Star Trek Coverage at PTBN

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General Trek

Cherish Every Moment, Because They’ll Never Come Again: Star Trek in 1994 – the end of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine‘s time in the spotlight, and the release of Generations. Two endings to TNG that aren’t really endings because TNG can’t have an ending, the five times the Enterprise blew up in a single calendar year, a utopian society made with a build-a-Walden kit, some things that Gene Roddenberry might’ve had a word or two about had he not died, TOS cast members reading a script by TNG writers, and the symbolic sacrifices that must be made for TNG to assume its place of prominence.

Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015 – A brief appreciation of Leonard Nimoy and his contributions to Star Trek over fifty years.

The Glenn Butler Podcast Hour Spectacular, Episode 3: Star Trek Beyond Trailer – What there may or may not be to look forward to in Star Trek XIII, the balance of action and ideas in Star Trek movies, Kirk’s characterization, the new uniforms, and the Hater Brigade.

The Glenn Butler Podcast Hour Spectacular, Episode 26: Life Is But a Dream – The Star Trek Mailbag – Horsies, dreams, Shakespearean Klingons, the meaning of family, the future of the franchise from the perspective of the 50th anniversary, and much more.

The Glenn Butler Podcast Hour Spectacular, Episode 32: Blood and Screams and Funerals – Star Trek: DiscoveryDiscovery‘s two-part pilot, “The Vulcan Hello” and “Battle at the Binary Stars,” and a bevy of related issues including Discovery‘s characters, plot, score, design aesthetic, and the surprising status of its eponymous starship.

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The Star Trek Film Vault


To mark Star Trek‘s fiftieth-anniversary year, The Glenn Butler Podcast Hour Spectacular takes a deep dive into the vault to examine each of the first twelve Trek movies before mounting a reaction show for the release of the thirteenth.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Where No One’s Ever Flown — The first Star Trek movie’s development, its pacing issues, its iconic score, its relationship with fandom as it existed in the 70’s, which pieces of the original series are retained and which are discarded, new characters that are introduced and done away with in short order, beloved characters whose actual characterization might be considered thin, the effect the film had on the franchise’s development heading into the eighties, and whether it deserves its poor reputation.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Madness and Death — How & why Star Trek II differed from Star Trek I, the movie’s treatment of its characters, the pull it exerted on all future Trek movies, a set of actors ranging from Ricardo Montalbán to William Shatner to Bibi Besch, and the crushing absence of Madeline Kahn.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock – A Fighting Chance to Live — The third Star Trek movie’s place in an ongoing story, theatricality, Klingon linguistics, Christopher Lloyd and Mark Lenard’s differing approaches to gravitas, how death can be turned into a fighting chance to live, the inability of Commander Kruge to see past his own worldview, finger-sex versus finger-foreplay, and why the film’s finale might be the best single scene in Star Trek history.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home – There Be Whales HereStar Trek‘s shift into comedy, the ongoing transformation of William Shatner, colorful metaphors, orbital mechanics, the whale prime directive, and how each of the movie’s characters are used & developed.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier – What Does God Need with a Starship? — The strengths and weaknesses of Star Trek V, the character dynamics, William Shatner’s turn in the director’s chair, how the film also reflects Shatner’s interests as an artist, the film’s place in the development of the Star Trek franchise, the meaning of Uhura’s nude fan dance, Doctor McCoy’s stance on euthanasia, and whether The Final Frontier deserves the reputation it’s accrued.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country – Don’t Let it End This Way — The end of the Cold War, the celebration of Star Trek‘s 25th anniversary viewed from the perspective of its 50th, the crew’s abruptly increased space-racism, the return of Nicholas Meyer, things and supplies, logic as the beginning of wisdom, and more adventures in budgetary restrictions. (Warning: discussion of rape and torture.)

Star Trek: Generations – To Live Forever — All the ways and all the times the torch was passed, how Captain Picard is like Tom Bombadil, what it means to have a TV production staff making a movie, aging, regret, the pull of duty, the dual symbolism of the Nexus, James T. Kirk: Existentialist, Data & Picard’s feels, symbolic sacrifices, normality, and what we leave behind.

Star Trek: First Contact – Where Was Your Evolved Sensibility — The meaning of the Borg (and how that changes now that they have a queen), why Captain Picard invites the whole collective to the gun show, the bizarre eroticism of the Borg Queen, the beginning of the Star Trek future, and the beginning of the end of a Star Trek series.

Star Trek: Insurrection – It Becomes Wrong — F. Murray Abraham, the fountain of youth, how a family feud becomes a parable about imperialism, what could have been done with Data in this movie that would actually have been interesting, the late stage of Jerry Goldsmith’s career, what insights can be gleaned from Michael Piller’s book about the writing of the film, and how The Next Generation deals with being jammed into a standard action movie formula.

Star Trek: Nemesis – This Is All a Damned Inconvenience — What Shinzon’s plan is and how it’s supposed to work, what it means to seize the means of production on Romulus, how well the movie explores its ideas about mirroring and nature vs. nurture, action scenes that feel like they’re there to be used in a video game, and how the final voyage of The Next Generation treats The Next Generation. (Warning: discussion of sexual assault.)

Star Trek – Captain of the Enterprise — How Trek was rejuvenated for its eleventh film outing, what was involved in bringing the original series to the big screen in a way it had never been before, the different takes the new cast has on their roles, new designs for familiar objects & environments, how the movie has its cake and eats it too by moving the action to an alternate universe, Fratboy Dudebro Jim Kirk, and the many ways that Star Trek was brought back from the wilderness.

Star Trek (Score) – It’s Exciting — Michael Giacchino’s career heading into Star Trek, the new themes he brought to bear, the plethora of alternate cues considered for the main title card, how a rare fully-original end credits sequence aids the musical storytelling of a film, what story is told by the return of Alexander Courage’s TOS theme in its entirety, and how Giacchino’s talent for crafting beautifully emotional music as well as thrilling bombast helped him make the most of the movie’s more intimate moments among its many action sequences.

Star Trek Into Darkness – It’s Nice to Have a Family — Warmongering, the rule of law, Admiral RoboCop’s A Few Good Men moment, the meaning of role-reversal in terms of the new Trek movies’ engagement with AU fanfic, Sassy Spock, more love triangles, Leonard Nimoy’s final appearance, Scotty’s tenure as the movie’s conscience, Kirk’s merry-go-round of ranks & jobs, Klingons who’re into body modification, and the movie’s issues with race & gender — particularly regarding The Actor of Many Names.

Star Trek Beyond – Happy Birthday — Krall’s motivations, Starfleet’s mission, Kirk’s journey, the nature of family, and much more.

Drawing by DeviantArt user aerettberg

Deep Space Nine


Glenn Butler takes a look back at Star Trek‘s most overlooked series. How does Star Trek handle long-term stories when our heroes can’t just warp away at the end of the episode? What were these episodes saying at the time, and what can they tell us now? And what exactly is a self-sealing stem bolt? (Hint: It’s not a reverse-ratcheting router.)

Season One

Emissary – It’s Not Linear — A break from TNG, post-colonialism, PTSD, and the suffocating power of grief.
Past Prologue – Plain and Simple — A destabilizing element in an already unstable situation, the perils of post-colonial governance, and intergalactic jazzhands.
A Man Alone – Killing Your Own Clone Is Still Murder — The uncertain assimilation of diaspora populations, and unchanging justice enforced by an ever-changing man.
Babel – Glass Lunch Judge a Bin to Let It — An episode that focuses on character except when it doesn’t, sitcom logic, and delightful gibberish.
Captive Pursuit – Die with Honor — An opening of the doorway to new life and new civilizations, cultural relativism, and a short note on the death of Harve Bennett.
Q-Less – I’m Not Picard — A vision of DS9 that will prove untenable, some early missteps regarding how and why to mix TNG and DS9, some guest stars from TNG who really should have stayed there, and an ex who won’t take no for an answer.
Dax – A Long, Fresh, and Wonderful Life — The building of Dax and the building of our selves, the nature of identity and the nature of obligation, wars from long ago, and a story about four fantastic women.
The Passenger – A Gift to Be a Healer — Demonic possession, the “Kirk Character,” and Lieutenant George Primmin.
Move Along Home – Allamaraine! — The gamification of diplomacy, more on Quark and sitcom logic, and the virtues of space hopscotch.
The Nagus – The Bar, You Fool — The Ferengi comedy aesthetic dominates for an episode, including a Very Special Episode for Jake. The mechanisms of power, the building of a society around cartoon capitalism, and multiculturalism in action.
Vortex – Shapeshifters Are Harsh in Their Judgments — The beginning of serialization in DS9, the construction of Odo as an outsider among outsiders and as a mystery to be solved, the importance of family, and a moral act by a police officer.
Battle Lines – The Violence Inside of You — A war without end or beginning, only middle, and a harsh morality tale for Major Kira.
The Storyteller – Once Upon a Time, There Was a Dal’Rok — Stories within stories, DS9’s most advanced genre mashup yet, and the beginnings of a friendship between two men that will define them both in ways they cannot yet realize.
Progress – Bajor Needs You — There are always those who get run over by progress, those who don’t want to step into a bold new future and yet have to watch their world come crashing down to create it. Major Kira isn’t sure which side of that divide she belongs on.
If Wishes Were Horses – It’s Important That You Believe It — Genres aren’t just melding any more, they’re crashing into each other: fairy tales and softcore and sports nostalgia, oh my. A low point for Nice Guy Julian Bashir as well, from a certain point of view, though not without its redeeming points.
The Forsaken – She’s Extremely Aggressive — Odo and Lwaxana Troi shed some of their carefully-maintained masks; DS9 receives another guest star from TNG to disrupt the proceedings, but handles it much more successfully this time.
Dramatis Personae – If You Had to Choose Sides — A LARPing session overdoes the theatricality slightly and winds up as an outright AU. DS9 explores paranoia and the forces of history, and its actors let loose a little.
Duet – Covered in Blood
In the Hands of the Prophets