We've all heard the trendy deconstruction of Star Trek TNG: That The Federation is either an Evil Empire or a Bored Collective of Cult Members who believe they're perfect.
It was come up with by bored English Majors who spent far
too much time in their high school literary/poetry analysis classes investigating the deeper meanings of Kafka and Dostoyevsky. (Perhaps you know someone like that. Perhaps you *are* someone like that.)
But, for me, Star Trek went off the rails much earlier.
Now, I could put up with the stupid plot lines and overacting of TOS Season 3. They made up for that in The Animated Series.
But where Star Trek really lost it for me was in Star Trek III. That was where they took my favorite characters and started to mess with their minds.
Sure, in Star Trek II, they had Kirk wrestling with being no longer young. And that was a big change for the character. But in Star Trek III, they did something so drastic to Mr. Scott that it shook my credulity.
It's understandable that Mr. Scott would want to continue to work on the repair & refit of the Enterprise. So, naturally he's disappointed at his reassignment. But, his reassignment is to The Federation's big Engineering Project: The Excelsior. The Excelsior is a development project for "Transwarp Drive."
Mr. Scott's reaction is disgust.
That's what broke Star Trek for me.
As an engineer's engineer, the project should fascinate him. For years he's been hearing the Captain demand more and more engine power, and now, here's the opporunity to go an order of mangatude above what he's ever seen in his life. Imagine a Jet Engine being handed to a guy who's used to propellors. Wow! Simple, elegant and powerful! How exciting, right? What a tremendous challenge for an engineer, right?
Only he's not the lest bit excited--quite the opposite. He's uninterested, disgusted and ends up sabotaging the engines.
This is the equivalent of Kirk saying "No, thanks, I'm off girls." Or Mr. Spock giving up on logic and becoming a screaming Justin Bieber fan.
Now, I'd said it's understandable that he wants to fix the Enterprise, the ship he loves so dearly,but a few scenes later, he barely reacts when Kirk blows up
the Enterprise. What the hell--?
Flash forward a decade to the announcement that they're going to do Star Trek TNG.
Now, in Star Trek III, it was pretty well established that
the Transwarp Drive failed because Mr. Scott sabotaged it.
The Captain of the ship calls for the Transwarp drive, and nobody reacts as if this had never been done before. I assumed that they'd done test flights before. Everyone in the crew takes their stations dramatically prepared for Transwarp and acts flabbergasted that it doesn't work.
So, when TNG is set to appear 80 something years in the future, we can assume that the Sabotage has been undone and the bugs worked out and TNG should be better and faster than anything we've seen before. Transwarp Drive should be a common tech across the Federation.
Remember how fast the old Enterprise was? That should be peanuts now. 1000 light years in under 12 hours? Warp Factor 14.1? Getting from the heart of the milky way to the outer edges? Voyaging to the Andromeda Galaxy in only 100 years? A mere trifle.
Except that it isn't.
The TNG Enterprise is Much Much slower than Kirk's old ship. She's limited to Warp 9.9. And even if that's only a number, it takes physically more time to get from place to place. Voyager is supposed to take 70 years to cover 70,000 light years. That works out to a year to go as far as Kirk's ship could in 12 hours.
All in all, the tech of TNG wasn't at all "Next Generation" compared to TOS.
Anyway, Star Trek III is where it jumped the shark for me.
How 'bout you folks?