Pandemics in Star Trek.
At times, the medical technology of the Federation seems almost miraculous, offering cures for pretty much everything short of the common cold (and, of course, baldness). But a sudden outbreak of an unfamiliar disease can leave Starfleet’s doctors racing to find a remedy before mass death ensues. Sometimes, they even must bend the Prime Directive to save lives.
In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Clara Cook and Duncan Barrett take a look at Star Trek’s case history when it comes to infectious diseases, comparing the stories that have played out on screen to real-world epidemics such as the Black Death to HIV. Along the way, we consider why deadly outbreaks continue to fascinate us in an age when we are mostly protected. We also discuss whether science fiction is particularly well placed to tap into our terror of sudden widespread illness.
Movie Night: The Andromeda Strain (00:17:15)
Stigma and Prejudice (00:25:15)
Chaos and Social Change (00:32:00)
Final Thoughts (00:51:20)
Clara Cook and Duncan Barrett
Clara Cook (Editor) Duncan Barrett (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Tony Black (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)
Life on a nuclear submarine vs. a Federation starship. Duncan is joined by John Krikorian to discuss the parallels between life on a nuclear submarine and a Federation starship.
The Hunt for Red October and “Face of the Enemy.” We take a look at the Cold War thriller and consider parallels between the film’s depiction of defection across the Iron Curtain and some of TNG’s Romulan storylines.
Deadly Games, from The Prisoner to “Move Along Home.” We look at a classic UK television series with one of DS9’s most belittled episodes and with Star Trek in general.
Cast changes in Star Trek. We look at some of the actors who have come and gone in the course of the franchise’s continuing mission.
Stuart Baird and Star Trek: Nemesis. We look at the final film outing for the crew of The Next Generation and how it compares with director Stuart Baird’s two previous films: Executive Decision and U.S. Marshals.
Star Trek and Fan Service. We look at the good, the bad, and the downright incomprehensible episodes geared specifically towards pleasing fans.
Galileo and “Distant Origin.” We look at how the Star Trek: Voyager writers adapted the persecution of Galileo Galilei by the Catholic Church to tell the story of Voth scientist Forra Gegen.
An International Approach to Star Trek. Is the franchise’s vision of the future one that could only have sprung from mid-20th-century America? What might Star Trek have looked like had it emerged from a very different culture?
Michael Eddington, Jean Valjean, and Les Misérables. We look at the role played by Victor Hugo’s classic novel in the DS9 episode “For the Uniform.”
The Human Frontier in Guernsey. Duncan is interviewed live at the Guille-Allès Library to discuss his book Star Trek: The Human Frontier.