12 episodes

Melissa Avery-Weir, Gregory Avery-Weir, and Dr. Lucy Arnold look at the ideologies of Star Trek as we voyage from one episode or film to the next, following a breadcrumb trail of motifs. How is the universe portrayed in Star Trek a truly egalitarian utopia, and how does the world subtly uphold the hegemonic values of our present day?

Before the Future Came Melissa Avery-Weir, Gregory Avery-Weir, and Dr. Lucy Arnold

    • TV & Film

Melissa Avery-Weir, Gregory Avery-Weir, and Dr. Lucy Arnold look at the ideologies of Star Trek as we voyage from one episode or film to the next, following a breadcrumb trail of motifs. How is the universe portrayed in Star Trek a truly egalitarian utopia, and how does the world subtly uphold the hegemonic values of our present day?

    S01E05. Sarek

    S01E05. Sarek

    Bedlam! Melissa brings "Sarek," the 23rd episode of season three of Star Trek: The Next Generation, written by Peter S. Beagle and directed by Les Landau. Like "The Sword of Kahless," this episode features a recurring character coming to terms with the end of his career. We talk about illness, aging, dignity, honesty, gender, and violence. We also discuss everyday life in space, Mark Lenard, and retro style.



    (The transcript for this episode is in progress and will be added to this post when it’s ready.)





    For images discussed in this episode, visit the episode page on our website.



    Please let us know what you think about the show! Hail us at onscreen@beforethefuture.space, contact us on social media, or comment on our website at beforethefuture.space.



    Connections:




    Sarek first appears in The Original Series S02E15, "Journey to Babel," and Mark Leonard reprises this role in The Animated Series S01E02, "Yesteryear," and several films.



    Sarek's other son Sybok dies in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.



    Spock finally dies of old age after travelling to the past, as revealed in Star Trek Beyond.



    Michael Burnham travels to the future at the beginning of season three of Star Trek: Discovery; she has not died as of this episode airing.



    The Original Series S02E15, "Journey to Babel," and S01E25, "This Side of Paradise," establish that Sarek and Spock's family name is unpronounceable by humans.



    The novel Ishmael gives Sarek and Spock's family name as S'chn T'gai, but non-screen works are generally not considered canon, despite this name appearing on some promotional ephemera for Strange New Worlds.



    Spock's mother Amanda Grayson first appears in The Original Series S02E15, "Journey to Babel." She makes many appearances in Star Trek: Discovery, often in flashback.



    The Vulcan mating phase, pon farr, is first depicted in The Original Series S02E05, "Amok Time."



    Enterprise S02E25, "Bounty," involves T'Pol entering pon farr out-of-cycle, retconning earlier information to establish that pon farr occurs for Vulcans of any sex/gender.



    Data's cat Spot will first appear in The Next Generation S04E11, "Data's Day."



    We weren't able to find another scene that duplicates Sarek's hood-removal reveal.



    The Qowat Milat, Romulan "honesty nuns," are introduced in Star Trek: Picard S01E04, "Absolute Candor."




    Works cited:




    Glassner, J., Wright, B., Cooper, R., Mallozzi, J., Mullie, P., Anderson, R. D., & Greenburg, M. (Executive producers). (1997-2007). Stargate SG-1 [TV Series]. MGM Television, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Film Corp., Sony Pictures Television, Showtime Networks, & Sci-Fi Originals.



    Saitō, K. (Director). (2023-2024). Frieren: Beyond Journey's End [TV series]. Madhouse.



    Straczynski, J. M. (Creator). (1993-1998). Babylon 5 [TV series]. Babylonian Productions, Inc. [Vir is a Centauri.]

    • 1 hr 25 min
    S01E04. The Sword of Kahless

    S01E04. The Sword of Kahless

    Let this moment be remembered! Gregory brings "The Sword of Kahless," the ninth episode of the fourth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, written by Hans Beimler and Richard Danus and directed by LeVar Burton. Like the Discovery premiere, this episode is concerned with the legacy of the Klingon cultural figure Kahless. We discuss ancient fallen societies, philosophical skepticism, and the fantasy genre. We also chat about naivete, destiny, honor, Commander Sisko, cave sets, and runabouts.



    (The transcript for this episode is in progress and will be added to this post when it's ready.)





    For images discussed in this episode, visit the episode page on our website.



    Please let us know what you think about the show! Hail us at onscreen@beforethefuture.space, contact us on social media, or comment on our website at beforethefuture.space.



    Connections:




    Kor previously appears in The Original Series S01E27, "Errand of Mercy"; The Animated Series S01E12, "The Time Trap"; and Deep Space Nine S02E19, "Blood Oath." He makes his final appearance in Deep Space Nine S07E07, "Once More Unto the Breach."



    Toral, son of Duras, previously appears in the two-part episode of The Next Generation S04E26-7, "Redemption."



    The "ancient humanoids" are explored in The Next Generation S06E20, "The Chase."



    Iconian gateways appear in The Next Generation S02E11, "Contagion," and Deep Space Nine S04E23, "To the Death."



    The Guardian of Forever appears in The Original Series S01E28, "The City on the Edge of Forever," and the two-part episode of Discovery S03E09-10, "Terra Firma."



    The Tkon Empire is introduced in The Next Generation S01E05, "The Last Outpost."



    An ancient Dyson sphere appears in The Next Generation S06E04, "Relics."



    The Hur'q are mentioned again in Enterprise S04E15, "Affliction" and are featured in the video games Star Trek: Invasion and Star Trek Online.



    The USS Discovery travels forward in time 930 years between seasons two and three of Star Trek: Discovery.



    The future history of the Vulcan and Romulan cultures and the christening of Ni'Var are revealed in Discovery S03E07, "Unification III."



    The story "Those Who Walk Away from Omelas" is heavily alluded to in Strange New Worlds S01E06, "Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach."



    B'Etor and Lursa, the Duras sisters, first appear in the two-part episode of The Next Generation S04E26-7, "Redemption."



    The cloned Kahless II first appears in The Next Generation S06E23, "Rightful Heir."



    We learn that the Klingons killed their gods because they "brought more trouble than it was worth" in Deep Space Nine S04E11, "Homefront."



    Worf's vision during the Rite of MajQa is also discussed in The Next Generation S06E16, "Birthright, Part I" and S06E23, "Rightful Heir."



    The Timekeepers, Klingon monks who secretly guard time crystals, are featured in Discovery S02E12, "Through the Valley of Shadows."




    Works cited:




    David, P. (1993). Worf's First Adventure. Pocket Books.



    Glassner, J., Wright, B., Cooper, R., Mallozzi, J., Mullie, P., Anderson, R. D., & Greenburg, M. (Executive producers). (1997-2007). Stargate SG-1 [TV Series]. MGM Television, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Film Corp., Sony Pictures Television, Showtime Networks, & Sci-Fi Originals.



    Kunzelman, C. & Lutz, M. (Hosts). (2021-2023). Homestuck made this world [Audio podcast]. Ranged Touch. https://rangedtouch.com/homestuck-made-this-world/ [For discussion of "deflationary moves."]



    Le Guin, U. K. (1973). The ones who walk away from Omelas. In Silverberg, R. (Ed.), New dimensions 3. Nelson Doubleday/SFBC.



    Lucas, G. (1977). Star wars [Film]. Lucasfilm Ltd.



    McCourt, D., Liggett, T., Burton, L., & Buttino, T. (Executive producers). (1983-2006). Reading rainbow [TV series]. Lancit Media Productions, RCN Entertainment, On Screen Entertainment, WNED-TV.



    Reeves-Stevens, J. & Reeves-Stevens, G. (1995). Federation. Pocket Books.



    Shakespeare, W. (c. 1597). Hen

    • 1 hr 12 min
    S01E03. The Vulcan Hello and Battle at the Binary Stars

    S01E03. The Vulcan Hello and Battle at the Binary Stars

    Content Warnings: discussion of war and war crimes, cannibalism, traumatic brain injury resulting in disorientation, untreated PTSD, desecration of corpses



    Spoiler Warning: From 1:18:30 to 1:23:34, we discuss a plot point that is revealed in Discovery S01E11, "The Wolf Inside."



    We come in peace! Lucy brings "The Vulcan Hello" and "Battle at the Binary Stars," the two-part premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, written by Bryan Fuller, Gretchen J. Berg, and Aaron Harberts and directed by Adam Kane. Like "Relativity," these episodes feature a mentor relationship between two women. We discuss the framing of Burnham as a protagonist, the ambiguous morality of her actions, and the Federation as a colonialist threat. We also talk about war and honor, whether Sarek is a good dad, the show's difficulty with morality, Klingons, space battles, and Javid Iqbal.



    (The transcript for this episode is in progress and will be added to this post when it's ready.)





    For images discussed in this episode, visit the episode page on our website.



    Please let us know what you think about the show! Hail us at onscreen@beforethefuture.space, contact us on social media, or comment on our website at beforethefuture.space.



    Connections:




    Discovery premiered in 2015, making it the first Star Trek series since Enterprise ended in 2005: over ten years.



    Lorca gives a sinister speech in Discovery S01E03, "Context Is for Kings."



    Sarek's fraught relationship with his son Spock is first portrayed in The Original Series S02E15, "Journey to Babel."



    It's revealed that Sarek gave Burnham's opportunity with the Vulcan Expeditionary Group to Spock in Discovery S01E06, "Lethe."



    It's not Jadzia who tells Worf that Klingons laugh, but Guinan, in The Next Generation S04E26, "Redemption."



    Tuvix appears in Voyager S02E24, "Tuvix."




    Works cited:




    Benedict, R. (1946). The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture. Houghton Mifflin.



    Iino, S. & Matsushita, S. (Directors). (2019-present). Dr. Stone [TV series]. TMS Entertainment.



    Kōjina, H. (Director). (2011-2014). Hunter x Hunter [TV series]. Nippon TV, VAP, Shueisha, & Madhouse.




    Our next episode will cover Deep Space Nine S04E09: "The Sword of Kahless," written by Hans Beimler and Richard Danus and directed by LeVar Burton.



    Before the Future Came is edited by Lucy Arnold, transcribed by Melissa Avery-Weir, and webmavened by Gregory Avery-Weir.



    Our theme is “Let’s Pretend” by Josh Woodward, available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

    • 1 hr 26 min
    S01E02. Relativity

    S01E02. Relativity

    Content Warnings: discussion of mental health, incarceration, and sexual harassment; excessive use of mild profanity



    It's time! Melissa brings "Relativity," the 24th episode of the fifth season of Star Trek: Voyager, written by Bryan Fuller, Nick Sagan, and Michael Taylor and directed by Allen Eastman. Like First Contact, this episode features time travel and the Pogo Paradox. We talk about how Star Trek explores trust, curiosity, and power. We also chat about temporal mechanics, nascent continuity, Seven of Nine's character, space sickness, Janeway's first day, and how Star Trek technology always seems to lag behind the real world.





    For images discussed in this episode, visit the episode page on our website.



    We'd love some feedback on how we're captaining this vessel. You can hail us at onscreen@beforethefuture.space, contact us on social media, or comment on our website at beforethefuture.space.



    Connections:




    Seven of Nine debuts in Star Trek: Voyager S04E01, "Scorpion, Part II."



    The Temporal Prime Directive is first mentioned by name in Star Trek: Voyager S03E09, "Future's End, Part II." It is confirmed to be Starfleet policy prior to Voyager's departure from the Alpha Quadrant in the series finale, "Endgame."



    Captain Braxton previously appeared in Star Trek: Voyager S03E08-09, "Future's End."



    Out of phase:

    Crusher is trapped in a warp bubble that is "phasing" into a parallel universe in Star Trek: The Next Generation S04E05, "Remember Me."



    La Forge and Ro find themselves out of temporal phase in Star Trek: The Next Generation S05E24, "The Next Phase."



    The Devidians conceal themselves by being out of temporal phase in Star Trek: The Next Generation S05E26, "Time's Arrow."





    Captains' First Days:

    Kirk's first day as captain of the Enterprise (in an alternate universe) is portrayed in the 2011 film Star Trek.



    Picard's first day as captain of the Enterprise D (but not his first day as a captain) is depicted in Star Trek: The Next Generation's premiere, "Encounter at Farpoint," and finale, "All Good Things."



    Sisko's first day as commander of Deep Space Nine is depicted in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's premiere, "Emissary."



    Archer's first day as captain of the Enterprise NX-01 is depicted in Star Trek: Enterprise's premiere, "Broken Bow."



    Pike's first day as captain of the Enterprise (but not his first day as a captain) is depicted in Star Trek: Discovery S02E01, "Brother."



    Burnham's first day as captain of the Discovery is depicted in Star Trek: Discovery S03E13, "That Hope Is You, Part 2."



    Dal's first day as self-appointed captain of the Protostar is depicted in Star Trek: Prodigy S01E03, "Starstruck."





    An alternate future version of Janeway appears in the Voyager series finale, "Endgame."



    Seven of Nine and Raffi Musiker have a heated argument in Star Trek: Picard S02E08, "Mercy."



    The crew of the Discovery receive new multipurpose combadges in Star Trek: Discovery S03E06, "Scavengers."




    Works cited:




    Frakes, J. (Director). (1996). Star Trek: First Contact [Film]. Paramount Pictures.



    Holland, T. (Writer & Director). (1995). The Langoliers [TV miniseries]. Laurel Entertainment.



    Kōjina, H. (Director). (2011-2014). Hunter x Hunter [TV series]. Nippon TV, VAP, Shueisha, & Madhouse.




    Our next episode will cover the two-part premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, "The Vulcan Hello" (written by Bryan Fuller, Alex Kurtzmann, and Akiva Goldsman and directed by David Semel) and "Battle at the Binary Stars" (written by Bryan Fuller, Gretchen J. Berg, and Aaron Harberts and directed by Adam Kane).



    Before the Future Came is edited by Lucy Arnold, transcribed by Melissa Avery-Weir, and webmavened by Gregory Avery-Weir.



    Our theme is “Let’s Pretend” by Josh Woodward, available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

    • 1 hr 29 min
    S01E01. First Contact

    S01E01. First Contact

    Content Warnings: body horror and self-injury; alcohol; frank discussions of sex, caste oppression, misogyny, and misogynoir.



    In honor of our first episode, Gregory brings Star Trek: First Contact, written by Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore and directed by Jonathan Frakes. We discuss Star Trek's views on exceptionalism vs. collectivism, the idea of destiny and the "right timeline," and the film's theme of fantasy and visions as figured worlds.





    For images discussed in this episode, visit the episode page on our website.



    We'd love to hear what you think! You can hail us at onscreen@beforethefuture.space, contact us on social media, or comment on our website at beforethefuture.space.



    Connections:




    Picard is assimilated into Locutus in the two-part episode "The Best of Both Worlds," the season 3 finale and season 4 opener for Star Trek: The Next Generation, which also depicts the Battle of Wolf 359.



    Lore takes control of a group of Borg in the two-part episode "Descent," the season 6 finale and season 7 opener for Star Trek: The Next Generation.



    Lore announces his perfection in Star Trek: The Next Generation S01E13, "Datalore."



    The Temporal Prime Directive is speculated to exist in the future of Star Trek: The Next Generation S05E09, "A Matter of Time," and is apparently official Starfleet policy as of Star Trek: Voyager S07E11, "Shattered."



    The Guardian of Forever first appears in Star Trek: The Original Series S01E28, "The City on the Edge of Forever," and appears in hiding in Star Trek: Discovery S03E09-10, "Terra Firma."



    The Borg Queen's transtemporal awareness is revealed in Star Trek: Picard S02E02, "Penance."




    Works cited:




    Holland, D., Skinner, D., Lachicotte Jr., W., & Cain, C. (1998). Identity and agency in cultural worlds.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press.



    Kubrick, S. (Director). (1968). 2001: A space odyssey [Film]. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.



    Scott, R. (Director). (1979). Alien [Film]. 20th Century Fox.



    Shakespeare, W. (1623). The tragedie of Macbeth. Edward Blount, William Jaggard.



    Spiegel, A. & Miller, L. (Hosts). (2015, Jan. 23). How to become Batman. [Audio podcast episode]. In Invisibilia. NPR News. https://www.npr.org/programs/invisibilia/378577902/how-to-become-batman



    Steppenwolf. (1968). Magic carpet ride [Song]. On The second. ABC Dunhill.




    Our next episode will cover "Relativity," the 24th episode of the 5th season of Star Trek: Voyager. It was written by Nick Sagan, Brian Fuller, & Michael Taylor, and directed by Allan Eastman.



    Before the Future Came is edited by Lucy Arnold, transcribed by Melissa Avery-Weir, and webmavened by Gregory Avery-Weir.



    Our theme is “Let’s Pretend” by Josh Woodward, available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

    • 1 hr 18 min
    S01E00. Welcome and Programming Note

    S01E00. Welcome and Programming Note

    Welcome to Before the Future Came, a Star Trek podcast! Now that Hollywood producers have come to their senses regarding labor negotiations with writers and actors, we're returning to Star Trek! If you're just joining us, you can start with episode S00E01: "First Contact." If you're interested in hearing us talk about other utopian science fiction, you can go back and listen to the episodes we released during the strike!



    Before the Future Came is edited by Lucy Arnold, transcribed by Melissa Avery-Weir, and webmavened by Gregory Avery-Weir.



    Our theme is “Let’s Pretend” by Josh Woodward, available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

    • 4 min

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