It’s hard to remember exactly, but I think I first noticed it back in the days of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It’s even possible it really started in the earlier series, Star Trek: The Next Generation. By the time of the final series, Star Trek: Enterprise, it was definitely a thing, and by then it went way too far.
In the original Star Trek series, Gene Roddenberry gave us Vulcans. They were, in many ways, better than humans. They lived longer, they were stronger and smarter, and — crucially — they were, in some ways, wiser than us. Rick Berman, Roddenberry’s heir apparent, re-wrote that vision to make them conniving, lying, self-interested bastards. In other words, he made them more human.
My question here is: Why did our heroes turn into such assholes?
The other evening I had the very weird experience of watching a very good, smart TV show followed immediately by watching a very bad, stupid TV show. And, admittedly, it may have been a study of contrasts; the latter may have suffered in comparison to the former and come off worse than it is. On the other hand, at that point in the evening, I had several (okay, four) beers in me, so I should have been predisposed to enjoy the show.
But instead of hootin’ and hollerin’ with delight (as I’d done for the first show), I was hootin’ and hollerin’ with derision about how mindlessly, utterly stupid the second show was. As it turns out, critics seem to agree. On Metacritic, the first one has 21 positive critic reviews, nine mixed and only one negative. The second show? Only four positive, 15 mixed and five negative reviews.
The first show: Madam Secretary. The second show: Scorpion. Both new and on CBS.