Read More: Space.com
Star Trek" is, at its roots, an exploratory series. Whether the crew is exploring a sector by choice, or stranded due to unfortunate accident (ahem, "Voyager"), their primary focus when tooling around the universe is looking for new things and cataloging them. As a whole, although there are exceptions, crews are respectful when meeting with aliens and, if the species happens to be less technologically advanced than themselves, they observe a "Prime Directive" of non-interference. On the surface, this makes "Star Trek" sound like a boring series — a bunch of pacifists cataloging alien environments — but in reality, there is much more happening underneath the surface. Crews adapt over time and learn from their encounters with various species, sometimes even reflecting on how meeting other cultures makes them feel about their own species. Think about Data ("The Next Generation"), for example: an android who is always observing humans in his quest to become more human-like himself. That line comes straight out of the moving "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" (1982), which many fans consider to be the best "Star Trek" movie of all time. At the movie's end, Spock exposes himself to deadly radiation, and, while dying, delivers that line to an upset Captain James T. Kirk. While Spock's sacrifice is the most famous, there are many other examples of somebody giving up something to benefit others — and we're not just talking about giving up your life. Think about the number of times that the Enterprise hears a distress call or sees a stranded ship. Usually, they want to rush to the rescue (even if it's to their own crew's detriment, such as being exposed to a nasty disease in "The Original Series" episode "The Naked Time," 1966). Crewmembers not only willingly give up their lives for others, but also give up career or life opportunities. For instance, in "The Next Generation" episode "Sins of the Father" (1990), Worf willingly accepts a traitor accusation on behalf of his family to stop civil war among the Klingons. Worf's decision essentially makes him an exile from his people.