''A Wagon Train to the stars.'' That's how Gene Roddenberry pitched Star Trek to TV execs in 1964. But though his hero, Capt. James T. Kirk (William Shatner), was a classic space cowboy it was clear right away that Roddenberry had more on his mind than laser shoot-outs. Set in the 23rd century, Trek dared to imagine a future in which the human race had evolved in perfect harmony. Such optimism had obvious appeal in an era of anxiety and unrest. But Trek wasn't just about escapism — it gave viewers a fresh perspective on their own world, with morality plays that were thinly veiled versions of 20th-century Earth problems. Echoes of Trek can be found in every corner of our culture: Witness NASA naming a space shuttle Enterprise. Star Trek didn't just show us the future — it fashioned our future in its image.