Star Trek is supposed to be about mankind’s expansion to the stars and its inherent wonders, mysteries, and dangers. The trouble is, the sense of danger is lost because of what I call “Invincible Ship Syndrome”. The Starship Enterprise (or Deep Space 9 or Voyager) cannot be destroyed or else the…
While I definitely get where you’re coming from with this I must say I disagree entirely.
Yes, the premise of Star Trek is exploring the galaxy, but everyone knows that it’s not just about exploring space but is instead about exploring humanity through the characters. Science fiction as a whole is at its best when its used as a vessel to explore an aspect of human nature and illuminate it for the audience.
Star Trek, to me and a lot of people I know, is really all about the beloved characters. Yes the ships are awesome, and everyone likes a good space battle now and then, but that’s only window dressing for the adventures of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Picard, Data, Worf, Sisko, Kira, Odo, Janeway, the Doctor, Seven, Archer, T’Pol, Trip, and all the rest of them. And yes, there’s a reason I picked these characters out, because off the top of my head these are the characters who I’d wager were most easily recognised and best represent Star Trek. These are the ones who I’d say have been used to explore humanity the most.
And the thing is, we hate it when they kill off important characters in Star Trek -
(SPOILERS, but for like ten years ago…)
Whether it’s Kirk dying in Generations, or Data in Nemesis, or Trip in the final awful episode of Enterprise. Or Tasha Yar and Jadzia Dax. Everyone usually hates it and people still get annoyed or upset over it like twenty years later!
I agree that in terms of storytelling killing off characters and providing a sense of danger is important. But Star Trek characters are a lot like superheroes. Just as when Superman or Captain America get killed off, everyone gets so annoyed that they end up bringing them back to life.
And I’d argue that the best Star Trek episodes use science fiction as a vessel to tell a story about humanity - The City on the Edge of Forever, Space Seed, The Inner Light, The Visitor, Far Beyond the Stars, The Measure of a Man, In the Pale Moonlight, It’s Only a Paper Moon, Chain of Command, Family, The Offspring, Latent Image, Someone to Watch Over Me, Equinox, Similitude, Borderland/Cold Station 12/The Augments, even the Best of Both Worlds - none of these would have been improved by killing someone off! In fact, Star Trek is often as its best when it deals with the aftermath of a traumatic event (Paper Moon and Family come to mind).
And yeah, there are more action heavy episodes that could perhaps benefit from a little more jeopardy, but I don’t think that killing off main characters is something that anyone really wants. Star Trek isn’t a dystopian future, it’s closer to a utopian one. People want to know that their heroes are going to triumph at the end, we want a happy ending. And frankly I think TV today needs more of that, not less. We’ve gone so much into the ‘dark and realistic’ and ‘nitty gritty’ in today’s media that it’s getting a little bit tiresome. What’s wrong with heroes saving the day?