Star Trek is part of the quintessential makeup of our collective pop culture. Its imagery is iconic and its (sometimes misquoted) terminology has been a part of the popular vernacular for decades. Despite this, unlike some of our other pop culture institutions – Star Wars, Marvel and DC comic book characters, or the canon of Disney animated features – it seems like more people are aware of Star Trek than have actually seen it. While it would be easy to get sidetracked on the ‘why’ of this (and I suspect the reason can be attributed to the colder, and frankly, more boring approach taken by The Next Generation and later iterations of the series), what I’m more interested in doing today is explaining what makes Star Trek worth checking out.
You’ve probably heard countless times about Star Trek’s unique vision of the future: a future of optimism and acceptance, where mankind has learned to move past the failings that define us in the present and boldly go into a new future. All of that is true, and a crucial part of Trek, but it also, admittedly sounds deathly boring. So humanity’s gotten their act together. Sure, that’s a great ideal, but it’s terrible for the basic tenants of drama. That’s why there’s another big part of Star Trek, a part that many of its fans fail to mention. The entire appeal of Star Trek is in its characters.