Star Trek is a franchise of American science fiction television series, films, and other media. It was created by Gene Roddenberry with Star Trek, the original 1966 television series, which several people say was either a precursor to science fantasy or an early example of the genre. This was succeeded the series The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. The franchise also includes several films, such as the reboot film series: Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond.
The series often features various fantasy and sci-fi elements/tropes in the style of Greek mythology, which is a major influence, or the Q race. The dwarf-like Klingons and elf-like Vulcans as well as numerous other races fall into such patterns. Despite many obvious fantasy elements/tropes, many trekkies such as science educator and scientist Bill Nye trying denied/downplay/ignore these elements, preferring instead the scientific content in franchise's universe and optimistic future depicted instead also focusing franchise inspirations from mythology or fantasy that have major/minor influences the franchise's lore/setting.
That genre was infamously used in Star Trek: Insurrection by some hard-core trekkies even accused of screenwriter of movie to adding few more semi-clearly fantasy elements (inducing infamous random romantic scenes acts from plantery romance cliche that still come out fantastic) while same time retaining mostly Sci-fi where main plot/theme is about anti-technology race named Ba'ku who is last remant of once powerful pro-technology civilisation hundreds years ago and some others tranhuman content on going Arc of Data quest to have means be human, 'immortally' that later reveal be created from plant's radiation and genetic engineering where also later reveal in film, Son'a where Ba'ku exile by using limited Biotech use means remain alive despite universe canon its still legally ban on used with genetic modification.
More arc-driven content such as in Deep Space 9 would often see the science fiction backdrop take a step back in favour of inter-personal relationships and drama.
Despite the fantastic universe the characters inhabit, the universe is mostly static from a technological point of view and potential imbalances are typically swiftly resolved to allow a episodic format.
The nominal alliance of progressive enlightened worlds in the Trek franchise appears to be dominated politically and militarily by humans. Gene Roddenberry's collectivist utopian future illustrated a future in which most humans (but not most aliens) live in a post scarcity society. Many elements of the futurist society was seldom actively deconstructed on screen, leading to questions like where do they find all the volunteer waiters and why does anyone ever leave the holodeck? The absence of personal travel devices like in Star Wars's Coruscant implies collective travel systems as well.
After Roddenberry's death, the events of Deep Space 9 would portray a much more reactionary Federation, gripped with paranoia and looser of morals when it came to portrayal of this futurist society.
The Federation has been described as both communist and fascist by non mainstream critics.
A notable piece of Star wars in-universe history was that of the Eugenics Wars, sometimes referred to as World War 3. An elite group of humans with enhanced physical and mental skills seized power around the world in a series of separatist coups. Many millions were believed to have died as a result on the conflict.
See also: Dystopian transhumanism
Captain, although your abilities intrigue me, you are quite honestly inferior. Mentally, physically. In fact, I am surprised how little improvement there has been in human evolution. Oh, there has been technical advancement, but, how little man himself has changed.— Khan, Star Trek: The Original Series, "Space Seed"
The idea of genetic engineering being the new super weapon was explored through the character of Julian Bashir, an individual who was secretly and illegal enhanced by his parents due to childhood learning disabilities. Despite the positive portray of the character, he is presented as an exceptional case, with other such enhanced individuals exhibiting extreme social or narcissistic traits, despite possessing increased IQ.
The Federation did however allow for genetic therapies for certain pre existing conditions.
The Borg are recurring antagonists of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager, as well as other references in trek media. Using extensive cybernetic body modification as well as neural enhancement, they are a formidable foe with powers comparable to AI, despite being powered primarily by highly modified humanoids.
The Borg's fearsome and uncompromising quest for technological and biological perfection could be summed up by their introductory salutation:
We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.
Or more frequently, simply:
You will be assimilated
Initially the Borg were portrayed as having a highly decentralised technological and neurological hive mind, with their ships and borg drones having high levels of systems redundancy. With the introduction of the Borg Queen in Star Trek:First Contact, the collective began to be portrayed as a more traditionally centralised adversary with more sophisticated objectives and methods.
See also: H+Pedia:Websites for assimilation
Star Trek has mostly portrayed a complex and often antagonistic relationship with artificial intelligences encountered.
- The Doomsday Machine - an out of control semi-autonomous planet killing machine
- The Return of the Archons - a planet turns out to be secretly ruled by a machine called Landru which assimilates individuals into its collective know as 'The Body' - before it is destroyed by the crew of the Enterprise.
- In The Apple, an AI called Vaal is worshipped as a god by a primitive people, before being destroyed by the crew of the Enterprise
- The Controller steals Spock's Brain in order to function as the central control system for an advanced computer system. The Enterprise's crew chooses to destroy the system rather than allowing this to happen.
- Automated Personnel Units in Voyager's Prototype appear benevolent, until it it is revealed their programming had set them to destroy their creators.
- What Are Little Girls Made Of? features the crew being duplicated as androids by a sinister android power
- The Series 5 long-range tactical armour unit was a type of semi-autonomous weapon that had gained sentience as poses as threat to the ship and the immediately systems
- The Ultimate Computer features an advanced AI which self-preservation subroutine malfunctions catastrophically during a war gaming exercise.
- The Changing has an enchanced faulty space probe set to destroy all organic life, a trope that would be similary reused for V'Ger
- The Borg
- V'ger in Star Trek:The Motion Picture was the Voyager space probe modified by a powerful alien race of sentient machines, causing it to seek return home, but in doing so threatened the safety of Earth
- Nanites were a type of nanobot which unexpectedly developed intelligence and threatened the Enterprise-D, before going on to found their own civilisation.
- The Quality of Life portrays the discovery of a alien tool called an Exocomp, which turns unexpectedly to have sentience, sparking an urgent debate about it's rights.
- The Oracle of the People depicts a post technology society where the inhabitants of a generation ship are ruled over by a benevolent, but faulty AI and are on a crash course with a planet.
- I, Mudd shows a selfish man serendipitously ruling a planet of androids. They are disabled via the liar's paradox but with the androids reprogrammed less benevolently.
- Requiem for Methuselah has Kirk falling in love with an android (technically a gynoid) built by an immortal man. However the android who self-destructs at the prospect of choosing which man she loves.
- Dreadnought depicts a semi-autonomous weapon of mass destruction which sophisticated countermeasures installed years before by a member of the Voyager crew, rendering it a formidable threat
- Emergence has the Enterprise-D's systems develop spontaneous intelligence which eventually leaves the ship after a period of disruption
- Lore, the 'evil twin' of Data first considered himself superior to humans and later conspired with an antagonistic Crystalline Entity
- The Guardian of Forever was an AI guarding a powerful time and space portal
- Similarly Portal 63 sought to defend an outpost of the extinct Tkon Empire
- Data, a regular cast member was for the most part a helpful member of the Enterprise-D's crew, computing problems swiftly in the face of obstacles but often struggling with human emotions and social interactions. However on a few occasions he would 'turn evil' due to weaknesses in his security and programming.
- The Doctor, or Emergency medical hologram (EMH) had a more emergent approach to AI development, being built from the ground up with basic social and medical capabilities, being left running for longer than expected developed a wider range of capabilities and personalities as the show progressed.
- James F. Broderick The Literary Galaxy of Star Trek: An Analysis of References and Themes in the Television Series and Films- chapter sixteen. McFarland, 2006 ISBN 0786425717, 9780786425716
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