While pondering a thread about how SF isnt military…a memory came back to me. “Five year mission ships are forbidden to return to Earth” . Now I’m pretty sure this is a Blish-bit…but…
Oddly there’s a thread connecting it to TNG in “Conspiricy” when Picard mentions how rare it is for a ship to return to Earth and Admiral Slug in Spine says some nonsense about…God I can’t even remember so I’ll throw out the general idea…“Earth is always welcome to a child returning to the nest.”
They were assigned to patrol a certain sector of the Galaxy for a period of five years. I’ve never heard of them being “forbidden” to return to Earth prematurely, but I can imagine it would take a series of extraordinary events to compel them to.
This would be like the *Beagle * returning to England in the middle of its voyage because Charles Darwin contracted malaria, or some other minor catastrophe occurred. It just wouldn’t happen.
Nothing forbidden about returning. But as noted, the ship has a job to do, way out where no man…well, you know.
Given that, they came back as far as Vulcan, and that’s only 16 light years away. And in Tomorrow is Yesterday they were close enough to Earth that a small malfunction sent them right in the atmosphere! In either case, making a stop off at Earth wouldn’t be disallowed. Time to restock up on food, weapons and red shirts.
I recall a comment (perhaps in The Making of Star Trek) that the guidelines mentioned that the show would not show future Earth to avoid having to a)blow the budget on portrayals of future cities and whatnot and b)pin themselves down to particulars of future culture, politics, etc.
In a nutshell, my thesis was they plainly arnt military because of the lack of discipline. One radioactive cube, one BoP…and ESPECIALLY one crashed shuttle and and a command crew member falls apart…or several crew members in Galileo Seven.
Spock is the fucking XO! He gets no respect. And it plainly hasn’t turned around by Turnabout Intruder.
Even by TNG, put one android in command and suddenly Starfleet forgets how command works.
Also correct. In addition to reasons listed above, it was done to avoid conflict with the NBC censors … which is why the stories were set in space to begin with. It allowed the freedom to address things like racism, militarism, and genocide through allegories.
For one thing, we’ll never take a story back there and therefore don’t expect to get into subjects which would create great problems, technical and otherwise. The “U.S.S.” on our ship designation stands for “United Space Ship” – indicating (without troublesome specifics) that mankind has found some unity on Earth, perhaps at long last even peace. If you require a statement such as one that Earth cities of the future are splendidly planned with fifty-mile parkland strips around them, fine. But television today simply will not let us get into details of Earth’s politics of STAR TREK’S century; for example, which socio-economic system ultimately worked out best. *
As I understand it, the bit about a “five year mission” is an inside joke about the feeling that they needed five years worth of shows to be successful in syndication after the show ended. As it turned out, three years was enough. But I’m sure nobody, not Roddenberry or Lucille Ball, thought it it would be the moneymaker it became.
*This is the President of the United Federation of Planets. Do not approach the Earth.
The transmissions of an orbiting probe are causing critical damage to this planet. It has almost totally ionized our atmosphere. All power sources have failed. All Earth-orbiting starships are powerless. The probe is vaporizing our oceans. We cannot survive unless a way can be found to respond to the probe.
Further communications may not be possible. Save your energy. Save yourselves.
Avoid the planet Earth at all costs.
Doesn’t add to this discussion, just what the thread title first made me think of…