A Christmas Carol and Tapestry.
The halls are decked, the wine is mulling, and the presents are neatly stacked under the tree. But what hope is there of a white Christmas in the inky black of outer space? Traditionally, Star Trek has steered clear of more than glancing references to the festive season, yet popular holiday stories—such as A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life—have worked their way into the plots of fan-favorite episodes.
In this special Christmas installment of Primitive Culture, host Duncan Barrett is joined by Clara Cook to consider the influence of Charles Dickens’s classic on The Next Generation’s “Tapestry” and how Patrick Stewart’s experience playing Mr. Scrooge might have informed his characterization of Captain Picard. Along the way, we talk about regrets and redemption, how a good person can follow a bad path, and the role Christmas plays in the secular societies we see in Star Trek.
A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life (00:13:40)
“All Good Things…” (00:23:40)
Why Christmas? (00:32:52)
Regrets? We’ve Had a Few (00:41:39)
Dickens the SF Writer (00:51:26)
Christmas in Star Trek? (00:58:50)
Final Thoughts (01:09:30)
Tony Robinson (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)
Hitler’s British Isles and the Dominion takeover of Deep Space 9. We consider the parallels between the opening arc of DS9’s sixth season and the occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II.
Starfleet and the US Space Agency. We look at the developing relationship between real-world exploration and the famous science fiction franchise.
Shrinking Sci-Fi and DS9’s “One Little Ship.” We look at some examples of shrinking in Star Trek, comparing the franchise’s tiny people to those in science fiction cinema, such as The Incredible Shrinking Man and Fantastic Voyage.
Federation Politics in Star Trek. We’re joined by Keith DeCandido, author of Articles of the Federation, for a look at Star Trek’s political structures, the Federation Council, and its three on-screen presidents.
Star Trek and Fan Fiction. We consider Star Trek's role in the cultural phenomenon of fanfic, charting its development from the 'slash' stories of the 1970s through to the vast online archives of the twenty-first century.
Anne Frank and Counterpoint. We look at the influence of The Diary of Anne Frank on Star Trek’s screenwriters, considering how science fiction handles fascist and authoritarian regimes and the role played by ordinary people in resisting oppression.
Michael Piller, Joseph Conrad, and Star Trek: Insurrection. We look at some of the inspirations behind the script of the third TNG film, including Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness and discuss Piller’s book Fade In.
The British Isles in Star Trek. We discuss the portrayal of our homelands over a few synthales at the Grosvenor Hotel in London, and examine real-world independence movements and the effects of transporters on national identity.
Cinematic Influences on Star Trek: First Contact. We discuss the influence of Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron on Jonathan Frakes and how their films inspired his big-screen directorial debut.
Gay Representation in Star Trek. We look at the franchise's fraught engagement with LGBT issues, from The Next Generation to Discovery.