• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

New Escapist Column! On the Uncanny Valley that “Star Trek: Picard” Occupies Between “Star Trek” and Prestige Television…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. We’re doing a series of recaps and reviews of Star Trek: Picard, which is streaming weekly on Paramount+. The seventh episode of the second season released this week, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the series.

One of the big problems with modern Star Trek has been the extent to which the franchise finds itself caught between the past and the future, between a nostalgic impluse that pulls it back to the plotting that defined the franchise’s long history and something more ambitious that pushes it towards prestige television. The recent shows have never quite managed to square that particular circle, and this problem comes to the fore as Picard tries to delve inside the head of its protagonist.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “Star Trek: Picard” and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. We’re doing a series of recaps and reviews of Star Trek: Picard, which is streaming weekly on Paramount+. The sixth episode of the second season released this week, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the series.

One of the interesting aspects of the second season of Star Trek: Picard has been the way in which it has been drawing more overtly from classic Star Trek tropes, with the season taking a number of cues from Star Trek: First Contact. However, the season has drawn most overtly from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. What is interesting about this is that the show understands that The Voyage Home isn’t just about time travelers from an imaginary future, but about fugitives from television.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

 

New Escapist Column! On How “Star Trek: Picard” Offers “The Next Generation” a Glimpse Through “A Mirror, Darkly”…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. We’re doing a series of recaps and reviews of Star Trek: Picard, which is streaming weekly on Paramount+. The second episode of the second season released this week, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the series.

The second episode of the season is an interesting twist on a classic Star Trek trope. Star Trek: The Next Generation never really did a dark alternate universe story, comparable to something like Mirror, Mirror, Crossover, Living Witness or Twilight. It often seemed like The Next Generation was incapable of imagining the world any other way than the way that it was. As such, Penance offers something new for Jean-Luc Picard. Reflecting the gulf that exists in the more-than-a-quarter century between The Next Generation and Picard, the episode offers Picard a chance to look at a darker alternative future.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

 

New Escapist Column! On How “Star Trek: Picard” Tries to Go Back to the Future…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. We’re doing a series of recaps and reviews of Star Trek: Picard, which is streaming weekly on Paramount+. The second season premiere released this week, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the series.

The second season premiere of Picard is a much more openly nostalgic affair than the previous season had been. While the previous season often found itself caught between the past and the future, the second season seems to turn its gaze more earnestly backwards. It’s a complicated and somewhat flawed show, often retreating from the more interesting implications of its big ideas, but Picard is at least interested in grappling with the legacy of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and exploring why the utopian future it promised audiences seemed to slip from grasp.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Podcast! Primitive Culture #114 – Star Trek and Vietnam

A little while ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the wonderful Tony Black to talk about Star Trek and Vietnam.

The general reading of classic Star Trek tends to play up the show’s liberal credentials, to read Star Trek as a utopian and pacifist series that was very much on the right side of history. This antiwar reading is supported by episodes like Errand of Mercy, The Trouble with Tribbles and Day of the Dove, among others. However, the show’s politics are decidedly more complicated. Like America itself, Star Trek was divided over the Vietnam War, as reflected in episodes like Friday’s Child or The Omega Glory, and most especially in A Private Little War.

The result was a fun (and involved) discussion, and you can listen to it below or directly via Primitive Culture‘s homepage on trek.fm.

Continue reading

New Escapist Column! On How “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” Challenged “The Next Generation”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist on Friday. This week marked the 29th anniversary of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, so it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look back at the show. In particular, the show’s relationship to its elder sibling, Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Deep Space Nine had a surprisingly contentious relationship with The Next Generation, often positioning itself as directly adversarial to the more popular and more beloved Star Trek spin-off. There were points at which Deep Space Nine seemed positively iconoclastic, particularly in its establishing of a fraught relationship between Sisko and Picard. This approach would be controversial today, if it were even allowed within the framework of a modern franchise, but it allowed Deep Space Nine to boldly push itself in striking new directions.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Podcast! Rarely Going – “Star Trek: Prodigy 1×05 – Terror Firma”

Rarely Going is a podcast looking at the animated corner of the Star Trek franchise. I was thrilled to be invited to join guest host Tony Black for a discussion of the fifth episode of Star Trek: Prodigy, the latest animated spin-off.

I had not had a chance to watch Prodigy before Tony invited me on the show, so it was fun to catch up with the series. Tony and I have a broad discussion about animated Star Trek, about the current state of the larger Star Trek franchise, about whether Star Trek could be seen as “children’s television for grown-ups.” We talk about the importance of serving multiple audiences, and the nostalgic affection for Star Trek: Voyager within modern fandom, and what that might mean for the future of modern iterations.

You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

New Podcast! Enterprising Individuals – “Gimme Some Mooney”

I am always thrilled to get a chance to talk about Star Trek with other fans, so I was thrilled at the invitation to join the wonderful Aaron Coker on Enterprising Individuals to talk about That Which Survives. The main feed episode went live last week.

However, our conversation tended to be a bit broader and a bit more wide-reaching than that, so we talked about everything from the recent release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings to the completion of the Rebuild of Evangelion series. It was a discussion that managed to cover everything from Quibi to workers’ rights to the future of Doctor Who. It was a fun chat, and I hope that you enjoy.

You can listen to the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

Continue reading

New Podcast! Enterprising Individuals – “That Which Survives”

I am always thrilled to get a chance to talk about Star Trek with other fans, so I was thrilled at the invitation to join the wonderful Aaron Coker on Enterprising Individuals to talk about That Which Survives.

The third season of Star Trek is an interesting season of television. It is largely dismissed and overlooked by many fans, who write it off as a season in clear decline. Certainly, the season contains no shortage of terrible episodes: And the Children Shall Lead, The Way to Eden, The Paradise Syndrome, Turnabout Intruder and many more. However, there’s an interesting atmosphere that pervades the season, the sense that the third season of Star Trek is drifting through a haunted and dead universe. That Which Survives is a pure example of this, like The Tholian Web or Spectre of the Gun or All Our Yesterdays.

You can listen to the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

Continue reading

New Podcast! Enterprising Individuals – “More Mooney, More Problems”

I am always thrilled to get a chance to talk about Star Trek with other fans, so I was thrilled at the invitation to join the wonderful Aaron Coker on Enterprising Individuals to talk about The Immunity Syndrome. The bulk of the episode came out last week, and is well worth your time if you’re specifically interested in discussing that individual episode.

However, the initial recording session was actually much longer than the version that appeared last week. It was a more casual and free-form conversation, covering everything from the state of the modern franchise to Doctor Who and plenty of stuff beyond. It’s a bit unfocused and wild, but I really enjoyed chatting with Aaron on such a wide range of topics.

You can listen to the episode here, back episodes of the podcast here, click the link below or even listen directly.

Continue reading