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)
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.
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.”