« Watch "Downton Abbey" on PBS: My 1st Big Recommendation of the Year (Video) | Main | 2011 Oscar Nominations: "King's Speech" vs. "True Grit," Christopher Nolan was Robbed »

January 18, 2011

PBS's "Pioneers of Television:" Flashback to My Sci-Fi Childhood (Video)

Pin It

Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura in "Star Trek"

Image Courtesy:  PBS "Pioneers of Television"

For a generation of little black girls in the late sixties, Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) of "Star Trek" represented a future full of promise where a black woman was able to literally reach for the stars.   For me, and a large number of my peers, that was huge.

So much so that when, after meeting her at a cocktail party where Nichelle Nichols told him she was planning on quitting the show, Martin Luther King, Jr. sought to talk her out of it.  Lt. Uhura, he said was too important a symbol for the black community.   Nichols took his words to heart, stuck around and made history.

Stories like this one are some of the entertaining tidbits in the season 2 premiere of PBS's series "Pioneers of Television." Narrated by Kelsey Grammar, this season's four part series kicks off with a fun and informative episode about the pioneers of TV science fiction. 

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy as Captain Kirk and Spock in "Star Trek"

Image Courtesy PBS "Pioneers of Television"

Where No Man Has Gone Before

Fans of "Star Trek," "Lost in Space" and "The Twilight Zone," will love the revealing anecdotes told by William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols and Rod Serling.  You'll also get a kick out of seeing the Robinson girls from "Lost in Space," Angela Cartwright and Marta Kristen, all grown up.  Not to mention the adorable Will Robinson himself, Billy Mumy, now a smart and funny adult.

Jonathan Harris as Dr. Smith in "Lost in Space"

Image Courtesy PBS "Pioneers of Television"

You'll learn which episode of "Lost in Space" the cast thought was the absolute worst, the creative ways creator Irwin Allen kept production costs down and how Jonathan Harris, the infamous Dr. Zachary Smith--"Oh, the pain, the pain!--turned what was supposed to be a minor role into a classic.

A Fun Childhood Flashback

The whole episode was a  flashback to my sci-fi childhood.  I was touched by Mumy's remembrances of Harris, and chuckled at the real reason William Shatner fought for that famous interracial kiss between Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhura.  It was also neat to hear how Cartwright and Kristen visited NASA as adults and had shuttle pilots and engineers tell them how "Lost in Space" and the Robinson kids inspired them to work for the space program.

Nichelle Nichols

Image Courtesy Nichelle Nichols

The interview clips with "The Twilight Zone's" Rod Serling provide a unique window into the mind of one of television's greatest writers.  He and "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry had a lot in common, both discovering that the controversial topics of the day concerning race, women's rights, and social upheaval could only be palatable to the network heads and the public if they were dealt with in fanciful worlds of their own.  Even then, they both had major battles with the networks to maintain their creative visions.

Watch the full episode. See more Pioneers of Television.

Upcoming episodes of "Pioneers of Television" will cover westerns, crime dramas and local kids' TV.   "Pioneers of Television:  Science Fiction"  airs on January 18th at 8pm EST on PBS.

 Cross Posted from BlogHer

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c5d8753ef0147e1b258c8970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference PBS's "Pioneers of Television:" Flashback to My Sci-Fi Childhood (Video):

Comments

Follow the Leader

  • Follow Me on Pinterest

Bragging Rights

  • Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass

Reading is Fundamental

  • BlogHer Book Club Reviewer

Longwood Gardens - Photos

  • Ruby Reds
    Orchids, tulips and Mother Nature at her springtime best.

Doggie Frolics - Photos

  • Spring Is Here
    The star of Doggie Frolics, Daisy at home and abroad.

Technorati

  • Add to Technorati Favorites

Bloggers

  • Megan - Find me on Bloggers.com

Blog Catalog

  • Arts & Entertainment Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory

Blogged

Daisy 1994-2008

  • Daisy

  • Subscribe to this blog's feed

Search Megan's Minute

  • Loading

I Also Blog At

  • BlogHer Contributing Editor