Untimely Ends for Star Trek’s Redshirts.
Set phasers to stun, use thrusters only while in spacedock, and—whatever you do—avoid the narrative! The last of these—taken from John Scalzi’s parodic novel Redshirts—might apply equally to Starfleet’s young supernumeraries and the ensigns of the novel’s Starship Intrepid.
In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Duncan Barrett and Clara Cook look at how the redshirt trope has played out over the course of Star Trek’s half-century mission, using Scalzi’s novel as a counterpoint. We consider what it means to die a good death (on screen and in reality), why some lives are viewed as more valuable than others, and what our feelings about redshirts might tell us about the limits of human empathy.
Scalzi’s Novel (00:03:12)
Featured Extras and Meaningless Deaths (00:10:05)
In the Fridge (00:20:37)
Post-Mortem on Voyager (00:27:15)
Willing Suspension of Empathy (00:43:45)
Pain and Suffering (00:56:45)
Good Grief (01:03:05)
Duncan Barrett and Clara Cook
Tony Robinson and Clara Cook (Editors) 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.