Gene Roddenberry Defends the Star Trek Pilot

Posted by Michael Sacco on Nov 28, 2010 in Star Trek |

Roddenbury's letter

Prior to the original Star Trek series, there were never any real science fiction hits on television, or any kind of science fiction television, for that matter. Gene Roddenberry, the show’s creator, seemed to to understand the unique position that he was in as possibly spearheading the mainstreaming of sci-fi, and that’s clearly indicated in this letter unearthed by Letters of Note. In it, Roddenberry instructs his sales agent, who was in charge of pitching the Trek pilot to networks, not to make concessions or adjustments that would compromise the creative vision of the show. It’s almost alarming how candid he is in this letter; as he puts it, “Maybe it’s catharsis. But I think it’s more.” It certainly was. He was successful, though in a roundabout way — NBC rejected the first pilot, “The Cage,” but immediately requested a second pilot. This was the famous “Where No Man Has Gone Before” that kicked off the series right. 

Michael Sacco is a freelance editor and writer, currently working as senior editor at WoW Insider.


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