I love Star Trek. Not just the original series featuring the uniquely novel acting of one William Shatner, but the television series out of the ’80s, ’90s, and early ’00s. The old movies and new alike. Everything Star Trek has a fan in me.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m no fanatic. I’m open to other geeky sci-fi. For an example, see my Five Reasons I Love Star Wars.
That said, there are many reasons that I can’t get enough of this epic universe of Klingons, Vulcans, and Ferrangi.
Understanding Wins Out Over Cowboy Diplomacy
The reason so many casual viewers are turned off by Star Trek is one of the main ones that I’m drawn to it. Many episodes focus on diplomatic resolutions to complex problems, rather than the more common use of violence and explosions typical in the sci-fi genre.
There is certainly plenty of action. Photon torpedos and phaser fire is featured in over half of the episodes, but often it’s skilled negotiation and understanding that saves the day.
This makes Star Trek a refreshing reprieve from the norm.
The Technology Has Influenced Real Innovation
Before there was an iPad, there was PADD. Before there were smart phones, there was the tricorder. Before there were cellphones of any kind, there was the communicator.
Star Trek has had an influential hand in countless products that we depend on today to work, play, and stay connected to one-another.
Now, if only we could get a reliable transporter and warp drive, we’d be set.
Life’s Hard Questions Are Tackled
Are androids sentient beings deserving of the same rights to life, property, and liberty as their biological counterparts? Is it morally right to interject into a civilization’s natural progression?
These are some important philosophical questions that Star Trek does not shy away from. The same franchise that brought us the first on-screen interracial kiss is renowned for pushing the boundaries of how we see the world and each other.
In Star Trek: The Next Generation, an android crew member frequently struggles to find his place in a society that has never seen a sentient artificial intelligence. His pale skin, yellow eyes, and mechanical mannerisms make him stand out from his fellow crew members. He strives to be more human, despite the human world fighting to keep him from being recognized as an individual, and not a piece of property.
The Ships are Cool
This reason doesn’t have the same deep meaning behind it as the others, but it’s no less important. The ships featured in the Star Trek universe are absolutely incredibe. From the numerous generations of the USS Enterprise to the destructive Narada, the Star Trek universe has no lack of creative ship designs to explore.
Of all the ships in the Star Trek universe, the one I’m most fond of is the Enterprise D (NCC-1701-D). Unlike many other Starfleet ships, this iteration of the Enterprise was built for families to live on. Its features included: a school, museum, holodecks, restaurant, and two bridges.
This particular generation of the Enterprise was later replaced in the movies by a larger and more well-equipped, but it didn’t have that familiar soul we came to love from the series.
Actions Have Consequences
For a lot of television shows, actions taking place within a single episode have very little impact on the long-term storyline. This is not the case with Star Trek.
When the Borg abducted Captain Picard and turned him into a Borg, he lived with that experience haunting him throughout the rest of the series and into the movies. He regularly played a flute that he received after virtually experiencing an entire life on a world that had long since passed on. What was seconds to everyone else was a life-changing experience for this character.
In Voyager, the reckless actions of Lieutenant Junior Grade Paris in one episode resulted in his demotion to ensign, a demotion he carried with him until the final season.
Characters in Star Trek evolve. They start their journies among the stars a rough outline of the refined person they become at the end. This depth of character development is exceptional. It is indeed one of the many reasons I love Star Trek.