Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The problem with Star Trek is...

Since becoming a raving Babylon 5 fan, I've gotten some perspective on Star Trek and what's wrong with it. Don't get me wrong; I very much enjoyed TNG, and I fully realize that B5 owes a great debt to the entire franchise. However, Star Trek has some failings, and I'm blogging 'em.

Too much technology: Transporters and replicators, which are essentially the same technology, really make it difficult to carry off a story, because they solve perhaps too many problems. There was a TNG episode in which the crew cured someone of a disease by transporting her back to the ship with everything but the disease. Couldn't they do that with any disease? Doesn't that in effect mean that the Federation can cure any disease? Besides, that transporter was mighty selective in who it could or couldn't affect. I remember an episode in which they located Picard's son (who at this point was a stranger to all of them) on a planet where he was mountain-climbing and beamed him right up lickety-split. This is the same transporter Wesley Crusher was able to foil by taking off his communicator. Sorry...if the damn thing can find a stranger on a planet, it can find some snot-nosed little brainiac on the very same ship. (Note: Picard's son was pretty cute, and when they beamed him up he was wearing a tight little athletic outfit, and he had his back to the camera. Oooh-lala.)

Too perfect: I agree that, should humanity survive until the 23rd century, we shall undoubtedly have shed much of the pettiness that currently bedevils us, but that doesn't mean we'll be anywhere near as perfect as the TNG crew. My goodness...just once I'd like to see Geordhi get annoyed with Data, or remark that Riker just rubs him the wrong way. Vastly enlightened people are still people, and that means they'll have bad days, annoying habits, and personal agendas that differ from Starfleet's. B5 had a labor strike, for Pete's sake, whereas Captain Sisko's worst at-home problem was the replicator not getting his coffee exactly right.

Money is obsolete?!?!? No, no, no! I don't care how wonderful Earth is, or how advanced its people...you still have to have currency. You must. Must. If not, how do you determine where/how people live? Can a Federation citizen demand a castle and get it? Or a starship? Doesn't work, wouldn't happen.

Too many mega-beings: Let's see...there's the Dowd, the Q, Nagilum, and of course those folks who live in the center of the galaxy and holo-project their heads onto the bridge for fun. Mother of all creatures...you can't swing a dead cat in the Star Trek world without hitting something that's omnipotent. Even the Vorlon and the Shadows from the B5 world aren't omnipotent; they're just really, really scary.

BTW, I have to wait until early January for the fourth season of B5, about which I am not happy. I have zero patience with this sort of thing.

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