I opened this column with a Star Trek reference. I'll end it with a comparison to another SF show, Babylon 5. It's so much more satisfying than Star Trek in every way. In Trek, there are little events that never really add up to much and never change any of the fundamentals of the show. If someone gets shot or gets taken over by a malevolent alien entity, or if the entire crew is turned into marmosets, not to worry: Things will be fine and forgotten by the start of next week's episode, which is why it's impossible to tell a second-season episode from a seventh-season one. Babylon 5's creator, J. Michael Straczynski, has a different attitude. We, the show's viewers, are allowed our moments of happiness and security, but just when we've become happy watching JMS pull rabbits out of hats, he pulls out a snapping, hissing crocodile and forces us to cuddle it. Just when the unstoppable, ungodly, and hitherto unseen ancient menace our heroes have been preparing to battle for three seasons appears poised to strike its final blow against the galaxy, it invites Babylon 5's commander over for tea to explain its side of the story, and it begins to appear that B5's unstoppable, godly, and hard-won ancient ally isn't fighting on the side of Good so much as Self-Interest.
It's called Change. Change sucks, but as your dad told you just after declaring that you were old enough to get a job during summer vacation, Change leads to Growth.