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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. Jack Graham
    April 27, 2014 @ 10:58 pm

    I agree with your reading of that scene in TNG. It's about the ostensible biological drive of wimmenz to be nurturing protectors, etc… and yet, there is something to be said for the way the male officers are all debating what's to be done until Troi says "I'm having this baby" and Picard just says, without any hint of being put-out, "Then it would appear that the discussion is over." I like that.


  2. Jack Graham
    April 27, 2014 @ 11:19 pm

    Also, on the biology… I think you're absolutely right to bring it up, despite the fact that Trek is essentially fantasy and scientific accuracy doesn't generally matter. Your distinction between meaningless technobabble and inaccurate real science is right too, but I'd also add the different political weight attached to biology. Because biology concerns itself with, amongst other things, the human body, it has been politically freighted with all sorts of horrible determinism and reductionism about human social traits being biologically originated. Biology is inherently more political than physics or astronomy. There's no massively funded reactionary effort to undermine the Copernican theory, for instance.


  3. FlexFantastic
    April 28, 2014 @ 6:19 am

    So, so much effort spent on producing various versions of story that really never should have been made. What Star Trek creator types consider worth reviving boggles the mind sometimes.

    You seem to hit all the points as best as I can tell. I'm really only familiar with the TNG version (haven't seen the 2012 version yet – actually, it took me a few entries to catch on that's what was being covered at this point in your blog since the videos don't embed in my RSS reader), but it's easily a low point based on the rape scene alone.

    You're right to point out that there's a fragment of a good exploration here, which seems to be a common refrain in Trek up to this point.


  4. Josh Marsfelder
    April 28, 2014 @ 8:09 am

    I'd chalk that, as I will most of what makes the first two seasons of The Next Generation worthwhile, to the actors putting in a Herculean effort to redeem middling-to-awful material they're handed. Patrick Stewart said he felt the show in its earliest days was flagrantly sexist and he made it a personal mission to make it less so as much as he could.


  5. Josh Marsfelder
    April 28, 2014 @ 8:11 am

    I think you're absolutely correct here, of course. And this also ties into Star Trek's ultimate responsibility to be progressive and promote material social progress, which is a responsibility that is in many ways uniquely its.


  6. Josh Marsfelder
    April 28, 2014 @ 8:13 am

    "(haven't seen the 2012 version yet – actually, it took me a few entries to catch on that's what was being covered at this point in your blog since the videos don't embed in my RSS reader)"

    Oh, uh, sorry…

    I hope you get the chance to go back and watch the stuff I've been covering since "Come What May"-There's some genuinely great stuff there. James Cawley is fantastic and his team have done some wonderful things,


  7. FlexFantastic
    April 28, 2014 @ 10:48 am

    I'll tell you what, once I figured out that there were videos to go along with the entries they made a LOT more sense.

    I'm gonna find some weekend to hole up, nerd out and watch all that material, which I had no idea even existed until you started covering it. 🙂


  8. Josh Marsfelder
    April 28, 2014 @ 11:14 am

    If you find you have something to add to the discussion after actually watching the series, even if by that time I'm well into Star Trek: The Next Generation, please don't hesitate to go back and comment on these posts. I'm always willing to entertain discussion on anything here and always make a point keep up with my commenters.

    And anyway, this volume will probably make a ton more sense later on anyway. I've self-consciously been writing it from the perspective of the future. Or rather, from the perspectives of different futures.


  9. Jack Graham
    April 28, 2014 @ 9:15 pm

    Patrick Stewart is a bloody giant.


  10. Josh Marsfelder
    April 29, 2014 @ 8:12 am

    In more ways than one.

    I'm not kidding, this is a truly special cast on any number of levels.


  11. Adam Riggio
    April 30, 2014 @ 5:18 am

    I can, do some degree, understand why the TNG production team remade The Child, given the relative desperation they were in while preparing their second season in the midst of a writers' strike that hobbled their ability to produce new scripts. In that case, Star Trek Phase II (1978) was a scrapyard for spare parts in times of desperation. The modern Phase II production crew would have raided these old scripts perhaps out of a sense of fealty. I haven't seen this one in particular, but what I took away from watching earlier productions is that the fan love results in a worship of Star Trek's continuity and past above all else. Cawley and the crew took an act of desperation by the TNG production crew and made it an act of fidelity. I'm not sure which is more sad.


  12. Josh Marsfelder
    April 30, 2014 @ 9:08 am

    Certainly I understand the utter desperation faced by the Star Trek: The Next Generation team in its second and third seasons. I made precisely that point in the "Devil's Due" entry to demonstrate how odd it was for that story to show up in the fourth season.

    My question, then as now, remains why "The Child" in particular?


  13. Daru
    May 4, 2014 @ 9:53 pm

    Such a big shame the “Practice in Waking” was not the one they chose in this instance. Perhaps for me that remains to one the best unmade Trek stories.


  14. BerserkRL
    May 10, 2014 @ 9:05 pm

    There's no massively funded reactionary effort to undermine the Copernican theory, for instance.

    Not yet.


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