On Thursday, Star Trek will turn 50 years old. It was on September 8, 1966, that the first episode of the original series aired on NBC, spawning one of the best-loved franchises in all of science fiction. To celebrate, io9 will spend this week looking back at 50 years of all things Trek with a Tribble-pile’s worth of features, essays, and more on Gene Roddenberry’s beloved creation.

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And I do mean celebrate. There’s plenty of things to mock about the series—the face painted aliens, William Shatner’s cadence, that episode of TNG where the crew turned into big bugs or something—but there’s a reason we’re still talking about it now, half-a-century after that first episode debuted. Star Trek is science fiction at its purest, thoughtful, imaginative, and questioning. It was never just phasers and starships and Klingons; it’s about showing us a better, brighter future for humanity, a goal to strive towards, a destination of hope we can boldly go toward.

So raise a glass of Saurian Brandy in celebration as io9 brings you a week-long fete of all the Enterprises and their respective crews, of the show and movies, of the tie-ins and personal memories and much, much more. And may Star Trek live long and prosper for another 50 years.

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[Correction: Star Trek originally debuted on NBC, not CBS, although the latter currently own the TV rights.]