Monday, June 30, 2014

More Sci-Fi Stupidity

A while back, I wrote a blog post about all of the stupid things that the humans did in the movie Independence Day.  Of course, many will jump at the chance to say "well, it's just a movie!".  Of course it's just a movie, but I still would like it if the movies I watched were logical and people weren't complete idiots!

That being said, one of my favorite shows of all time, Star Trek: The Next Generation, is a huge offender in the common sense violation category.  Just the other day, I was watching an episode and thinking that there were some pretty blatant holes in the plot.  After thinking about that particular episode (which was The Drumhead in case you're curious), I got on a roll thinking about all of the other very common mistakes made in Star Trek, most of which you can see in almost every episode.  So, I thought it would be fun to write a blog post about this.  After all, being the huge Star Trek fan that I am, I feel that I have the right to both defend the show's honor but make fun of it at the same time.  

Here is a list of the most egregious common sense violations made in Star Trek.  The list is by no means complete, and I am sure I will have more blog posts about it in the future.  But I have to start somewhere!

1) Lab Safety: In almost every episode, Data and Geordi end up doing some really dangerous science experiment about 30 feet away from the engine core.  This makes absolutely no sense, for several reasons.  Of course, there is the obvious fact that nothing so potentially volatile should be carried out in the vicinity of an antimatter-matter reaction chamber.  But let's overlook this blatantly stupid mistake for a second.  The engineering dynamic duo also carry out their experiments right in the middle of the walk way, where potentially other engineers are trying to work or at the very least need to pass through.  Furthermore, these guys are on a freakin Galaxy class starship with more than 30 decks and I forget how many rooms.  Isn't at least one of those rooms a science lab?  Oh yea, I can think of several episodes (e.g., The Offspring, The Best of Both Worlds) where they actually use the lab.  I guess the lab is always booked up when the most dangerous experiments have to be done!

2) Exposed Bridge: OK, I know I am not the first person to think about this, but I have to say it anyway.  Why in the world would starship designers put the command center on the very top and exterior of the vessel??  The little "nodule" where the Bridge is located pretty much screams out to enemy ships "Look at me, I am the command center.  Aim here to win the battle immediately!"  Also, since there is no "up" or "down" in space, why even bother putting the Bridge on the top?  It should be smack dab in the middle of the ship, surrounded by extra shielding and bulk heads!

3) No Auditorium: Is Ten Forward the only place to have events, concerts, and plays? This goes back to my remark above - on a Galaxy class starship, I would imagine there would be at least several concert halls, an auditorium, and a general assembly area.  But for some reason, all of the important events take place in the relatively tiny space of Ten Forward.  The ship has an arboretum for heaven's sakes, but no concert hall?  What if during one of Data's violin performances someone really has a hankering for some non-intoxicating alcohol?  Do they really have to go find another bar somewhere?

4) The Easiest Job:  If I were assigned to the Enterprise and I didn't want to do any work most of the time, I would be asked to be posted in the transporter rooms.  Seriously, except for when Picard chimes in on the communication system screaming to beam someone aboard the ship before they get attacked or their vessel blows up, what does the transporter chief do all day?  I guess on second thought, maybe I wouldn't choose this job. While it would be easy most of the time, it would be excruciatingly boring until it isn't anymore and then someone's life is in your hands while you push a button to disassemble them, beam them to the ship, and then reassemble them.  Wow, what a job!

5) Surge Protectors:  This one comes to me from my old college roommate.  During every battle on the show, the Enterprise inevitably gets struck with a phaser beam or a photon torpedo and as a result, one of the computer consoles shorts out and sparks fly out from the screen. This is a way for "redshirts" to die in the show, but it makes absolutely no sense.  I think we have better surge protection in the 21st century than the 24th!  You'd think at the very least, they'd have some sort of safety shut off system for the computer consoles when they got overloaded.  Or maybe a force field that would drop in front of the screen so that the "redshirt" doesn't get hit with the sparks.  Oy!

All that being said, I still love Star Trek.  And of course, it's not about these logic flaws so much as it is about the story and the characters.  But what can I say - I love a universe where things actually make sense!

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