Leave it to James Lileks to take a ridiculously obvious point–that the Star Trek series are political and reflect their times–and fashion a long, thoughtful column out of it. His introduction to Enterprise, the current series, is brilliant:

So how is this Trek a reflection of the zeitgeist? Well, it was different right out of the box; it’s set before the Federation was incoporated. It gives us the future as pre-history. The only other aliens on Earth’s side are the Vulcans, who are in this context the Europeans – the older, more cynical, “wiser†culture attempting to restrain this brash upstart planet. There’s no way the show’s creators could have anticipated how prescient this would seem when they thought of the show, but after 9/11 this theme stood out in hot glowing letters. And then came the season finale:

Earth is attacked by a suicide bomber. There’s much death and devastation. The Enterprise is sent to a far-off place to retaliate. The Vulcans refuse to help.

Quite right. Go read the rest.

Update (11:16): NZ Bear hates Enterprise but otherwise agrees with Lileks’ take.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jay Solo says:

    Indeed, I commented that “terrorism comes to Enterprise.”