Later, after Trek was on the air, the producers used the network’s concerns about sexuality to their advantage — they would deliberately put sexy stuff into episodes for the network to freak out about, so the censors wouldn’t notice other things. For example, in the episode “A Private Little War,” the producers deliberately put in a scene of Kirk having an open-mouth kiss with a half-naked woman, so the network could throw a fit about that — and not notice the blatant Vietnam allegory.
Intolerance in the 23rd century? Improbable! If man survives that long, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear. It’s a manifestation of the greatness that God, or whatever it is, gave us. This infinite variation and delight, this is part of the optimism we built into Star Trek.
—  Gene Roddenberry, in The Making of Star Trek (1968)

Seth MacFarlane on Gene Roddenberry: Hall of Fame 2010

"Now how many science fiction franchises are so well-founded that they could tell a purely character based story with no pyrotechnics. Gene knew Star Trek was not about the space battles the special effects, the action - anybody could do that. It was about the people, and the ideas. Some of the best star trek installments looked like they cost a nickel. They did comedy beautifully - maybe you'd remember Leonard Nimoy got the job directing "Three Men And A Baby" because of Star Trek V. Also not to be undervalued is that Gene's shows took science seriously and as a result Roddenberry left his mark on generations of scientist, physicians and astronauts who credit star trek as the reason they entered their professions. Roddenberry's vision of the future literally shaped our presen" (x)
I had insisted on half women on board [the Enterprise]. The network came to me and said, ‘You can’t have half women. Our people say it will make it look like a ship with all sorts of mad sexual things going on – half men and half women.’ So we argued about it like a poker game and they finally said, ‘Okay. We’ll settle for one-third women.’ I figured one-third women could take care of the males anyway.

Gene Roddenberry, from personal conversations with Gene in 1990, at La Costa, CA


No, not the first [Vulcan-Human hybrid]. But the first to survive. As you must know, an Earth-Vulcan conception will abort during the end of the first month. The fetus is unable to continue life once it begins to develop its primary organs. The fetus Spock was removed from Amanda’s body at this time—first such experiment ever attempted. His tiny form resided in a test tube for the following two Earth months, while our physicians performed delicate chemical engineering, introducing over a hundred subtle changes that we hoped would sustain life. At the end of this time, the fetus was returned to Amanda’s womb. At the ninth Earth month, the tiny form was again removed from Amanda, prematurely by Vulcan standards, and spent the following four months Vulcan term pregnancy in a specially designed incubator. The infant Spock proved surprisingly resilient—there seems to be something about the Earth-Vulcan mixture, which created in that.. tiny body.. a fierce determination to survive.
—  Sarek (as played by Mark Lenard) as interviewed by Gene Roddenberry about his son for the 1976 album, Inside Star Trek.

The second season of Star Trek introduced fans to Ensign Pavel Chekov, who would permanently fill what had previously been the rotating position of ship’s navigator. With an eye toward attracting more teenage girls to Star Trek’s audience, Gene Roddenberry had decided to add another character to the bridge crew: someone young and slightly irreverent, someone Beatle-ish… or at least Monkee-ish. But a timely snipe against the series from the official newspaper of the Communist Party would transform Roddenberry’s vision of a cheeky Brit into a humorously ethnocentric Russian.

Star Trek, it seems, had leaked through the Iron Curtain. An article appeared in Pravda slamming the “typically capitalistic” mindset behind the show. Why, the paper wondered, were there no Russian crewmen aboard the Enterprise? Were Americans so ill-informed about the achievements of the Soviet space program?

It was a valid point and an unintentionally clever suggestion. In the same way that the presence of Uhura and Sulu served to demonstrate that integration would be commonplace in the not-so-distant future, the presence of a Russian officer would demonstrate that petty disagreements between Earth’s nations would become a thing of the past. […]

Thus, Walter Koenig was cast in the role of Ensign Pavel Chekov. Roddenberry still liked the idea of the character sporting a Beatles-style haircut, even if the character had a Muscovite accent, so the actor wore a mop-top until his own hair grew to an appealingly shaggy length.

source: Star Trek: The Original Series [Paula M. Block with Terry J. Eroman, 2010]

You know what I think television today needs? A completely new “Star Trek” series. Modern media has become transfixed on the idea of the dystopia - the post-apocalyptic wasteland that has become society’s inevitable expectation of our future as a species. When we see humanity’s future portrayed in popular culture, in shows like “The Walking Dead” and “Under the Dome”, and movies like “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent”, the outlook is bleak, and it’s easy to make that jump when every day, the local and national news relays man’s latest atrocities. It’s easy to believe that we are headed towards nuclear war and the total obliteration of everything we hold dear. But “Star Trek” is different. “Star Trek” took a generation gripped by fear of a nuclear onslaught and gave humanity a future not only free from the looming terror of war but free of personal prejudice, societal barriers, and institutionalized discrimination. “Star Trek” showed that generation a future in which all humankind could coexist and construct a system based on peace and self-worth and spread that idea among the stars, and perhaps that’s what this generation needs as well. In a technological age where information on every international crisis is widely and readily available, an outlet that dispels the notion that dystopia is humanity’s only possible path and promotes civility, peace, and hope for a brighter future could make a world of difference.