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)
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.
Star Trek and Action Movies. “The Cage” was rejected for being too cerebral, but that didn't stop it from delivering thoughtful commentary. We look at how Trek has incorporated action tropes over the years without giving up what makes it unique.
The French Resistance and Star Trek’s Maquis. We look at the legacy of World War II resistance fighters and how the writers of Deep Space Nine transferred our own history to the caves of Bajor.
Shakespeare and Star Trek, Part II. We conclude our two-part episode on Star Trek’s debt to the Bard with a look at the Next Generation era.
Music and Characters. Recorded at London’s Royal Festival Hall, Duncan Barrett is joined by Clara Cook to discuss live performance in Star Trek and the importance of music in a technologically sophisticated future.
Shakespeare and Star Trek, Part I. In the first of a two-part episode, we look at echoes of Shakespeare’s plays in The Original Series and The Undiscovered Country.
Westworld and the Holodeck. We consider some of Star Trek’s holodeck episodes in relation to the amoral theme park of the 1973 film in which gun-slinging robot terrorizes hapless fun-seekers.
Legacies of WWII in The Original Series. Many of Star Trek’s original cast and crew saw action during the Second World War. We explore their stories, and how the war was depicted on screen.