While the classic tribble look has been the basis for most of the series, a Star Trek episode dedicated exclusively to tribbles hasn’t been released since Deep Space Nine—why? There are probably several elements involved that may explain why Tribbles lost their fame, including the reception, the subject matter, and even the opinions of individual actors about their participation. Although they are one of the most memorable types, known even to those who do not watch Star Trek, not using tribbles to the full makes sense in the context of a modern “Hike”.
On December 26, 1967, the 15th episode of the 2nd season of the TV series “Star Trek: The Original Series” “Problems with Tribbles” aired, which left a trace. Since TOS has always tried to save on costs, the tribbles inhabiting the Enterprise from Star Trek were a relatively simple plot device due to their shape of puffy balls. It became one of the most popular episodes of the series and became a cult, which inspired Deep Space Nine not only to repeat the success almost 30 years later, but also to shoot a crossover episode. “Trials and Tribbles” is the 6th episode of the 5th season of DS9, in which the main characters travel to the past to intercept the crew of the aircraft carrier Enterprise NCC-1701, before the explosive “Tribble” planted by Klingon destroys the past.
Tribbles, which remain a favorite alien species of fans in Star Trek, raise questions about why they are not often used. Around the time DS9 aired, Star Trek as a franchise changed in tone. Its creator Gene Roddenberry has passed away and Rick Berman has taken over to explore bold new worlds and ideas. Despite this, most of the light-hearted moments of “The Next Generation” and “The Original Series” along with Roddenberry’s trademark conviviality have been preserved and left room for less terrible episodes scattered between serious plots, such as “Trials and Tribble-events”. The main reason the Tribbles haven’t gotten a major episode dedicated exclusively to them since DS9 is because “Star Trek” has strayed so far from its original tone. The series immediately after DS9, Voyager and Enterprise proved that the franchise is moving into darker territories, where themes often revolve around war, politics and violence. Worf’s Star Trek actor Michael Dorn has declared his dislike of Tribbles, saying they are “just this whole cute thing. creators to give them longevity.
In the 2004 treatment for the reboot of Star Trek: The Original Series, written by J. Michael Strazynski and Bryce Zabel, the Tribbles had to be depicted with teeth and potentially malicious intentions. This once again shows the modern reluctance to revive Tribbles as the gentle and unassuming species they were originally created by. Although there was an episode of Star Trek: Short Treks based on Tribbles, they haven’t starred in any new Star Trek episodic shows yet. The action of “The Problem with Edward” in “Short Track” takes place in the universe of “Discovery”, but is separated from its main narrative because the comic tone and characters do not fit into the very intense dramatic story that “Discovery” depicts. Tribbles may return if Star Trek regains its lighter energy. At the moment, it seems that the franchise is focused on more horrific directions that it rarely explores.
“Trials and Tribble-ations” Deep Space Nine has opened new horizons by mixing classic characters with new ones in an elaborate crossover that managed to pay homage to one of the most memorable episodes of “Star Trek”. Tribbles have become a staple of the franchise, and while they get some screen time, they still deserve to come back at the same level. The new Star Trek show will have to make inherent changes to the franchise’s overarching darker themes for a Tribble-centric episode to be possible again, but that can happen if there’s enough time for the changes.