Star Trek and Action Movies.
Lights! Camera! Action? Compared to the other science fiction franchise with which it shares half its name, Star Trek has always been distinctly contemplative, as much morality play as spectacular entertainment. But right from the start, there were moves to punch up the action. In 1965, the show’s original pilot was rejected by NBC executives for being too “cerebral.” A quarter-century later, Patrick Stewart expressed a similar view, begging Gene Roddenberry to offer the enlightened Captain Picard more opportunities for “sex and shooting.” By the time Picard was reinvented for the silver screen, the wise, unflappable diplomat had become a man of action, with bulging muscles rippling under his sweat-stained vest.
In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Tony Black and Duncan Barrett look at what Star Trek has borrowed from the action movie genre, focusing on the episodes “Starship Mine” and “Macrocosm,” and their debt to Die Hard and Aliens. What does it mean when Starfleet’s most idealistic captains are forced to forgo diplomacy and get out their guns? And to what extent can Star Trek absorb action-movie tropes without sacrificing its own unique qualities? Join us as we saddle up, lock and load, and get ready to boldly kick some alien butt.
Ellen Ripley (00:10:05)
Sex and Shooting (00:16:00)
The Changing Face of Action (00:21:06)
Gender-blind Casting (00:31:05)
Evaluating the Episodes (00:34:28)
Adult Content (00:40:50)
Babes vs. Badasses (00:46:14)
Final Thoughts (00:54:13)
Tony Black and Duncan Barrett
Tony Black (Editor) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)
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.
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.