The Wormhole wrote:
Star Trek tends to assume the audience is a good mix of smart and dumb, and it toes that line better than most other TV shows.
Eh, I don't know. Trek's idea of assuming the audience is smart is by having characters spew out confusing technical jargon in key scenes.
That's not what I meant. I mean, Star Trek has more success portraying ethical nuance. There are episodes like The Defector and Duet where the characters' emotional state is delegated to the viewer's cultural imagination. The Star Trek world is more vivid in our imaginations than it ever is on the page, and they rely on that imagination to express themes that are not explicitly present in the script. Star Trek uses simple, dumb stories to express complex ideas.
Homefront/Paradise Lost is another great example of that. Any other TV show, that episode ends with all the shapeshifters on Earth being captured.