As I'll say time, and time, and time, and time again, I am a reader and viewer of science fiction. In one forum, I happened to want to write out a long commentary about one aspect, but decided to write it here, instead of there. Forgive the interruption in the otherwise-story-writing theme. On SciFi-Meshes.com, a site where sci-fi enthusiasts can post their endeavors for modeling objects, I commented about Star Trek versus Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda, especially that I felt the latter was a story universe that could be worthy of the starship model being designed.
[QUOTE](Funny to say this, but: I consider Andromeda as having "fixed" everything that is "broken" about the Star Trek universe, but for obviously different reasoning;[/QUOTE]
I wish to clarify my own words: I am not attempting to diminish all that is the Star Trek story universe; the JJ Abrams snafu did that on its own. But I certainly think the Andromeda universe (actually, comprised of three galaxies that are important to the storylines) allows for far more adventure, danger, intrigue, and overall story possibilities than Trek did/does. While I presume parallel compare-contrast reviews already exist, I'd like to offer this interchange as a definition of the key differences.
Compare the Background Stories.
Star Trek started as, and has mostly remained, primarily a "wagon train to the stars" story. If examined objectively, it has a pseudo-colonial feel to it, even into the Next Generation era; that is, it exists as a stand-in for some undefined future civilization to develop from. The Federation Star Fleet is more akin to the cavalry troops in Dances With Wolves, in that it explores and patrols the "wilderness" that is space.
The Andromeda story, on the other hand, is that the universe had a cohesive civilization, and ... it fell apart, either through the member worlds' or species' arrogance, corruption, greed, or some darker force heating up the universe to re-forge it in the manner of his desire.
It seems to be, what with all the quotes at the front of the show, that the Andromeda universe (before the fall) has been the status-quo for thousands of years, in story terms. So, it has a very rich background. Or, better put: it’s what the Star Trek universe could become, if it existed for the same length of time.
Compare the "Present Situation".
As each series shows the viewer, two very divergent manners of dealing with the universe are presented. The dividing line I base on, is: What is the struggle toward or away from?
- The pseudo-colonial Star Trek original series' USS Enterprise has a five-year mission to patrol space, find life, learn all that is learnable, (oh wait, that's V"GER, um, the Borg, but both are snap-in analogies for what the Federation really is), find its way back “home”, … essentially "making way" for the future. Starfleet exists … simply to exist. But, what else? It’s a nice story.
- The "glorious heritage" of the Andromeda universe, in its opening two-part show, presents the loss of civilization and, subsequently, one captain's will to restore what was lost. The struggle is against the status-quo of three centuries after the fall. Captain Hunt, his ship, and the crew exist to restore a balance, to do more than just let things stay the way they have become.
Can the goals of Star Trek stand on their own? Certainly, I’m not denying its role as entertainment alone. But, should it stand on its own? To be honest, an exploration mission (no matter how long) on its own will always be trumped by the goal to restore something that was lost, to rebuild, to fight against a darker agenda (a demon-like, dark-souled spirit, engineering the collapse of freedom from the shadow realm).
The Ending or Moral of the Story.
The plight of civilians, commerce, and industry are also important. Star Trek doesn’t promote the personal freedoms that citizens of the republic which is the United States of America and its partner country Israel live under. But the Andromeda universe is full of civilian and commercial endeavors, and not in the liberalist “capitalism is evil and must be destroyed” kind of mental bent. I am fully appreciative of the freedoms allowed and opportunities offered by the freedoms of belief and choice, and the right to voice such opinions, even if it differs with mine.
I’m not trying to drag current political agendas into this; it's just … as plain as the nose on your face. Whether you subscribe to the "Star Trek is Socialism" mindset or not, it certainly tends to lean on the semi-socialist/semi-utopian trope a bit in places. Trek morality seems to hide a lot of the diplomacy and politicking that must be going on behind the curtain in order for civilization to develop; further, aside from "the Borg" or "Q" or occasional skirmishes, there's no true overarching villain (except that each movie had its own villain) throughout all series.
The Andromeda storyline, on the other hand, was built from the ground up to be a struggle against the aforementioned dark spirit and dark forces that did its bidding. All indications were that this spirit was focused on controlling, on corrupting, and on destroying when matters did not go its way. Much like the progressive-minded political pursuits which seems to be working “behind the scenes” today….