Talk about hogwash nonsense. This is easily the most overpowered piece of Star Trek tech that has ever existed. It can create anything the ship needs, except anything the plot deems it can’t. If you thought the rules on how the holodeck/suites worked were inconsistent, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the replicators. The only thing it can’t replicate is a consistent set of in-universe rules.
It’s the most inconsistent creation in the history of the show. It both can and can’t generate things the ship needs. Complicated technology? We can make that! Complicated minerals? Nope. It just draws things out of thin air like magic, but it eats up a lot of energy, but it can replicate anything. Just not a self-sustaining energy unit.
There are versions of this technology currently in use, like 3D printers, but the issue with any printing technology, as opposed to replicators, is that 3D printers need raw material to draw from.
Replicators don’t. Another reason it’s overpowered. It’s overpowered and stupid.
While some will argue it could be or will be a real piece of technology in some form in the future, the fact is it isn’t and only exists as a theory. Ergo, it’s dumb.
As for the practical matters involving the show, these devices kill so many real issues that would arise on a starship, one that again, Battlestar Galactica did better. Now, most of the shows wouldn’t have to worry about finding water, food, medical supplies, and the like because they’d be getting regular deliveries and fueling up.
In a show like Voyager, not so much. That’s why that show and Enterprise remain among my favorite because they got rid of a lot of the sci-fi fantasy stuff that shows like Deep Space Nine and Next Generation relied on.
Voyager and Enterprise had cooks. Both shows had a greenhouse (hydroponics lab). They both worried about resources and how to procure and made everything feel more real and authentic. It didn’t just explain away something with limitless technology.
Part of my favorite parts of Star Trek wasn’t the high-tech babble or the thinly veiled social discussion taking through the guise of alien relations. It was the lived-in universe. The lived-in, everyday workings of the ship, its crew, and everything in between. The slice of life episodes were always my favorite, especially when it came to Voyager. The idea of being out from home for seven years, and the only people you know live and work beside you on this village-sized spaceship. It adapted real elements of one’s everyday life and put them into space.
While I prefer several series of Star Trek to Galactica, that was again my big interest in Galactica. How did these people live? Galactica didn’t show as many slice-of-life episodes but they had their fair share.
Things like replicators took away the struggle of everyday life. It felt less like we were watching an adventure at times like we were watching people who could never relate with us.