I've been on a Star Trek kick ever since I met up with Steve Zieser a while back at a convention and we played Federation Commander. I'm a big fan of the original series and the animated series. Granted, the acting is strained at times, dare I say a bit exaggerated? But nonetheless there is just something about it that seems so much more interesting than a lot of the later series. Part of it I think is that the crew went on adventures.
Sure, the props are hokey sometimes, but they get an A for effort. The hallmark of the original series is the crew going planet side to engage in various shenanigans. I actually do like The Next Generation in many ways, which is why I started watching it from the beginning again recently. I hadn't seen as many of the earlier episodes for a long time, and I was struck by how much the first season and a lot of the second season actually did have a lot of that original series feel. The women even wore similar short skirts in the first few seasons. Even though I think there are a number of excellent episodes in later seasons of TNG, the overall trend became less about going on adventures and more about unusual situations on the ship, mostly cerebral sort of problems, with a very heavy reliance on making up more and more technobabble to create a problem to which the crew needs to find a solution. So what I'm getting at is that rather than go to new worlds more often (and they do sometimes, don't get me wrong) where they find adventure, instead we are introduced to more and more exotic made up radiation, particles, etc. that wreak havoc.
And, we cant forget, forehead proliferation. In the beginning of TNG it was neat in a way how the makeup looked. But after a while I started to cringe whenever a new alien is invented, because they always are completely human except for a weird forehead. It starts to get ridiculous, and I can image a bunch of writers and makeup specialists sitting around trying to figure out how many sorts of unique forehead prostheses can be made. It just became too silly. I could submit a number of other criticisms and present arguments about how I think a lot of TNG is actually more racist than the original series, and promotes an incorrect perspective of cultural and biological evolution, but I'll abandon that for the moment. I have to write academic stuff often enough that I feel too lazy to do it here.
Coming back around to the subject of RPGs though, I think the original and animated series of Star Trek are great models for how one might set up a sci-fi campaign of this type. Hmmm, come to think of it I'm not sure I've watched all of the episodes yet from my animated DVD series set. I better go do that!