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Engage Polls: The Best Of Star Trek’s First 50 Years

What are the best films, shows, and catchphrases in Star Trek’s first 50 years of science fiction storytelling?
| Sep 9, 2016 | 3 comments |

Three other writers and I celebrated Star Trek’s first 50 years with 4-5 TV series, 13 feature films, bad religion, common graces and all, at Christ and Pop Culture yesterday.

By seeming coincidence, we managed to cover some of our favorite stories from all Star Trek exploration eras: the original series in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home as well as stories from The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise.

Star Trek's first 50 yearsThis makes me wonder of Star Trek fans: which films and shows are your favorites?

Share your best-ofs in our polls. (You can vote on one television show, yet multiple films.)

Then feel free to share: How did Star Trek‘s first 50 years manage to tractor-beam you into this fandom? What do you hope for the next generations of Star Trek beyond today?

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SpecFaith writers have orbited various worlds of this science fiction franchise.

Shannon McDermott pondered the tasks of command in If I Were A Starfleet Captain:

If I were a Starfleet captain, I would employ a strict policy of avoiding all unusual enterpriseand/or unexplained phenomena. Temporal rifts, subspace distortions, collapsing stars, expanding black holes, folds in space, a stitch in time – whenever one of these appears, I will order my crew to point the ship 180 degrees away from it and depart at a brisk speed of Warp 5. Due to forward-thinking actions such as this, I anticipate a longer, happier life for myself and all my crew.

Star Trek should be about more than vengeful captains, a truth fortunately appreciated by this year's Star Trek Beyond.

Star Trek should be about more than vengeful captains, a truth fortunately appreciated by this year’s Star Trek Beyond.

Here, I wasn’t fond of Star Trek into Darkness (2013), as explained in Star Trek Into Fun Yet Generic and Derivative Darkness. (However, I’m very pleased to report that this year’s Star Trek Beyond is a welcome course-correction for the Kelvin Timeline films, so go see it.)

We shall have someone yell a villain’s name real loud. And not who you’d expect.

Q. You’re joshing. How is that creative? Can’t we explore more on other themes from earlier in the film, such as when Spock mind-melds with a dying man and can later empathize with those emotions? That builds on previous Trek, without ripping it off.

Come on. People remember that yell. It’s famous. We want to tap into that nostalgia.

Q. First, this is blatant “fan-service” on the level of bad fan-fiction. Secondly, you do realize that the yell is particularly famous as an internet meme, right? Put that into a dramatic scene — even a derivative one — and it will cause cognitive dissonance.

But it’s memorable. We need some way to get people to look up from their cell-phones in the theater and actually pay attention to the movie they paid nearly $10 to see.

Reviewer Paul Lee keeps up with the Cardassians.

Reviewer Paul Lee keeps up with the Cardassians.

Our reader Paul Lee reviewed a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel I still need to read at ‘Star Trek: DS9’ Spinoff ‘Day of the Vipers’ Respects Alien Faith:

Day of the Vipers is the first in the Terok Nor trilogy, an extended prologue to the television show about the Cardassian occupation of Bajor that had just ended at the time of Deep Space Nine‘s pilot episode. Like the show, the book depicts its societies with dark honesty, avoiding both extremes of utopian optimism and cynicism. The alien cultures are depicted so realistically and organically that the religious dynamic feels strangely relevant to the Christian struggle for relevance in an increasingly secular society.

DS9’s human respect for non-humanistic religions wasn’t always true of Star Trek, as John Otte explored The Gospel According to Roddenberry:

Oh, sure. [Star Trek features] divinities of a sort, such as Apollo or Trelane of Gothos. And let’s not forget Q. But by and large, religion doesn’t play much of a role in 23rd and 24th century society. The few times it does come up, it’s mocked (such as when the Mintakan people mistake Picard for a god, the belief of which is roundly snorted at by the Enterprise-D crew). Or it’s co-opted in odd ways.

And finally, here’s a just-for-fun, edit-able poll for your favorite Star Trek catchphrases:

Which Star Trek catchphrases are your favorites?

E. Stephen Burnett is coauthor (with Ted Turnau and Jared Moore) of The Pop Culture Parent: Helping Kids Engage Their World for Christ, which will release in spring 2020 from New Growth Press. He also explores biblical truth and fantastic stories as editor in chief of Lorehaven Magazine and writer at Speculative Faith. He has also written for Christianity Today and Christ and Pop Culture. He and his wife, Lacy, live in the Austin area and serve as members of Southern Hills Baptist Church.

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I cannot believe that you didn’t put Picard’s “Make it so” in there. Sure “Engage” covers much the same ground, but it’s not the same.

Also, what is this “ST: Enterprise” on this list? I have no recollection of that ever, ever, ever existing. I’m sure that doesn’t exist. Quite sure.