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New Podcast! Enterprising Individuals – “Star Trek Into Darkness, Part 2”

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 Star Trek Into Darkness. We split the discussion into two parts, and this is the second.

It seems safe to describe Star Trek Into Darkness as perhaps the most polarising and divisive of the Star Trek movies. However, it’s also the most interesting. It represents the culmination of efforts to turn Star Trek into a populist and accessible blockbuster franchise, but it also remains true to the spirit of the franchise. Star Trek Into Darkness is undeniably a blockbuster of the late Obama era, one preoccupied with the legacy of the War on Terror and fascinated by the loss of utopian innocence that seemed promised with the election of Obama. It’s also just a thrilling action spectacle with a broad appeal.

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

New Podcast! Enterprising Individuals – “Star Trek Into Darkness, Part 1”

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 Star Trek Into Darkness. We split the discussion into two parts, and this is the first.

It seems safe to describe Star Trek Into Darkness as perhaps the most polarising and divisive of the Star Trek movies. However, it’s also the most interesting. It represents the culmination of efforts to turn Star Trek into a populist and accessible blockbuster franchise, but it also remains true to the spirit of the franchise. Star Trek Into Darkness is undeniably a blockbuster of the late Obama era, one preoccupied with the legacy of the War on Terror and fascinated by the loss of utopian innocence that seemed promised with the election of Obama. It’s also just a thrilling action spectacle with a broad appeal.

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

New Escapist Video! “The Third Season of Lower Decks is Enjoyable, Old-Fashioned Star Trek”

I’m thrilled to be launching movie and television reviews on The Escapist. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’m honoured to contribute a five-minute film review of the third season of Lower Decks, which is on Paramount Plus.

New Escapist Column! On How “Star Trek: Lower Decks” is Embracing Its Own Continuity…

I published a new piece at The Escapist last week. We’re doing a series of recaps and reviews of Star Trek: Lower Decks, which is streaming weekly on Paramount+ in the States and on Amazon Prime in the United Kingdom. The penultimate episode of the third season released last week, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the series.

With the end of the third season fast approaching, there is an interesting shift taking place in Lower Decks. The animated show is built around Star Trek fan services, driven and shaped by continuity references to earlier shows in the franchise, particularly those from the nineties. As the seasonw raps up, it is interesting to see Lower Decks embrace the idea of continuity itself. Trusted Sources is an episode that explores evolving Star Trek continuity from the early episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation to the final sweeping epic of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and finds continuity within Lower Decks.

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

New Podcast! Rarely Going – “Star Trek: Lower Decks 3×09 – Trusted Sources”

I was delighted to join the wonderful Kurt North for an episode of the animated Star Trek podcast, Rarely Going.

Trusted Sources is the penultimate episode of the third season of Lower Decks. It is an episode that is obviously teeing up the season finale, but it is also an episode that is engaged with the idea of continuity. Lower Decks is a show built around references to past Star Trek shows, but the third season of the show has seen Lower Decks becoming just a little more comfortable in its own skin. Trusted Sources is an episode about how these seemingly episodic adventures can build and escalate to pay off in interesting ways.

You can listen directly to the episode below or by clicking here.

303. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (#—)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

So this week, to mark its re-release in Irish and British cinemas, Nicholas Meyer’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Now supervising cadets at Starfleet Academy, Admiral James Tiberius Kirk finds himself reflecting on his mortality. A routine training mission provides an unlikely reckoning when genetically engineered superman Khan Noonien Singh escapes from his exile and vows revenge on Kirk as the man who marooned him. Kirk has lived his life on the assumption that there is no such thing as a no-win scenario, but that philosophy is about to be sorely tested.

At time of recording, it was not ranked on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Escapist Column! On the Strange Conservatism of “Star Trek: Lower Decks”…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. We’re doing a series of recaps and reviews of Star Trek: Lower Decks, which is streaming weekly on Paramount+ in the States and on Amazon Prime in the United Kingdom. The first episode of the third season released this week, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the series.

There is something very interesting about how modern Star Trek treats the idea of Starfleet and the Federation as sacrosanct. It’s very different from how shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation or Star Trek: Deep Space Nine approached the idea of these authorities and institutions. It’s very strange to watch a television show in August 2022 that asks its black female protagonist to place her complete unwaivering trust in the system, and in particular in the judicial system.

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

New Escapist Video! On How Streaming and the Algorithm are Shaping Modern Franchises…

We’re thrilled to be launching a fortnightly video companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch every second Monday, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel. And the video will be completely separate from the written content. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

This week, we took a look at a broader cultural trend: the way in which streaming services and the algorithms that drive them are reshaping modern franchise media in a way that makes them more aesthetically conservative. When the algorithm drives studios to push towards recycling familiar ideas and iconography, it discourages any attempt to do something new or interesting with these long-lasting properties. As a result, many of the larger franchises have become hollowed versions of their past glories.

291. Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition (#—)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

So this week, Robert Wise’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

When a mysterious entity appears at the edge of Federation space, Admiral James Tiberius Kirk finds himself recommissioned as commander of the Starship Enterprise. When his former Science Officer, Spock, is summoned from across the cosmos by the creature’s psychic cries, the crew find themselves on a desperate mission to save Earth from a creature that exists beyond human comprehension.

At time of recording, it was not ranked on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Escapist Column! On The Rise of “the Fakeout Death”…

I published a new piece at The Escapist during the week. With the most recent seasons of both Stranger Things and Obi-Wan Kenobi playing the same familiar trick, it seemed like a good time to talk about one of my bugbears in modern pop culture.

In recent years, it has become customary for piece of popular culture to indulge in a phenomenon best summarized as “the fakeout death”: a beloved character dies, the audience feels sad, and then they are magically restored and resurrected. It has become ubiquitous in the past five or so years: Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, The Book of Boba Fett, even the recent Scream movies. Pop culture feels incredibly reluctant to kill off any characters with any popularity, and the result is part of the reason so many of these franchises are stagnating.

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