The first episode of the original "Star Trek" TV series aired 40 years ago to this very day: September 8, 1966.
I was a Trekkie then and still remain one. For me, it was a combination of memorable characters, profound character interaction, spellbinding story lines, frequently stellar acting, and the projection of how future generations of space-farers would use technology for their advantage.
The medical tricorder, the communicator- we see rough equivalents of them in use today. More than a few astronauts and NASA tech/operations folks have cited Star Trek as firing up their imaginations and honing their career goals.
Yes, Star Trek is a vital part of our culture. But it is that standing that frustrates more than a few science-fiction fans as well as large contingents of general fiction adherents.
Many of them are quick to embrace Heinlein, Bradbury and even the fantasies of Tolkien as literature- while consigning the original "Star Trek" and even its several successor series as little more than cartoonish escapades.
While I cannot say the authors I've cited have a lack of merit, I find much of their work intolerably quirky or overly ponderous. Sometimes both.
Yes, the original "Star Trek" had its hokey moments, but its memorable high drama as well. Some involved the complexities of moralistic dilemmas. Successor series, such as "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine," were graced with plots that richly explored human tableus and taboos- the preservation of dying races and creatures, the inner struggle many of us face between our good and potentially evil sides, the balance between emotion and logic, the question of whether or not it is ever justifiable to expend some lives to save many more, the appropriateness of whether or not to interfere in another culture's civil war.
Hear today's headlines in the examples I've just cited?
Star Trek disparagers and haters, maybe your problem is that you haven't tuned in to anything but the first series.
Or maybe you are just a snob who, when it comes to science-fiction, you like your stories as dark "literature."
Or maybe you don't think any science fiction is literature. Or very little of it.
I think your real problem is you are resentful of Trek's enduring prominence in our culture.
If that's the case, I have a problem with you.