I have finally managed to watch all of the Star Trek TV series, wrapping up with Enterprise. (Series views: The Original Series once; Next Generation four times; Deep Space Nine three times; Voyager four times; and Enterprise once, just to show I do like it). While I truly love them as a whole, I noticed a common, somewhat annoying trait...

All captains force help on individuals, or ships, whether they want it or not, even if they specifically ask to be left alone. I think Starfleet would have a reputation of sticking their nose in where it's not wanted. (Which I think the Klingons correctly observed once or twice!) A lot of the episodes' storylines begin with bad judgment by forcing help or Starfleet beliefs on other cultures and for those episodes, I seem to be on the side of the 'baddie'.

Was this intentional by the writers, or GR to symbolize something? Maybe it's meant to show a flaw or a naivety or maybe an innocence with these "enlightened" explorers or with humanity as a whole? On the other hand it may be a reflection of the writers' bad judgment.

An example from Enterprise: Captain Archer finds a small vessel trapped in an anomaly. He has no idea if it is an experiment, some extravagant re-animation device, a burial ritual etc. He doesn't even know if the anomaly is dangerous. But he still grapples it onboard and takes the occupant to sickbay, where, despite his pleas to be put back and left alone, he is poked and prodded and examined by Dr. Phlox and the vessel is also poked and prodded and examined by Trip until their exploration quotient is satisfied.

Surely the writers can see this is a violation of the being's privacy and may be a violation of their beliefs? Captain Picard is the most respectful when it comes to other cultures, but even he is guilty of these apparent transgressions. Sometimes I think they don't really want to help anyone, they just use it as a means of exploring, gathering information and protecting their interests.

So do you know if any of this has been mentioned by the writers? Is it intentional?

  • 1
    Only watched TOS once? What kind of fan are you? :) Practically though, this is a common literary device with examples in other shows as well as human history. In TNG especially, characters pick Picard's brains and submit philosophical inquiries about his role as Captain that also put question to the mold of the show itself.
    – Ross
    Mar 17 '17 at 13:47
  • 1
    Is it still called nation building in Spaaaaace?
    – Steve-O
    Mar 17 '17 at 13:59
  • 2
    Which ST:E episode are you talking about? Furthermore, in ST:E, Starfleet did not exist yet and space wasmore wild west. much of the rules of starfleet stem from experience and changed over the course of a couple of hundred years.
    – Polygnome
    Mar 17 '17 at 14:04
  • 1
    @Lan Archer did a lot of things one couldn't do under the prime Directive. and the prime Directive was a response to hostilities bewteen the Federation and Klingons (Picard hinted at that in First Contact), so it was more or less pragmatic at first.
    – Polygnome
    Mar 17 '17 at 14:17
  • 2
    Of course it's intentional. It wouldn't be a very interesting episode if it went: "Captain, we're picking up some strange energy readings from an anomaly in space." "Really? In that case, plot a course around it, let's not interfere. Captain's Log, Stardate 3864.03. We detected something. Rather than investigate, as an exploration ship might be expected to do, we decided not to risk it." Credits roll Mar 17 '17 at 14:37

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.