Primitive Culture 58: Eating Our Own Tail / by Trek fm

Star Trek and Fan Service.


Running Time: 1 hour 40 minutes 36 seconds
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When Brannon Braga and Rick Berman wrote the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2005, they intended it as a “valentine” for the fans who had stuck with the franchise since The Next Generation debuted in 1987. Surely, they reasoned, the inclusion of TNG favorites Will Riker and Deanna Troi would be the perfect way to close the book on 18 years of continuous TV production. Sadly, “These Are The Voyages” fell flat. The gesture proved far from successful, interpreted as not so much a token of reciprocal love as a misguided effort from an unwanted admirer.

In this episode of Primitive Culture, host Duncan Barrett is joined by the show’s co-founder, Tony Black, to talk about the charms—and the perils—of fan service in Star Trek. We look at some of the highs, such as the beloved 30th Anniversary celebration “Trials and Tribble-ations”, as well as the lows, and try to pick apart what makes them succeed or fail in the eyes of fans. In particular, we focus on the inclusion of TOS characters in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery and the recent rise of petitions from unsatisfied fans directed at TV creators. And, we consider the boundary between successful fan service and what Brannon Braga dismissively referred to as “continuity pornography.”


Intro (00:00:00)
Fan Petitions (00:07:20)
Anniversary Episodes (00:25:45)
Online Encounters (00:44:25)
Poor Service? (00:50:15)
“Sarek” and “Blood Oath” (01:04:07)
“In A Mirror Darkly” (01:18:47)


Duncan Barrett


Tony Black


Tony Black (Editor) Duncan Barrett (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Tony Black (Associate Producer) Clara Cook (Associate Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)