The Red Shirt is one of the great staples of classic Star Trek. They were background crew members of the U.S.S. Enterprise in red uniforms (which meant they were in operations — engineering, security or support), and are remembered by viewers of the 1960s TV series as cannon fodder. As soon as you saw a non-main character in a red shirt join Kirk, Spock ad McCoy in the landing party, you knew that it was likely to be the poor sod’s last mission. They were quick and dirty writing devices for injecting some tension into a story, reminders to the audience that space exploration was dangerous, and they made for some good drinking games.
And now, one of my favourite Red Shirt references, from the first season of Family Guy: