Karey & I are watching Star Trek Deep Space Nine, and we just finished the three episode arc that starts the second season (The Homecoming, The Circle, & The Siege). I haven’t watched those episodes in about 15 years, and you know what impressed me? The extreme lack of something: Explosions.
You see, back when I was growing up, you could have a story unfold over 135 hours with just a couple of small firefights (4 that I can think of) and some limited effects. The story was the point, it’s what people tuned in for. The eye candy was… well, just eye candy. Today I don’t think any network or producer would let that slide (One could argue this was exactly what made TNG & DS9 special: Lack of a network overseer). Today you’re much more likely to find directors like Peter DeLuise who scream “B-I-G-G-E-R” – if we don’t see things blowing up and people shooting for at least five minutes at a time, it’s not worth it.
Which is a shame. When I think about the influence Star Trek had on my early life, I realize that I found it far more interesting to take the non-force option into account to get where I wanted. Sure, I was big enough that I could use force – be physically intimidating – but that just led to consequences. Usually short-term gain and long-term pain. Pull a page from the Picard playbook and you get where you want to be with little collateral damage (usually). I think we’ve lost some of that in recent years – we’ve forgotten that we can use diplomacy, cunning, words and subtle actions. When I think of my leisure activities now – which are principally centered around spending time with others and learning about them, I see the influence of Trek. Thank you Star Trek, for teaching me as a young adult to not only enjoy story-based Sci Fi, but also story-driven life.