I miss the future. I miss watching Star Trek as a boy, wrongly choosing Spock as my role model, and believing in the future. The stories may have been silly, the colors garish, the humans “tolerant” and the men parochial, but it still tried to say that we have a future, the human race, and it’ll be better but always be a struggle.
There are many flaws with the new Star Trek movies, but what makes them not Star Trek to me is that all they see in the future is the setting for their superheroes vs. supervillians story. No love of what the human race is, or the achievements of civilization. Just a lot of effects, lens glare, TOS nostalgia, and PG-13 rated sex. I’d rather watch a syrupy three-tent version of the Hobbit. (OK, that’s not true.)
The old Trek even took its women more seriously than the new one does.
The future used to be everywhere. Dark visions, light visions. Sci-fi used the setting and the technology to explore human nature. often from a conservative point of view: Thomas Sowell has said that the “conservative premise” is “that man is flawed from day one, and that there are no solutions, there are only trade-offs, and whatever you do to deal with one of man’s flaws, it creates another problem, but that you try to get the best trade-off you can get…” That is the principle that America was founded on, I think, although that’s not what’s taught in schools.
Star Trek itself was created by a man who got across some of his vision, but I understand that he couldn’t get all of it. In its later incarnations, Roddenberry wanted man to have evolved beyond greed, hate, etc., but of course no one would have watched that.
Star Trek itself is late-sixties left-leaning view: a mildly socialized galactic government where money isn’t mentioned if possible, shown through the eyes of the military/science complex on board the starship Enterprise. An essentially positive view of humanity (though, come to think of it, the appearance of any non-adults usually spells trouble, and there are no children on the ship), tempered by an admission of the dark side of the species. Western civilization, human males, are dominant and tolerant. That’s what Star Trek was, and the new stuff ain’t it. DS9, my favorite non-TOS Trek, has almost nothing to do with the outlook I described, but it was good sci-fi.
I could go on about modern entertainment not modelling anything positive and requiring no imagination, but this is good enough for now.