[Paramount+ discussion starts at 10:33]
Tony and Laurie discuss the latest in the Star Trek litverse (including an audiobook from Nicholas Meyer), Brent Spiner’s prediction for a recast Star Trek: The Next Generation movie, and what inspires the showrunners of the Section 31 show in development.
Then they jump into the main topic: the impending launch of Paramount+ and what it means for the Star Trek Universe.
Links to topics discussed in the pod:
Next ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Novel Tells Rios’ Backstory; ‘Coda’ Trilogy Wraps Up Post-‘Nemesis’ Litverse
All Access Star Trek Explores The New Extended Literary Universe With Author James Swallow
Listen: Nicholas Meyer Tells His Star Trek Origin Story From New ‘A View From The Bridge’ Audiobook
Brent Spiner Thinks A ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ Big Screen Reboot Would Be “Cool”
Section 31 Series Showrunners Talk Creative Freedom And Sci-Fi Influences
First Look At ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’; Will Premiere On Paramount+ In 2021
Paramount+ Already Discussing Multiple Shows For Next Phase Of Star Trek Universe
David Mack on how Prodigy is Star Trek’s future
All the shows on Paramount+ (via Deadline)
Tony: Trekkie of the week: Dr. Swati Mohan
Laurie: Kate Mulgrew on Late Night with Conan O’Brien from 1995
Let us know what you think of the episode in the comments, and please post your suggestions for topics we should cover in the future as well as guests you’d like us to have on.
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Dear Laurie & Tony,
I’m sorry but I can’t keep listening to your podcast. Kurtzman-Trek has become just too stressful and it’s time for me to stop paying attention. I love Star Trek far too much to continue this masochistic viewing of its deconstruction.
Last week’s podcast, wherein you guys claimed Picard is actually a good show if you binge it with the foreknowledge that the mysteries are all unsatisfactorily resolved, was a bit much. Yes, you guys offer criticisms of Kurtzman-Trek, but I just don’t share the enthusiasm you have for new seasons/shows.
The ShuttlePod is my favourite podcast. Brian totally gets it.
I hate the fact that I don’t like new Trek. I really, really want to like it! But every week I find myself wanting to post comments about what a letdown everything is. I don’t like having this toxic mindset. I need a break from Kurtzman-Trek.
I think you guys are great podcast hosts. Right from day one you’ve both been excellent. The reason I can’t keep listening is right there in the title: All Access. I guess I’m too old for this s**t.
While I disagree with you on this, I want to commend you for committing to no longer watching these new series’ and no longer commenting on them here given your complete dislike for the new franchise. I see a lot of people here who share your dislike of Kurtzman Trek, but instead of doing the admirable thing and just checking out so that they don’t ruin it for others, they consistently just complain, whine and moan, ad infinitum.
Enjoy your break, and I hope to “run into you” in future years here when you decide to given Kurtzman Trek another shot.
And thanks again for doing the honorable thing by just moving on.
Thats an echo chamber attitude. Whats the point in only praising something? Criticism is a good thing.
Perhaps you could accept it for the learning moment that it clearly is and not react so defensively?
I think it’s courageous that PeachesXtream decide to remove himself/herself from the debate given he/she just didn’t like the new Trek and wanted to stop all the unhealthy acrimony associated with the internet negativity of going on and on about it.
Good for him/her!
I appreciate the nice comments very much, and I think you are wise to stop listening to a podcast about shows you don’t like. Life is short! The Shuttle Pod is a great podcast (that we sometimes guest on) and I applaud your choice to focus on a podcast that makes you happy instead of frustrated! LLAP.
“wherein you guys claimed Picard is actually a good show if you binge it with the foreknowledge that the mysteries are all unsatisfactorily resolved, was a bit much.”
I don’t think the problem lies with the unsatisfactory solution to those mysteries. That aspect worked out quite fine for me. The tonal aspects of the show are much more troublesome. Those depressing characters, all that pointless drinking, smoking, cuzzing, killing… it just doesn’t fit this universe it’s set in. It’s been previously established all of that belongs to the past time and again… An android attack on Mars or some shady choices by Starfleet Command cannot explain why Rafi has to live like trash in a trailer because of her failed career. The brutal killings of both Icheb and Bruce Maddox (the later by a main character) felt totally out of universe. That crazy Romulan Admonition that had those people kill themselves like sect members on acid was just disturbing… It’s not what they did on PIC but how it was presented that bugged me. “Adult drama” is a lame excuse for tastelessness.
You know, they didn’t smoke, drink, curse and brutally slaughter people on the older shows because Trek was on syndication or network TV, they avoided all that because of Trek’s positive vision! Just because it’s streaming TV now without such restrictions doesn’t mean all of this suddenly is suitable for Trek…
That new trailer claims new Trek still inspires the best in us. I’m having a hard time applying that notion to Rios, Rafi, Jurati or Elnor…
To be fair, they did always DRINK on Star Trek. TOS, TNG… DS9 even had a bar.
Also in fairness, it was established that a lot of the unsavory behavior happened outside of the Federation. Picard takes place largely outside of the Federation. I totally get those who don’t enjoy it…but it’s not a complete departure from what we should expect to exist in that universe. Similar to Worf needing to move onto the Defiant, some folks won’t be comfortable in the not so utopian, non-Starship setting and that’s ok. IDIC ain’t just a slogan :)
But Picard largely takes place outside of Federation space? Did you actually watch all ten episodes?
In any case, your point is moot since nothing bad that happens on Earth or Mars is any worse than what happened in TNG in Conspiracy, and the Starfleet HQ corruption we saw in both TNG’s Insurrection, and in TOS’s The Undiscovered Country.
Much, much respect for your post, PeachesXstream. So well put. I’m in exactly the same boat, tried for years now to keep the faith and watch Kurtzman-Trek, only to be disappointed time after time. I still come here to read, but rarely comment. These shows just don’t work for me, which is sad to say after 45 + years of being a fan. I plan on tuning in for Picard S2 and SNW, but honestly am not expecting much. I’m glad others are getting into these shows, but overall I’m very disappointed. Keep the faith, maybe someday someone will ‘get’ Trek again. Cheers.
Right there with you, m’man. I’m glad people are digging the new shows even if I’m scratching my head as to why. They just don’t contain any of the stuff I like about Star Trek but that’s my problem. So be it. Canceling CBS AA was the easiest choice in the world in the end once I realized The Stand was pretty lousy too. I’ll re-up if I hear good things about SNW but it’s not a lock. Same people in charge = same problems. But I’m rarely on here anymore either. No sense ruining other people’s buzz.
I was very critical of DSC when it first aired for its darker approach to the pre-TOS era, the Klingon changes and the challenging grizzly visuals but the series has become better and better by slowly returning to Trek’s hopeful take on the future. S2 was a massive improvement but S3 really was a giant leap forward with the Federation being reborn out of its own ashes due to the bravery and inspiration of a valliant crew of Starfleet people.
PIC had some great ideas at its core and I even appreciate Data’s sad goodbye, but I’ll never understand why they had to include all the cursing, drinking, smoking and visualized murder as well as the out-of-century forced “poverty” with people living in trailers in a post-scarcity society. And I will never be able to accept Icheb’s demise…
LD is the most difficult Trek show to handle yet. I don’t get the tropes of that particular subgenre, all the overdone, hyperactive characters, the crazy self-referentiality and disrespectful undertone of treating Trek lore from a comical perspective. I don’t get the Simpsons after 30+ years or any stuff like that but I understand those adult comedies are here to reflect our own broken society. If Trek is in need of such a mirror as well, it must be considered broken, which then deconstructs the vision of Trek beyond repair. Or maybe I simply lack the humor required to deal with it.
I’m looking forward to SNW, S4 of DSC and also to PROD, which I hope will be just like an all-age Pixar movie… fun but not disrespectful the way LD is…
It’s strange. I’ve recently watched all of THE ORVILLE for the first time. It’s the complete opposite of LD. It’s an outside take on Trek that pays wonderful hommage to the best in Trek and looks and feels just like I want my Trek to feel like. LD is an inside take on Trek that treats canon, values and the spirit of Trek with utmost disrespect. ORV is Star Trek at heart, LD is Trek in name only.
Thanks Garth Lorca. I’m in complete agreement with you on your points, particularly LD. And I say that as a Simpsons fan, though that show peaked a long time ago and I no longer watch it. I also tried Rick & Morty (big fan on Dan Harmon and Community) but it was just too mean spirited. I’m not gonna go off on LD.
I enjoyed PIC but not as much as I wanted to, though I watched Nepenthe 4 times. I’m hoping the 2nd season makes more sense of the world building aspects that seemed so out of place.
Lower Decks is just awful — we can at least agree on that.
I’d love to see a Star Trek medical drama – set on a medical ship (Star Trek: Hope). And I’d love a West Wing style drama with the President of the Federation (Star Trek: Federation). A mini-series would be an amazing way to revisit DS9. I’m so excited about the possibilities.
What an interesting idea…
The medical genre has certainly proven popular in the mainstream (ER, Grey’s Anatomy etc.). Whether it could translate well into the Star Trek universe, who knows, but there is certainly potential there.
Politics has always played a very significant role in Star Trek too (DS9 especially) so you might be onto something there too. It might be a little too far removed from the whole space exploration aspect to ever receive serious consideration for a series, but then why put restrictions on what could be done?
As you say; there are so many possibilities, now that (TV) Star Trek finally has some momentum behind it again, and a bit of ‘outside the box’ thinking never hurts.
While we’re at it, and seeing as how pretty much all sci-fi shows love a bit of courtroom drama, how about Star Trek: Law & Order!!
No..? Too far..?
I’ll see myself out…
I would totally watch Star Trek JAG :)
You’re right, something focused on the President or a legal drama would take us away from exploration of space, but it doesn’t need to be a 7 season commitment. Picard is likely to only be 3 seasons. Short Treks has turned the formula upside down. So I know I’d enjoy a series of min-series or limited series that focus on these unique aspects of the Star Trek universe. I’ve learned that I’m not just a fan of ships and exploration, but I love the entire universe Gene’s vision created. So a 10 or 20 episode run focused on the President, or a Bajoran Resistance limited series – even a Dominion War series that takes the focus off of DS9 would be amazing. Give me 10 episodes of the Dominion occupation of Betazed. Or the Earth/Romulan War. I’m here for all of it.
Yeah, I hear you.
The Star Trek universe has been so well established over the years and has become a very appealing place to ‘escape to’. Like yourself, I’m often as intrigued by what we haven’t seen on-screen as what we have.
It’s probably why I have enjoyed quite a bit of the expanded media (games, books, graphic novels etc.) over the years. Any chance to visit some aspect of that universe…
I absolutely agree. With so many different formats of storytelling available now, there is a chance to explore things that probably just weren’t really feasible back in the days of 7 seasons of 26 episodes. And it certainly wouldn’t take very much convincing for me to give any of the ideas you’ve suggested a try.
Some things will likely land better than others, and I do suspect that it might well be sometime before the show-runners wish to go over ‘old ground’ (like the Dominion War) again, but we’ve seen quite a bit of diversity in the types of shows which have either aired or been announced so far… so hopefully this means that plenty of new ideas will continue to be considered.
The thing is I think those shows are dramatic because in our world they’re still so imperfect. Hospitals are messy, treatments don’t always work, etc.; the law relates to our real world lives. I think it would be very hard to get the same drama out of a medical show set in the future where hyposprays can cure anything, and a legal show debating intergalactic law that we 21st century earthlings don’t understand, referencing events that we can’t relate to
I agree albatrossity.
Medical dramas are compelling because health problems are ubiquitous, and everyone has some experience with a health care system.
Occasional sci-fi medical-centred episodes in a series work by analogy, but don’t see them as a sustainable series. That’s why medical space opera book series are uncommon and a niche market.
A Starfleet medical made-for-streaming movie might work though, especially if an established character were one of the protagonists.
Similarly for legal dramas. We find them compelling when known characters we know are in peril or solving a problem, but a steady stream of imaginary legal or courtroom drama would also be a niche interest.
What I do find in common about both these ideas is that they’re fixed in a place like a station. DS9 was centered on its own long-term story arcs.
It would be interesting to see a station based show in a different kind of location and era, say as the hub of governance in a new region of Federation colonization and terraforming in the late 22nd century. Then the governance, medical and legal stories could all be part of a very different arc.
I do take your (and TG47’s) points.
While my ‘Law & Order’ suggestion was very much ‘tongue-in-cheek’, I was really interested by LCDR Trev’s initial suggestions about alternative drama types which might be applied to a Star Trek setting.
Your points about how relatable they might be to viewers in such a setting are well made, and I don’t even really mean to get too caught up on the specific genre that any new such show might adopt.
It could take the form of a detective show, a documentary (“Prelude to Axanar” style) or even a romantic comedy!
For a medical drama; we know that some challenging illnesses/diseases/contagions do still exist in the 24th century, and such a show might provide an opportunity for some world-building by exploring Starfleet Medical in more detail. After all, there has to be more to it than just scanning a patient with a medical tricorder and then applying the suggested hypospray dosage :) If not, then McCoy, Crusher, Bashir etc. would all be a little overrated.
Shows like West Wing and House of Cards have also shown that, with strong writing, it is not necessary to have an intimate understanding of the specific mechanisms of the political processes to follow the drama unfolding. I’m sure a DS9-style focus on the political manoeuvrings between allies and enemies (rather than the specific passing of laws/statutes), seen from the Office of the Federation President, could potentially result in a worthwhile show.
As LCDR Trev says, in a mini-series format, or as a collection of ‘Short Treks’, these sort of suggestions just might work. And if they go down like a lead balloon, well, at least they were given a chance to succeed. The ‘main’ shows will (hopefully!) still be there to keep the core support.
Well, I think you make some great points. You’ve sold me! I’m greenlighting these productions. Just gotta convince Kurtzman…
Thanks for the latest podcast!
It has just opened my eyes to Prodigy, which I hadn’t really given much consideration to before now, and caused me to go and read this site’s recent articles about it.
I’m quite intrigued now, and David Mack’s endorsement is definitely a good sign, in my opinion.
I really like the look of the animation and the characters too. So happy to see so many different species!
If this show manages to successfully capture the feel of some of Pixar’s excellent all-ages offerings (not an easy thing, admittedly) then it could be a hit right across the board – Star Trek’s own ‘Clone Wars’ perhaps…
And there was me thinking that SNW was the most exciting thing coming up :)
Prodigy looks like a fun show! Glad you’re enjoying the podcast.
Thanks for another great podcast. i really appreciate having a weekly catch-up on all the latest Trek news. Looking forward to your discussion on the state of the movie franchise.
Glad to hear it! Thank you.
Hey Laurie, do yall still want transcripts of your podcasts for accessibility reasons? I’m a stenographer and Trek fan and would love to help, seems like the perfect marriage of my skills and passion
I don’t believe anyone has asked for that. Perhaps it will come up as our podcast audience grows. But thank you!
Actually it was Corylea who asked.
I suggested how she could get a good quality voice-to-text transcription in real time with Google LiveTranscribe if she ran it concurrently with the podcast. Not sure if that worked out for her.
Ahh now I remember!
Tony and Laurie,
Great discussion on the podcast!
I have a stressful job. One of the things I look forward to is new star trek to escape the challenges I face at work. I am a fan that loves all trek, even the ones I don’t like. I may not like ENT or ST: TMP but I will watch them a million times because it’s trek. If Paramount Plus came out with trek for pre-k, I’d watch and love it too. I’m just getting too old to care about all the debates. When they announced Prodigy will be on Paramount Plus, I jumped for joy. I’m overjoyed for new trek coming and it keeps my sanity intact.
The other thing that keeps me going is the weekly podcast with all the trek news. Your discussions get me excited for what’s coming. Thank you for a great Podcast. Keep up the good work!
Thanks so much, KevinB! Glad you’re enjoying it. I have to say, I will also watch any Trek at least once.
What if Star Trek Prodigy takes place in the Delta Quadrant and the aliens find a lost Federation trip that got brought in by the Caretaker or a worm hole of whatever. That would explain how Janeway is involved if it takes place during the Voyager timeline.
Some interesting thoughts here. There’s plenty of interpersonal and interspecies conflict going on whether it’s G-rated or R. I’m not convinced pretending unsavory aspects of human(oid) nature away benefits anybody in the long run. A significant aspect of maturity is learning how to cope or deal with people you don’t like or respect.
Prodigy sounds like it’s going to be awesome. I’d like to see a mini-series on the temporal war that shaped so much of life in DSC S3. I’d also enjoy a show about what exactly goes on at Federation HQ. Is it glorified intergalactic UN? Or something about the Diplomatic Corps. What happens between first contact and becoming a member of a Federation? How often do they turn folks down? Can you reapply? I have questions.
Lots of interesting unresolved questions you’ve raised Lydia.
The litverse explored some of these kinds of things as cut aways in novels or anthologies.
I’d like to see some Starfleet Core of Engineers or Bureau of Intertemporal Investigations come to the screen too.
I’m very attracted to the idea of limited series to fill out the universe.
Made-for-streaming movies that don’t need to be blockbuster, big tent, big budget features offers opportunities to answer some of these questions too.
If these are sufficiently stand alone, they could offer new entry points for adult and teen viewers who are intimidated about jumping in a multiverse franchise with over 800 offerings.
These could also offer some experimentation with styles and eras.
I’m missing the Short Treks and wish we’d heard something about them. With the Short seasons they seem to be playing a key gap-filling role for characters and backstory. Perhaps there’s some licensing issues with the other streamers, but I haven’t heard anyone say that they wouldn’t like to have more of them.
I’m missing the Short Treks too. I didn’t even like ALL of them, but I appreciated the creative experimentation and some were wonderful. I hope they make more.
I was thinking about Laurie’s comment on the possible genders of the characters and her hope that there will be be a good balance.
Like Laurie, I can’t imagine the creators not having a good balance.
As I mentioned on the Prodigy news thread, I’m leaning to believe that the second from the left is a Tellarite (male) and the second from the right is a Talaxian (likely male, but could be female). The tall humanoid in the middle seems female presenting.
The large character on the far left seems to fit the litverse Brikarians. Large, three fingered, super strong, with rock-like pinkish or reddish skin that’s extra lumpy and sheds in puberty. A species with a developed backstory that includes teenage challenges, seems a natural candidate to bring into alpha canon.
At this stage of teenage extra-lumpiness, the Brikarian could be either gender.
This litverse species was created by Peter David and one was Worf’s first roommate at the Starfleet Academy in the kids’ book series. So, this makes me wonder if Simon & Schuster has plans to create a new series of Prodigy chapter books in their Little Simon line, and/or to revive the Starfleet Academy Book series for slightly older kids.
I’m also wondering if Prodigy will include a character who is non-binary or third gender.
I could see both the blob and the alien in a suit / AI as non-binary.
The Sinking Ship Entertainment series “Annedroids” approached non-gendered characters very well by having an AI named PAL with humanoid form. (Ran as an Amazon Original in the US.). In Annedroids, this AI character, who was created without gender, experienced social pressure from the male and female kids who were the main characters to “choose a gender”. The kids even talked about what they liked about their genders and why PAL should choose to be like them. In the end, PAL decided that they did not want to be pushed into a binary choice and asked the main characters not to press them to choose.
For our kids, who were school age when they saw Annedroids, this was a great way to gently open up discussion about gender. I could see Prodigy taking this same gentle approach to engaging on dialogue about gender as a social construct. Why should a blob or an AI conform to humanoid binary cultural norms?
The funny thing is, it’s the kids who are way ahead of the rest of us when it comes to being open-minded about gender. They don’t care! They accept it all, they call people what they want to be called, and don’t make a big deal about it. I’m also interested to see the gender (or lack of it) in the Prodigy characters.
Well said. “Through the eyes of a child” has perhaps never been more relevant than when applied in this context.
Surely at least one of the Prodigy characters will not conform to our established gender ‘norms’.
Leaving aside any politics, and perceived messages this might be trying to impart, doing so would actually help them to feel more authentic IMO. I personally feel that Trek’s most effective alien cultures (and characters) are those that are the most different from humans, which makes them all the more interesting to watch.