skip to main content

Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

PIONEERS OF TELEVISION: Science Fiction

Airs Friday, July 5, 2013 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: William Shatner as Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Spock on "Star Trek."

Science Fiction Trivia

Get your Vulcan Mind Meld ready as you try to answer these tough questions. Take the TV Trivia Quiz

Rod Serling (pictured) created the storylines and characters behind some of the best-loved futuristic television of his time, using the future as a stage for modern morality plays.
Enlarge this image

Above: Rod Serling (pictured) created the storylines and characters behind some of the best-loved futuristic television of his time, using the future as a stage for modern morality plays.

As "Star Trek's" Lieutenant Uhura, Nichelle Nichols made history as the first African-American female in a lead on TV.
Enlarge this image

Above: As "Star Trek's" Lieutenant Uhura, Nichelle Nichols made history as the first African-American female in a lead on TV.

They were the stars of the small screen in the early years of television, and much of the nation came to a halt whenever their shows aired. They strolled, sprinted, fought, laughed, cried and loved through worlds that took viewers to places past, present and future.

As the originators of these innovative television formats, they provided an essential escape for millions of viewers who eagerly waited to watch them each week.

PIONEERS OF TELEVISION returned to PBS for a second season in January 2011, offering the inside stories of these formidable visionaries who recall the fledgling medium they shaped with their creativity, foresight and wisdom.

This series once again transports viewers behind the scenes for a revealing look at the inception of four of the most popular genres in television: science fiction (July 5), westerns (July 12), crime dramas (July 19) and local kids’ TV (July 26).

This episode highlights storytellers Gene Roddenberry, Irwin Allen and Rod Serling, who created the storylines and characters behind the best-loved futuristic television of their time.

But as Roddenberry’s “Star Trek” competed for ratings with Allen’s “Lost in Space,” each show’s creator aimed for a very different direction.

Roddenberry and Serling (of “The Twilight Zone”) used the future as a stage for modern morality plays, and William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols and other science-fiction stars describe how they prepared to interact on-camera with a malevolent alien force… or, perhaps, a giant radish.

Video

Preview: Pioneers Of Television, Season Two

Above: Where would we be without the pioneering stars of "Star Trek," "Columbo," "Romper Room" and "Gunsmoke"? PIONEERS OF TELEVISION returns for second season for a revealing look at the inception of four of the most popular genres in television: science fiction, westerns, crime dramas and local kids' TV.

Video

Rod Serling on Science Fiction

Above: Watch a rare interview clip of the creator of "The Twilight Zone."

Video

Pioneers Of Television: Leonard Nimoy: Before Spock

Above: In a clip from PIONEERS OF TELEVISION, season two (premiering January 18, 2011 on PBS), Leonard Nimoy reveals that "Star Trek" wasn't his first acting gig in the science fiction genre. See what outfit he donned before his famous ears. "Pioneers Of Television" returns for second season for a revealing look at the inception of four of the most popular genres in television: science fiction, westerns, crime dramas and local kids' TV.