Few would deny the modern “Star Trek” universe is hopelessly woke.
The team pulling the “Star Trek” strings today quickly bowed down to Black Lives Matter. That’s above and beyond the new “Trek’s” overt progressive agenda, from re-imagining Sulu as a gay man to episodes appealing to social justice scolds.
As Decider puts it, “Discovery has a lot to say about The Way We Live Now. It’s the most on-message TV show this side of Black-ish or Broad City. They might as well call it Star Trek: The Woke Generation.”
Sir Patrick Stewart, Mr. “Make It So” himself, described his “Picard” series as a response to both President Donald Trump’s existence and Brexit.
Most cultural observers say the original “Star Trek” series was uniformly progressive, too. They have many solid points, from episodes about race relations to the concept of a UN-style body “boldly going where no man had gone before.” (That patriarchal phrase got the heave ho in recent years.)
The series famously featured TV’s first interracial kiss between William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols. That’s real progress, the opposite of virtue signaling.
It’s comical that “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a multi-race crew living in harmony suddenly clashes with the modern Left’s identity politics.
Still, the show’s progressive roots are considered canon … like furry Tribbles and Montgomery Scott’s dramatic time estimates.
A number of classic “Trek” episodes spotlight conservative themes and concepts above and beyond ‘60s era platitudes. In fact, some of the stories wouldn’t pass muster today if a “Trek” scribe sent them to the powers that be for approval.
1. “Charlie X” (Ep. 2, Season 1)
What happens when a young man (Robert Walker), dizzy from hormones and zero family ties, can literally make anything he wishes a reality? His emotions take over, with disaster and death the natural byproduct.
Enter Captain James T. Kirk (Shatner), the Alpha Male figure poor Charlie needs.
Kirk can’t fully control Charlie, but he commands the lad’s respect and buys the crew time to deal with his god-like powers. The unchecked Charlie has no one to explain life to him, let alone place vital boundaries in his path. Without a father figure he revolts, not unlike what we’re seeing nationwide as the spoiled children who make up the Antifa crowd drag statues to the ground.
Kirk’s uber-masculine guidance can’t prevent a sad ending for Charlie, but the captain ensures no more Starfleet personnel will die by Charlie’s hands.
2. “The City on the Edge of Forever” (Ep. 28, Season 1)
Kirk falls in love, hard, during this time travel episode considered the series’ zenith. His crush is a budding pacifist (Joan Collins) who delays the U.S. from entering the second World War after Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) saves her from a life-threatening accident.
Now, Kirk and Spock must make sure that doesn’t happen again … or the Germans will develop the atomic bomb first and change the course of history.
“Star Trek’s” level-headed approach to war, when to wage it and under what terms, can be both admirable and deeply conservative.
3. “Balance of Terror” (Ep. 14, Season 1)
Spock is no war monger, but he takes a neo-con-like stand in this tense episode. Some enemies, like the Romulans threatening war along the Neutral Zone, cannot be talked out of combat. They must be defeated at all costs.
A battle between two shrewd captains ensues, leaving just enough time for a lecture on bigotry. The takeaway? Sometimes a good offense is the best defense.
4. “Space Seed” (Ep. 22, Season 1)
The episode that set the stage for “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” introduced us to a swaggering, super-human Ricardo Montalban. The episode has aged as well as the 1982 film, but a deeper look into the story reveals something else.
Khan represented a misguided attempt to perfect humanity, granting some with extra strength and intelligence. Khan and his ilk felt they knew better than everyone else, and therefore must lead by any means necessary. One wonders what Fidel Castro thought of this episode… Another problematic element for a feminist audience: the female lead (Madlyn Rhue) initially finds herself swept away by Khan’s masculine appeal.
5. “The Enemy Within” (Ep. 5, Season 1)
Modern progressives would recoil at the core of this potboiler. Kirk is split into two distinct selves, a calm, compassionate soul and a raging Id. The latter causes chaos on the ship, including a tough to watch assault on Yeoman Rand (Grace Lee Whitney). Still, we learn that Kirk isn’t the strong, capable leader we’ve come to know without a dose of “toxic masculinity.”
Removing that element would cripple the Enterprise and turn Kirk into just another, lesser captain.
6. “Dagger of the Mind” (Ep. 9, Season 1)
The unmissable message of this anti-progressive episode: “Curing” mankind of our sinful behavior and errant thoughts through science and forced rehabilitation is not just futile. It’s inhumane.
7. “Mudd’s Women” (Ep. 6, Season 1)
Gloria Steinem must loathe this episode.
Women want to feel beautiful, or at least have a man who views them that way. The cartoonish Harry Mudd (Roger C. Carmel) knows this all too well, and he exploits it to keep himself one step ahead of the law.
The episode assumes distinct gender roles in male-female relationships while acknowledging how men’s visual senses can be overloaded by beauty and grace. And, shockingly, that isn’t deemed disastrous by the episode’s ending.
Speaking of gender themes, another classic episode the title of which alone would get it canceled by today’s politically correct crowd: “What Little Girls Are Made Of” (Ep. 7, Season 1).
8. “The Return of the Archons” (Ep. 21, Season 1)
The first of several “Trek” tales where people are considered part of one “body” — a la the Borg — and stripped of their individuality to create a more harmonious society. Kirk talks the machinery behind this “perfect order” into destroying itself, reminding it why free will matters.
It’s a similar story with “The Apple” (Ep. 5. Season 2). Once again Kirk realizes the folly of living in an Edenic state and wrecks the gadgetry that makes it all possible.
9. “Arena” (Ep. 18, Season 1)
Kirk must battle a lizard creature with great strength and lousy mobility in this essential “Trek” tale. The Kirk/Gorn battle is epic by “Trek” standards, but the intriguing element arrives when we learn why Gorn’s comrades attacked Kirk’s landing team. Starfleet encroached on their territory, and they viewed the incursion as an unprovoked attack.
The un-woke lesson: People have a right to defend their territory, be it via a man-made wall or military means.
10. “Amok Time” (Ep. 1, Season 2)
It’s mating season for Leonard Nimoy’s pointy-eared hero, Mr. Spock, and it couldn’t come at a worse time for Kirk and company.
It leads to a wild fight between the show’s main players, after which Spock echoes a philosophy with a whiff of social conservatism.
“Having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting,” Spock notes.
11. “This Side of Paradise” (Ep. 24, Season 1)
Kirk and the landing party encounter a settlement teeming with contentment. There’s a catch, of course. Their bliss is provided by alien spores which keep them healthy and devoid of negative emotions.
It’s utopia — and it’s antithetical to the human condition. The society’s leader learns that the hard way after waking from his spore-driven stupor.
“Three years, no accomplishments,” he mutters.
The episode’s portrait of a biologist (Jill Ireland) who just isn’t complete without Spock by her side might drive feminists up a wall. Let’s not forget the drab, gray uniforms the settlers where, right out of the Communist Gift Guide.
Later, Kirk muses on the trouble with so-called paradise.
“Maybe we weren’t meant for paradise. Maybe we were meant to fight our way through, struggle, claw our way up, scratch for every inch of the way. Maybe we can’t stroll to the music of the lute. We must march to the sound of drums.”
Not a bad definition of capitalism.
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