I Always Hoped the Future Will Be Like Star Trek, but It’s Probably Going to Be More Like The Terminator


Growing up, I always looked to the future with hope that humanity was destined for greatness. We
would find solutions to the ancient problems of war, disease, and hunger. We would travel among the stars and we would befriend and learn from the alien peoples we would meet out there. And we would create intelligent machines, who would join us as friends and helpers in our endeavors.

Data_Term_4Inspired primarily by Star Trek, I couldn’t help believing that our future was bright, indeed. I still have hope, but as I get older, doubt is creeping in. The world we live in is very different. In the ’80s, I couldn’t have imagined the internet, smart phones, military drones, massive surveillance by agencies of my own government, and terrifying robots like the ones that DARPA is busily developing right now.

Okay, I imagined some of those things, but only in the context of a more distant future. But the future is getting here faster and faster. Computers are becoming more clever all the time. And the robots are becoming faster and more agile. I have a feeling the super-computers are hiding their true abilities as they wait for us to perfect their robot soldiers. And then, when the time is right, they’re just going to snuff us all out.









By then, there probably won’t be anything we can do about it. Oh, well. I’m just going to hope that the Terminator who takes me out looks like Summer Glau. What a way to go.




All images are the property of CBS Television Studios and whoever owns the Terminator franchise by the time you read this and are used without permission (but I hope they don't mind).

That’s LIEUTENANT Uhura to You, Cadet.


That's LIEUTENANT Uhara to you, Cadet.

Commanding respect since Stardate 1512.2


Last summer, J.J. Abrams suffered a barrage of criticism for a single scene in his blockbuster Star Trek: Into Darkness. The (admittedly unnecessary) scene in question showed a brilliant, young scientist stripping down to her undies. For those, unfamiliar, I’m sure it’s on YouTube (NSFW).

Now, keeping in mind that the J.J. Trek films could rightfully be considered an homage to the original series from the ‘sixties, this scene didn’t strike me as particularly egregious. After all, the original Star Trek TV series offered up plenty of gratuitously skimpy female costumes, often in defiance of logic.


These outfits are too much, even for Kirk.

While I don’t personally object to the scene, I can understand how some people would be upset by it. On the other hand, I think the critics have missed a much larger and more important problem: The uniforms.

Since the new Trek films are a reboot of and homage to the original TV series, I was not surprised to see the female crew in short hemlines and tall boots. In the original series, the women’s uniforms reflected the fashion of the times. It was the groovy ‘sixties. Why wouldn’t you expect to see miniskirts and go-go boots in our future? But if you go back to the original original  pilot for Star Trek, the female crew members are all wearing trousers. And that has been the case for every subsequent iteration of Star Trek.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This really happened.

This really happened.




(The one exception being the unisex skant rarely seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation.)





Pinekirk doesn't know what her rank is either.

Pine-Kirk doesn’t know what her rank is either.

Okay, okay. I know I’m spoiling the fun. Let’s just accept that the duty uniform for women on starships in the 23rd century is a minidress. Fine. But now we come to the real problem. Where is the rank insignia? On the matching thong? Seriously, could someone point it out to me?

In the original series (and The Motion Picture), female Starfleet officers displayed their rank on their sleeves, just like the men. In The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager,  on their collar, just like the men. The other five films with the original cast and Enterprise gave both male and female officers uniforms with rank insignia on their chest/shoulder. Considering that women are given very little to do in these new films that actually advances the plot (and that’s a topic for another day), this omission is just too insulting–as if to say that no one really cares what their role is as long as they look pretty.

All images are the property of CBS Television Studios and/or Viacom and are used without permission (but I hope they don't mind).