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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. Daru
    May 4, 2014 @ 8:51 pm

    I thought that this was a really heartfelt piece of storytelling, just a shame that the ending was copped out on by creating the alternative ending. I think actually that it is one of the most lovely love letters to the show overall that I have seen. One of the high spots in Phase II.


  2. BerserkRL
    May 10, 2014 @ 8:05 pm

    Western culture is fixated on dates, numbers, patterns and schedules.

    Good thing that Chinese culture, say, has no such dreadful Western weakness.

    I mean, seriously, the kneejerk anti-Westernism is becoming self-parodic at this point.

    2006 was the fortieth anniversary of Star Trek, but it wasn't a birthday ….

    It was a puzzling thing to bear witness to Star Trek fandom around 2006 and 2007: I don't recall any talk about continuing Enterprise or any of the other Star Trek series

    Well, 2006 was the year that Star Trek: Of Gods and Men was filmed, even if it wasn't released in full until 2008.


  3. Josh Marsfelder
    May 11, 2014 @ 5:14 am

    "Good thing that Chinese culture, say, has no such dreadful Western weakness."

    That wasn't a criticism, that was an observation. Humans in general seem to like those things, I was just trying to highlight the specific way it manifested in Westernism.

    Seriously, I study synchromysticism. I pay more attention to dates and numbers than anybody.

    "Well, 2006 was the year that Star Trek: Of Gods and Men was filmed, even if it wasn't released in full until 2008."

    Yes, and what, precisely, was Star Trek: Of Gods and Men and who was it aimed at?


  4. Ross
    May 27, 2014 @ 4:03 pm

    Ever since this episode first "aired", I've been unable to exactly phrase my discomfort at it. It finally came to me, which is why I'm posting a comment so late.
    The end of this episode bugs me primarily in light of the beginning. If this were a simple storytelling aberration (As Aaron Sorkin called it when The West Wing stepped out of canon to address 9/11), a "Don't worry about canon; we just want to tell this interesting story, and it'll all be forgotten next week," that would not have bothered me as much (I'd still prefer a narrative frame around it, because reasons). But this episode is explicitly a sequel to The Deadly Years. This is an episode which only works in a universe where the things we saw on-screen in the past can have consequences which unfold on-screen in the future. And that's what bothers me: it feels like a cheat to do a story that explicitly requires the events of a previous episode to continue to have consequences into the future, but which itself must also explicitly have no impact on the future. That feels wrong, and it feels like they're trying to have it both ways.


  5. Josh Marsfelder
    May 28, 2014 @ 9:28 am

    I think this is another good example of the overwhelmingly net negative effect canon and canon fetishization has had on Star Trek: Cawley and Fontana could have given any reason for Chekov to suddenly be dying: They could have had it be the result of the radiation exposure, or send him through a time loop like they do Sulu in the next episode. But instead, they default to resurrecting a plot thread from "The Deadly Years", even in an episode that in all other respects ought to be a done-in-one one shot.

    Fontana certainly has never been averse to fanwank in her writing in the past, but I do wonder if some of that is specifically because she knows her audience and what they want all too well. And because of that, we get things like James Cawley talking himself in circles.


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