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New Escapist Column! On “No Time to Die”, and the Strange Insecurity of the Modern James Bond Franchise…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the international release of No Time to Die, it seemed like a good opportunity to reflect on the larger Daniel Craig era of James Bond.

One of the more consistent recurring themes of these five movies has been the question of Bond’s enduring relevance in a rapidly changing world. Each of the five films tackles – whether directly or indirectly – the idea that James Bond is a character and an idea past his relevence. This is a very strange obsession for the franchise, particularly given the critical and (especially) commercial success of the recent films. Daniel Craig’s iteration of James Bond has outlasted most of his cinematic competitors, so why is the franchise so insecure?

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

Star Trek: Voyager – Infinite Regress (Review)

As with One from late in the fourth season, Infinite Regress is an episode that uses Seven of Nine’s cybernetic mind as a vehicle for psychological horror.

Producer Brannon Braga has always been interested in constructing psychological thrillers within the science-fiction framework of Star Trek, using the franchise’s pseudo-science trappings as a way to explore themes of mental deterioration or disconnect. Frame of Mind is probably the first example, but there are many others. Braga is very interested in having his characters question the nature of their reality, of trapping them within their own minds, of undercutting their sense of self. That interest bled into the shows around him.

Self-image.

Star Trek: Voyager presented the writers with an artificial computer-generated character who could more readily combine the writer’s fascination with psychological thrillers and the franchise’s engagement with advanced technology. The EMH was a character whose mind was comprised entirely of computer protocols and software code. His mind could be unfurled on monitors, buffered in memory, fragmented on the hard drive. Episodes like Projections, The Swarm and Darkling suggested a character prone to psychosis, reinforced by Dejaren’s breakdown in Revulsion.

However, the addition of Seven of Nine to the cast in Scorpion, Part II seemed to provide the the Voyager writers (and Braga in particular) with character who could function as an even more effective vehicle for these sorts of stories. Seven is a fusion of human and machine, an organic brain augmented by technological components. She is a character whose mind is in many ways already divided, whose sense of self is understandably fragile. As such, Seven is ideally suited to stories like Infinite Regress.

Mind your step.

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