Primitive Culture 24: Heart of Lightness / by Trek fm

Michael Piller, Joseph Conrad, and Star Trek: Insurrection.


Running Time: 1 hour 24 minutes 23 seconds
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Love it or hate it, most fans agree that Star Trek: Insurrection was not the strongest story to spring from the keyboard of Michael Piller. He is the man who set the template for much of nineties’ Star Trek as a writer, producer, and eventually showrunner on The Next Generation, yet this film is something of a mixed bag. The same cannot be said of Fade In, the memoir Piller wrote about the time he spent working on the screenplay. A witty, insightful page-turner—and a fascinating insight into the Hollywood movie-making process—many readers have felt that Piller’s book is ultimately more successful than the film that it explores.

In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Tony Black and Duncan Barrett take a close look at the creative process behind this divisive TNG outing and consider the constraints with which Piller was forced to deal as he attempted to translate his vision to screen. We also examine one of the original inspirations for the storyline, Joseph Conrad’s deeply disturbing novella Heart of Darkness, as we look back on the film we ended up seeing in 1998 and consider some of the other parallel-universe movies that Piller would, perhaps, rather have written. Join us for a reevaluation of Insurrection, a film that—ironically, given its themes—plays very differently to an adult audience than it does to teenage boys.


Intro (00:00:00)
Calling Captain Conrad (00:04:00)
First Contact with Insurrection (00:18:55)
Up the River (00:35:25)
Damage Report (00:47:55)
Final Thoughts (01:10:30)


Tony Black and Duncan Barrett


Tony Black (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) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)