Star Trek fans, have you ever taken a moment to think about—and I mean seriously consider—how your life would be if you were living in the Star Trek universe? I’ve just finished Season 2.5 of Battlestar Galactica and one of the things that impresses me about the series is its continuity. Sure, in DS9 we had some fantastic storylines and arcs, but BSG never hits the reset button (not that it’s perfectly plotted, but still).
In Star Trek, they’re in peril almost every week. Major characters undergo major trauma on a regular basis. Let’s take a look at the original pilot & first 10 episodes of the first season of TOS, where it all began:
Pilot 1: The Captain (Pike) is taken captive by a group of telepathic aliens as part of a plot to breed a race of slaves.
Pilot 2: Two crew members develop powers that put the whole ship at risk.
Episode 1: The crew is terrorized by a beast that preys on salt. It kills several crewmen and seduces McCoy in the guise of his lost love.
Episode 2: A young man with strong mental powers begins using them on the crew and fucking blows up the ship that dropped him off with the Enterprise.
Episode 3: (Pilot 2)
Episode 4: Naked Time. Need I say more?
Episode 5: A transporter accident creates 2 Kirks one weak and good, one strong and kind of evil.
Episode 6: Androids seize control of the ship and kidnap the command staff. It’s instigated by Harry Mudd who wants the androids to stop studying/serving him and hopes that the Enterprise’s people will become their new subjects.
Episode 7: Captain Kirk is replaced with an android.
Episode 8: The crew lands on a planet where all adults develop an illness. Yeoman Rand is kidnapped.
Episode 9: Kirk is kidnapped and brainwashed.
Episode 10: The ship is threatened by an alien vessel.
In nearly every episode, major characters undergo major trauma. They have to deal with their captain being replaced by an android, split in two, kidnapped and brainwashed. There’s that whole Naked Time episode, though I think they have have forgotten that afterward. The captain has to go through that brainwashing/kidnapping/etc.
One passenger they take on is virtually a serial killer and another is a mass murderer, not to mention the guy who brainwashes Kirk and comes aboard the Enterprise. Except for episode 10, there isn’t a single one where characters avoid direct personal threats.
Maybe this is just the highlights, but if this is business as usual for Starfleet, I don’t know how their psyches could handle it.
Yes, I’m taking sci-fi too seriously, but that’s something I like in BSG—that it takes the whole thing a bit more seriously. One of many examples: when Starbuck leaves Anders on Caprica, she’s changed. Not for one episode, but for most of the season…and when she gets him, she’s changed.
And while the people in BSG undergo a tremendous strain, I don’t think they face nearly what the characters in Star Trek do. Loves of their lives appear and die/are lost forever in a single episode. Picard is tortured by Cardassians and assimilated by the frakking Borg.
What’s your two cents?