End Of Peace Trek?By Fred Shedian
Posted at November 9, 1999 - 6:00 AM GMT
In previous articles I have discussed a personal fear regarding the perception of younger viewers towards Star Trek. In general, the last year of Trek has provided for some of the most violent content I believe we have ever seen on the small screen from the franchise. The writing involving this content has been decent, and I am not attempting to say otherwise. However, I believe some people are questioning the motives. Is Star Trek still about peace? Have we seen the end of intellectually stimulating episodes that do not involve the firing of a phaser?
It is an interesting question....one I do not know if a person could answer fully. For a moment, let us look on the side that would say yes to these questions. It is true there is some heavy support here, as recent starship designs seem to focus more on weapons than exploration. Although I believe the Galaxy Class (Enterprise-D) vessel was a cruiser liner, it's mission was certainly one of peace. Can the same be said of a ship that has fourteen phaser arrays, a rapid fire quantum torpedo launching system, a burst fire quantum torpedo launching system, and four burst fire torpedo bays? When you look at the Sovereign Class (Enterprise-E), you find that this ship has more weapons aboard her than any other Enterprise before. Why would a peace centered organization design a "deterrence explorer?"
We can also see a visible "covert operations" cell within the Federation, the body that we as viewers have held in high standing for over thirty years. The introduction of Section 31 brought Starfleet down to the same level as the Romulans. Instead of being the good guys, we found the governmental body to be corrupt, deceitful, treacherous, and holding hidden agendas. These are items that previous Trek incarnations and episodes have attempted to prove were items of the past. Yet, now it is clear they are not. For sure this indicates the time of peaceful exploration has come to an end, does it not?
Finally, all one must do is look at an episode each week to see whether or not peace is the center of Starfleet's attention. In recent memory, I cannot recall a Voyager episode where they were not fighting "someone" or "some race" due to "some" misunderstanding. Yet, if we look at the Original Series, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and some Voyager epsidoes we can see these shows did not always resort to a phaser bank to generate a plot development. To do so would mean that the show had turned away from it's goal of peace. So I ask again, has this happened?
As many of you might expect, my response would be in the negative. Although I completely believe writers and producers have turned to war, battles, death, and destruction far too often these past two/three years, I believe that the dust will quickly settle and Star Trek will return to a peace centered mission. Looking at the theorized new series concepts, I am pleased to find all seem to deal with ideas that involve "peace." They are geared towards attempting to return Star Trek to the "high standard" we held it in during the 60's, 70's, 80's, and early 90's.
In conclusion, I sincerely hope the writers, producers, and fans of Star Trek will remember what the show is about. Although we seem to have enough fighting and violence each week, I sincerely hope we do not lose sight of the greater purpose of the Star Trek franchise.... one of hopeful peace and coexistence. It a lesson our society needs to learn...and one I hope does not fall into television oblivion.
Fred Shedian writes a weekly 'A Take On Trek' column for the Trek Nation.