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)
The Human Frontier in Guernsey. Duncan is interviewed live at the Guille-Allès Library to discuss his book Star Trek: The Human Frontier.
Cyrano de Bergerac on Deep Space Nine. We compare “Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places” with Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano De Bergerac and Steve Martin’s Roxanne.
Gothic Fiction in Star Trek: Voyager. We look at the influences on Captain Janeway’s gothic holonovel, from Jane Eyre to The Turn of the Screw and Rebecca.
Star Trek’s Dark Ages. What does it take to get from today to a utopian future? We take a look at Star Trek’s imagined history and ask if we’ll ever make it to first contact with the Vulcans.
Short Treks and bite-sized content. We look at Short Treks in comparison to the traditional Star Trek format and ask what embracing brevity might mean for the franchise going forward.
From Altair IV to Talos IV. We look at the links between sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet and Star Trek’s original unaired pilot, “The Cage.”
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.