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Thoughts on Star Trek

By William Jeffrey Rankin, Sun May 27 2018

Some thoughts on Star Trek: Discovery—which, having watched a few episodes, I didn't enjoy—and Star Trek in general. Star Trek is great because it can be a vehicle for many different kinds of stories: political/social commentary, action/adventure, comedy, sci-fi concepts (of course), or a combination of any of these things. But for Star Trek to be Star Trek, there are a number of foundational elements required:

  • It needs to be hopeful
  • An ensemble cast
  • Episodic in nature

Gene Roddenberry's vision was one of a united humanity working together to solve problems. The stories weren't always about that, of course, but the overall feel of the show was hopeful. The ensemble cast was an expression of humanity working together, with characters using their individual personalities and skills to contribute to the story. The episodic nature meant that lots of different stories could be told, rather than one overarching story resolved over several episodes or season.

Oh, and remember fun? OK, perhaps fun isn't foundational. Nonetheless, this is entertainment, therefore it's probably a good idea to make the stories fun now and then. Fun is the primary reason I've enjoyed The Orville which, while certainly not perfect, meets all the foundational elements of Star Trek.