PART XVIII: YOU KNOW WHAT STAR TREK’S PROBLEM IS

I know how you feel Odo.

My romantic stage with Star Trek is long since over, I can tell you that much. I’ve fallen into a dark period with this series. No longer is there joy when tuning in to the next episode, oh no. Some crude mixture between sense of duty and a desire to just get it over with lead me to just press play at this point. It’s not that I don’t like the series, I do. But I can tell you what Star Trek’s problem is. Star Trek’s problem is that there are twenty-five hour-long episodes per season. Star Trek’s problem is that three separate series have seven seasons a piece. Star Trek’s problem is that it tries to be simple and accessible to new viewers, yet wants to be much deeper. Star Trek’s problem is it’s too simple. Star Trek’s problem is there is simply too much Star Trek.

Tribbles? Tribbles!? Of all the TOS episodes to choose from… TRIBBLES!?

Let’s start with season 5 of Deep Space 9 (DS9). DS9 had all the momentum from season 4 going for itself. Cats had come way out of the bag and everything seems ready to break. Instead of jumping into the Dominion war at last, I get an entire season of DS9 doing everything in its power to avoid the issue. I’m not saying they’re all bad, but just get to the point already.

Attaboy Neelix!

Voyager (VOY), on the other hand, is suffering from its own problems for entirely different reasons. The first half of season 3 had me wondering just how big Kazon territory is. Or for that matter, how slow Voyager is going. By mid-season they clean this up and begin moving on. Now VOY wrote itself into this hole to begin with. If it’s a series about a long journey home, then the landscape will continue to change. From this point out, there will be no continuity except for what happens on the ship. Unfortunately, what I had first anticipated from Voyager, such as dwindling supplies, and worsening conditions, did not happen.

A shuttle craft explodes in almost every episode. They have as many photon torpedoes as they need at any given point. Worse of all, no matter how many random crewmen are killed, and that number is many, they continue to maintain a crew of One-hundred, forty-something. Leaving us with the only thing left to watch grow and develop is the characters themselves. By the end of the third season, its super change time, as right after Kes miraculously grows her hair longer overnight and mid-season, she Wesley Crusher’s her way off the show and turns into some magic light and leaves. Whatever, your character was terrible all season anyway.

They fight, and fight, and fight and fight and fight. Fight, fight fight. Fight, fight, fight. The Seven and Janeway show!

With our good byes to Kes though, it leaves us room to say hello to boobs… I mean 7 of 9 (Jeri Ryan). Don’t you just love Seven? Isn’t her Borg attitude awesome? Isn’t her ruthless calm and opposition to Janeway just the best thing to happen to VOY? Aren’t her boobs just plain fantastic? Well, I hope you think so, because welcome to S4 of VOY aka The 7 of 9 show! Hope you thought Neelix sucked, and found Tuvok boring, and didn’t really give a damn about Chakotay or Harry Kim anyway, cause they are out of here. (Not actually, but for the most part, yeah, pretty much.) VOY has transformed itself from resembling The Next Generation and instead went back to its roots and became the three-man show The Original Series was. Though in this case it’s a two lady, and one holographic emergency doctor show. Still; nothing to cling to, nothing quite worth having as many episodes as it does.

Then a ray of hope shines. S6 of DS9 burst forth in brilliant form. Continuous episode after continuous episode finally give me everything I’ve been waiting for. The gang split up, the war in full force, futures uncertain. Cliffhanger endings! Well good golly me! Eventually, after the first 6 episodes, we just about return to normal. Though from this point, there’s a change in DS9. I can’t say for certain without some thought, but season 6 of this series just may be the best season of all.

I’ll take my Garak extra-creepy please.

DS9 does not need to be seven seasons though. 4 would be fine. VOY does not need to be 25 episodes a season, half of that would work out great. In today’s television landscape, these problems would not exist. Star Trek would be given half the episode count per season, and would not be forced to use the “campiness is a part of Star Trek” excuse to be campy just because they have too much time on it hands. What this series needs is a best of. A Star Trek: Greatest Hits collection. I don’t mind wading through a little bit of crap for whats ultimately a great story (See: LOST). I’m not saying Star Trek isn’t a great story, it is. Though it’s no puddle, it’s a lake. And sure, the lake may not be entirely filled with crap, but there sure seems to be a lot of it.

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