I admit it, I am a dork (OK, maybe that's an understatement). I have always loved the Star Trek universe. I mean you've got Christmas lights and tar slicks as aliens; epic Shakespearian style drama; some truly great and terrible actors interacting, and so much more. More importantly you've got a world with this ideal government (except in DS9) that preaches tolerance and peaced throughout the cosmos (OK maybe the Federation doesn't have doves perched on it but.....).
While I was never that into the original series as I thought it was too campy(wait hold on what?), kind of like that cheesy (but oh so fabulous) Batman series in the sixties (you know the one with Adam West..... BAM.....POW). But if you look back on it there is one of the best examples of an unintentional love story (Kirk/Spock). Maybe it was some of the culture in the 60's, maybe it was the writing or maybe it was over dramatic acting, but you can sometimes see a bit of a gay love fest going on between the two. Not to mention the outfits, I love that in the future we make women go on dangerous missions in a miniskirt! It is kind of sad though that we could get along with alien races but there was still no equality for women (I mean there was only one on the senior staff and she was almost just a phone operator). OK maybe I made to much of that because all on all the original series did have a very multi-ethnic cast (big for the 60's) and start this huge franchise (an the ship looked like it ran on Lego pieces). There then came the movies which rekindled interest in the series which led to the Next Generation
The Next Generation is IMHO the best of the best in Star Trek (alright lets not fight Kirk vs. Picard style). OK maybe thats because I grew up with it on (my parents were semi-Trekkie's or at least thats how I remember it) and maybe it's because in elementary school I started reading the novels (maybe should have been reading more serious stuff, but I was in elementary school, I liked it). Still there is so much you can look back on and say huh?!? about. No big gay coupling(I mean Tasha was a very butch girl, who knows if she had stayed on) but I always loved the sexual tension between Picard and Crusher. My favorite part of the series would be the times when Gates McFadden would in some scene start telling Patrick Stewart "Jean-Luc there's something I've been meaning to tell you....." and always get interrupted in the process (Now why they didn't hook them up in the las movie I will never understand, oh well at least the books have them together!). This show has its comedic moments (Mainly with Data or Worf, although the good doctor gets a few good jokes in on her own) but tries to shy away from a lot of the same pitfalls the original series did (but again that may just be a sign of the times). The Federation is a lot more stable, we have peace with the Klingon's even (Hell one serves aboard), we have captains of all sexes, races, and alien species. Look at that progress!!!!! TNG paved the way for DS9(I love that show) and Voyager ( I only like the show for the odd sexual tension between Janeway and Seven of Nine). Enterprise was a show I never watched while on and after DS9 ended I only really cared if a movie came out. The new movie recasting the original crew gas beat in the box office any of the movies before so I expect that to be the wave of the future. but I for one will always have my own spin on what happened to my favorite characters.
Reasons to watch? You don't care what others think and love the series or you love sci-fi, or you dream of a world were everyone seems to be accepted. Reasons to run? You don't want to be labeled a dork! (I say fuck it do what you want and don't care about what everyone thinks!)
From a perspective of gay rights and activism Star Trek has pretty much shied away from taking a firm stance. The closest that we get to acceptance is through the Trill race(Trills can join with a symbiotic slug-like organism known as a symbiont). On TNG Dr. Crusher falls for a trill but when the symbiont is placed in a female body (This was before DS9 established a set of rules for joined trills and Trills went through a Klingon style makeup change) she says she is not able to love like that (Hey though, could you if your lover changed sex). Dax on the other hand is presented as a bisexual type character and the others don't seem to react negatively when she is presented as being attracted to a female(does this mean that homosexuality is accepted or is it accepted with her because she is a joined Trill, we never find out). But the issue never officially came up (though several of the novels feature homosexual relationships, these are not considered cannon by Paramount) in the series. But would such an enlightened Earth shy away from its gay society or what?