21 Awkward Realities of Star Trek Fans Don’t Like to Admit

Since its first episode aired in 1966, Star Trek has captivated and delighted audiences for generations. From comedic Klingons to purple planets, the epic series has always inspired and provoked the imaginations of its fans, both young and old. A trailblazer of its time, especially in the early days, Star Trek was accredited with pushing many boundaries around gender, race, and equality, which is all positive. 

However, some questionable aspects of this legendary franchise might have us wanting to shout, “Beam me up, Scotty,” before we would like to admit them. 

Star Trek Reused the Same Sets Often

Photo Credit: NBC.

If you’re a hardcore Trekkie fan, you will already know this, but I guess it won’t sway your loyalty to The Borg or the Starship Enterprise. 

This YouTube video by TrekCulure explains 10 of the most obvious times that Star Trek scrimped on the budget and changed the camera angles. 

There Were Some Sexist Vibes

Photo Credit: NBC.

Although most of us hold Star Trek in high regard, purely because of its iconic status and also because of the role that it played for many of us in our formative years, the brutal truth is that, depending on what genre you look at, there was some sexism in Star Trek. 

This can be said for the very early days, but it also pretty much occurred across most of the early series, even though it decreased over time. 

From Orion slave girls, whose job it appeared to be to dance seductively and seduce men, to super short mini skirts, Star Trek has faced criticism for how it portrayed and treated women. 

Star Trek Was Forced to Move With the Times

Photo Credit: Paramount.

Suppose we skip to the present-day installments of Star Trek. In that case, we can see more sexual and gender equality with same-sex relationship storylines, gender-fluid characters, and equal power-sharing amongst male and female crew members.

Furthermore, the current TV series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds features Dr.Aspen, a non-binary humanitarian aid worker played by Keitel, a trans, non-binary actor. 

So, just as the current Star Trek series reflects the values and culture of our time, we must appreciate that earlier series were reflective of these components within their time (even if it is light years away from 2024). 

We’ve All Fancied an Alien on Star Trek at Some Point in Our Lives

Photo Credit: Paramount.

Whether you had a thing for Seven of Nine or wanted to be assimilated into the Borg, not many have escaped feeling attracted to an unearthly being from Star Trek. 

We’ve all witnessed Captain Kirk, Picard, and other crew members hook up with humanoid aliens on the show, so why should we be immune from the allure of an ethereal Star Trek alien? 

Drama in Deep Space Nine’

Photo Credit: Paramount.

The Deep Space Nine (DS9) series, which aired between 1994 and 1999, holds a special place in many people’s hearts. It featured some of Star Trek’s most legendary characters, such as Worf, played by Michael Don, and Quark, played by Armin Shimerman. 

This series was notably darker and more thought-provoking than any other Star Trek series, but it has been criticized for being too dramatic and appearing more like a soap opera in space. 

Star Trek Voyager Criticized for Having a Female Captain

Photo Credit: Paramount.

In 1995, Captain Janeway took over our screens as the first female lead of Star Trek Voyager, boldly going where no man (or woman) had gone before.

There was a massive backlash from fans and the media about the audacity of having a female Captain in Star Trek and how it wouldn’t work.

Somehow, in 2024, it feels hard to believe such a narrative existed, but sadly, it did. 

The Story Lines Weren’t Always Great

Photo Credit: Paramount.

It’s no secret that some of Star Trek’s storylines have been dubious, politically incorrect, and, at other times, extremely cringy to watch. 

Retrospect, S4, Ep 17 has been heavily criticized for its portrayal of a female rape victim and how her accusations and credibility were undermined.

In the episode, Seven of Nine accuses Kovin of violating her, but her claims aren’t taken seriously. Kovin disappears without explanation, and Seven’s reliability as a witness and victim is questioned. 

Some of the Costumes Were Not Good

Photo Credit: Paramount.

From dodgy prosthetics to fake foreheads and people painted green, sometimes the make-up and costume departments severely missed the mark, and it’s okay to admit that some of the costumes on Star Trek were not great. 

We Want Captain Picard Back

Photo Credit: Paramount+.

It’s okay to admit that Captain Jean-Luc Picard was your favorite (mine was, too). Apologies if he’s not your favorite, but may I ask why not? 

The fact is that Picard and Star Trek: The Next Generation did just that. They defined the next generation of Trekkies, who have never quite overcome his stepping down.

Patrick Stewart brought something special to the role, and his series had a great cast, including legendary characters like Data, Deanna Troi, Worf, and Geordi.

This combination of actors created truly irreplaceable on-screen chemistry that was, arguably, never replicated again in the show. 

Most Fans Preferred the TV Series to the Movies

Photo Credit: Paramount.

Would you believe that there have been thirteen Star Trek movies? 

If you have any Trekkie blood in your veins, you will have seen at least some of them, but the consensus amongst true Star Trekkies is that the TV series trumps any movie that has ever been made. 

Many cite swearing allegiance to the traditional TV show format, while others resent Hollywood’s commercialization of the sacred franchise.

If we do have to pick the best Star Trek movie, though, it has to be Star Trek, filmed in 2009, with Chris Pine as the lead actor. The film managed to score well with fans, new and old alike, and it still holds a 94% meter rating with Rotten Tomatoes. 

We Have all Tried to Speak Klingon 

Photo Credit: Paramount.

As you may already know, Klingon is a real language. There is an actual Klingon Institute where you can learn to speak it fluently. 

Sometimes, Star Trek Was Scary

Photo Credit: Paramount.

Whether it’s the idea of traveling at the speed of light across vast galaxies, visiting different worlds with alien species, or being able to vaporize and transport across time and space, sometimes the concepts and ideas in Star Trek can get a little trippy. 

Although we might not like to admit it, at some point, most of us have felt a little scared or provoked by some of the themes raised in Star Trek storylines. 

The show forced us to contemplate the possibility of alternate realities, and we could be forgiven for feeling a little existential after watching Star Trek, as it confronts us with the possibility that we are not alone. 

The Theme Tune Was Awesome

Photo Credit: Paramount.

Whether it was cool or not to admit it, we all loved the Star Trek theme tune of Our Time. 

Whether it was Deep Space Nine, Star Trek Voyager, or The Next Generation, once we heard that famous theme tune music come on, Star Trekkie mode ACTIVATED.  

Star Trek’s Original First Officer Was a Woman

Photo Credit: Paramount+.

That’s right. Gene Roddenberry, the original creator of Star Trek, wrote the very first series with a woman as Captain Kirk’s Number One on deck (she was called Number One), played by Majel Barrett (Barrett eventually went on to marry Roddenberry).

However, test audiences reportedly did not like her character. They rejected the idea of a woman being in charge, with many calling her character pushy, so the idea was soon dropped. 

Spock Impressions

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

“Live Long, and Prosper” – Vulcan Greeting.

I don’t care what age you are; we have all impersonated Spock at some point. 

With his pointy ears and dry, emotionless demeanor, we’ve all been caught trying to sound or look like the legendary character played by Leonard Nimoy.

Some of the Tech from the Trek Has Already Become a Reality

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

The Universal Translator used in Star Trek now exists, and you can wear earphones that will translate what someone else says in any other language into your own. 

Furthermore, scientists constantly make new claims that align with the Star Trek Universe. For example, NASA now asserts that time travel is possible, and astrophysicists have discovered that what they thought they knew about the Universe is seemingly no longer true. 

Discoveries like The Fifth Force of Nature, Dark Matter, and Dark Energy have some of us thinking differently about the make-believe fantasy of Star Trek, as we now witness many discoveries within our World and Universe. 

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy Both Got Tinnitus 

Photo Credit: NBC.

Unfortunately, Captain Kirk and Spock developed tinnitus after a loud explosion during filming. Tinnitus is a persistent ringing and buzzing in the ears that can be a truly debilitating condition for some.  

William Shatner even became the official spokesperson for tinnitus at one point, which both actors struggled with, particularly Shatner. 

Spock’s Vulcan Salute is a Special Blessing in Hebrew

Photo Credit: NBC.

It’s a gesture that all Trekkies know well, and I can guarantee that at some point, you’ve made Spock’s hand signal while saying, “Live Long and Prosper.”

And while you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a made-up alien greeting devised solely for the show, you’d be wrong. It’s a hand gesture used by Orthodox Jews. It represents the word Shaddai, which means God, so it seems that Trekkies may have been blessing each other without knowing for decades.

Star Trek Didn’t Only Recycle its Sets; It Also Recycled Actors

Photo Credit: Paramount.

That’s right. Star Trek wasn’t only good at reusing sets to save on the budget; it was known for reusing certain actors and reinventing them into new characters.

Mark Lenard is famous for being the only actor ever to have played multiple alien species on Star Trek: a Klingon, a Romulan, and a Vulcan.  

In the original series’ first season, the actor played a Romulan Commander, but he returned a year later as Spock’s Vulcan father, Sarek. 

The Star Trek Brand Has Become Over-Commercialized

Photo Credit: Paramount.

Although some might not want to admit it, Star Trek inspired thirteen movies, multiple spin-off series, and over 125 computer games. Many would agree that the original brand of Star Trek has become exploited and over-commercialized in an attempt to appeal to the masses.

Many OG fans of the show feel disappointed as they have had to watch what was a genius, and the original concept has become diluted and exploited by the commercial vultures of Hollywood.

Even Though It’s Flawed, It’s Still Fabulous

Photo Credit: Paramount.

The fact is, even though we can fully recognize that some aspects of Star Trek are flawed, whether we are talking about its early days of sexist attitudes, cheap, flimsy sets, or dodgy storylines, Star Trek is still an incredible piece of iconic TV, and film magic and we love it! 

Star Trek has illuminated the imaginations of humanoids for literally generations. Despite all the advances in VFX and CGI, I still can’t see a better show out there with the same spark of genius that overtakes Star Trek. For now, at least, it looks like Star Trek is set to keep going where no man has boldly gone before.

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Catherine Keating

Writer & Blogger

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