Monday, November 22, 2010

Star Trek is Dead! Long Live Star Trek!

There will be no more Star Trek. No, this isn't a Paramount Pictures announcement, as they will most likely continue to produce shows and movies in the franchise, not realizing that the reason Enterprise and Voyager were both so unappreciated is because the spirit that was Star Trek at it's beginnings is no longer. Paramount is, in reality, feeding is zombie meat with no soul.

Did the current state of things come about by the death of Gene Roddenberry? Perhaps, though that is by no means certain. While Gene was a genius in his own time and his values are now intertwined in our society, once the message was passed there was unfortunately not much he could do further other than continue churning out show after show, inventing new values an technologies - let me explain this.

There were two things that made Star Trek an innovative an welcomed release from the hordes of 50s scifi flicks - its penchant for extremely futuristic yet believable technology and its insisting message that racism and sexism had no place in our society anymore. The first led to a slew of inventions and research, including mobile phones - I wouldn't be typing this on my iPhone if a fan had not taken the communicators seriously and spent his life trying to make it a reality. Today, scientists are still looking up to the technobabble of the original series and trying to bring teleportation, warp speed and holodecks into our lives.

Socially, Star Trek was also a model of innovation. It had the first ever interracial kiss on television between Kirk and Uhura, and it also boasted an international cast of characters that were mostly from countries that the USA had been at war with in the past. It continuously showed that aliens could be friends and fighting was not the right way to go - though it still contained plenty of fighting. It was a show, after all.

But once the message was passed, and the technology was shown, what else was there to do with this show? More technology, and more social messages? The Next Generation brought nicer props and slight improvements but was not by any means revolutionary. It showed more alliances and battles, more geek gadgets and technobabble which probably led to things like touch screens, but those were only a continuation of the previous inventions - a simple evolution, not a revolution. The shows also continued to show us not to hate what was different, but now it was inventing new people not to hate - more aliens, cyborgs and robots, energy-based entities... Nothing anyone us will encounter in our lifetime or perhaps in a few generations.

Today, now that Gene is no longer, even that passion has died down. We are getting spoon-fed pre-digested scripts written by the fanboys and others who simply do not have the same talent. After the series could no longer go forward because time travel had ruined it, Paramount tried to go back to the "roots" bit failed to understand that they were not back in the show's timeline and adding a bunch of blueish LCDs and some witty characters that acted like they were in a soap, which was made worse by their finding a ship from the future an being amazed at flashing lights and other 1960s props. Then came the Star Trek movie which apparently thinks an alternate timeline and revival of the original crew would satisfy us, the fans of the REAL Star-Trek. No, we Trekkers an Trekkies should mourn the loss of our beloved Gene and simply walk away from Paramount's misdirected efforts. 

Now here is what saddens me the most. Not only has the series itself died with it's creator, so did it's spirit and essence, the innovation that brought us to where we stand before. While I'll always appreciate a good scifi show lime Battlestar Galactica or a movie like the Matrix and Serenity, they are but an empty shell of special effects and taboo-cleansed scripts. Every show is like the other, a basic frame of a misunderstood ideals cited with a layer of special effects and characters built from the same templates.

Will we ever see the light? Will something new suddenly change the game? I don't think so - and I don't thing it should. My hope is that the new revolution is not a new show or movie; it will have to come about in the real life. We have to actually get off our collective couch potato asses waiting for our next episode and start wanting our society to change for the better, for these technologies we love to try to explain to become reality, and to REALLY go where no man has gone before.

How many of you have heard of NASA's plan for a manned mission to Mars within a decade? Aren't you dreaming of going into space one day? There's still chance, if we step up and demand it, if we stop feeding trolls called Paramount and the Sci-Fi Channel, go back to OUR roots where the important part of the journey WAS the journey. This is my deepest desire, as a human being that lives and breathes.


  1. Voyager wasn't that bad... I love it in fact :P !

  2. As a soap opera in a sci-fi setting, sure, that was a great show. But it didn't achieve anything either socially or technologically. It was all "Will Janeway finally stop being cold and hook up with Chakotay? How do 7 of 9 and the doctor, you know, 'do it'? What new shortcut will they take to get home because they know the series will end?"

    Yeah, it was "good" but no more than, say, SeaQuest or Farscape. It wasn't innovative or special in any sense.

    But we all have our opinions, right? Thanks for commenting :D

  3. I have a feeling that while you and I will agree on a lot - I'm not nearly as pessimistic as you are about the potential for a "real" Trek-at-the-heart show. I think there are many factors that impede it (i.e., the fact that the franchise is actually currently owned by two different publicly held companies; the fact that 9/11 made the public devour negativity like coke fiends; the fact that writers feel "too limited" by having to write the way Roddenberry would have wanted) and while I can totally understand your point of view, I for the life of me don't see Trek as "dead" so much as hibernating until a time when the public will be more receptive to the ideals AND want to spend money to hear more.

    I'm constantly amazed at how many people are still just now being exposed to the franchise -

    Look forward to reading more.


  4. Hi Terilynn,

    Thanks for the comment! As much as I would want to agree with you, I don't think I can. Don't get me wrong, even though I'm a cynic about it, I still love Star Trek. I watched all the originals, I'm slowly catching up on all the DS9 and TNGs I missed, I've seen all the Voyagers... The show really started to fail when the brought in the massive time travel storyline in Enterprise. I think maybe the "TOS" revival that has been rumored, stemming from the alternate timeline created during the new movie, may have some wow potential. But it still won't bring anything so controversial or so uniquely special to be more than "just another sci-fi show". It'll be like any other, and probably last a few seasons before dying off.

    Again, I'm not a new trekker by any definition (other than being only 29), and I love Star Trek. Doesn't mean it's not any less dead to me and so many others.

  5. I never liked Star Trek. My parents used to watch it every week at 7pm, can't rememer what day. But I never got into it.

    May it be dead and stay dead. Hehe.

    I do love to watch Stargate though!