If you’re at all like me, every so often you’ve watched coverage at the time or a documentary later about some great disaster, one that has taken many lives in horrific circumstances. You might have wondered — I have, anyway — about how or whether families and friends ever found out what happened to some of the victims. If you think of Hiroshima, or the tsunami of March 11, 2011, or even the events of September 11, 2001, you suspect — no, know — that there are people who died whose fates will be forever unknown to anyone this side of the Pearly Gates.
We forget this all the time. Perhaps as we get older, we’re a little less oblivious and proud about it, but I don’t think we truly understand the fragility of our existence. Most people who start off essays like this have some sort of axe to grind; I don’t, at least not about this, but I was reminded by something I read.
I should say firstly that it is perhaps my favorite television show. It’s one of the best regarded shows in the history of American television, and that is not an exaggeration. It also was able to transcend the somewhat niche quality of Star Trek, and of science fiction more generally. It still has one glaring flaw.