My Name Is Legion wrote:
...utopia has nothing to do with a static paradise or a naive vision...
In fact, that's exactly what Utopia is.
TOS was not utopian.
Cruising on a spaceship through the galaxy with the former enemy and the current enemy on board while there is peace on earth was definitely an utopian notion in the sixties and it is still utopia today.
Democracy has been an utopia several centuries ago, a totally lunatic and unrealistic idea and frm a contemporary perspective I think consider the idea of a United earth to be even more crazy and unbelievable than democracy was e.g. in the sixteenth century.
Utopia is in a very literal sense a nonexisting place that becomes real once enough people start to believe in it (and act on this belief).
Greg Cox wrote:
TOS was actually very suspicious of seeming utopias. Pretty much every time Kirk ran into some "perfect" world, there usually turned out to be an evil computer or mind-warping virus involved! Utopias always seemed to involved sacrificing some degree of humanity . . .
But I digress. Bottom line: to my mind, STAR TREK is primarily about exploring the Final Frontier, not some theoretical utopia back home.
Of course TOS was critical of totalitarian end of history utopias. But gee, there was a black woman on the bridge. If this wasn'T utopian in a time when virtually all black women on TV were maids I don't know what is. Uhura even inspired a black woman to become an astronaut so there have even some admittedly fairly trivial real world implications. But it still made some people change their minds.
Now I am totally with you when you say drama above all. But there is no real conflict as the utopian element of Trek is, as you just pointed out, just the background for the stories. As I tried to point out earlier, Trek's bright vision can go hand in hand with the darkest stories. Kirk's darkest hour has certainly been his racism in TUC and the overcoming of this error is the optimistic Trekkish atmosphere.
But I am not with you when you falsely claim that Trek is just an arbitrary adventure sci-fi franchise. The line from Archer in my signature shows that adventure, exploration of the human soul and optimism all belong into the mix that makes Trek.