The Star Trek universe, from Enterprise to Picard: how Gene Roddenberry redefined science fiction

“Star Trek”, created by Gene Roddenberry, has marked generations of children, teenagers and even adults. The reason is easy to understand: no other SF franchise has managed to make, with such finesse, the perfect mix between science fiction and the social problems that our society has been facing for tens and even hundreds of years.

In the 1960’s, Eugene Wesley “Gene” Roddenberry gave birth to one of the most popular sci-fi series of all time and thus wrote history on television.

Roddenberry first wrote “Star Trek” screenplays while working in the police force, but as his job status did not allow him to work in such a field, he preferred to publish his short stories under the pseudonym Robert Wesley.

In 1966, he finally hit it off: NBC was going to turn his revolutionary ideas into a full-fledged TV series. And so the Star Trek series, later renamed the Star Trek Original Series (TOS), was born – so that fans can tell the difference between it and all the others that came out later (we’ll talk about them later) .

How I came to love Star Trek

Like any other member of the Millennial generation, I had my “first contact” with the “Star Trek” universe as a child, when TVR aired an episode of “Star Trek: Next Generation” every weekend. which would bring the immortality of Captain Jean Luc Picard. Although, at the time, I can admit that I did not fully understand the underside of the script, I could not help but be fascinated by the exceptional graphics (for that period), but also by the “viewfinder” of Geordy, the one I was trying to I imitate him by stealing his mother’s hair clip in the shape of a comb, which, in my opinion, was quite similar to what the character Trek wore. At other times I applied a lot of powder to my face, trying to imitate the android Data.

With the disappearance of “Next Generation” from TVR, my interest in this series has diminished, as expected. However, thanks to a friend, a passionate fan of the franchise, I would rediscover, over the years, the world of Trek, this time managing to understand the sensibilities of the scenario that I could not notice as a child, due to my young age.

With an open appetite, the binging of all the series ever created has become just a matter of time.

I (re) started with “Next Generation”

Because the element of nostalgia works every time, I re-entered the “relationship” with Roddenberry’s Star Trek watching, again, Next Generation (1987-1994). Obviously, as I said before, this time I was able to process the information received differently, being extremely pleasantly surprised to see how open this man’s mind could be, at a time when the idea of ​​politically correctness it was barely around the corners. Gender equality, racial minorities or even sexual minorities, these are just some of the topics discussed in a special way, in which only a truly smart person could have done it. In fact, it also gave me the impression that no matter how revolutionary Gene Roddenberry’s ideas were, they were told in a cautious way. Somehow, understandably, taking into account the times of that time.

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The favorite character in “Star Trek: Next Generation” is, without a doubt, Q, the all-powerful alien entity, played by the talented actor John de Lancie.

Aware that this will be a totally unpopular opinion, I must mention that he is closely followed by Dr. Pulaski, the character who, for a short time, replaced the boring Beverly Crusher.

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Next Generation

We continued with “Star Trek: Voyager”

Although the natural step should have been the “Star Trek: Original Series”, as recommended by my friend, I chose to bet on stubbornness and continued with “Voyager”(VOY), a series not as well known as Next Gen, but almost as good, despite its significantly smaller budget.

“Voyager” (1995-2001) introduces, for the first time, the idea of ​​feminism on the face, putting a woman at the helm of the ship, Captain Kathryn Janeway (played by Kate Mulgrew, later known for the iconic role of the Russian Red, from ” Orange is The New Black ”).

Here, in “Voyager”, I was going to “meet” another character who managed to climb to the top of the most beloved, in my opinion. It’s about the Seven of Nine borg (played by Jeri Ryan).

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Voyager

“Deep Space Nine” is perhaps the best series of all the Trek

Of course, “Voyager” was not followed by “Original Series” either, preferring to continue the journey through the world of Trek with “Deep Space Nine”(DS9). In my opinion, DS9 (1993-1999) has the best scan of all the stories told in this franchise, despite the fact that none of them belong directly to Gene Roddenberry, who died in 1991 during Next Gen.

Unlike all other adaptations, in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” the action does not take place on a ship, but in a space base inhabited by a multitude of alien races, from the entire Universe. So in the absence of space-specific battles, DS9 was able to focus more on the story and less on the action, which distanced it (positively) from everything that had been known until then about “Star Trek.” .

Moreover, in DS9 we meet the first captain of color, Benjamin Sisko, the series manages to match the “Voyager” record, when we talk about thinking in broad horizons.

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This series made me add the cute Ferengi, Quark (played by Armin Shimerman) to the list of favorite Trek characters of all time.

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Deep Space Nine

Finally, the “Original Series”

With a sigh of relief, I came to “Original Series”(1966-1969), the series from which it all began. Despite the initial reluctance, I quickly changed my mind, noticing that, like the newer versions, the stories lacked neither the substance nor the innovative element for that period. For example, TOS is the first television series to introduce a woman of color in a lead role, Uhura (played by Nichelle Nichols).

Unfortunately, the original series would not stay on the small screen for long, being canceled after only three seasons.

Even so, it would later be followed by several other feature films in which the protagonists of the lead roles continued the story from Roddenberry’s first series, as follows:

  • The Motion Picture (1979);
  • The Wrath of Khan (1982);
  • The Search for Spock (1984);
  • The Voyage Home (1986);
  • The Final Frontier (1989);
  • The Undiscovered Country (1991).

Of course, just like in any of the Star Trek mentioned above, here too I was going to “fall in love” with a character, namely Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy.

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Original Series

“Enterprise”, small budget, assumption scenario

Enterprise”Ran between 2001 and 2005, being the least appreciated series of that period. Obviously, I can’t say that I have a favorite character here, since the series isn’t necessarily one of those that I consider to be really good either.

Even so, compared to what followed in the following years, I can now say that “Enterprise” can be considered a masterpiece.

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Enterprise

Other themed movies

  • Generations (1994);
  • First Contact (1996);
  • Insurrection (1998);
  • Nemesis (2002).

Of course, there have been newer remakes of the franchise, with the action taking place in the Kelvin universe. However, out of the desire not to upset anyone, I will limit myself to listing them and that’s about it.

  • Star Trek (2009);
  • Star Trek: Into the Darkness (2013);
  • Star Trek: Beyond (2016).

We will keep the same silence when it comes to Star Trek: Discovery, since, in my opinion, the series can only be watched from the perspective of nostalgia.

There are also some animated series, the first was launched in 1974. It should be noted that at the moment, Trek fans can watch “Lower Decks” and “Star Trek: Prodigy”.

The long-awaited “Picard” series is ok, but not exceptional

I was looking forward to the release of the new Trek series, “Picard”. Although we are talking about a much better cohesive series than the “Discovery” disaster, “Picard” fails to rise to the level of its former glory, but it is “traceable”. By the way, how could I not follow him since, in the first season, they “woke up” Seven of Nine, all in the second to plan the return of Q?

Since Mister Spock can’t come back from the dead, I can only hope that next season the producers will empathize with me and at least reintroduce Quark.

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Picard

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