Letter from the Editor: Star Trek and what we don’t talk about

By JOE GIDDENS

The most British man who’s playing a Frenchman is slated to return to “Star Trek.”

The trend of the reboot continues onward with Patrick Stewart’s announcement on that he will reprise the role of Jean-Luc Picard made famous on the small screen’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and its later film adaptations. Thoughts looking forward and back at his tenure.

 

Perhaps the passage of time will curb the film’s portrayal of Picard as a tank top-wearing action hero and Picard now being portrayed by a 78-year-old man will return to being a subdued, thoughtful diplomat.

 

Secondly, one of the hallmarks of the science fiction genre is showing a glimpse into a possible future that is more about the audience’s present time. The original series had episodes that were moral plays about the Vietnam War. I’d make the case that a few episodes from “Deep Space Nine” centered on the Dax symbiont were allegories about pansexuality. Because the Dax symbiont lived multiple lives within multiple hosts of different genders, it was indifferent to what gender they were attracted to only to the person of their affection.

 

For me the greatest example of science fiction giving a glimpse at ourselves is in “The Next Generation’s” episode “Force of Nature.” Not from the story itself, a middling episode about a pair of sibling scientists who show that the use of warp drive is damaging their planet. A heavy-handed stand in for carbon emissions driving climate change.

 

Warp drive is what holds together the Star Trek universe: You can’t have a wagon train to the stars if you’re traveling at the speed of horseback.

 

Here is a story that puts out that there’s an environmental price for the ability to have adventures and discoveries out among the stars. The writers that are promptly ignoring it in future series is the mirror held up to us.

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