August 12, 2014 11:34 AM EDT

For a show that was set hundreds of years in the future, Star Trek was very 1960s: not just the miniskirts, but the war and race allegories that creator Gene Roddenberry wrote into the series. Capt. James T. Kirk led a crew of all colors (and ear shapes) across the universe to follow the Prime Directive and defuse conflicts. Though the sci-fi show was colored by its troubled times, it also had a genuine postwar optimism, believing that technology, science and cooperation could actually lead humanity to unity and progress. Dated as the original Trek can look—with Kirk chasing galactic babes and space hippies—its first-rate sci-fi plots still hold up, as does the hope that hundreds of years from now we might be still boldly going.

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