Nathanial Garrod

Reflections and Implications from a Season of Star Trek

Last night I finished the second season of Star Trek, and there are a lot of things I had forgotten about.

To be fair, I have not completely watched the original series through since I was 12, so it has been about a decade and I have grown up a lot in that decade.

Here are three things I noticed:

1) More Phasers

Starfleet is an exploration and peacekeeping organization. That uses weapons. We are just gonna sit here and think about this for a few moments. I understand that at times to keep peace, you need to be able to enforce that peace. But almost every episode features the threat of death by phaser or some kind of violent altercation.

2) Patriotic/Nationalistic episodes

This happens far more than I remember. There’s the episode with the gangster culture, the episode with the Yangs and the Kohms (the Yangs are Yankees, the Kohms are communists) and a number of others. Each time it is a chance for Kirk to show pride in how far humanity has made it. Yet not only does he show pride, he offers a chance for those others to get to that place too. It is more than just that story, it is a chance to bring a nation together in a challenging time.

3) Episodic Television

While I love serial television as much as the next guy, it is so great to see a show where one episode does not leave you questioning the next. Where a story happens and is wrapped up and over. There is nothing ongoing – besides their exploration of new life and new civilizations. There is little building on previous episodes – what we know from one episode does not impact our ability to understand or appreciate another. I think modern television could take a lesson from this.

One Comment on “Reflections and Implications from a Season of Star Trek

  1. Chip
    April 10, 2013

    Well you know that saying…”If phasers are made criminal, only criminals will have phasers.” Plus they’re usually on stun. You need to remember that to keep even the low ratings STAR TREK had, in addition to its great humanistic philosophy lessons, it also had to have gun fights, fist fights and Kirk making love to green women. Rule #1 with television = you gotta keep people watching.

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This entry was posted on April 10, 2013 by in Thoughts.