Let’s start off with a quote by G.K. Chesterton:
There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”
Put simply: Before you change something, you should first understand why that something is the way it is. Why would you want to do that, or why would it matter? After all, if something needs to be changed, why should you care about what made it that way in the first place?
The reason why you should care is that you are likely not taking into account all the reasons why something is there, and you could be making a situation worse by making a change. To use the example in the quote, it’s pretty easy to think of reasons why a gate would be blocking a road; someone wanted to keep something in or out, and the inconvenience involved in opening and closing the gate was an acceptable price to pay to accomplish that goal. To someone that does not know what is being kept in or out, the gate is simply an impediment to their progress. If the gate is removed, however, then the livestock in the area could escape (for example).
Which brings us to Star Trek: Discovery. I really like Star Trek, and I was glad to hear that it is coming back to TV. That said, I’m a little worried about some of the choices they’re making, this one most of all. According to Screen Rant:
[…] showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg revealed that they would not be concerning themselves with ‘Roddenberry’s Box’ – a longstanding tradition that prevented any Star Trek series from having significant interpersonal conflicts within Star Fleet, unless characters were under the influence of some kind of outside force.
So why would you have that sort of rule? Because Star Trek is about exploration, discovery, learning, and things like those. If there’s too much focus on interpersonal relationships, which there probably is going to be if they’re making a big deal about going away from this rule, then you have to sacrifice exploration time to these personal conflicts.
My question is, why? What will this bring to the series? I can watch almost any other series on TV except Sesame Street to get my fill of personal conflicts between main cast members. Why do I need to have this in Star Trek too? If I really have to have draaaaammmmmmaaaaaaaa in space, I can always go back to Battlestar Galactica to get my filling.
Star Trek is supposed to be different, and if the writers can’t handle it, then get new writers. Ronald D. Moore didn’t want to keep operating under these restrictions, so he went and made the aforementioned Battlestar Galactica, and that’s ok. You just don’t need to do this to Star Trek.