RRR 25 What's Wrong with Star Trek?

By Roy Mathur, on 2014-01-25, at 20:17:00--21:06:45 GMT, for Roy's Rocket Radio, Listen

This week we explore Star Trek cock-ups, nonsensical technology, contradictions, annoyances, and other assorted stupidity... and why I still love it.

Warp Drives

No time dilation because it is a warp drive, but doesn't seem to require a wormhole generator/gate thingy like Deep Space Nine (and Stargate) quite sensibly does...


Don't Kill Me! I'll step through a wormhole generator, but you're not faxing me somewhere!

They tackled this on Enterprise by meeting the original inventor of the transporter who just makes a joke about it, and that's it! Explanation over, thankyou and goodnight! Whaaat?!

You know why they are really there? To save time filming and on props and effects!


More like duhhh-lithium? How in Spock's Brain does this work? Is it a nuclear thingy?

Why does it need some bloke with a hyperspanner to fix it? It's dangerous down there. Being in engineering is second only in stupid career moves as joining Star Fleet Security. Someone's always being BBQ'd in the engine room. Waldos anyone? Robotic arms?

Where are the Robots?

And talking about robots, where are the bots, the R2D2-likes, rather than the Datas?

Humans Dominated Federation

Sure we breed a lot, but solving the problems of other cultures, when we can't solve our own?

Universal Translators

Or should I say, Alienspeak to standard North American translators?

Natural language processing is hard! Siri is useless! And this thing can contextually transcribe alien lingo? Yeahhh, right!


If I am listening to the other end of the conversation, so are the evil squid people of Squeegee 5. I know, I know: dramatic license.

Current Tech Looks Better!

Admittedly, a lot of current tech is directly inspired by Star Trek; Palm Pilots, flip phones, smartphones, and tablets... It's like that Monty Python speech about the Romans in the Life of Brian.

but... all Star Trek tech, by the time it gets to the big/small, screen looks old!


One exception to rubbish tech? The holodeck. Oh, thank gods that it hasn't been invented because I'd do nothing else. I am Reginald Barclay. Actually, I'm probably worse, which is why I spend time yammering away like a total nerd in this podcast rather than go out.

In fact, why isn't holo addiction more prelevant on the shows? I suppose that holodecks aren't that prevalent and are expensive to use.

Artificial Gravity

Okay, so a mysterious force is at play here keeping everyone glued down.

Unless it suddenly doesn't work during a battle or something, then the crew just falls over instead of going into free fall.


So they are lasers and blow torches that can stun?

Actually might work; look up electrolaser.

Prime Directive

All very laudable, but ignored at the drop of a hat!


Subspace or otherwise, the moment I hear the word "anomaly" used my heart sinks because I just know we're in for at least twenty minutes of utterly boring, gobbledygook dialogue that will make me wish someone would kill me by sending me through the transporter.


If you are an engine or photon torpedo or phaser in space then apparently you can be heard in the vacuum od space.

Duh, duh, and more duhhh!

Time Travel

Loop around Earth (recte Sun 2023-02-20 22:16:11) at warp to initiate time travel... what? That's like rubbing a brass lamp and expecting a genie to appear!

Only it isn't and this could theoretically work, but only as a one-way trip into the future! (I have no idea where I read this. 2023-02-20 22:18:26)

Aliens, Oh Gods, the Aliens!

Why are there so many? Space is big, as Douglas Adams once said.

Why are they mostly humanoid? I think that this is actually retconned in the orginal series, something about the universe being seeded? (Unbelievably, as I type this text, on Tue 14 Jan 2014 at 12:54, that very episode is playing in the background on TV. See. So there's your explanation; it's a bit of a hack, but it works.

Heads and Hands? Okay, so I get it, it's cheaper for the costume and makeup people work with.

Where are the aliens whose culture forbids uncovering the face, but not the body?

What about the aliens who wear less clothes?

Where are the sentient crystal people, the winged mushrooms, the two headed, the sentient gas bags (and I'm not referring to myself!)

Vulcans are eyecandy. Spock, T'Pol: the thinking woman's and man's crumpet.

Boring Humans

The human characters are mostly boring, especially in Enterprise.

I can't tell you how much I hated crop dusting mechanic Trip Tucker, he's a right...


The same actors are used over and over again throughout the franchise.

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry is Nurse Christine Chapel on Star Trek: TOS, Lwaxana Troi on Star Trek: TNG, Star Trek: DS9, and the computer.


The only reason they look cool is that they are so rubbish that they are cool, whereas Blake's 7 Liberator is just cool.

No cheaper, agile, single-crew fighter class ships, just big expensive ones. And where are the drones?

Oh yeah, I forgot, Starfleet is not military, but wait, aren't they always fighting; Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, the Dominion, the Borg, etc.


Star Fleet is a civilian organisation. Yeah right, more uniform concious than the Coldstream Guards. No wonder the Klingons initially don't trust the Federation.

Multi-coloured uniforms? Might as well paint a target on your back.

Even NASA doesn't have uniforms, just a cheapo blue flight jacket. I think in this respect Enterprise was most plausible with only collar bars denoting rank.

If you're going with uniforms, why make them look like lounge suits/track-suits? It just looks a bit silly. Comfortable though.

Everyone Is Just So Perfectly Cool: 50's American Cool

Even the nerds turn out to be geniuses or cool in some other way. TNG: Reginald Barclay is a physics expert, La Forge is a warp expert and Data is an expert on just about everything, as well as being almost indestructible and "fully functional", as he tells Tasha Yar. Neelix in Voyager has a hot girlfriend Kes and is, in his own right, a captain of his own ship.

Most of the crew is tall, slim, athletic, and pretty. Where are the fatties and skinnies?

The future looks pretty straightlaced and a bit boring.

Mostly crewed by the Americans, which means that the rest of the world is reduced to nuclear rubble?

Everyone's hair is boring.

Why I Still Love It

There's always someone new to meet and I'm the eternal tourist.

I was basically raised on the moral values of Uncles Jim, Spock, and Bones.

It's more about what we could achieve.

It's brilliant and I love it.


(I didn't even mention Star Trek's biggest clanger: the galactic barrier. 2023-02-20 22:39:34)