Star Trek: Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks, Strange New Worlds, etc. are boldly going where Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and everyone else has gone before. Really. That’s even though traveling through light years of empty deep space would be about as exciting as watching two teams of handless Hortas trying to play baseball. So in review of the Star Trek franchise before you had to pay to see it, here as seven reasons Star Trek is stupid.
1. Warp Drive
This is a fundamental part of all Star Trek live and animated series and movies (so far). However, physicists have characterized the concept of warp drive, in terms of its applicability as a practical means of faster than light travel as (warning: technical term approaching) “stupid.” I once almost passed a physics class, so I should know. Suddenly accelerate from 0 to infinity (and beyond), and they’ll be wiping your atomic sludge off the poop deck. But the starships somehow absorb the incredible astronomical forces so well that everybody’s body stays protoplasmically together in their seat–unless something, anything, hits the ship on the side. Then bodies go flying. This is the equivalent of “You can fire me naked from a photon torpedo tube head first into a neutronium brick wall, and I won’t have so much as a scratch. I won’t even spill a single drop of my tea, Earl Grey, hot. But if a shy 9-year-old Talaxian girl gently taps me on the shoulder, my arm will fall off.”
Speaking of arms falling off, what’s with Starfleet medicine? Dr. Crusher can fix a broken arm by pointing a glowing stick at it, but nobody’s quite figured out cloning yet. Clones suffer from short life spans, replicative fading, or go crazy and try to kill somebody. Anybody hear of Dolly the sheep, who was successfully cloned almost 400 years before the time of Star Trek: The Next Generation? And for seven years Geordi had to wear a pair of “glasses” that looked like a metal banana hair clip instead of getting some implants that looked like, well, eyes?
Unlike Star Trek medicine, the transporter is amazing, isn’t it? Utilizing the unlimited power of technobabble, it splits your body, clothing, cup of tea, into a zillion quantum bits and puts it all back together, good as new, on the other end. Except there isn’t any other end. There’s nothing in that forest, jungle, desert, or alien space bar to put you back together. Think about it. Imagine you cross-cut shred your handwritten love letters to Dax–all of them–so your new sother won’t learn how geeky and fickle you are. When you throw the pieces out the window, they won’t automatically come back together again, will they? I think that violates the Law of Entropy or something (where’s my old physics textbook?). Or maybe it’s the Law of Humpty Dumpty.
When you can replicate stuff, who needs to transport anything? But lots of people in far-out makeup make mega-credits transporting and even smuggling goods. Why? Because replication is too expensive? No. Quark, like any good Ferengi, believes “Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to (Rule of Acquisition #3).” That’s as fundamental to Ferengi male psychology as getting turned on by an ear rub. So why doesn’t he hire a cook at minimum wage instead of selling replicated soup? Because using a replicator is cheaper than paying a cook. And a lot cheaper than smuggling.
And if you believe Dr. Crusher’s nonsense about some medicine or other being “too complicated” to replicate, consider this. In spite of what those Star Trek technical manuals tell you, a transporter and a replicator are versions of the same thing. When Captain Picard’s disembodied essence got lost in space, they recreated him from his stored memory pattern buffer. When they failed to beam Commander Riker off Nervala IV and tried again, they actually made two of him. If they can replicate soup and even people, they can replicate medicine. But why do they worry about people dying anyway?
“Captain Janeway, I am sorry to report that we just lost Harry Kim out the airlock.”
“Again? Get those pattern buffers going and make a new one. I need a fourth for a game of Parrises squares.”
5. Token Outsider
Every Star Trek series has to have an outsider so we can show how open minded we are while laughing at them. And the outsider gets progressively stranger and stranger each series. Star Trek: The Original Series (only Vulcan on board ship); Star Trek: The Next Generation (only android); Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (only shapeshifter); Star Trek: Voyager (only hologram); Star Trek: Enterprise (only Vulcan). Wait–only Vulcan again? No wonder Enterprise got cancelled.
6. Romulans and Klingons
What happened to them? When we first saw the Romulans, they were noble, honorable soldiers, idealized Roman space cadets who looked like Spock’s father. The Klingons, on the other hand, were a bad-guy race of Cold War Communist conmen sporting goatees and Fu Manchu mustaches while wearing copious quantities of coco tan #2 makeup. Then, as quick as you could say “movie and a sequel,” the Romulans transformed into the interstellar bad-guy schemers, and the Klingons became wrinkly-foreheaded noble Viking space warriors.
What happened? It’s as warped as if the logical Vulcans suddenly got all hyperemotional at, say, mating time, or because of a virus, or due to a faulty mind meld, or drugs, or a bad time travel trip, or some wild flower, or because they’re outcasts or Spock’s older brother, or they listened to too much Jazz music. Come to think of it, almost anything can make Vulcans emotional. Except baseball.
7. The Prime Directive
This means don’t interfere with the development of primitive cultures. Basically, no free upgrades. Kirk lost his command for breaking it in Star Trek Into Darkness. But with the Prime Directive, if somebody else already broke the rule with the natives, you can break it too (see A Piece of the Action, The Return of the Archons, Patterns of Force, The Apple, A Private Little War, ad nauseam.)
This is like if somebody else gave the San Francisco Giants some Ferengi energy whips, it’s OK for you to give the Pittsburgh Pirates phasers. Now that would be a baseball game. Besides, the whole “primitive” limitation was ignored in post-original Star Trek series, when even societies with advanced technology were considered off limits (State of Flux, Maneuvers, The Circle, etc.).
Kind of warps the Star Trek adage of “To boldly go where no one has gone before” out of whack, huh?
Maybe the motto should be, “You can go there, but be very, very careful and don’t touch anything!”
Alden Loveshade first thought of emself as a writer when in 3rd grade. E first wrote professionally when e was 16 years old, and later did professional photography and art/graphic design. Alden has professionally published news/sports/humorous/and feature articles, poems, columns, reviews, stories, scripts, books, and school lunch menus.