We stared into the untempered schism and all we saw was this dodgy CSO effect

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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. Dustin
    January 27, 2016 @ 5:46 am

    I mark the phases of my childhood by the different toy crazes I went through. My earliest fixations were the Ghostbusters cartoon and its toy line. The Ghostbusters toys I still have are in even worse shape than your Star Trek toys. A good sign.

    After that I moved on to the Ninja Turtles. I've a suitcase full of those, and my young cousins play with them whenever they come over, which is how it should be.

    Next was a very, very brief X-Men phase. Never had many of the toys, but there's a box full of old comics around here somewhere. I never suffered the "Mom gave them all away in a yard sale" indignity. Not that any of them were of any value, being printed during the glut of the late 80s, just before the crash.

    I became a Star Trek fan right around the time Wave 2 hit the shelves. It was my last toy craze, and it lasted till 1996. I got a hold of the First Contact toys, but although I was still fond of the franchise, by then I felt a bit too old to still be playing with toys and I never did anything but display them.

    The Playmates line, in short, sort of marks the border between my childhood and my adolescence, when I felt myself growing past these things. It was the last time I felt myself wholly caught up in a franchise. 1996 was also, probably, Star Trek's highwater mark, at least in terms of mainstream popularity (until Abrams, that is). There was the latter half of DS9, of course, but the post-TNG series were decidedly cult.

    On a final note, when the new Star Trek series comes on next year, I'd love to see you reviewing it in real time.


  2. Daru
    February 29, 2016 @ 10:18 pm

    Yes that's great to hear about the new show, and I agree Dustin, I would be really interesting to see Josh's take on it as it airs.


  3. Gareth A
    July 14, 2016 @ 3:53 pm

    Nice articles on the old TNG figures. I still have a number of them myself, along with the Shuttle and Transporter.

    Couple of things I’d like to ask:

    • You mention that the second wave had another Borg Drone to accompany Locutus. Was that the one that came with three replaceable right hands? I have one with three (silver claw, black hand, black cannon with swivel), but it looks a little different to yours as well. Was wondering how different it is.

    • Do you have any of the “Innerspace” vehicles or the later “Strike Force” ones? I’d like to know if you’ll go over them.


    • Nick
      March 16, 2018 @ 7:40 pm

      Sounds like you’re describing Hugh Borg. There were three: Borg; Locutus of Borg; and Hugh Borg.


  4. Nick
    March 16, 2018 @ 7:37 pm

    “The box for the transporter shows a realistic Captain Picard”

    Not QUITE realistic: The box art always had the characters depicted as action figures, hinge joints and all.

    Which was a fascinating if rarely-noticed little quirk of the Playmates toys…That really stuck out at me, because here I am twenty-five or so years later, still remembering it.


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