Consider the title track to Star Trek, which boldly transports us to a place where we travel faster than the speed of light, projects wonders to behold at every turn, and in conflict we are at once resolute yet hold true to the values of our species and our way of life.
The follow on pieces from the various movies and television productions expand on this theme. Shortcomings of humans are less and less prevalent, instead the failures of humanity here on earth are portrayed primarily in the warlike Klingons, the Imperialistic Romulans and the pathetic greed of the Ferengi, always on the look out for a cheap shot. These species do not generally warrant a musical score.
In contrast the humans in space go accompanied by an opus for each spaceship which conveys the dignity of its captain and crew. Voyager for example conveys the courage and grace of a crew thrown to a new quadrant of the galaxy, retaining their standards notwithstanding the unknown they face. The space station Deep Space Nine is a heroic outpost in the Milky Way, a bastion of all we hold dear.
But it is the Enterprise that captures all that is good about the human race; our quest for knowledge, the recognition the first contact with other species is a watershed for our own, the courage to face dangers secure in our place in the universe.
In conflict the music seems to reflect a gallant age, of men and ships of sail, maneuvering about to gain advantage, firing upon the enemy and carrying the wounded to sick bay, a double quick tempo which at once conveys the risks the captain and crew run as well as the beauty of the place they are sailing through.
Another thriller set in space came to us with the tag line, “In Space no one can hear you scream.” I prefer to think in space we will retain our courage, hold true to who we are, and forever are the best we will ever be.