I watched the “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra” episode of Star Trek:NG (Episode 2 of Season 5) a few days ago. It’s one of my all time favorite NG episodes because of its creativity and unique language concepts. Plus, watching Picard put the pieces together and discover what “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra” means is amazing. If you let your kids watch this episode, or you’re a geek like me, you will incorporate this and “Shaka when the walls fell” into your every day dialogue. Why? Cause I’m a geek. What does it mean? Go watch the episode.
A few days later, I finished watching Firefly by watching Serenity. ‘Nough said.
What is it about these two shows that I love so much? I’m trying to put my finger on it. They’re wildly different. Star Trek is clean and filled with hope in man’s ability to overcome any obstacle and bring peace to the universe. Firefly is dirty and dank and filled with people dying on the edge of civilization. The ones not dying out there are working for a government who engineered the Reavers, and then tried to cover them up while they ate townspeople. The whole point of Firefly is to stick it to the man, while Star Trek is the man. And yet with two totally conflicting worldviews, I still love both shows. Even when challenged to pick one over the other, I can not.
The only thing I can really say is this – Friendship. Unlike many other shows, these two embody friendship. They’re about the crew and the ship. That’s really it. You care about them as a family and they work as a family. Whether its Mal screwing up a heist when his morals, thank goodness, get in the way, or Picard’s leading a scientific mission which goes dangerously awry and kills off a few red jackets, the story is about them. You want to watch Data learn to be more human from Jordi. You want to watch Riker and Picard play off each other as the cool headed captain and the brash first officer. You want to watch Worf as he struggles to put his two lives together. You want Simon to make River better. You want Zoe and Wash to have a family. You want Mal and Inara to finally admit to their love for each other.
You can feel the chemistry on screen between these men and women. You can feel their friendship. And when you watch the bonus features, you realize their friendship is deeper than the silver screen. They really care about each other in real life. This is the key. Their real life friendships shine through to touch us, the viewer.
This friendship is more than lust, more than working together. It’s deeper and truer. It’s a friendship which is hard to capture, but which speaks to the human soul. It makes us want to hang out with our friends. It makes us want to be better friends. It inspires us. Oh, the beauty of storytelling!
Whether you want to board the Enterprise or Serenity, remember that what really matters is the friends you take with you.
“They say that when you can’t walk anymore, you crawl, and when you can’t do that… ” You find someone to carry you.”