither show earned the Emmy. The original series was nominated in both 1967 and 1968 but lost both times to Mission: Impossible. NextGen was nominated in 1994 but lost out to Picket Fences.
Leonard Nimoy has the distinction of being the only Star Trek actor to be nominated for an individual Emmy. Nimoy earned three consecutive nominations for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Spock — in 1967, 1968, and 1969 — but never took home the award.
And before you ask, no, the Academy Awards haven’t been any kinder. Of the 11 Star Trek films produced to date, none have even been nominated for a non-technical Oscar. Worse, out of 14 Academy Award nominations, the Trek franchise has taken home exactly one. J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot blockbuster Star Trek earned the Oscar for best makeup.
Trek will just have to console itself with its four Hugo awards for excellence in science fiction, a Peabody award for excellence in television, and an NAACP Image award for the advancement of minorities in popular media. Star Trek may not make for award-winning television, but the franchise has more than done its part to make ours a better world.
That’s not just a meritorious media milestone; it’s a culturally commendable collection of Geek Trivia.
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