Podcast: All Access Star Trek Spotlights The Latest News And “Ghosts Of Illyria” From ‘Strange New Worlds’

All Access Star Trek episode 92 - TrekMovie

[Strange New Worlds news and review starts at 13:29]

Tony and Laurie start with Karl Urban’s comments about the next Star Trek movie, which mirror everything his co-stars have said about the project. They remind listeners about the upcoming Star Trek: The Motion Picture screenings happening across the country, then turn their attention to Star Trek: Picard to get the latest on sets and ships from Doug Drexler and Dave Blass. They also do a roundup of the latest intel from showrunner Terry Matalas that includes his wish for a spin-off featuring Seven and Raffi. Then they take a quick look at the new Star Trek: Prodigy game coming in October and the trailer for The Orville’s third season, which premieres on Hulu June 3.

Then, they take a look at some of the tech used to create those strange new worlds (and engineering) on Strange New Worlds, showrunner Henry Alonso Myers’ thoughts on Star Trek and comedy, and review the newest episode, “Ghosts of Illyria.”

They wrap up with a look at how the Klingon language is being used to help teach other (real-world) languages, and new Twitter commentary from TNG/DS9 writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe.

Links:

Karl Urban Gives A ‘Star Trek 4’ Update, Says It’s Now Just A Matter Of Logistics

The Star Trek Kelvin crew doing Dubsmash videos together

‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition’ New Videos & Theatrical Showings Update

Q&A sessions at TMP screenings in LA

Tour The USS Stargazer With Video And Photos From ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Designers

‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 3 Showrunner Reveals More Details; Hypes Seven/Raffi Spin-off Idea

‘Star Trek Prodigy: Supernova’ Game Coming In October – Watch Announcement Trailer

Watch: New Trailer For ‘The Orville: New Horizons’

Watch The Series Premiere Of ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ For Free

See USS Enterprise’s Engineering In ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Created Using Virtual Production Tech

‘Strange New Worlds’ Showrunner Teases Upcoming Comedy Episode: “Trek Can Be Funny”

Illyrians on Enterprise

Illyria (and Una’s connection) in the novels

Brandeis And The History Of Transparency

Director Leslie Hope was Kira Nerys’ mom on Deep Space Nine

Trekbits:

Tony: Language Lessons Inspired by Star Trek Language of Klingon (more details here)

Laurie: Robert Hewitt Wolfe talks about napping in the bunks on the Defiant (and many other things) and responds to Fox News op-ed about “wokeness”

Let us know what you think of the episode in the comments, and should you be so inclined, please review us on Apple.


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Can someone ask why the decolored the bridge and went red monochrome between DIS and SNW especially with the colorful blinking lights that def appeared to be a homage to TOS? Did someone go Republican or something? Is the ship stuck on Red Alert? Or did they originally aim to do that for red alert and then liked it? Might be growing on me, bridge still looks good as I like the color on the smaller displays but curious to see what happened there. Also happy they kept the displays behind the Captain’s chair, anyone find it refreshing not to be starring at a door or some blank furniture the whole episode?

While I do believe Star Trek has been progressive since it’s inception, I don’t think it has always been “woke”. In my opinion, that is the difference between TOS, the original movies, and the Berman era and New Trek. In the previous eras there were indeed episodes here and there that tackled issues of the day, Let that be your last battlefield, Private Little War, etc.

But because you had 26 ep. seasons you had eps like Balance of Terror, Arena, Tomorrow is Yesterday, Q Who, Best of Both Worlds, Relics, Disaster, and many more that were either subtle progressive stories that when you stopped to think about it you’d catch on. Or you’d have just a good sci fi ep that was just about space travel.

Now in New Trek, we are beaten of the head with it. 4th ep of season 2 of Picard, they are literally on earth in 2024 complaining about fighting over resources. In the pilot of Strange New Worlds, Pike shows footage from January 6th, etc. And that to me is “the woke” elements.

I don’t have a problem with using those elements in a story. I’m just saying I believe there is a definite distinction between progressive and woke.

So, I would agree Star Trek has always been progressive. But it has recently become woke. Whether that’s good or not from a storytelling standpoint, I don’t know.

I think woke and progressive are pretty much the same. I think what you are talking about is the difference between using analogy and pointing directly at an event in contemporary times, which has nothing to do with wokeness OR progressiveness and is more about a storytelling choice. Star Trek has always been woke.

While Star Trek has always been progressive, how we talk about these issues has changed a bit. We now have conversations based on, well, less conversation and more on buzzwords and appellations. This is “woke.” That is “problematic.” Complex issues are reduced to memes, video clips, and sound bites, transmitted at the speed of ego and self-importance.

And perhaps the shows we watch are following suit, bluntly telling us what they think about the issues of today, giving us something worthy of a Youtube clip to pat ourselves on the back for sharing with likeminded others. But TOS, for all its own sledgehammering preachiness and self-importance, still managed to talk about Vietnam without showing actual footage from the war and its protests. (They made their own space hippies!)

I’m just grateful today’s online media culture didn’t exist in 1966. Can you imagine all the lead-up to TOS’s debut? All the posturing and non-issues created about this “woke” show? People would be sick of hearing about this “controversial” Uhura or Sulu before either character spoke a line.

“Woke” is just another way of saying “SJW,” which is just another way of saying “politically correct,” which in turn was just a new spin on “bleeding heart liberal.” Some things don’t change, sadly, even if the buzzwords do.

I attended a couple of Gene Roddenberry’s lectures in the Seventies, and can assure you that it was the “wokest” stuff you’ve ever heard, assuming I understand the meaning of that word.

It’s not a new phenomenon, no, but the current culture has made it worse.

As for buzzwords, I think they are ultimately meaningless, diverting us from the real conversation and the possibility of understanding one another. By using these particular words and the narrow definitions the reactionaries and the exploitative media set down for us, we’re only talking in circles, to be repeated by another generation.

The thesaurus is not an extinct dinosaur but it sure feels extinct sometimes.

By definition they are different. Woke (according to Oxford languages) means to be aware of injustice in society, especially racism. Progressive (according to merriam-Webster dictionary) is to be for societal change through government action.

My point is Older Trek told more stories about how to change society through government action with enough space adventures mixed in that it wasn’t as obvious.

Today, New Trek consistently makes us aware of injustice, but rarely shows a path forward.

The SNW pilot was one of these few times that they have been both woke and progressive, by presenting an option for the warring civilization to unite by joining Starfleet.

Maybe that’s because people don’t believe in the power of government anymore, idk.

That’s where I’m linking progressive, pre-2017. Let’s be honest there was no politics or injustice awareness from 09-16 in Star Trek. Those were just fun space action thrillers.

That’s a very narrow meaning of progressive, and just one of many. Being progressive doesn’t have to have anything to do with government. That said, I agree that it’s more about doing/changing than just pointing out. But I disagree that new Trek doesn’t show a path forward, I see them doing that in all the new shows. Discovery has done it many times already. We may just have to agree to disagree on this one.

That’s probably best. But I appreciate your willingness to chat about the topic.

Same!

Robert Hewitt Wolfe disagrees with you, and he wrote the show in the 90s! Whether you label the show as woke or whatever now, I will say it was Star Trek that made me liberal. When I turned 18 in 1992, I couldn’t wait to register as a Democrat because I was a huge TNG fan back then. Just saying

Agreed!

And I have no idea how anyone can watch episodes like Past Tense, Drumhead, Far Beyond the Stars, The Offspring, Force of Nature, Chain of Command, etc and pretend these aren’t direct liberal messages Star Trek was conveying waaaaay back in the supposedly un-woke 90s. The new shows are not doing anything that the old shows did. The only difference is every new era gets a little more progressive than the last and the shows can be a little more direct as society just opens up more.

The irony about this conversation is TOS was only ‘allegorical’ back in the 60s because Roddenberry wasn’t just allowed to talk about the issues of racism, civil rights movement, Vietnam and others directly because both censorship and conservatism back then was so much higher. If he could’ve just said what he wanted without doing it in a roundabout way TOS would’ve been the most ‘woke’ show on the air at the time. ;)

Double post

Guess I’m wondering how most folks here couldn’t have qualified under that definition of woke from way way back, given what they were enjoying watching. Unless they were ‘to church on Sunday and to Hell on Monday’ versions of Trek fan?

Even as a little kid in the 60s, racism was the most obvious and overt manifestation of everyday injustice — I remember going to ‘bat day’ at Candlestick Park in 1970, and the way my mom was quietly freaking out squeezing my hand till it about broke when during the 7th inning stretch, everybody was supposed to stand and hold up their free baseball bat — and most of those arms were black (I’m using that term rather than African-American because it was of that period and because the color itself has an unfortunate connotation.)

At the time, the part I didn’t understand was why my mother was reading Abby Hoffman books — because she was so clearly prejudiced about so many groups, just like my grandparents (we lived together), and in my early teens I made the wrong assumption that she was trying to understand the points of view of others. It took me years to get her to admit that she was just trying to ‘know the enemy and figure out its tactics’ to make sure they wouldn’t get the upper hand and subvert what she called our way of life.

So I understand how while it may take time to become cynical, I don’t see how it should take any time to become woke, assuming you possess even a shred of empathy.

As long as we’re talking about the first ep here, let me digress to a point about the windmills around Pike’s Place. I’m wondering about whether they were a late addition, or whether they were scripted. Because if they were in the script, I’d be very surprised if the cinematographer didn’t recognize that as a visual opportunity when shooting the live-action, as a windmill could have provided a source of blocked/interactive lighting for shots of Pike at the window or outside of his abode. I was struck by this while going through a book of Syd Mead art (just commented about something else I took from this book in another thread, discussing NEMESIS’ silly dunebuggy), where a director asked Mead to come up with a source of interactive lighting to cast down on a bedroom scene, and he came up with … guess what? a windmill.

As amazing as it is to me that a freakin *windmill* could become a symbol of political division, the astonishment that the same could happen with an infectious disease will be with me till my dying day. I think we are well and truly screwed.

I just seriously hope (admittedly, against hope) that said astonishment will not have to remain with you till your dying day, and that we can both become astonished by some positive goings-on between now and then. (the fact that something weird is happening with Voyager 1 and 2 right now has gotten my attention, and while the answer, if forthcoming, will doubtless not be as mindblowing as the TMP treatment of Voy6, it has got me hoping for some momentous discovery that will get us off this navel-gazing and backtracking away from ethics and lessons from history.)

I’ve found it tragic that my wife, longstanding font of optimism, has become bleakly cynical about the world as of late, and I find myself working against my nature to put a good spin on things, but often failing. Her ‘tell me something good about today,’ ritual incantation has gotten to the point that my nerves are wracked just trying to come up with any kind of rejoinder.

Sorry; I still don’t understand the difference between “progressive” and “woke.” Pike doesn’t even do anything like choose a side when presenting that 01/06 footage, in a speech so anodyne that it really boils down to nothing more than “war and species self-destruction are bad.” If that’s a problem with the political Right, I don’t see why it should be for the rest of us.

Unfortunately, as mentioned, “woke” has been turned inside out and become completely absorbed by the mindless attack dogs of the right.

I am woke, I accept it, and I flaunt it especially when I am in conversations with people who use that word (and all the others) against me.

But it’s a disaster for us to live in a world where waves and generations of activists are pitted against one another by imagining that there is no compatibility between progressive ideas about government and libertarian ideas about privacy and personal choices.

The beauty of the stand alone eps in a fictional universe is that the producers can update, and reposition the allegory.

This week I got a copy of the Vietnam Veterans Against The War newspaper. Their cover editorial declares support for Ukrainian self determination- the same way organization supported the North Vietnamese. This means, against their own government. Broken clocks are right on time a lot these days.

I thoroughly enjoyed the podcast… and these responses.

I so enjoy this podcast and I look forward to it every week! I love the critical breakdown, the nitpicks, and the ‘head canon’. Thank you for making my week, always, a little brighter. I agree with your overall analysis of this episode. Although I enjoyed it, it was a bit less satisfying than the previous two. A couple of thoughts; If Pike and M’Benga have spent so much time in each other’s company, wouldn’t Pike know something about his daughter? Wouldn’t he have said something, perhaps some comforting words, to him when they embrace in the premiere episode? Also, I think it would have been a very interesting proposition if they would not have made his daughter a secret and made her a known, recurring person on the show. I think it would have deepened his character arc and it would have been interesting to bring her out for all manner of situations and it would have given M’Benga – whom I love as a character – a bit of a conflict when it comes to doing his job, struggling, perhaps, with where his loyalties should lie. Guess there is a reason, among others, why I am not a writer on the show, but there it is. Thank you as always. Looking forward to more podcasts and perhaps seeing you all in Vegas this year.

That is a REALLY good point about Pike and M’Benga. I mean, I can create some headcanon for that too… Pike could know M’Benga has a daughter but not that she was sick and might just assume she lives with another relative. This is happening in the pre-TNG era, so no families on starships! But yes, given that they have a history, I expect this to come up again.

Laurie, excellent point about the time frame and family ‘policies’ of Starfleet. Almost seems like they could get away with it if most of her existence is in the buffer anyway. That being said, I assume that she will stay on board anyway and we will see her again… so they will get away with it! Of course you’re also right about the Pike/M’Benga connection, just seems like something that might have come up. I agree with you that we have not seen the last of his daughter. I think it a very interesting story to follow up on. Thanks again for all you and Tony do. Little light to my week…in a good way, not in a photonic viral way.

So glad you’re enjoying the podcast! Thanks for all the feedback. We’ll have to see how this one plays out!

Great podcast as always. It’s interesting you keep referring to Number One as “Una” since in my head I just always think of her as Number One. Just an observation.

I also agree that there was a bit too many plots in this episode, but I still loved it all the same.

In the podcast you touched upon how the writers for SNW are drawing inspiration from the beta canon books, specifically with regard to Una being Illyrian. I’m curious to hear your thoughts about the Kurtzman production team properly recognizing (or failing to) the work done by Star Trek book authors. Robert Meyer Burnett brought this up on his podcast and was concerned (perturbed) that D.C. Fontana wasn’t getting proper recognition or writing credit for that aspect of this episode, and that the SNW writing staff was essentially passing off the idea as their own. He also referenced David Mack creating the idea of Control that was later used in season 2 of Disco, and also not receiving recognition (as well as royalties) in the form of a story credit. It’s not something I had thought about before, but now I can’t unthink it and its starting to bother me. I wonder if simply saying “based upon Star Trek created by Gene Rodenberry” is sufficient, even though its beta canon they’re drawing inspiration or story elements from. I thought the idea was great and paid off well in the episode, but just curious about this aspect of “the business.”

Mack has noted that Paramount owns the IP for all tie-in fiction.

So, unlike the requirements credits for any previous work under a Writers Guild contract, there is no obligation to acknowledge and certainly no financial residuals for the tie-in authors.

That said, another franchise (SW) has, solely as a courtesy, noted that a character or story was based on a book by a tie-in writer in the closing credits. Since there is no financial recompense, it would be gracious if Trek did this at least.

I’ve noticed that the authors of the Trek books seem pretty happy when their stuff is used on one of the shows, making it official canon. And part of the deal (on the commercial side) with the books is that it’s all owned by the corporation, not the writers themselves, so they are definitely not owed royalties and certainly not a writing credit on the show itself, especially if they just took one element of a story. That said, I think a “thanks” credit at the end would be awfully nice and the right thing to do, even though it’s not legally required.

I think we have the same understanding Laurie.

Mack has never said anything to suggest he expects any official credit, and was ecstatic when the name Una was confirmed in onscreen canon.

A gracious thanks to the writers-for-hire who extended the universe and maintained interest would be nice, but in no way legally obligated.

Every episode of Star Trek not just new trek but old trek, contains dozens of references to elements from previous episodes and books. It seems overly cumbersome to add a thanks to the writer of every single book comic episode movie etc that had any tangential reference in the episode be it a character planet name d ship name etc etc. It’s all Star Trek it’s all owned by the corporation they can do with it as they wish and every time I’ve spoken to a writer be it book or episode they’re always happy to see their work live on in new episodes and that’s enough

I was thinking about an acknowledgement the first time that a callback is cited might be nice.

For example, a thanks to DC Fontana at the end of 1.03 where we first get the context from Vulcan’s Glory brought into canon would be a gracious touch, but putting at the end of every episode where her Illyrian identity is mentioned would be over the top.

I would have also liked to have seen Peter David get a nod in the credits of the Prodigy premiere for creating the Brikarians, but again, a once and done would be enough.

I think all of us are a bit impatient with seeing Roddenberry and Trevor Roth listed as EPs in the main titles of every single episode.

it just isnt practical and again think of every single reference in every episode tied to every book, comic, episode, movie, etc. No one expects it, the book authors are happy with the way things are. It’s impractical and would only create problems when you forgot to thank x in episode y. The system is as it always has been, the entirety of trek alpha and beta canon is available to all makers of new Trek. Everyone is standing on everyone’s shoulders and they all know that.

Well said, Tony! We should co-host a podcast or something.

Season 2 didn’t go off the rails “about half way through” as Anthony P. contends; it went off the rails after ep.2. So…all the wonderful sets and nostalgic casting in the world won’t save a show which suffers from the poor writers and directors recruited by Matalas.

Given that there’s a lot of talk about wokeness and such in this thread, was thinking a link to a recent BBC article on FAR BEYOND THE STARS was worth a look. It does repeat some myths as fact (MLK and Nichols, first interracial kiss), but has some good insight about the experience of African-American SF authors along with snippets of Brooks comments looking back at details of the episode. https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20220316-the-most-remarkable-star-trek-episode-ever-made

I also have to say that in perusing the website, I think that I wish we lived in the UK — their policy for unsolicited submissions sounds a lot more welcoming than what we have most of the time in the US!

You guys do a great job informing the Star Trek loving public! I have questions about the scene in the Transporter Room though. When Una picks up Hemmer I thought that’s quite the deadlift she must be very strong, not Una must be an alien. What in the Canon am I missing?

They were trying to hammer the point home that she’s Illyrian and therefore genetically modified. So that’s why she was able to do it as easily as she did.

I thought the same thing. I just thought that Number One lifted a lot of weights and was very strong. I didn’t pick up on the fact that she’s genetically enhanced until the very end. But I still think that Number One is very cool on a Dr. Bashir level.

Well it alone may not have been enough but it was part of an overall pattern of hints that there was more to her than average human. The bigger hint was subtle when she was researching Illyrian disease defense and a picture of a girl had the same glowing skin she showed earlier on. Maybe they could have made her picking up Hemmer seem even easier, like maybe she could have one handed him and carried him like a briefcase down the hall, but as I noted in the pod, Chapel made sure the audience understood what she was doing was unusual.