Speaking with Star Trek.com, Gates McFadden spoke about Star Trek and what makes it different than other shows, and what lessons we can learn from it today.
When asked what differentiated Star Trek from other sci-fi shows, McFadden chalked it up to Trek’s positive values. “I think it’s the positive vibe of it,” she said. “It’s something where you feel there is a larger group of people who have grown up as part of the Federation, even if they’ve left the Federation at this point, who have wonderful ethical values, and believe in science and truth, and want to do good, and want to learn and are curious. I think it’s the same thing that’s taking us to Mars.
“Star Trek gets you excited about the future. I loved Alien, I watched Alien many, many times in prepping for directing Genesis, but Star Trek has people who you see week after week and — even if they disagree — they don’t kill each other. They try to find another way to deal with things.
“The key is that there are some solutions that we can work together on, it might not be the perfect solution yet. But we can work towards understanding and acceptance of each other and tolerance. We also have to keep learning how to question in a way that is not completely destructive.”
Our society these days is not quite so positive and it seems nobody is listening to one another. “Right? And everyone’s just sort of ‘This is what I’m saying.’ And ‘How can you say that?’ This is the way we had it in our election,” said McFadden. “And it’s destructive, you don’t really hear anymore, and you don’t really pose questions that make you think. Star Trek makes you think. When it’s done well, the best of the Star Trek episodes make you think ‘What if?’ Bad things happen, and how can we collectively and as individuals work to find solutions?
“And it may not be perfect, but it’s better than either completely walling off and going away saying, ‘I’m not going to deal with this’ or being just incredibly destructive and saying ‘I just hate everybody. I want to just blow it all up.’
“It’s about learning, thinking. Having new possibilities.”