Best And Worst Things About Star Trek 

Let's look at both sides of the coin! What are the absolute best and the absolute worst things about Star Trek?

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

star trek enterprise-d

Star Trek has been going strong since 1966 and has had nearly 900 episodes, so it’s clear even to non-fans that this franchise has a lot of good things going for it. Of course, if use Paramount Plus to really dive into Star Trek, you’ll also discover a few things that are really, really bad about it. After having binged it all, we’re here to give you the hottest takes about the best–and worst–things about Star Trek.

Worst: Bizarre Technobabble

Brent Spiner Data Star Trek

After you watch a few episodes of Star Trek, you’ll notice a weird phenomenon: characters like Scotty or Data will suddenly develop a solution to whatever the problem is, but the solution sounds like someone filled out a Mad Libs using random scientific and technological words.

Fans have “lovingly” labeled this kind of Trekspeak “technobabble,” but we can’t deny that this is a very lazy form of writing.

To make things worse, the technobabble tends to get very repetitive over time. In short, you can only watch them bounce some beam with a funny name off the deflector dish so many times to save the day before you wonder if the writers are contractually obligated to phone in these third-act climaxes.

Worst: Lazy Alien Design

star trek

Star Trek: The Original Series didn’t have the highest budget, and that budget decreased by the season. So, the show wound up kicking off a trend that is still in full force half a century later: lazy design for aliens.

More often than not, aliens will look almost entirely like humans except for one tiny feature like the shape of an ear or some weird feature on the forehead.

As you watch the franchise, you’ll need to pretend that a dog with a horn on it is an exotic alien creature, and you’ll need to believe that someone with a few henna spots on her face is an alien hosting an organism with lifetimes of experience. It all has a kitschy charm, of course, but it’s not uncommon for this lazy design to really break your immersion.

Worst: The Modern Trend of Season-Long Arcs

star trek discovery season 5

After Star Trek: Enterprise went off the air, fans went a long time without any televised Trek. When Star Trek: Discovery arrived on the scene, its initial popularity led to an influx of NuTrek shows.

Unfortunately, most of them copied something from Discovery that we really hate: turning every season into a long mystery arc.

The problem with such arcs is that if you don’t find the central mystery very compelling, you’ll likely be bored by most of the season. That’s one of the reasons that Strange New Worlds is so popular: it has finally returned us to live-action, “one and done” episodes.

This is what the franchise does best, and it’s insane to think we had to wait so long for it to return to this kind of storytelling.

Best: Awesome Characters

Without a doubt, the single best thing about Star Trek will always be its colorful cast of characters. This goes back to The Original Series: many fans who had never so much as picked up a science fiction book found themselves compelled by the emotional Dr. McCoy, the logical Spock, and the take-charge Captain Kirk.

This continued across every iteration of the franchise, and the new characters like Captain Picard, Captain Sisko, and Captain Janeway became instantly iconic. With respect to the alien characters, Star Trek has always been a reflection of the audience’s humanity, and these characters give us a glimpse of who we could be if we ever realized our full potential.

Best: Beautiful Starships

star trek enterprise

It’s impossible not to sound like a fanboy for saying this, but let’s dive right in: the original starship Enterprise is a legendary design for a reason. The contrast of red nacelles and white hull, the sheer elegance of the saucer — it was, back in 1966, truly like nothing else the world had ever seen.

Star Trek: The Original Series and its many follow-up series continued blowing us away with killer design after killer design, and the franchise now has one of the most recognizable (and beautiful) aesthetics.

This goes hand-in-hand with top-notch special FX, and we can confidently say that Strange New Worlds combines great design and awesome FX to create one of the best-looking shows in Hollywood history.

Best: Genuinely Inspirational

william shatner

As cool as the characters and stories are, one of the biggest reasons that Star Trek has remained so popular for so long is that the shows and films are genuinely inspirational. Spock dies, for example, to teach us the importance of doing as much good as we can for as many people as we can.

Data, an android outsider who dreams of being human, helps us appreciate the little things (from using contractions to falling in love) we take for granted.

If they are being honest when reading this, most Star Trek fans will tell you that the inspirational speeches of Captain Picard helped them learn more about being a better person.

Similarly, countless fans have been inspired to dream of a better world by seeing a fictional future where the Federation has abandoned the pursuit of money so they can focus on making a better galaxy for everyone. Star Trek makes us want to become the kind of person that would thrive in such a world, and for that, we’ll always be grateful.