What’s Better, Star Trek or Star Wars?
Nathan: Welcome back all you beautiful people to another edition of TUG of War. TUG of War is still a new thing for us so let me give you a rundown of what we do here: Weekly one of The Gentlemen will choose two things and they will fight to the death to choose which one is their preferred choice. So far the battles have consisted of TDK Joker vs TDKR Bane and PC vs Console Gaming. Before introducing this weeks battle extraordinaire let me give you the scores for last weeks TUGoW:
If you thought we had hit the big time with last weeks battle, the ultimate in gaming battles, then this week will be even more intense. A battle that has been fought tooth and nail by nerd kind everywhere: Star Wars vs Star Trek! Which geek behemoth will reign supreme this week? Well how about we get on with the battle and find out!
Erik: I am going to get straight to it with this one. Unlike previous TUG of War’s where it has been a tight race to see which side is better, this one is a no-brainer for me. I still remember the very first time I watched it; my parents sat me down and gave me a little precursor and said that it would be something that I had to watch and now was the time. Then they pulled out the VHS and popped in:
And ever since that day I was hooked.
Now unfortunately I can’t even say much about Star Trek as I really haven’t viewed any of it. I have seen a few of the movies and maybe a handful of episodes. I can say I love the concept of it and can very much see why it has had such an impact on sci fi culture. However, I just don’t know enough about it to even hold a valid debate between these two. For me Star Wars is superior strictly due to me knowing it more. That being said, I would predict that even if I had more of knowledge base for Star Trek I would probably still prefer Star Wars – there is just something about it I absolutely love. Actually, there’s a bunch of things.
First off the most memorable thing for me the first time I watched it was Darth Vader. I mean HOLY CRAP, that dude was just straight up evil and it was great! The other thing I loved as a kid were the lightsaber battles, I mean come on those were so intense and utterly mind blowing. The great thing is most of the stuff I found enjoyment in when I was a kid has still remained relevant to me as a young adult. Sure, Lucas made shitty movies, but that hasn’t bothered me all too much. Plus for me it isn’t all about the movies. The extended universe for Star Wars is amazing. Currently I am reading through the Knights of the Old Republic comic series by Dark Horse Comics and I have read a few other story arcs they have done. I can say they are amazing. Not only that but there are many video games revolving around the Star Wars universe that I absolutely love. Republic Commando, Battlefront I and II, KOTOR I and II, hell even the more recently released MMO was pretty damn good! Even with all those names I still haven’t even dipped into the mass quantity of brilliant N64 games that were made. Hell, even the podracing game that was released was fantastic. That’s the thing I love about Star Wars, it’s not just about the movies and George Lucas messing them up. It’s about how big of a universe that was spawned from those movies. How much has been done with it, the multitude of excellent characters and hours open hours of endless entertainment. So I will leave it off saying that my vote goes for Star Wars – just in case you haven’t gathered that yet.
Justin: So here’s my problem — my knowledge on these two subjects is limited. It’s that I dislike either of them, it’s more of a fact that I don’t really have the desire to love or hype up either of them. As I was growing up I did spend a lot of time with Star Wars; Return of the Jedi was a VHS that would get a lot of playtime on the weekends when I was home from school. However, as I grew up I saw myself liking Star Wars less and less and being drawn into other things in the nerd universe. As for Star Trek… my friends that I lived with in college all loved in and watched it a lot but I never got it. I just never seemed to enjoy it as much as my friends did.
Now this problem comes to face me right in the face now in this TUG of War. In order to fairly decide a winner I’m going to approach this from a standpoint of current Justin, tossing all my old age bias and opinions aside. As a nerdy high school kid I thought Star Trek was boring, it wouldn’t be fair to let him judge a winner. So let’s try this:
Star Wars, to me, has not aged that well, at least not with George Lucas’ grubby little fingers all over the thing. My roommate bought the Blu Ray release and I watched all six with him. It was then that I just realized that it wasn’t the same thing I liked when I was a kid. It was still good at parts, like Empire Strikes Back, but overall the experience just wasn’t the same to me. There was a moment in Return of the Jedi that I haven’t even seen because I didn’t watch the 1997 rerelease or something like that. Basically I was out of touch with Star Wars because I just wasn’t interested in it any more.
As for Star Trek I don’t really watch much of it either. The only movie I’ve seen, apart from the newest one, was First Contact or whatever it was. I didn’t even choose to watch it, a room mate just put it on while I was playing Minecraft in the living room. I stayed and watched it and it was… pretty good actually. It seemed very solid and the characters seemed to be characters. If that makes any sense. They were compelling.
I can understand that the two other Gentlemen will probably have a lot more stuff to say on these topics. Stuff that actually holds some sort of weight. I don’t want to say that my opinion on this Battle isn’t strong, but I would say that there are far stronger opinions out there. I’m basing my choice on what I’d want to watch now, if I had to choose today. I’d want something more engaging and that deals with more serious themes and all that. I know Star Trek can provide that; so with that known Star Trek gets my vote. I have nothing against either of them, and I will watch and enjoy both in my life time, but at this point it’s going to have to be Star Trek that wins this battle.
Nathan: Well here it is, the big one, one of the hardest questions I’ve ever had to answer in my life. Normally it’s rather simple for people to say that they are a Star Wars kind of person or that they enjoy the long running Trek series better, not me. You see I grew up in a relatively geeky household, nothing über geeky like some people I know, but in my house things like Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate SG-1, Babalon 5, etc were watched frequently. My dad an I would always watch the 60’s Batman and Green Hornet when I got home from school ever day from Kindergarten to grade 3, so yes, geekery was a major part of my childhood. My dad was a big fan of Star Wars, if he had to choose I’m sure he would vote for being a Star Wars guy, but we’d still watch Star Trek whenever we had the chance to catch it. My uncle on the other hand is probably one of the bigger Trekkies I know and whenever summer came and I was down south visiting him and my grandpa Star Trek would be on pretty much whenever Highlander wasn’t. So I grew up with an equal love for both and I have always said that I am a fan of both franchises and could not pick one. But stupid me thought it would be a great idea for a TUG of War article so here I am. Before I go further I’d just like to mention something. Earlier this year at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo a friend of mine asked me which I prefered, when I told him both we said that he had seen T-shirt online a while back and quickly pulled up this picture:
Needless to say I hope to have this shirt in my possession as soon as I humanly can.
Let’s begin by talking about Star Wars shall we? When Star Wars came out in ’77 the people who entered that theatre saw something that had never been attempted in Hollywood, and it became a huge success. As Erik stated right off the bat, the floating paragraph was one of the most mind blowing things people had seen on screen up until that point, which is pretty impressive for being something Lucas came up with pretty last minute. Star Wars showed people a new galaxy filled with interesting creatures and a menacing empire, hell bent on being in complete and total control of everything, this was what people wanted to see and Episode IV delivered. Then Empire Strikes Back came by and was the perfect follow up to the ’77 film and is most people, including my, favourite of the movies, we learned about The Force and a little about the Jedi Order, we meet Yoda, and most importantly of all we get and epic lightsaber battle that builds up until we learn that Vader is young Luke’s father. Great stuff! Then Return of the Jedi came out and gave what I believe to be a very satisfying ending to the trillogy. But people still had questions, and in 1999 a new Trilogy began where we learned about Anakin Skywalker’s path to becoming Lord Vader, and it was crap. Good parts about the new trilogy: Darth Maul, getting a Star Wars film with Liam Neeson in it, and that epic Lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin. That’s about it. The greatness of the other movies weren’t there and for the most part these new three just fell flat, they were pretty much Lucas showing off how much money he had and what he could do with CGI, which he too WAY to much advantage of considering all the gorgeous model work done in the first three films.
Moving on to Star Trek. In 1966 Gene Roddenberry created a ground breaking television series, the likes of which had never been done before. The series continued to be awesome until it ended in 2001, and then Enterprise happened, let’s not talk about that right now. The series as a whole had everything you wanted out of a scifi action show: a swashbuckling captain and fearless leaders (Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, and yes even Archer), a wise right hand man (Spock, Riker, and Chakotay), new and strange alien races (Vulcans, Romulans, Klingons, The Borg), and the stories were different and interesting. This is was so much more than a scifi show throughout its run, it was a show that focused on character and that was a beautiful thing, you got to learn so much about the people on the Enterprise, the Deep Space 9 station, the Voyager, it was interesting. The big complaint that gets brought up time and again is that the episodes are too slow paced for a lot of people, but I don’t see how that’s a bad thing, they never zoomed through a story just to make it fast pace and focus on action like a lot of other shows, they focused on story, that was the most important part of Trek. Then just recently J.J. Abrams made a great new entry into the Star Trek, he put it in a parallel universe so that he could have room to play, and although a lot of people I know dislike it I thought it was a worthy entry into the Star Trek films. Unlike Star Wars, very little of Star Trek was bad, there were a few episodes here and there that could have been better, an entire series that was just really wrong in all possible ways and although I’m not the biggest fan of it DS9 was a wonderful follow up to TNG. There are 11 movies out now, every other one being stronger than the one before it up until now, but that’s just the curse of Trek movies.
If you put the two side by side you can look at it this way: If you were to watch Star Wars back to back it would take you 14 hours and 44 minutes, if you were to watch Star Trek back to back it would take you 23 days to watch. This is all without pee breaks or stopping to eat or sleep. So point up for Star Trek having so much more to watch than Star Wars. When you look at it Star Wars is 50% good and 50% bad, but the bad is REALLY bad, in all honesty the new trilogy is almost not worth the time to watch, it’s kinda painful, especially with the amount of CGI used, it just looks so…fake. But Star Trek there is very little that’s bad, almost every episode is a fun experience and about 6 out of the 10 original movies are fantastic the rest are just subpar and then the new movie was really good, I mean yes, Enterprise was bad, but it did have a few redeeming episodes. Another point for Star Trek. Star Wars changed cinema, movies could be far out and different from anything else and people would still love it, Star Trek did the exact same thing, but on the small screen. Tie point. Star Wars has Liam Neeson. Point Star Wars. Star Trek has Wil Wheaton. Point Trek. When it really comes down to it though, I think the most important thing to look at is this: Without Star Trek paving the way, there would be no Star Wars, at least not int he way we know it today. A world without the Family Guy Star Wars specials would be a poor place to live. So when it comes down to it, no matter if you agree or not no Trek means no Wars.
Here I am, at the end of the hardest battle I’ve had to fight yet, who do I like more? Star Trek, the story and character driven show that lasted for just shy of 50 years but is still living on with new films, the newest Abram’s film on its way, or Star Wars, the show that most people have seen and seems most culturally relevant still? Well it wasn’t an easy fight, but for me I guess I can now say that if I have no choice but to pick one Star Trek gets my vote every time.
Wow, what a fight! Two of the most legendary scifi franchises of all time going head to head and in our humble opinions the scores so far are:
Star Trek: 2
Star Wars: 1
Now, dear readers, it is up to you! We now put all the power in your hands, vote below on which franchise you are behind and let us know your thoughts and reasons in the comment section below. Before I sign off I’d like to share this article with you talking about how NASA has come to think that the Star Trek style warp drive is actually a possible way to travel through space, read it HERE. Come back next week for the results and another epic battle!