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Show Review CL Episode Guide CL
Show Review TNG Episode Guide TNG
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Show Review Enterprise Episode Guide Enterprise
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Star Trek IMDb/Star Trek

Star Trek
1966-1969 · episode guide

Star Trek today is a cultural icon, it is one of the things that make America what it is. There are not many phenomena alike which have shaped recent cultural history in a similarly popular and effective way, and amongst all those things that have appeared over time, only a little percentage of them has reached such a lively longevity. Star Trek is an established institution not only in television and the movies, but also in the awareness of the people. This is no accident.

If you now have to decide which Star Trek to talk about precisely, the answer will always be surprisingly simple. The newer shows, the recent movies, all those are more modern, more advanced, in almost every aspect, at least seen from today's perspective. But it has always been the old show that has shaped the cultural landscape the most. It has been this short-running television show from the late nineteen-sixties, something which is now older than 35 years. This is no accident.

The original Star Trek series is still on the screens. There's always a television station airing the adventures of Kirk, Spock and McCoy; be it in the US, or in Germany, or somewhere else. The old show is as present as the newer ones, it is still actively accessible, able to make an impact on contemporary culture, reference is always possible. Over any new Star Trek series looms the mighty shadow of that sixties show, a show noone in its time would have suspected to become that important, to reach that great many people.

You have to recommend Gene Roddenberry for his foresight and imagination when creating this television show. Nothing else that Roddenberry touched could come even close to that success, neither to quality. Star Trek is Roddenberry's major achievement, and a major one it is. Imagine the show being on television in its time, between 1966 and 1969, the original pilot episode, 'The Cage', having been produced in 1965 already, with a different crew. This was the time of opening up, of the Civil Rights Movement, of the Hippie movement, of old structures and traditions from the 1940s and 1950s being put into question and close re-examination by a greater public. It was the time of rejuvenation and democratization, of redefining America on the basis it was built upon.

Sciene fiction had been popular already, mostly through magazines and some few television shows merging sf and horror like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. Comic books have also had the touch of science fiction, so did classic horror tales like Frankenstein and others; though sf and horror were not really established literary genres within the literary canon at that time, and they still quite aren't today. But science fiction as a successful concept for television was a relatively new one: Especially the kind of science fiction Star Trek inspired: Positive science fiction, an optimistic version of the future, something different from the gloomy perspectives layed open by More's Utopia, Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World. Star Trek is different: It is American positivist thinking, the American Dream, translated into the future.

The setting of the Star Trek concept has often been compared to that of a Western show, as Roddenberry himself already imagined it as a "wagon train to the stars". There's even some direct reference to that Western component in many shows, including an episode re-enacting the fight at the OK corral. But the Western analogy only holds to a certain extent; not every Western shares the same cultural and philosophical background. What you can take from the Western may just be the idea of the wagon train, the idea of colonizing and civilizing, something which may strike as typical American but has already some roots in the Graeco-Roman background of both Europe and America. But the Enterprise is no colonizing vehicle, it is a vessel for exploration: "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations", not to found them, "to boldly go where no man has gone before". In that respect, Star Trek may even be called an anti-Western: for it is not about pushing the frontier forward and assimilating Indian/alien territory, it is about peaceful exploration, mutual understanding and giving others the ability to make choices of their own. The Federation has its origin not in conquest, nor in the assimilation of other cultures, its basis is democracy, is freedom of choice, is acceptance and not mere tolerance of others. The "Vulcan" ideal of IDIC, Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination, is the wish-dream version of what the American Dream is hoped to be about, to have been about: This is America how it was supposed to be, how it should manifest itself in the future.

Yet Star Trek is not a new idea of the American Dream, it is merely an improved version of something that is perceived as being a good idea at its core. It is the American Dream minus the mistakes committed in history, minus the rough and rogue sides which often corrupted the dream. In its largely allegoric nature, Star Trek is a comment on society, a comment made possible through the masks of science fiction which are applied to it. It is a statement for the unification of America, featuring a Midwesterner as the Captain, a Southerner as the Doctor, a Scot as Chief Engineer, a female Suaheli as Communications officer. It is also a statement for the overcoming of old enmities and dichotomies, featuring a Japanese helmsman and a Russian navigator. It is also a statement for accepting the unknown and overcoming old, unenlightened and irrational paranoia, featuring an alien First Officer. Spock, in many regards, must have seemed an affront to the strict conservative establishment. It is no accident he looks like a demon, a devil, with his pointed ears and green blood. Star Trek, in this regard, is a definite child of Enlightenment thought, of rooting spirituality and religion somewhere else, basing it on humanism and true spiritual awareness rather than on old scriptures and interpretation. It should not be surprising, then, that Spock, though representing the logical part in contrast to the emotional McCoy and the action-oriented Kirk, is a deeply religious man, Vulcan philosophy being raised to the level of religion, almost elevating the Star Trekian dream of IDIC to the status of a religious creed.

As a television show, Star Trek had its height in its first season, slowly decreasing in quality over the second and third one. That may be due to some repetitions in the allegory, a missing or lacking characterization of the other ship members, an increasing trend towards stylization and a lack of furthering the mythology of the show, and a missing story arch. But all those elements are weak points of any television show of that time, and compared to those, Star Trek was still highly superior. It was to be shows like Magnum, P.I. that were to revolutionize storytelling and character development in prime time television series. The outline of the show was both too demanding and too narrow in that respect, something which may have been due to Roddenberry's initial conception of the series, something that would be fixed starting with TNG's fourth season. That may partly explain the demise and cancellation of the show, besides from the often mentioned problems with the NBC network.

Yet sometimes, miracles occur, and the reviving of Star Trek is surely something demanding attention. The success of the show, which only got to bear fruit after its cancellation and in the reruns, the extension of the format into the book market, the attempts to get a second series made in the seventies, the success of 'Star Wars', all that allowed the movie series to both commence and succeed, and a new series to be made in the eighties. The beginning of that, however, still lies in the Sixties, and it is that same spirit which has been conserved in the spin-off shows till today - though more refined and elaborate, more expensive and modern, at the core of each newer Star Trek show lies the same idea, the same outlook for the future, the same dream.

February 3rd, 1998 / January 8th, 2002

Star Trek: The Next Generation IMDb/Star Trek</i> TNG

Star Trek: The Next Generation
1987-1994 · episode guide

The idea of a second television show had once been transformed into the first Star Trek motion picture, resurrecting the original crew to the big screen. After four successful movies, the original idea of creating another Star Trek television show came under discussion again - but this time, it had to be an entirely new show, a new crew - the old one had become too old, the original concept for Star Trek: Phase Two, then intended to chart Kirk's second five-year voyage, was not applicable any more. The choice to move the series forward by not only introducing a new crew and a new ship, but also a new time frame, proved to have been the right one: The movies would go on continue telling the story of the 23rd century, while the new television show would move into the 24th. This was also the test for the idea itself: Can you abstract Star Trek from the characters, the idea from the form?

The original concept for Star Trek: The Next Generation seemed not that different from what was going on in the original series. The story centered around the French Captain Jean-Luc Picard, this time less active, at least initially, the First Officer, admittedly not as interesting a figure as Spock, and the android Data, who at first seemed like a cheap childish clone of the Vulcan, but turned into a direction of his own, developing something like a Pinocchio complex perhaps. The rest of the cast turned out to be featured equally disinterestedly almost as on the original season, I would attribute that to Roddenberry's touch. The focus on Riker, Number One, would soon fade away anyway - making Picard and Data alone the key figures, a scheme that would be repeated in the movies. As soon as Roddenberry gave away control to Berman more extensively, that would change: The former side characters became more active, and Picard himself was becoming more of an acting person, continually winning his conflicts with Number One who'd rather see the Captain safe on the Bridge than on a dangerous, fun away mission.

What proved to be a really new idea for Star Trek was the introduction of grander story archs: The continuous intrusions and trials by the god-like entity Q, the introduction of the Borg as a new threat, the narration of the Klingon Civil War, as well as some rather infrequent stories about the Romulans, but most importantly, the creation of the Bajoran/Cardassian conflict that was to spin the next show, Deep Space Nine. An early spice for the show was the death of security chief Natasha Yar in 'Skin of Evil', which led to the strengthening of the character of Worf. The positive outlook for the series was frequently disturbed by episodes like this one, episodes which could be characterized as horror stories rather than science fiction. The mood was becoming darker, more threatening, optimistic still but with a certain edge. Tragedy and death became constant themes, the stakes being raised continuously.

Most important of all this proved to be the Q arch, which framed the series with both the pilot and the series finale, establishing the Faustian conflict between Picard and Q as a central engine for the show. Q would later become a player within Voyager also, but this time it would not be Picard but Q himself who would be in the focus of storytelling. It also was Q who introduced the Borg, another story element that would shape both DS9 and Voyager later.

Rick Berman proved a more than worthy successor for Gene Roddenberry, also before Roddenberry's death. It was Roddenberry who created Star Trek, but it was Berman who gave it a modern touch and elevated it to be on the forefront of storytelling once again with The Next Generation. With Berman, Star Trek got additional depth and momentum, extending the original spirit and giving it some sense of realism even.

TNG stumbled accross most of seasons one to three, but not without creating some outstanding episodes like 'The Measure of a Man', 'Q Who', 'The Emissary' and 'Yesterday's Enterprise'. The show would reach its first transforming moment with the cliffhanger 'The Best of Both Worlds', again combining SF with horror. With seven seasons, the sixth probably being its best, the show reached an unexpected longevity, exceeding all expectations. Furthermore, it was able to become productive itself by spawning further motion pictures and television series, the Star Trek to come would be a direct child of The Next Generation, still keeping hold of the legacy of the original series, but also having established standards and ideas of its own; the Star Trek universe would largely be a TNG universe.

February 3rd, 1998 / January 8th, 2002

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine IMDb/Star Trek</i> DS9

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
1992-1999 · episode guide

It is said that J. Michael Straczynski first went to Paramount to present his idea of Babylon 5, the epic history of a space station at the edge of the known universe soon becoming the focal point for questions of war and peace. Paramount declined, Warner accepted, resulting in the pilot episode aired in 1993, while Paramount launched Deep Space Nine in the season of 1992/93. Let that be just a story, because though there are some striking similarities between both shows, they differ as well in crucial aspects.

Deep Space Nine has been a strange phenomenon from the start, too strange perhaps to let it run on its own as a representation of Star Trek. For its first two years, it was growing in the shadow of The Next Generation's final run, followed by the start of Voyager. Star Trek without a ship was probably too hard to bear, alas the introduction of the USS Defiant in Season Three. The show was laid out as a spin-off from the TNG episodes 4x12 "The Wounded", in which the Cardassians are introduced, and 5x03 "Ensign Ro", the introduction of Bajor. When the character of Ro Laren couldn't be transferred to DS9, as originally intended, Kira Nerys was created as the female Bajoran officer at the side of Cmdr. Benjamin Sisko, veteran of the famous battle at Wolf 359, where the Borg under the guidance of Locutus/Picard defeated a Federation fleet (TNG 3x26 and 4x01, "The Best of Both Worlds"), widowing Sisko, and having him experience an uncomfortable scene in the DS9 pilot, receiving his orders from the same man who, under Borg control, had destroyed his personal life. O'Brien is a direct transfer from TNG, and an avid hater of the Cardassians. When Worf joins the cast in Season Four, this constitutes the final transfer from TNG. In this constant attempt to tie the new show into the framework of the old, Star Trek becomes an even tighter story, a history of the future, a universe that grows even more complex and interwoven. A lot of that will happen within DS9 itself, leading to its developing something usually uncommon for Star Trek: a coherent story line, a thread going through that becomes tighter with each year. The classic show had basically no sense of history at all, TNG mostly consisted of stand-alone episodes, threads usually concerned some background elements, like the history of the Klingon Civil War and various recurring characters. History was something created from a fixed order of episodes, something not necessarily true for the classic series. DS9 started out by the same pattern, yet it contained more elements that demanded for closer topical threads to be followed: The political history of Bajor, Sisko's role as the Emissary, and the entirety of the Dominion plot; maybe that's one of the legacies of Babylon 5, the need for coherence that would in turn increase the depth of character development. It may also be that a stationary position needs more continuity than a mobile one. The insistence on and creation of history was continued in the characterization of the main cast. Something was done that had never been done before in Star Trek: The first episodes of the first season each describe one of the main characters. The cast is introduced as an ensemble of equals, quite unlike the setup of the classic show (which concentrated on Kirk, Spock and McCoy and left the rest stand aside in awe most of the time) or even TNG (which definitively left Picard and Data in the center, though the other characters weren't as maltreated as the likes of Sulu and Uhura. But Deep Space Nine would be different, thus enabling a much more intense level of storytelling.

The introduction of religion as a recurring motif is the next highly unusual step, something that is alien to Star Trek at all (may the role of Sisko as the Emissary coincide with that of Cmdr. Sinclair as Valen on Babylon 5?), especially when it is connected with a central character. This also invokes the analogy of the Bajorans as Jews, and the Cardassians as Nazis.

The battles between the Ferengi Quark and the security chief Constable Odo are a nice reminder to the verbal battles between McCoy and Spock, they're yet another piece contributing to the overall continuity of the show. The most striking element, however, is the Dominion war. What leads to a conflict of epic proportions involving the Federation, the Klingons, the Cardassians and even the Romulans, can be characterized two-fold. The neat and tidy one would be that the Federation more or less stumbled into a conflict with the Dominion. The more problematic one would sound like this: From the beginning, the Federation sought out to expand into the Gamma Quadrant, it not only ignored warnings by Dominion forces but actively pursued its expansion, thus not only provoking a reaction, but in fact starting a war of aggression by themselves. The Federation is not the moral authority anymore, it's just another faction, its position is only sort of redeemed by the drastic nature of Dominion reaction and the counter-aggression visited upon the Alpha Quadrant.

The stationary nature of Deep Space Nine herself demands that everything be more complex, that decisions be more difficult - you can't retreat from a conflict when you have to stay where you are. You have to deal with it; that's what makes the show so much more interesting than any Star Trek before. In its seven-year run, DS9 has proved to not only be a worthy addition to the Star Trek universe, but it has also expanded the narrative possibilities and necessities of future Star Trek series as well.

February 3rd 1998 / February 25th 2003

Star Trek: Voyager IMDb/Star Trek</i> VGR

Star Trek: Voyager
1994-2001 · episode guide

When you take a look at a bunch of reviews concerning Voyager without ever having watched the show, you'd certainly become convinced that this has to be the worst Star Trek ever. You may even get that impression by having watched a majority of episodes of seasons one to three. In Star Trek, that's sort of the rule, beware of a bumpy ride in the beginning, TNG would be the best example for such a misfortune. The problem with reviews, however, is that you never know how closely the respective reviewer has followed the entirety of the series, in how far the perception of the phenomenon is based upon any kind of objective and critical mass, ideally the complete run of the show.

Voyager certainly has its disadvantages. The cast is a mixed bag, the initial conflict between Federation and Maquis isn't played very convincingly, and the entire Seska subplot is rather annoying. It doesn't help either that Ensign Kim seems a bit too non-dimensional, and Tom Paris isn't very convincing either in the beginning. Chakotay remains a very weak character throughout the entire show, B'Elana Torres gets better, but not by much. Kes, though basically being very nice, only gets interesting once she's off the ship. The interplay of the cast suffers from the need to combine stronger with weaker characters. The only characters with any true dimension are Capt. Janeway, Neelix and the Doctor - until the arrival of Seven of Nine.

Tuvok, sadly, is another strong character, but he is often rather misused. The attempts to couple him with Neelix and re-create some Spock/McCoy- or Odo/Quark-moments do work most of the time, but seem too calculated. Tuvok shines when he's allowed to be off character, and when he's given some depth, but in general, his potential remains only rarely realized.

There are some very strong Star Trek episodes during seasons one to three, namely 1x07 "Eye of the Needle", 1x15 "Jetrel", and the Q episodes 2x14 "Death Wish" and 3x11 "The Q and the Grey", but the real beginning is the two-part episode 3x26 / 4x01 "Scorpion"; quite some déjà vu from TNG, which grew at the same point of time, and with the help of the Borg as well. But for Voyager, the transformation is more concrete and comes with a major cast change: Out with Kes, in with Seven of Nine. It's not just the looks of Jeri Ryan. Seven soon becomes the strongest and most interesting character in the crew, and she's even able to focus that energy on the already strong characters of Janeway and The Doctor, re-creating the classic Star Trek triangle of Captain, half-alien Science officer and Doctor, only that two thirds of that triangle are female now, and the other is a hologram. From that moment on, there's a simple rule at work: Every show focusing on either of those characters, or a combination of them, is exceptionally strong; while most attempts to tie in one of the other characters becomes critical, and a sole reliance on non-triangle cast members comes close to an embarrassment. Luckily, the writers seemed to have realized that soon, which results on a rarely shifting focus on any or more of the three. That also increases the impact of the female captain motif: The Janeway/Seven combination, with or without the addition of B'Elana Torres, reduces all male cast members to either a strange irrelevance or a dependence on the female lead, with the exception of the hologram doctor once again. As a study in leadership, which Star Trek has always been, Janeway is as interesting a figure as Kirk, Picard and Sisko have been, and Archer would become. Her style of command is as strong as that of her male counterparts, and it doesn't fall into any stereotypes like "masculinized woman" or "manipulative seducer". Her style is as genuine and "normal" as that of her colleagues in command.

The most interesting and most Star Trek aspects of the show is the question of how, or even if, to maintain Federation standards and ideals in a totally isolated position. In that aspect, Voyager constituted the most interesting Trek show till the arrival of Enterprise, and it has been a promise luckily more kept than forgotten.

Voyager did have its weaknesses, but so have all other Star Trek shows. It is probably only in the light of its predecessors and its competition that those weaknesses became such an issue, the problems Voyager had were a lot similar to those of TNG and early DS9, but then they were tolerable, it was a different time. Voyager was the third series in The Next Generation time frame, and it took the liberty of making the same mistakes as TNG itself, but the competition had changed. Star Trek itself had been an asset at the times of resurrecting it to the TV screen, but at the time of Voyager, the X-Files was in its second season, with its growing success making other genre shows possible. That inflation of alternatives within the uber-genre of science fiction, horror and fantasy faced Voyager with a challenge TNG and DS9 didn't have in their respective beginnings, not to the same degree. Suddenly, Star Trek is just one show amongst many within its genre, and even if the competitors lack in quality, they do exist and create a backlash that will even hit previously well-established institutions like Star Trek. And though Voyager did improve its overall quality and appeal, it took far too long for that to happen. Luckily, Enterprise started a lot more promisingly than Voyager, yet the problem still persists: For Star Trek to function, it isn't any more sufficient to just attach a name tag linking it back to the franchise; it has to earn its merits on its own, not on its historical achievements.

February 3rd 1998 / February 25th, 2003

Enterprise IMDb/Enterprise

2001-... · episode guide

Where to go after Voyager and Deep Space Nine? There is, of course, a certain interest in the time frame already established, and maybe it would've been nice to see how things develop after the Dominion War, after the return of Voyager. But what new would that bring? Wouldn't this only increase the risk of bringing the same old stories over and over again? Hasn't the Star Trek universe become too known, too thoroughly established, too convenient even?

Deep Space Nine was set after the events of The Next Generation. To depart from the known scheme, it would not center around a starship anymore, but around a space station at the edge of the known territories, near a wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant, a boring outpost until the Dominion conflict began. Voyager was to take up the exploring, and to find something unexplored and fresh, it was thrown into the Delta Quadrant, returning to the days of exploration and discovery, truly seeking out new life and new civilizations. All these three shows happened in the same time frame, together charting some sixteen years. Can you just leave it at that?

The first six movies pushed forward the storyline of the original series, establishing a connection between the first series and The Next Generation. The TNG movies took off after the TNG series had ended, pushing forward that thread but also going back in time: Establishing the historical moment of First Contact between Humans and Vulcans. Insurrection went back to the normal time frame, so will the next one. The 24th century will be charted by the movies, it will not be forgotten. But what about a television series? Should that not pick up the story thread also? Can you just leave it at that?

Yes you can. You must, even. If Star Trek wants to be fresh, it needs to start somewhere, somewhen else. Alas, going either forward or backward in time. Forward had been done already (TNG), also, going even farther into the future could mean to push technology this far that the risks for the crew, and thus the edge of storytelling, might get too pointless. Star Trek is about hope and a strong belief in the benevolence of the future, so a farther future may have less conflict, be so advanced that you'd be too detached from today's political and social problems. So there's indeed just one logical solution for now: Going back in time, and why not pick up after First Contact, why not tell the story of the foundation of the Federation? Why not do a history show? Enterprise: The Making of the Federation?

That being established, how should you do it? You would need to walk a fine line between keeping the congruence with the old series and not appearing too outdated, meaning, inhowfar is the original series considered to be something like a historical document for the Star Trek universe, or a television series of the Sixties. Of course, the new old ship NX-1 should not be more advanced than the NCC-1701 model; yet it should definitely look better. Here you have to differenciate between what's the original vision for the future (which is more of an ideology, an abstract idea) and what the technical possibilities and requirements were at the time of the shooting of the original series. Of course, Klingons now can have ridges on their face, that's a makeup thing. Of course, the surfaces should look better, that's a budget and technology thing. But the main elements should stay the same: basic transporter technology, no more than Warp 6 or 7, hand-held communicators, the science station, no food replicators or holodecks, the basic Star Trek species like Vulcans and Klingons, things like that.

All that has been taken care of minutely by the new Star Trek series Enterprise. The adherence to "historical" detail is remarkable, and somewhat touching. The show thus turns out to have quite some sentimental value, re-discovering and re-constructing known truths about the Star Trek legacy. The characters are still under development in the first episodes, and the introduction of each member takes place less sloppily and less contrived than it was done in the very first episodes of DS9 and VGR. This show centers around a very strong Captain Jonathan Archer, utmost convincingly portrayed by Scott Bacula. The Vulcan science officer by his side reminds of the connection between Kirk and Spock, as well as between Janeway and Seven, yet there's much more to it: T'Pol actually is superior, the Vulcans still treat the humans as children and haven't yet acknowledged their values, it is because of Vulcan, and due to the continuing grace of Vulcan, that Earth is even allowed to have a starship of her own.

The future arch of the show becomes visible in the very first episodes already. Vulcans may be superior in logic, science and peacefulness, but it's the human factor that will make the United Federation of Planets a reality. It's Enterprise, not Vulcans, who will start being mediators and allies; Vulcans, however, are pragmatists, logic dictates, nothing else. The ideal of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination is an ideal - just like the Melting Pot or the Multicultural model of society; but it has to be lived. What we see of the Vulcans, what we will be seeing (i.e. have already seen) in the classic series, as well as on Voyager, is that Star Trek is about defending the value of emotionality over cold rationality: Star Trek is not about thinking, it's about feeling; oddly enough, as the storytelling is done rather rationally, less oriented on Aristotle's model of catharsis. Going back to the early days of the would-be Federation makes this more apparent: Here we have a captain who is truly human, truly emotional. This is not the distanced Picard, this is a man with features commonly acknowledged as human. He is not actually illogical, but he acts more on emotionality than rationality, he acts on the dream - because of the dream - the dream of the future.

The frontier is visible again: Something we haven't seen for a long time. In TNG, the frontier was something that was always weakened by fact that the Federation was always nearby, that civilization was already there. DS9, the outpost, was settled at the very frontier of the empire - yet this theme got lost with the Dominion War and the issues surrounding Bajor; the frontier was a fixed one. With Voyager, the frontier was an obstacle, a hindrance, something standing between the Delta Quadrant and home, something to be overcome, not colonized, something which still would get to be explored, but rather by passing through. The premise of Voyager was to come home, to overcome the frontier while leaving it also behind, the frontier was not something to be colonized or "civilized".

With Enterprise, this has changed: Now it is precisely about exploration. Earth has just one starship, and this one is even just experimental (alas, NX-1). There is no backup fleet. Vulcan is watching every step, waiting for the humans to make a mistake. Earth is a third-world mini-power who is allowed into the playground of world politics. There are no attempts at "globalization" yet: Vulcan is no teamplayer, neither are the Klingons. The brave new world is a cold one, waiting to be warmed up by the touch of human emotionality, it seems. Archer is a good choice for propagating that message.

The situation thus may seem similar to that of Babylon 5 in its fourth and fifth season: building an alliance, combining forces. But there it was against a common enemy, the Alliance was supposed to stand against the Shadows, against the forces of darkness, against an almost mythical might, liberating the New Age from the traces of the world, letting the Gods, the Vorlons and Shadows and the other Old Ones, leave and managing the remains. Star Trek is different. The Federation surely is a defensive means at the pragmatic core, but it is more than that: It is about the American ideal of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination - it is about the re-definition, the deconstruction, of the nation state, the creation of something new: something beyond nationality, beyond class, beyond race, beyond gender. Star Trek is the epitome of the post-something dream: Having overcome those elements that have been holding us back, and are holding us back still, while fostering what makes us productive, what makes us individuals, what makes us individuals within a state that is no more seen as an obstacle but as a carrier of the Dream. Star Trek is the personification of this utterly American Dream: Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness.

All that being the premise and the ideology behind the entire phenomenon, how does the new show hold up to it? Does it fulfill this premise, does it fill the footsteps? Yes. There are still some weaker points, some characters still lack proper characterization, but that's always the case in a first season. The start was neither great nor groundbreaking, but still very good and solid, Archer, T'Pol and Tripp having been established as the central figures so far.

Those criticizing Rick Berman and Brannon Braga are wrong, utterly wrong. This new show is the truest follower to Roddenberry's version of the American dream to date, and it will prove to be a worthy successor of the Star Trek legacy.

January 7th, 2002

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