Want to watch Star Trek? Don’t want to be bothered by having to deal with streaming services, iTunes, Blu-Rays, or DVDs? Now every series (5 in all) in the cult classic franchise is back on regular television. All Star Trek shows (The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise) are now being shown on the H&I (Heroes and Icons) network, according to Newsday.
It’s part of H&I’s “All Star Trek” block of programming, which began at the end of July. H&I shows vintage programming from the 60s through the 90s and is carried over local network digital sub-channels. Neal Sabin, vice chairman of Weigel Broadcasting, the parent company of H&I, spoke with Newsday.
“H&I needed some kind of signature to help define and differentiate it from other networks.” He continued, “Our goal and programming skew is to be a little younger and a little more male” than MeTV, another retro-themed network also owned by Weigel.
Sabin also spoke with Broadcasting & Cable. “If there is one television franchise that fits the Heroes & Icons brand best, it is the five legendary Star Trek series that will be airing together for the first time in our ‘All Star Trek‘ programming block. The captains and crews of each series define the term heroic and, over time, each one of them has become truly iconic.”
With five series to choose from (not counting the short-lived 1970s cartoon), there is something for every kind of Star Trek fan. The Original Series balanced drama and action with morality plays on the nature of human politics, war, and ethics. The Next Generation took a more character-based approach, with the ensemble cast working to solve problems, whether they be enemy aliens or space anomalies. Deep Space Nine inverted the usually sunny disposition of a Star Trek crew and forced characters who didn’t always like each other to work together. Voyager placed the crew in a distant, uncharted area of space, struggling to find a way home. Enterprise was a prequel of sorts, focusing on a crew before The Original Series testing the limits of space travel with their technology.
H&I’s programming coincides with 2016 being the 50th anniversary year for Star Trek. The very first episode of the original series premiered in September of 1966. Although it was canceled after only three seasons, it gained a significant following in reruns.
The cancellation of the original Star Trek was parodied in an early episode of Saturday Night Live.
Later, the Star Trek franchise made the leap to feature films, with both The Original Series and The Next Generation crews getting movies. Half a century after nearly being written off as a failed science fiction show, Star Trek is a dominant cultural legacy in both the United States and around the world.
Also capitalizing on the 50th anniversary this year was the release of the new movie Star Trek Beyond, the third film in a new movie series featuring a rebooted version of the original series’ crew. A possible fourth movie has been announced as well.
Coming soon in 2017, there will be a brand new television series, Star Trek: Discovery, that will be exclusive to the CBS All Access streaming service. Until then, Star Trek fans have all of the original shows to keep them company, now back on free, over-the-air TV.
Star Trek: The Original Series airs on H&I Sundays at 8 PM Eastern, followed by the shows in order: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise, all through 1 AM Eastern. Weeknights, The Original Series airs at 6 PM Eastern and is followed by The Next Generation at 7. Deep Space Nine airs weeknights at 10 PM Eastern and is followed by Voyager and Enterprise in late night. H&I is available to watch in most states in the U.S.
[Image via NBC]