Trek is just better, right?
I've professed on many an occasion how much I love Science Fiction, and that that love began and is rooted in Star Wars. From those roots came a love of all manner of Sci Fi, including Star Trek, albeit some years later.
The Next Generation was my era of Star Trek, and even then I only fell in love with it when its final season had already aired. Deep Space Nine became my firm favourite of the series, and Voyager was also enjoyable, if not quite as well executed as the others. I also grew an affinity for the Original Series, mainly via the movies, although I had binged watched the series on more than one occasion.
So, from all that came an inner debate that I have toyed with for many years. As an obsessive fan of both Star Wars and Star Trek, did I believe one was better than the other? I would often go through swings of favouring one over the other, but I likened it to a parent of two having to pick which is their favourite child. I've been a Star Wars fan longer, but duration means little, especially at my age when you compare 35 years for one and 30 for another.
In the end, I resigned the debate to being like comparing apples and oranges, both serving very different purposes. Star Wars is fun fantastical and action packed, whereas Star Trek is cerebral and thought provoking, with deep messages and personal stories, questioning the human condition via non-human characters. So neither is better than the other, they are simply are two distinct aspects of a genre.
Or maybe not.
The past few weeks, I've been on a real Star Trek kick, as I prepare to run a game of Star Trek Adventures, a Star Trek Tabletop RPG. Watching the films, series (just finished a rewatch of Deep Space Nine), and reactivating my Star Trek Online account, and it got me thinking. Mainly when I rewatched Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
Being the completionist that I am, I couldn't go through a Star Trek movie rewatch and leave any out, even the so called "bad ones." I always considered V to be a bad film, as the popular consensus tends to agree. I don't know if it's because I was watching it shortly after a painful rewatch of The Rise of Skywalker, but on this watching, it wasn't as bad as I remembered it, or judged it to be. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's by no means a great film, or even a good one, but it is at worst, okay. And it got me thinking about Star Trek in general, and it occurred to me, that there is no Star Trek that I don't enjoy watching (save maybe Enterprise and/or Discovery). When Star Trek is "bad," it is still watchable and enjoyable, but when Star Wars is "bad," it is "BAAAD!!!"
Now I've said it before, I know there are people that like the new Star Wars movies, despite their flaws, of which there are many. I have no issue with that and I'm glad they enjoy them and find the joy in them that I found in the original trilogy. But I struggle to watch them. And even after another try, I could not find anything to make me like them the way I have loved Star Wars over the years. Rogue One is the only one that holds up, and is in fact possibly better than the originals. But that is very much an exception. It is unlikely that I will watch the sequel trilogy again.
When I assess the wider picture, there is a greater amount of Star Wars content that has disappointed me, than there is that I have enjoyed. So much of what Disney are currently churning out, have been big misses, failing to deliver on the potential they had. Whereas, I struggle to think of any Star Trek content that I do not enjoy at least on some level.
There's nothing wrong with something being simply "okay," and that is the lowest Star Trek ever falls in my eyes. Whereas, the more Star Wars films and series are released, the more the good and great is getting drowned out by the mediocre and downright terrible.
I still love Star Wars, and always will, but it will only ever be a small percentage of what's out there that I will engage with. But now, as of writing this, I am declaring...
Star Trek is better.