Star Trek is a franchise that has continually provided me a richer and more impactful experience as I’ve matured and ripened as a person. As I learn more about the science, I realize the writers cared enough to incorporate it from the start. As I learn more about history, I realize Star Trek has always told our stories and built a rich tapestry of our future to use as its past. As I learn more about geopolitics, race relations, sexualtiy, morality, economics, religion, etc. etc. etc., I realize Star Trek was already there exploring the depths of the underlying philosophies and presenting perspectives for its fans to apply to their own mental models of the world.
I can’t think of another series, show, or movie, that has so often dealt with a failure of the main characters in complex and difficult situations. Star Trek never stops trying. I hear a lot of complaints about Gene Roddenberry’s insistence on the show franchise maintaining his optimistic imagining of humanity's future (especially around Star Trek, Discovery), but I can’t help but think that his persistence is instrumental in the lessons Star Trek has bestowed upon us for decades.
I always enjoy your posts, Ethan Siegel, and thought I’d share one of my own that I think you’ll enjoy as well. It’s a recent episode of a podcast I co-host with Adam J Kerpelman. The episode is an exploration of what we love about Star Trek contrasted with what we love about Star Wars. It’s one of my favorite episodes for many reasons, and I hope you enjoy it!