Less organic intellectuals than morbid symptoms

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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.


  1. K. Jones
    November 18, 2015 @ 8:37 am

    That's precisely how I saw it, regarding the crew interactions. Their handling of the situation, both before and after it turns into a hostage scenario, implicitly works with how well the actors, and the characters know one another. And everyone worked in their best traits, minus Worf for dipping out and Geordi for being unconscious – though it was his early glimpse of the weapons, his special sight, that set that in motion sooner and contributes to the resolution.

    We're getting more and more science officer Beverly, more and more 'take one for the team' Riker. Lots more Deanna 2.0, and she's killing it. The small-talk bits are genuinely hilarious.

    What else is interesting? The plot itself by separating Picard from the crew kind of makes literal the already implicit slight divide there is between him and the younger crewmates. It does a compare/contrast, as clearly even making the divide literal, we see that he and they are still very much working toward the same goal even while they're in separate and very different dramatic scenarios.

    And what's more, we also get – and we're going to see more and more of it – what could almost be the Ferengi Effect. Because those war profiteers are clearly Federation in origin, and slowly but surely it's been creeping along that a lot more people in the galaxy seem to be doing what they do for pure, unscrupulous profit.


  2. K. Jones
    November 18, 2015 @ 8:39 am

    Just in regards to the "divide" between generations, implicit in Picard v. the Rest, it's clearly THE running arc of the show and is tied up in Q's trial of humanity themes, so it's important to draw that line closer here, because as we'll see in a few months time, when the resolution comes, it's not Q's trial that's the denouement … it's the total collapse of the generational divide.


  3. Sean Dillon
    November 18, 2015 @ 2:04 pm

    "And what a perfect way to sum up the whole show. Love is always more fun to watch then pain. Always."

    One day, I'm going to get to writing an essay on the 21st century superhero movies in which I try to understand why we mostly want pain stories about soldiers over love stories about postmodernists. It'll probably end up being "because Capitalism/Corporatism" or something.


  4. Daru
    December 20, 2015 @ 11:41 pm

    "That's not to say the cast of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine couldn't have handled a brief like this or that the setting would have precluded it, but the writing staff on that show has something of a problem handling action without it coming across as unreconstructed, bloodthirsty and grimdark and that's ultimately what's going to end up killing the series."

    Yes that is one of my bugbears too, sad, but not really the kind of storytelling that inspires me.

    Love the post and where you come to mentioning how Spiner has room to play (fab!) and yes, I love too how the characters are given the space to express the closeness that the main cast feel. Lovely.


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