The first episode of "Star Trek" aired 50 years ago Thursday. The show ended after three seasons but has since grown into an influential franchise that includes five TV series and 13 movies.

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“Star Trek” is not only alive at 50 it is prospering. A half-century ago Thursday the first episode of “Star Trek” aired. The initial series ran for three seasons, ending with the 1960s.

Through five decades, “Star Trek” has gone from a brief series to a money-making franchise. Since the original show’s curtain call in 1969, there have been four more TV series with a fifth coming to CBS next year and 13 movies. Captain Kirk and company have gathered devoted fans as they have dealt with everything from Tribbles to Benedict Cumberbatch and traveled back in time to find a humpback whale to speak with an alien.

It would be difficult to name a show that has had the staying power and influence of Gene Roddenberry’s creation. “Star Trek” paved the way for “Star Wars” and countless other sci-fi TV shows and movies.

'Star Trek' at 50

FILE– Gene Roddenberry, left, William Shatner, seated, DeForest Kelley, center,  and Leonard Nimoy, right, pose for a photograph after the final rehearsal before filming ‘Star Trek – The Motion Picture’ in this August 1978 file photo. Kelley, who played  Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, died in suburban Woodland Hills, Calif., Friday, June 11, 1999, after an extended illness, hospital officials said. He was 79. (AP Photo/File)

Its legion of fans flock to conventions dressed as their favorite crew member or alien. Jeff Bezos lived every diehard fan’s dream. He played an alien in the latest movie “Star Trek Beyond.” Seattle’s EMP Museum used the 50th anniversary to stage an exhibit exploring the cultural impact of “Star Trek.”

The pull of “Star Trek” has goes beyond conventions and exhibits. Wired has a section devoted to “Star Trek” stories and journalists paid to write about real-world issues have put down countless words examining what makes it great and the meaning of the utopian future in “Star Trek.” There is always a debate about which series is the best (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”) and which movie (“Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”).

If “Star Trek” has taught us anything it is that resistance is futile. “Star Trek,” in all its variations, is with us to stay.