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)
John Carpenter’s Christine and Voyager’s “Alice.” We look at the 1983 cult classic movie and the Stephen King novel that inspired it, alongside the sixth-season Voyager episode that borrows its central premise.
Untimely Ends for Star Trek’s Redshirts. We look at how the deaths of junior crewmen have been handled throughout the franchise’s history, with reference to John Scalzi’s novel Redshirts.
Star Trek Beyond in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Trek.fm hosts past and present gather for a roundtable discussion recorded during a live London performance of the third Kelvin Timeline film.
The Holodeck and Video Games. We look at gaming culture in Star Trek and what the fantasy lives of our favorite characters—played out in those magical rooms—tell us about them as people.
Pandemics in Star Trek. We look at disease outbreaks on Federation worlds and beyond in relation to real-world plagues and pandemics, such as the Black Death to HIV.
Religion in Star Trek. We consider how the franchise’s presentation of faith and religious practice has changed over the course of half a century, and how our own beliefs have impacted our viewing.
Schooling in Star Trek. For Starfleet officers whose families have joined them in space, providing a well-rounded education can be a challenge. We take a look at how education is handled in Gene Roddenberry’s future.
Star Trek’s Fathers: the good, the bad, and the absent. We look at daddy issues throughout the franchise’s fifty-plus-year history.
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.