Pick a side: The Rebel Alliance or Starfleet?
November 2, 2011
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Two members of the Rip’s editorial board debate the oldest argument in the history of nerdness: Star Wars or Star Trek?
By Tyler McGinty
Han Solo could beat up Captain Kirk any day.
Deal with it, Trekkies.
Look, I’ve got nothing against “Star Trek,” whether it’s the original series, “Next Generation,” or whatever flavor of space exploration in Roddenberry’s vision of a perfect future you prefer.
“Star Wars” is about the hero’s journey, and “Star Trek” is about people in uniform pushing against the ever-diminishing frontier, and heroics beats science every single time.
“Star Trek,” at its heart, is just a monster-of-the-week show. That isn’t that exciting. Seeing Kirk talk his way out a fresh problem every week isn’t exciting at all.
But “Star Wars” is a legend. A modern-day myth.
It’s about the triumph of good over evil and taking a stand against injustice.
Granted, there are problems with both franchises.
The prequels sucked, but so did “Enterprise.”
Greedo definitely did not shoot first, but just about every single “Star Trek” book sucked (sadly, I know).
Regardless of all its flaws, I still think “Star Wars” comes out ahead. The grand scope certainly helps.
It may be a cliché, but I’d rather watch a ragtag group of underdogs topple an evil empire because they feel that they have to than watch a crew of 430 people explore new worlds because they want to.
It’s not that exciting no matter how many lizards Kirk wrestles.
In “Star Wars”, I feel like I’m following the story of heroes, where the crew of the USS Enterprise is just a bunch of scientists and bureaucrats looking at the shiny planet they found.
Roddenberry’s utopian idea of the future leads to a sci-fi show where there are no real villains. Klingons?
They become allies, even if it is a little tense.
It’s the same with the Romulans.
The villains of the week usually turn out to be just misunderstood.
Vader may have turned back into a force of good, but the Emperor is pure evil. There is nothing like pure evil to drive a narrative and keep people interested.
“Star Trek” also suffers from a severe overextension.
Five television series (not counting the animated series) and 11 films are a lot.
That doesn’t even include the books.
Not all of those are going to be winners, and when a TV series is all bad, that’s a lot.
Say whatever you want about the “Star Wars” prequels, but three bad movies isn’t as much as four seasons of that garbage called “Enterprise.”
Not even Scott Bakula could save that one, because all his presence does is remind me of a better TV show.
I’ll be the first to complain about podracing, midichlorians and Jar-Jar Binks and I’ll do so loudly and angrily. There is so much wrong with the prequels it’s insane.
Still, give me the choice between a phaser and a lightsaber, and I’ll choose the lightsaber, even if I’m more likely to cut my own hand off with it.
And it’s way cooler to be a member of Rogue Squadron than an officer of Starfleet.
It may be slightly hyperbolic, but “Star Wars” is a masterpiece and it blows “Star Trek” out of the water.
By the way, Han shot first. I don’t care what George Lucas says.
By Gregory D. Cook
Sure ladies, Han Solo comes off as the roguishly handsome pirate with a heart of gold, but like most sexy bad-boy types, he’s also the self-centered guy that a women thinks she can change only to come home one evening and find him and Chewbacca in an awkward three-way with a Naboo servant girl and that he has pawned all of the furniture to pay off Boba Fett.
And guys, how many times did Han Solo get his shirt torn off by a hot green alien in a bikini?
Hokey religions and ancient weapons are just no match for a hot green alien in a bikini.
To boldly go where no man has gone before, or trust in The Force?
It’s a question that has divided the science fiction community like the Berlin Wall divided Germany, but for the true connoisseur of the genre, there can be little doubt as to which franchise comes out on top.
Like Spock is so fond of saying, “It’s simple logic.”
Since it’s debut in 1966, “Star Trek” has been discovering distant worlds, encountering fantastic alien races and offering its viewers something that most science fiction settings don’t: a vision of a future that doesn’t suck.
“Star Trek” shows us what we might accomplish if humanity were to set aside its differences and work together. Gone are the poverty, famine, bigotry and class structures that plague mankind today. It shows us a future in which humanity has undergone a new renaissance and is reaching out to the stars.
The best “Star Wars” can offer is the same tired cliché about a rag-tag underdog sticking it to the man that can be found in films such as “Rocky” and “The Bad News Bears,” both of which came out in the year before Luke first started whining about the Empire.
“Star Trek” tackled the tough issues that faced many people in 1966.
At a time when the Civil Rights Movement was facing tough opposition, “Star Trek” aired the first interracial kiss broadcast on television.
Episodes showcased the futility of war, the dangers of overpopulation and rampant consumerism, and helped break down the walls of social change.
Perhaps we shouldn’t let the fact that “Star Trek” helped change the world, while “Star Wars” merely distracted the masses for a while, be the only way we judge the two. “Star Wars” did set a new standard for special effects in 1976, but we shouldn’t sell the original “Star Trek” short.
It aired ten years before the folks at Industrial Light and Magic made us believe in TIE fighters.
For its time, the effects, were every bit as groundbreaking, but when the technology for better effects became available, “Star Trek” didn’t just give us the same old movies with a few new scenes or three movies of background for a story already told.
So boldly go, encounter those new worlds and civilizations, and leave “Star Wars” back where it belongs: a long time ago, in a cliché far, far away …