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85. ”Mary Sue (respectful)” (Star Trek Day 2021)

Liz and Anika get together to discuss the news, trailers and outfits from Star Trek Day, 8 September 2021, including…

  • We have concerns about the sidelining of female characters in Prodigy
  • How will Long Janeway be changed by her time with the kids?
  • The all-male Prodigy panel was followed by the Discovery panel, which featured no heterosexuals whatsoever
  • An ugly incident of homophobic abuse at the event
  • The Strange New Worlds characters
  • Christine Chapel’s backstory: any situation that involves the phrase “multiple sexy robots” is going to be regrettable
  • Anika has a lot of feelings about the trend of taking male villains and reinventing them as women
  • Despite all the evidence that this is a bad idea, ie, season 1 of Star Trek: Picard, we are very excited for season 2 of Star Trek: Picard
  • We were wholly unmoved by the “Legacy” section of the event
  • People we love: Mary Chieffo, Jolene Blalock
  • We are here to defend the red carpet hosts!

It’s the episode where we agree that, for all our mixed feelings about his father, Rod Roddenberry seems like a good egg.


Liz: Welcome to Antimatter Pod, a Star Trek podcast where we discuss fashion, feminism, subtext, and subspace, hosted by Anika and Liz. This week, we’re discussing the news out of Star Trek Day 2021.

Anika: Yay, Star Trek Day!

Liz: It was nice to be able to get up and watch it as it unfolded, instead of seeing it come across Twitter, first thing in the morning, when I’ve woken up and I’m cranky.

Anika: It was nice that we were all able to experience it together, and we had like a little chat going. That was really fun for me. And I appreciate that it was quote unquote after hours, because I didn’t want to have to worry about work and stuff.

But at the same time, it was eight hours long. I’m sure it wasn’t actually eight hours. But it was a long time. I think four hours. It was almost midnight my time when it was ending. And I was like, “Bye everybody!”

Liz: You barely made it made it to the end.

Anika: Now that school’s started back up again, we have to be out of here by 7:00 AM. So I get up pre six. I don’t want to be staying up till midnight. But there’s so much to talk about, because again, it was four hours long, which is exciting.

Liz: They certainly padded it out with musical bits and interstitials with the red carpet, where the poor hosts had to talk about what people were talking about on Twitter.

Anika: Yeah. That was rough.

Liz: Oh gosh. I felt so bad for them.

Anika: They try so hard to include social media content, whatever event it is. The Academy Awards and the Emmys and the Golden Globes and all of those all do this as well, now.

So it’s a normal thing, but I feel so badly for the interns, scouring the tag, trying to find ones that are acceptable to put on air. I feel bad for the hosts, trying to decipher what’s being said, and what tone they should, you know? And sometimes there’s words that they’ve never seen before. And it’s like–

Liz: Or that were never designed to be pronounced out loud by a human mouth.

Anika: And it’s very clear that they get the tweet immediately. It’s like, okay, we’ve got a tweet and it’s on the screen and I’m reading it to you, and I’ve never seen this before, and I don’t know what’s going on. So, yeah, it’s, rough. And it’s never fun for anyone. I get that they want us to be engaged, but it’s so cringy to me.

Liz: I loved Mica Burton and Wil Wheaton as the hosts. Mica, I learned very embarrassingly late, is LaVar Burton’s daughter, so she has never been in Star Trek, but she grew up around Star Trek. It’s like her family.

And Wil Wheaton, of course, was, as he put it, the young people in Star Trek for a long time. I know some people find Wil a bit cringy, but I really like him. He’s just very comfortable in his own awkward skin. And I respect that.

Anika: I’m going to put out my little hot take, that people who find Wil cringy relate to it. Like they see themselves in him, and that’s why they find him cringy.

Liz: Yeah, yeah, no, that is exactly where my feeling comes from. I’m totally willing to own it. He’s awkward in the way that many of us fans are a little bit awkward.

I love that he has embraced this side of himself, and embraced fandom, a fandom that did not want to embrace him for a long time, and is just out here being, not just a cheerleader for modern Star Trek, but a really positive force.

Anika: I call him an ambassador.

Liz: That puts it really well.

Anika: He bridges, you know, old Star Trek and new Star Trek together, because he’s so excited about all of the new Star Trek, but he literally represents old Star Trek. So I think he’s good.

And Mica, too. She’s adorable. She’s been doing this for a couple of years now and she’s just grown into it. Like, now this is her gig and she owns it, and I’m so proud of her. I love seeing her interact with her dad.

Liz: Does she act? Because she has the same charisma as her dad.

Anika: Yeah, exactly. It’s so wholesome. And they’re both smart, too, and come up – they just come across as, ‘we had some input into these questions,’ as opposed to, ‘we are just reading a script.’

Liz: I think that’s why I enjoy Mica and Wil as hosts, because they seem really present. That’s a wanky way to put it, but that’s the only way I can describe it. They’re very engaged in what they’re doing.

Anika: Yeah. And they’re happy to be doing it. And they’re invested.

Liz: Yes. So we started with the Prodigy panel, which included a trailer.

Anika: Finally.

Liz: Finally!

Anika: I feel like I’ve been waiting for years for the Prodigy trailer.

Liz: I know! I’m really excited. It’s not the show I had pictured in my head. If I were making it, I probably would have made the lead female character prominent in any way whatsoever.

The panel was all male and mostly all white. I was disappointed in the demographics of the panel, and I would like to see the female characters get more prominence.

But it’s a trailer, and it’s a promotional panel. And Nickelodeon has historically been a bit shy when it comes to having female centered shows.

Anika: Hm.

Liz: So I hope this is just promo, and the lead girl, whose name I’ve forgotten, has a more central role than it seems. And if it’s not, then we can talk about that.

Anika: I don’t know any of the character names. And I don’t know any of the actor names, other than Murf, who is played by Dee Bradley Baker. And the only reason I know that is because he’s all the clones.

Liz: He also plays all the animals and a couple of humans in the Avatar universe. That’s where I know him from. Let’s hope he gets to bust out his fairly decent New Zealand accent.

Anika: But there was also the young man who, I think, is the lead.

Liz: Yes!

Anika: And he really won me over, in that he was just sort of happy to be here, ‘I’m excited about Star Trek, but I’m also overwhelmed because this is the weirdest thing I’ve ever done.’

And that was great. I always like that in a new Star Trek person. You always get either someone who has been watching since they were a child, and it’s the best thing that ever happened to them to get cast, or they have heard of Star Trek, but never actually seen much, and are like, ‘yeah, I, I’ve been told about the fans, but until it actually happened, I didn’t know.’

Liz: Yeah, and he is definitely too young – he is not in the right demographic to have grown up with Star Trek.

Anika: Which is perfect for Prodigy!

Liz: I know. It’s perfect.

Anika: So I really liked him. I just feel terrible that I didn’t write down his name. Again, I don’t know any of their names. I’m very sorry. He had a lot of charisma and I’m into it.

The fact that they put Janeway in it, it’s like, okay, so there are going to be like these young, vaguely Maquis-type kids, and she’s going to show them how to be Starfleet. But that’s a dynamic that I like, I’m into it. I’m ready for it to be a ramshackle Starfleet Academy in a ship

Liz: Yes,

Anika: Far, far away.

Liz: But also, it can go both ways, and who knows what effect they will have on Janeway, and how she will transcend her programming?

You know, she is not the captain who becomes the admiral. She is a completely new entity, and she is no more Kathryn Janeway than the Doctor is Louis Zimmerman. And by the end of the series, those men were completely different and had nothing in common.

Anika: And that’s really exciting. I really hope that they play with that and make it a thing. Cause that’s super fun. You know, I love my variants. So I’m super ready!

Liz: I am excited to have a sentient hologram who is not a man, like just putting that out there.

Anika: The little things! It’s the little things.

Liz: I’ve realized on my Voyager rewatch, I’m really not into the Doctor anymore, because the Doctor, he fights for his own personhood, but he doesn’t extend that to others, which makes him interesting, but really frustrating.

I would like [to see] how Janeway is changed. And she may not even be called Janeway, you know?

Anika: Yeah, the Captain.

Liz: Oh, the Captain.

Anika: It’s exciting, I’m super into it. And it was, again, it’s just so pretty. It’s so bright and colorful and I’m just excited to see what actually happens. Because, even having seen the trailer, I still have no idea what that show is going to be like.

Liz: No. These kids are on a mining planet somewhere out in the back of beyond. They find this lost Starfleet vessel that looks like it might be a transwarp vessel. They steal it, and then the bad guys are chasing them, and Long Janeway is there.

The trailer did exactly what it was meant to do, which has got me excited, without actually telling me anything useful.

Anika: Anything at all. Yes, exactly. Which is what more trailers should be like. Good job. And it’s just funny with what you said earlier about Nickelodeon. I always think of Nickelodeon as double dare and the slime.

Liz: Oh yeah.

Anika: Which was definitely a directed towards greasy, grimy boys type of show. There were certainly plenty of girls involved and it’s not like girls aren’t on Nickelodeon and girls don’t enjoy slime, but I definitely always got the impression–

Liz: Yeah, yeah,

Anika: –that it was, you know, directed to boys, and that Nickelodeon was the boys equivalent to Disney for girls.

Liz: 100%. And I was in Avatar fandom before I came back to Star Trek fandom, and obviously Avatar is a wildly successful series, and it had lots of great female characters.

And then its sequel, Legend of Korra, came along and Nickelodeon was very, very reluctant to have a series with a female Avatar as the lead, and really undermined it in a lot of ways. They literally had their budget cut in the final phase of making the final season, so they had to do a last minute clip show. And even then, in the finale, there are bits that are not animated. They’re just beautiful artistic stills. And that was entirely because of Nickelodeon cutting the money.

Anika: Wow. But I’m sure they’re evolving,

Liz: I really hope so!

Anika: You know, just like Disney evolved into–

Liz: Slowly, slowly yes.

Anika: –grabbing the boy audience.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: But they’ll get there. And evolution is slow. So it’ll be like 20 years before there’s any kind of parity, but that’s okay. We’re working on it in both cases.

Liz: One of the interesting things about Prodigy is that on social media, the two writers who are most active and most engaged are two women. And yet this was the all male panel. And so I almost wonder if they’re sort of, not necessarily intentionally, but reaching out to different demographics through different means. It’s interesting to me.

Anika: It is interesting. Because at this point, there has to be a lot of discussion behind the scenes for any new project, about, you know, how we’re going to present it in all of these different places. Because there are so many different places to present it. And fans are so much more engaged and expect so much more engagement, now, that it’s a tight rope.

Liz: No, it really is. And I think they would be fools to not pay attention to things like the demographics of their fandoms, and who engages with what, and how to reach out to as many people as possible.

And it was very interesting to me that the Prodigy panel was followed by the Discovery panel, where, aside from Wil Wheaton as the moderator, there were literally no straight people on that stage.

Anika: right. It was amazing. It was blatant. It was very like, ‘Hey, we’re making a statement with this,’ which is powerful.

Liz: It still feels a bit like Disco is the part of the franchise that’s allowed to be queer, but my gosh, they are aggressively being queer. And I love it. I loved everything.

Anika: I loved everything they were wearing, all of them. Like that was just super fun to me.

Liz: The people on stage were Michelle Paradise, the showrunner, who is a lesbian; Wilson Cruz, who is a divine being, and also an actor; Blu Del Barrio; and Ian Alexander.

And Ian, in particular, has this amazing flamboyant style where he’s almost a little bit femme, and he has this mullet, and he has this amazing makeup.

And then Blu comes in, wearing shorts and they looked like a teenage boy dressing up for a big event, basically. Very Elliot Page at the Met Gala.

Anika: It was so great.

Liz: And what I enjoyed about this panel was Wil Wheaton specifically bonding with Blu and Ian, as a one-time young people in Star Trek, taking them under his wing and there was strong fandom mom energy about it, which I loved. I think it was really, it was nice.

Anika: It was nice. And they appreciated it. They had this back and forth about the lapel pin, Adopt A Tribble’s lapel pin, that was just so sweet and clearly unscripted.

You could definitely tell when people were giving sound bites, and when people were just ad libbing, and it was really heartfelt to see Blu, who every once in a while looks a little shy, I would say, when they were answering things and maybe a little overwhelmed, and Wil just being – yeah, fandom mom is a really good way of putting it, and show mom. He was saying, “Hey, you know what, I’m still awkward, and I’m in my forties, so you’re fine.”

Liz: Yeah. And Wilson there, talking about his paternal relationship with Ian and Blu, I thought that was really lovely.

Anika: The whole conversation about found family, and how it is integral to Discovery. Which we know, and have been saying. And I love that they’re saying, ‘yeah, we did that on purpose.’

Liz: You know, we’ve talked about how season four felt intentional in its themes, in a way that the previous seasons – season four? season three – in a way that the previous seasons didn’t quite manage. They were much more ad hoc.

And I think that’s partially down to Michelle Paradise, and she really understands the story that she’s telling, and the characters that she’s dealing with.

Anika: And she was given that authority.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: To just do it.

Liz: I also loved that, you know, this is an event where the women on stage, they’re really dressed up, they’re really fancy. And then the men turn up in whatever. And Michelle Paradise, she is also wearing her jeans and sneakers and nice knit vest. And I’m like, I respect this choice.

Anika: It was all outdoors because of COVID, and it had to have been so hot because it’s, you know, 75 to 85 in my living room. So over in Southern California, it has to be really warm and so, be comfortable, guys!

Liz: It looked like everyone was dressing for the kind of weather where it’s warm, it’s warm, it’s warm. Oh, there’s a breeze, suddenly it’s freezing. I’ve never been outside of LAX, that’s the extent of my knowledge of LA, but if that’s what the weather there is like, I think they were all dressed perfectly for it.

Anika: They were dressed perfectly for it.

Liz: Yeah. And there was an incident in, the panel.

Anika: An unfortunate incident.

Liz: A regrettable, an ugly incident where someone shouted homophobic abuse at Wilson while he was on stage.

And he carried on as normal, he is a total professional, but apparently the person had behind wasn’t ejected, or anything. Nothing happened to that person, save that they’re getting bad vibes from the entire internet. And I think that’s really regrettable

Anika: It is very regrettable. I don’t know, obviously, what the situation was there. I can imagine the people in charge wanting to make sure no one at home knew what was going on.

Liz: Yes. And certainly, it wasn’t picked up by the audio.

Anika: Right. And the people even in the audience who weren’t right nearby, maybe again, I don’t know what happened in terms of how many people heard it in it in the first place. And so I can imagine the producers making a decision to not make a scene, but I don’t think that that is the kind choice or the supportive choice.

Liz: I think what they should have done was let the panel run, and then in the interstitial bit where the orchestra is playing and we cut away to the red carpet, they quietly eject that person and then when they come back, one of the hosts says, “Someone shouted abuse from the audience at Wilson and they have been removed, and we want to say, as Star Trek, that is wholly unacceptable behavior. And that person is not welcome at an official event ever again.”

Anika: Right. Because not addressing it at all – as far as I know, they didn’t even address it on Twitter, like officially, or anything, it was just Wilson talking about it.

And at that point, it was a day and a half later, so it was already too late to really do anything, but they should have at least made a statement.

Liz: And it makes me wonder if he waited that day and a half to see what Paramount would do.

And if anyone would at least be calling him to apologize and to check he’s okay. And Ian and Blu and Michelle, but particularly the younger people, because they were so vulnerable up there. And as non-binary and trans people, they have an extra layer of vulnerability.

I’m just – I’m so mad about it. And I’m so mad that it’s very easy to go, oh, well that person’s not a real Trekkie instead of addressing the problem.

Anika: And the thing is that we and our friends have been saying that for all of Discovery‘s run, at least, that you can’t say there’s no racism or homophobia or sexism, or anything, that you can’t say it’s not in the Star Trek fandom, because it is.

There are plenty of people who are blatantly racist and sexist and homophobic and consider themselves very strong Star Trek fans. And, in fact, say that’s why they’re there Star Trek fans. They’re like, “I don’t see color because I’m a Star Trek fan.”

Liz: And also people who were attracted to the Berman years because of the lack of queer people. I’ve definitely seen that conversation on Reddit. And Reddit is a self-policing community, and to their credit, they always push back really, really hard on that attitude, and the downvotes fly, and all that. But that is also who Star Trek fandom is.

Anika: And if you just say that makes them not real Star Trek fans, you’re not addressing the problem at all. Because the reality is there are also a lot of microaggressions that even people like us might stumble into

Liz: Uh, I’m not even going to cover myself with a ‘might’ there. I’m sure I have. And I’m sure I will again. And for the record, if anyone feels the need to call me out, I will have my white lady tears in private, away from you. Anyway.

Anika: So if you just give it a pass, that’s what you’re doing. You’re saying, “oh, well, I’m just not acknowledging that as a part of my fandom, and therefore I don’t have to engage with it myself in any way. I don’t have to engage with the fact that these people are not being ejected from the audience in any way, and that they’re not going to go away if you ignore them.” I mean, that’s the whole, like, you can either stand up to a bully, or you can ignore a bully, and it’s like, no, you have to address each situation with what is necessary at the time. There’s no one way to handle these things.

Liz: I was just going to interrupt you to say that.

Anika: Yeah. And so you can’t just rest on your laurels, that, “oh, well I’m a good Star Trek fan and anyone who going to insult Wilson in the middle of his panel is a bad Star Trek fan who’s not welcome in the fandom and therefore not an actual part of it.” That’s excusing it for yourself as well.

Liz: And the least useful thing that anyone, anyone can do is post that ‘keep your bigotry in your quarters’ GIF and call it a day. I mean, really?

Anika: It’s so tiring. If I never have to see that again, I will be happy.

Liz: I know, I know.

Anika: I can’t even watch the episode anymore.

Liz: Well, we’ve already covered it here, so we don’t need to watch it

Anika: So I’m done. I don’t have to

Liz: I was talking about Heather Rae on Twitter about it, because Heather uses it a fair bit, but she was saying she considers it a tool that will make people stop and think, and that’s the start. And I agree, but I think we are too dependent on that one specific tool.

Anika: It’s the same as saying, “oh, you know, Star Trek address racism 55 years ago when they had the planet with the paint on their faces.” And it’s like, no.

Liz: Star Trek can do more than that.

Anika:Star Trek addressed racism by putting Uhura on the bridge.” You know, when we get to Strange New Worlds, we can talk about how–

Liz: I was going to say!

Anika: Just putting Uhura on the bridge does not actually – yes, it makes a statement, and it makes a powerful statement. But that doesn’t mean you get a pass for the next 60 years, and it doesn’t mean that you allow abuse to continue now that there’s a third actress that’s going to be playing her.

Liz: So can we get to the Strange New Worlds panel?

Anika: Yes, we can.

Liz: So this was another all white panel. All white and mostly men. And it was fine. The cast are fine. They are very nice. Ethan seems to be a person who really loves dropping spoilers, so he’s going to be fun for many years to come.

But let’s talk about the character reveals because I think that’s what we’re all really excited about.

Anika: Exactly. I mean, finally, finally, we actually got some data on this show.

It was funny because the panel was made up of the people that we’ve met before, the people that have literally already been in Discovery. So there’s nothing new there.

And so at least we got the behind-the-scenes video and character reveals for all of these characters. We’ve sort of known the cast for a while, now, but we didn’t have any information about who they were playing.

Liz: No, and rumors were flying, but you know, rumors could mean anything. And even with the rumors, some things were a complete surprise.

So we have Uhura, Cadet Uhura, who is going to be great, and we’re very excited about that.

And Dr. M’Benga which I’m also excited about, cause I thought he was always very interesting in The Original Series and I’m glad to explore him more. And sorry to Boyce fans. Maybe he’ll make a cameo.

And then we have Jess Bush, the Australian, playing Christine Chapel. I’m going to put it out there that I am actually not that excited for this, but maybe a 21st century take on Chapel will make her interesting to me.

Anika: I’m kind of scared, I’ll be honest, of the Christine Chapel, because I hate her backstory. I hate her backstory with the white hot heat of a thousand suns. It’s the worst.

I will briefly summarize as, she was engaged to a doctor, and he went missing in space. And so she decided to become a nurse and join Starfleet to go after him.

Liz: Also, I believe, she was a medical student who decided to become a nurse to find her lost man.

Anika: Right. Because that way she could get into space quicker, which is not true, but okay.

Liz: And we’ve had our rant about how nurses are not just second-rate doctors or, you know, the final form of a nurse’s evolution is not doctor

Anika: And if you haven’t watched the episode in The Original Series, which I definitely do not suggest, avoid at all costs, but basically, they find the doctor, and he has created multiple sexy robots to take her place. And then they all die.

Liz: Yeah. And then the other defining point of her personality is that she’s hopelessly in love with Spock, who is oblivious.

Anika: God.

Liz: No.

Anika: And I want none of it. I would prefer them to just ignore canon completely. I want her to have an Australian accent, and it to be never explained. I want her to never mention Roger Korby, and for it never to be explained, and to flirt with Uhura more than Spock.

Liz: They showed little clips of each character at work, and I noticed that it was either Ortegas or La’an Noonien Singh in her scene, with her. And they looked like they’re having an intense conversation. So I’ve decided that’s my OTP.

And I think I’ve discussed before, just recently, how I’m not actually all that comfortable with the level of nepotism in Majel Barrett’s role in Star Trek. And Christine Chapel was a big part of that. So I’m excited to revisit the character, but I also don’t think it was necessary.

Anika: I’m okay with it. I just want it to be a completely different character

Liz: If the fan boys are complaining that Chapel is completely unrecognizable and might as well be a whole different character, I’m into that.

Anika: Good. But Dr M’Benga, that’s exciting

Liz: Yes.

Anika: He was a Vulcan specialist. Everything is good. Everything is good there.

And Uhura, obviously, is my favorite character in The Original Series, and I am super, super, super excited. I will, 100% ship her with Spock. I do not care. No one can stop me. And I will be watching the show as if that is definitely going on behind the scenes at all times. I’ll just be honest and out front with this, so that everybody’s aware.

But I also am fine if it’s not a part of the series and it’s just all about how amazing Uhura is, and how she’s the queen of Enterprise.

Liz: Yes. So on Star Trek Day, the person who tweets as EbsWatchesTrek was talking a lot about what Uhura means to her, as an African-American woman, and how she really, really doesn’t like Spock/Uhura as it appears in the movies. For a variety of reasons, but basically it boils down to the fact that the writers always prioritized Spock over Uhura, and we know nothing about Uhura save that she’s very, very smart and good at her job, and Spock loves her a whole lot. And she doesn’t ship it because she thinks Spock is in a really bad place emotionally, and would not be a great boyfriend to Uhura.

And I think she is absolutely right. I think I would ship it because it’s a bit of a hot mess, but I think her criticisms are very valid, and I would love to have her on this podcast to talk about Uhura in depth. I really hope that the Uhura of Strange New Worlds lives up to Ebony’s hopes.

Anika: Yes, absolutely. I have hopes, I think that they have to at least know how important it is, that, if nothing else, they have to know that there is a history that needs to be lived up to.

Liz: Yes. And I do think it’s very interesting that they’ve given Number One a surname, and they’ve reintroduced Uhura, Chapel and M’Benga, who are all really interesting characters, or characters with the potential to be really interesting, who never lived up to it in The Original Series. That seems very intentional to me. So even though it’s written by Akiva Goldsman, and I’m on the record as not being impressed by him as a writer, I’m hopeful that it will at least sometimes be good, if only by accident.

Anika: He’s not the only writer. So there’s just that

Liz: Thank God.

Anika: I would love to know the demographics of the writer’s room.

Liz: I looked at it at some point, and it really is very standard people who have worked on the other Star Treks. Nothing about it excited me in the least, but, you know,

Anika: Oh, well.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: There’s the new characters. Hemmer, who’s an Aenar, is that how they’re…?

Liz: I am not up to that part of Enterprise yet, though I’ve started season 4.

Anika: I think it’s a subspecies of Andorian.

Liz: A blind, albino subspecies of Andorians, played by a legally blind actor, which really, really excites me. I think one thing that modern Star Trek is doing particularly well is casting disabled people, and not casting able-bodied actors as disabled characters.

Anika: Yes. That’s very exciting. It’s taking representation to all of the levels it can go.

Liz: I hope it sets a precedent across all television and entertainment. And then we have Ortegas, who – I can’t remember the actress’s name, but she is fantastically butch and I love her.

Anika: She must be some kind of engineer, right?

Liz: Oh, I had her pegged as security.

Anika: Security. Okay.

Liz: I don’t know this for sure. I just assumed because she was wearing red.

Anika: Well, that’s both, it’s all operations, engineering and security, but I don’t know. She gave me engineer vibes, but maybe that’s just because of Jett Reno.

Liz: Yeah. But then we have La’an Noonien-Singh, and it would kind of make sense for a descendant of the Eugenics Wars warriors to be security. On the other hand, I would love it if she was the nerdy engineer and, Ortegas the, you know, the–

Anika: None of us know anything about La’an Noonien-Singh other than her name. And I am super excited for her to be my favorite character.

I don’t care about Khan at all. That’s not even my favorite movie. Sorry, everybody. It’s not even in my top three. I don’t know, it’s, like, mid. It’s middling. It’s very emotional. I get it. I love Saavik, but the rest of it is fine.

And there’s this trend happening, that I’ve noticed in my fandoms, where they take a famous male villain even an iconic male villain, and they make it into a girl.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: So they did this in Star Wars, The Bad Batch, with Boba Fett.

I love Boba Fett for being the little boy in Attack of the Clones, but since Empire Strikes Back or even the holiday special, Boba Fett has represented toxic masculinity, to the point where my friends and women I know, they don’t understand why I like Boba Fett. They’re, like, “oh, Boba Fett is such a, a horrible character. He’s not cool at all, ever, in the movies. And yet he is every toxic Star Wars fanboys’ favorite character.” And then I jump in and I’m like, I love Boba Fett!

Liz: I love that he finally gets to come back in The Mandalorian. And he’s not the coolest guy around.

Anika: He’s not, and he doesn’t even want to be. He’s just like, “I’m still just like my dad, just trying to spray out a living amongst all you crazy people who are at war all the time.” So I love Boba Fett.

But in The Bad Batch, they introduced Boba Fett’s sister, Omega.

Liz: Oh!

Anika: Spoilers, sorry. All of this entire conversation is going to be spoilers. All of the clones are clones of Jango Fett, including Boba. So Omega is the same, except that she’s a girl

And then Loki came out, and they were like, “you love Loki huh? He’s been an important part of the MCU for 10 years, and was the first big villain that the Avengers went up against. Well, guess what?”

Liz: “Here’s Sylvie!”

Anika: “Have Sylvie.” So the fact that Star Trek, and even if La’an has nothing to do with Khan, even if they never even say his name, which I find unlikely, but you know.

Liz: You never know.

Anika: I love this. I love the ‘we’re going to take a male character you love, and make it a girl.’ I mean, you could almost say that they did that with Luke and Rey.

Liz: I was just about to say, this is that thing where it’s also really leaning into the Mary Sue tropes. You mentioned Rey, but Michael Burnham, and Soji….

Anika: Michael Burnham is a Spock, right. I love every single time they do it. I’m just thrilled with this. And I mean, obviously. I would never call any of them Mary Sues, but even if they are, it’s like, yeah. More power to you. Make every man, a girl, go.

Liz: I would call them like, Mary Sue, open parenthesis, respectful.

Anika: Respectful. Yes, exactly. I’m just super excited for La’an.

Liz: I am intrigued by what this suggests for world-building, because I can’t believe it’s been 55 years and we are only now just starting to think, Hey, maybe the eugenics warriors had families. Maybe they didn’t all leave us in the SS Botany Bay. Maybe there is more to this story, and there have always been descendants of these genetically engineered people living among other humans.

And that’s really interesting. One of the things about Star Trek that I find most interesting is the taboo against genetic manipulation which arose out of this war. And I’m really eager to see if that impacts La’an’s life, and how she identifies and, you know, how has the Noonien-Singh surname carried down through all these years.

Anika: Yeah, there’s a lot of questions and I’m super excited to learn it all.

Liz: Maybe it is the Omega thing, and some mad scientists found genetic samples from those centuries ago, and was like, “oh, I’m just gonna like clone this one and see what happens.”

Anika: See what happens!

Liz: I need to confess, I got bored and skipped the Lower Decks panel and trailer.

Anika: It was kind of a train wreck.

Liz: Oh.

Anika: I mean, it was almost a purposeful train wreck?

Liz: I mean, if any panel is going to be a train wreck,

Anika: Right.

Liz: Going to be allowed to be a train wreck.

Anika: It wasn’t like it was bad. So first thing that happened was, they invited Jerry O’Connell to join the panel. It was just Rutherford and Tendi and, Michael whatever his name is–

Liz: McMahon.

Anika: That guy. But they invited, Jerry O’Connell onstage, and he ran out of the audience and rolled onto stage and took a seat. And so then the moderator was asking questions that were written for the other characters, of Jerry O’Connell which was. Which was funny.

And so it was, you know, “So Mike, tell me about blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” But they asked Jerry and he was like, “Well,” and he would say something about his character, and that was fun.

Once again, so Tendi and Rutherford were on stage, and then they showed a video of Tawny Newsome and Jack Quaid, Boimler and Mariner. And they all, four– and really five, cause you can totally include Jerry O’Connell in this too, are so blatantly their characters.

You could say that this was an episode of Lower Decks, and it would be so easy to make a live action version, or to have live action versions of them show up in other various and sundry, Picard or something, they could just be there. Which I support, I think they should do that. It would be great.

And it was just fun and ridiculous. I learned nothing. It was literally, like, maybe an hour before the new episode came out, which was also weird. And they showed a trailer of the last half of the season, and it was the same as any trailer of Lower Decks, where there were a lot of funny moments that were about nothing. It was just Star Trek, Star Trek, Star Trek, Star Trek, Star Trek. But joke, joke, joke, joke.

It was completely forgettable and uninformative and sort of nonsense, but I love all of them. They’re just so fun.

And Tawny Newsome and Jack Quaid, like, you’ve got to find that video and watch it, because it is hilarious. They are straight up Boimler and Mariner, and they’re perfect. She’s just doing a bit the entire time. And Jack Quaid is like uh, oh, okay. He was like trying to catch up with the bit, and trying to play along, but he’s completely at a loss, and it’s just perfect. Everything’s perfect.

So, yeah, you didn’t miss anything, but also definitely find that video, because it was a highlight the whole evening.

Liz: This is probably where I confess that I watched Star Trek Day and then the new Lower Decks episode dropped, and I downloaded that and watched it, and I loved it. It was so great. I really think it’s my favorite of the series so far, narrowly edging out We’ll Always Have Tom Paris.

And then the next day, I started editing our Lower Decks episode, and I was like, oh no, I’m so negative, and I love these people again. So I felt bad about that. But then I watched this week’s episode, and I was like, “Whatevs.” One of my friends was like, “Oh, that ending of Lower Decks this week!” And I was like, it had an ending? I don’t remember that, but I’ll take your word for it.

Anika: The party one. It was so good. It was so good, and that was the energy of this video.

Liz: Oh, then I will definitely check it out. I think my beef with Lower Decks is that sometimes it doesn’t do what I enjoy about Star Trek and other times it does. And it’s always going to be a bit hit and miss for me. And that’s completely fine. And I am sorry that I was so negative in our last episode, and I hope that people will forgive me. [pretending to cry] I’m sorry I didn’t like a Star Trek!

Anika: It’s okay. I insulted Journey to Babel earlier, so they’re gonna cancel us anyway.

Liz: I think it was the first Romulan episode that you insulted.

Anika: You’re right. It was Balance of Terror. See?

Liz: Yes.

Anika: I don’t even know what I’m insulting.

Liz: God Anika, you’re such a fake fan!

There was a Star Trek: Picard bit, in that there was a trailer and Jeri Ryan was there, and she was very beautiful.

Anika: And Jeri Ryan was wearing a great pink dress.

Liz: Oh my God. Oh my gosh. And yeah, there was a trailer. I’m really excited for it. I’m sure it will be another hot mess of a season, but it has a lot of things that I love, including time travel and totalitarian alternate universes, and more Sanctuary District stuff. So our Past Tense episode was even more timely than we realized.

Anika: We were just so good.

Liz: So good. Laris is wearing an evening dress, which I approve of.

Anika: I’m excited for Picard. I think they said February of next year, ish, is when it’s coming. So it’s coming relatively soon.

I’m pleasantly surprised with how into it. I am. And weirdly, it’s making me think of the first season fondly.

Liz: Seeing that trailer reminded me how much I love all of these characters.

Anika: Even if they never really reached the potential that I wanted for these characters, they all had good introductions. They were all well acted. And was a lot of, this could be great. It was just sort of hampered by the story that I wasn’t really

Liz: Yeah. And it could be that this will be another hot mess, and we will be annoyed and frustrated all over again. Who knows?

Anika: Seven and Raffi in that trailer are everything I ever wanted. I’m so excited for Seven and Raffi, for Laris in her evening dress, for Picard being really done with Q.

Liz: I don’t understand this strange world where I’m a little bit excited to see Q again. A little bit. A little Q, as a treat.

Anika: I’m looking forward to it. And I always love when they go back to now.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: I love when Star Trek goes back to the present, and it’s always ridiculous. That’s the best. So

Liz: And this looks like a grim dystopian version of the present. You know, it itself is a parallel universe, an alternate timeline.

Anika: And the fact that Seven and Raffi at some point are in a cop car.

Liz: I know, I know.

Anika: So they’re like a buddy cop, but secretly an SVU AU. I’m ready for it. So very good.

Liz: I’m trying not to get hopeful, but I got ACAB vibes from that trailer, and I’m into it. I would love it if Picard, the series which is about civilians, really did a story about authoritarianism and police states and police power.

Anika: It would be amazing.

Liz: I know that some people are like, “I really don’t know if now is the time for an authoritarian parallel universe,” but I dunno. I like those stories. I’m sorry. I am the person who has spent the pandemic reading about the history of disease. So maybe I’m an outlier and should not be counted.

I also skipped the legacy moments. Those were the times I popped out to make coffee or check my work email.

Anika: They were definitely the low point for me. They were the parts that were clearly the most scripted. They trotted out random actors.

Liz: How dare you call Anthony Montgomery random!

Anika: My point is that there was no theme to who was talking, other than diversity, I guess? If that’s a theme? Like, it’s good, but what it boils down to – it looked to me like, they were like, “Oh, well, we’re going to bring out Anthony Montgomery, even though his character had the least development over the series, because of diversity reasons.” And I am not opposed to casting or anything based on diversity. It’s like, go for it.

Liz: Yeah, it just felt very tokenistic.

Anika: Right. But that’s what it came across as. I’m also fine with there not being any white men, or even any white women, but there were no women and it wasn’t the engineers, or the captains, it was just sort of, here’s some people.

And Anthony Montgomery, in particular, was reading his script and was like, “I didn’t write this. This is ridiculous. I feel like a fool, saying all of this.” He was just commenting on the whole thing, and I felt like, proud of him and bad for him at the same time.

Liz: Same. And for me, because I did catch that bit, and that was when I realized I didn’t need to stick around for these, it really broke the illusion for the whole legacy concept. And as much as I love Anthony Montgomery, and he is one of the few actors from Enterprise still actively working, I would have preferred to see Linda Park.

Anika: It was weird.

Liz: And we’ve all heard Garrett Wang speak off the cuff about Voyager. We know what he really thinks. Lovely guy. I would totally buy him a drink, listen to his stories, but I had trouble taking him seriously in the bits that I saw.

Anika: I had trouble taking any of those legacy things seriously, because they were just sound bites. It felt like someone who’d never watched the show, but was told, like, “include these things in your copy,” and wrote a thing for them to say.

I feel like those could have been better if they had maybe two people from the cast, you know, bantering or something, just so that it wasn’t one person giving a little speech that they weren’t really engaged with themselves.

Liz: No.

Anika: And then, they would play the music, and they did this little video behind the music, but they didn’t show the videos on television at all. They just showed the orchestra. And I’m all for giving the orchestra their due.

Liz: And I liked their Paramount Plus branded masks.

Anika: Me too. I was so excited about the masks because they’re like, yeah, we’re outdoors, and we’re an orchestra and we’re still going to wear these because we’re making a statement.

But they would play the theme songs, except for Enterprise. They played some other random song. Again, it was like, why? And they showed scenes, and yet those were not a part of it. So it was just the orchestra. It really felt like, okay, everybody, take a bathroom break.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: Because you don’t have to pay attention to any of this.

And I loved the orchestra. It was great that Jeff Russo got to be a big part of it all. I love the music. I think that it should be highlighted. I just felt bad for the people who worked on those clip videos, because I’ve been that person, and you put in a lot of effort and then no one sees it, except that like 50 people who were sitting there in the audience, who I’m sure were also not paying attention.

So it was just weird to me. I was like, why, why did this happen? You could have cut that stuff, and I guess it would be less about Star Trek Day. I guess they were trying to make it both this sort of celebratory legacy thing, because it’s an anniversary – 55 is a, you know, you don’t celebrate 53, but you celebrate 5,5 kind of thing.

Liz: It’s a neat number.

Anika: So I get it, but it was … I dunno, those were cheesy. And not fun.

Liz: For me, the most interesting thing to come out of those is Wil Wheaton saying he refused to watch Deep Space Nine when it came out, because he was like, “Ew, new Star Trek,” and now he’s watching it, and he thinks it’s great.

Like, that is fantastic. I would love – I guess it’s too late now, but I would love a podcast where Wil Wheaton and Cirroc Lofton often talk about Wil watching Deep Space Nine for the first time.

Anika: Yeah. That would be cool.

Liz: As a follow-up to the podcast that Cirroc did with Aron Eisenberg.

Anika: Yes.

Liz: Then there was a really, really, really long discussion about Gene Roddenberry’s legacy, between Gates McFadden–

Anika: Yeah.

Liz: –and LaVar Burton. I skipped that altogether because.

Anika: Again, I get it because it was for the 55th anniversary. It was a Roddenberry event. During the Strange New Worlds panel, they made Adam Nimoy and his sister, whose name has escaped me, but – Julie – Julia – Adam and Julia Nimoy stood up, because they were there and it was like, we’re going to honor Leonard Nimoy. And that’s great. But it the people on stage didn’t know what was going on.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: There were weird, awkward moments, and the entire Let’s Explain How Great Gene Roddenberry Is panel like that.

Liz: I’m super uncomfortable with the cult of personality that is building again around Roddenberry. I had a really good conversation about this on Reddit recently, which I don’t get to say very often, but I outlined some of my issues with it. Someone replied to say they were impressed by how evenhanded I was about Roddenberry’s flaws, and I was like, you have no idea what my first draft looked like. It was probably defamatory.

Anika: There’s a lot there that can be discussed.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: None of that was discussed in this panel.

Liz: And I feel like the presence of his children, particularly–

Anika: Yeah.

Liz: –in fandom

Anika: And Rod Roddenberry was on the panel too.

Liz: I feel like his presence in the fandom has made it hard to assess Roddenberry’s flaws as a creator and a person, because no one wants to talk shit about the man in front of his kids.

Anika: Yeah. But Rod Roddenberry’s actually very – he’s even handed about his father’s legacy. There’s a lot of stories about his parents’ marriage. Rod sort of kept that out of the conversation while his mother was alive. But after her death, he was sort of an advocate for talking about how his father was also flawed.

I appreciate that he doesn’t expect people to idolize his father, or put him on a pedestal. But I think that people do anyway. I think you’re right that people do it out of deference to Rod Roddenberry. And I don’t think that Rod Roddenberry expects it or encourages it. And he seems to want Star Trek to be more than Gene Roddenberry. He wants Star Trek to be about the people in Star Trek that, and I’m including the fans in that. So I appreciate that.

I think if someone has to be in charge of the Roddenberry legacy, he seems like a good egg.

Liz: You. Know, when William Shatner got the Women at Warp podcast kicked off their network, and it was Rod Roddenberry’s network that picked them up, I’m like, (a) they’re a great podcast and deserve support, but also, the shade that quietly throws at Shatner.

Anika: Exactly that. It was making a statement and, you know, there weren’t any Shatners in the audience standing up

Liz: Let’s do a quick coverage of the red carpet. Mary Chieffo came out as queer.

Anika: Wearing amazing boots!

Liz: Rainbow boots. Yes.

Anika: I showed my child the outfit and the whole bit. They’re sort of past Star Trek, uh, they’re 16 now. It’s one of those, “there are certain things that I like watching with my mom, and there are other things that I liked watching with my mom, but now I’m done.” And Star Trek‘s one of those, but L’Rell remains important.

And the fact that Mary Chieffo, someone that A has interacted with in person, and they’ve supported each other back and forth, is now openly queer and happy, just so, so happy and so bright. The boots that she was wearing were platform rainbow boots. She’s already, like, six feet tall, or whatever. So she towered over everybody, and I just thought that was such a beautiful statement, everything about it was such a beautiful statement.

And my child also felt the same way, and felt represented by this Klingon princess, that was already her favorite Star Trek character. And now it’s like, this is their story as well.

Liz: It was a really wonderful moment, and so affirming for her. And to see the way the fandom turned around, and queer Star Trek fandom welcomed her with open arms and so I’m really happy for her.

And the bit where she talks about how she spoke to Wilson first, and he didn’t know that she was going to come out that night, and Blu and Ian were there.

Anika: Right. They were all there together. It was very supportive. The whole thing was just so affirming, all of those people together, being open and supportive and generous, and kind. Dressed in a very specific, “we know who we are”–

Liz: Mm.

Anika: That was wonderful for A to see.

Liz: It was great. Yeah.

Liz: Ever since Next Generation, where that cast really was a family and really did love each other, we’ve always sort of wanted Star Trek casts to have that vibe.

And they never really did. You know, the Deep Space Nine people were people who worked together and occasionally accidentally get married and have a baby, but then they get divorced. And not all of the Voyager cast got along, and there were some pretty ugly incidents.

It feels like, with the Discovery cast, they have that family vibe again. And it’s not something that they need to do to be a good show, but I feel like … I dunno, it means something.

You have a note here that says Jerry O’Connell and Rebecca’s shoe. I missed that bit.

Anika: I have loved both Jerry O’Connell and Rebecca Romijn separately and together for years. And I love that they’re in Star Trek now, that they are so happy to be in Star Trek now, that they’re so engaged with the fandom and their own shows. It’s so affirming and wonderful and they’re so cute. (They’re married, in case anyone doesn’t know that.)

He was talking to the hosts and having a little moment, a little Star Trek on the red carpet moment. And his moment was amazing, because he basically said, you know, “I’ve been doing this red carpet stuff for 20 years, and this is the first time that I’ve wanted to be here.” Because it was fun. It was for something that he loves and that he feels like it’s a gift that he’s a part of it, you know? And so that was sweet.

And the entire time he was having this conversation, he was holding a strappy black woman’s heeled shoe.

I don’t know the story, but my assumption is that Rebecca Romijn got tired of wearing those shoes while she was walking down the red carpet. And so she took them off and handed them over, because she had to go get up on stage, you know, and do her thing. And so he was just like, just carrying, – it was adorable. And again, I just love them separately and together. It was just sort of like, well, what a good, husband, you know?

Liz: Yes.

Anika: Again, he wasn’t listed on the Lower Decks panel at all. He was her plus one. He was just there to carry her shoes, and yet it was like the best red carpet he’d ever been to. So, so it was like, is, this is so heartwarming.

Liz: But also, other red carpets really need to step up their game.

Anika: I appreciated that, and I just wanted to shout out to good husband, Jerry O’Connell.

Liz: Shout out to Jolene Blalock, who has not been to a Star Trek event in decades, and there she was!

Anika: And there she was, and we didn’t get to see her. She wasn’t on television ever. We only found out later, and some people were even like, oh, it was photoshopped, or it wasn’t really her, it was just a T’Pol cosplayer who was in a dress, randomly. And it’s like, okay, okay. Way to be a ridiculous conspiracy theory. And they only believed it after she posted to her Instagram

Liz: I was going to say, I’ve looked at her Instagram. I know what her face looks like these days. That was Jolene Blalock. She retired from acting. She married a millionaire and quit her job, and has kids. It was nice to see her back.

Anika: It’s nice to see her. And, you know put her on stage with Anthony Montgomery. Like, don’t take him off, but come on.

And Tim Russ was there. We didn’t get to see him.

Liz: Oh my gosh. So handsome.

Anika: Since they had red carpet bits, we could have seen more of the huge number of people who are now involved in Star Trek. But I’m glad that they had fun, and I’m glad that they were there, and Jolene Blalock should – if she only shows up every 10 years, or whatever, I would still be thrilled to see a year her time.

Liz: She’s like a Star Trek cryptid, since by all accounts, she did not have a great time on Enterprise, even though she’s joined as a massive Trekkie. Apparently she had star charts in her trailer, so she could learn about astronomy between scenes. And so, for her to come back and even just dip a little toe in, I hope that bad feelings are fading away and that she’s in a good place.

Anika: And I hope that she saw that, yeah, there was this annoying a group of people who were being negative, but it was overwhelmingly positive, and it was overwhelmingly people saying, “Hey, T’Pol’s my favorite character, Jolene Blalock gave the greatest performance.”

You know, it was so positive, and everybody was so excited and so happy to see her again, and to see her looking happy and healthy and – and, you know, sort of glowing.

And she did say on Instagram, you know, “I’m proud to have been a part of this.” And it’s like, yay. We just want the best for her. And I hope that she knows that. I hope that like, her publicist or somebody tells her how much love there is in this fandom

Liz: And finally, there was some discourse about the red carpet hosts. Your note here is, ‘the hosts did nothing wrong.’

Anika: Yeah, that’s my note because I am 1000% in support of those young ladies. They were young! one of them had never seen Discovery, and the other one spent the entire night trying to convince her to watch.

Liz: Yeah. Which was adorable,

Anika: Why are we complaining about that? That’s what we should want. We should want, over this two-hour period, this girl who hasn’t seen it to be convinced to watch it. It was just so ridiculous to me that people, people said that because she hadn’t seen all of Star Trek, she shouldn’t get this hosting job, and they should instead.

Liz: Uh, yeah.

Anika: It’s like, first of all, they weren’t hired to be fans.

Liz: I would much rather watch a couple of young people who are unfamiliar with Star Trek, but good at red carpeting, then a bunch of nerds asking nerd questions.

Anika: Exactly. Oh my gosh.

Liz: This is why I do not do red carpet work, obviously. The only reason.

Anika: And the thing is that they were asking about Star Trek, but they were asking about Star Trek from the position of someone who was new to this.

Liz: Yeah. And they were asking good questions.

Anika: Right. And they were so enthusiastic about it. They definitely dressed in Star Trek colors. It was like, look, they are dressed up in, like, Iirk and Spock everyday cosplay on the red carpet. They are asking questions about how to be a better fan. So not only did they do nothing wrong, I think they did many, many things right. That’s another form of gate-keeping, if you are insulting these people who are doing a job–

Liz: Yes.

Anika: –in order to make the stars of your favorite show look good.

Liz: Yeah. Also, it feels like another, variety of fandom misogyny.

Anika: Oh, absolutely, because they were young women.

Liz: The worst kind of woman!

Anika: And there was something about like, they didn’t know how to pronounce Khan Noonan Singh, and, who cares? I think I just mispronounced it.

Liz: We mispronounce Star Trek stuff all the time

Anika: And I also have forgotten everyone’s name in over the past hour and a half. I have said, “I don’t know this person’s name,” like eight times.

Liz: Names are really hard!

Anika: So it’s like, I wouldn’t be as good as them.

Liz: No,

Anika: Let’s give them a round of applause instead of any derision.

Liz: I wish they had been given a bit more training or background, because there were times when they seem to be uncomfortable and overall, I didn’t enjoy the red carpet. But I just don’t like red carpets, and don’t usually watch them. Like for me, the whole concept is ridiculous.

So I think they did a perfectly good job. I think, if they keep coming back, they will do better. This seems like something that requires a lot of practice to be good at. And what better place to start than with something as low key and–

Anika: Right.

Liz: –relatively chill as Star Trek Day.

Anika: Everybody should just calm down. And the idea that someone whose main interaction with Hollywood is watching Star Trek Day once a year would it be better at these cast interviews? No, I’m just gonna put that out there and say no.

Thank you for listening to Antimatter Pod. You can find our show notes at and at

Liz: My God. We didn’t even talk about our website. We’ll probably be up and running by the time this drops.

Anika: Yes, we are in the process of moving it over. So it should be there. We’ll see. But if you’re following the Tumblr, that’s okay, because still going to be a feed of episodes

Liz: Yeah. Yeah. And you can reach us at

Anika: Yes. Exciting!

You can also follow us on Twitter at @antimatterpod, and on Facebook at Antimatter Pod. It’s a theme.

If you like us, leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Or wherever you consume your podcasts or mail us at

Liz: Amazing.

Anika: The more reviews, the easier it is for new listeners to find us. We love hearing anything you have to say

Liz: Yes.

Anika: And join us in two weeks when we will be discussing Voyager’s Ocampan ingenue, Kes. I gave myself that to say, and then I failed to say it, but I tried.

Liz: I looked at it in the notes and I was like, oh, well, that’s okay. That’s Anika’s bit.