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Once again, a sci-fi space show treats three-dimensional space as a flat earth ocean. This week’s Star Trek: Discovery shows the Discovery and Enterprise “surrounded” by enemy ships.

This seems to be de rigueur for TV and movie spaceships, with a few notable exceptions including The Expanse – which shows ships behaving as if they’re actually in space, not banking like aircraft. (Sadly, though, Expanse producers still give us sounds in space. I guess TV needs to add aural excitement somehow.)

In space, ships don’t fly around like they’re in the air. And every time two ships come face to face, they wouldn’t always be oriented exactly the same, as if they’re on a flat surface. And, spaceships wouldn’t necessarily be laid out like ocean-going vessels, with decks plotted horizontally. (The Expanse gets this one right, too.)

And here we see in the otherwise excellent Star Trek: Discovery, ships threatening the Discovery and the Enterprise… as if they’re on a flat ocean somewhere. “Escape is impossible! Unless we, you know, go up or down.” (And “up” and “down” are meaningless in space.)

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