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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.

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New Escapist Column! On “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country”, and Saying Goodbye to Old Friends…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the passing of Christopher Plummer recently, and with the film celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this year, I thought it might be worth taking a look at Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

The Undiscovered Country was the last Star Trek film to focus on the entire cast of the original show. However, it is not an entirely celebratory farewell. Instead, it’s a movie that makes a valid and convincing argument for the need to move on, for characters like Kirk and Spock to get out of history’s way and to surrender the stage to Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s an introspective (and occasionally even acerbic) rejection of nostalgia that is particularly hard to imagine today, particularly in the era of films like Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.

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

New Podcast! Enterprising Individuals – “The Immunity Syndrome”

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 reason that I picked The Immunity Syndrome is because I think it’s somewhat under-appreciated in the grand Star Trek canon. It represents the culmination of a number of themes running through the original Star Trek that are often overlooked in assessing the history of the show and the franchise: the way in which Star Trek was anchored in sixties counter-culture, the recurring themes of existential dread and chaos underpinning the original show, and the series’ recurring fascination with consciousness expansion.

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

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221. Star Trek VI – The Undiscovered Country (#—)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, The 250 is a weekly journey through the list of the 250 best movies of all-time, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. And sometimes, because we can, a movie not on the list.

This week, to mark the passing Christopher Plummer, a special midweek bonus episode covering Nicholas Meyer’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

An explosion on the Klingon moon of Praxis sends the Klingon Empire into disarray, and forces the warrior race to consider an unlikely alliance with their old enemies in the Federation. The Enterprise is sent to meet the Klingon Chancellor, under the command of Captain James Tiberius Kirk. However, things do not go to plan.

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

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New Escapist Column! On the Fetishising of the Federation in the Third Season of “Star Trek: Discovery”…

I published a new piece at The Escapist today. With the third season premiere of Star Trek: Discovery last week, it seemed worth taking a look at the new season of the Star Trek spin-off.

The third season of Discovery finds the characters thrown into the distant future, after the collapse of the Federation. This is interesting, because it represents both a clear extrapolation of the futures suggested by Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise, and also a clear progression of the franchise status quo suggested by Star Trek: Picard. This is a franchise dealing with the decline and collapse of American exceptionalism. However, Picard and Discovery offer easy answers to hard questions, lacking the introspection that their premise deserves.

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

New Escapist Video! On “Star Trek: Discovery” and the Forgotten Psychedelic History of “Star Trek”…

So, as I have mentioned before, I am launching a new video series as a companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch with the Monday article, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel the following week. This month, it will be releasing on the Tuesday.

With that in mind, here is last week’s episode, covering the first season of Star Trek: Discovery and the way in which the show taps into the forgotten psychedelic history of the original Star Trek television series.

New Escapist Column! On the Forgotten Psychedelia of the First Season of “Star Trek: Discovery”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the third season of Star Trek: Discovery premiering later this week, I thought it was worth taking a look back at the first season of the Star Trek relaunch.

The first season of Discovery is fascinating, in large part because it genuinely feels like a completely different iteration of the Star Trek franchise. As befitting the mood of the moment, Discovery largely bypasses nostalgia for the Berman era and reconnects the franchise with the psychedelia and anxieties of the franchise’s original sixties television series. This is a show that exists in the same irrational and chaotic universe as episodes like The Man TrapCharlie X, Dagger of the Mind, Catspaw, Mirror, MirrorThe Immunity Syndrome, The Tholian Web and many more.

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

New Escapist Column! On “The Best of Both Worlds” as the Moment that “The Next Generation” Came of Age…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist yesterday evening. Because The Best of Both Worlds, Part II aired thirty years ago on Thursday, it seemed only right to take a look back at one of the most beloved stories in the Star Trek franchise.

The Best of Both Worlds, Part I is widely accepted as one of the best cliffhangers in television history. However, the episode is really the culmination of the growth and development of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The spin-off had a rocky first couple of seasons, but really came into its own during a much more ambitious and consistent third year. That third year built inexorably towards that cliffhanger, demonstrating the effectiveness of that approach to storytelling.

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

New Escapist Column! On the Paradoxical Nostalgia of “Star Trek: Lower Decks”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. Star Trek: Lower Decks launched last week, the latest entry in the larger Star Trek canon.

Lower Decks is an interesting phenomenon. It is perhaps the most overtly nostalgic Star Trek show of the new era, given how transparently it harks back to Star Trek: The Next Generation in both form and content. However, the show’s aesthetics – an animated series with a modern comedic sensibility – are likely to alienate those fans most obviously yearning for a nostalgic Star Trek hit. At the same time, the show’s reverence for the trappings of Star Trek prevents it from working in the mold of good comedy – even good Star Trek comedy.

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

New Podcast! The Sanctuary – “A Private Little Vietnam”

I was flattered to be asked by the wonderful Tony Black to help him launch a new Star Trek podcast. The Sanctuary hopes to be a look at the politics and the social commentary of the larger Star Trek franchise, and will feature Tony and a host of guests looking at how the franchise examines a big issue.

As a pilot, Tony suggested that we might discuss how the original Star Trek series looked at the Vietnam War. It’s an interesting discussion, because it’s a very complex and evolving conversation that takes place across the run of the show, between various creative voices within the show. This is interesting, because the show itself unfolded against a backdrop of shifting public opinion on the topic, which means that it’s not as simple as a “pro” or “anti” position.

Anyway, it was a huge honour to be invited on to help launch the show, and I hope you enjoy it. You can subscribe to the show here. You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.