Six Reasons Why Star Trek Should Stay Dead

Illustration for article titled Six Reasons Why Star Trek Should Stay Dead

Click to viewStar Trek was relevant twice: in the 1960s, and then in the late 80s-early 90s. But now, it's become a microcosm of everything that's wrong with science fiction. Here's our list of reasons Star Trek should rest in peace.


6. Trek is a poison dart of nostalgia aimed at the hearts of aging fan-dudes. The franchise caters to a fearsomely loyal cadre of dorks who recite Shatner's Promise Margarine commercials to each other. They also obsess over every minor detail from the show's 40,000 year history, leading to...

5. Obsessive continuity and reveling in cheese. Rumor has it the new Trek movie will feature tribbbles and the Guardian of Forever, and god knows what other callbacks to ancient episodes. Trek also groans under the weight of cliches it can never outgrow, from "beam me up" to "warp nine" to "shields down to 59 percent."

4. It's an out-of-date news flash. Trek's format is a Cold War relic, from the original show's running Soviets=Klingons metaphor to the post-Cold War "new order" of TNG and DS9. Most storylines relate to "our" superpower, the Federation, facing off against other superpowers or coping with third-world planets. Take away the Cold War as a reference point, and you have boring space opera.

3. It's no longer looking ahead. Like Star Wars, Trek is trapped in prequel-land. Enterprise bored us by filling in pointless backstory on the early days of Starfleet, but the J.J. Abrams movie looks to be twice as pointless. We already know everything we need to about young Kirk and the other Trek tots. Mining your own past is a prime symptom of idea bankruptcy.

2. We're tired of the clueless wanker with Aspergers who teaches us what it means to be human. Spock was sort of cute, so nu-Trek served up Data, Odo, that holographic doctor, Seven of Nine and T'Pol. It's not Trek without Rain Man trying to understand our human ways. We prefer the Cylons, who school us about humanity by screwing and killing us.

1. Sanctimonious preaching is in Trek's DNA. From the Prime Directive to the Captain's Log, the franchise was made for droning voices giving us lectures. Starfleet Academy must give would-be captains a special course in holding forth about the moral lesson in every conceivable situation. We're also sick of constantly hearing about how our heroes are too noble to share their advanced technology with other cultures.


In a nutshell, the only Star Trek we've liked in ages was Galaxy Quest, and that was mostly for Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman and Veronica Mars' dad.


Annalee Newitz

Look, I'm just going to come out and admit it: Star Trek: TNG is the reason why I bought a television. I grew up with two English teachers and we had no TV. Then when I was in college, a friend of mine said, "Hey check out this show." It was the third season of TNG. I was immediately hooked, and 5 months later I owned a TV. I miss that show, but most of all I miss the feeling that ST was relevant.