Whoa, Star Trek is Violent. Who Knew?

So, I’ve been binge watching Star Trek: Enterprise on Hulu. It’s been a delightful dance down memory lane. A lot like visiting much-loved family after a long absence. Despite having the most irritating theme song of all the Star Trek series, it’s one of my favorites.

You have to understand, I grew up with Star Trek. The original series began a year after I was born. I can’t remember a time when someone wasn’t boldly going somewhere or other. So this show has worked itself deep into my psyche. I was watching it the whole time my brain was developing. That’s something to think about.

I guess it took me a Star Trek-less decade to work its magic out of my system. I achieved this by choosing not to have a television, and rarely getting around to going to the movies. It’s been a delightful media purge.

This time around I found myself looking at the whole franchise with a critical eye for the first time in my life. And my conclusion? Holy crap, but this show is violent.

You’re probably thinking, “Well, duh,” but I swear to you that this concept never crossed my mind before. Star Trek makes violence seem so… peaceful. Not an episode goes by where someone isn’t being shot or stunned or blown up. But no one ever bleeds.

Not even in the Wild West of Hollywood did people have to discharge weapons with such an alarming frequency. But all acts of aggression in Star Trek seem to be in self-defense (“He started it!”), and therefore appear justified. And the good guys always win. People die, yes, but mostly they make miraculous recoveries and are not even left with any disfigurement.

If there are, in fact, sentient beings on other planets, I hope they don’t mistake Star Trek for an adequate representation of our culture. If they do, they’ll think we are a lot more technologically advanced, and yet a lot more barbaric. That’s quite the dichotomy.


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