The thing about Star Trek is that it's meant as an allegory.
The aliens aren't intended
to be truly alien; they're intended to be warped reflections of aspects of human nature. Even the humans are meant as examples of the "ultimate" that humanity has to offer.
The Original Series was designed to be one-use only. The problem with TNG/DS9/Voyager is that they're taking the original premise and trying to stretch it into a new shape. Sometimes they succeed (DS9's last season), and sometimes they fail (Voyager).
Thing is, Star Trek has great ideas
, great story premises. It's the execution
of these ideas that sucks.
Take my fave theme:
Imagine your worst enemy.
(Russians/Vietnamese, Klingons, Cardassians, Borg, Jem'Hadar)
Meet your new best friend.
(Chekov/Sulu, Worf, Garak, Seven of Nine, *SPOILER*)
I love that lesson, and it's a recurring theme in my own writing. The trouble in Trek comes from the way its done, not the idea itself.
My big complaint is that Gene Roddenberry's egalitarian utopia is based (intentionally or not) on the USian system of a melting pot. The UFP teaches that we can all learn to get along if we play be the same rules.
Thus we have a Vulcan (Spock) who learns to trust his emotions. A Klingon (Worf) acting like a human. A Borg (Seven) who learns to embrace her humanity.
What I'd like to see is an alien that acts like an alien. This is what I liked about DS9: The Bajorans were Bajorans, the Cardassians were Cardassians, the Klingons acted like Klingons, and the two Ferengi deviants (Rom and Nog) were shown
to be deviants.
Star Trek writers are the ones who blindly accept the saying that "it's impossible for humans to write real aliens; they're all just twisted versions of humans."
This is the idea that I've been challenging since I first started writing.