Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Deep question:

Why is Star Wars generally considered "cool," but other sci-fi, like Star Trek, considered "not cool"?


-Dave said...

My guess is that, at least in part, it's because of a couple effects.

First, to be a devoted Star Wars fan and watch every movie takes 13ish hours. To be a devoted Star Trek fan, and watch every episode of every season of every series (Original, Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise) takes much, much, much longer. A single season of hour-long episodes covers some 22-26 hours.

Second, while Star Trek helped spawn the deep-space dreams of a lot of people, Star Wars ushered in a new era of movie-making. It reintroduced the action blockbuster, the use of classical scores, and movies of fantasy instead of modern dramas (such as the classic American Graffiti).

Finally, Star Wars has some deeper conflict. In a series of hour-long episodes, you have an awful lot of time spent in not much change in the story. While a season lasts 22 hours, those 22 hours generally reset all the main characters to the same baseline every hour. A long series of middling challenges.

I like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine because of the broader conflict which evolves over the course of the seasons. But the episodes that do not advance that plot are more trivially annoying.

Kenny said...

That's a much better answer than I was expecting to this somewhat silly question.

Still though - why is Star Trek considered "geeky" or "nerdy" (same probably for Battlestar Gallactica and the ilk)? But Star Wars not?

-Dave said...

Because of the time commitment involved? Even sub-consciously, when we think of Trekkies, you think of people sitting at their TV (quite possibly in their parent's house) watching episode after episode.

Star Wars, as a movie that changed the world outside its own circle, is more mainstream.

But if there is a distinction, I'm not sure it's a strong one.

It may be because of nothing more than William Shatner's Travelocity commercials.