Look how many plot complications from thrillers and detective stories don’t make sense anymore because we have cell phones. And I’ve solved several plot complications in my life through Google and Amazon. But - and this was my second point - I didn’t find any new magical properties of them. And, as people have brought up many times, I’ve never forgotten new functions later - the way that most new discoveries from themselves or from aliens get forgotten in Star Trek. The cloaking device being one of the rare exceptions.
In TOS they seem somewhat aware of lots of places they’ve never been to before, through “long range scanning.” They don’t seem to have the AI to do really good survey jobs. By TNG time they seem to have been everywhere already.
But all these series suffered from not having any guiding mentor who thought in terms of consistent technology and sociology. For 1966 TOS did this far better than any other sf show, but the post-Roddenberry people didn’t seem to give a shit. The regular world is kept pretty fuzzy. Are the freighters they meet very rare, or are there tons running around?
My theory is that Star Fleet keeps the Earth in the dark about what is going on out there. There was a Borg cube in the solar system about to enslave everyone on earth. And yet Picard’s brother treated his as someone who played around in space doing things that had no relevance. Maybe the Federation makes Oceania look like amateurs and censoring the news.
Yeah, most sf, and especially episodic sf, failures from a massive failure of nerve. Earth shattering things happen and no one reacts. Aliens land - ho hum. Life after death is proved - ho hum. Even 2010 is a failure of nerve considering the situation at the end of 2001. Bowman is master of the world and what does he do with it? Take his mother off life support and give a ghostly message to Floyd. Ho hum.