Even those whom Jean-Luc Picard has wronged recognize a worthy, if lost, cause when they see it. Our beloved captain continues to assemble his party as Ken, Bri, and Amanda — appearing together for the first time! — admire Romulan warrior nuns, roll their eyes at ancient Borg rituals, and get hyped for a reunion of liberated Borg, old and new.
The second episode of Picard introduces new characters and intrigue, rapidly advancing the plot while still not putting Jean-Luc on a starship. Ken and guest co-host Amanda are okay with this as we pull apart the threads of the Romulan’s Tal Shiar and Zhat Vash, our empathy (or lack thereof) for synthetic lifeforms, the integration of non-canon characters, and colorful metaphors in Trek.
Patrick Stewart returns as Jean-Luc Picard in “Remembrance”, the pilot episode of Star Trek: Picard. Bri and Ken react to the return of this iconic character, how he’s changed over the last twenty years, and his ability to be the action star of this new series. We also puzzle over the connection between synthetics, Borg, and Romulan, and we spot the many tie-ins to the universe of The Next Generation as well as the 2009 movie.
The second season of Short Treks ends with "Children of Mars", giving Ken and Bri plenty to talk about! We examine the Starfleet educational system; the prevalence of shuttlecraft, bullying, and physical books; how labor laws and vacation time work; and how First Contact Day is observed.
More important, we piece together how this episode leads into next week’s debut of the Picard series. What involvement did Admiral Picard have in the attack of the rogue synths? What role do Section 31 and the Borg play, if any? There are many fine details hiding in "Children of Mars"; if you missed them, fear not, as we didn’t!
For the first time in 45 years, Star Trek ventures into the frontier of animation! "Ephraim and Dot" is a comedic documentary about a tardigrade’s reproductive cycle, and "The Girl Who Made the Stars" is a tale of conquering one’s fear of the unknown. Ken and Bri review these two animated Short Treks, their place in Star Trek canon, and the promise they hold for future Star Trek series.
Finally, we look back at the cast and crew we lost in 2019: D.C. Fontana, Robert Walker, Michael Lamper, Aron Eisenberg, and René Auberjonois. We encourage all listeners who are able to make a donation to Doctors Without Borders in René’s memory.
Rene Auberjonois—Odo from DS9—has passed away. 😭
When he autographed a photo for me, he asked if I would make a donation to Doctors Without Borders in return. I did.
— Ken Gagne (@gamebits) December 9, 2019
When a decorated but dishonored Starfleet captain puts Cadet Thira Sidhu in an impossible situation, she must choose a side with lives on the line. To be or not to be? That is the question Sabriel and Ken pose to our guest, Dori Robinson, Boston theatre director and co-host of Shakespearean podcast The Mousetrap. Was Cadet Sidhu’s test calculating or cruel? How would we have responded in that same situation? Is any internship worth psychological torture? And what does it say about Number One? From Hamlet to Alexander Dumas’ man in the iron mask, the shortest Short Trek to date spawns the most literary episode of Transporter Lock!
What would Star Trek look like if it were a comedy series? We don’t need to wait for the debut of Lower Decks, as the Short Treks episode "The Trouble with Edward" features both tribbles and the comedic talents of H. Jon Benjamin (Archer) and Rosa Salazar (Alita: Battle Angel). Ken and Bri ponder the consequences of this tale on Star Trek canon, from tribbles’ rate of breeding to the VCR-style post-credits commercial for breakfast cereal.
New York Comic-Con featured the surprise debut of "Q&A", the first in a new season of Short Treks. The premiere episode does not in fact feature the return of John de Lancie’s recurring villain; instead, it’s a blast from the past as Ensign Spock arrives for his first day of duty aboard the USS Enterprise. As Number One escorts him to the bridge, Spock takes the opportunity to barrage her with questions, just as Ken and Sabriel barrage the listener with their take on this mysterious commanding officer, the morality and defensibility of the Prime Directive, and the Gilbert & Sullivan musical The Pirate of Penzance.
On the cusp of the new Picard series and a third season of Discovery, Ken and Sabriel pause to reflect on the best Star Trek series ever, as seen in Ira Steven Behr’s documentary, What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. This new film was released on home video this month, and seeing it both in theaters and on Blu Ray brought back a lot of memories for Bri and Ken. We review our favorite moments of both the documentary and the series it celebrates.