Nerys Myk wrote:
Is it a cliche? Yes, but not one unique to Star Trek, though Trek has given it a name.
Right. Other fiction have done it before and after the show, but TOS (or rather, its fans) made it popular. TOS didn't just present the trope, it became the Trope Namer.
I love the first sentence description, too: "This is the Good Counterpart of Evil Minions and Mooks — set filler for our heroes' side."
I also love that the Red Shirt is also related to The Red Shirt Army
and The Worf Effect
. If anything, it goes to show Trek's influence on TV writing, which is very much an endearing testament to the franchise's impact on television.
But ahem, back on topic, according to this website
referenced in the Red Shirt article, the percentage of crewmen killed is 73% red shirt, which is still high enough, imo, to make red shirts the Good Minions of TOS and enough to justify some aspects of the "myth." Some of those truths come with the job, after all -- everybody knows that serving in Starfleet is dangerous, and if you sign up for a security detail, you're going to be at the forefront of what is already a dangerous job.