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Star Trek or Star Wars?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by OscarMadison, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. TrooperBari

    TrooperBari Well-Known Member

    I grew up in a Trek household. TNG and DS9 were appointment viewing for me before I drifted away in my 20s. It's not that I dislike Star Wars so much as it just never really clicked with me. I can't say how much that was influenced by the loudest, most effusive libertarians in my orbit also being rabid Star Wars fans, but it probably didn't help.

    From my 20s on, I'd say Firefly and Red Dwarf had far more influence on me than either Star Trek or Star Wars.
  2. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't describe myself as super into either. When I was a kid I liked TNG.

    I tried watching the Mandalorian this week and I'm intensely bored through two episodes. It's very, very Star Wars-y, possibly even more SW-y than the actual SW movies. So I can see why people who really like Star Wars like it. For me, the franchise is defined by cutting edge visuals, terrible dialogue and plots that aggressively blur the line between classic and cliche. This show has all of those.
  3. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    I like both, as well. But if I had to pick a franchise I consider more successful and more far-reaching and potentially impacting for more people, and the one that I, personally, would choose -- and that I do choose -- to watch over and over again, I would go with Star Trek and its various incarnations all the way. I actually watch very little TV nowadays. But I still watch all the Star Trek shows/episodes that I can.

    My reasons could be based on greater familiarity and depth of knowledge gained from watching all the Star Trek series and movies multiple times, as well as reading a lot of Trek stuff. I own the collections of every Trek series (including the animated one) and all the movies, and still, to this day, watch them and enjoy them often. I have read almost all the books there are to read in the Star Trek universe, including some that don't necessarily get seen or read or known about by everyone, and I have almost universally enjoyed them, with all but a very few being not-great (for a fan), in my opinion. I can get lost in Star Trek when I want to, and, as escaping goes, I love doing it.

    I own the first six of the Star Wars movies, but don't watch them anymore, and although I've seen all the most recent iterations of the Star Wars movies, I haven't enjoyed them nearly as much as I did the original trilogy, and I haven't read many of the books. I'd probably like most of them if I did, I'm sure. But I haven't missed them or wanted to read them, and that tells me something, too.

    The main difference, for me, is the ideals and the approaches of the series/movies, and the fact that Star Trek started as a campy, really not-great show, Yet, it generally got better and better as it went along, and spawned what I consider the greatest TV/SciFi franchise ever. Star Wars, as fantastic as it was when it started -- and it was truly a phenomenon at the time -- was at its best in the original three movies, in my opinion. Everything else could have been lost, or not done, and its place in cinematic history would still have been just as strong as it is with everything else that has been developed since.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
  4. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    That said, Discovery got much better once Pike was added into it, in my opinion.
    Spartan Squad likes this.
  5. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member

    I grew up on both Trek (4 p.m. every weekday on the local CBS affiliate, in the era before endless talk shows and endless local happy news) and Star Wars (row 3 of the theater, first Saturday of the first run) …

    First off, George Lucas is a good big-picture guy but terrible at the small details, and his writing of basic human interactions can sometimes feel a bit forced. We know that Carrie Fisher fixed a lot of Lucas’ stilted dialog efforts in the original trilogy, and we saw what happened in the second trilogy when he didn’t have anybody backstopping him. People bemoaning the Lucasfilm sale to Disney are complete idiots. Have y’all even seen what George’s idea for the third trilogy were? More midichlorians! And they’re main characters!


    For all the bitching about the final three chapters we got, what George wanted to do would have killed the goose that lays golden eggs.

    Fortunately, Lucasfilm (even under Disney) has been willing to let other people play in its sandbox. Plenty of fan films on YouTube, some of which are as good as if not better than the movies.

    And then there’s Trek, slowly dying due to benign neglect by Paramount and CBS. Everything is regimented, all the stories are in one tiny sliver of the broader universe, nobody’s ever allowed to explore parts of that universe outside of starships and uniforms and for years if you tried at all Paramount would sic flesh-eating lawyers on you.

    And here’s a killer for me from a plot point of view, kind of the last straw:

    OK, so USS Discovery has more advanced technology than the Enterprise had in the original series, and then the Discovery disappears into the far future and Starfleet just orders people to forget all that, never talk about the ship or its people, and pretend it never happened … and that’s all there is to it?

    Oh, come on. That’s more unrealistic than typical Treknobabble. I’m sorry, Paramount, but that’s not going to work for me.

    This is where Star Wars wins, for me: That’s a very lived-in universe. Things on the light side are well-used, grungy, dirty and a little worn around the edges, while in Star Trek everything is constantly shiny and new. Obviously, in terms of Star Wars’ internal history various versions of the Galactic Republic have been building a multi-species interstellar culture for more than 40,000 years, and that’s part of it. It has more mythical qualities then Star Trek, and it works better for me as both a space western and sci-fi/fantasy amalgam then Trek does at either. You get a much better sense of the full culture of the Star Wars universe than we’ve ever gotten from Trek (seriously, how does real non-Starfleet life in the 23rd and 24th centuries even work in the Federation?) and there’s more room to tell those stories. If you tried to write a story in Trek, you’re constrained by your lack of understanding of how things work outside of Starfleet. In Star Wars, you can write an entire novel in which the major institutions we all know are only tangentially mention … or you can write a story that embraces all of those institutions, but in a way that its creator would never have thought of (see also: The Mandalorian … and the concept of Mandalorians in general, which is almost exclusively a fans’ creation).

    You can even write it as a role-playing game adventure and share it with friends. Try to do that in Trek and everybody’s gonna have to be a Starfleet officer (never enlisted, always an officer). No room for bounty hunters, adventurers, or scruffy types on the far edge of “polite society.”

    The Expanded Universe novels were excellent; granted, they had an excellent launch with Tim Zahn’s original Thrawn trilogy. They opened the door to a larger Star Wars experience, which only grew when Lucasfilm authorized games in the Old Republic era (if you like computer gaming, please take a run at Knights of the Old Republic; it’s awesome and a completely different Star Wars story than you’ve ever seen). The old Dark Horse comic books did as much to establish the Old Republic’s historical background as the novels did to establish a post-trilogy existence for the New Republic. I look forward to seeing what will come of the High Republic project, both from official sources and from fans who decide they want to play in that sandbox.

    Somewhere on a spare drive I have a screenplay-style story that I wrote years ago that's set between episodes 3 and 4 of an ex-Jedi running from Order 66, working underground for a major political figure we all know, digging into a criminal conspiracy that runs from Coruscant to the Outer Rim and beyond … and the Mandalorians who think they’re working for the Empire to hunt that Jedi, not realizing that the Imperial bureaucrat they’re working for is one of the criminals the Jedi is hunting (criminals they’d like a shot at themselves).

    I can’t imagine how such a story would fit anywhere into the Star Trek universe.

    You can make a place for your own stories — your own visions — inside Star Wars. And that’s why Star Wars is better.
  6. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    I love them both, and always resented them being pitted against each other by social maladroits.

    But Star Wars is about fathers and sons (not unlike baseball) and for that reason I might love it a little bit more.
    bigpern23 likes this.
  7. 3_Octave_Fart

    3_Octave_Fart Well-Known Member

    I guess put it this way, if I got a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis and was told to get my affairs in order, I'd put the Star Wars corpus on my viewing list ahead of Trek.
  8. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    That really is a good overview of a lot of what separates the two. I think that is why I enjoyed Deep Space 9 so much, because it had more of a lived-in feel and it did explore life beyond Starfleet for some characters. I think they did a good job of trying to set the show apart from what we had seen before, but it still wasn't as open as what you can find in Star Wars.
    sgreenwell and JimmyHoward33 like this.
  9. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    This says it in a much less longwinded way than I would have.
  10. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    This is a good post, and you've made me want to look into reading more expanded-universe novels from Star Wars. But there's room for discussion and argument about all this, as well.

    Star Trek sometimes is constrained by its original ideals, but they are also what drove the series and still what largely attracts fans, so everyone is loathe to toy with them too much.

    That doesn't, however, mean it isn't done, although you sometimes have to find the harder, grittier side of life, and face the tougher questions, through the the alien, non-Starfleet characters and civilizations. And you do, to great effect in my opinion. Indeed, some of those episodes and story lines are among the strongest in Star Trek. And a lot of the books really cover a lot of such territory, especially the ones having to do with Klingon and Cardassian and Andorian societies, and those focused on Section 31 and Control.

    Star Trek is also hurt by its more episodic approach than the big-picture movies possible with Star Wars. But as outofplace posted, Deep Space 9 is an amazing example of a more stripped-down, oftentimes darker side of Star Trek, with ongoing story lines that were truly good and strong, interesting, and definitely down and dirty but with thought-provoking points made. Even the show generally considered by most to be the worst of the Star Trek series, Star Trek: Enterprise, had its moments of genuinely unexpected toughness, grittiness and harshness, and interesting, imperfectly resolved story arcs that were pretty engaging, particularly for a plugged-in fan. (The story lines with T'Pol's family, Klingons' development of cranial ridges, the history/perspective provided on the Augments, the first Vulcans coming to Earth, as related by T'Pol, etc., come to mind).

    Star Trek: Voyager was as episodic as Star Trek: The Next Generation and generally didn't show any difficult times or "damaged-goods"-type stuff except through aliens. But plenty of tough questions were tackled that way, and I found Voyager to have the best balance in Star Trek of ethical issues that were yet combined with shows of great humanity.

    And anything that could be seen as a lack of acceptance or embracing of themselves on the part of Spock, Data, T'Pol and The Doctor, etc., could also be looked at as a presentation and contention that every species, indeed, or hopefully, has some "humanity," such as it is within them, and Star Trek was just trying to portray that, and relate that message, to an audience that is, yes, after all, human. I never saw those characters' efforts to develop or show themselves that way as a lack of acceptance of themselves, but as a call for us to accept them, in all their differences, and similarities, to ourselves.

    In other words, a totally Star Trek move.
  11. Spartan Squad

    Spartan Squad Well-Known Member

    The biggest mistake the final Star Wars trilogy made was not going into it with a connected story. Two directors for three movies was fine because it let them get everything done on time, but they really needed to sit down and decide what the story arcs were going to be and what threads were important to carry over and which ones could be a one off. They sort of did it, but the only connection Ep. VIII had with the other two was Rey understanding she could use the force and the fate of Luke. VIII had some interesting ideas and some interesting characters that should have been expanded on in IX.
  12. Spartan Squad

    Spartan Squad Well-Known Member

    I appreciate the new rounds of Star Trek because they are darker than the other series. It feels like there is the ideal universe of Piccard's Federation and there is the rest of it. DS9 was good to highlight the Orion Syndicate and how there is still crime and an anti-utopia in the galaxy.

    Voyager's best moments were tackling the human rights questions with the Doctor and Seven and where is the line between retaining your humanity and giving into the moment with other species. But they missed an opportunity to really become a futuristic Odyssey and really fighting to survive. You saw it with the Year From Hell two-parter and when they run into the other Star Fleet Ship that had subjugated the aliens.
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