I recently read a news report about an argument about Star Wars vs Star Trek that ended in an assault. There is a long-standing debate about which is better. I am a huge fan of both franchises. In fact, most of my friends of the nerd variety are fans of both. There are, however, those that will argue vehemently about which is superior.
I believe that the argument is inherently flawed!
Other than the fact that both franchises take place in space, there are no real comparisons to be made. Even though there have been TV Series’, Star Wars is primarily a movie franchise. Conversely, even though there have been movies, Star Trek is primarily a TV series. The dynamics of a TV series are vastly different than those of a movie. Star Trek builds on a long history of stories and growing attached to characters over time. Plus there are several sub-series within the series that differ from one another. I, for instance, love all the Star Trek series’ except for Voyager! I can’t stand it. I’ve recently started watching it again, so maybe my opinion will change, but so far I haven’t budged.
Some people argue that you can just compare Star Trek movies to Star Wars to make it a fair comparison. I still argue no. The success of the Star Trek movies is based on the fandom of the series. The character development is lacking in Star Trek movies, because they are established characters; whereas in Star Wars, we have to grow attached to the characters within the movie itself. A good example of this, in my experience at least, is Firefly/Serenity.
I was a late-comer to the Firefly phenomenon. My very first experience in the Firefly world was the movie Serenity. My husband and I love all things sci-fi, so we rented Serenity not even knowing about the existence of the series. On its own, it was a decent movie, but I wasn’t super jazzed about it. I had zero attachment to the characters and I felt like there was a void because of the lack of character development. Several months later, I was told about Firefly and we binge watched the series. After watching the series, it was obvious why Serenity was just a mediocre movie to me before; I didn’t have the connect. Had I never watched Firefly, Serenity would be one of those movies that I forgot about; now it is one of my favorite movies.
Watching Star Trek movies without having watched the series, would be like watching Star Wars Episode 7 without having watched at least episodes 4-6.
A better “vs” comparison to Star Trek would be Doctor Who. Both are long running series that span several years and several casts. Star Wars would be more appropriately compared to a movie franchise such as Harry Potter that develops the characters within the movie and expands upon their story with each subsequent film.
So basically, comparing Star Wars to Star Trek is like comparing apples to tomatoes. They might technically be the same thing (fruits/sci-fi), but really they are nothing alike.