Why I Hate Star Trek with a Passion

Posted: 5 May 2009 in geekery, human rights, politics, religion

or, what I’d fix given a green light on a new series and $1 million per episode

I wrote this long-winded screed back in 2005, but I figured I’d pull it off the shelf and polish it off just in time for the new film.  What’s wrong with Star Trek, you ask?  I think the easier question is “What’s right with Star Trek?”Anyone that knew me in high school knows that I was a over-the-top Trek geek. I liked to think that I was a Trekker, but no no no, I was a Trekkie. I just didn’t have enough money to get a uniform. I’d have worn it in public, though, of that I am convinced. To put it succinctly, I didn’t see anything wrong with hanging out with a group of people wearing uniforms (and Vuclan ears) at Dorney Park, and certainly didn’t see the sick irony of riding The Enterprise ride thus garbed. Yeah, I was that bad. Sweet Jumping Jesus, where was my head at!?

Not too many years later, my insane, wretched love for Trek turned into bitter, self-flagellating hatred. Hatred for everything Star Trek. Like a compulsive eater sobbing while shoveling mouthful after mouthful of Double Chocolate Fudge ice cream into their mouths, I still watch the occasional Star Trek show while railing against it.

Will I see the next movie? You bet your sweet ass, I will.  I’m looking forward to it. I will be first in line to get tickets. Will I piss and moan about how bad it was? From what I’m seeing, they may be fixing a few things that I found wrong with Star Trek, but on the whole, most of my points will still be valid.

So, why do I hate Star Trek? Oh, let me count the ways. Star Trek is supposed to be a story about the future. It’s supposed to be a story about Humanity. Unfortunately, to be able to write anything convincing about the future, you have to have some concept of the past and present. To write a story about Humanity, you have to have a good grasp of what it is to be Human. Apparently none of the writers of Star Trek have had these concepts down pat.

Peace in Our Time.
Neville Chamberlain said it, and then bombs started falling on London. Star Trek originally starts in the 23rd century, sometime around 2254. Now, this was originally a story told in 1966, so they had 288 years to work with. Under the simplicity of the Original Series canon, this is plenty of time. However, things start to get weird as the franchise goes on. What we end up with is a very compressed field of time for many things to happen.

For starters, there’s this (last) world war in the mid 1990’s, the Eugenics Wars1. We’re led to believe this war followed by a nuclear war that is then followed by the Post-Atomic Horror2. During this time, Zephram Cochrane developed his warp drive “space-tourist” moneymaking scheme in 20633.

WWIII ended in 2053. 98 years later, we have a unified world government and a space exploration group. I can tell you with a fair amount of certainty that even a small-scale nuclear conflict would simply not have been recovered from in under 100 years. We’re still dealing with the repercussions from World War II in the form of Russia and the post-Cold War mentality that’s led us into a new conflict with global terrorism. We’re certainly no closer to a unified world government. Nuclear war isn’t going to precipitate that. Obviously, the specter of nuclear war pushed us farther from it.

The socio-political implications of say, Iran and Israel lobbing bombs, or a Indian-Pakistani nuclear conflict, would cause long-lasting worldwide consequences that would take decades to recover from. Of course, we’re not talking about something as simple as India and Pakistan dueling nukes here: we’re talking about the collapse of North America’s political structure into warring factions. Regardless of how you consider America’s involvement in the world, what’s not debatable is what would happen if America, its military presence, its political presence, and its humanitarian presence, were gone. Even if another power rose into that vacuum, we’re still left with an entire continent at war… and the cleanup from a nuclear war. Former Bikini Atoll residents will gladly tell you that doesn’t happen overnight, or even after 50 years.

So, the timeline so far goes as follows:

Mid 1990’s: Eugenics wars.
2026-2053: World War III.
2053-2079 (at least): Post-atomic horror.
2063: Zephram Cochrane breaks the warp barrier. Vulcans land, drink whisky.
Early 22nd century – Chaos still reigns 4.
2151: With no help from scotched-up Vulcans, a completely united Human race breaks the Warp 5 barrier.

So, in 150 years, we go from Supermen to lobbing nukes to warping around the universe. Riiiight. Oh, did I mention that those Supermen were launched into space in frozen exile as a result of the Eugenics Wars? That means that from 1966-1990’s, humanity figured out large-scale genetic engineering and at least the precepts of deep-space long-distance travel, and were actually sending people off during a world war. Maybe the writers have forgotten what exactly happened during the first two World Wars. Humanity pretty much stopped for a few years to participate in a world-wide orgy of absolute bugfuckery. They didn’t sit around going “let’s go off into space!” They put all of their thought into “how can we massacre the most people at one time?” But no! We’re already out colonizing the Moon, Mars, the rest of the Solar System, and we’re on our way to establishing extrasolar colonies by 2069 5 (in the middle of a nuclear war).

I built a working spaceship in my basement!
I’m left wondering how a bunch of scientists holed up in a nuclear silo in Montana managed to conceive, build and fly a warp-capable spacecraft without access to every resource of NASA, the ESA, the Russian Space Program, every last bit of academia support, and every spare nanosecond of processor time available. But, for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say that 50 money-grubbing naturalist astrophysicists managed to build, test and fly a FTL ship in a bunker with no outside resources.

After a global war with nukes being flung about, the world economy would be in the proverbial shitter. North America (and the largest economy in the world) is in a state of factional civil war. It must be assumed that the rest of the world is in a piss-poor state, as well. Ultra-fascist governments with drugged military forces have sprung up and the world is in chaos. Parts of the world look like Mel Gibson is going to come driving a tanker full of sand through them at any moment, and will, until at least 2079. Billions of people are likely dead. I’ll give a conservative whack at it and place the death toll at somewhere around 2.5 billion, after nuclear war, conventional war, disease, famine, and all the other four horsemen goodies. (Of course the cannon says that just over half a billion die, even though 140,000 died from the bombing of Hiroshima alone (including aftermath), so I’m just going to chalk up the 600 million figure to “uneducated understatement”. Regardless, the picture I’m trying to paint here is of a giant shitstorm. But hey, nevermind that! Zeph comes along with his plan to get filthy rich selling warp-technology to nutty guys in gyrocopters and eight-year-olds wearing loincloths that speak in grunts! And what becomes of this? He meets Vulcans! Of course, there’s still another two decades of Mad Max reruns before things are going to get any better.

Now, we fast-forward 88 years, and what do we have? World peace! Troi tells Cochrane that it comes in the next 50 years (sometime around 2113). North America once again sports verdant pastures of corn. Earth is united. Everyone is happy and jolly because our stony faced, flawless-English-speaking, emotionless vegetarian pacifist friends with pointed ears came down, flashed some jive Hebrew hand signs, and said “Live Long and Prosper”. Bang, problem solved!

Whoooooa, now. After 150 years of Hollywood telling us that aliens from space have nothing more than conquest and consumption of human flesh on their agenda, humanity in the midst of the aftermath of the worst war in its history greets these newcomers with open arms, world peace and a lot of alcohol? What were these writers smoking? Whatever it was, I want some, because that’s got to be a hell of a trip. You lost me at “Live Long and Prosper”.

The Vulcans listed Earth as “mostly harmless” until Zeph broke the warp barrier, regardless of the fact that we’d been chucking exploration ships into space for at least 67 years. Of course, given the level of barbarism, the internecine conflict and the sad state of our planet, I’m pretty sure the Vulcans, being the logical beings that they are, would have armed photon torpedoes and vaporized the Phoenix quicker than you can blink. Vulcans would have taken one look at that ship, realized that it meant we were about to start exporting our particular brand of destruction, and disabled it. Then, they would have disabled the installation it came from. Look, you don’t go totting off for tea with the residents of Thunderdome, you stop them before they kill you. You neutralize them as a threat until they can play nice. Humanity was busy killing itself in 2063, what made the Vulcans think for a second that they would be any nicer to a group of snooty, pointy-eared aliens with a superiority complex?

Ok, so that’s “present day” to “the future”. Makes no sense so far, but it gets juicier.

Now that we’ve got peace what are we gonna do… with it?
It’s 2151, and the new Earth fun-pals government is chafing under the Vulcans treating them like children. They head out into space. They piss off the Klingons. They meet up with the Xindi, and get into a fight with them over some lies perpetrated by a bunch of time-traveling nitwits. The Xindi then unleash massive destruction on the newly renovated and completely rebuilt sparkling new Earth, carving a 4,000 mile swath through North and Central America. Humanity, in perfect human fashion, has the damage fixed and wiped from their history books within five or so years. The Xindi are never heard from again. Meanwhile, sometime around 2166, humans meet, fight a war with, and make Cold-war style “peace” with the Romulans. However, despite having perfected ship-to-ship visual communication at least 15 years earlier, they never actually see them! They meet up with the Romans… err… Romulans again in 2266, where humans are still pissed off about how the Romulans killed their relatives. Well, the writers got one thing right, considering that there are people in the Middle East still pissed about the Crusades.

Timeline update:
2151: Earth heads out into the wonders of space with their first long-range ship. Their first act is to piss off the Klingons (no hard task there).
2152: Earth-Xindi war (all a big misunderstanding, really)
2166: Earth-Romulan war

Two wars and antagonizing a major race in the span of 15 years. The Vulcans must be wondering why they didn’t pull the trigger in 2063.

Now, over the course of the next 100 years, we learn that Humans are no longer concerned with God, Money or Politics, and Earth is one of the founding members of the United Federation of Planets, the biggest, happiest family of planets that anyone could ever have imagined. If it weren’t for those pesky Klingons and Romulans, shit man, we’d be in fucking Space-topia.

There are eight letters that perfectly sum this up: B U L L S H I T.

Humanity, in the wake of a slap-down, drag-out nuclear holocaust, would not drag itself up by its bootstraps, get itself into space, break the speed of light, and become the harbingers of peace and prosperity to every Tom, Dick and Gleex’rzed in its interstellar neighborhood, and they certainly wouldn’t just sign on to our nifty little space government. It just wouldn’t happen. I know this is science fiction, but I like a little science in my science fiction. By 2266, we might have a few colonies in space. We might have even managed to fight off aliens who would rightly see us a easy marks. We certainly wouldn’t have a stable united government. Not if you figure a nuclear war. Even in the Original Series, a global conflict, World War III if you will, is mentioned. 280 years later, I seriously doubt that Earth would be the power on the block in the Alpha Quadrant.

You people are all alike
Ever notice how every race that humanity encounters is a walking stereotype? Klingons are like Vikings in space. All of them. Romulans, to the last, are crafty, conniving, deceitful bastards who would rather stab you in the back than shake your hand. Ferengi are all profit-obsessed weasels. Vulcans are all stone-faced, logic spouting tight-asses. Cardassians are all… Cardassians. Except Humans. Humans are the very definition of diversity. Sure, there’s the occasional exception. There’s Nog and Rom and Tuvok and a few others, but they’re like Siamese twins: an interesting anomaly. Typically trotted out for a plot point. Star Trek is horrifically racist. Look, Klingons! They must want to fight us! Ha ha, we shall oblige! FIRE! Look, Ferengi, those sneaky bastards are going to try to sell us a used car… wait, back up, I think I’ve heard this before. There’s no diversity among the races in Star Trek. There’s not even an attempt at diversity. On the bridge of the original series, you had a black woman, a Japanese man, a Russian man, and a half Human/half Vulcan. There’s your diversity. You didn’t really expect them to hire a non-white actor to play a Vulcan, did you? They had their black quota wrapped up in Uhura. Get to the back of the bus, darkie.

Civilians or Military? MAKE UP YOUR MIND.
So, is Starfleet a civilian organization? Is it a military organization? Who knows? This is a glaring issue that is really never addressed. Starfleet is spoken of as the exploration wing of the UFP. However, in TOS, the Enterprise, one of twelve starships (charged with seeking out new life and new civilizations, mind you) is loaded for space-bear. Phasers, photon torpedoes, ship-to-ship and ship-to-ground firepower. It’s a beast, and it can blow shit up when it wants. It has a crew of about 430, and it is the perfect vehicle for finding brave new worlds… and then starting wars with them. It is not, in any capacity, a capable exploration vessel. It’s a military vessel. It is crewed with an inordinate number of officers bearing Canadian Naval ranks. Notice how almost everyone is at least an Ensign? The Mirror Universe had it right – advancement through assassination. How the hell else is Ensign Ethnic supposed to advance in rank if, as an officer, he’s the third-lowest ranking crewmember out of four hundred thirty? For chrissakes, figure it out. Janice Rand, a Yeoman, must have been scraping toilets when she wasn’t taking notes for Kirk or dreaming of hobbling Spock’s knob. If Rand was on the Enterprise-E, she’d have committed suicide after realizing that Wesley Crusher outranked her just because he was the doctor’s kid.

So, Starfleet is at best a stupidly-organized military organization, which pretty much explains why no one ever obeys orders. 99% of episodes involve some sort of insubordination, dereliction of duty, failure to obey orders, or whatnot. Admirals are routinely told to shove it by rogue Captains, Commanders tell Captains to piss off, hell, even 12-year-old Ensigns tell Captains where to get off. Who the hell is running this military?! Who’s flying this thing? In other shows, regardless of the outcome, when someone disobeys orders, someone kicks their ass (even if they pat them on the back later). There’s a clear chain of command. Adama is in charge, when he says “jump”, you shout “how high SIR?” on the way up, regardless of your rank, because he outranks you. You don’t say “Nooo! Teh Cylons will kill us unless I save the day!”, unless he has specifically instructed you to save the day, or he will rip off your head and shit down your neck, because that’s how the military goes.

In Star Trek, we have an unprepared and ill-equipped exploration vessel run by an incompetent military complex that goes around picking wars. Humanity is surely in good hands.

Did anyone think to bring chips and soda?
Ok, now, I have this problem with most space-cruiser based sci-fi, but Star Trek exemplifies it. The Enterprise, according to technical manuals that exist in the canon, is slightly shorter, slightly wider, and almost as tall as the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise, which sports a company of 3,500 and an air wing of 1,500. So, at only a little bigger, the current Enterprise carries a crew over 11 times the size of the Starship Enterprise. Why doesn’t the spacefaring version carry more? Maybe because they used up all that room with a BOWLING ALLEY. Of course, they can just replicate their food, so they didn’t need massive storage areas for long missions, and they don’t have an air wing! Of course, again, I cry foul.

Modern aircraft carriers do not exist in a void. It’s mindlessly naive to imagine that their equivalents will in the future. The Enterprise, as a military vessel (which is should be, exploration or not – it’s Star Trek, not Lost in Space), would not simply be careening off into the void alone. It needs a carrier group. Using the current model of a carrier group, the Enterprise should have the following: supply ship, cruiser, frigate, destroyer and submarine. I’ll take a pass on the submarine, and hell, I’ll even take a pass on the frigate, opting for two destroyers. So, we’ve got a supply ship, two destroyers and a cruiser. This is a major point of contention with me.

You can’t just send your biggest ships out there by themselves! And don’t tell me that they can defend themselves. Screw that. You put 430 officers on a ship, and I don’t care if it flies itself, you’re never going to hear from it again unless you send it out there with an escort. And who commands these groups? Certainly not the intrepid Space Captain, no no. No, he commands one ship. The skipper of the modern-day Enterprise gets to give the ship orders, but he takes his orders from the Rear Admiral who’s standing right next to him on the bridge. There was simply no reason for Kirk to demote Decker in TMP. Decker should still have been the skipper of the Enterprise. He certainly knew the ship better. Kirk, as an Admiral, had every right to step onto that ship and direct the mission while leaving Decker in charge of the ship. The Enterprise is Starfleet’s flag ship. What is a flag ship? The ship that directs the fleet. Who’s on that ship? An Admiral. Admirals in Star Trek are rarely heard from, far-off pencil pushers who are to be ignored.

On a connected note, this is something that Battlestar (and even Stargate) gets right and Trek gets horribly wrong: Seven shuttlecraft do not an air wing make. A ship this size needs to have some sort of forward defense capability. Even a combat force needs that. It’s a hell of a lot easier to send a single-pilot vessel out to determine risk than it is to run your biggest ship right up next to something to see if it’ll bite. And despite themselves, Trek manages to prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. In TOS, it is stated that there are twelve starships: Constitution, Constellation, Defiant, Enterprise, Farragut, Lexington, Yorktown, Excalibur, Exeter, Hood, Intrepid, and Potemkin. Nine of these ships, a full 75% of the original star ships, would be destroyed or lose all hands. That’s around 3800 of a total compliment of around 5000, which makes serving on an aircraft carrier flight deck, the world’s most dangerous workplace, look like the model of job safety in comparison. As the Federation built more ships, more of them got lost. With nearly 80% casualties (The Enterprise lost over 13% of its crew in under two years), how the hell did Star Fleet get people to serve on these death traps? They made them officers, that’s how. Now, chances are a carrier group and an air wing would have made the whole “boldly going where no man has gone before” experience a little safer. But even 100 years later, they still hadn’t gotten that memo. The Enterprise-D was a Galaxy class vessel with six sister ships, the Challenger, Galaxy, Odyssey, Trinculo, Venture and Yamato. A slightly better success rate for the Galaxy class, as only three of these vessels were lost. Improvement to under 50%! Of course, one was blown up by a computer virus, all hands lost. Another was done in by a single-pilot fighter (guess what could have prevented that?), all hands lost, and the third (the Enterprise-D herself) was shot down by a Klingon Bird of Prey sporting a 12-man crew. Perhaps a destroyer escort could have prevented such a loss? Now, the Galaxy class has a slightly more believable 1,000-crew compliment, except that includes crew families. Of course, it also includes some civilian scientific personnel to keep up the illusion that Star Fleet is a benevolent exploration service. Of course, the ship is much larger than the original Enterprise, serving to completely offset the size-crew ratio. In fact, when you consider the civilian population, a lot of which is made up of non-mission oriented personnel, you actually have a smaller size-crew ratio than the original Star Ship Enterprise! And you still have, essentially, one ship responsible for saving the entire universe. I’m surprised the Borg never figured this out. Want to defeat the Federation? Don’t send one cube to Earth and go back in time, because the Enterprise will follow and stop you. That’s a given. Send two. That way, when the Enterprise gets back, you’ve already assimilated the entire Federation, and they’re pretty much screwed.

That’s another failing of Starfleet. Putting all their eggs in one basket. You’ve got the best Captain/Womanizer, most able Executive Officer/Science Officer/Plot Device, Best Engineering Officer/Accent Provider, best Ship’s Surgeon/Witty Remark Generator, best Helmsman/Martial Arts and Bladed Weapons Expert, best Navigator/Weapons Officer/Beatle Impersonator, best Communications Officer/Verbal Relay Race Expert/Racial Barrier Breaker, and Best Set of Legs/Memo Taker in the goddamned fleet on one ship. And then you wonder why nine of your eleven other ships and their crews wind up as so much space flotsam. Perhaps it’s because you concentrate the best personnel in the known universe onto one ship? Maybe it’s because you put people into roles such as Navigator/Weapons Officer and then give them 24 hour duty shifts and no back-up crew? Maybe that has something to do with it, I don’t know.

We come in peace, shoot to kill!
This actually goes back to my first part. Humanity has achieved world peace by killing off a third of the population. Then, they forged all the warring factions in their stellar neighborhood into one happy hegemony. Truly, Humanity has learned from its disastrous past and is now the greatest instrument for peace and prosperity that the galaxy has ever seen! Except for one problem: They keep picking wars. First, they tussle with the Klingons, and despite the Organians imposing peace on them, manage to have a protracted Cold War that vacillates between peace and open conflict a number of times. There’s the Romulans with the same problem. The aforementioned Xindi, the Gorn, the Tholians, the Orions, the Ferengi, the Borg, the Dominion, the Cardassians, and the list goes on and on and on. And the worse part about it is the ultra-sanitized black-and-white Bush-like mentality of it. We Humans and our alien coalition of the willing (all three of them – you know, Spock, Worf and Troi), are the good guys. If you’re not a member of our club, you’re a bad guy, and we’ll probably have to shoot at you at some point. We might try to talk to you before or after the shooting, depending on how much hair our Captain has. Or not. Either way, when we do, it’ll be your fault, and you’ll deserve the sound thumping that you deserve. After all, we’re bringing freedom, and freedom is on the march, so open wide and get ready for it.

And to top off Humanity’s complete uselessness on the interstellar market, there’s the Prime Directive, which has got to be the most isolationist, anti-humanitarian piece of legislation ever. It should be called The Darfur Initiative. The Enterprise comes gallivanting along to a planet that is engaged in the systematic slaughter of a minority group. It’s genocide! Children are being run through grist mills while their parents are raped with shotguns. It’s the worst slaughter ever perpetrated in all of recorded history. But, unfortunately for the people being slaughtered, there hasn’t arisen a dedicated cabal of money-hungry granola rocket scientists determined to hit Warp One, so Captain Picard says “Blimey, Prime Directive! We shant interfere. Now bring me my British tea, Earl Grey, hot if you please, for I am a thirsty Frenchmen in need of refreshment. Tally ho, Number One! Let’s jaunt off now! Cheerio, poor chums!” So much for peace and prosperity. Of course, if Hippy Longstocking and his Rocket Men get off the ground, we’re in business. Never mind the fact that this civilization routinely slaughters anything in its path, let’s sign them up for our Super Friends Club!

Mind you, Humans are, at best, the scrawny nerds at the galactic schoolyard. We’re weaker than just about every other species we meet. The Vulcans have us totally beat in smarts. The Romulans could beat Kasparov and Deep Blue working together in a game of Three-Dimensional Chess that was rigged in our favor. All that killing we’re so good at? The Klingons had that down thousands of years before. In fact, there is no category, good or bad, that Humans excel at compared to other species. Except for one: Pluck. Arrakis was the only planet in the known universe that had the Spice Mélange. Earth is the only planet in the known universe that has Pluck. Pluck prolongs life. Pluck makes you a virtual demigod. Pluck grants you the power to rule over your betters. And, of course, Pluck is typically found only in one species on Earth: White people. And concentrations are much higher in males.

Auto-immuno testicular necrotizing bacterial intestine rot? We’ve got a pill for that!
Humans have cured everything except the common cold. Headaches, cancer, alcoholism, and pretty much everything short of dying in the pursuit of imposing Pax Terra on the galaxy. So, what we have here is Homo Immortalis cruising through space. Not Humans. Part of being Human is mortality. Take away disease and addiction, and you lose something in translation. You lose what it means to be Human. Sure, you don’t have to make a point of it, but you certainly don’t have to write it out of the script.

Enough bitching, what would I do?
For starters, I’d ban time travel. Not have the Federation say you’re not allowed, but ban it from the writing altogether. Time anomalies? That’s fine. Think of time like an impenetrable, thick, flat plastic sheet. You can bend it a bit, but you’re not going through. There is no rolling it, no closing the points, no nothing. It’s three o’clock today. In two hours, for the characters, it will be five o’clock today. Not 12:30 in the morning the same day in 1853. Not five o’clock yesterday. Today.

Second, I’d create a Details List (including a Chronology) and a Details Committee. They would be like the Constitution and the Supreme Court. Anyone submitting a script would have to have that script verified by the Details Committee. Anything out of whack with the Details List gets a big red X. If it covers something that’s not on the Details List, it goes on the Details List right after the script is accepted. A member of the Details Committee would be on the set at all times. Directors making script changes in violation of the Details List would be thrown off the set and never allowed back.

That’s the big two. Conquer those, and you might have a half decent show. But that’s not all I’d do.

The Chronology would have a complete history-to-come. There would be no nuclear war. World peace would come as a result of humanity coming together, not falling apart. First Contact wouldn’t be a party, it’d be a tense standoff where everyone is hoping no one flinches, because these are goddamned space aliens, and they might be here to EAT US. Humans won’t have started the Federation. It’s just the nearest translation. White males won’t be the most populous group in Starfleet. Aliens wouldn’t, either, because that’s too much of a budget. However, it would be explained that Humans are one of the few Federation races to have a unified military tradition, and therefore, are the best-suited to taking on the bulk of the military duties. Perhaps another race or two that have relatively easy makeup, like Bajorans or even Zakdorns. Humans would be of average strength and intelligence compared to other races, but would by no means be the finest examples of the Federation. Now, while it’s been shown that different human ethnicities excel at certain areas (German engineering, Asian organization), humans as a whole would tend to excel in technological aptitude, advancing quickly, learning to use new technologies, and improving on them, often to the chagrin of the original creators.

The military aspect would be expanded. There would be a carrier group, and the Enterprise would be a carrier. It would have a large crew. I’m thinking that the entire group would have a compliment of about 7,000. Five ships, and just to keep it Star Trek, it would still be the Enterprise. The other four ships would have non-Earth related names, because this is the goddamned United Federation of Planets, not Earth and Friends. Now, the show could focus on the Enterprise. They don’t even have to deal with the air wing too much. The bridge crew can still be your main cast. Minor character turnover can be high for all I care (what, that supply ship has had three commanding officers in the last two seasons? So what? Crews rotate all the time!) Humans should make up no more than 50% of the crew, 30% realistically, and white males should not be the clear majority. White people represent about 20% of the world, why should they represent 90% of our spacefaring force? 57% of the population is Asian, which means that Sulu goes from ethnic rarity to every other crewmember. Also, humans can’t breed with anyone but humans. B’Elanna Torres? Sorry, you’re either Mexican or Klingon. Take your pick. I prefer Mexican, because it’s not like there’s a lot of brown people represented in Star Trek that aren’t aliens of some sort. And there’s another thing. The Tuvok factor. Humanity has many shapes, sizes and colors. Sure, we all have the same basic features (ears, eyes, nose, mouth all shaped similarly, four limbs, ten fingers and toes, same plumbing, etc…), but we’re very diverse. Why can’t aliens be the same? More racially diverse aliens is a must. And, the Final Frontier of Star Trek, the Undiscovered Country (no, not God and Death) – gay homosexuals. That’s right. Right off the bat, there would be a tastefully and openly gay crew member or two. Not a lot, because gay people really are a small minority, and they would be there for diversity, not as a baseball bat saying be gay or you can’t go into space, dammit. This is Star Trek, and it should be an anti-dystopian future, therefore, gay people have rights and can be in the military and fly a spaceship. I don’t want fucking RuPaul sashay-shante’ing across the bridge, I want Alan Cumming. I want gay aliens. I don’t want gay alien porn, just gay aliens. And none of this should be forceful. It shouldn’t be token. You’ve got three Asians, two Africans, two whites, two Hispanics, and one of them is gay. Which one? Probably one of the Asians. That way, it’s not token gay guy, token yellow guy, token black guy, token brown guy.

I’d also straighten out that whole rank thing. Just because someone gets on camera doesn’t mean that they have to be a goddamned officer.

And religion? I’d really piss off the religious right. Part of the Chronology would include the rise of secular humanism and the decline of organized religion. Sure, there’d still be adherents, but in the wake of world peace and first contact, belief in a god or even a need for a god would decline sharply.  Besides, half of the fundie peace-is-the-antichrist sects would have probably killed themselves seven years after world peace when they realized that Jesus still couldn’t find their house.

Money would also be addressed. Yes, there’s money, we want it, and this ship cost a lot of it.

So, those are my gripes, and that’s my concept. Star Trek was a good idea that was destroyed by a lack of forethought, and a sick desire to beat a dead horse into oblivion. Six series and 10 (11) movies later, and there’s not really a cohesive plot to follow that’s not contradicted by something else. It’s also a stupidly thought look into the future with absolutely no concept of what’s happening today. Let me tell you, the future won’t be a cheery wonderland, because the present isn’t a cheery wonderland.  Cheery wonderlands don’t really exist. Meeting aliens and running off into space isn’t the result of problems solved. It’s the pursuit of solution. It’s the start of new and bigger problems. That’s what it is to be human. You try to fix something, and even if you get it right, you now have thirty more things to fix. That’s how we progress. That’s how we exist. That’s why we’re human. To take that away is to deny all that, and that, above all else, is the problem I have with Star Trek.

-pb

1 TOS: “Space Seed”
2 TNG: “Encounter at Farpoint”
3 ST:FC
4 TNG: “Up the Long Ladder”
5 ENT: “Terra Nova”

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Comments
  1. I’m a lifelong recovering Trekkie as well, and I have to say, I always wondered why nobody ever considered the cost of anything.

    Oh, and how does one pick up a form of energy one has never encountered before? Why- and how- would it show up on the sensors?

  2. Elian Gonzalez says:

    Ahh yes, the holodeck. The single most flawed and dangerous piece of technology guaranteed to fail on just about every starship.

    And, apparently, it’s rather easy to lock out experienced and trained bridge crew from just about every system on a ship. The unstated admission of “Star Trek”: everyone is a computer programming/encryption/command line genius.

  3. Phil says:

    You need to relax and remind yourself that it is only science fiction. You don’t have to write all this crap just because you hate Star Trek. Hate it quietly.

  4. Còmhradh says:

    You need to relax and remind yourself that it is only a blog with someone’s opinion. You don’t have to go out of your way to write all this crap just because you disagree. Disagree quietly.

  5. jenny says:

    As someone who became obsessed with Next Generation a few years ago, I have always wondered if, since the Enterprise is so massive and its mission is to seek out new life and new civiliations, why do they always discover new life and civilizations, but then call Starfleet to send out a science ship.
    What is on the Enterprise? Just thousands of people looking for a new planet to say hello to? To exchange artifacts with? To have Picard help officiate their cultural ceremonies?
    I am a lowly lab technician and a bartender, but I can think of a million interesting tasks the Enterprise could involve itself in whence discovering new civilizations that go beyond helping in negotiations they should have no involvement in anyway, or showing “respect” in the form of getting involved with the new culture’s traditional ceremonies…
    What are they doing out there? And why so many of them?

  6. Còmhradh says:

    I guess that would explain why they’ve got that massive bar.

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