Take A Seat To Chat Social Commentary And Star Trek: TNG’s “The Drumhead” With The Shuttle Pod Crew

Kayla, Jared, and returning host John Duchak discuss one of their favorite episodes — Star Trek: The Next Generation’s season 4 episode “The Drumhead” — in the context of how Star Trek has done social commentary. And, importantly, Kayla invites you to join her in never again being able to unsee the fact that the interrogation chair is actually a mediocre 1990’s office chair, complete with caster wheels, armrests, and those little levers to adjust the height.

So, go ahead and sit down in an office chair while we probe into the ancestral origins of your great-great-great-granduncle to decide whether or not you are allowed to hang out with us.

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Excellent podcast, as always. This episode is a good lesson in how paranoia and conspiracy theories can get out of control and damage institutions. Obviously it’s even more relevant now than it was then.

Very true especially the paranoia and conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19 and the election happening now. It does get out of control and damage institutions. Lack of trust from the general population.

This is just the way I think about this issue of conspiracy. The way I see is that if there was more truth out there and if more people were willing to share the truth with irrefutable proofs then there would be less conspiracies. I see “absolute truth” as the only way to fight conspiracies and since this is almost impossible then it is going to be nearly impossible to get rid of conspiracy theories as a result. Besides there will always be someone who is gonna ask “how do you know this is the real truth?”

But the burden of proof, or “truth” if you will, is on the conspiracy theorists. They’re the prosecution in this scenario. And if there is no willingness to agree on a self-evident reality, no genuine intellectual curiosity beyond theories, and, most important of all, the inability to admit when they’re wrong, then the theorists are doing more harm than good.

Excellent podcast and keep up the good work as always.

Jared, The Boys (and the Homelander character) was created and published in 2006. The depiction in the show is almost identical to the graphic novel. While full of social commentary, it’s highly unlikely the character or the concept was in any way meant to depict the (soon to be former) Administration or the (soon to be former) president, specifically.

I’ve seen some interviews with the showrunner, who said it’s actually more of a comment on celebrity culture than what’s happening politically. (I’m a huge fan of the show.)

And sadly, exactly what would happen if people really did develop super powers lol. Also, OMG Hi Laurie!! :)

I suspect things which are perceived to be heavily anti-Trump are going to age quite well. Weird take from Jared.

I look forward to listening to this!

That was a nice little chat. Thanks. I look forward to hearing the one about Tapestry…

This episode of The Shuttle Pod was extra, extra good!

Jared came prepared as always, and so did the guest, John. Very smart analysis and contextualization by both. I can’t believe how much I learned about this great episode of TNG.

Kayla mirrors my own love of TNG and I just love those moments- and this episode offers plenty- when Jared or John drop a bombshell observation and I swear I can hear Kayla’s mind exploding right along with mine.

Honestly, this podcast contains a very high level of genius-level insight into not only what makes The Drumhead a good TNG episode but also how the writers and producers of TNG and TOS managed to create such high-caliber Star Trek episodes.

I really wish the writers and producers of Disco, Picard, and any future series would listen to this podcast and take notes.

Fantastic episode! Again, thank you for being wonderful examples of depth, intelligence, and respectfulness. I am always moved by your respect for each other when you don’t agree on a point. Also, you guys are so well spoken. Love it!

On another note, nothing but love for the new podcast, but I do miss my Shuttle Pod gang on the new episode reviews each week. I look forward to the next one.

Thanks so much for the podcast which as ever is much appreciated. Like Kayla I’ve been doing a complete TNG re-watch (currently mid-way through S7), so I watched this episode a couple of months ago. I must say I was struck by how great this episode was and as you note in the podcast, it has a timeless quality and holds up tremendously well today. Stewart and Simmons were absolutely superb and I would rate this as one of TNGs top-ten best episodes.

I get the point that Kayla made about writers having to churn out so many episodes a season. That certainly explains why there are mediocre or subpar episodes; however, that point should not be used as a criterion for grading a particular episode. Better, more relevant criteria include the writing itself (not the time allotted between episodes), acting, cinematography, and so on. You know, actual elements that make up the episode. Circumstances behind the scenes obviously affect quality, but they are not a part of the criteria for judging the material.