Video: The great Star Trek debate

posted at 1:01 pm on February 28, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

We had our own palate-cleanser on Bloggers Row today when Tommy Christopher and I debated the nature of the Star Trek universe. Do any other series actually exist other than the original series, or do people really buy into all of the various versions of Trek? Why does Jean-Luc Picard claim that the Federation has gone beyond money while the Ferengi trade for gold-plated latinum? Does the Holodeck mean the end of civilization?

Most of all, should the upcoming “reboot” movie be retitled Trekformers?

Tommy notes with some justification that we seem to reverse political roles when it comes to Trek. All I can say is that we didn’t see Tommy get this exercised during his three days of immersion in the conservative environment, so perhaps we’re beginning to discover his inner Right-think.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

I can’t stand watching Star Trek anymore. Especially Next Generation. The whole Prime Directive is the root of all evil. We see its incarnation in Europe with its Tolerance Uber Alles mentality and soon to be demise. Star Trek sucks. And I used to be a die hard fan of the whole enterprise…to invoke a pun.

Jewel on February 28, 2009 at 1:09 PM

The only reason to watch an episode of Star Trek in any of its TV or movie incarnations was DeForest Kelley. He was a mountain of excellence in a valley of horse dung.

P. S. Chekhov is the anti-Christ and Christine Chappell is his bride.

Percy_Peabody on February 28, 2009 at 1:12 PM

Jewel on February 28, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Dude, the Prime Directive was just not to interfere with the fabric of a race’s being by introducing warp drive and other technologies to races that havent stumbled upon it themselves. its not like cultural relativism…

ernesto on February 28, 2009 at 1:13 PM

Don’t leave out Deep Space 9. That was a decent series. Well, mostly it was.

DannoJyd on February 28, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Why does Jean-Luc Picard claim that the Federation has gone beyond money while the Ferengi trade for gold-plated latinum?

When did the Ferengi join the Federation? HMMM?

DannoJyd on February 28, 2009 at 1:20 PM

I liked Star Trek – The Original Series when I was a kid. The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager just expanded the Universe but did nothing for the genre other than make better scenery and props. Like it or not, Shatner, Nimoy and Kelly could act and made us believe despite the low tech props. They were the draws not Roddenberry’s Liberal Universe.

I’ll take the Babylon 5 universe over Star Trek any time. Grittier, more like today’s political picture. I really liked the decision to ‘secede’ rather than follow a megalomaniac President.

Of course, David Weber’s Honor Harrington Universe is superior to anything on television. But that is only literature which means today’s little minds won’t be able to enjoy it.

SeniorD on February 28, 2009 at 1:23 PM

Sorry ernesto, but the whole prime directive is what multiculturalism is today. As if interacting and sharing one’s own culture is somehow pollution.

Jewel on February 28, 2009 at 1:24 PM

Why does Jean-Luc Picard claim that the Federation has gone beyond money

In one of the Star Trek movies (“Live Long and Save the Whales”), Kirk says that the future doesn’t use money.

I think he was just being cheap and trying to get out of paying for the pizza.

malclave on February 28, 2009 at 1:28 PM

I don’t have a problem with star trek and deep space 9 could be a good show. But Babylon 5 was the best and I was pretty addicted to it. That show just get better and better.

rob verdi on February 28, 2009 at 1:30 PM

Sorry ernesto, but the whole prime directive is what multiculturalism is today. As if interacting and sharing one’s own culture is somehow pollution.

Jewel on February 28, 2009 at 1:24 PM

how? it really didnt center around giving people technology they werent ready for?

ernesto on February 28, 2009 at 1:31 PM

Ed, I have to be honest. I’ve haven’t been watching your CPAC videos, but this one is HILARIOUS!!!

This Chris guy reminds me of fat, drunk, nerdy Denis Leary. You should have him on every week.

Lance Murdock on February 28, 2009 at 1:35 PM

I grew up on the original Star trek. Our own space program was in full swing at the time. It was all about achievement and looking forward to a time when many of man’s problems were solved and we had turned our attention outward.

I liked Voyager although I’m not really sure why. I just did and that was good enough for me.

DS9- pfft

I like Star Trek – Enterprise because to me it had a lot to do with the actual development and newness of all the Star Trek technology. I might be wrong but one of the first episodes dealt with the fact that the original Enterprise was the first spacecraft to have a transporter. The transporter was invented by man and was not alien technology. The crew of the Enterprise were terrified to use it. The concept and experience of molecular deconstruction and reconstruction was entirely new and had not been tested well before being installed. The Captain was the first person to use it escape from a trap or something. AWESOME.

Guardian on February 28, 2009 at 1:37 PM

This Tommy Chris guy reminds me of fat, drunk, nerdy Denis Leary. You should have him on every week.

Lance Murdock on February 28, 2009 at 1:39 PM

note: He dematerialized in mid-scream and was reassembled where he “left off”! :)

Guardian on February 28, 2009 at 1:39 PM

I just re-watched Star Trek – The Motion Picture the other day. It amazed me that they made another after that stagnant bore.

However, the following movies were so fantastic(no, not 5 and 7), that I’m really glad they went on.

This new movie? From the looks of it, it’s going to be Dawson’s Creek with starships. Simon Pegg would be the only reason I see it if I see it at all.

Well, okay, Uhura might lure me as well.

MadisonConservative on February 28, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Guardian on February 28, 2009 at 1:37 PM

I had no idea…thats awesome!

I too look forward to a time where we’ve solved most of our petty personal shyte and have made our way to the stars. i almost resent being born in a time where we still havent gotten our act together…

ernesto on February 28, 2009 at 1:41 PM

Battlestar G is still better.

Still, if Jeri Ryan wants to wear her 7of9 outfit over to my house and let me check out her Borg…uh…”implants”…I would have no problem with that.

Bishop on February 28, 2009 at 1:42 PM

i almost resent being born in a time where we still havent gotten our act together…
ernesto on February 28, 2009 at 1:41 PM

Eh, we’ll get our crap together and reach the stars just in time to run into the Hirogen…or worse.

Bishop on February 28, 2009 at 1:46 PM

The Prime Directive as a plot concept has plenty of problems. In one episode they are bold explorers dealing with whatever comes their way, in the next they are afraid of getting involved because of the consequences. What’s with that? For example, in the episode “Homeward,” an erupting star is about to incinerate an entire planet and Picard complains and moans about the awful consequences of saving a few villagers. After all they’ll now be responsible for them and setting them up on a new planet! Oh, the responsibility! Perhaps it would have just been better all around if we let the villagers fry. At least we won’t have to make decisions for them and corrupt their culture with our ideas. Of course, in the next episode they are Interstellar ambulance drivers rushing a new vaccine to some pre-industrial planet.

Fred 2 on February 28, 2009 at 2:04 PM

Episode rerun last week, underage-but-a-pilot-of-a-starship-already Wesley Crusher and friend go ‘skiing’ in “a lot of fresh powder” on the Holodeck, and, when commanded by Picard to reappear, Wesley and friend fall out of the Holodeck into the hallway of the Enterprise, still covered in “snow” and throw a handful of the stuff at Picard and others.

So, they’re OUT of the Holodeck but THEY STILL HAVE ALL THAT “SNOW”? How is that possible?

Mind you, I’ve never considered the whole Holodeck “reality” to be possible, anyway, same as with the “Doctor” in the later Series, who, though a purported hologram, can “hold,” control and move physical items anywhere he opts, who is responded to by humans as a being with a solid mass (people hold him, lean on him, rebound off him, etc.).

Same on the Holodeck, where humans “interact” with supposed holograms that they then embrace, kiss, touch in general, as if the holograms had actual mass (holograms don’t, they’re LIGHT and perhaps PLASMA, or gas, neither of which are solids).

Anyway, I enjoy Star Trek, too, but the “science” in much of it (“Jeffries Tubes!” & “Proton Reactor!”) is utter nonsense. I once sat through a viewing of an Episode with several physicists and one engineer and the laughter throughout was more hilarious than the nonsense on screen in these regards.

Lourdes on February 28, 2009 at 2:05 PM

re money…

I could buy the moneyless society in TNG when anyone can go up to a replicator and get pretty much anything he wanted. Money loses utility when you have a machine that will fulfill needs/wants.

JohnTant on February 28, 2009 at 2:12 PM

The Ferengi aren’t in the Federation noob.

Ortzinator on February 28, 2009 at 2:12 PM

Trek was Roddenberry’s “Wagontrain to the stars.” The chemistry between the actors was there from the beginning and the first season had a gritty western quality. As much as they were trying to be hip and futuristic, Gene R. and company were creatures of their time.

By that I mean the optimism and can-do quality of Trek and other shows of the time. It’s something I miss and the reason I don’t bother with much of the new stuff today. A lot of today’s fare is uncreative, dark, and nihilistic, a reflection of today’s poisonous culture.

In spite of the vague, soft liberalism, Trek got most of it right in terms of story-telling and the purpose of story-telling.

Feedie on February 28, 2009 at 2:20 PM

And Allah keeps whining about being a beta male?

logis on February 28, 2009 at 2:20 PM

I am a conservative and I have loved all of Star Trek all of my life from grade school on. Roddenberry was a humanist who created a universe where mankind saved itself apart from God. It came on TV when America was tearing itself apart due to Viet Nam and Civil Rights. Do I believe Gene’s view of mankind is possible this side of heaven? No I do not. But I can still appreciate the brilliance of his creativity. And, even as a grade-school girl, I knew that a shirtless Capt Kirk was a hunk-a-hunk-a burning love.

Sweetness0726 on February 28, 2009 at 2:32 PM

<The Prime Directive as a plot concept has plenty of problems. In one episode they are bold explorers dealing with whatever comes their way, in the next they are afraid of getting involved because of the consequences. What’s with that? For example, in the episode “Homeward,” an erupting star is about to incinerate an entire planet and Picard complains and moans about the awful consequences of saving a few villagers. After all they’ll now be responsible for them and setting them up on a new planet! Oh, the responsibility! Perhaps it would have just been better all around if we let the villagers fry.

The democrats would have set them up on the welfare plantation and plaot to get them the right to vote

larvcom on February 28, 2009 at 2:39 PM

For example, in the episode “Homeward,” an erupting star is about to incinerate an entire planet and Picard complains and moans about the awful consequences of saving a few villagers. After all they’ll now be responsible for them and setting them up on a new planet! Oh, the responsibility! Perhaps it would have just been better all around if we let the villagers fry. At least we won’t have to make decisions for them and corrupt their culture with our ideas.
Fred 2 on February 28, 2009 at 2:04 PM

This is the core of liberalism. Reality is irrelevant except in terms of how it effects one’s feelings.

Saddam Hussein murders three million people? The liberal doesn’t give a rat’s ass because it doesn’t hurt his ego in any way.

But America deposes Saddam, and everything changes. A handful of jerks make fun of some terrorist detainees? Horror of horrors; this is the END OF THE WORLD! Because the blood (OK, tears; whatever) is on my hands.

logis on February 28, 2009 at 2:41 PM

With Obama in charge, we’re all about to find out exactly how a society with no money will work. “Klingons on the starbord bow, scrape ‘em off, Jim!”

gordo on February 28, 2009 at 3:10 PM

First, Obama is Tuvok.

Second, DS9 rocked. Sure it had its flaws, but Captain Sisko actually becomes a metaphor for Christ and the whole thing ends up with an epic battle between good and evil. The fight against shapeshifters (who have infiltrated our society) echoes the war on terror.

It’s not as sophisticated as Lost or BSG, but it laid the groundwork, when it wasn’t indulging its Rat Pack fetish.

R.J. MacReady on February 28, 2009 at 3:42 PM

Not for nothing but the Federation was almost always at war with enemies. I am thinking about the show and it was pretty good when you look at some of the story lines.

rob verdi on February 28, 2009 at 3:54 PM

a private little war where both the federation and the klingons funnel weapons to competing sides is one of the more relevant pieces of science fiction.

rob verdi on February 28, 2009 at 4:03 PM

Feedie on February 28, 2009 at 2:20 PM

You got it exactly right. The original series (or as it’s fondly known, “TOS”), had some absolutely brilliant stories.

Here in New England we have several stations still showing TOS. Fittingly enough, over the past 2 weeks they have been showing the classic episode “The Savage Curtain”-where Shatner gets to “meet” his hero, Abraham Lincoln.

Del Dolemonte on February 28, 2009 at 4:03 PM

My guilty pleasure was Voyager. And I very much enjoyed DS9, which seemed to have more than a few conservative undertones. TNG and Enterprise never did it for me.

But there’s only one Star Trek. Only one Enterprise. No bloody A, no bloody B, just the classic NCC-1701. When men were men, women were underdressed, and everyone talked like starving Shakespearian actors on styrofoam stages.

sulla on February 28, 2009 at 5:25 PM

Del Dolemonte on February 28, 2009 at 4:03 PM

One thing I notice is most of today’s actors look like modeling school drop-outs. The casting couch hasn’t been just-for-women for a long time. Actors on the old shows had more of an everyman look and there were natural beauties among the actresses (not to mention talent).

When Boston Legal was watchable (barely), I watched because of Shatner. He had a similar reputation anyway, and it was funny watching him play himself.

There is good and evil out there; TOS recognized this instinctively. TNG tried the pacifist approach and ditched it late in the first season. That’s where it got its running legs. People want to see the eternal conflict, and the consequences and lessons in a good story. Liberal fantasies are boring and unrealistic.

Feedie on February 28, 2009 at 5:26 PM

As I said previously, TOS had cast members enabled viewers to willingly suspend their disbelief. TNG, DS9 and Voyager did not, the high tech backdrops, creation of new things (i.e. ‘tetrion particles’) simply gave the writers something to blame when they couldn’t come up with valid reasons something didn’t work.

Sure, I watched the various spin-offs, but got really annoyed. For example, in DS9 Sisko is seen sitting in the Captain’s chair, issuing commands to the helmsman while simultaneously commanding a fleet of Starships. Also, the spacing between those ships is REAL tight. Can one imagine a Galaxy-class starship doing tight turns within the range of another? Stretches the imagination too far.

‘sides, I prefer forming the images in my head as I read good Science-Fiction (like David Weber or John Ringo).

SeniorD on February 28, 2009 at 5:51 PM

Gold PRESSED latinum, Ed, not gold plated latinum.

radjah shelduck on February 28, 2009 at 6:28 PM

DS9 had great plot arcs and fun villians (Weyoun, Gul Dukat).

Gideon7 on February 28, 2009 at 6:35 PM

The Ferengi are NOT in the federation. And seriously, what effect does money have when food and all material wants are provided by a machine. You don’t buy anything because you can replicate everything. Thats not socialism, thats just freaking awesome. However, TNG episode the Neutral Zone made me think someone on the writers team cried a bit when the Berlin wall fell.

Yngmarine on February 28, 2009 at 6:43 PM

Voyager was panned but was actually more like the original in philsophy then any of the others (unknown space and races, limited oversight, solid principals, The Final Frontier — less preachy then TNG), but I liked them all (DS-9 was my least favorite — who wants to see an outpost where people come and go, passive trek!)

Ferengi’s aren’t part of the Federation — but really the whole concept of being without money was foolish — trading holodeck time is currency or at least bartering which only proves that capitalism is forever enduring.

Holodecks are the logical conclusion to po n — I mean entertainment. Progression = reading books, listening to the radio, watching television, interacting holodecks.

David
Giligans Island — seriously, Janeway was second to only Kirk in bending the rules including the Prime Directive. Both were rugged individualism in space!

LifeTrek on February 28, 2009 at 7:18 PM

I grew up watching “Next Generation” and “Deep Space Nine.” I was not fond of “Voyager” and I just couldn’t get that interested in “Enterprise” in spite of the fact it starred Scott Bakula (“Quantum Leap” was another favorite of mine).

This may sound nutty, but I have long thought of the Star Trek universe as one where communism actually works. Think about it. There is apparently limitless energy and the ability to turn energy into any material good. Thus, there is no longer the conflict between unlimited wants and limited resources.

eaglescout1998 on February 28, 2009 at 7:19 PM

Enterprise, for me was a huge disappointment. Who wants to go backward in Star Trek — less tech for me was a deal breaker — I watched more for the tech then the story.
David

LifeTrek on February 28, 2009 at 7:22 PM

If you can replicate everything and you are afraid of corrupting other civilizations why exactly do you need Faster Than Light travel? Isn’t it easier to stay home? The Next Generation never seemed to have a compelling excuse to do anything unless you believe that being a “Taxi Cab to the Stars” for diplomats is worth the effort.

Fred 2 on February 28, 2009 at 7:28 PM

Sisco was a terrible actor — the role could have been a good one, but he acted like he was trying to be a Black Kirk, if you …. know what…. I… mean!

Oh, and the gold in gold pressed latinum was worthless — it was just a substance that held the valuable latinum.
David

LifeTrek on February 28, 2009 at 7:34 PM

I am also not too sure how I will respond to this new movie. Rather than reboot the original series, I would prefer it jump forward a few hundred years.

I think that part of the problem with the franchise is they they’ve run out of unique stories to tell. Star Trek was a big cash cow for Paramount and they milked it for all it was worth. An interesting concept I thought of was a story in which the Federation are actually the antagonists.

eaglescout1998 on February 28, 2009 at 7:38 PM

eaglescout1998 on February 28, 2009 at 7:19 PM

Which is what provides the impetus for man to put down childish things and take to the stars. I think its time for DARPA to start working on those replicators, transporters, and warp drives.

ernesto on February 28, 2009 at 7:49 PM

eaglescout1998 on February 28, 2009 at 7:38 PM

That was done already. It was called Blake’s 7. It showed what the Federation would really be like.

Al in St. Lou on February 28, 2009 at 9:52 PM

I just had the disturbing image of Al Pacino playing the captain of a Federation starship. Ahead Warp Factor 5 . . . who ha!

eaglescout1998 on February 28, 2009 at 11:08 PM

Remember:
Even numbered Star Trek movies
Odd numbered Planet of the Apes movies

ScottMcC on March 1, 2009 at 12:11 AM

DS9 had great plot arcs and fun villians (Weyoun, Gul Dukat).

Gideon7 on February 28, 2009 at 6:35 PM

DS9 was my favorite too, though Avery Brooks’ (Sisko) acting performances were spotty. DS9 had the best violence and intrigue.

And, yes, the villains were fun, especially Garak. You never knew what was up with that guy.

And DS9 was the first of the series to feature an enlisted man in the regular cast.

baldilocks on March 1, 2009 at 12:41 AM

eaglescout1998 on February 28, 2009 at 11:08 PM

Heh. The USS Scarface. “Arm photon torpedoes! Kahless, say hallo to my leeetle friends!”

sulla on March 1, 2009 at 1:08 AM

I like the original series and it has nothing to do with politics or story telling. I like it because it was campy. I like it because the women wore revealing clothes and I like cleavage. It was on when I was a kid and we didn’t have the Internet and we had to take what we could get. I wonder how many of you other guys agree but don’t want to admit it.

The problem with Next Generation was that the word diagnostics was used every time something was going wrong.

deewhybee on March 1, 2009 at 2:12 AM

The problem with Next Generation was that the word diagnostics was used every time something was going wrong.

You may want to check the Heisenberg compensators. And while you’re at it, reconfigure the deflector dish to emit an inverse tachyon pulse.

eaglescout1998 on March 1, 2009 at 4:31 AM

My collie says:

I agreed with the Ferengi when they expressed their outrage about one thing, viz. clothed females?! How ridiculous!

Which is why we don’t put dogs in charge of things, collie.

CyberCipher on March 1, 2009 at 12:34 PM

The Federation is a socialist state, pure and simply. That’s why I love DS9 because it started to show the boils under the uniform. Did anyone ever wonder why Starfleet best and brightest were defecting to the Maquis?

El Coqui on March 1, 2009 at 7:10 PM