“We are what we are, and we’re doing the best we can. It is not for you to set the standards by which we should be judged!” -Capt. Picard, to Q
When you think about Star Trek, a whole variety of things might come to mind. It might conjure images of space exploration, feelings of optimism about the future of humanity, the inextricable link between prosperity and technology, or the fear of the unknown. But what has always set Star Trek apart from any other sci-fi or fantasy show has been its ability to hold a mirror up to humanity, and force us to confront our greatest moral and ethical quandries.
We inhabit a world today rife with “othering,” where we look at those who we see as different from ourselves, and are quick to condemn them as being inferior to those we see as more like us. This extends not just to physical traits, but ideological ones as well. Yet each of the Star Trek series in the past has embraced this conflict, and with five stunning examples from Star Trek’s past, I’m happy to elucidate my great hopes for what Star Trek: Discovery just might bring to the world.