Westworld and the Holodeck.
A state-of-the-art entertainment complex where you can live out your wildest dreams, surrounded by people who look, sound, and even feel like flesh-and-blood. The sixth-season TNG episode “A Fistful of Datas” tips its (cowboy) hat to the 1973 film Westworld, in which a robot gunslinger runs amok in a Wild West fantasyland, terrorizing the hapless players whose fun day out has just turned into a nightmare.
In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Tony Black and Duncan Barrett discuss the connections between Westworld’s amoral theme park and Star Trek’s holodeck. We consider the risks human beings will take for excitement, the moral cost of creating artificial beings for exploitation in games of sex and violence, and whether such complex systems can ever truly be kept under control.
Holographic Rights on Voyager (00:15:23)
Prostitution and Holographic Sex (00:23:34)
Vic Fontaine (00:30:14)
Safety Protocols and Corporate Responsibility (00:33:50)
Hubris Versus Sabotage (00:48:00)
Post-finale Voyager Novels and the Holo-revolution (00:52:00)
Final Thoughts and Recommended Viewing (01:01:00)
Tony Black and Duncan Barrett
Tony Black (Editor and Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)
Voyager, History, and Nostalgia. We explore the show’s obsession with the past, debates around historical truth, the pleasures of nostalgia, and whether the homeward mission was inherently retrogressive.
A Christmas Carol and Tapestry. In this special holiday episode, we look at the influence of Dickens’s classic story on of the most popular episodes of TNG and the role Christmas plays in the secular societies we see in Star Trek.
Star Trek and Human Rights. To mark International Human Rights Day, we consider how Star Trek has engaged with real-world debates about human and animal rights, the impact of war on our most dearly held principles, and the Federation’s role in policing the future.
Director’s Cuts and Star Trek. At this live roundtable recorded at Prince Charles Cinema in London, we discuss how a director’s cut impacts the fan relationship with a film before we watch the UK premiere of the director’s extended edition of The Wrath of Khan.
Time Loops in Star Trek. We consider the role of time loops, both within the Star Trek universe and beyond, and explore the darker issues at play when the loops begin to unravel.
The X-Files and Star Trek. In a Halloween special, we explore connections between these two long-running sci-fi franchises.
The Federation’s Field of Dreams. We discuss baseball in Star Trek and why it’s such a good fit for storytelling in Gene Roddenberry’s universe.
Star Trek and Allegory. We look at the relationship between Star Trek and allegory—on screen and off—from the 1960s to present day.
Star Trek and Epic Heroes. We look at Star Trek’s engagement with epic narratives Beowulf and the Epic of Gilgamesh, and how Starfleet heroes compare with their ancient forbears.
Star Trek’s Design Influences. We look at how the franchise’s style has shifted over the course of its half a century, from the sleek, contoured lines of Kirk’s original Enterprise to the rough-and-ready look of the USS Discovery.