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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. Ross
    October 17, 2014 @ 1:13 am

    This is also why the Enterprise has room for families, because it allows those people who want to start a family as part of their personal journey to do that while still travelling the stars. It's a new kind of bottom-up, egalitarian domesticity that is but one path available to people who live on the Enterprise

    On the surface, and '90s era trekkies love to complain about this, it doesn't make a huge amount of sense to have families and children aboard the Enterprise, where they're weekly being beset by klingons and romulans and godlike entities that want to murder a third of them to better understand the concept of mortality.

    But at the same time, it's hard to even begin to imagine a TNG without it making thematic sense. The whole point of it, the reason that this is The Next Generation and not just, say, a new phase of the old generation is that we've moved past the old-fashioned notion that voyaging is about Rugged Manly Men leaving behind the children and womenfolk for a decade at a time to go off on manly adventure.

    Even on a personal level, Picard's already done that; that's pretty much the Stargazer backstory, and there's an implicit criticism of that mode of adventuring in the fact that Wesley doesn't know his dad.


  2. Jack Graham
    October 18, 2014 @ 9:32 pm

    You could argue, I suppose, that the you-can-go-adventuring-with-your-family thing is something Moffat did with Amy/Rory. Indeed, it's a plank of the defence of Moffat: that he shows women having a domestic/family life alongside adventures and heroism.


  3. Josh Marsfelder
    October 19, 2014 @ 10:01 am

    I would actually disagree quite a lot with that. I read Steven Moffat's Doctor Who as being about pretty much the exact opposite of what "Coming of Age" is trying to say: Doctor Who is about how adventuring and fun are for young people, and if you keep doing that forever you're irresponsible and childish. Eventually, you're supposed to grow up, get married, have kids, and settle down, leaving your adventuring days behind you. Just look at "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" which, though it's a Chibnall script, embodies the themes of this era very concisely IMO.

    That's why Amy and Rory are a married couple, their character arc involves them firmly making the decision to abandon the TARDIS for domesticity and why River Song works the way she does. Just look at that gifset that's been making the rounds lately about Amy's two "Goodbye" scenes and how that's an indication of her "character development". That's why Series 5-7 were all framed in terms of a Peter Pan-type fairy tale.

    But that's all I'm going to say about this because the last thing I want to do is open up another goddamn debate about Steven Moffat and Doctor Who. Thread closed.


  4. Daru
    November 19, 2014 @ 10:52 pm

    "But another reason I can't see “Coming of Age” as a commentary on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is because I still like to think of Star Trek: The Next Generation existing in its own universe and continuity separate from the Original Series, as Gene Roddenberry had originally intended it to be."

    That's one of the things I always found rather boring about obsession over continuity, the overriding desire to make everything link up – why must it (the same applies to Doctor Who in my head)? Ok I do enjoy story and thematic links, but primarily I just take each tale on it's own merits. And for me TNG was way above things like Khan in quality, which I did enjoy as a kid; but I then enjoy TNG as an adult, and it's tales have carried me further on my journey.


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