1) It’s not about the technology.
Of course, the gadgets are cool. Of course, I want a holodeck and a food synthesizer. And yes, it would be awesome to be able to travel in space. But that isn’t why I watch Star Trek, and I doubt anyone else has watched the show (and read the books and watched the movies) over the years, just to dream about futuristic gadgets. “ST IV: The Voyage Home” was a full-length movie done entirely without the Enterprise (they were on a captured Klingon ship) and we STILL loved it!
2) It’s not about special effects, either.
Yes, they can do a lot more now that they could back in the sixties, but because it was always about the characters and the STORY, those old TOS episodes are still very relevant. Look at all the crazy costuming and makeup they got away with! Look at Shatner’s overacting! People will tolerate all kinds of stuff from bad cinematography to hot pink hair if the story and the characters are compelling.
3) It *IS* about the writing.
Tell a good story and provides a team of great characters, and the public will follow in droves. They will write letters when stupid networks try to cancel the TV show. They will buy books and action figures and start up fan clubs and have big conventions. And they will stand in line at midnight (in costume) to buy movie tickets over and over and over.
P.S. A couple of readers thought my Phoenix Chronicles were patterned after Star Trek. They aren’t. The stories were originally conceived as fanfiction for another TV series, set on a submarine, not a space ship. The similarities probably came from THAT producer trying to emulate Star Trek, not me.
What is YOUR favorite Trek episode or movie?