Sunday, December 9, 2018

#222 - SHORT TREKS: THE BRIGHTEST STAR & PICARD/TREK 4 TALK


Hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton break down the third Short Treks episode, which shines much needed light on Saru's backstory, and then address Picard and Star Trek 4 rumors and news.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

#221 - LET THAT CAPTAIN BE MY GUIDE!


Hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton analyze the mentoring styles of each of the iconic captains, and their most profound professional relationships, in order to decide who excelled most at inspiring others.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

#220 - THE EVOLUTION OF THE DOMINION


Hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton examine the big bads of Deep Space Nine, and chart their slow-burn development as well as their potential for future Trek encounters.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

#219 - STAR TREK VOY: UNIMATRIX ZERO


Hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton break down Voyager's 6th season finale/7th season premiere two-parter Unimatrix Zero, and debate whether a Section 31 Georgiou spin-off is a good idea.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

#218 - SHORT TREKS: CALYPSO & TREK VS STAR WARS ON STREAMING


If the introductory Short Treks installment was a taste of the familiar, the latest effort proudly declares "and now for something completely different!" But is different a good thing? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton dance up a storm while taking on the franchise's second bite-sized story, Calypso, which sees a stranger waking up aboard an abandoned Discovery 1000 years after the glory days of Burnham and crew. His only companion? The ship's newly sentient computer. So, does this unconventional Short Trek deliver where the previous one fell, um, short? And what mysteries does it introduce to Discovery? Plus, as an added bonus, the duo consider the current world of streaming content and debate who, between CBS and Lucasfilm, has the creative upper hand. 

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

#217 - STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS & OTHER ANIMATED ADVENTURES


Now that Star Trek: Lower Decks is in the process of becoming a reality it's time to consider the doors animation opens for the franchise going forward, and the lessons learned from the attempts of yesteryear. This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton awkwardly exchange blank expressions while digging into the considerable potential of Trek's latest announced incarnation. What aliens would be cool to see? How could this comedic new venture play with canon? In addition, the duo take a look back at Star Trek: The Animated Series and highlight what worked, what didn't and which elements of the show would be worth bringing to Lower Decks.  

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

#216 - IT'S BODY SWAPPING TIME!


It's a concept employed time and time again in visual storytelling, both for its fun novelty factor as well as its cheap production costs. So what does Trek bring that's new or interesting to the popular conceit of body swapping? And which actors succeed best at portraying these new arrivals in their mortal form? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton aren't feeling quite themselves as they consider the franchise's long and often off-the-wall weird history of infusing its iconic heroes with different eccentric personalities. From Kirk and Spock's encounter with ancient aliens in Return to Tomorrow, to the hostage crisis of TNG's Power Play and the Doctor's experience occupying Seven of Nine, the duo cover all the bases, breaking down which episodes work and crowning some truly incredible acting MVPs. 

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

#215 - STAR TREK'S ODDBALL EPISODES


Look, when a creative team is tasked with cranking out 20-something television hours for years on end you're bound to wind up with the odd outside-the-norm diversion episode. The real question is: do these unconventional efforts nonetheless entertain? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton are abandoning all their usual business in order to examine these intriguingly quirky franchise stories, which mostly toss aside their series leads in favor of exploring entirely new characters. From backdoor-pilot creation Gary Seven and his unflappable feline (?) friend Isis, to the tragic tale of Benny Russell and a pair of in-depth ancestor flashbacks, the duo break down these very unique installments and ponder whether they should have been further expanded upon. 

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

#214 - THE FUTURE OF THE ALPHA QUADRANT


So we know Picard is returning soon, and that his series will be an ongoing one. But what does his universe even look like in the wake of the major events of DS9, Nemesis, Star Trek 2009 and so on? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton join Starfleet's brightest and boldest in order to explore the current status of the Alpha Quadrant's most famous denizens and predict where the future may take them. From post-Dominion War Cardassia and the Klingon Empire, to the now homeland-less Romulans and post-reform (?) Ferengi, the duo touch on all the major power players and strive to imagine how Picard may participate in their ongoing evolution.
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Monday, October 8, 2018

#213 - SHORT TREKS: RUNAWAY & DSC S2 TRAILER #2


The second season of Discovery is right around the corner and excitement is starting to build anew! And what better way to prepare for Burnham and crew's triumphant return than by breaking down both the very first Short Treks episode as well as the show's latest splashy trailer? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton turn off their invisibility cloaking long enough to review the franchise's first ever official short-form entry, Runaway, in which Tilly encounters a mysterious alien presence aboard the ship. Does this new bite-sized format work? And how successful is this brief adventure at amping up anticipation for the series' return? Plus, the duo geek out over DSC's high profile New York Comic Con trailer and weigh in on its teases of Spock, Pike, Number One, space angels and newly hairy Klingons!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

#212 - STAR TREK DS9: WHAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND


All great journeys must come to an end. And, for DS9, that ending was entirely unexplored terrain for Star Trek in 1999. Unlike the more episodic TNG, which hit a major home-run with All Good Things..., the franchise's unconventional third series had such a labyrinthine web of mythology, character arcs and story to wrap up that satisfying expectations was the definition of a Herculean task. But, ultimately, were the creative team successful? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton don tuxedos and choke back tears while bidding farewell to the Gamma Quadrant's most turbulent space station and the idiosyncratic collection of personalities living within its weathered walls. Over the course of this lengthy discussion the duo break down both the story threads and character pay-offs of the episode, and determine how strongly What You Leave Behind works as a TV finale. Plus, they debate such hot topics as the show's resolutions to the Dominion War and Pah Wraith drama, Odo and Kira's iconic goodbyes and the curious lack of Jadzia in Worf's montage.  

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Monday, September 24, 2018

#211 - THE BEST VOYAGER EPISODES


When fans recite their personal 'Greatest Star Trek Episodes of All Time' lists Voyager has a noticeable tendency to get short shrift. But is that really fair, considering the amount of genuine quality contained within its respectable seven season run? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton are chasing coffee through nebulas as they celebrate their all-time favorite hours with the stranded crew, and attempt to nail down - through passionate debate and agonized decision-making - which single entry is the definitive Voyager story. With iconic two-parters like Scorpion and Year of Hell facing off against powerhouses both dramatic (Blink of an Eye, Timeless) and comedic (Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy, Message in a Bottle) there are boundless options to consider as the duo boldly strive to champion the very best the Delta Quadrant has to offer! 

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

#210 - THE EVOLUTION OF THE FERENGI


From their very first appearance the Ferengi have proved polarizing among Trek fans. While many find them to be amusing lampoons of Capitalist society, plenty of viewers regard them as being the television equivalent of nails on a blackboard. But is there genuine value to their journey, and the creative efforts to expand and explore them, over the past 30+ years? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton take a break from sharpening their teeth in order to delve into the franchise's long, rocky history with these peculiar large-lobed beings. From their disastrous early positioning as TNG's new big bads, to their high profile evolution throughout Deep Space Nine, the duo leave no latinum strip uncounted while determining how figures like Quark, Zek, Ishka, Rom and Nog have altered our understanding of these aliens, and where the future may take them. 

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

#209 - BATTLE OF THE JUNIOR OFFICERS


After 52 years and six series it's pretty safe to say there isn't a whole lot of mystery left regarding the daily life of a senior Starfleet officer. But what about the lowly ensigns; the newbies whose daily survival and success depends on the seasoned braintrust running the ship or station? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton remove a few pips from their uniforms in order to hang out on the lower decks and determine which beloved junior officers have the right stuff. Beginning with critical breakdowns of TNG's Lower Decks and Voyager's The Good Shepherd, the duo segue into an elimination round extravaganza pitting these eager fresh-faced hopefuls against each other in order to determine who reigns supreme and deserves a major promotion! From iconic faves like Wesley Crusher, Pavel Chekov, Hoshi Sato and Harry Kim to memorable guest stars Sito Jaxa and Taurik, there's no shortage of options and plenty of fun-filled debate to be had!

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

#208 - STAR TREK VOY: EQUINOX


Although DS9 is generally considered the crown-holder when it comes to dark Trek stories, the good ship Voyager also saw its fare share of morally murky and extreme confrontations. So what happened when, during the fifth season finale/sixth season premiere, the writers pitted Starfleet against Starfleet in the Delta Quadrant? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton battle the urge to break into song while revisiting the memorable Equinox two-parter, which sees Janeway channeling her inner Ahab while pursuing rogue captain Rudy Ransom and his desperate, corrupted crew. Although not as lauded among fans as Scorpion or Year of Hell, there's plenty of fodder for discussion, as the duo grapple with serious Janeway and Chakotay friction, John Savage's intense guest star performance, curious lunch menu-themed nicknames and one particularly nagging question: is the Equinox's dramatic journey a better realization of the show's juicy premise than what Voyager delivered???

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

#207 - WHY IS PICARD SO IMPORTANT TO STAR TREK?


Okay, so the Jean-Luc Picard spin-off series is official. And Patrick Stewart is on board. But what sources of inspiration beyond the obvious greatest hits should the show's creative team be drawing from? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton, along with special guest Penny Daflos of the BTS with CTV News Vancouver podcast, get contemplative as they ponder why exactly the legendary captain of the Enterprises D and E is so incredibly crucial to the enduring spirit of Roddenberry's universe. In addition to debating some fun potential story elements, the trio dig into the character's rich back catalogue for key episodes, both great and underrated, that Alex Kurtzman and his crew may want to take a second look at in order to avoid the second coming of Nemesis' Dune Buggy Picard!  

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

#206 - STAR TREK'S UNDEREXPLORED RELATIONSHIPS


One of the Star Trek franchise's most compelling joys is its knack for forging fun and unforgettable relationships: Kirk and Spock, Jadzia and Worf, Geordi and Data, and so on and so forth. However, with such an immense cast of players more than a couple promising potential pairings were destined to wind up left on the sidelines. This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton take a break from their 3D chess and aerobics classes in order to highlight the most frustrating missed opportunities from each of the six series. From the often under-represented Troi/Crusher friendship, to intriguing brief bonds between T'Pol & Hoshi and Captain Kirk & Janice Rand, the duo champion the great professional and personal connections that never really were, and offer their advice on which dynamics they'd like to see Discovery boost in season 2! 

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

#205 - THE 2018 KLINGON BLOODWINE GAMES


Sure, this month's STLV convention was awesomely unforgettable. But it wasn't the only exciting Trek-related event unfolding in Las Vegas recently! This week regale as trusted host with the most Cam Smith, aided by trusty scorekeeper Scott Hardy, thrillingly oversee the third annual Klingon Bloodwine Games, the world's most grueling Star Trek gameshow designed to break all but the most knowledgeable students of Roddenberry's universe. Recorded live in Sin City, this year's competition sees aspiring champions Tyler Orton, Allison Miller & Jay Gammill battling their way through four highly energetic, brain-busting rounds of trivia, geeky improvisation and more! So tune in and find out which player achieves Subspace-sponsored glory and the bountiful prizes that accompany this lofty honor!

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

#204 - PICARD IS BACK & OTHER STLV 2018 CON MEMORIES


As you no doubt heard, Creation's 2018 Star Trek Las Vegas convention made major waves last weekend when surprise guest Patrick Stewart announced the impending return of Jean-Luc Picard to thunderous applause! So what was it like to be in the room for this legendary occurrence, and what other momentous happenings transpired during the five-day event? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton, along with special guest Scott Hardy, battle off exhaustion just long enough to fill you in on all the crucial highlights from Trekdom's most celebrated gathering. From STLV's major Discovery presence, to DS9's 25th anniversary and even an Outrageous Okona tribute (?!), the trio wrap up the year's best party with their fondest recollections and plenty of unabashed geek-out moments. 

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

#203 - STAR TREK VOY: DARK FRONTIER


In 1997 Voyager scored one of its all time great highpoints ever with the Borg-centric two-parter Scorpion. But did lightning strike twice when the show's creative forces decided to return to the well during February sweeps a couple years later? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton hop in their time-travelling diamond ship and head back to 1999 in order to revisit the popular feature-length epic tale Dark Frontier, which transported First Contact's Borg Queen into the television realm. Over the course of this energetic review the duo ponder the cybernetic species' dubious philosophy, Seven and her dueling symbolic mother figures and whether Caucasian male underwear models best represent the entire spectrum of humanity.

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

#202 - STAR TREK: CAPTAIN PICARD AND OTHER SPIN-OFFS


As unlikely as the prospect once seemed, a Captain Picard spin-off starring Patrick Stewart is now a very real possibility in the near future. But is it a good idea? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton, along with special guest Carmin Carotenuto of the Adventure.exe podcast, debate the creative and financial reasons why the return of Jean-Luc Picard makes sense, as well as confess their concerns about the potential end result. In addition to predicting which TNG castmates may pop in for cameos, the trio also ponder other rumored CBS All Access projects featuring Starfleet Academy and Khan, as well as a second kid-oriented animated venture. Plus, as an added bonus, the gang reviews Discovery's season two Comic-Con trailer

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

#201 - SECTION 31: THE SPY WHO PHASED ME


Ever since Discovery teased looming possibilities for the franchise's favorite controversial covert spy agency Section 31, debate has begun anew regarding whether or not this element of canon suits the Roddenberry philosophy. As cool as these stories can be, do they belong in a utopia? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton dust off their best fedoras and trenchcoats in order to delve into Trek's surprisingly long history of cloak and dagger tactics. From the Romulan-headed Tal Shiar, to Cardassia's Obsidian Order all the way down to 31, the duo do their darndest to track the evolution of these often twisty tales and consider the potential pitfalls future series may want to watch out for before shining up their black badges.  

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

#200 - THE BEST STAR TREK EPISODES


When you're celebrating a podcast anniversary you have to go big! And what better (and more suitably controversial) way to mark a momentous 200th episode than with the hottest topic in all of Trekdom? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton don party hats and toss confetti while counting down their picks of the ten greatest stories in the history of the franchise. From Kirk and Spock's tragic trip through the Guardian of Forever, to the creepy debut of Locutus and Jake Sisko's tear-inducing alternate future, the duo sing the praises of the unforgettable sci-fi hours that made Roddenberry's universe as popular and powerful as it is. Plus, as an added milestone-worthy bonus, the two fondly recall their favorite Subspace Transmissions installments from the past couple years. 

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

#199 - FIXING THE PON FARR PROBLEM


Ever since being introduced in TOS's iconic second season premiere Amok Time, the mating ritual of pon farr has become both a key component of Vulcan mythology as well as an ultra-popular source of humor among fans. But does the franchise's approach to this oft-referenced biological event need to change with the times? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton throw their soup against the wall as they examine several key episodes involving the dreaded seven-year spell and break down what works and what doesn't for current-day audiences. From Spock's legendary duel for T'Pring's hand, to B'Elanna Torres's highly problematic blood fever experience, the duo debate how future storytellers might best navigate this tricky go-to Star Trek trope.

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

#198 - STAR TREK VOY: THE KILLING GAME


While probably not one of TOS's best hours, season 2's Patterns of Force is unforgettable for its contrasting of Roddenberry's colorful utopia against grim WWII Nazi imagery. Iconic visuals aside, however, there was plenty of room for improvement in 1998 when Voyager took a second shot at exploiting these clashing aesthetics with The Killing Game, the two-part Hirogen saga wherein Janeway and company find themselves trapped in a simulated Germany-occupied France. But was this revisit to familiar ground effective? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton, along with special guest Tony G. of the Arniegeddon podcast, sign up for the resistance while reviewing arguably the most ambitious holodeck adventure of all time! Undeniably popular with fans, does this feature-length season 4 entry work as both a thrilling adventure and a satisfying Star Trek tale? And do these episodes invite even more holodeck logic nit-picking than usual? Hop on your metaphorical bicycle and join the trio for a lively debate-fueled ride from war-torn Saint Clair to Klingon camping grounds and beyond!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

#197 - STAR TREK: EXTREME MAKEOVER EDITION


Attend any convention and it's clear fans have preferred versions of their favorite Trek icons. You'll see a gaggle of bearded Riker clones, for example, but nary a single clean-shaven one. Why is that? And what do these various looks truly mean to the popular characters and their personal narrative? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton attempt to decide between bobs or ponytails while examining the evolution and symbolic meaning of the personal styles of the franchise's biggest power players. In addition to Number One's season 2 facial hair, the duo also ponder the changing hairstyles of Janeway, Worf and Kirk, Voq's seamless Ash Tyler makeover, Lorca's sweet leather jacket and more! Plus, in a bonus segment, the hosts weigh in on Alex Kurtzman's recent promotion to Trek TV mastermind and the potential of Captain Picard and Starfleet Academy spin-offs.  

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

#196 - THE EVOLUTION OF THE ROMULANS


Sure, the Klingons are Trek's numero uno alien antagonists as far as pop-culture is concerned. But what about the Romulans, who were originally envisioned as being TOS's primary big bads? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton embrace ambiguity and stealthy, multi-layered tactics while charting the history of one of the franchise's most endlessly fascinating and sophisticated creations. From their unforgettable introduction in Balance of Terror, and many prominent TNG showcases, all the way down to J.J. Abrams' 2009 reboot, the residents of Romulus and Remus have seen considerable evolution and mythology expansion. So join the duo as they attempt to pin down the Federation's most notoriously slippery adversaries and imagine where Discovery and future incarnations may take them.

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

#195 - DRAFTING THE STAR TREK DREAM TEAM


Ever since the Trek-verse expanded beyond TOS fans have loved to argue and debate over which Starfleet personnel they would love to assemble in their own fantasy crew. Picard or Kirk for captain? Odo or Worf for security? Michael Burnham or Spock for XO or science officer? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton, along with special guest Patrick Johnson, compete in a tense head-to-head competition to draft the most ideal, hyper-capable ship staff humanly possible. With several hot commodities, and a few amusing duds, on the table there's plenty of hilarity, hair-pulling and defensive attempts to justify oddball choices. So join the party and decide where you stand on the trio's very unique personal preferences.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

#194 - ALIENS OF THE DELTA QUADRANT


Vulcans. Klingons. Romulans. Orions. Since the dawn of Roddenberry's universe the creative minds tasked with populating it have tirelessly sought to fill the Alpha Quadrant with countless fascinating, layered and compelling alien denizens guaranteed to goose dramatic potential. But what about Voyager, the show that dared to begin with a blank page and build its own world? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton follow the Caretaker's directions right back to the Delta Quadrant in order to analyze the most memorable species to cross Captain Janeway and crew's path. From early stand-outs the Kazon and the Vidiians, to Trek's first all-CG race Species 8472 and the waste-dumping Malon, the duo debate which of these original creations worked, and whether any of them would ever be worth revisiting in the future. Plus, as an added bonus, the hosts jump over to a galaxy far, far away in order to provide their non-spoilery thoughts on Solo: A Star Wars Story.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

#193 - STAR TREK VOY: YEAR OF HELL


Regardless of overall quality, it's tough to argue against the inherent strength of Voyager's central premise. A crew lost in the wilderness trying to find its way home while overcoming adversity both internal and external? Bursting with dramatic potential! And although most regular episodes fell short of exploiting this concept, the two-parters were another story. This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton, along with special guest Janine Smith, stare longingly at their antique pocket watches while revisiting the tremendous Year of Hell saga, arguably Captain Janeway's most punishing and traumatic challenge as a leader. In addition to breaking down the well-known story elements of this hard-hitting fourth season highlight, the trio also discuss Annorax's similarities to classic Bond villains, the series' woefully underexplored Tuvok/Seven dynamic and the alleged sexiness of Tom Paris. Enjoy! 

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

#192 - DOES STAR TREK HAVE A PREQUEL PROBLEM?


Although there's been plenty of new Trek adventures over the last 15-plus years little attempt has been made to properly develop a future beyond Nemesis, which hit theatres waaaaay back in Winter 2002. Is this a cause for concern? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton, along with special guest Taylor Ramone of Vancouver's premiere nerd bar Storm Crow, analyze the franchise's ongoing obsession with prequel storytelling, which began with the (post-Phantom Menace) launch of Enterprise and continues to this very day with Discovery. By continually looking backwards are those overseeing the franchise still able to spin vital and exciting tales befitting the brand? And how successful have the two most recent series, along with J.J. Abrams' Kelvin-verse movies, been at properly leading into or evoking the classic episodes and films set further down the timeline? Plus, the trio offer their hopes for where they'd like to see Star Trek go if it ever manages to journey past the 24th century.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

#191 - WHY TREK NEEDS ACTORS LIKE JEFFREY COMBS


Since the franchise's earliest days there's been a proud tradition of recycling character actors under heavy alien makeup. And while many proud individuals have inhabited multiple personas, nobody's done it better than Mr. Jeffrey Combs. This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton undergo several costume changes while taking a look at the actor's many unforgettable creations, from modest early beginnings as a pervy creep in the DS9 episode Meridian, to fan-fave icons Weyoun and Shran. In addition, the duo also celebrate the contributions of Combs' fellow 'Men & Women of a thousand Trek faces' including J.G. Hertzler, Vaughn Armstrong, Tony Todd and Susanna Thompson, and determine which species they should portray on Discovery and beyond.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

#190 - THE CURRENT STATE OF TREK 2018


At this time last year fandom was waiting with bated breath to experience its first new season of TV Trek in over a decade. And boy was it exciting! But now that Discovery has finished its inaugural run how are we feeling about the future of Roddenberry's universe? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton suit up in vibrant new Constellation-class uniforms in order to hold their annual forum on the state of our beloved franchise. What can we hope to see when DSC returns, and how successful is its recently dropped season 2 teaser at building hype? The duo also check in with the movie-verse, and the two big screen projects currently under development from Quentin Tarantino and S.J. Clarkson, as well as weigh in on potential merch opportunities and more!

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

#189 - STAR TREK DS9: FAVOR THE BOLD & SACRIFICE OF ANGELS


As a climax to the incredible Dominion invasion arc Favor the Bold & Sacrifice of Angels inarguably left a major mark on the series. But how much credit do they deserve as an isolated two-hour tale versus being key parts of a grander whole? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton, along with special guest Waylon Snedker, solemnly pass the baseball around while delving into this spectacular sixth season shakeup, wherein Starfleet battles to take back the titular space station from Gul Dukat and his Dominion accomplices. Does this mark the beginning of the narrative end for the Cardassian villain? Is Sisko being strategically smart or just plain reckless in his dogged attempts to win the day? And what does the death of Ziyal truly mean to the show and viewers? Tune in as the trio break down the themes, concepts and unforgettable moments contained within this crucial wrap-up story.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

#188 - WHEN STAR TREK GOES DARK


For all of its beaming optimism and can-do pluck Star Trek loves to occasionally journey... into darkness. This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton decide what they can and can't live with while exploring the most uncomfortable, grim and challenging episodes in the franchise's canon. From Sisko's dirty dealings in In the Pale Moonlight, to Discovery's Mirror Universe moral murkiness and TOS's eternally warring duo-chromatic aliens, the duo underline the episodes that left them shaken, weary and even a little scarred. And, in reliving these often unpleasant television hours, they ask the fundamental question: do these emotionally draining adventures fit into Roddenberry's utopia?

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

#187 - STAR TREK'S BEST & WORST CROSSOVERS


Who can ever forget when the Flintstones met the Jetsons? Or Batman & Robin teamed up with the Green Hornet & Kato? Since nearly the beginning of the TV era crossovers have been a proven means of boosting ratings and injecting energy into a series. And Star Trek has definitely gone to this particular well more than a few times. This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton take a reflective look at the many times the people in charge of the franchise have attempted to grab eyeballs and generate fan excitement by mashing up their titanic properties. From the Enterprise-D swinging by Deep Space 9, to Sisko's Tribble troubles and Tuvok and Janeway's mind meld tour of Captain Sulu's Excelsior, the duo debate how successfully these attention-grabbing stunts have held up beyond their initial hype. Also, as an added bonus, Cam reviews IDW's new Stamets-centric Discovery double-sized annual.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

#186 - TNG'S LOST YEARS


Remember at the end of All Good Things... how Troi and Worf appeared ready to embark on a potential long-term romance? Boy, that sure paid off! But then, the TNG crew experienced so much off-screen change and growth in the eight years between the finale and Nemesis... In an attempt to settle their restless continuity-obsessed minds, this week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton form a two-man writers room to decide which unanswered questions most demand answers in a hypothetical reboot bridging the crucial post-series/mid-film time gaps. For example, what were the deciding factors behind Geordi's switch to ocular implants in First Contact? How did the crew occupy themselves while the Enterprise-E was under construction? And what were the circumstances surrounding Wesley's return to Starfleet and Guinan's exit post-Generations? If you've ever spent time pondering the staffing issues caused by Worf's sporadic movie-required reappearances on the bridge this is the episode for you!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

#185 - STAR TREK'S TURNING POINTS


Next Gen's new uniforms. Sisko's shaved head. The introduction of Seven of Nine. For many, these iconic milestones marked the point when their respective series truly hit warp 10. But if you were to highlight your own personal signpost episodes, indicating a developing show's transformation into a confident must-see, which ones would you pick? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton, fresh from smashing a champagne bottle on the Defiant, sit down to debate the most significant transition chapters in each Trek series. From the emergence of the Romulans, to intense Xindi drama, the duo celebrate the TV hours that left an unforgettable impact on their beloved franchise. They also debate whether Discovery has reached its turning point yet...

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

#184 - STAR TREK'S LATE ARRIVALS


Roughly a year ago we examined the franchise's most tragically short-lived characters, but what about those who just arrived late to the party? This week half-shaven hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton race frantically to their microphones in order to roll-call the most significant show-altering afterthought additions to Trek-dom. From TOS's mop-topped Russian heartthrob, to no-nonsense TNG players Dr. Katherine Pulaski and Ensign Ro Laren, and attention-grabbing fourth season all-stars Worf and Seven of Nine, the duo Chekov check off all the unforgettable names that helped change up their respective corners of Roddenberry's universe. Plus, as an added bonus, Cam reviews the third issue of IDW's four-part The Light of Kahless comic-book arc.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

#183 - STAR TREK VOY: SCORPION


Back in the 1990 Star Trek: The Next Generation unleashed a massive shockwave with its now iconic season 3 finale Best of Both Worlds Pt. 1. The huge success of that episode, and it's fourth season conclusion, established a high water mark the various series have attempted to replicate ever since. This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton, along with special guest Dale Deruiter of the Outrage Factory podcast, weigh the pros and cons of making a deal with the devil while revisiting Scorpion, Voyager's most obvious attempt to recapture the magic of the legendary Locutus saga. Bringing the Borg back in a big, bad way, as well as ushering in an all-new unstoppable adversary, the two-parter also introduces 7 of 9, sets up the departure of Kes and pits Janeway against Chakotay in a tense debate over the fate of the crew. Listen in as the trio discuss all of these key points, as well as consider the merits of television-grade CG, struggle to determine the show's most disposable character and toss out nerdy 90's references.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

#182 - STARFLEET'S WORST EMPLOYEE AWARD


Trek fans have long joked about the franchise's lengthy catalogue of renegade admirals and off-the-rails captains. But who among the many most egregiously exploited or perverted Starfleet values to pursue their own end? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton sip from their "World's Worst Employee" mugs while pitting the organization's most notorious names against each other in a grand tournament of workplace ineptitude. From high-ranking figures like The Pegasus's Admiral Pressman, Discovery's Mirror Universe imposter captain and dastardly Delta Quadrant survivalist Rudy Ransom, to lowly cadet louses Nick Locarno and Riley Shepard, there's definitely no shortage of candidates to choose from! So tune in as the duo strive, through an intense process of elimination, to crown the biggest loser of the woeful bunch.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

#181 - STAR TREK: DISCOVERY: BEST FIRST SEASON EVER?


While it's tough to argue Discovery's inaugural season was perfect smooth sailing, it did ultimately prove highly effective at kick-starting fan excitement anew. But how does its first run of episodes stack up against the classic series that paved the way for it? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton, along with torchbearing guest David Borys of the Cool Canadian History podcast, break down the flashy season that was, from favorite moments and characters to nagging story and filmmaking criticisms. Did the Klingon redesigns serve their purpose and justify the extensive effort? How does the Klingon war match up against the Dominion and Xindi arcs? And what type of course should the NCC-1031 set for 2019? There's a lot to unpack here, as the trio valiantly strive to sum up their definitive thoughts and feelings on Trek's frequently surprising, thrilling and unpredictable return to weekly must-see TV status.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

#180 - BEST & WORST STAR TREK CLIFFHANGERS


With everyone buzzing about the surprise appearance of the NCC-1701 at the close of Discovery's season finale, now seems like a fantastic time to reflect on Trek's rich history of cliffhanger endings. Certainly Best of Both Worlds is the high water mark for most, but does it still stand supreme? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton champion the merits of mystery and anticipation while naming off both their favorite and least favorite "To be Continued..." moments. From the exhilarating, fist-pumping triumphs of Locutus's viewscreen debut and Sisko's baseball message to Dukat, to the eye-rolling anti-hype of Chakotay evading security guards and Worf being trapped in a Klingon vacation prison, the duo reveal their very unique preferences when it comes to abruptly delayed gratification.

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Monday, February 12, 2018

#179 - WILL YOU TAKE MY HAND?: STAR TREK: DISCOVERY


Well guys, here we are: at the eventful end of the inaugural season of Trek's first new series in over a decade. Discovery's lift off was reasonably strong, but how fared the landing? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton paint themselves Orion green in order to delve into the very busy and course-altering wrap-up to the Klingon War story arc. From L'Rell's often head-scratching journey, to Emperor Georgiou and Ash Tyler resolutions and Burnham's painfully long-coming catharsis, the duo break down all of the major moments. They also offer insight into where future roads could take the characters, as well as geek out big-time over the show's nostalgia-fanning cliffhanger close. It's been one wild journey, so settle in for some engaging post-show chatter!

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Monday, February 5, 2018

#178 - THE WAR WITHOUT, THE WAR WITHIN: STAR TREK: DISCOVERY


If Discovery was aiming for a bit of calm before the big finale storm, this episode sure was low on the tranquility scale! But was that for the better or worse? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton, along with special guest Dale Deruiter of the Outrage Factory podcast, dive into the character-heavy penultimate chapter in the show's inaugural season, the ominously titled The War Without, The War Within. Practically bursting with major dramatic moments involving Burnham, Tyler, Stamets, Sarek, Mirror Georgiou, Admiral Cornwell and L'Rell, the episode offers plenty of fodder for the trio to obsessively mull over. Will there be a place for our tortured former security chief in season 2? What is fallen Emperor Georgiou's dubious game plan? And does anyone really care that Lorca is gone?! All these lingering questions, and many others, fuel this mighty energetic hour of Star Trek discussion. Plus, as an added bonus, Cam reviews the second issue of IDW's "The Light of Kahless" comic-book arc, and Tyler & Dale offer their thoughts on the new sci-fi Netflix series Altered Carbon.

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Monday, January 29, 2018

#177 - WHAT'S PAST IS PROLOGUE: STAR TREK: DISCOVERY


Judging from passionate online discussions, Vaulting Ambition's bombshell Lorca twist proved a polarizing creative decision. But was it, at the very least, all for the greater good of the Mirror Universe arc? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton, along with special guest Penny Daflos, don leatherjackets and wield sharp swords while debating the ramifications of this week's explosive, series-altering episode, What's Past is Prologue. Over the course of a fun hour-long conversation the trio determine whether they'd rather be ruled by Lorca or Emperor Georgiou, ponder how satisfying these two key characters' journeys have been, and cast their gaze towards a future where Saru proudly sits in the big chair. Plus, unlikely connections to He-Man and the Fast & the Furious franchise are made.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

#176 - VAULTING AMBITION: STAR TREK: DISCOVERY


So, how about that Ty'Voq/Voqler twist! Can't imagine the Discovery writers having any bigger revelations in their back pocket than that in season one, right? Oh wait...! This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton shake off the lingering shock of The Wolf Inside in order to tackle the hugely impactful events of the show's latest foray into the ever-mysterious Mirror Universe. Given Vaulting Ambition's big time (and likely controversial) Lorca bombshell, as well as its touching Stamets/Culber reunion and tense Burnham/Emperor Georgiou mommy issues, there's no shortage of food (!) for thought. So join in the fun as the duo break down all of the foundation-rocking happenings in suitably agonizing detail, and question how successfully the show's story swerves hold up to close scrutiny.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

#175 - THE WOLF INSIDE: STAR TREK: DISCOVERY


After the crowd-pleasing highs of Despite Yourself last week (Captain Killy ftw!), we're about due for some downtime in the Mirror Universe, right? Not so fast! This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton, along with special guest Janine Smith, pledge allegiance to the glorious Emperor and grapple with the latest epic shakeup in the Discovery universe! For not only does the show's latest thrilling hour offer up new takes on the Andorians and the Tellarites, it also at last pays off the mystery surrounding frequently conflicted security officer Ash Tyler. In addition to discussing the ramifications of these major happenings, the trio also ponder the future of poor Stamets, the vagaries of L'Rell's plan and the comic possibilities of DSC's cumbersome new Klingon accent.

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Monday, January 8, 2018

#174 - DESPITE YOURSELF: STAR TREK: DISCOVERY


The hiatus is over and it's time to once again journey into the fray, dear Trek fans! When last we saw the resourceful crew of the U.S.S. Discovery they were stranded in an ominous field of wreckage. Have things improved? This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton, along with special guest Taylor Ramone, don flashy Terran Empire uniforms in order to tackle SDC's first voyage into the always entertaining Mirror Universe. Over the course of their freewheeling breakdown of this much-buzzed about Jonathan Frakes-helmed midseason premiere the trio critique the revamped aesthetics of the beloved alternate dimension, ponder Ash Tyler's ongoing torment and collectively gasp at the show's most shocking grim turn of events yet! Enjoy!

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

#173 - BEST STAR TREK SPOOFS


Happy 2018 all! Given how last year gave Star Trek a major bump in terms of mainstream pop-culture cache, now is a perfect time to celebrate some of the great spoofs, tributes and homages it has inspired. This week hosts Cam Smith and Tyler Orton use Black Mirror's recent USS Callister episode as a springboard to discuss some of the most interesting and incisive satirical takes on Gene Roddenberry's galaxy. From fan favorites like The Orville, Galaxy Quest and The Muppet Show, to ultra-nerdy shout-outs on The Wonder Years and Saturday Night Live, the duo hit many of your comedic faves along with perhaps a few unfamiliar gems. Plus, Cam offers his perspective on the 1998 Shatner-tastic indie film Free Enterprise.

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