Star Trek and the suspension of disbelief

I’m marathoning my way through Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I am on Season 1, Episode 7: Justice.

The Enterprise just finished a very stressful mission.  They have been in deep space for months.  They arrive at a planet populated by a species called the Edo.  A race of beautiful, athletic, blondes who don’t wear bras, jog everywhere, and have sex like shaking hands.

Dr. Crusher recommends shore leave for the crew.    Everyone is excited to get their bone on (especially Tasha Yar).

Then…

Wesley Crusher trips into a flower bed, causes a diplomatic crisis, and ruins the vacation for everyone.

Here is where I can no longer suspend my disbelief.

Once everything is sorted out, I can’t get why the enlisted personal of the Enterprise didn’t arrange for Wesley to “accidentally” get sucked out of an airlock at warp.  It would have save the crew a lot of headache in the long run.

13 Replies to “Star Trek and the suspension of disbelief”

  1. I never really had an issue with Wesley Crusher as the show got into it’s later seasons. Ok, he was annoying in season 1, but the entire show was cheesy in season 1 so I always gave him a pass.

  2. I only saw the original (I decided it was Gunsmoke in PJs and moved on), but I never could understand the “set your phasers to ‘stun'” rule. These guys are encountering life forms no one has ever seen before; how do they know what will stun them?
    Personally, I’d set my phaser to “vaporize” and dial it down as appropriate.

  3. Why would they send Wesley down to what sounds like an adult-oriented shore leave? There are supposedly kids of all ages on board — they show pre-schoolers in a later episode — did they send them down, too?

    1. Wesley was sent down with the initial landing parties to evaluate if it would be appropriate for the other civilian children to visit. This was explicitly stated in the dialogue.

      Wesley isn’t actually that annoying in this episode. Yes, he trips and falls into a flower bed… But the fact that this carries the DEATH PENALTY on this planet is hardly something he could have foreseen.

      It’s a weak episode, but most of TNG’s first season and a half is arguably no better… and some is a lot worse. Still, as weak as these early seasons were, it was the show’s final season that gives us the truly abysmal “Sub Rosa” and “Masks.”

      1. Star Trek, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Firefly, Terra Nova, Surface, Fringe, Alcatraz, and Jericho all are evidence in my 2-5 theory of TV shows.

        No TV show (especially SciFi) should have less than two seasons or more than five.

        Firefly, Terra Nova, Surface, and Alcatraz were great and ended on cliffhangers. Give them one more season (at least a half season) to bring the show to a conclusion and appease the fans. Both Fringe and Jericho had enough of a fan base where the studio relented and reversed an announced cancellation for another half season to bring the show to a close.

        Star Trek, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother went on for so long they ran out of original story to tell. They got boring and stupid. If you have more story for those characters, do a spinoff. The two seasons of HIMYM that Barney and Robin were a thing could have been it’s own show with Barney as the main charterer.

        TNG could have been ended earlier, and gone on to a spinoff where Riker is captain of the Enterprise and Picard is an Admiral and isn’t in every episode.

        Two seasons min to bring a story to a satisfactory ending, five max so you don’t get boring.

        1. ‘Babylon 5,’ ‘Broadchurch,’ ‘Downton Abbey,’ and ‘Sherlock’ have convinced me that you shouldn’t ever let a “writer’s room” handle a genre series. Give all the storyline plotting duty to ONE guy, let him write the majority of shooting scripts, and maybe let him have a handful of assistants/protégés to handle incidental scenes, minor rewrites, and the like.

  4. I don’t want to give you a spoiler, but later a rather pudgy Wesley Crusher has his exit from the series episode where you are left irritated because it was so ridiculous.

    Just like the Ewoks in Star Wars, he was included to draw in a younger audience and it sucks the realism from the show.

    My beef with Star Trek is the engineering mumbo-jumbo and pulling out these almost magical solutions in nearly every episode…polarize the plating, change the shield harmonics, and so on. Always seems contrived and indicates where the writers throw in the towel to get the episode to its conclusion.

    1. My problem wasn’t as much the ‘engineering mumbo jumbo’ (remember, to the sort of people who write and act in Star Trek, the words ‘science’ and ‘magic’ are essentially interchangeable) as that it was never applied in the best interests of the story, but only as a shortcut to avoid having to deliver good writing. To quote David Gerrold from back before his brain melted, “If all you need to do to resolve the plot is to have Scotty overload the doubletalk generator, eventually you’ll be doing that every story.” Someone once pointed out that in every episode of Voyager that had an engineering issue as a plot hook,, the hook always was resolved by “Use more power”. Every. Single. Time. Pseudoscientific jargonish BS can be entertaining and fun if it’s well-written and consistent- see Narbonic for one good example- but ONLY if it’s the product of good writing.

      1. Yes. Frag Wesley in every episode. And do it at random. Kinda like killing Kyle off all the time in South Park. You Bastards! SWEET!

      2. Trek’s best episodes are never about technology. “The Inner Light,” “Darmok,” “Far Beyond the Stars,” “In the Pale Moonlight,” “The City on the Edge of Forever,” etcetera. Technology might be used, but it’s a tool or a background element. It’s not the POINT of the story.

        Trek’s worst episodes almost always are about technology, specifically some form of Trek-nology and it’s (mal)functions. “Threshold,” “Silicon Avatar,” “Mudd’s Women,” et al.

        Star Trek’s best films tend to focus on the same things as its best episodes. Star Trek’s worst films tend to focus on “Pew pew pew! Lazors! Kaboom!”

  5. You may want to skip most of season two. The writers guild strike of the era cause the show to scavenge a bunch of Wesley scripts from the round file and that really ruined the character (and almost terminated the series). My recommendation is to just skip every episode where he is the main character, it makes the show much better.

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