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Monday, June 15, 2009
What Star Trek could do
Star Trek can play the following roles:
1. Real information about science
2. Sense of wonder about space exploration
3. Envision future technology
4. Envision future society
The original series gave us 2, 3, 4. Some good science but it was never a focus.
Next Gen was ok with sense of wonder (although a bit muted since they were on a cruise ship) and was amazing with its vision of technology. It also had a very ambitious vision of society, unfortunately one so utopian (no money, everyone is nice, everyone is understanding, all is done by consensus, blah blah blah) that it made for terrible drama and would be a bloody boring future to live in. They pretty much dodged anything remotely controversial, unlike the original series.
The terrible particle-babble ("tetrions") of the Next Gen was a tragic lost opportunity, considering this is as close as millions upon millions of people will get to science.
There is also a major flaw in the "envision future society" bit - Roddenberry had a very progressive vision in the 60s with equality of women and races - the obvious modern equivalent would be with sexuality, but there are no gay people in the future in Star Trek. That's pretty lame. Why not make Sulu gay? After all, he is.
Plus which, for the straight guys like me, could we have some more interesting women characters? Seriously 7 of 9 and T'Pol? Hey, look at our b00b1es! You can have way way more interesting characters like BSG Starbuck and Boomer, who are complex and not in the barbie doll mold but still super hot.
The new Trek movie is FAIL:
1. terrible science
2. you barely know you're in space and no one is excited about it
3. no technology vision
4. a society that appears to be basically identical to our current one in every way
Wow, that's quite the science fiction adventure you've put together there, except without the science, and the science fiction, and the vision, and the future.