"It speaks to some
basic human needs, that there is a tomorrow - it's not all going to be
over in a big flash and a bomb, that the human race is improving, that
we have things to be proud of as humans. No, ancient astronauts did not
build the pyramids - human beings built them because they're clever and
they work hard. And 'Star Trek' is about those things."
- Gene Roddenberry, from the "Star Trek" 25th Anniversary special, 1991
"For me science fiction
is a way of thinking, a way of logic that bypasses a lot of nonsense. It
allows people to look directly at important subjects."
- Gene Roddenberry
"We have within reach,
now, the attainment of almost every dream of mankind."
- Gene Roddenberry, speaking in the 1970s
"If man is to survive,
he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between
men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes
are a delight, part of life's exciting variety, not something to fear."
- Gene Roddenberry
"I'm not a guru and
I don't want to be. It frightens me when I learn of 10,000 people treating
a Star Trek script as if it were scripture... Frankly those conventions
scare the hell out of me. It is scary to be surrounded by a thousand people
asking questions as if the events in the series actually happened. I'm
just afraid that if it goes too far and it appears that I have created
a philosophy that answers all human ills that someone will stand up and
cry 'Fraud!' and with good reason."
- Gene Roddenberry, speaking in 1976
Fortunately, the bulk
of Star Trek fans are well-balance individuals attracted by Roddenberry's
message of a hopeful, positive future, in many cases highly trained professional
people, and not the handful of unrepresentative, deranged basked cases
that have just been discussed.
- James Van Hise, "The Unauthorized History of Trek"
"In the annals of science
fiction, where dystopias rule the imaginative roost, Star Trek stood nearly
alone in telling us that our future would be better than our past, that
our common problems would be solved, that we, as a species, were fundamentally
good, and that the universe would reward us for our goodness."
- Charles Shaar Murray and Mike Marqusee in "Prospect Magazine"
There was something
pristine about TOS and TNG. Federation idealism was intact, characters
were pure and strong, there were flashes of wit, and the sci-fi ideas and
debates flowed smoothly through the plots. Watching them is one of the
great, consoling television experiences... TOS is plainly the Kennedy-esque
liberal dispensation, in which all nations and races unite under American
leadership. TNG has a slicker, 1980s Reaganite outlook; DS9 is suffused
with a bleak 1990s introversion that verges on a market-driven quietism;
and Voyager, with its rather camp, "strong" woman, is early feminism. What
happens in Star Trek is that human problems are merely externalised as
- Bryan Appleyard, "The London Times"
The Prime Directive
really takes us to the heart of the paradox of Star Trek. The United Federation
of Planets is committed to non-interference in the affairs of other planets;
Captain Kirk and his crew are not supposed to change the way of life of
other civilizations. But, of course, they do it every episode—they just
go right through the galaxy destroying one functioning civilization after
another. I show that Kirk has a particular hostility to any civilization
that smacks of theocracy or aristocracy. What it comes down to is this:
the Enterprise will not interfere in a planetary civilization—provided
that it looks just like John F. Kennedy's 1960s America. But if it does
not, it's time to get out the phasers and blast away—to take down the Greek
god Apollo, for example. Star Trek provides a perfect reflection of the
paradoxes of America's foreign policy—the non-democratic imposition of
democracy around the world. The Enterprise was out to make the galaxy safe
for democracy—and it would destroy any civilization that stood in its way.
Gene Roddenberry's message was clear: woe to any planet not ruled by a
- Paul A. Cantor, interviewed in "Americana"
The original Star Trek
was the best critique of late-20th-century American foreign policy ever
broadcast on TV.
- AA Gill, "The Times"
The show’s much better
when Kirk is running guns (“A Private Little War”), trying to get the locals
to fight the Klingons before they’re all slaughtered (“Errand of Mercy”),
or letting Joan Collins die so she doesn’t go on to found a Hitler-enabling
pacifist movement. (“Yesterday is Tomorrow.”) Unfortunately, goopy multi-culti
cant seeped deep into Next Generation — in the latter seasons, the writers
actually imposed an intergalactic speed limit for ecological reasons. (Thanks
to the efforts of Capt. Samuel Hagar and his stirring address — “I can’t
warp 5.5” — the ban was eventually lifted.) Deep Space Nine got it right:
We learned a lot about the bad guys, the Cardassians; we even heard professional
Irishman Miles O’Brien refer to them as Spoonheads, which was just the
sort of epithet the enlisted men would say. We understood the Cardassians;
we learned much about their culture, and knew a few fine examples. In the
end, though, their culture had taken a horrible turn, and there was no
getting away from that. Much blowing up had to be done. Voyager? I know
it was on for seven seasons, and I know I watched every episode, but nothing
ever comes to mind, except Seven of Nine.
- James Lileks, recalling Star Trek for "National Review"
"Sitting in the captain's
chair of the Enterprise is rather like sitting on the throne of England
and probably marginally more important."
- Patrick Stewart
An Irishman who fought
with the Canadians against the Germans became a Scotsman who fought with
the Americans against the Klingons.
- Mark Steyn, from his obituary for James Doohan (Scotty), "The Atlantic Monthly"
It could only happen
in America: where else could a son of Russian immigrants become a television
star with pointed ears?
- A 1967 TV Guide issue profile of Leonard Nimoy
Genevieve Bujold has
resigned as Captain of the new series of Star Trek (hisses from audience).
Rumor has it she stormed off the set. I guess that proves one thing: even
in the 24th century, the French will be obnoxious.
- Conan O'Brien, on the casting for "Voyager" on his "Late Night with Conan O'Brien"
It's as if somebody
gave Sisyphus a TV show, and we have to watch every week thinking maybe,
just maybe, this will be the episode where the rock doesn't roll back down
- Cinescape on Voyager
Restores white males
to their rightful position in the captain's chair.
- TheOnion.Com reviews "Enterprise" in their AV Guide
Star Trek information is probably one of the easiest things there is to
find on the net.
- Faith J. Cormier
How come Star Trek
can exist simultaneously in different incarnations at the same time on
ethereal satellite television? Is it bending some space-time continuum
thing, and is it a cosmic law that Star Trek has to be on somewhere, always
and for ever?
- AA Gill, TV Critic for "The London Times"
Star Trek, at this
point, is happening simultaneously in all forms at all times, as a part
of the imagination.
- Jamahl Epsicokhan
Over time, Trek was
treated like a Porsche that's kept in the garage all the time, for fear
of scratching the finish. The stories were, for the most part, safe, more
about technology than what William Faulkner described as 'the human heart
in conflict with itself.'
- J. Michael Straczynski, creator of "Babylon 5" on recent Star Trek stories
"Star Trek" seems to
cross the props of science fiction with the ideas of Westerns. Watching
the fate of millions being settled by an old-fashioned fistfight on a rickety
steel bridge (intercut with closeups of the bolts popping loose and the
structure sagging ominously), I was almost amused by the shabby storytelling.
Why doesn't more movie science fiction have the originality and imagination
of its print origins? In "Stargate," the alien god Ra was able to travel
the universe, yet still needed slaves to build his pyramids. In "Star Trek:
Generations," the starship can go boldly where no one has gone before,
but the screenwriters can only do vice versa.
- Roger Ebert, reviewing "Generations" for "The Chicago Sun Times"
I think it is time
for "Star Trek" to make a mighty leap forward another 1,000 years into
the future, to a time when starships do not look like rides in a 1970s
amusement arcade, when aliens do not look like humans with funny foreheads,
and when wonder, astonishment and literacy are permitted back into the
series. Star Trek was kind of terrific once, but now it is a copy of a
copy of a copy.
- Roger Ebert, from his "Chicago Sun Times" review of "Nemesis"
The lesson here is
that Trek needs to be written intelligently. Don't underestimate any part
of your audience. The adults will pay for brainless entertainment, but
not, by and large, brainless science fiction... A brainless sci-fi movie
is one thing, a brainless continuing television series is another... Add
some realism. For example, stop using the threat of death to create drama,
actually kill major characters on occasion, and stop relying on "technobabble"
to solve problems.
- Ian J. Slater, commenting on "The End of Enterprise"
"I knew exactly what
I was in for when I had my first costume fitting."
- Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), in "TV Guide"
"The concept [seemed
to be] to put a female on who was so attractive, a guy channel-surfing
would hit on 'Voyager', the remote would just fall out of his hand, and
he would spend the rest of the night drooling in front of the set."
- Robert Picardo (The Doctor)
"His one idea, done
six or seven times in the series and again in the feature film, is that
the crew of the Enterprise goes into deepest space, finds God, and God
turns out to be insane, or a child, or both."
- Harlan Ellison, legendary scifi author, on Gene Roddenberry
"Threshold" is one
of the handful of Trek episodes that I honestly think deserves to be expunged
from the universe for the universe's own safety.
- Tim Lynch reviews Voyager episode "Threshold"
"Canamar" is a handsomely
produced, slickly directed, watchable example of what is wrong with Enterprise.
For 60 minutes my attention is held enough such that I do not feel a need
to walk away from my TV, but once it's over I realize that I've essentially
wasted my time. It's formulaic action fluff and that's all. It doesn't
even try to be anything more.
- Jamahl Epsicokhan, "Jammer's Review"
It's an episode like
this that makes me want the holodeck destroyed so we can deal with real
issues (or at the very least real characters and sci-fi plots) in the real
world. If Torres didn't have to answer to a captain whose boyfriend lived
in the holo-town, I'd recommend that, for everyone's own good, she secretly
program a surprise air strike upon the quaint little village of Fair Haven,
and reduce it to a pile of smoldering cinders.
- Jamahl Epsicokhan, reviewing Voyager's "Spirit Folk"
I love how EPIC the
A device that can take out an entire planet and create a new one.
A genetically enhanced tyrant out for blood.
An ageing legend out for perhaps one last adventure, and finding new life in himself.
A good friend sacrificing everything to save his people.
A lost son, found.
Two bad-ass starships firing at each other in the stormy nebula.
The awesomeness never ceases. That music gets me excited each and every time, you can almost see the Enterprise leap to warp every time I hear the fanfare.
- IamBeowulf, picking Wrath of Khan as the best Trek movie, on Boards.ie
We discover that the
Ligonians are also descended directly from a 1940s pulp novel set in deepest,
darkest Africa, and that they are amused to discover that the Enterprise's
security chief is a woman. Oh good! We're going to be racist and sexist
in this one!
...when I look back at "Code of Honor" and see that it came between "The Naked Now" and "The Last Outpost," I'm astonished that we weren't canceled by mid-season. In fact, if we hadn't been first-run syndication, and if the core audience of Trekkies hadn't been as patient as the Ligonians — not to mention incredibly forgiving — we almost certainly would have been.
- Will Wheaton, from his TV Squad review of "Code of Honor"
Picard invites Wesley
to sit at ops. Next to Geordi. In the middle of a major crisis... My god,
a lot of the hate mail I used to get suddenly makes a whole lot of sense.
I have never been more grateful that there wasn't liveblogging in 1987
as I am right now.
- Will Wheaton, from his TV Squad review of "Code of Honor"
Q: Why are the Borg
in Star Trek: Voyager so goddamned stupid?
A: Probably because Our Heroes could not have survived five minutes in this show were their adversaries not all useless fools; the Borg are a prime example of a promising enemy forcibly neutered to allow the show to survive.
- Taken from http://www.altstartrek.f2s.com/faq.html
Disturbed by ruthless
terrorist attacks and raging war, the crew of the starship Enterprise,
which has been stealthily orbiting Earth since August, is reportedly torn
over whether to violate Star Fleet's Prime Directive and intervene in Earth
affairs, or gather for drinks in the forward observation lounge and watch
the planet go to hell.
- Enterprise Crew Split Over Prime Directive after 9/11, "SatireWire.com"
Mr. Spock succumbs
to a powerful mating urge and nearly kills Captain Kirk.
- Preview from "TV Guide", for Star Trek episode "Amok Time"
"Another worst job
on Trek has got to be the holodeck cleaner... The worst specific position
in this category is Quark's holosuite cleaner. We all know why... Another
worst job on Trek is the brig keeper. Nothing ever happens unless Ensign
Kim has been hitting the sauce or there's some hostile alien someone has
momentarily captured. When that alien breaks out, of course, you're the
first and least-mourned casualty. I'm afraid I only have one best job on
Trek because it blows all the others away: holodeck programmer. I mean,
think about it. It would be like being a god, or at least a Q."
- from "The Best and Worst Trek Jobs" on About.Com
GUNDAN Movie: Any movie
that Goes Nowhere and Does Nothing. Named in honor of the many pipes and
conduits in starships on "Star Trek," which have official-looking technical
labels reading "GNDN." This is an in-joke; when the set designer was asked
where those conduits were supposed to lead and what their functions were,
he responded that they Go Nowhere and Do Nothing.
- Submitted by Andy Ihnatko to RogerEbert.Com
frontier. Only way out on the edge of it. These are the voyages of the
Space Station Backspace 9, which, when operating within safety parameters,
shouldn't go too fast. It's continuing mission: To be able to make a decent
cup of coffee without a systems failure; to wait for New Life(TM) and New
Civilizations(TM) to come by and try to stake claim to the quadrant; to
boldly stay... right here."
- Tim Lynch, introduction to a parody of DS9
"WHAT is your name?"
"Captain Jean-Luc Picard."
"WHAT is your quest?"
"I seek the Holy Grail."
"WHAT is the average velocity of a Bird of Prey?"
"Romulan or Klingon?"
"I... I don't know AAAAAHHHHH!"
- Parody combining "Star Trek" & "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"
"I'm not a Starfleet
commander, or T.J. Hooker. I don't live on Starship NCC-170... (some audience
members say "1"), or own a phaser. I don't know anybody named Bones, Sulu,
or Spock (picture of Dr. Benjamin Spock is shown on screen behind him).
And no, I've never had green alien sex, but I'm sure it'd be quite an evening.
(Pomp and Circumstance begins playing.) I speak English and French, not
Klingon! I drink Labatt's, not Romulan ale! And when someone says to me
'live long and prosper', I seriously mean it when I say, 'get a life'.
My doctor's name is not McCoy, it's Ginsberg (nude picture of Dr. Ginsberg
shown on screen). And tribbles were puppets, not real animals. PUPPETS!
And when I speak, I never, ever talk like Every. Word. Is. Its. Own. Sentence.
I live in California, but I was raised in Montreal. And I believe in priceline.com,
where you never have to pay full price for airline tickets, hotels, and
car rentals! I've appeared onstage at Stratford, at Carnegie Hall, Albert
Hall, and the Monkland Theatre in NDG. And, yes, I've gone where no man
has gone before, but... I was in Mexico and her father gave me permission!
My name is William Shatner, and I am Canadian!"
- William Shatner, parodying the popular Molson Canadian Commercial "I Am Canadian"
Meanwhile, every time
Americans get a gander at these lunatics ranting about the "Great Satan"
and the "Zionist entity," we can't believe we're at war with such a comical
enemy. No wonder they dream of an afterlife with 72 hot teenage girls.
These guys are klutzes. Nerds. Dweebs. In the Las Vegas of life they're
at the convention center with the other "Star Trek" fans. Even in Pakistan,
Siddique says he is "constantly laughed at & ridiculed." Ahmed can't
get a date, and now the rest of us have to suffer.
- Ann Coulter, on Islamic suicide bombers
"I felt like the way
the show explored the nature of the android, really said a lot about what
it means to be human."
"Hmm, I never thought of it that way. I was too busy hitting on Klingon extras. Which, let me tell you, is risky business. Until all that make up comes off, you don’t know what you’re getting."
- Michael and Brent Spiner, guest starring as himself on "Joey"
"Oh my god, he is Kirk..."
- McKay, as Sheppard romances an alien princess on "Stargate Atlantis"
"Inspired by the most
logical race in the universe, the Vulcans, breeding will be permitted once
every 7 years. For many of you, this will mean much less breeding. For
me, much, much more."
"You cannot do that, sir. You don’t have the power!"
- Comic Book Guy and Groundskeeper Willie on "The Simpsons: They Saved Lisa's Brain"
"And the information
superhighway showed the average person what some nerd thinks about Star
- Homer Simpson, recounting the social progress of the 1990s, "The Simpsons"
"What does keep young
Dr. Reid up at night? Memorizing some obscure text books? No, no, no. Working
on cold fusion? No, I've got it, watching 'Star Trek' and laughing at the
- Morgan to Dr. Reid, "Criminal Minds"
"Daria, you can't leave
me here with those — those yuppies!"
"Yuppies are from the eighties."
"So what do you call people with funny outfits who talk about peace and love and stuff?"
- Quinn and Daria, "Daria"
Beam us up totty!
- Britain's "Daily Star Sunday", on rumours that William Shatner may join 'Celebrity' show
CAPTAIN'S LOGS by EDWARD GROSS
Network cancellation was the best thing that could have ever happned to Star Trek. Had NBC renewed the show for a fourth or even a fifth year, the series would have undoubtedly continued to chug along. But, with considerable budget cuts each season, there would have been a diminishing quality about the whole project and it would have undoubtedly faded into the annals of television history.
"In a science fiction
show, or a show where you're creating a new reality you have to adhere
to and honor that new reality."
- Robert Butler, director of Star Trek pilot 'The Cage'
"In novels, stream
of consciousness goes inside the hero's head and you can read what he's
thinking. You don't have that in television and so I thought that if I
took a perfect person and divided him into three parts, I could have the
administrative, courageous part that would be the Captain; the logical
part who is the Science Officer and the humanistic part with the Doctor.
Then when something comes up, the Captain could say, 'I don't know, fellas.
We must do it,' and Spock would say 'However, the logical thing is...',
and the doctor would say, 'Yes, but the humanity of it,' and I could have
them talking about it without having stream of consciousness, and it worked."
- Gene Roddenberry, on the Kirk-Spock-McCoy dynamic
"In science fiction
there are many kinds of life and many kinds of death."
- Robert Sallin, Producer on "The Wrath of Kahn"
"Let's go back to the
past and think of Genghis Kahn, because Kor is a military commander, ready
to take over the entire universe with his hordes."
- John Colicos, the first Klingon cast, on the inspiration for the Klingon look
"It's unfortunate that
they perceive it as a competition, which it isn't because it's two different
shows and two different characters. But, on the other hand, wouldn't it
have been awful if I had lost?"
- William Shatner, on winning a "TV Guide" poll for best captain
"What I wanted to do
was the American Revolution. They wouldn't let me, so we ended up doing
Northern Ireland, which I felt made our people look incredibly stupid.
I wanted it with Picard as Cornwallis and the Romulans would have been
the French, who were in our revolution, trying to break this planet away.
Suddenly Picard realized he's one of the oppressors. Instead we do 'Breakfast
- Melinda Snodgrass, writer of Next Gen episode "The High Ground"
"The High Ground" is
essentially the situation in Northern Ireland watered down to the point
of inanity and cast in science fiction form.
- James Van Hise, in "The Unauthorized History of Trek"
"It was fascinating
to me that someone would lose one of their senses and be unable to explain
it to others because they didn't have it in the first place. If you were
the only sighted person in a colony of blind people and suddenly you lost
your vision and they all said 'So what?' that's what this was."
- Rick Berman, on Next Gen ep "The Loss" where Troi loses her empathic powers
"I said it was a 1950s
space movie (eg 'The Day the Earth Stood Still') except we're the aliens."
- Michael Piller, on Next Gen ep "First Contact"
"Any dramatic television
show has a set of rules that you've got to follow. If you're writing 'St.
Elsewhere', you've got to know about medicine. On the other hand, with
'Star Trek' you've got two sets of rules. A set of rules dealing with physics
and astonomy that we follow or try to follow as accurately as we can and
then you've got a set of made up rules that have to do with Star Trek and
they're not real. There's no such thing as a dilithium crystal, warp drive,
Klingons or people transporting. It's fantasy but it's 25 years worth of
established rules and they have to be followed. So you've got the rules
of science and the rules of 'Star Trek'. Writers have to be willing to
follow both sets of rules and it's difficult."
- Rick Berman
"They have a sadistic
love of technobabble. But I actually quite enjoy it. It's the nearest thing
to Shakespeare, stretching the mind to get your tongue around it and make
sense of it when you talk. That's part of the lie of trying to make it
sound like I'm actually a doctor or a science officer. Data on the 'Next
Generation' is an unbelievable robot because he does it flawlessly."
- Alexander Siddig (aka Dr. Julian Bashir)
"It was very difficult
to say you're a beautiful woman and a 400 year old androgynous character
at the same time."
- Rick Berman, on the difficulty of casting the Jadzia Dax role
STAR TREK WRITERS
While most science
fiction of the 1960s and much of it now shows us a glum, dismal, postholocaust
future where people wear rags and are reduced to ratlike behaviour, Star
Trek gave us a clean, bright future with crisp military panache melded
into the dyanmism of individuality... Jim Kirk was the individual who set
the design, and without him there would be no Star Trek today, but not
because he was perfect or charismatic, though he was certainly the latter.
Jim Kirk provided a magnetic compass for us because he was charismatic
and yet deeply flawed. Yes, as classical heroic drama has always shown
us, the hero's imperfections and how he handles them are the real barometers
- Diane Carey, Star Trek novellist
Most science fiction
concentrates on the differences. Kirk and his crew had the idea that there
would be, had to be, something in common even with the oddest creature,
and all we had to do was find that thing, that common desire, goal, passion,
no matter how small. Jim Kirk looked at women much the same way the ultimate
alien, of course. He saw not only face or hair or figure, or how different
women were from one another, but how much they were the same. He saw not
females, but femininity... Jim Kirk wasn't a hound after all. He was an
appreciator. He appreciated women for the poetic loveliness he saw in all
of them, human or otherwise, and he appreciated aliens for the relationship
that could be built out of a vacuum.
- Diane Carey, Star Trek novellist
During his years in
grade school, Dean learned how to protect himself in a nuclear attack.
Instead of fire drills, his school held duck-and-cover drills... By the
time he was ten, it seemed clear that the world wouldn't last the decade.
By the time he got into high school, that prediction came true on a personal
level. Many boys his age went to Vietnam, and most never came back... On
Fridays, Dean W. Smith, handsome high-school student, stayed home. To watch
Star Trek... If Star Trek had been bad science fiction, he might have dated
on some of those Friday nights. Some of the episodes were bad, but more
were good. But it wasn't the quality that held him. It was the *hope*.
The hope existed in science-fiction novels. Man lived beyond 1970 in Robert
Heinlein's books and Arthur C. Clarke's. But not on television. Television
brought us the grim visions of Rod Serling and the Outer Limits. Television
showed us the world ending, not thriving... I believe we create the futures
we can envision. If we can see only death and destruction ahead, then that's
what's going to happen. But Star Trek and science-fiction novels gave us
a future, a real future, a future to envision. It touched me at twelve.
It touched Dean at sixteen. And it touched countless others in his generation
and mine. His needed the hope. Mine needed the goals.
- Kristine Kathryn Rusch, with a tribute to Star Trek and Dean Wesley Smith
In Star Trek, we weren't
chased away from Earth by metallic cyborgs with red dots in the middle
of their foreheads; we weren't blown out of orbit, riding our own moon,
by the explosion of a backyard barbecue; we didn't get lost in the starry
deep; we weren't invaded; we didn't have to take in a refugee alien population;
we didn't stubbornly rebuild a space station that big, bad aliens had destroyed
four previous times. Earth wasn't destroyed to make way for a hyperspace
bypass, the empire didn't strike back, we didn't become unstuck in time,
and bug-eyed monsters haven't infiltrated the FBI. In Star Trek, we set
out deliberately to explore the galaxy... Don't misunderstand: a lot of
the other sci-fi shows were cool; they didn't all suck. In fact, I enjoyed
watching most of them. Well, let's say some of them. But only Star Trek
actually embedded itself into American culture... And (coincidence?)
only Star Trek was about humans with a future humans needing to reach out
to the stars, not because Earth was closed to us, but because it's in our
natures to demand to know what's over the next mountain range, what's across
the ocean, what's past the last planet in the solar system...
I don't know why no other show has tried to tap into the potential of the human need for exploration, excitement, and (as Freeman Dyson says) "disturbing the universe." Maybe the rest of TV Land thinks that theme is already "owned" by Star Trek; or worse ... maybe the guys who produce shows where the human race is on its last legs really, honest-to-God, believe humans let's be honest, Americans don't even have a future, and don't deserve one... If a person has no vision or hope for the future or doesn't believe in the greatness of the human race; if a person can't see any damned good coming from science and technology; if he thinks There Are Some Things Man Was Not Meant to Know then he has no damned business calling himself a science-fiction writer. Stay outta my field, you sniveling creeps! I'll just take Kirk and Picard, Janeway and especially Sisko instead; they've read their Heinlein and Asimov they know there's a brave new universe out there, full of such people as ... as Star Trek is made of. Remember Bob Browning: "A man's reach should exceed his grasp." Is there any other show where men and women constantly reach far out past yesterday's grasp? Give Star Trek credit for being in that sense the only real science-fiction show that's ever been on TV.
- Dafydd ab Hugh, Star Trek & SciFi novellist
JONAH GOLDBERG ON TREK
Q:How much hope is
there that a male Jewish conservative Star Trek fan will find a female
Jewish conservative Star Trek fan?
A: Not much. The female Jewish Trek fans go very quickly at the conventions.
- Jonah's FAQ, "National Review"
"Star Trek" is arguably the most influential and popular television series in American history... the (original) show lasted only three seasons on NBC. But because of its unbridled optimism about the future, unapologetic celebration of American values and half-naked green chicks, "Star Trek" achieved a level of immortality unparalleled in the history of television.
Going by the original Trek and the original Trek alone, I absolutely like the UFP. It is actually the perfect model for how the UN should work. America - read the humans - are the moral spine of the Federation. They provide the ethos and the manpower and organize the international - or galactic - order. The Enterprise, run by humans, was the flagship of the UFP fleet. Sure, the Vulcans - read the British - chime in every now and then about their superior intellect etc., but that's okay because we're on the same team and in some cases the Vulcans are superior. What's not to like?
The new Star Trek(s)
tried to counter-act the manly Americanness of the original series by among
other things putting a Frenchie at the helm. Fortunately, at some point
in the future, the French are finally conquered for good by the British,
which is probably why the Enterprise wasn't surrendered to the Romulans.
At least you have to assume that considering they hired a Brit for the
role of Jean-Luc Picard.
I could go on forever about the crypto-conservative nature of the original Star Trek, the New Agey luddism of the later Treks, my problems with Federation policy etc. I am not exaggerating. But I will stop here because the Surgeon General has determined that people who go on too long about such things dramatically reduce their chances of kissing a girl ever again.
Didn't it strike anyone as odd that in Star Trek: Next Generation, the android Lt. Cmdr. Data was nobly struggling for a minimal level of emotional fluency and recognition of his sentience, while holo-humans were constantly acting as autonomous, sentient life-forms? How is it that Data, with his tenuously robotic grasp on humanity, could at once be the height of technological accomplishment in the Federation, while a rogue character from a Sherlock Holmes story could achieve self-awareness (and, by the way, the ability to use contractions) because of a blown fuse? By the end of Next Generation, the holodeck had become the last refuge of an exhausted writer.
The new Trek series,
has a Vulcan sexpot named T'Pol. The producers learned their lesson from
Voyager's 7-of-9, and have concluded they will never again be caught without
a silicone-enhanced chick in a spackled-on uniform. It is cool that they've
chosen a Vulcan to be the sex symbol, since Vulcans — while superior to
humans in so many ways — have "not tonight, dear" headaches that last in
roughly seven-year stretches (prediction: T'Pol will hear the Vulcan call
of the birds and the bees, the Pon Farr, the moment the ratings dip).
Even more fun — and more central to the Trek tradition — would be to see how it happened that the humans came to dominate the Federation. This would provide an opportunity to show that the human (i.e., American) values of merit, civility, morality, curiosity, etc., not only are superior to others, but are — in the most literal sense of the word — universal. The Vulcans can be the British and the humans the Americans. We stand on the shoulders of their culture and conquer the universe. If the producers pull that off, I will take back every harsh word I ever said about them.
Like the old saw about Eskimos having a hundred words for snow, it seemed that anyplace the United States sends troops creates a new word for Vietnam... You get the sense that Earth could be invaded by Klingons and some editorialist would hear 'echoes of Vietnam' amidst their disruptor blasts.
All right, all right, I have fraternized with one or two individuals who, if called 'geeks', would not have a viable libel case against the accuser.
Great civilizations create great cathedrals, and the cathedrals of this generation should be in outer space. Cathedrals inspire rich and poor people alike to believe great things are possible. The Mars Polar Lander cost the average American the price of half a cheeseburger. A human lander would cost the average American more — perhaps even ten cheeseburgers! So be it. That is no great sacrifice.
I'm not a big fan of
parallel universes, though Spock looks great in a goatee. They never made
much sense to me scientifcally and they seem like a crutch dramatically.
Why is the parallel universe in various shows, always so similar to the
"normal" one? Why not transport into a universe where toasters eat clocks
and we wear pants on our heads? Basically, in science fiction, parallel
universes are a cheap ploy for the actors to play dress up and do something
different with their characters. They're still preferable to the holodeck.
But what isn't?
But the real implication of parallel universes is that every second of every day hundreds of billions of universes are being created. That seems to defy all the rules of energy conservation, E=MC2 and all the rest. Meanwhile, Yao Ming in a village in China has just created 17 universes by deciding to eat from three different bowls of noodles in a certain order. A my daughter has creat 702 universes by taking her toys out of the toy chest in this order as opposed to that. That's an awful lot of universes to create based on the decisions of a single human mind.
>> Read Jonah's verdict on the different Trek series at National Review.
>> Read quotes from Star Trek DS9
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