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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.

5 Comments

  1. Aaron
    June 13, 2013 @ 9:57 am

    I wish I had anything interesting to say here, but I just wanted to comment that I came here from the TARDIS Eruditorum, and I'm really loving your blog. I love TOS, just as I love DS9 and to a lesser extent Next Generation, and so I'm excited to read about the evolution of the themes in Star Trek, something I've mostly missed watching it out of order on reruns. I only read two blogs total, yours and that one, so I just wanted to let you know you've made another fan!

    One question I guess: The Temporal Incursion post really threw me off when I was first reading through. Can I ask why you did those stories that way? Were those posts mostly leftovers from an earlier blog? Were you just really interested in production order versus broadcast order? And, to help out poor individuals like me who are new to the blog, could you put a note somewhere around that post that explains where the Naked Time/Man Trap/No Man has Gone Before posts are, so I don't waste 45 minutes clicking randomly through your archive before I realise that they're at the other end of what I assumed was just a short story you had written and linked to?

    Anyways, thanks so much for the posts, and I just wish more people commented so I could get some more thoughts on these episodes.

    Reply

  2. Josh Marsfelder
    June 13, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

    Thanks for the kind words! I'm glad I can be of help introducing anyone to the history of Star Trek.

    I know the Temporal Incursion post has wrongfooted a few people, and I'm sorry that's happened. The key thing to know about it is that it's essentially a choose-your-own-adventure story with two branching paths, each with three unique entries. The basic idea was in fact the production order/airdate order discrepancy, but it's a bit more ambitious than just that: It also introduces a major reoccurring thematic thread and framing device I don't want to explain too much of right now, but it's something I'm going to be working a lot with throughout the entire course of the blog. Some of this will hopefully start to become more clear in the next two weeks or so. The Temporal Incursion post was not a one-off, I will say that 😉

    You're very welcome, and thank you for stopping by!

    Reply

  3. Aaron
    June 13, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

    I would just say that though you're trying to weave the temporal incursion idea into the blog (and I quite liked it once I figured out what was going on) it might be helpful to introduce it. Like in the entry, just have something that says "we're going to do something different for the next couple entries, click here to read on." Or just have something in the previous entry that highlights that next weeks is going to be a bit off, that's all. Anyways, excited to see where that thread goes!

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  4. Alex Wilcock
    June 15, 2013 @ 1:10 am

    After posting far too much on your Court Martial, I thought I’d drift back slightly; not quite a Temporal Incursion, though I admit they were a bit off-putting for me, too (and much more difficult to comment on, though in my case that may not be a bad thing). This was one of about three episodes I knew best as a boy, because Hazel Grove Library had photonovels of them. So I remember it fondly, and as having hilarious ‘monsters’, but find it more difficult to watch now…

    Though as you say there are interesting attempts to broaden the show – science missions, and a different attitude to logic – my problem with it as a character drama is that so many of the characters aren’t characters but walking plot functions. And that McCoy is a far bigger drain on morale than anything Spock does (as is Ferris, who like Spock is often logically right but an efficiency-sapping morale-breaker). Even the end scene is, for me, coloured by all the other ‘let’s pick on Spock for being Vulcan’ scenes, which comes across less friendly than… Well, there are plenty of words for it. Bizarre that while in casting they’re making stands with non-white characters, the scripts veer more towards ‘the uppity alien just has to put up with the racist banter and he literally has no sense of humour about it’. Which is an utterly weird juxtaposition. I’m with you on how great Kirk’s / Shatner’s narration is, though.

    Spock’s given almost exactly the same decision to make as “Kodos the Executioner”, isn’t he? I suppose Kirk is too traumatised to mention it.

    Reply

  5. Josh Marsfelder
    June 17, 2013 @ 7:41 am

    I agree the later characterization of Spock is a seriously problematic one: Far, far too many scenes are made from McCoy being flatly speciesist to Spock, which is intolerably read as "friendly ribbing" by far too many Star Trek fans. For a franchise ostensibly about liberal ideals, this is almost enough to scuttle the show in the here and now.

    I guess the reason I didn't pick up on it as much here is because this is one of the first times in the show stuff like this starts to become noticeable, and it still feels a bit like an extension of the earlier logic vs. emotions debates at this point. But you're right: This is not an excuse for how Spock and McCoy's relationship evolves at all.

    Reply

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