There’s a particular comfort involved in sitting down and enjoying a Star Trek marathon. We put on our coziest clothes, gather our favorite snacks, and lose ourselves in Trek. But there are a lot of fantastic science fiction franchises out there. Why is Star Trek so perfectly suited to those days when we need our faith in humanity restored? The question is more philosophical than it might seem, and after some deep thought, this is what we came up with.
Replicators. Any food, any time, with no effort. Imagine it. No grocery shopping, no need for all that cabinet space. Not even for dishes! You’d never need to go clothes shopping again. Gift-giving would truly be about the thought rather than the item. Consumerism, marketing, and conspicuous consumption would cease to exist in everyday life.
Transporters. Think about all the time you spend traveling from one place to another. What could you do with all that time? How great would it be not to have a car payment and car insurance? And package delivery could be instantaneous. Anything you couldn’t replicate, you could have transported right to you.
Medical care. No shots and most invasive procedures eliminated. Most doctors can handle most problems, which means no waiting months for a referral to a specialist. And no bill afterward to take your breath away.
Interstellar economy. Imagine being able to open trade options with thousands of planets. Not that we’d need tons of stuff, given that we’d have replicators. But we’d get entire planets’ worth of literature and art, history and academia. Maybe those unique things would even become more valuable than simple commodities.
A united Earth. How nice would that be? No countries at war with one another. No refugees, no dictators. No terrorist regimes. That’s an ideal that never becomes dated.
Combadges. Sure, we already have cell phones that allow us to talk with people just about anywhere, and GPS helps with location too. But combadges are a way advanced version that can give immediate information. That could be fantastic for parents and emergency services. (On the other hand, they could be a huge privacy violation, too. Imagine being found when you did not want to be found.)
Captains on your side. Duty isn’t just for the redshirts. Captains put themselves in the line of fire, too. Sisko advocated for Dax in court and Janeway insisted on investigating to clear Tom Paris of a murder conviction. Picard reevaluated his entire perception of childhood and parenting to champion Data’s right to raise his own daughter. Kirk agreed to let Spock beat him nearly to death in order to protect Spock. Who wouldn’t want that kind of loyalty and dedication?
Hope. In the end, Star Trek always comes back to hope. The idea that the future can be better, that we have something to look forward to. That science and ideals can come together and make the universe a better place.
So next time you’re feeling down, grab your favorite comfort food, put on your pajamas, and let Star Trek soothe your weary soul.