Sci Fi Friday: Star Trek as a Dream of a Liberal and Tolerant Society

Ron Moore of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, and Battlestar Galactica had an op-ed in The New York Times. He expressed the liberal values of Star Trek:

And as I grew into an adult, and my political views took shape, I treasured “Star Trek” as a dream of what my country could one day become — a liberal and tolerant society, unafraid to live by its ideals in a dangerous universe, and secure in the knowledge that its greatness derived from the strength of its ideas rather than the power of its phasers.

When Moore was growing up, James T. Kirk embodied these principles:

Kirk, for me, embodied an American idea: His mission was to explore the final frontier, not to conquer it. He was moral without moralizing. Week after week, he confronted the specters of intolerance and injustice, and week after week found a way to defeat them without ever becoming them. Jim Kirk may have beat up his share of bad guys, but you could never imagine him torturing them.

A favorite quote: “We’re human beings, with the blood of a million savage years on our hands. But we can stop it. We can admit that we’re killers, but we won’t kill today.” Kirk clearly understood humanity’s many flaws, yet never lost faith in our ability to rise above the muck and reach for the stars.

“Star Trek” painted a noble, heroic vision of the future, and that vision became my lodestar.

The Hollywood Reporter had a recent interview with Majel Barrett Roddenberry which is available to subscribers only. I manage to bring a lot of material to Liberal Values which is not available free on line, but this is one publication I do not subscribe to. Fortunately has some excerpts. She thought her late husband, and creator of Star Trek, would have been pleased with the digitally remastered episodes of Star Trek:

“You know what? He wouldn’t have been bothered by it at all. Gene did the best work he could at the time, but he was also all about the future. I think he’d have thought it was terrific that the show was being made to look better because of new technology.”

The DVD’s of the second season of Doctor Who will be released in the United States on January 16, 2007, after the completion of the second season in the United States. The content will be identical to the British release in November.

Many fans have wondered why almost all the shows have taken place on, or in orbit around, Earth, considering that the Tardis can go anywhere in space or time. The BBC quotes writer and executive producer Russell Davies as saying this is due to cost:

The writer added that he would not be using forests and quarries as stand-ins for alien landscapes, as was often the case in classic Doctor Who episodes.

“The mockery we would get walking into a forest and saying that we’re on the planet Zagfon!

“If you think we had one or two bad reviews in the second series, they would become like a machine gun the moment we started doing that.”

In other words, Doctor Who is a low budget show, but in many ways that has always been part of the fun. It is a shame that modern audiences are too sophisticated for the short cuts television could get away with in the past, and are missing out on this fun.

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