s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: Star Trek: The Red Shirt

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Star Trek: The Red Shirt

The writers of Star Trek were faced with a problem. They wanted to add drama and pathos to their show by having the crew visit dangerous planets with hostile aliens, but they couldn't exactly kill off a member of their main cast every week. The solution? Include some nameless extra who beams down to a planet's surface along with the regular crew, then gets killed off before the next commercial break.

Thus was born the curse of the Red Shirt.

As a command officer, Kirk wears a gold uniform. Science and medical officers (such as Spock and Bones, respectively) wear blue. These three are the most common main characters to beam down to the surface of a planet. All that's left are engineering and security personnel, who wear red. I guess it makes sense to have a security officer beam down to the surface with you, but they do seem to have an awfully high mortality rate. (As the chief engineer, Scotty also wears red, but manages to dodge the curse by being back on the ship and by being a main character.)

This is, I think, all the background you need to enjoy this very funny video:


At February 26, 2009 9:09 PM, Blogger Petra said...

Also, the red shirts don't have last names. Never go down to an alien planet if you don't have a last name. Everyone knows that.

At February 28, 2009 6:48 PM, Blogger Ginsberg said...

I haven't seen that Trekies documentary you've referred to but I have read an academic article on "filking"--signing Star Trek-based parodies of well-known songs. So I guess this was a youtube filk, huh?

At March 02, 2009 1:15 PM, Blogger Katya said...

Petra - Nice reference. I'm hoping to cover Galaxy Quest at some point, too.

Ginsberg - Yes, that's "filking." It's actually the best one I've heard thus far, although my exposure to the genre isn't huge. (And you NEED to see Trekkies. And Trekkies 2.)


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