Robot Chicken Producer: Star Trek Not Expansive Enough For Special + But More Trek Sketches Soon |
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Robot Chicken Producer: Star Trek Not Expansive Enough For Special + But More Trek Sketches Soon July 16, 2011

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Humor,Trek Franchise,Viral Video/Mashup/Images , trackback

The stop motion animated comedy Robot Chicken often has Star Trek gags. However, even though they have done three dedicated Star Wars specials, the show’s co-creator says the Star Trek universe isn’t "expansive" enough to justify its own dedicated episode. But he does promise more Trek sketches are coming up soon. Details below, plus a video compilation of every Star Trek segment on Robot Chicken ever.


Matt Senreich: Star Trek Not Expansive Enough For Robot Chicken Special

Robot Chicken is now in its fifth season on Adult Swim. Over that time they have done three episodes dedicated to Star Wars. While promoting this week’s DVD release Robot Chicken Star Wars 3, Robot Chicken co-creator Matt Senreich spoke to io9 and explained why they have no plans to do a dedicated Star Trek special:

[Star Trek is] not as deep and expansive of a universe, whereas Star Wars as a universe — there’s so many worlds and planets and different creatures that are roaming around. You know, it’s different species interacting with different species. Star Trek was the character of the week, if you will. It wasn’t until later that you had them interacting in the political spectrum, with all the different races and beings at the same time. It’s really just the crew that you’re following, and those are the only ones you know the stories of. How much do you know about those other [characters] and races? Very little. In Star Wars, you’re passing an alien on the street, and you’re like, "What’s that guy’s story? He looks really cool." You just wonder where they’re all going and what’s happening.

Here is the trailer for Robot Chicken: Star Wars III:

Senreich Promises More Star Trek Sketches To Come In Season 5

Firstly, THIS IS NOT A DISASTER. Of course there is no reason to expect Robot Chicken to give Star Trek the same treatment as Star Wars. And even without special episodes, Robot Chicken has done lots of funny Star Trek sketches (see below). However Senreich’s comments are a stark contrast with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane who has also made three dedicated Star Wars specials, but has often said he wants to make a Star Trek spoof (possibly of Wrath of Khan) if he can work it out with CBS and Paramount.  And I can’t help but respectfully disagree with Senreich that the Star Trek universe does not offer enough depth or an expansive universe. With over 700 episodes and 11 feature films (including a recent very popular film), I think there is plenty of material to mine for a special.

Today I reached out (via Twitter) to ask Senreich and Robot Chicken co-creator Seth Green about Star Trek and Robot Chicken. Senreich replied – here is the exchange:

@TrekMovie: @SethGreen do you agree with @wizmatts that Star Trek is not “deep and expansive” enough for full Robot Chicken special?

Matthew Senreich (@wizmatts): @TrekMovie we have plenty of star trek sketches coming…especially in the second half of season 5

@TrekMovie: @wizmatts @SethGreen Good to hear and love your Star Trek sketches, but don’t get comment on Trek not good enough for special like Star Wars

Matthew Senreich: @TrekMovie @SethGreen We LOVE Star Trek. Great Spock sketch coming up. Promise!

@TrekMovie: @wizmatts Great!, but still writing up article on this. Glad to hear about sketches, but can’t agree universe not deep enough for special

Matthew Senreich: @TrekMovie haha. Happy to talk to you about it. It’s a great universe, I love it and a huge fan, but an RC special doesn’t work as well.

So maybe Star Trek doesn’t get a Robot Chicken special. That’s OK. The Robot Chicken guys are still showing the love, but it would be nice. Late last year Jeri Ryan said she did some voice work for Robot Chicken, so perhaps there is a Star Trek: Voyager gag coming up in that mix with the real 7 of 9 voicing.

I look forward to the second half of Robot Chicken’s fifth season, which kicks off on Adult Swim in October.

Every Robot Chicken Star Trek sketch To Date

As noted, during its five seasons (almost) on the air Robot Chicken has done many Star Trek segments. And here they all are for you to enjoy.

Bloopers in Space ("Junk in the Trunk" – 2/05)

Sci-Fi Convention War ("A Piece of the Action"- 4/05)

2 Kirks, a Khan and a Pizza Place ("The Deep End"  – 4/05)

No Power ("The Munnery" –  9/06)

Star Trek Experience ("Boo Cocky" – 9/08)

It’s The Law Asshole ("Losin’ the Wobble" – 11/07)

Fridge Beam ("Chirlax" – 10/08)

Le Wrath di Khan ("Two Weeks Without Food"  – 1/09)

Snerkel, Snerkel ("We Are a Humble Factory" – 7/09)

Star Trek Opening ("Robot Chicken’s DP Christmas Special" – 12/10)

Red Shirt ("Kramer vs Showgirls"- 1/11)

…and looking forward to more Star Trek sketches in the second half of Robot Chicken’s season 5.

What do you think?

I think there are lots of strange and recognizable Star Trek aliens and characters to explore for comedy. What are the Gorn like in their off hours? Do Talosians realize their heads look like big butts? Are there Klingon standup comedians? I don’t know, I’m not a comedy writer, but I am sure there is lots of fun stuff for a dedicated special.

What do you think? Vote in the latest poll asking if you are interested in a Robot Chicken Star Trek special. And do you have any suggestions for sketches for the Robot Chicken guys? If so sound off below.

Want Robot Chicken Star Trek special?

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1. davidfuchs - July 16, 2011

I don’t think that’s a fair statement just because the expanded universe /= Star Wars for the vast majority of the public. Even the Robot Chicken spoofs don’t delve that much into it, so it seems like a false line to draw.

2. Darkwing - July 16, 2011

Now I have to Youtube all of these because I’m in Canada.

3. PK - July 16, 2011

How about the 2009 movie.. Lots there Z1

4. ensign jack - July 16, 2011

Robot chicken star wars was awesome, maybe they would reconsider a trek special if family guy did one

5. April Hebert - July 16, 2011

I was on duty as Commander Tahryn at the Experience the day the two Seths (Green & McFarlane) came through the ride and took the backstage tour. My daughter (big Seth Green fan) invited herself on the tour and was tickled pink to be in his presence. They were cool and seemed to have a great time. Their homage to the Experience was obviously based on that visit. I loved it!

6. Vultan - July 16, 2011

Really? Hundreds of hours of television (including five live-action series and an animated series), eleven movies, a few hundred novels and comic books, and Star Trek isn’t expansive enough?

Obviously, this guy isn’t a fan.

7. Larry Nemecek - July 16, 2011

Of all the day-to-day stories you’ve done that I’ve caught, Anthony, this one leaves me the most speechless. Same as the supposed fact that the “700-club” of hours Prime Universe is too large & clunky to continue using.

8. AzarN - July 16, 2011

Complete rubbish. The Trek universe is every bit as expansive as the Star Wars one, if not more so. The REAL problem is that Trek still doesn’t have as much broad, general exposure as Wars, and thusly, less people will get the jokes.

9. Hat Rick - July 16, 2011

RC producers, you don’t know what you’re missing.

10. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire. - July 16, 2011

Ok Robot Chicken. Quit being Chicken ok. There. I said it. lol.

11. ety3 - July 16, 2011

Sorry, but I think Senreich is right.

Every series/film of Star Trek is on a starship (or space station, DS9). They visit other planets, sure, but those places are not entrenched in the public-at-large consciousness enough to make copious amounts of sketches worthwhile.

They could do a segment on Vulcan, a couple with Klingons, maybe a Gorn … and then what? You may love the Tholians or the Jem’Hadar, but the vast majority of people out there have no clue who they are. I’d laugh and so would you, but we’re the minority.

Sure, you might think they could stick to the starship format and have their humor by visiting one oddball planet after another, interspersed with hijinks on board like a kind of extended travelogue. The problem is that’s too linear.

Robot Chicken, for lack of a better word, is random. It’s ADD in stop motion. The show works best when it whips from one thing to something else entirely different. As I said before, nearly all of Star Trek takes place on or around Federation ships and that’s just too narrow for this particular show.

12. vantheman77 - July 16, 2011

Not expansive enough? I guess they haven’t watch the spin-offs then. It seems to me that they like Star Wars more than Star Trek.

13. Karen - July 16, 2011

It isn’t too narrow, I’d say its TOO expansive, which the above actually points out. The Vulcans, Romulans, Cardassians, Ferengi, Betazoids, Borg, Klingons and Bajorans are deatl with extensively. I mean, we know, from the series and movies (not just fan stories, books, etc) their biology, philosophy, political systems, history, motivations, religions… We know more from one episode about the Tholians more than we could tell (again, from the movies alone) about the Wookies.

Star Wars is easy to spoof in a lengthy special BECAUSE you can tell the entire story, in one long shot. Because, in the end, that is what it is, ONE story. If you were to do a full length episode of Trek, what do you do? The entire first series? Pick one of the 11 movies?

It isn’t ‘not expansive enough’, it is TOO expansive to contain in a single special.

14. Karen - July 16, 2011

Oh, and I can think of dozens of tropes, sayings, cliches that come from Trek that any man on the street can identify.. but again, they come from 5 different series, and 11 movies. Hard to stick them all into one special and have anything coherent.

15. MvRojo - July 16, 2011

I have to agree with the RC producers. Trek just doesn’t have a ton of iconic scenes, probably since there’s to much material. For example, they’ve been able to do at least a half dozen scenes based simply on the cantina scene in Star Wars. Since there’s only the six movies that have been excessively seen by audiences, every scene is pretty iconic.

16. CaptBrando - July 16, 2011

what in the hell is Robot Chicken

17. Bob Tompkins - July 16, 2011

I think it’s more a matter of talent. Seinrich & Co. just doesn’t have the chops to do it… They specialize in 20 second to 2 minute skits, their forte.

MacFarlane & Company, OTOH found exactly the right formula to make it work for Family Guy. No one can say it can’t be done…

18. Snugglepuff - July 16, 2011

WOW, shows you how much he knows about the Star Trek universe.

” It’s really just the crew that you’re following, and those are the only ones you know the stories of” – no shit sherlock. Thats why their the MAIN CHARACTERS. Same with star wars. You only knew the back story of the main characters.

19. MJ - July 16, 2011

Hey Robot Chicken guy:

I have never watched one of your lame efforts. You are 2nd rate and not worthy of my time — so the feeling is fracking mutual!

20. CanadianShane - July 16, 2011

It says to me the he’s just doing lip service to Star Trek and really isnt a fan, because if he was he would instantly see how deep Star Trek is and would be able to access that depth of material for a show on Trek.

21. Anthony Pascale - July 16, 2011

Guys this is light hearted article on a comedy show that has already done fun trek stuff. No need to go all Angry Trekkie.

22. Jim Nightshade - July 17, 2011

Ridiculous to say treks not expansive enuf-hell we know a lot more about many alien species,from trek even if most are humanoid–but i guess the general public isnt as familiar–trek is way deeper than wars will ever be–Hey April their star grek experience sketch is one of my tewo faves-i shoulda known cmd tahrn would have been involved in inspiring them–the wrath of khan opera is my other fave-

23. Chasco - July 17, 2011

Could someone please post the videos on a site that understands what WORLD WIDE web means? As per, those of us not in the US just get a “you can’t watch this, nyah nyah” message.


24. Cygnus-X1 - July 17, 2011

Matt Senreich isn’t wrong, he’s just not articulating the reason well.

It’s not that the Star Trek universe isn’t “expansive” enough—any Trek fan knows this. It’s that there aren’t as many emblematic or iconic scenes in Star Trek as in Star Wars (as ety3 has correctly pointed out), AND, those Trek scenes that would qualify for a good Robot Chicken sketch aren’t as well known as the many, cinema-classic Star Wars scenes.

However, Wrath of Khan WOULD work really well as a RC episode, and being that it’s a movie quite well known by non-Trekkies, it would be worth doing. And I hope they do it.

But the fact that there aren’t as many iconic or emblematic scenes in Trek as in Star Wars that a show like Robot Chicken can parody should be a wake-up call to Trek writers who believe that their writing cannot be improved upon. Not mentioning any names….

25. MJ - July 17, 2011

@23. Trust me Chasco, it is a benefit not being able to see these videos, most of which are not very funny and which don’t really get Trek. Too bad they work in the U.S. — that would be great if they didn’t work here as well.

26. Bernd Schneider - July 17, 2011

I don’t even know Robot Chicken and I’m not sure if I’d care for it. And for the record, I do like Star Wars.

But the reasoning “Star Trek is not as deep and expansive a universe as Star Wars… and is about characters of the week… that we know little about” is arguably the single most untrue statement ever about the two franchises. It is a testimonial of ignorance and latent animosity.

27. Mikeypikey - July 17, 2011

Makes sense, robot chicken and star wars are both for kids only ;-)

28. John - July 17, 2011

I agree with AzarN:
Complete rubbish. The Trek universe is every bit as expansive as the Star Wars one, if not more so. The REAL problem is that Trek still doesn’t have as much broad, general exposure as Wars, and thusly, less people will get the jokes

29. Holger - July 17, 2011

Light-hearted article and TV show or not, the Robot Chicken guy simply hasn’t done his homework. What he says is not true.

30. Holger - July 17, 2011

But on the other hand, I don’t think we Trekkers are in a position to demand a Trek special of RC. That’s the RC guys’ decision.

31. TheKeeper - July 17, 2011

That’s the most bogus comment ever! Maybe it’s your comedy team of writers who are lacking in genius to write truely funny Trek paradies…after all Trek has an even longer history of being poked at then Star Wars, and for the most part those scketches have been even funnier then the lame Star wars ones I’ve seen.

32. Toonloon - July 17, 2011

There is so much scope in Trek. Why don’t they just take the them of a Star Trek Marathon, and then pick up anything from all the produced Trek. There’s SOOOOOO much they could satirise. Shat vs Pine, first woman captain loses spaceship, first african american captrain, red shirt deaths, the Gorn… jeez, I could write 5 Robot Chicken scripts on Trek before I had to start watching Trek to research.

33. Macnair - July 17, 2011


I wouldn’t mind seeing them, but I ain’t going to the bothe r of scouring YT for them.

34. dixonium - July 17, 2011

@13: You’re spot on. Well put.

35. Christopher Roberts - July 17, 2011

Let’s see…

6 motion pictures, 3 (or 4?) cartoon series, 2 straight to video Ewok movies and a Holiday Special.


11 motion pictures, 5 television series, plus a cartoon one

You’re right! Star Trek simply isn’t expansive enough… Bring on another TV series!


36. Kirk, James T. - July 17, 2011

I paused for a moment before reading the comments after the story.

The Star Trek universe is expansive but Senrich has a point although I think he didn’t explain it very well.

Star Trek was never really about the universe, it was about the trio of Kirk Spock and McCoy on a HUMAN adventure. The aliens encountered in Star Trek were just a means to an end whereas in Star Wars they existed and we got to see more of each society.

If you think about it, anyone outside of fan-dom probably only know a couple of alien races from Star Trek; The Klingons and Romulans… When you see it from a general audience standpoint you understand that the Star Trek universe isn’t as expansive as it really is, regardless of all the TV shows and movies.

37. Sebastian S. - July 17, 2011

Really?? 45 years of Star Trek, 700 hours of shows, goodness knows how many books, and it’s not ‘deep or expansive’ enough??

Of course, the RC producers are free to parody whatever they wish, but that comment was flat-out wrong. I can understand if they’re just not into Star Trek; just say so. But no need to cover it with a patently ridiculous, ill-informed remark like that.

38. Commander - July 17, 2011

“[Star Trek is] not as deep and expansive of a universe, whereas Star Wars as a universe — there’s so many worlds and planets and different creatures that are roaming around.”

Yeah, right…..Someone who says something stupid like this never has watched Star Trek.

Totally agree with the post above me (#35). The core core of SW are the 6 movies and maybe the new Clone Wars series (just 3 seasons at this point).

ST has hundreds of episodes and the movies. TNG alone has told more stories than all of SW at this point.

Okay, important Alien Species in SW (movies & TV not countig comics & books) would be maybe Yodas species, Ewoks, Wookies, Mon Calamari, Hutts, those Trade Federation guys, Twilek, Gungans, Rodians and the species of that Asohka girl in Clone Wars (maybe two or three additional species i can’t think of at the moment). The rest (and most of the main cast) are mostly humans.

So, that’s around 12 important species beside humans, (if you count some of the more prominent background aliens [like Jabbas guards, some Jedis, or some cantina patrons of Episode IV] you might have total numbers of around 20 – 30].

Okay, in Star Trek we’ve got Vulcans, Romulans, Klingon, Ferengi, Cardassians, Bajorans, Andorians, Borg, Dominion (Vorta, Founders, Jem’Hadar), Xindi (aquatic, primate, reptilian, humanoid), Suliban, Hirogen, Vidians, Kazon, Q, Bolians, Trill, Tellarites, Betazoids, Species 8472, Gorn, Tholians, Orions.

So, that’s a total number of 23 (28 if you count every single alien species from the Dominion & Xindi) alien species who play very prominent roles in Trek. And not counting Aliens of the week who just showed up once or twice (Pakled, Yridians, Anticans, Selay, Sheliak, Antideans, Talarians, Boslik, Ktarians, Mugato, Salt Vampire, all the prisoners of Rhura Pente, dozens of species from Voyager, DS9 & Enterprise, etc. the list goes on and on.)

And in Trek you even learn a lot about most of these species.In SW you don’t learn much about most species. For example what did you learn in Episode VI about Mon Calamari? Nothing except they have big Starships and oppose the Empire. In Trek you learn about culture & politcs about most species.

Guess who’s got the larger universe.

39. Towaway - July 17, 2011

“Not expansive”…..deep and meaningful words from the producer of a 15 minute long basic cable TV show.

40. MagicDan - July 17, 2011

Personally I think what he means by “Not expansive enough” is not expansive enough for Robot Chicken to make fun of.

It’s hard to combine the Star Trek universe with their type of humor.

Plenty of broad general humor to make in the Star Wars universe that most people would “get”, but most of the humor they could make from Star Trek would be funny only to us.

41. ety3 - July 17, 2011

#37 —

You’re thinking like a fan.

We can all name off a bunch of alien races and worlds that we’ve seen on the show and in the films. But the public-at-large would have no clue about the vast majority of them.

Ask a non-fan to name some alien races from Trek. Here’s what the answer might sound like: “Klingons, Vulcans, um, Romulans. They look like Vulcans ‘cuz they’re related, I think. The Borg. You know, ‘resistance is futile.’ That green lizard guy Kirk fought. Oh, those hot green slave girls. I seem to remember some funny, big-eared guys but I don’t remember their names.” If you’re looking to make a half-hour special about Trek, the preceding sentence would only net you six or seven sketches, and for Robot Chicken, that’s less than three minutes.

The Star Wars saga is one of the most watched series of films ever made, if not the most watched. Non-fans of Star Wars have at least seen the films and can understand references in that universe. Non-fans of Trek have probably seen episodes of TOS and TNG, maybe most of the films, but that’s about it. Star Wars is simply more ingrained in the culture than Star Trek (hard for me to say, as I consider myself more of a Trek fan than Wars fan).

In the end, it’s just smart producing. The producer of a TV show needs to know his audience and he knows that his wouldn’t get most of the jokes. (Never mind the narrow focus I pointed out previously.)

42. Dac - July 17, 2011

Hell, I’m willing to bet the vast majority of the public don’t know what Rodians or Ithorians are, or what planet Anakin fought Obi-Wan on, but that hasn’t stopped Robot Chicken in the past.

A robot chicken special is only 30 minutes long anyway, with 5 series and 11 movies to pull from (Hmm, how much has Star Wars got?) I’m sure they could cobble together enough material.

I think this is more a case of Paramount not wanting them to do it, much in the same way they wouldn’t let Family Guy do a Wrath of Khan movie.

43. Andy Patterson - July 17, 2011

Although I’ve watched some of Robot Chicken I think this is all really ‘speak’ for, ‘our target audience doesn’t really get Star Trek’.

44. MvRojo - July 17, 2011

#40. That’s a great explanation.

When there’s about a dozen clips from Trek (and that’s only what’s posted on this article), people can’t seriously claim they have no respect for or have never seen Trek.

45. Captain Braxton - July 17, 2011

@ #6

Totally agree

46. sean - July 17, 2011

It’s too bad he feels that way, because I thought their Khan opera was one of the best Trek spoofs I’ve ever seen. Not going to lose any sleep over it, but they probably could have made some decent money from DVD/Bluray sales to Trek fans.

That being said, I think he has it backwards. Star Wars is small enough and focuses on just a few characters, so it’s easier to do. Star Wars never gave me a sense of a huge universe. After all, they visit what, 3 planets total in the original trilogy? Just because there are a lot of aliens in the background of a scene doesn’t mean I have any sense of what those aliens are about. They’re essentially props. Star Trek, on the other hand, gave us thousands of species, and they’d barely explored *our* galaxy. I definitely had a greater sense of scale with Trek.

Of course, I never read the SW expanded universe novels, but I doubt the majority of the population has, either.

47. Karen - July 17, 2011

Then THAT is what they should’ve said. There are more identifiable moments to spoof off of and more non-geek knowledge of Star Wars than for Star Trek. I’d totally agree.

That’s not what he SAID. He said the universe wasn’t ‘expansive’, that it was all about the crew, and the ‘character of the week’ and that other races weren’t dealt with in detail, in contrast with Star Wars.

Whether your average audience member paid enough attention to notice, that’s simply wrong.

Star Wars is MUCH easier to do a full length spoof not just due to those recognizable moments and characters, many of which are NOT as recognizable as you think among those who aren’t SW fans, but because it isn’t expansive. It isn’t 5 series and 11 movies about a whole universe of characters and species, it is, in the end, a single narrative, one story about, in the end, one family. The rest are just support characters and extras.

48. Ensign RedShirt - July 17, 2011

11 films-hundreds of hours of tv…”not expansive enough”? I don’t have any problem with them not doing any Trek specials but that rationale makes zero sense.

49. Christopher Roberts - July 17, 2011

Which is more famous Vulcan or Alderaan?

We asked J.J. Abrams… and looked what it got us!


50. Christopher Roberts - July 17, 2011

;) :)

51. Mikey1091 - July 17, 2011

“Not expansive enough”….OK, would you care to explain to me how it is we know more about the Tholians (who got MAYBE four episodes of Trek) then we do about the Wookies, who were featured in not one, not two, not three, but FOUR MOVIES??? We know more about Trek species then we ever did about any single Wars species. PLUS the fact that Trek dealt with problems of today and how they may or may not be solved in the future! I don’t know about you, Senreich, but that sounds “expansive enough” to me!!!

52. richpit - July 17, 2011

What the tool producer is really saying is that he DOESN’T KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT STAR TREK to pull it off, but instead of saying that, he just claims that 45+ years of Star Trek isn’t “expansive” enough for his claymation show to spoof it.

Yeah, OK.

53. Red Dead Ryan - July 17, 2011

Unfortunately, “Star Trek” is indeed not expansive enough…….in the mainstream conciousness. “Star Trek” may have more detail in its character background and overall settings, but “Star Wars” is viewed as focusing on the SPIRIT of its universe, while Trek focuses on the TECHNICAL aspect of its own and as such, the mainstream are going to gravitate to something that is more emotionally expansive (“Star Wars”) rather than something that is more intellectually expansive (“Star Trek”).

Also, “Star Trek” is more serious in its subject matter while “Star Wars” often has lighter moments even during darker movies, like “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Revenge Of The Sith”.

“Star Wars” is considered to be the “king” of all science fiction, while “Star Trek” is thought of as “court jester” by the mainstream. When “Star Trek” is spoofed, its more often being made fun of because of the easy stereotypes as opposed to “Star Wars”, which is spoofed out of genuine love and respect.

54. JohnLocke - July 17, 2011

Not expansive enough? Seriously? Five tv shows, 11 movies, and hundreds of books/video games/comics and there isn’t enough to do a spoof? Sounds like the producer is the one who isn’t up for the job.

55. Pensive's Wetness - July 17, 2011

#54: whta if its because of cost. when Family guy did their Star Wars spoofs, did they have to both request premission to do it from Lucas Films AND pay them as well? it might simply be that Paramount ok’d the request for AS to do it but wanted too much money for the efforts. AS, as not offend paramount, is probably lying about to save face, for themselves as well as paramount so they can still do skits using paramount-owned imagry…

56. "Check the Circuit!" - July 17, 2011

The RC guys are classic Star Wars fanboys that think anything George Lucas serves up in a toy package is “cool.” “Ooo…let’s do a skit about this cool looking new droid and that bounty hunter third from the left of Boba Fett since we don’t anything about them.” They probably thought the prequels were art.

57. Canon Schmanon - July 17, 2011

Anybody thinking there isn’t enough Trek to spoof to fill an entire special is just practicing malarkey. All it takes is some imagination to do it, and the Robot Chicken guys have that. I think what they’re really saying is that Trek isn’t popular enough to warrant a dedicated special, but they’re too afraid to say that. But I would tend to agree with them if that is what they said, instead of the lame “not expansive enough.”

Besides, these guys are Star Wars fans more than they are Trek fans. Sad for them, but I still love their show most of the time.

58. Karen - July 17, 2011

That’s the irony. They possibly THOUGHT they were being tactful, rather than just saying that Star Trek isn’t as much a pop culture phenomenon as Star Wars, and buried in babble about how ‘expansive’ the universe was. Thing is, I’d agree with them, while there’s plenty of Star Trek tech, memes, etc, that are identifiable, it doesn’t beat (for spoof purposes) the Cantina scene, or Chewbacca’s weird roar or ‘let the wookie win’.

But as for spirit vs. tech, actually, Star Trek had a far more consistent (and achievable) philosophy behind it than Star Wars. The Force? Seriously, anyone expecting to see THAT enacted anytime soon? Compared to the idea of a peacekeeping and humanitarian armada, IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations), the essential humanism and idealism that fueled all of the series, Roddenberry’s vision. I can see Star Trek (science aside) happening LONG before I could see the Star Wars universe existing. And its a place I’d much rather live.

59. MJ - July 17, 2011

@53 ““Star Wars” is considered to be the “king” of all science fiction, while “Star Trek” is thought of as “court jester” by the mainstream”

Will all due respect RDR, you are Red Dead Wrong on this one. First of all, Star Wars is not thought of by the masses as serious science fiction — it is more in the space opera or space fantasy vain. Second of all, you are confusing William Shatner’s shtick and current buffoonery with the public’s opinion of Star Trek. The public thinks Shat is a Court Jester, not Star Trek.

In fact if Star Trek was thought of as “the Court Jester,” then it would obviously work much better than Star Wars for this Robot Chicken trailer-park-trash level of humor. But Star Wars, as a fun and entertaining, but, in the end, rather silly story, is much better labeled as the Court Jester of sf&f films.

60. Vultan - July 17, 2011


“Star Wars” is considered to be the “king” of all science fiction…”

Thanks! I needed a good laugh!!!

61. Chuck - July 17, 2011

I’m probably alone on his one but, Robot Chicken sucks. That Trek is not a major element of this turd worthy franchise is something to be proud about.

62. Vultan - July 17, 2011

By the way, the “king” of sci-fi films is—and as far as I’m concerned will always be—2001: A Space Odyssey.

63. MJ - July 17, 2011

@62. Agree 100%

64. Karen - July 17, 2011

Well, it is telling that the very term ‘Space Opera’ was COINED by George Lucas, and used, by him, to describe Star Wars.

65. MJ - July 17, 2011

@61 “I’m probably alone on his one but, Robot Chicken sucks. That Trek is not a major element of this turd worthy franchise is something to be proud about.”

You are not alone — you actually right on the mark here. This is that same crap brand of humor that is in the low brow “Celebrity Death Match,” cartoons, where people are dismembered to a cheering audience. It is humor of the lowest common denominator.

66. MJ - July 17, 2011

@64 “Well, it is telling that the very term ‘Space Opera’ was COINED by George Lucas, and used, by him, to describe Star Wars.”


67. VulcanFilmCritic - July 17, 2011

Oh, so we are going to strong-arm some Star Wars fan-boys into making a movie about Star Trek that they don’t really want to write?

Please, let’s not go there.

68. Karen - July 17, 2011

Oh, I would really rather they didn’t, to be honest.

69. MJ - July 17, 2011

@68. Agreed, Karen. VulcanFilmCritic (@67), what we really want is for Seth Green and company is too keep making their low brow Stars Wars trash humor episodes and forget about Trek entirely.

Robot Chicken — please go away from Trek — your lame franchise is not worthy of our time.

70. Green-Blooded-Bastard - July 17, 2011

Star Wars isn’t a universe…it’s a Galaxy…Far, far away at that.

71. Robert Paulson - July 17, 2011

The 2009 movie was a giant joke! It was just live action RC!!

72. The TOS Purist aka The Purolator - July 17, 2011

All I can say is…this stuff about Star Trek not being “expansive enough” completely contradicts Abrams’ reasoning. According to Abrams, Star Trek’s universe was too big and “too restricting.”

I think this guy just isn’t a Star Trek fan…and that’s why they don’t really have the knowledge to do any sketches. Their Star Trek sketches don’t show a lot of knowledge for Star Trek.

73. p'trick - July 17, 2011

hmm, sound like Robot Chicken producers have the same low opinion of TREK that JJ Abrams and crew had.

maybe if JJ isn’t available EVER, Paramount Pictures has discovered a new TREK-hating producer to make the next TREK-film?

74. p'trick - July 17, 2011

oh, i did post my message (#73) with a smile…

75. Khan was Framed! - July 17, 2011

I could write a RC Star Trek special in one day, while at work, doing my job at the same time .

The statements above are ridiculous; Star Trek has way more characters, planets, plots & ships to make fun of than Star Wars.

It has hundreds of hours of material to use, Star Wars had only 6 movies.

These comments smell of a writing team that is in bed with George Lucas.

That whole statement about wanting to see more about the aliens on the streets in Star Wars is idiotic; they are background characters, nobody cares about them!
Star Wars has wasted tons of time in books, video games, etc. on characters such as this, who don’t really matter. I don’t need to know the back story of the Rancor trainer, thanks!

Star Trek has thankfully kept it mostly to the primaries, who have way more to poke fun at than some random alien in the Cantina.

Frankly the RC Star Wars stuff isn’t very funny anyway, because they are always playing it safe so they don’t insult Lucas.

These guys are just throwing out excuses cause they are Lucasfilm drones now.

Anthony, I throw down the gauntlet here; if the RC writing team really can’t come up with a Trek script, please give them my email address & I will send them one.

76. Daoud - July 17, 2011

@61/65. Spot on. Not being parodied by Robot Chicken… (what is that, a third rate stop-motion animation with little to no production values, on a second rate cable channel called The Cartoon Network?)… is no big loss. I mean, who cares?
Of course, when Robot Chicken takes on…. Space:1999, or Battlestar Galactica (either telling of the tale), or Babylon 5, get back to me on this.
Oh, and in Robot Chicken, isn’t it true that Luke and Leia do the nasty?

77. Jeyl - July 17, 2011

“[Star Trek is] not as deep and expansive of a universe, whereas Star Wars as a universe there’s so many worlds and planets and different creatures that are roaming around.”

– Tholians
– Gorn
– Vulcans
– Klingons
– Romulans
– Changelings,
– Cardassians,
– Q Continuum,
– Ferengi
– Horta
– Species 8472
– The Borg
– Pakled
– Vorta
– Deltans

There’s so much that can be done with this list. These aren’t mere unnamed aliens who’s sole popularity was saying “It’s a trap!” and magically shooting off their gun when they weren’t supposed to shoot at all. The species in Star Trek were well defined and developed characters in the Star Trek universe. They’re also ripe with lots of comic potential. Odo for example transformed into a gawddang toy top. How can you not write Robot Chicken comedic sketches with characters that have those abilities?

“It’s really just the crew that you’re following, and those are the only ones you know the stories of.”

And the original trilogy wasn’t always following Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO? What was Admiral Ackbar’s story? I don’t know. He’s just an admiral who gives out orders. No story behind him. Dukat on the other hand is light years more expansive than any secondary Star Wars character.

“How much do you know about those other [characters] and races? Very little. In Star Wars, you’re passing an alien on the street, and you’re like, “What’s that guy’s story? He looks really cool.” You just wonder where they’re all going and what’s happening.”

The big difference here is that the races in Star Trek were able to have entire stories devoted to them. Darmok for example had Picard trying to learn how to communicate with an alien captain he couldn’t understand. This is a pretty huge point contribution to your “species interacting with different species” quote that Star Wars never touched.

I’m sorry, but I just don’t find your reasoning to be valid. You say Star Trek doesn’t have this when it clearly does, and Star Wars has this when it really doesn’t. And even if it did have it, Star Trek did it better.

78. Christopher Roberts - July 17, 2011

Star Wars is a fairytale set in space, with some concession to an adult audience. It started out as a dystopia, with a minority striving to return to the old ways. Then the prequels came along, showing how it all went bad… Republics turning into Empires and heros falling.

Star Trek is about ordinary people who serve in an extraordinary service in our future. Very little, if any concession was made to a younger audience. It remained a utopian vision throughout each series, with darker elements arising from outside – challenging humanity to hold onto its sense of optimism.

79. Khan was Framed! - July 17, 2011

@21 -Anthony Pascale “Guys this is light hearted article on a comedy show that has already done fun trek stuff. No need to go all Angry Trekkie.”

C’mon Anthony, they posted insulting comments in response to questions from a Star Trek fan site; there is EVERY need to go “angry trekkie” in response to that.
Especially when it comes from Star Wars geeks.

And thanks for the sketch idea: “Angry Trekkie” will be the first sketch in the script I send them! :)

80. MJ - July 17, 2011

@74 “oh, i did post my message (#73) with a smile…”

You must mean the post that I am completely ignoring.

(no smile here either)

81. Magic_Al - July 17, 2011

Star Wars is six movies that have been seen repeatedly featuring many undeveloped background characters whose stories can be made up by Robot Chicken. That’s what most of their bits are, what if so-and-so had a funny backstory? It’s builds on the already funny fact that these minor characters with one line or no lines have their own action figures just because Star Wars is popular enough to create demand for everything in it.

Star Trek is hundreds of hours and harder to mine for the same kind of comedy. The iconic Star Trek characters are pretty well developed already and so it’s hard to make up completely different comedic personalities for them, the way Robot Chicken created its own Boba Fett and Emperor personalities out of their memorable but brief screen time in the movies. (For example, the version of Uhura in the bit they did is not that funny.) The background characters in Trek who might be more open to interpretation are not as recognizable to everyone because Star Trek ran so long and is divided into so many shows.

82. Christopher Roberts - July 17, 2011

72. “All I can say is…this stuff about Star Trek not being “expansive enough” completely contradicts Abrams’ reasoning. According to Abrams, Star Trek’s universe was too big and “too restricting.””

Not particularly directed at the OP, but rather the quotation. I never understood that reasoning and I find it sad nobody with a more vested interest in Star Trek couldn’t see that as a challenge. To revitalise that old universe, by reintroducing elements one piece at a time… instead of drawing a line under it all, starting again with a new one and stretching credibilty by rapidly reassembling the most iconic parts in a single adventure.

For all its success, the last film changed so much stylistically, I have to wonder what newcomers expect to see when they check out previous versions of Star Trek. Even that injecting a more “Star Wars” flavour, taking away the internal consistencies like how long it takes even somebody brilliant to become Captain, and an in-universe design ethic that flowed backwards and forwards from TOS, will ultimately leave the 40 priceless years prior to JJ Abrams in hands of an ever decreasing number of fans. That deeply disturbs me.

83. Christopher Roberts - July 17, 2011

Woo-hoo! A magic number 80. It’s how many episodes of the Original Series there are.

Or 79. if you’re going by the number originally broadcast. A number I also own in this thread! :)

84. Christopher Roberts - July 17, 2011

I should also have complained about the sacrificing of “sacred cows” in my little speech above too. Destroying Vulcan if it turns out to be just for a cheap summer thrill and has no lasting ramifications. Back to business as usual, with reimagined TOS scenarios to follow, and a new look revised ship… while deminshing one iconic Star Trek race.

85. Jack - July 17, 2011

Holy thin-skinned, you guys.

They’ve done Trek. A bunch of it.

How many people, other than us, have watched all 8 trillion episodes of all the series to get the potential in-jokes (for those saying Trek is plenty expansive) — whereas, yeah, even just the original three Star Wars movies, and the basic story (and that’s important), are well-known enough by the under 45 crowd to generate a 30-minute special of inane little sketches.
You don’t need to have studied hundreds of hours of film to recognize the secondary characters or get the jokes. There aren’t all sorts of peripheral yet well-known little side characters (in Trek) that they can easily riff on.

And there’s also the geek demographic — there are probably more Star Wars geeks among those who watch their darned show. And it sounds like most of those commenting here don’t like the show or haven’t seen it. So, yeah, why would they make a dedicated Star Trek special?

And what would the story be? One of the movies? An episode? Heck, Family Guy has had loads of little Trek jokes — but, even though they’ve said Paramount won’t let them, I don’t think there’s enough comedy potential — or interest from people other than hardcore Trek Fans — there to do a full-length, shot by shot, scene by scene parody of a Trek film. All the aging cast and Geritol jokes have already been made, decades ago. They’re great movies (some of them), but they’re very much of their time. There are plenty of other great movies and franchises that aren’t getting full-length Robot Chicken specials either.

And the Khan opera thing was funny (and, yeah, they did the ENTIRE film, well, in under two minutes) and clever. And even that seemed a little long for RC, but yeah.

Bottom line, I just think Star Wars better lends itself to (loving) mockery. And a hell of a lot more people have seen Star Wars (and that’s no insult to Trek)

And, we don’t seem to take too well to the mocking of Trek anyway, so this is probably a good thing…

Maybe if these new Abrams flicks are epic, they’ll be getting parodied some day.

86. Kirk, James T. - July 17, 2011

I’m dumfounded at the idiotic, short sighted, mindless fan-boy rants that are going on within this conversation. For god sake grow the hell up!

It is beyond belief that some Star Trek fans think this way.

Without properly thinking about what Star Trek IS, fans have jumped head first with emotions blazing not thinking… Star Trek was ALWAYS about the HUMAN ADVENTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From start to finish Star Wars was about a galactic war that involved all kinds of different alien races, the classic tale between good and evil. Star Trek was, is and has never EVER been about just good and evil.

Where I think RC has it wrong is blindly stating that the Star Trek universe isn’t as expansive – an opinion I feel that has been taken in this conversation to mean something different to what he actually meant.

I think what he is saying is that Star Trek isn’t known for it’s expansive universe of aliens but known more for it’s fantastic character driven plots that explore not an alien race but the workings of the Enterprise crew’s collaborative mind to get out of this or that situation even if that is dealing with a race like the Borg or Cardassians.

The 2009 movie, of which I felt more than any of the spin-offs and movies got back to the basics of what makes good Star Trek good, has nothing to do with this topic but has somehow been brought into this what can only be described as a childish mess of rants as somehow equal to a show that is barely noticed by the majority – it’s complete nonsense and just goes to show how mindless a lot of so-called fans are.

If this kind of nit-picking nonsense is what it means to be a Star Trek fan then I certainly am unbelievably saddened by the remarks made not just here but on other topics on this website and other sites around the internet – the mindless few that believe Star Trek is an intricately woven timeline that can’t be deviated from, the “fans” that pick at every thread until it isn’t enjoyable anymore – you lot are pathetic and have in the long run given Star Trek fans the reputation the vast majority of decent fans who enjoy Star Trek for what it is do not deserve.

87. CanadianShane - July 17, 2011

Hey Anthony, this article really tapped into the Star Trek vs Star Wars zeitgeist, wow!!!

88. Kirk, James T. - July 17, 2011

besides, put simply – Star Trek before JJ Abrams dragged it into the mainstream with a fantastic and well-deserving of the name movie was never that popular outside a dedicated band of followers even with run of the mill geeks and thus the alien races beyond Klingons, Romulans, Khan and perhaps The Borg would barely be known by a large enough audience to get the kind of comedy Robot Chicken delivers on.

Face up to it, Star Trek is an expansive universe that has remained unexplored by anyone but a diminishing number of loyal fans where as Star Wars has remained a constant source of relevance to shows like Robot Chicken, Family Guy and others because Lucas made it a point to sell the universe rather than a specific group of characters.

Star Wars is a completely different universe, it’s been explored by a larger group of people and through tons of merchandise. Star Trek isn’t that – Star Trek is about the people not the universe there in, it’s our world through their eyes, Star Wars is a fantasy set in a galaxy far far away and through toys, books and video games its an established universe that continues to be explored.

If we want to see Star Trek’s universe to be seen as relevant and expansive then what needs to happen is that now we’re on page one of a new universe, CBS Consumer products need to get selling THAT universe by means of new merchandise from big brand companies like Hasbro – I see a Star Trek vault book is coming out, thats great but it’s going to take time for kids to engage with Star Trek as long as the movies and future TV shows tell stories that expand the universe in the way Star Wars has and that would mean trimming down the basic notion of Trek – to explore our world, ourselves through the CHARACTERS rather than “look at this cool alien, buy the toys and the books and learn more about him”

89. Bren (Destructor!!!) - July 17, 2011

Too damn right. You wouldn’t believe how many times lately I’ve come across the phrase “revenge is a dish best served cold” or some derivative. It’s probably trek’s most insidious contribution to the popular unconscious.

90. Toonloon - July 17, 2011

Everyone keeps forgetting about the Clone Wars cartoon and all the computer games. I think that might have something to do with Robot Chickens target demographic.

91. Brett L. - July 17, 2011

Yes, to be fair, Robot Chicken has done a good amount of Star Trek. And yes, at it’s core I understand that Senreich is alluding to how Trek was more crew/human focused where Star Wars was more about the funky and interesting aliens.

However, even if we gloss over the 700+ hours of the apparently insufficiently expansive Trek universe as well as the alien backstories that came with it (think of everything we know about the Klingons, Vulcans, Romulans, Andorians, and so on), Senreich’s argument doesn’t make any sense. On one hand, he implies it’s great to wonder about aliens “on the street” we don’t know anything about when it comes to Star Wars. On the other hand, it’s unfortunate that we have “too little” info on aliens in Star Trek, thus making it less “expansive.” It’s fine if Senreich prefers Wars over Trek, but when it comes to making your point, you can’t have it both ways.

It’s just illogical!

92. Christopher Roberts - July 17, 2011

84. Star Trek 2009 was brought into this I suspect, mainly because its makers blatantly thought in terms of how best to homagé Star Wars several times during the film…

93. Christopher Roberts - July 17, 2011

90. (continued) Did I say several times? I probably meant countless. LOL! That was before I’d even gotten to the point where producers confirmed it in audio commentary. With the likes of…

Prime Spock’s ship looking more like a refugee from “The Phantom Menace” than anything from Trek.

Luke/Kirk having parallels – their epiphany Tatooine moment, rewarded as novices at a single stroke, while others around them had to earn their positions the hard way (a real life aspect Trek had always made a quality to be admired).

Vulcan treated to be as expendible as Alderaan was. ‘Nuff said.

The Enterprise travels at hyperspace, instead of stars flying or streaking by.

94. MvRojo - July 17, 2011

#87. That quote (“revenge is a dish best served cold”) is ORIGINALLY from the book, “Dangerous Liaisons”, written in 1782.

Just sayin’.

95. Kirk, James T. - July 17, 2011


Star Trek 2009 may have paralleled Star Wars in part sure but is that such a bad thing? Star Wars has influenced cinema ever since 1977, it influenced Star Trek: The Motion Picture and you can’t say that the bar scene with McCoy in The Search for Spock wasn’t the Cantina in Star Wars. It was a landmark film which many writers and directors grew up with. Star Trek was basically Forbidden Planet and Wagon Train? Do you want to have a pop at Gene Roddenberry for playing homage to those TV series or recycling TOS episodes for TNG? Of course not because in your eyes Roddenberry is a saint.

He wasn’t, did he have a vision? Yes, was Star Trek original? Not really… It broke with TV tradition by having a black woman as a main cast member and you could say that it had influenced sci-fi/fantasy writers, including George Lucas but it was about as original as Star Trek 2009.

96. kietero - July 17, 2011

@93, you couldn’t be more wrong.

STAR WARS was a huge rip off of many children’s fairy tales, and a handful of Akira Kurasawa films, along with some Japanese anime. George Lucas, himself, even admitted that the story for Star Wars wasn’t original. If you look on the DVD extras for “Hidden Fortress,” you’ll find that he said that he basically ripped that story apart and made STAR WARS with it; his influence was that movies, and a handful of japanese anime, along with (cough-cough), STAR TREK.

STAR TREK was the real landmark! it broke major TV rules, not just having the first black person as a major character, but the first interracial kiss. it also set the format for many popular science fiction series, including BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (the original), and yes, even STAR WARS.

Roddenberry might not’ve been a saint, but he did manage to set the bar for science fiction entertainment. And case in point, NO SCI-FI TV SHOW has been as successful as STAR TREK. No one’s even come close. The very few that have fizzed out into nothingness, save for BSG. “Firefly” was about as close as you could get, but the fans kept that alive long enough for it to die a horrible death (no matter how good it was, and it was good!)

STAR TREK set culture and technology standards. STAR WARS inspired (yet another) religion.

STAR TREK is more far-reaching than STAR WARS will ever be. SW is kiddie entertainment with things that blow up and no real plot or story that hasn’t been seen since before the original came out in the 1970’s.

97. Mikeypikey - July 17, 2011

I’ve just realised something ( nothing to with robot chicken ), the powers that be are purposely holding back the next star trek movie a year so the third instalment will be out in 2016 , star trek’s 50th anniversary, ahhhh conspiracies !!!!

98. et - July 17, 2011

The biggest difference between Star Wars and Star Trek? Star Wars has six hours of material (OK, Thirteen if you count the prequels) and Star Trek has hundreds.

Result? Star Wars fans have watched those six (or thirteen) hours over and over and over again. They’re familiar with every last tiny detail, and “Robot Chicken” mines its jokes from those tiny details. There are a number of sketches based on just the bounty hunters we saw in “Empire.” Another is based on the fact that Prune Face (yes, that was his name) got his own action figure.

Because “Star Trek” has so much material, there are fewer little detailed observations the fans share. Maybe in “TWOK” or some of the more famous TOS episode — “Fight me, Jimmy boy! Fight me!” — but on the whole, we’re more familiar with the broad strokes.

Calling it “Less expansive” isn’t accurate, but Senreich’s point about wanting to know about each little alien in on the street in “Star Wars” is a product of studying a smaller amount of material more often.

99. Jack - July 17, 2011

93. Well said, James T. Some here seem to think Roddenberry invented the wheel — and the knowledge of how to make it (round) died with him.

89. Exactly — you’d have to dig through 700 plus hours… He’s not saying Star Wars is better for crying out loud, although maybe he thinks that. But he’s talking about digging for material for a 30 minute story with the kind of random comedy (and using instantly recognizable fringe characters) that RC does – and again, what would you base it on, a single episode? One of the movies? The original trilogy is just three movies. The RC audience knows the plots. And yeah, they do have a heckuva lot more aliens, planets, ships and random characters than the Star Trek movies — and there are silly things to mock. Heck, the stormtroopers have been fueling comedy bits for years — because, heck, anybody could be under there, and hey, they’re just going to work in the morning, like everybody else. Have you seen the Family Guy Star Wars flicks? They fondly skewer a lot of the plot points and mistakes from the originals. How would such treatment of Trek go over here?

Did you see the Khan opera bit? That was funnyish — and a minute and a half long.

We’re complaining about this guy not making a show that most here probably wouldn’t watch, or that they’d complain about. And earlier this weekend on this same site, the comments were dripping with disdain for local fringe theatre groups takes on Trek (gasp, one even had girls playing Kirk and Spock… and that started the lesbian jokes).

We watched a freakin’ TV show guys. We may like it better than some others who watched. We didn’t write the thing. We don’t have shares in it (unless some of you are major shareholders on Paramount or CBS). Heck, even the famous letter-writing campaign (“WE kept it on the air!”) was engineered by Roddenberry.

It was a show about humanity working together through differences and disagreements. And somebody says they liked Star Wars better as a kid, or that Star Wars is easier to parody, and we start gathering up an Internet posse.

100. dmduncan - July 17, 2011

So…you guys are upset that Robot Chicken is NOT making fun of Star Trek as much as Star Wars?

101. Red Dead Ryan - July 17, 2011

First of all, when I said that “Star Wars” is considered the “king” of science fiction it was in the context of the mainstream mentality. When you ask a guy on the street who isn’t a big sci-fi fan if he’s familiar with anything related to sci-fi, he’ll more often mention “Star Wars”. And if you mention to him “Star Trek”, he’ll ask “What’s Star Track?”.

Secondly, let’s not overestimate “Star Trek”s success. Only “The Original Series” and “The Next Generation” were huge tv successes. Those shows not only created/added fans, but they allowed sci-fi to find a niche on television. Shows like “Space:1999″, “Stargate” the original “Battlestar Galactica”, “The Outer Limits”, “Babylon 5″ and “The X-Files” were able to happen after TOS and TNG proved sci-fi can find a big audience. “Deep Space Nine” was a moderate hit show (ratings wise) while “Voyager” and “Enterprise” were only seen by die-hard Trekkies. None of the Trek movies have managed to conquer the big screen the way the “Star Wars” films have. J.J Abrams’ “Star Trek” was the first truly big-scope Trek film but based on the negative international box office numbers, much work is still needed to be done. On the other hand, the “Star Wars” films paved the way for not only the “Star Trek” films, but also movies such as “The Terminator”, “Lord Of The Rings”, “Avatar”, “Alien”,”The Matrix”, and others. In fact, “Star Wars” is more often cited as being the reason for directors making sci-fi movies than “Star Trek”. Not to mention that “Star Wars” has been a much, much bigger merchandise machine than Trek could ever hope to be. The worldwide recognition of “Star Wars” is far greater than that of “Star Trek”.

Thirdly, I’m actually glad that J.J Abrams added some “Star Wars” to “Star Trek”. It gave the film (and franchise) a kind of kinetic energy it hasn’t had for a long time. Plus, it needed to appeal to “Star Wars” fans to allow for the Trek fanbase to grow. “Star Wars” set the benchmark for space epics and so the new “Star Trek” producers were wise to take some of the ingredients that made “Star Wars” great and added them to “Star Trek”s palate. “Star Trek” had to stop looking inward at itself for inspiration since by 2005 it had become too full of itself, and needed to take ideas from outside sources, specifically the “Star Wars” movies.

102. Just My Two Cents - July 17, 2011

That’s a copout, Senreich. You really want us to believe that six movies (not counting EU, none of those characters have appeared in the specials — though some were planned and cut) is MORE expansive than six TV series and eleven movies? Nuh-uh.

103. Jack - July 17, 2011

102. The guy has a point. It’s not as deep and expansive a universe, at least what’s been shown – even with six TV series and eleven movies. The volume of hours has nothing to do with it. Hopefully the next Trek movies can really give us a sense of strange new worlds. Trek needs imagination.

104. Red Dead Ryan - July 17, 2011


Correct. “Star Trek” has never really done anything outside the box like “Star Wars” has. At least the prequels have shown us alien worlds like Felucia, Naboo, Mustafar, Kamino, Coruscant, etc. Species 8472 was the biggest missed opportunity in my opinion. The writers created a bad ass (truly) alien race. After a couple of episodes with them as the villians, the writers ended up humanizing them. I was okay with the truce, but the idea that Species 8472 would use genetic manipulation to pass themselves off as human was contrived and took away the mystery and uniqueness of the race.

105. CanadianShane - July 17, 2011

Hey Red Dead Ryan, I think in the end comparing the two franchises is like comparing apples and oranges. Star Trek is an ongoing, ever changing saga that i feel will be around for decades to come. Star Wars on the other hand has been coasting since 1983. Without the first 3 movies you wouldnt have had the next 3 movies. And can anyone says that those last 3 in anyway lived up to the 16 year hype that we dealt with leading up to The Phantom Menace, and will there be another 3 movies, i doubt it. This isnt to put down Star Wars, Star Wars doesnt have to be defended, its huge, but there different. Star Trek has been around for 45 years and it just might be around for another 45 yrs. I lived through the Star Trek Lives! era from 1972-79, the fans kept that show alive!! And can anyone give me an example of any show that was not a commercial success on NBC in the 60’s that took 10 years to make a movie still be around after all this time. And it just had its most successful movie of its franchise, Geez, the futures so bright I otta where shades. Star Wars on the other hand, has its cartoon and its legacy, thats it.

106. boborci - July 17, 2011

Totally get where they r coming from. RC not expansive enough to be referenced in Star Trek.

I Keeeeed!


107. CanadianShane - July 17, 2011

Dont get me wrong, I love Star Wars. But I was disappointed by the last 3 movies.

108. Chuckunit - July 17, 2011

The deuce you say? Please….the only thing in need of expansion is Matt’s imagination.

109. CanadianShane - July 17, 2011

boborci!!! hows the writing goin?

110. Jack - July 17, 2011

106. You guys are busy expansivizing, right?

111. ajd - July 17, 2011

Perhaps he is just not as big a fan of star trek as star wars…or maybe lucas is easier to get permission from….

Bottom line is he was tapdancing an answer to a very simple question. And the fact that Star Wars is easier to lampoon is actually a tribute to Trek. It is much easier to make fun of Clinton and Bush Jr than to make fun of an Obama or Bush Sr.

Know what I mean?

112. Barking Alien - July 17, 2011

Not as deep or expansive as STAR WARS?! You mean that thing that has 6 movies (not 11), 2 animated TV shows (not 5 TV shows and 1 animated series) and has been around since ’77 (not ’66 – ten more years).

I mean, I understand we have a space shuttle called Millen…oh wait that’s Enterprise.

Is he on crack?

113. 4 8 15 16 23 42 - July 17, 2011

First off, I love the Robot Chicken Star Wars sketches, as well as many others. I am also a Star Trek fan, however, and while I am not offended by the “not expansive enough” comment, I definitely do not agree. I think the attitude he’s expressing has more to do with what he thinks is popular enough for general audiences to ‘get’. The Star Trek franchise, taken as a whole, has plenty of material, but a lot of it may be considered the arcane domain of dyed-in-the-whole, borderline-wingnut Trekkies (not that that’s what I, personally, believe).

For example, all that crap (and I do mean crap!) about Sisko being the Prophet or whatnot is ripe to be made fun of mercilessly, IMHO. In the territory of storylines I actually enjoy, the Borg is a race that could also be mined for laughs at length.

Just consider the hilarious episode recap of TNG’s Justice that Wil Wheaton presented not long ago:
That alone, in all its low tech goodness, is proof enough that there’s plenty of grist for the comedy mill.

114. MJ - July 17, 2011

@106/Bob Orci: “Totally get where they r coming from. RC not expansive enough to be referenced in Star Trek.”

Agreed Bob. :-) Now how’s that script coming along?

115. MJ - July 17, 2011

@104 “Correct. “Star Trek” has never really done anything outside the box like “Star Wars” has.”


116. MJ - July 17, 2011

@101 “First of all, when I said that “Star Wars” is considered the “king” of science fiction it was in the context of the mainstream mentality. When you ask a guy on the street who isn’t a big sci-fi fan if he’s familiar with anything related to sci-fi, he’ll more often mention “Star Wars”. And if you mention to him “Star Trek”, he’ll ask “What’s Star Track?”.”

No doubt this is the case on the sleepy island of Victoria, BC. But for the bulk of people in urban North American locations, I think you’d be surprised by the amount of people would classify Star Wars into “kiddie space fantasies and cartoons” and who would also classify Star Trek as science fiction.

I kind of feel bad for the classic Star Wars fans here, who were old enough to see the original trilogy in theaters. They saw Star Wars when it was something grand! For the new generation of Star Wars fans, it has been reduced to kiddie space opera, with Episode 3 somewhat connecting with the original grand series, albeit still very weak.

The Star Wars Franchise hasn’t put out out anything worth Jack Shit for adult viewing since 1983, and that is a fact.

117. MJ - July 17, 2011

@90. “Everyone keeps forgetting about the Clone Wars cartoon and all the computer games. I think that might have something to do with Robot Chickens target demographic.”

Yea, their audience is the disaffected guy in his late teens through twenties who plays online video games, surfs for pourn, watches the kiddie Star Wars toons, loves both bathroom and violent humor, and who is kind of a-hole socially. :-)

118. Will_H - July 17, 2011

Um that’s crap. Star Trek is one of the most expansive universes out there. Where Star Wars seems needlessly expansive with way too much back story, Trek paints a broad picture of our future and has plenty of content to make fun of with action figures for an hour.

119. Anthony Thompson - July 17, 2011

In the “No Power” sketch, the Captain’s chair and navigation console are centered on the turbolift doors! DISASTER!!!

120. MJ - July 18, 2011

@120. Jesus, you must really hate Trek — the belch, fart, sex and gay jokes — you are proud of this?

121. P Technobabble - July 18, 2011

Sometimes less is more.
If you had loads of RC Trek-spoofs, they’d get mediocre and not funny. Getting them here and there makes them special, something to look forward to. The universe is not all about Star Trek, nor is it all about Trekkies. The RC folks may not get how rich and full the Trek universe is, but I think that’s beside the point — and that’s just their opinion, anyway, to which they are entitled to. We don’t have to agree with their opinion, but we can’t tell them how to run their business.

122. P Technobabble - July 18, 2011


“… to which they are entitled to…” is bad grammar, and one ‘to’ too many.
Should read, “… to which they are entitled…period.”

123. Damian - July 18, 2011

I actually always felt the other way around, that Star Wars was less expansive then Star Trek. To most of the general public, Star Wars is 6 movies. The hardcore fans get into the Clone Wars and the novels and all that jazz, but for me, a casual fan, it’s just 6 movies.

Star Trek has loads more on screen than Star Wars. 11 movies vs 6. 5 TV series AND and animated series instead of one animated series and a handful of TV specials. You also have a much wider variety of Star Trek fans then Star Wars. Really, Star Wars fans are pretty uniform. But you have all different kinds of Star Trek fans. You have fans that only like the original series, fans that only like the spin-offs, fans that only liked Abrams Trek, Deep Space Nine only fans, etc, etc. We are a much more expansive bunch. And we are every bit as rabid as Star Wars fans.

As an aside…is it just me or does it drive people here NUTS when ignorant people say Star TRACK. I was doing a yard sale this weekend and I’m still trying to sell my Columbia House VHS videos (God, I feel like such a moron for buying those, but that’s another story) and people would come up and say “Star Track.” I felt like saying “IT’S TREK, YOU IDIOT, NOT TRACK.” I should have because anyone that says Star Track is obviously not a fan and isn’t going to buy them anyway.

124. Daoud - July 18, 2011

It’s a linguistic thing. Many people pronounce short /e/, [ε:] as closer to [æ], especially when followed by [k]. No need to freak out over someone whose Trek sounds more like [tJæk] than [tJε:k]. I mean do you freak out of someone pronounces milk to sound more like melk?

125. Kirk, James T. - July 18, 2011

I think people are still missing the point, an expansive universe means nothing if people aren’t watching – in the case of Star Trek vs Star Wars, Star Wars has always maintained it’s relevance thus always having a fresh YOUNG audience to get into exploring it’s expansive universe. Star Trek had no such luck, it didn’t stay relevant it’s universe became very confined and in the end it only really appealed to a niche market of Trekkers.

Both universes are expansive, Lucas was just better at marketing his than Paramount/CBS was at marketing theirs.


Bob Orci, Hows the sequel coming along? Plllleeeeeeeease make an announcement that will blow us away at SDCC – I know your all teasing us at the moment with the scripts not done.

Am I right in guessing that Pramount/Bad Robot will have a panel at SDCC and it will indeed be made up from the entire cast and crew of the Star Trek sequel which will finally be given a title during a teaser trailer :D

Also I dunno if you have any say in who gets to make the toys for your Trek but lets get Hasbro into make Star Trek toys :)

126. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - July 18, 2011

That is right Bob Orci. Get RC back not NOT! even mentening them in the new Trek. That will show them. Lol.

127. VZX - July 18, 2011

I barely watch Robot Chicken as it is, so I guess I will never watch it again.

Not “expansive” enough? Wow. Just, wow.

I would say it’s many times more expansive than Star Wars.

128. Starfleet's Finest - July 18, 2011

HA!! I just got the strangest looks at work when I laughed at that one! Sorry that you made an awesome comment then hounded for sequel info…but I loved it!

Anywho, I really enjoy Robot Chicken, I think it’s absolutely hilarious and I adore the Star Trek sketches, (I turn fangirl everytime they come on and I’m so glad there are more to come!) but just like everyone else, I would like to point out that 11 movies later (one of them recent, I might add), a total of six series, countless parallel universes, and we don’t even get the luxury of being called expansive? Hmmmm, there seems to be something wrong with that statement….

I do enjoy Star Wars but frankly the only thing that they really had going for them is Parts 4-6, the first three certainly did not stack up to the originals. I agree that the mainstream do seem to side with the Star Wars fans. But Star Trek has the longevity to be succesfully rebooted and loved all over again; Star Wars is still riding the wave the original success they had. I’m sure bias plays into this a little but I would stick with Trek anyday.

@79 “And thanks for the sketch idea: “Angry Trekkie” will be the first sketch in the script I send them! :)”

Oh dear god, I can see the sketch now…the lisping dork with the glasses dissing RC and Star Wars on…and then a Wookie busting through the wall and ripping his head off.
This, my friends, could be war :P

129. Pensive's Wetness - July 18, 2011

129+ posts of bitching about expansiveness…. dude, it was about the COST. Paramount probably wanted too much money for [AS] to make a film/video/what-eva using imagry from Star Trek. Case f*cking closed, k?

130. NuFan - July 18, 2011

Star Wars has had 4 animated series, two tv movies and one horrid “holiday special”, all of which had larger audiences than Enterprise.

131. MJ - July 18, 2011

@131. Dude, I can’t believe you brought up the Star Wars Holiday Special in the context of defending Star Wars. :-)) Dude, you lost all credibility right there. LOL

132. ML31 - July 18, 2011

I have no problem with RC not doing a Trek themed show… But the reason Senreich gave was 100% BS.

133. Starfleet's Finest - July 18, 2011

Dude, chill. There are probably a lot of reasons why they choose not to do Star Trek specials, one of them could very well be COST. The fact that they used the excuse of Star Trek not being expansive enough is absurd and that is why we are continuing to point that out. Whatever their reasons, they have their reasons for, but to hide behind “not expansive enough”? Come on…

134. captain_neill - July 18, 2011

Star Trek has so much more content than Star Wars and I think it must do with the fact that the mainstream seem to think that Star Wars is cooler.

That’s the bottom line.

135. Hat Rick - July 18, 2011

I’ve decided I don’t like Robot Chicken anymore.

I mean, seriously, the show is kind of juvenile. I think we can do better things with our time. My opinion.

Also, RC is not expansive enough.

Just sayin’.

136. Dr. Cheis - July 18, 2011

If Star Wars works better, I think it’s actually because you don’t know anything about a lot of the characters other than how they look, which is good for a lot of gags, apparently. Also, smaller selection of source material means fewer people would be left in the dark by a joke.

I don’t think that really explains Senreich’s statement, but that’s the reason I personally think a Star Wars special works better than a Star Trek one.

137. N - July 18, 2011

never heard of robot chicken.

I call bull on his statement though, it’s really just that star wars is more mainstream and easier to parody, probably because it’s a much more family friendly franchise.

With the exception of TOS which is almost a pardoy of itself, what is there to really make fun of?

I used to like star wars when I was younger…

138. VZX - July 18, 2011

138. N – July 18, 2011:

“I used to like star wars when I was younger…”

Best line ever!

139. star trackie - July 18, 2011

True, Trek has hundreds of hours of material that would be funny to hard core Trekkies. But that is the problem isn’t it? The audience that watched Robot Chicken doesn’t know Janeway from Adam, has never heard of Q and wouldn’t know a Targ if it bit him, or her, on the leg. They might “get” some TOS, kirk,Spock, red shirt, tribbles gags…but a whole episode dedicated to it?

Star Wars can be mined, exahustively, and effectively, for the targeted audience. Trek cannot, simple as that. Might as well ask them to do an episode full of Space:1999 or Farscape parody.

140. SPOCKBOY - July 18, 2011

I think that line is hilarious.
Star Trek’s depth is the entire universe!
It’s about exploration.

Star Wars is confined to one black and white story of a struggle between the Empire and the Rebels or the Force, again, painfully, simplistically good and bad.

In Star Trek “good and bad” are not always so clear which makes for a much more interesting story.

This has always been my problem with Star Wars. Thematically they have painted themselves into a corner.
With Star Trek however, what broader scope for potential story lines can you have than the entire universe?


141. Crusade2267 - July 18, 2011

What I take this to mean is that in Star Wars, every single extra has had a novel/comic book written about them. People who appear in the background in one shot of one movie get entire backstories. Star Trek follows “just the crew.” Well, yeah, and so do the Star Wars movies, but the expanded universe makes it… expanded.

142. Hat Rick - July 18, 2011

^^ You may be onto something there, 142. After all, Pizza the Hutt had an entire pizza chain named after him!


More seriously, though, I like both ST and SW, but I don’t like ST being compared less than favorably to SW the way the RC producers have done. If you want to know why, it’s because it’s as if the Transformer movies were praised over the Terminator movies for having better robots. First of all, I don’t think it’s true. Second of all, it’s beside the point.

143. tom r - July 18, 2011

Star Trek is much more expansive a universe than the star wars. We’ve got over 700 hours of television PLUS 11 movies so far. Star wars has 6 movies………….

144. Red Dead Ryan - July 18, 2011


Underestimate the power and popularity of “Star Wars”, you do!

No doubt that “Star Trek” is popular in North America. But “Star Wars” dominates globally and comes out on top even here. Its a fact of life.


“In Star Trek “good and bad” are not always so clear which makes for a much more interesting story.”

I guess you missed “The Wrath Of Khan”, “The Search For Spock”, “The Final Frontier”, “The Undiscovered Country”, “Generations”, “First Contact”, “Insurrection” “Nemesis” and “Star Trek”. All featured villians who clearly were bad (some even evil) either out for revenge, war or conquest. In those movies, its pretty clear who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. And there were a bunch of episodes from each series that featured “good versus evil” plots that you associate with “Star Wars”.

145. Jack - July 18, 2011

Everyone who keeps harping on the volume of Trek produced (700 hours vs. 12!) is kind of missing the point.

And for those saying Trek is the whole universe — yeah, a universe of constantly re-recycled costumes, ships, guest actors and sets, and extremely similar, boring, human-looking aliens with funny foreheads. I want Trek to be more like Star Wars (the original trilogy) in showing a dynamic society filled with constant interactions between truly alien aliens from myriad planets and societies. And I want it now. ;/.

146. Aurore - July 18, 2011

“I want Trek to be more like Star Wars (the original trilogy) in showing a dynamic society filled with constant interactions between truly alien aliens from myriad planets and societies. And I want it now. ;/.”

I want it all,
I want it all,
I want it all,


147. Phil - July 18, 2011

Oh, good lord, does nobody have a sense of humor here? All these pissant comments here prove the point – Trek is so locked into canon and the Starship that there’s no room for parody, or much of anything else.

148. Phil - July 18, 2011

Oh, and these were funny – some probably hit a bit close to home, but laughing at yourself is good therapy….

149. 12YearOldTrekker - July 18, 2011

A special would be hard to do. Star wars was easy, because millions of viewers have seen it. Star Trek is not as popular to regular tv viewers at the moment. But if one came, I would totally watch it.

150. MJ - July 18, 2011

@145 “No doubt that “Star Trek” is popular in North America. But “Star Wars” dominates globally and comes out on top even here. Its a fact of life.”

Your are living in the past. Besides merchandising, what has Star Wars got going for it right now except for the kiddie cartoon series and that future TV series which most of us agree just sound atrocious.

Star Wars is living off some great movies from 30 years ago, plus a tremendously successful merchandising empire. Creatively, it hasn’t done anything interesting since 1983.

151. NuFan - July 18, 2011


It’s broken free of that now. And Star Trek has the potential to become much bigger and better.

152. MJ - July 18, 2011

@150. In retrospect, the 2009 movie should have been used as a springboard to start a limited run pay cable Trek Series on HBO or Showtime which could have launched in 2010.

Imagine 10 episodes per year of the current Star Trek incarnation of HBO, with their production values and support? That would have been tremendous, and it would have generated significant dollars for pay cable following the momentum that the movie generated. Plus, it would have enabled a nice hand-off from the Supreme Court to a top-flight TV team which would have had the time and creativity to provide the care it needed, unlike the current “sloppy seconds” situation where we keep waiting year after year for sequel news from a distracted Supreme Court who have other opportunities in the way.

153. MJ - July 18, 2011

@148. Phil, other that the Wrath of Khan opera, I don’t really find them very funny. Most are pretty juvenile, and some are downright mean-spirited. And a couple of them are pretty close to that trashy “celebrity death match” level of disaffected twenty-something type of humor.

Enjoy your guffaws though — to each his own.

154. Karen - July 18, 2011

Dynamic society filled with interactions with aliens? Umm… what do you think the Federation of PLANETS was? They had (especially the newer series, where they had a budget and could afford the special effects needed to do that every week) aliens, and I mean ones with names, histories, backstories, AND names for their species, planets they come from, with delineated societies and cultures as crew members on the Enterprise, from the first series, to the last. You want to compare what people actually knew, beyond climate and name, about Tatooine and Alderan with what was known about the people, history, and culture of Vulcan, Klingons, Romulans, etc?

Heck, I could tell you more about the people of Talos IV after ONE one hour episode than most people here could tell me about Wookies and whatever the hell Yoda WAS, outside the way that one character looked and acted.

And the idea that Paramount would charge more than LUCASfilms for rights (you know, the guy who just recently put an injunction on a bar that ran a free Star Wars marathon with some SW themed drinks, probably because they didn’t get a cut)? Sounds kinda ridiculous.

What I think is, yes, its not too small, it is too big. You can do skits, because you can concentrate on a tiny scene, a familiar saying, etc. But two hours means a coherent, and more importantly, very confined, easily identified and concise plot, and unless they just pick one movie out of eleven to spoof, you can’t put Trek into a two hour special, simple as that.

155. dmduncan - July 18, 2011

Snerkel was hilarious.

156. Jack - July 18, 2011

154. Yep, I’ve heard of the United Federation of Planets. The bulk of the Trek aliens were people with latex foreheads/ears/what have you and those other planets felt like the sets they were. The closest Trek came to really conveying that society was in Treks 3 and 6. And doing that did involve alien extras (and more multi racial extras)… I’m not talking about bogging us down with hours of boring Klingon minutia, a la TNG.

The Star Wars films had better production values, were more cinematic and, yeah, still look pretty great 30+ years later… and they did a hell of a job of creating a convincing universe — and that doesn’t mean drowning us with made-up facts about alien planets and their history.

Star Trek movies told, Star Wars movies showed (until the prequels). Too often (because of budget) Trek couldn’t always do that, although I’d argue that TOS did it best of all the series. btw: Talosians = fantastically well done.

157. dmduncan - July 18, 2011

And Spock’s ears in Le Wrath di Khan! HA!

And TWOK is very operatic. I think it could work as a broadway musical. To hell with Spiderman, TWOK has all the drama you need.

158. Karen - July 18, 2011

Star Wars was a movie series with an incredible budget. Star Trek, the first series, was a tv series with a very slim budget. Of COURSE the special effects weren’t that great. But, then again, you got to know a helluva lot more ABOUT that race with the funky forehead to find out their culture, history, and abilities were dramatically different from humans, than you did about their Yoda or Chewbacca.

You can’t, on one hand, complain that Star Trek didn’t have interactions with alien species, and then complain that they had all these intricate details, gained BY their interactions with alien species.

(BTW, they’re both fiction, ALL the details are made up.)

159. Karen - July 18, 2011

But this is probably a difference in taste. Myself, I’d rather learn about a whole new culture, and how it contrasts, and demonstrates elements and issues of my own, than the visuals. *shrug* Rather be told AND shown.

160. MJ - July 18, 2011

@154. So Jack, in the originally SW trilogy (before CG effects of the second trilogy), if you are going to try to convince me that Chewbacca, Ewoks and Yoda have a huge advantage over Trek in the 80’s (TNG), well, I’m not buying it.

It is not a fair comparison to compare the 2000’s SW Digital CG movies to those older Trek series. And besides, those new SW movies sucked anyway.

161. MJ - July 18, 2011

@158 “But, then again, you got to know a helluva lot more ABOUT that race with the funky forehead to find out their culture, history, and abilities were dramatically different from humans, than you did about their Yoda or Chewbacca.”

Agreed Karen. Jack, others, you must admit, for all the great CGI visuals of aliens in the new SW movies, they pretty behave almost exactly like humans….unlike Trek, where the humanoid in latex face mask in many cases had unique and non-human viewpoints.

162. Phil - July 18, 2011

@153. Add alcohol. At some point even the most everything is funny with enough beer.

Oh, wait a minute. Alcohol is for those slovenly masses who watch Star Wars. To the wine celler!

163. Jack - July 18, 2011

Maybe Voyager ruined Trek for me. And, yes, it’s all made up… but I guess i meant making up countless obscure details and answers to questions that nobody’s asking, like, say how Kazon society worked, when those details — and not the story — are all there is. they didn’t always come from the story but felt random. It was the equivalent of technobabble.

TOS did it well. And yeah, I’m not including the new Star Wars movies — they were horribly unimaginative on that front.

And, like I said, some of the original cast Trek movies did it well. Trek 3 (thé most) and 6. It felt like a real universe and not a bunch of actors on a soundstage (or a bunch of actors in front of a green screen). with, say, Trek 3,i felt immersed in the universe… It did present a society in the details, say, the people in the bar, the random aliens, far more ships

I guess I’m talking about attention to detail. And it doesn’t have to be visual. Heck, a great example of this in TOS is the little gag of the computer being reprogrammed at a planet inhabited totally by women. Or the mention of the
sehlat with the six inch fangs. Or Gary Mitchell talking about the famous poet from the whatever (Canopius?) planet. Or the crazy plants in Sulu’s arboretum, or the wierd marshmallowy food everyone ate. It felt like we were seeing a fraction of a fascinating universe that, for the characters, was just part of ordinary life.

And by voyager, it was all so bland and homogenized – both visually and in the writing.

164. Red Dead Ryan - July 18, 2011

Alright, look, most of the aliens in BOTH “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” both exhibit human-like behavior and characteristics because we DON’T KNOW how an actual alien would act since we haven’t (officially) encountered any. Therefore, what we have seen is merely an extrapolation of many different human customs/religions/behaviours, etc. and various scientific theories.

165. Karen - July 18, 2011

All of it is written by humans who have only a human perspective. But it did what speculative fiction does best. Mix things up, push the boundaries through biology and technology, viewpoint and even environment to see issues, morals, mores in a new way.

For instance, looking at the role of physical appearance and gender, and emotional attachment by introducing a symbiotic sentient species where the ‘person’ changes bodies throughout time, without regard to gender. Their species doesn’t consider biological sex an important factor at all in relationships. (This IS not really a perspectie you find commonly among humans). A crew member (Beverly Crusher) falls in love with what see believes is a male, but a medical emergency has the entity transferred to a new ‘host’, that happens to have a female body. THEY never even consider that this would make any difference to the relationship. Crusher has to deal with, no matter what she feels for this person, the body they are in matters to her.

This brings up SO many fascinating questions, and can be related to lots of topical issues using something that is a bit more than a mere extrapolation. (Similar treatment of gender and biological sex issues were dealt with in books like the ‘Left Hand of Darkness’, where the species spent most of its life asexual, then during fertile seasons, would could end up either, and how humans, as binary as we are, dealt with it.).

I like that it makes me think.

166. Jack - July 18, 2011

Yeah. That was a good episode.. They should have let Beverly kiss him goodbye. And telling human stories is what Trek should be doing. I
see your point and I agree.

But I think there’s also room for some strange new worlds. I may be full of sith, but I’d like to see the nextTrek take advantage of the big screen, and what (and how) it can tell stories. The last one was a good start.

Look at the rave reviews for this last Harry Potter — I’m not saying it’s like Trek — but they were able to make a story about wizards, ghosts and goblins resonate, and wow the heck out of the audience.

But, yeah, i’d like to see strange new life and new civilizations. I don’t think it’s sacrilegious to say Star Wars did that well. And space should be interesting, and exciting at times… and I don’t think that has to mean dumbing anything down.

So yeah, that attention to detail, and sense of a real, complex universe, well,
I’d like to see it in the next one. What’s wrong with more aliens?

167. MJ - July 18, 2011

@164. But you have to admit that Star Trek has done a much better job than Star Wars in creating totally unique aliens with non-human viewpoints.


— The non linear time being living in the wormhole in DS9

— The still known aliens in Trek 4 who didn’t give a crap about us and considered humpback whales the most important life form on earth.

— V’ger being brought to life by a galaxy populated completed by machines

I could give you many more examples.

And I also note that the Jem Hadar on DS9, as a genetically engineered clone military force, blow away the simpleton Lucas idea of just cloning humans for the military.

168. Red Dead Ryan - July 18, 2011


Yeah, okay, you make some good points. The Jem’Hadar were totally badass, though I like the clone troopers. They were better than the storm troopers that came later.

169. Karen - July 18, 2011

I’d say that Lucas’ artists managed to draw good aliens. Heck, if we could get his design team, and Trek’s scripts and basic premise, have one helluva movie there.

170. Karen - July 18, 2011

I’d say they went behind human concepts and into the animal kingdom, and even the plants, etc. They had silicon based life forms, the Borg, which besides being one of the BEST villains out there, defined themselves not by species, they absorbed other species, but by being part of their collective consciousness. There’s different political systems represented, family setups, political systems. Myself, that’s what I find far more fascinating that how creative can they get with CGI and latex.

171. Phil - July 18, 2011

@164. Oh, stop that now! You are just making way to much sense here!!

172. Karen - July 18, 2011

Heck, besides, fans have managed to probably put out stuff as funny as anything I’ve seen on RC. They recently ran, at one of the conventions, the best fan video made to the Tik Tok song, for instance. Yeah, we hardly have problem with finding plenty of humor in the series.

173. Jack - July 19, 2011

164. I like to evaluate based on coolness and/or awesomeness.

174. Daoud - July 19, 2011

Horta. Star Wars has nothing like it.

175. Damian - July 19, 2011

I have to agree with the posters noting that in Star Trek, you are frequently given a backstory to many of the aliens, some who were only seen once. In Star Wars, there are main characters we know nothing about.

It comes down for this for me. The Star Wars movies were entertaining in and of themselves. But they don’t have any deeper meanings. They are simple fantasy, with no real basis in facts or science. I also don’t find them thought provoking. I put more thought into Captain Kirk’s line about God being within each one of us in Star Trek V then I put into an entire Star Wars movie. George Lucas himself would probably tell you he does not intend on people to be contemplative about his Star Wars movies.

For me, someone who is also a huge fan of Hitchcock and Kubrick films, I need something more. Star Trek was good for the fun, yes, but it also had so much more. I’ll sit down and watch a Star Wars movie now and again and they are good for the fun. But I am a Trekkie, and for me Star Trek tops all else.

176. Phil - July 19, 2011

Oh, one line nailed it…”am I really THAT predictable?”..

177. Jack - July 19, 2011

174. agreed. Horta was fantastic.

Note that the rc guy pretty much says exactly what everyone is saying here. Yes, Trek had great characters.

And i like when they’ve shown alien aliens (even just in the background) and shown glimpses of a broader society beyond the ship – journey to babel, the tholian web, the Lincoln one, yes, devil in the dark, those kind of lame but nifty Triskelion brains, those plastic parasite things that killed kirk’s brother, balok, the medusan, the talosians, tribbles, the other aliens in the cage, TMP, the bar and star fleet, and Vulcan, in Trek iii, counsel and the other starships in trek iv, the probe, the prison planet, enterprise, excelsior and khitomer aliens in trek vi. Heck, TAS, and, yeah, Trek 09. And I get the budgetary restraints. But i’d like to see a lot mpre of that. Whether or not Star Trek had great characters of the week (and it usually did) is kind of beside the point.

And of the later series, DS9 did a great job. Heck, look at Morn. Still, everything was looking very westmorey/zimmermanny, but they created a broader, complicated universe.

Again, I’m not saying Star Wars aliens are better — but Star Wars did do an amazing job (not the prequels, or the cgi additions) of creating a visually
detailed universe. There were tons of characters and droids wandering around. It was cool.

I still think Star Wars, generally (and not

178. Let Them Eat Plomeek Soup - July 19, 2011

It is very strange to think I’ve watched Robot Chicken before…I might have seen all these clips. Now I’m finally in on the jokes.

The Star Trek opera was actually really good. Bring it to iTunes!

179. MJ - July 19, 2011

@177 “Again, I’m not saying Star Wars aliens are better — but Star Wars did do an amazing job (not the prequels, or the cgi additions) of creating a visually detailed universe. There were tons of characters and droids wandering around. It was cool.”

And all that aliens, droids, etxc. behaved completely human, without the slighest bit a alien viewpoint. How dumbass is that?

180. MJ - July 19, 2011

@175 “I have to agree with the posters noting that in Star Trek, you are frequently given a backstory to many of the aliens, some who were only seen once. In Star Wars, there are main characters we know nothing about.”


181. Cygnus-X1 - July 20, 2011

It could also be that Chobot Ricken doesn’t have a knack for parodying Star Trek. The Star Wars sketches are hilarious, while the Trek sketches above are barely chuckle-worthy. They just might not be good with Trek material.

182. Karen - July 20, 2011

Lucas didn’t really deal in characters. He deals best in special effects. He was the one who described his own movie series as a ‘space opera’ (coining the term, in fact) and as a fairy tale in space. He also said that he didn’t really want to make the prequels. What he /really/ wanted to do was to redo the originals using the new technology to beef up the special effects, etc, but he knew the fans wouldn’t stand for it, especially since the parts would have to be recast.

Best match- Star Trek characters, universe and plots (written by such people as Harlan Ellison and Ted Spurgeon, after all), and Star Wars visuals.

183. Karen - July 20, 2011

And RC has a particular shtick. Short pieces that deal with visuals and bits that are very familiar to a wide spectrum of people, and mostly visual gags. They do alright with short bits on things like tribbles, etc, but you can’t really condense even one of the series to fit it into a little box, even for parody purposes. So I fully understand why ST doesn’t really fit their very particular bit for a full length parody.

184. Phil - July 20, 2011

@182. It’s not so much that he didn’t deal in characters, but in the last three movies he leaned on visualsI to much. Be it by luck or planning, George Lucas was successful in getting his audience to care for Luke, Leia, Obi-Wan, Han and the core cast. A constant criticism of the prequels was that Lucas was never quite able to pull off that connection in the last three like he did in the first. Whenever Star Wars is on TV I’ll usually stop and watch. Still get a thrill when the X Wings launch their first run on the Death Star. I don’t quite feel the same way about the prequels

185. Karen - July 20, 2011

Which was why he made them, unfortunately. I think if Lucas cared more about the story and LESS about the special effects, he could’ve really done something great with the last three movies. It’d be a great cycle, a ‘villain’s cycle’ to go with the ‘hero’s journey’ that the first essentially was.

Think the best thing to come from Lucas ends up being not Star Wars so much as ILM.

186. Jack - July 20, 2011

179. Yes, alright, I completely agree that the featured Trek alien characters had better stories (or stories, period). Never argued that. Were the Star Wars aliens unalien? I don’t know,they were just kind of walking around and standing, which i guess is your point. And, hey, Star Trek had its share of background aliens and mentioned species we learned nothing about (and its share of latex and, later, CGI) — yes, far fewer, but most were kind of nondescript and not that memorable (or silly, like laughing Vulcans in Trek IV [i know they were a race we know, but i was just reminded of that scene] or those big headed Trek VI guys… okay, they were cool, completely unconvincing, but suitably wacky). And i still don’t think explaining species ad nauseum (I’m talking tp you, Voyager) automatically makes them interesting (TOS was great with the Vulcan stuff — it was there to serve the plot and develop the characters, and not just to fill time). Heck, even uninteresting species like the Borg became boring from unnecessary over explaining (and overexposure).

Like i said, I hope the next one continues what started in the last one, by returning to the world started in TOS, and taking advantage of, not just the
budget and the big screen, but imagination, visually (and, of course, story wise).

What’s wrong with more aliens? Heck, Galaxy Quest’s aliens were fantastic.

187. Phil - July 20, 2011

@185. When I think Star Wars it’s always the first three. The sequels were ment to be spectacle, and if continuity had to be sacrificed, so be it (R2 can fly, really?). The prequels were renters, IMHO, but it does speak to the connection the audience had with characters of the first three movies that after a long absence, when the sequels were announced the audience returned in droves.

188. Jack - July 20, 2011

185, 182. Agreed. And he didn’t give a darn about characters, acting, writing, the audience. And even the spectacle was flat. And it had that same tired if-we-build-it feel of later Berman Trek.

I’m not calling for fx or action over story and character. But the stuff there, speaking of ILM, I want to be convincing, seamless and… Man, I don’t know where all this “I want” is coming from. I’m a jerk this week.

189. Karen - July 20, 2011

Hey, we want it all. *laugh* I LIKE action. If there’s the budget, and the technology, why not make good special effects? But don’t sacrifice story, the connection the crew has to each other, and the deeper meanings that Trek generally managed to find a way to illustrate so well.

190. ME!! - July 21, 2011

Evidently, he’s never actually watched Star Trek.

191. Christopher Roberts - July 22, 2011

We’ll always have that episode of Futurama, “Where No Fan Has Gone Before” and that’s enough.

Takei: “I think I’ve attended enough conventions to know how to spell Melllvar.”

Shatner: “Then George, you could give them a karate chop.”
Takei: “I find that OFFENSIVE. Just because I am of Japanese ancestry, you *assume* I know karate. Have I ever lead you to believe I have studied karate?”
Shatner: “Well, no, but you never talk about yourself.”
Takei: “Well, maybe if you showed a little interest.”

Fry: “All this time we thought he was a powerful super-being, yet he was just a child…”

Melllvar’s Mother: “He is not a child. He is THIRTY-FOUR!”

192. Christopher Roberts - July 22, 2011

In short… SCREW THEM!

:) :)

Frakes: (just after Fry has swiped Nimoy’s jar) “YES! Front row.”

193. Christopher Roberts - July 22, 2011

163. Nice post and much of what you say is true.

“Remember that time on Dimerus, those Rodent things, the poison darts they threw? I took one meant for you…”

194. Trevor Powell - July 23, 2011

I think Robot Chicken was just trying to be “nice” by saying Star Trek did not have a deep enough universe. In reality , what they meant to say is Star Wars pulls in more money world wide than Star Trek. So it is more about the money than anything else. Ask any little kids about Darth Vader and they will know what you are talking about. Ask the same kid who the Borg are they will have no clue.

They have a Star Wars theme ride at Disney Land! The closes Star Trek will get to that is maybe a 6 Flags theme park :-\

Star Wars is just more well known. So when it comes to making a whole episode based on one topic stick with the money maker.

I love Star Trek . I watch reruns of it 5 days a week :-) But they don’t have their own Disney Land exhibit.

195. Steve S - August 7, 2011

Let me give you an example; to me, the single funniest sketch on RC is Emperor Palpatine holding court with a couple of aliens telling the story of his fight with Yoda in the senate. Then Darth Vader calls in and reports the destruction of the Deathstar. The rest of the bit is immediately relatable because we’ve all seen the other movies and it is funny too. They might be able to get away with that with Khan, but Star Trek never had a “supervillain” or many recurring characters (the closest might be The Q). That to me is Trek’s strength over SW anyway, it is geared toward drama and SW is geared toward melodrama.

196. Kory - September 14, 2011

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