# 2 – Star Trek has no shortage of in-universe ways to set up a musical episode
Unlike Buffy’s, the Star Trek universe generally lacks demons (DS9’s pah-wraiths being the exception that proves the rule). But any number of other factors could land Trek characters in a Broadway-style scenario.
As you-know-who was fond of saying, “there are always possibilities,” including:
- Aliens using illusion or mind control. This device is Star Trek’s birthright, dating all the way back to the Talosians in “The Cage.”
- A superbeing forcing characters to sing and dance for their amusement or as a test. Trelane. The Platonians (see the video above). Q—heck, we already know he’s coming to Picard’s second season!
- An alternate reality where song and dance are the only way to communicate. Just as the Tamarians in TNG’s “Darmok” spoke only in metaphor, maybe the inhabitants of some other strange new world only connect through show tunes. (Jazz hands at Tanagra, when the curtain fell!)
- An extraterrestrial virus or uncontrolled telepath causes erratic and self-revelatory behavior. Both of these established Trek tropes (viruses in “The Naked Now” and “The Naked Time,” telepathic trouble in “Sarek”) could also get the trick done.
- A malfunctioning holodeck. What if those pesky safety controls get disengaged again, and the only way out is to sing, dance, and act your way out?
Consider this: The late John M. Ford’s fan-favorite novel, How Much for Just the Planet? (Pocket Books, 1987), understood a Star Trek musical episode was by no means too much of a stretch.
In the book, the people of the planet Direidi use musical theater to determine whether the Federation or the Klingon Empire can make the best claim to developing their world.
As Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer wrote for a Tor.com re-read, the book could almost be characterized as “Glee in space.”
"The production numbers are apparently spontaneous and lavishly produced. But this comparison ignores the intricately crafted story that runs both through and beneath a surface layer of escalating chaos… However outrageous this particular story seems, it works the way Star Trek has always worked."