Back in 1966, a new sci-fi space show aired on American television, which followed a group of explorers in the 23rd century, as they discovered strange new worlds and searched for new life and civilizations. Fast forward to today, and Star Trek is a behemoth of a franchise, one of the biggest on the planet, with multiple TV spin-offs, films and other media.
You just can't forget the originals though, and the franchise wouldn't be what it is today without the first rag-tag team on the Enterprise. From time travel to fights to the death, from space races to one of the first onscreen interracial kisses, each of these characters were given their moment to shine.
But when so many of the original crew remain cultural icons to this day, which ones are the best of the bunch? Let's find out...
10. Honourable Mention - Captain Christopher Pike
While Pike was only the lead for one episode, and not technically part of the main Original Series, it's only fair he deserves a mention for being part of the initial vision of the show, and his cultural significance today.
Many fans will know Christopher Pike (played by Jeffrey Hunter) was the protagonist for the show's pilot, 'The Cage', in which the crew of the Enterprise are lured to Talos IV, where Pike is captured by the alien Talosians and experimented on with a number of dream-like scenarios using his memories.
That was the last he was seen (producers instead casting a new captain for a full series) until the season one episode, 'The Menagerie'. In this, it's revealed that Pike was subjected to severe radiation poisoning while on a training mission, and left permanently scarred, confined to a wheelchair and unable to verbally or physically communicate. It's a tragic story to say the least, even if does end with a (somewhat) happy ending as he returns to Talos IV to live out his days under the illusion of the Talosians.
Of course, modern audiences know that isn't the last we've seen of Pike. Because of his continued popularity over the years, Anson Mount was cast as the captain in season two of Star Trek: Discovery and brought new layers to the character. Pike's character was much more fleshed out, so much so there remains calls for him to get his own spin-off.
Without Pike, Star Trek wouldn't exist and it's incredible how someone who had so little screentime became such a namesake of the franchise.