Already the most peripatetic of genres, the degree of travel in science fiction seems in direct proportion to how cerebral a particular serving may be.
Stay relatively stationary (2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, Alien, Dune, Moon) and we tend to have the time to flesh out the bigger, existential issues; but always on the move (Star Wars) and our opportunities for contemplation are severely depleted.
Somehow, Star Trek boldly managed to do both.
A lot of light years are covered in The Mandalorian.
In the first couple of episodes of season three of Jon Favreau's reinvention of the serialised TV western, we rocket from one planet to another with alarming disregard for what all those emissions must be doing to the fragile universe.
Jumping in and out of cockpits, we visit desert worlds, water worlds; caves, palaces, asteroid fields. It's hard to tell our mid rim from our outer rim. We're always looking for a park.
At one point, the titular helmeted hero of the series explains (while flying through space, of course) the importance of being able to read a map.
He's not wrong.
Despite all the frequent flying, this wildly popular Disney+ series is anything but dumb, it's brilliant in its simplicity, pulling on heart strings thanks to a doe-eyed CGI infant and scratching a narrative itch for fans left bereft after so many big-screen misfires since George Lucas's original trilogy came to an end.
Those same fans are constantly rating, arranging and rearranging which Star Wars spin-offs are the best. The Mandalorian is often somewhere at the top, Favreau (who also kickstarted the Marvel Cinematic Universe) having achieved the alchemy of true cross-generational entertainment.
A late bolter on that spin-off list is Disney+ stablemate Andor, a more "adult" show than The Mandalorian, which has wowed audiences with its sophistication and real-world locations, the antithesis of its slickly fantastical cousin.
As if to remind viewers it is a very different betentacled beast than super-serious Andor, as well as ramping up the gratuitous space travel, The Mandalorian has raided the Jim Henson memorial costume cupboard.
Is that space pirate captain Oscar the Grouch with dreadlocks? Did we just take a wormhole to Fraggle Rock?
It seems deliberately dopey and no one seems to be apologising.
Good for them.
If we're feeling overly G-rated at the sight of all those zany, family-friendly characters, we won't be getting any respite through the core story of The Mandalorian, that being the father-son relationship between Pedro Pascal's heavily armoured religious zealot and his Force-endowed foundling.
It's as sickly sweet as ever and Baby Yoda (or, more accurately and unfortunately "Grogu") is still ridiculously cute. We still laugh when he uses his powers to cheekily obtain food and we still catch our breath when the little fella faces peril in his floating pram.
But we're three seasons in now and it remains to be seen whether we'll become blase about "the child", something the actors need to be mindful of because they're starting to throw poor old Grogu around like he's a rolled-up sleeping bag.
Amy Sedaris would look more convincing cuddling a brick.
Such fourth-wall-shattering moments are rare, though, and it's the audience which these days runs the risk of taking things for granted, such as the amazing special effects on display almost every single second of these bite-sized episodes; digital achievements put into perspective when you hang around for the credits and take in the staggering number of individuals involved in making these spectacular shows.
Talk about fine print.
Thanks to these technical wizards, we've come a long way since gunslingers faced off on the black and white streets of Dodge City almost 70 years ago, never mind the fact we're still watching exactly the same thing, just on obscenely large screens.
There is a story amid all the computer-generated prowess of The Mandalorian, something about Din Djarin reclaiming lost status among his scattered tribe, but really, when we're talking about a certified pop culture phenomenon, we care less about the destination and are just happy to go along for the ride.
Even if that ride never seems to end.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.