Redshirt. One word, not two. Because while a red shirt is merely a warmly colored garment a member of Starfleet may wear on their trunk, a Redshirt (purposefully capitalized) describes a very specific person. An instantly forgettable, often nameless, doomed person. They die, so that our main characters may live.
Now I’m sure at this point all you fellow Trekkers out there are thinking “They don't all die.” or “Plenty of other crewmen wearing gold or blue have perished in service to Starfleet.”
Well, you’re not wrong. Regarding the latter, it just seems more special when a Redshirt dies, because red pops. Regarding the former, sure, there’s main characters like Uhura and Scotty who wear the color red, and they’re obviously safe. But even when an actual Redshirt crewman escapes with his life, you have to admit, you feared for them. And that’s what separates them from the other members of the crew: Inherent peril.
And so, in celebration of Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary, let's take a moment to take a look back at the Enterprise’s fallen heroes, relieving their pain through a definitive ranking of their deaths.
David Bailey is a creative advertising professional who moonlights as a Private Investigative Journalist. He currently resides in Los Angeles and enjoys receiving haircuts and eating sandwiches. You may find him on twitter @TheRingaDingKid.