Netflix Maturity Ratings Are a Joke – Star Trek Says So
by Joseph Avery-North
Netflix seems to face a lot of criticism these days (#cancelnetflix leads to some interesting Twitter reading) but then all companies do, always have, always will. You can’t please everyone. People’s reasons for criticising and/or cancelling Netflix vary – from Netflix cancelling their favourite show to the company making decisions people have ethical issues with to just a plain old lack of content consumers want to watch.
I try to keep things relatively light and fluffy with Winterwind’s content, at least for now, so the ethical issues people criticise the company for are someone else’s axe to grind/torch to bear. I prefer to focus on the available content, good or bad, and the inherent stupidity of a company that thought Fuller House was a good idea and deserving of a five season run.
In my previous Netflix article I looked at the lack of good content, their habit of cancelling good shows to give us piles of bad ones and I touched briefly on the intellect insulting stupidity of the MA ratings that pop up in the top left of the screen when you’re watching a show. I still find their rating for World War II in Colour to be beyond stupid and actually offensive and I don’t offend easily. I have a sarcastic, wickedly dark sense of humour.
That being said, let’s have a laugh at the sheer, stellar stupidity of the Netflix maturity ratings for the various Star Trek shows….
Star Trek: Enterprise
Netflix gives Enterprise a rating of TV-14 nudity, language, gore.
I’m sorry, what? Nudity, language and gore? I’ve watched and re-watched Enterprise three times now (minus the TATV travesty) and I must have blinked and missed all of that.
Gore? We’re talking Star Trek here, not some R-rated horror/slasher flick. Language? Yeah, sure, there’s language. People talk. And with subtitles you can teach yourself Treknobabble in multiple languages. Learning how to tell someone, in French, German or Polish, that they need to reverse the polarity of an inverse tachyon pulse, route it through the deflectors via a phase coil compensating inducer and piggyback it on subspace carrier wave because there’s a 83.72% chance it will close an unstable wormhole would be very handy. Well, there is the Universal Translator but still, it could break so yes, there’s language in Enterprise.
As for nudity, man, I really missed that somehow and adolescent me is devastated by that loss. We got to see T’Pol’s bare back and just the top of her butt once when she disrobed in front of Trip. Is that nudity? Jolene Blalock may have done that scene nude and Connor Trinneer would have been a lucky man but we, the audience, saw less than the Sears Catalogue’s underwear section would show and it lasted for what, two or three seconds before the commercial break?
Netflix gives Star Trek a rating of TV-14 sex, fear.
I already covered this in my last article, linked above. What more can I say? Not much so I’ll quote myself. On July, 15th, 2020, I wrote:
Star Trek, the original series, is rated “TV-14 sex, fear”. What sex? Where? Those chaste 1960s TV kisses with no tongue? Is that sex? Damn! According to the Netflix definition of sex I’m now entitled to put so many notches on my bedpost it’ll be like Attack of the Million Strong Termite Army. Oh wait… that would also include aunts and grandmothers. Eeeeewww! As for fear… Look out, redshirts! Wobbly papier-mâché space rocks at 2 o’clock!
Yep. I’m standing by that.
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Netflix gives The Next Generation a rating of TV-PG sex, fear.
So, The Next Generation is rated TV PG for sex and fear while The Original Series is rated TV-14 for… also sex and fear. I actually had to look up the difference between PG and TV-14. The former is, obviously, Parental Guidance while the latter is Parents Strongly Cautioned.
Um… ok… wait, what?
So, by Netflix standards, TOS is more dangerous for young minds than TNG. Really, I’m not getting that. I’m seriously struggling here. If anything it needs to be reversed. I’m no child psychologist but a twenty year advancement in budget and f/x should make TNG more fear inducing just from the more realistic (relatively speaking) f/x.
As for sex, I’m not remembering much of that. Sure, Riker running around being a full-bore-pansexual-man-whore in space could be impressionable for young minds but this is Star Trek, which never even approached softcore porn, or even light erotica. At best, sex was implied a few times (except for Geordie). Hmm… we did once see Troi getting a foot massage (with absolutely unnecessary close-ups of her tootsies) and Beverly banging a space ghost kinda counts as sex… or fear… yeah, I’m going with fear. There was no sex in TNG. Only fear. Of sex.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Netflix gives Deep Space Nine a rating of TV-14 with no descriptive reasoning at all.
DS9 was dark and gritty before dark and gritty was a thing. This was the show that made some Trekkies cry in their parent’s basements and rail in online chat rooms in the early days of the interwebs that it wasn’t true to Roddenberry’s shiny happy utopia in space vision. It’s got war and torture and death and drug addiction and attempted genocide and Sisko’s balancing act between cold-blooded killer and loving dad of the year.
I love DS9. TOS remains my favourite because it’s what I grew up on in reruns as a little kid and has the unbeatable holy trinity of Kirk-Spock-McCoy but DS9 is my critical best for sheer awesomeness and badassery. Surely the show deserves some kind of wordy descriptive warning beyond just TV-14. I humbly suggest at least adding sex and fear to the warning.
Star Trek: Voyager
Netflix gives Voyager a rating of TV-PG violence, fear, language.
Voyager is the show that the TNG fans call “TNG-lite”. Myself personally, I call it Voyager: Not TNG-lite and with Violence, Fear and Language! Truth is, I love Voyager and yes, I vastly prefer it to TNG.
Is it violent? No more or less than any other Star Trek series. Is there fear? Well, the Borg used to be scary until Janeway learned to kick their asses kick ways from Sunday, and twice on Tuesdays, with ease. Once the Borg lost their fear factor the real fears came from the thought of Harry Kim getting promoted and having even the tiniest amount of actual authority or of waking up to see Neelix standing over your bed, staring at you, smiling and talking about boosting your morale.
And yes, there was lots of language. Even more language than Enterprise had its language warning for because VOY went for seven seasons and ENT only ran for four and VOY took place two centuries later so there were even more fancy gadgets to Treknobabble about. Strangely, there’s no warning for sex though. B’Elanna and Tom had a baby for crying out loud! And then there was that season long story arc where Janeway and Seven were leather clad Femdoms with giant space strap-ons… oh… oh wait, no, that was my slash fic fantasy… ooopsie.
Netflix, at least the Canadian Netflix, doesn’t have Discovery or Picard so I have no idea what ratings they give those shows. Everyone else in the world gets those shows on Netflix except Americans and Canadians (but that’s another story).
Discovery isn’t my cup of tea but I heard they dropped an f-bomb. Fans on forums all over the world went “OMGSQUEE!!! They said they f-word in Star Trek! That’s so edgy and mature!” I’m guessing Netflix would rate that TV-7 for children seven and up.
With TNG being my least favourite, and Picard not being on Netflix here anyhow, I haven’t seen it yet. But I’ve read the episode outlines and reviews and there was a gruesome, graphic killing of a character (poor Icheb) so that’s probably TV-Y for all children.