content by

Ryan Britt

Star Trek: Discovery Connects Tyler and the Klingon Religion to Events in The Next Generation

When Star Trek: Discovery first aired in late 2017, fans of The Next Generation were all probably stoked to hear the name “Kahless,” the Klingon Jesus, who showed up as a clone of himself in the episode “Rightful Heir.” And now, in “Point of Light,” the third episode of Discovery’s second season, one small detail connects Lt. Tyler to Worf and those clone-happy monks in a very specific way. And it’s all about the name of that planet at the end of the episode.

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In “New Eden” Was Captain Pike Wrong About Star Trek’s Prime Directive?

Turns out that Captain Pike is so hot for the Prime Directive, he will literally jump on a phaser and die rather than interfere with a culture’s natural development. Except when it comes to giving out space batteries. Space batteries are fine. The point is, on some level Pike’s actions in the latest episode of Star Trek: Discovery — “New Eden”—might scan as hypocritical. But, that’s not exactly Pike’s fault. Maybe General Order One, better known as the Prime Directive, is inherently hypocritical.

Spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Discovery season 2, episode 2, “New Eden.”

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Captain Pike Sets a New Tone for Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 (Non-Spoiler Review)

If the writers and producers of Star Trek: Discovery had wanted to really shock the audience, they would have kept Captain Pike out of all the trailers. Because if you’ve seen any of the preview clips for the new season — which started circulating as far back as San Diego Comic-Con in 2018 — then you already know that Discovery has a new main character: Anson Mount as Christopher Pike from the USS Enterprise. And as Captain Pike beams aboard the USS Discovery, the moodiest Trek series since DS9 is loosening up. Is it a good thing? Yes! Is this now a fundamentally different show than it was in season 1? You betcha.

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Did Star Trek: Discovery Just Make Harry Mudd Responsible For TNG’s Data?

The best thing about the twist-ending of Short Treks “The Escape Artist” isn’t just that it’s hilarious, or that it makes us think about Harry Mudd in a brand new way. No, the real best thing is that the new short might also subtly suggest that Harry Mudd could have a more direct link to the creation of Mr. Data in The Next Generation than anyone previously realized. It might sound like a stretch, but hear me out.

Big spoilers ahead for Short Treks’ “The Escape Artist.”

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All the Whos Down in Whoville Are (Probably) Aliens

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!—both the original 1957 picture book and the 1966 cartoon version—showcase Theodor Geisel at possibly the tippy-top of his powers.

But just what are the Whos down in Whoville? Are they human? What is the Grinch? What’s the connection between these Whos and the Whos living on the speck-of-dust planet in Horton Hears a Who!? Are those Whos who Horton heard the same species of Whos of which Cyndi Lou Who (who was not more than two) is a member?

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The 7 Best Non-Traditional Christmas Carol Adaptations

If I had a pet reindeer, or any kind of creature that resembled a fawn or Bambi-style animal, I’d name it Dickens. Come on. How adorable would it be to have a little pet deer named Dickens? Here Dickens! Come have a sugar cube! That’s a good little Dickens. What’s your favorite story? What’s that you say, “A Christmas Carol?” Well, I don’t feel like reading to you, because you’re a little deer, so let’s watch a movie or a TV special instead. Whatyda say? And then, as a gift to Dickens, I would have to compile a list of movie and TV adaptations of Charles Dickens’s awesome book—A Christmas Carol—and I’d want those adaptations to be somehow a little bit different from their source material, because deer like stuff that’s new.

What are the best non-traditional versions of A Christmas Carol? These.

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Did Short Treks’ “The Brightest Star” Violate the Prime Directive?

The latest installment in the mini-anthology series Short Treks —“The Brightest Star”—is the first of these new stories not to take place on the starship Discovery, but, so far, it’s probably the installment that will be the most satisfying for hardcore fans. Not only do we find out how and why Mr. Saru joined Starfleet, there’s also a huge surprise cameo from a very familiar character at the very end of the episode. But the actions of that person, particularly in relation to Saru’s species, will bring up a very old Trekkie question: was the Prime Directive violated here?

[Huge spoilers ahead!]

6 Genre Fiction Icons Who Hung Out with the Muppets

Does the entire canon of the Muppets fall into the genre of science fiction? When you consider the various alternate universes the Muppets seem to inhabit, the answer might be yes. If meta-fiction is the handmaiden of science fiction, then there are certainly some SF sensibilities pervading our favorite gang of witty and colorful creatures. Throughout the years, this sensibility has been somewhat acknowledged by the Muppet-verse via specific crossovers from science fiction celebrities. Here are six instances of science fiction icons with the Muppets!

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Reboots of the Future: Highlander

The original Highlander told us that in the end “there can be only one” but the phenomenon of reboots has proven this maxim universally untrue. While many fans bemoan reboots as a death of originality, one has to admit sometimes a reboot can be fantastic.  On the whole Battlestar Galactica was a breath of fresh space air and the 2009 Star Trek a kick in the space pants. Reboots prove there can be several versions of a beloved fantastic universe, so why not hope for the best?  In this installment of Reboots of the Future, heads will roll and lightening will strike when Highlander returns to TV screens.

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7 Surprising Facts About the Making Of Battlestar Galactica

Fans of serious science fiction might debate about the various merits of Star Trek versus Star Wars—but there’s another big space franchise that nearly everyone agrees is just as awesome as it is smart. The 2003-2009 SyFy Channel version of Battlestar Galactica is not only a beloved contemporary genre series but also considered by many to be the best sci-fi show of all time. Aficionados know this is a minor miracle simply because the critically acclaimed reboot show was based on a 1978 show with a dubious legacy and mixed reputation among fans of the genre.

But what do you really know about the making of both this modern sci-fi classic and its cheesy progenitor? If the answer is not frakking very much, then pop culture historians and long-time science fiction journalists Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman are here to help!

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So Say We All Proves Battlestar Galactica Is the Nicest Sci-Fi Franchise Of All

Behind-the-scenes books on beloved TV shows or films have a tendency to suddenly turn innocent geeky fun into raunchy tales of sex, drugs and rock and roll. The late Carrie Fisher’s last memoir of Star Wars, The Princess Diarist, dropped the bombshell about the sexual affair she had with Harrison Ford in 1976. And if you read the oral history of Star Trek, The Fifty Year Mission, then you would know there was a lot of crazy shit that went on behind the scenes on literally every version of that franchise.

Ed Gross and Mark A. Altman, the authors of The Fifty Year Mission, have turned their excellent journalistic sensibilities to the real story behind Battlestar Galactica. And guess what? Turns out most of the people who worked with each other on Galactica liked each other a lot. In fact, if there’s one huge takeaway So Say We All, it’s that the struggles of both versions of Battlestar Galactica mirrored the premises of both series. The actors and writers faced more adversity from without than within and were constantly in danger of being shut down by tyrannical forces hell-bent on their destruction.

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Should the New Picard Star Trek TV Series Be Set on a Starship?

On Saturday, at the 2018 Las Vegas Star Trek Convention, Sir Patrick Stewart revealed that he will star in a new Star Trek series centered on the life of Captain Picard, set 20 years after the events of Star Trek Nemesis. For Trek aficionados, this series represents the first time since 2002’s Nemesis that a new Trek will actually move forward in time, which itself is a cause for celebration.

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Watching the Best Episodes of Star Trek Makes It Feel as Dark as Black Mirror

Supposedly, the sunny universe of Star Trek is all about exploring outer space, meeting interesting alien cultures, and coming up with peaceful, contemplative solutions to important problems, usually while sitting in a comfortable chair. But, if you only look at the very best episodes of Star Trek, it’s very clear the franchise isn’t about strange new worlds, but instead, exploring screwed up terrible ones. Stand-out episodes of all versions of Trek tend to create trippy scenarios that would make the weirdest Black Mirror episode blush. In other words, the best episodes of Star Trek are almost always exceptions to the supposed rule that Trek is a hopeful vision of the future full of people holding hands and loving each other even if they are a space hedgehog named Neelix.

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Harlan Ellison, Grand Master of Science Fiction & Fantasy, 1934-2018

“For a brief time I was here, and for a brief time, I mattered.”

Harlan Ellison, author, screenwriter, and grand master of science fiction and fantasy, has passed on June 28th, 2018 at the age of 84. Via legal representative and photographer Christine Valada:

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7 SFF Martyrs Who Give Saint Valentine a Run for His Money

In many ways the conception of Valentine’s Day feels a bit like a science fiction thing, or at the very least, an urban legend. Unlike Saint Patrick, who totally, for real, drove snakes out of Ireland (maybe), details about exactly what Saint Valentine did are dubiously muddled and/or non-existent. The essential fact is this: at some point there was a Saint Valentine who was certainly a martyr, so it might as well be for love!

But when you stop to reflect on it, science fiction and fantasy is lousy with martyrs, and we probably know much more about them than we’ll ever know about Saint Valentine. Here are seven martyrs who keep sci-fi and fantasy going, mostly because they seem to always come back after they’ve died!

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