Ideas may be bulletproof, but nobody’s tried plasma rifles

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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
    March 13, 2015 @ 7:36 am

    Now's as good a time as any to reflect on the unevenness of Season 3. I've stated in the past that for me the aesthetic and often narrative high point of TNG begins in Season 2 and runs somewhere into Season 5. But that shouldn't really imply that Season 3 is hitting them out of the park every week.

    In fact it's probably the most 1-for-1 season yet (and that's thinking of TOS, too). It feels like it actually alternates, having a good episode one week and a bad one the next. There are few (or no? checking now) "runs" of good episodes. The quality gets a little heavier toward the midseason mark – a cosmic convergence where all points head toward Yesterday's Enterprise. And as I'll remark in the next post, there's been noticeable lack of O'Brien which is due to be amended.

    As far as Menage is concerned, I do think there might be merit to at least one element of the Ferengi, and that's the association with sort of immature, stunted "pervert" behavior being linked the the possessive nature of a hyper-patriarchal, hyper-capitalistic society. There's a real streak of gender and sexual immaturity in the human sphere that deserves to be poked fun at just as much as it deserves more serious dialogues and stories to be told about it. And it's an issue that's not partisan here on Earth, it's equally abysmally true for males of all kinds of mainstream ideological persuasions.

    It could have been incredibly potent to contrast that in the Ferengi with a planet of sensitives – empaths with open, and rarely one-sided sexual relationships and a general lack of possessiveness. And Will, ironically has been set up since his inception as the perfect male POV human character for this story to be told about. His candor and charm and noncompetitive, unjealous nature make him a perfect role model.

    So when we talk about this being a season of missed marks, this is actually a huge missed chance. But god forbid they try to package an actual object lesson about sex politics on long-80s network TV. Cheeky jokes, sure. Human decency protocol? Nah.


  2. Daru
    March 16, 2015 @ 2:59 am

    Yeah as you say there's quite a few problems with this Josh, but I do love and utterly adore Majel Barrett as Lwaxana Troi – when she's given the chance to shine she's brilliant. Not so keen on the hetero-normative stuff, as I have always really appreciated the open aspect of the Betazed sensuality, and particularly how those ideals affect subtly the rest of the Federation. It would have been lovely to have the real, simple character based tale without any sub plot, not so keen on that habit they have to feel there always has to be one.


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