Robert Justman said Star Trek: The Original Series was a failure


It's well-known that Star Trek: The Original Series struggled in the ratings and was close to cancellation at the end of season two before a letter-writing campaign initiated by John and Bjo Trimble saved it for another season. After the cancellation, though, Star Trek found its wings in syndication and really took flight, spawning fan conventions, an animated series, and eventually, movies. But Robert H. Justman, who was first the associate producer of The Original Series for the first two season before being promoted to co-producer for the third season, thought the show was a failure.

In The Fifty-Year Mission The Next 25 Years from The Next Generation to J.J. Abrams by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross, Justman, who passed away in 2008, was reported as saying "the original Star Trek was a failure." And it was that supposed failure that brought him back to the franchise after leaving during season three of The Original Series because of what he considered to be the decline of the series.

"And I particularly wanted to prove that Star Trek could be successful right out of the chute, and that's the main reason I came back to work on The Next Generation."

Robert H. Justman

The producer didn't give a specific reason for not thinking The Original Series was a success, but millions of fans have disagreed with him and still do. The Original Series didn't have all the bells and whistles The Next Generation did, being that it was produced in the 1960s, but it was srong enough to be the foundation of the franchise. While it didn't find its audience during its initial run, it made up for that by becoming the lead in a what has now become a fifty-nine year global sensation.

"We did what we wanted to do and proved to Trekkers that there's lots of room for disparity in the universe; there are a zillion ways of telling a tale, but this was the original show, only done much better."

Robert Justman

There is no comparison between The Original Series and The Next Generation since TNG had two decades of new capabilities when it came to producing a series. Many of The Original Series' episodes were superb, and I can't even imagine those episodes having been done on The Next Generation. The Original Series wasn't a failure; it was the beginning. And every episode of Star Trek that followed on each of the new series has happened because of The Original Series.

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