the key to Star Trek’s longevity and cultural penetration was its seriousness of purpose, originally inspired by creator Gene Roddenberry’s science fiction vision. Modeled on Gulliver’s Travels, the series was meant as an opportunity for social commentary, and it succeeded ingeniously, with episodes scripted by some of the era’s finest science fiction writers. Yet the development of Star Trek’s moral and political tone over 50 years also traces the strange decline of American liberalism since the Kennedy era.
The article traces through episodes at each phase of the franchise, exploring literary allusions and lamenting that
"Star Trek's latest iterations--the 'reboot' films directed by J.J. Abrams--shrug at the franchise's former philosophical depth"
I mean, if we're going to call it a franchise, why should it not be to thought what fast food is to nutrition?