What I learned from Star Trek
I am currently on Season 3 of the original Star Trek. This means I’ve watched the previous two seasons already, and am on the third Season. I’ve seen many an episode in my childhood during summer reruns, but from what I remember, they mainly consisted of Captain Kirk fighting with a poorly costumed swamp/desert monster, or Captain Picard being awesome. So, I decided to be more fair to Captain Kirk and watch the old episodes from the beginning. What I have to say about Star Trek isn’t particularly complimentary, and it probably repeats what other people have said in the past about Star Trek. Be assured that while I am making fun of this show, I am in love with the Space Opera and pulpy goodness it presents.
There is a fantastic book that points all this stuff out and more and actually creates a thought-provoking and emotionally moving story all around it. (I cried at the end. It was that good) This story is called Redshirts
and is by John Scalzi. If you haven’t read it and you love Star Trek, go get it now. I’ll wait.
Back? Okay. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
In the future they have flip phones, and no defibrillators
I have to say I was weirded out when I saw that they didn’t just press the little Star Trek logo on their suits to talk to the ship. They have clunky – oft stolen flip phones instead. I can see why they upgraded.
Also, I can’t count how many times I’ve heard “He’s dead, Jim” from Dr. McCoy. This is coming from a man who can come up with the antidote for a plague from which he himself is suffering in like 24 hours. He’s a goddamn miracle worker. C’mon Bones, don’t tell me “he’s dead” when you haven’t even tried basic CPR.
As a note, CPR in the old episodes is only used when convenient – meaning in one episode where Kirk loses his memory and thinks he’s a god because he can do CPR.
Bluetooths suck, even when you are trying to listen to “sub-space” waves
Poor Uhura is always holding the metal object in her ear like it’s hard as hell to hear through it, or it’s about to fall out. I get sympathy pains in my ear just watching her.
“Environmental Readings” are just a fancy way of saying “Can we breath down there?”
You would think that if you were going into an alien atmosphere, you’d want to know if there are pathogens in the air that could kill you, or if there’s some kind of terrible plague that will infect you. Just saying.
No one gives a shit about security on that ship
The Bridge has been attacked I don’t even know how many times from insane/ill/malicious people they let on board and they still only have ONE security guard outside of the elevator that goes up there, and he stands with his BACK facing the elevator. This “security guard” is standing with his back to the only entry into the place where you control the entire ship.
An additional note to this: WHY WOULD YOU LET CRAZY/ILL/MALICIOUS PEOPLE ONTO YOUR SHIP??????!!!!!!!
The Captain is a sexy beast
There are only a few pity episodes for McCoy, Spock, and Scotty in which they get a girl. In any other episode in which a girl is there to be gotten, the Captain gets her. And, I’m sorry, but if someone tried to kiss me like he does, I’d slap his face.
At least they are done with the Femme Fatale being a plot device in EVERY SINGLE EPISODE like they had at the beginning. I was starting to think the writers hate all women except Uhura, who is a rad singer, by the way.
Have you run out of monsters? Just insert a chihuahua with a unicorn lion suit on.
My favorite character is Spock
I know, I’m sure I should be in love with Kirk. I think it’s because Spock is so unassuming. He never wants command, he just wants to be Jim’s friend. Also, he’s not drama. The Captain has sooooo much drama. There’s no “Dammit man, there IS no try!” from Spock. His only reaction to something is likely to be a cocked eyebrow and “fascinating”.
Although, while in one sentence I say how dramatic the Captain is, I love Scotty’s “I don’t think I can hold her much longer, Captain”. Maybe it’s his Scottish brogue. Or, maybe it’s my childhood crush on Geordi transferring to Scotty.
Star Trek is still awesome
In all seriousness, I think the genius of this TV show is that, even though they kill some poor red shirt every single episode, they develop main characters with whom you fall in love over and over again. I don’t care that the actor who plays Spock has a real-life name. I just want him to make good with his father. I don’t want Lieutenant Uhura to die because she is awesome and is the voice of reason (besides Spock and Sulu). I do care that Sulu is George Takei because he’s an awesome Facebook friend.
The point is, it’s not about the terribly plotted stories, but the characters. I think any writer can take inspiration from that (not too much though – plotting is important too).