Why TOS is still the best of them all – including Star Wars

I’ve read that the formula for a successful Star Trek is a “bright future,” and I’ve come to think that this is largely true.¬† I’ve expanded on it.¬† I now believe that a successful franchise (or movie) also has to show the characters living interesting and pleasant lives.¬† They have to be doing something that you are interested in, or even envy.¬† I believe that this is just as true for Star Wars as it is for Trek.

Constantly hacking at each other with a sword or a gun Рin whatever form they come Рwears thin, fast.  Constant political intrigue wears thin.

TOS had the advantage of having no predecessor, so everything it showed was new.¬† Look, a Vulcan!¬† Look, we learn that Vulcan’s have ‘pon far!’¬† Green blood!¬† A computer that talks, and ship that takes us to exotic locales where we imbibe Romulan Ale.¬† And, of course, all of Roddenberry (and other writer’s) gadgets – mind blowing stuff.

When you talk about TOS, these are most of the things that people will mention.¬† Not blasting Klingons, although that is true enough.¬† Rather, they’ll mention Tribbles, or Mudd, or tri-corders, or something else that usually have very little to do with War.¬† Dramatic tension?¬† Sure.¬† Combat?¬† Less is more.¬† Seeing the Enterprise defeat an adversary once in a while was exciting.¬† By the time we got to the Borg in TNG?¬† Way too much.¬† War, war, war.¬† Dark future, with dark lighting.¬† We much preferred wondering if Will and Diana were getting back together, if Data would become a real boy, if Geordi would regain his sight, etc.

And so it is with Star Wars.  How many light saber variations do I need to see?  Single beam, double beam, folding handle, pommel guards, smooth beams, flaming beams, etc.

Yeah, I get it.¬† It’s a sword.

Luke drove a hover-car.¬† That was cool.¬† Look hung out with cute droids – believable droids.¬† That was cool.¬† Was it a bright future?¬† Not as bright as Trek, which I believe is part of the reason it hasn’t weathered as well.¬† It was bright enough, however, and the Han Solo sub plot was rich with fun things.¬† A run runner with a fast ship!¬† That was cool enough.

Maybe TOS took most of the air from the room, with the holo-decks and the communicators and transporters, etc.  I dunno.

What I do know is that when either franchise follows a bright future plot line, and loads it with human interest and cool gadgets, it does well.¬† When it’s just combat?

Not so much.

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