Star Trek and Epic Heroes.
“Sokath, his eyes uncovered!” When Captain Jean-Luc Picard finally cracked the Tamarian language, he countered “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra” with an ancient myth of his own: the Epic of Gilgamesh. One of the earliest known works of literature, this deeply strange but profoundly beautiful Mesopotamian poem, predating the Old Testament by more than a thousand years, offers an unlikely bridge between two very different spacefaring cultures.
In this episode of Primitive Culture, host Duncan Barrett is joined by Clara Cook to discuss Star Trek’s engagement with epic narratives, focusing on the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Old English poem Beowulf, as played out in TNG’s “Darmok” and Voyager’s “Heroes and Demons.” Do Starfleet’s brave and brilliant officers share a common heritage with the epic heroes of yore? And to what extent can a twenty-fourth-century reader understand a poem written in a culture so alien from their own?
Epic of Gilgamesh and “Darmok” (00:03:31)
Beowulf and “Heroes and Demons” (00:31:46)
Heroic Qualities and Epic Tropes (00:43:16)
Monsters and Realism (01:07:02)
High and Low Culture (01:24:34)
Final Thoughts (01:36:59)
Justin Oser (Editor) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)
Odysseus, Craft, and Calypso. We look at the connection between Michael Chabon’s acclaimed Star Trek: Short Treks episode and Homer’s Odyssey, and how an ancient culture continues to resonate centuries after its death.
In-Jokes and Easter Eggs in Star Trek. In honor of our 47th episode, we look at some of the franchises recurring comedy motifs, now-famous patterns, and internal references.
The Attica Prison Uprising and DS9’s “Past Tense.” We look at the influence the 1971 prison uprising had on this unusually bleak installment of Star Trek.
Star Trek and Repertory Theatre. We discuss the parallels between Star Trek’s varied storytelling and traditional weekly rep in this special roundtable, recorded during the Destination Star Trek convention in Birmingham, UK.
Live from Destination Star Trek. In two panels presented at Destination Star Trek in Birmingham, UK, we present the History of the Future as we explore influences such as World War II, Horatio Hornblower, and Moby-Dick.
Looking back on DS9 at Destination Star Trek 2018. We are joined by stars of the show—Nana Visitor, Alexander Siddig, Nicole de Boer, Jeffrey Combs, and Chase Masterson—as well as showrunner Ira Steven Behr to look back on Deep Space Nine’s legacy after a quarter century. We also attend the red-carpet premiere of the new documentary What We Left Behind.
Mental Health, Part II: From The Next Generation to Enterprise. We conclude our discussion of mental health in Star Trek with a look at The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise.
Mental Health, Part I: Discovery and TOS. We look at mental health in The Original Series and Discovery, and open their hailing frequencies to listeners who share how Star Trek has helped them through difficult times.
2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. We look at the ties that bind these two mystical, complex, and sometimes problematic films, as well as how 2001 influenced Trek’s reinvention for cinema.
Hawkeye Pierce, Milo Minderbinder, and Nog. We look at how a pair of MASH episodes and the novel Catch-22 inspired the writers of Deep Space Nine.