Star Wars, Star Trek or StarGate? Please select your favorite Hollywood sci-fi franchise. We need a fan’s expert input. Simply choose the one which means most to you. Sure, why not – just commit to embracing one over the other. But exactly why would you have to do the unthinkable and shut others out of consideration?
Folks love their favorites.
Science Fiction Friction
Science Fiction offers us a unique kind of thematic exploration. Before cinematic rocketships morphed into flying saucers and starships, we saw our movie heroes exploring the frontiers of Earth’s oceans. In epics such as Captain Horatio Hornblower, The Vikings, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and Mysterious Island, noble sailors and cutthroat pirates clashed on and under the sea.
Once Hollywood rolled out now classic sci-fi flicks such as This Island Earth, The Day The Earth Stood Still and seminal masterwork, Forbidden Planet – the last film being hugely influential on Star Trek – science fiction came roaring of age.
Don’t forget two Golden Television Age programs, The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. These sci-fi TV shows were more than instrumental in helping blossom the big three sci-fi franchises. Each week, TV viewers got to see tales plucked from pulp fiction and science fiction magazines. The intellectual taste left the public wanting more.
Laser Taser Phaser
Many think sci-fi space journeys load up with energy blast battles. And while it’s true Star Wars remains ray gun king, Star Trek and StarGate engage in them too. Of course, there’s a lot more – as hardcore fans of the three competing galaxies will inform you.
No matter how exciting a laser, phaser or blaster battle can be, glimmers of discovering exotic alien races glow within all sci-fi fans. If nothing else, we desperately have to know who – or what – fires those blasts at our majestic starships. Races such as Klingons, Romulans, Borg or dread body thieves G’oauld, fire our collective imaginations on possibilities of alien intelligence.
Although more gentle science fiction epics like Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extraterrestrial or Close Encounters of The Third Kind may intrigue or even uplift us, the fact remains – people love watching conflict, domination and the bloody, tragic consequences of war, especially interstellar ones.
Keeping in mind the uninitiated know little, let’s warp on over into the hyperspace realm and travel through the gate.
While early pioneers like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers predate Gene Roddenberry’s starship of the imagination, Star Trek reigns as genuine granddaddy of the sci-fi franchise.
Right after the classic, original 1966 NBC series ended in 1969, the burgeoning franchise wheels began turning. Novels, comic books, toys, models, video games and even an animated series reuniting most of the classic TV cast were marketed. When Paramount released Star Trek: The Motion Picture – as a direct answer to Star Wars from George Lucas – Star Trek had blasted off as a profitable franchise.
Since then, Roddenberry’s vision more than lived long and prospered – churning out sequel shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Currently, a prequel show detailing Federation development before the reign of Captain Kirk’s Enterprise, Star Trek: Discovery, streams new episodes on CBS All Access.
In 1977, creator George Lucas gave an unsuspecting world his galaxy far, far away. Star Wars destroyed all existing notions of what a blockbuster could be, and the motion picture industry and sci-fi has never been the same.
Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Princess Leia and those adorable bickering droids, C3PO and R2D2, went from cinema icons to pop culture role models. The Force was strong with us and has been ever since.
Toys, models, books, novels and video games promptly followed. TV specials were born, and thankfully, never really seen or spoken about again. Lucas established a star spawned empire, and his creative companies, Lucasfilm and ILM (Industrial Light and Magic), were eventually purchased by Disney for billions of dollars.
These days J.J. Abrams acts as the new George Lucas – sometimes directing installments, other times handing off the helming to industry creatives such as Rian Johnson, who crafted the divisive 8th film, The Last Jedi.
Can the primitive civilization of ancient Egypt be proper birthplace for technologically savvy science fiction? Well, if fanciful concepts such as Chariots Of The Gods – the idea ancient aliens helped to fuel or even shape early human civilizations – are to be seriously embraced, perhaps StarGate operates more as speculative based history than fiction.
The complex StarGate universe centers around a network of stables wormholes controlled by massive circular gates. Instead of using speedy warp propelled starships, exploratory away teams utilized StarGates for travel.
Director Roland Emmerich and writer/producer Dean Devlin created the Kurt Russell and James Spader starring feature film released in 1994. After a TV version, Stargate: SG1, hit big in syndication, spin-off shows Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: Universe followed. When a web show or streaming series based on the franchise didn’t gain much traction, it’s been recently announced a major new chapter of the franchise is in development.
The Face of The Space Ace Race
Fictional Space Aces such as Captain Kirk, Han Solo and Col. Jack O’Neil may out race their opponents in faster than light vehicles, but they also try to outpace each other in testosterone fueled conflicts.
Star Trek focuses more on exploration and hard science fiction – Let’s see what’s out there. Star Wars deals mostly in chronicling the adventures of cosmic armies – and elite soldiers, Jedi Knights – mixing it up on the combat front lines of a timeless starscape. Finally, StarGate endures as a curious mixture of the two. SG1 portrays teams of explorers utilizing a wormhole gate to other worlds – thereby exploring them. Though a Trek like vibe of exploration exists, there’s an emphasis on encountering hostile races, such as the Wraith and G’oauld.
Choosing a sci-fi franchise is never easy, or ultimately, really a necessary mental exercise, however, these fictional galaxies collide in terms of their philosophical vibe and tone. Perhaps your selection depends on being a strict pessimist or optimist – in how you see the future existence and expression of our species. Do you like to Star Trek, engage in Star Wars or travel through a StarGate? So choose, or choose not, it’s certainly your own decision. Of course, you can always do what I do – watch and thoroughly enjoy all of them.
#LaughTrek wants you to choose. Yes, we know you probably love em all, but which one can’t you live without? #StarTrek #StarWars #StarGate
Read my article on all three: