Today, the Emmys announced that Star Trek would be the 2018 recipient of the Governor’s Award. The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences picks one person, organization, company or project that they deem to have made significant contributions to and/or achievements in television that go beyond the scope of competitive Emmys. The award is the cherry on top of a phenomenally successful year for the franchise, which has seen a huge resurgence as a result of Star Trek: Discovery’s hit first season on CBS All-Access.
To their credit, the Academy’s made use of the latitude written into the award when it comes to the recipients. Past Governor’s Award honorees include Lucille Ball, Showtime’s diversity programming, American Idol, and the A&E network as a whole. That said, the Emmys have yet to honor a narrative franchise like Star Trek, a series that has graced television screens for over 50 years. The closest they came to recognizing a particular series in this way happened back in 2007 when the entire cast of The Sopranos appeared on the stage to send off what had just become the most awarded series in Emmy history.
Today, the Governor’s Award Committee chair Mark Spatny revealed a similar level of reverence for Star Trek as the Academy did for The Sopranos when making the announcement (via StarTrek.com):
Star Trek is the first television program I can remember watching as a child, and has always been ahead of its time. Not only have all the franchises promoted inclusiveness and acceptance of all people, and inspired creative thought about space exploration and our future, but the technical innovations sparked by the franchise are incredibly significant to the evolution of television production, and also to the communication and computer tools we use in our daily life. We are honored to present this award to a franchise that has made such a lasting contribution to both television and our society.
In his adulation of the series, Spatny highlighted what many fans of Gene Roddenberry’s sweeping concept have known for years – Star Trek’s impact extends well beyond its entertainment value. While the enjoyment provided by the over 700 episodes that have been produced can’t be understated, the franchise has also served as a shining example of innovation, inclusivity, and forward-thinking. That’s not even including the fact that we probably wouldn’t have iPads if The Next Generation hadn’t shown the world what they looked like first.
Star Trek will receive the Governor’s award on September 8 during the Creative Arts Emmy Awards – coincidentally the same day that The Original Series pilot, “The Man Trap”, aired 52 years ago. It’s timely for a couple of reasons beyond that bit of symmetry, though. Given the political and cultural divides currently at work in the national consciousness, awarding a franchise defined by its fierce commitment to what Spatny called “inclusiveness and acceptance of all people” sends a clear message about the Academy’s values. And considering Star Trek’s been one of, if not the most progressive shows on television since 1966, the Television Academy’s recognition has been a long time coming (especially since the franchises have been largely ignored by competitive awards outside of those for special effects and hair and makeup).
Source: Star Trek