It's almost unheard of for a network to reject a pilot, only to request a new one. But Star Trek always was a bit special. Anika and Liz are here to discuss "Where No Man Has Gone Before", the second -- and successful -- Star Trek pilot. And we have to ask -- is this real Star Trek, or just a generic action-adventure story wearing a Starfleet uniform, a shameless money grab, a blatant jumping of the shark? 

  • But seriously, this is a strangely violent and callous episode!
  • Anika points out the ways it revisits ideas from "The Cage"
  • Gary Mitchell is THE WORST; he's also, essentially, fanon!Kirk
  • #ElizabethDehnerDeservedBetter
  • Anika's paean to Chris Pine, The Best Kirk
  • Was Tilly at the Academy with Kirk and Mitchell? (Yes.)
  • Is this all an elaborate plot by Spock to replace Gary Mitchell as Kirk's BFF? (Also yes.)
  • Can we make this decades-old episode all about Admiral Cornwell? (Absolutely.)

It's our 50th episode! And we're celebrating with silliness: we've come up with 25 questions each, and given the other 60 seconds to consider important issues like: 

  • why does Anika blame Jonathan Archer for everything that's wrong with the Federation?
  • can Liz narrow down a single favourite violation of the Prime Directive?
  • whisky-flavoured chewing gum: yes or no?

And that barely scrapes the surface! 

 

When we planned this episode, we thought we were just going to talk about the newly announced Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. But real events took over, and so we encourage our listeners to donate to the ACLU, Black Lives Matters groups, FreeHer and other organisations raising money to fight systematic racism, injustice and police brutality. Check out antimatterpod.tumblr.com for specifics.

It's very difficult to pivot from that important business to something as frivolous as Star Trek! But we also discuss: 

  • the extremely unfortunate optics of announcing a new series with an all-white (so far) cast
  • we are still not over Katrina Cornwell's death
  • SNW as an opportunity to revisit the characters Discovery left behind
  • optimism versus idealism, and how avoiding conflict only serves to protect the status quo
  • pandering to fans (and which voices are heard)
  • episodic storytelling as an opportunity to open the writers room to more diverse voices
  • Jeffrey Combs as Dr Boyce: we're into it
  • concept: John Boyega. Star Trek. Make it so.

This week's pitch for a series that will never happen: Alexander Rozhenko: Attorney at Law.

We're talking about the medical professionals of Trek, including: 

  • the changing prominence of doctors and medicine in Star Trek
  • uh, does Phlox actually have a medical degree?
  • our favourite doctor (and the good characters versus the ones we'd want actually treating us)
  • Liz's nursing rant and Anika's related ER rant (it's on topic! We promise!)
  • we have ... questions about Klingon medicine
  • mental health professionals
  • medical technology

Episodes discussed in detail: 

  • "Miri" (TOS)
  • "The Child" and "Ethics" (TNG)
  • "The Quickening" (DS9)
  • "Critical Care" (VOY)

There's also a lot more discussion than usual about Covid and US politics after about the one hour mark, which we're flagging in case you're tired and need to prioritise escapism.

Anika and Liz discuss the classic TOS tie-in novel My Enemy, My Ally by Diane Duane, particularly: 

  • Duane's take on Roman culture, and its ties to canon, especially in the wake of Star Trek: Picard
  • Romulan language -- and how the heck do you pronounce "Mnhei’sahe"?
  • Ael: a character we adore beyond reason
  • Liz's elaborate headcanon about Romulan culture and politics in the 24th century
  • Anika's eternal grief at not getting to learn Romulan, when Klingon is on Duolingo
  • Fancasting Ael
  • Liz pitches a loose adaptation for season 2 of Picard
  • The sequels

Is Ael a Mary Sue? Do we care? Is it racist to compare your officer to pizza? These are just some of the important issues we cover!

Links: 

Anika and Liz discuss the DS9 episode "Things Past", in which Sisko, Dax, Odo and Garak find themselves at the centre of an ugly incident during the Occupation. While Garak demands to see the manager, Odo has some guilt to work through. It turns out the Occupation was ... bad.

Along the way, we discuss: 

  • Odo's place in the hierarchy of the Occupation (and his claim to not have a place at all)
  • how are Odo and Quark even allowed to be part of Bajoran society now?
  • #decoloniseBajor
  • somehow Dax's storyline is both peripheral AND the most compelling part of the episode
  • DS9 versus Babylon 5; Liz's extremely secret Trekkie shame
  • (it's not much a of a secret, she likes B5 better)
  • we pitch a prequel comic about the Occupation

TL;DR we say, "It was really frustrating!" about 35 times.

Content note: given the presence of Gul Dukat in this episode, and his behaviour towards Bajoran women in general, there's a lot of discussion of abuse, grooming, Harvey Weinstein and other unpleasant matters throughout the whole episode, but particularly around the 39 minute mark. 

Anika and Liz are joined by Jules (of @juleshastweets and Bad Pajamas) to talk about our favourite villains! Complete with sidebars about Star Wars and Avatar: The Last Airbender, and a a brief reinvention as an Expanse podcast. 

Topics of discussion include: 

  • villains versus antagonists
  • redemption arcs 
  • the mirror universe
  • is Emperor Georgiou the Garak of Discovery?
  • maybe Quark isn't a villain, but he should definitely be in jail
  • speaking of incarceration -- Garak gets six months for attempted genocide, while Kasidy Yates gets the same sentence for smuggling medical supplies to the Maquis? Really?
  • concept: the Prophets are not good people
  • #seskadeservedbetter
  • the magnificence of General Chang

Finally, going technically off-topic but when did we ever let that stop us, Julia talks about Picard's golem and Jewish myth.

Season 1 of Star Trek: Picard has come to an end! What a strange, messy show it's been. 

Special guest Sam (@retconning) joins us for the first thirty minutes to discuss Seven of Nine, queer representation throughout Trek's history, the heteronormativity of this particular series, and THE HANDHOLDING SCENE (the caps are necessary) in the final thirty seconds of the episode. 

Then Liz and Anika talk about...

  • golems, squicks and spoilers
  • did they ... forget ... Narek?
  • it's okay, they also forgot that Soji is the female lead
  • was the ending too pat? Or do we simply love space politics too much?
  • the TNG characters as desserts
  • Liz shares her philosophy of parenting with Anika, an Actual Parent
  • but seriously, Maddox and Soong are/were THE WORST
  • Agnes has come SO FAR and we LOVE HER

In conclusion, Worf is definitely a caramel drizzle and we will not be taking questions at this moment.

This week on Star Trek: The Next Generation, the crew beam down to an idyllic paradise whose scantily clad residents harbour a terrible secret.

No, wait! It's Star Trek: Picard, and any resemblance to season one of TNG is entirely ... unfortunate. This week on Antimatter Pod...

  • Anika has a shocking confession
  • apparently we are meant to consider Bruce Maddox a great loss to humanity? Really?
  • how Picard and Batman are quite different
  • why is Sutra ... like that?
  • we have so many questions about the depiction of women's sexuality in this show, and none of them reflect well on the writers
  • this week, in Anika Ships It: Sutra/Narissa!

Soji can have a little genocide, as a treat.

Join Liz and Anika as we pick up some "Broken Pieces" -- starting with our own audio: due to technical shenanigans, a really excellent rant was lost. But here's what survived: 

  • so many secrets have been revealed!
  • did the Borg/Seven subplot need more time?
  • does the writing hold up?
  • if you have to take to Instagram to explain plotholes, then no, it does not
  • we make predictions for the end

Somehow the rant about The Rise of Skywalker did survive, along with spoilers for Game of Thrones (Ned Stark dies!).

Don't forget to rate, review and sign our petition for Picard to never use the word "lover" ever again. 

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