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Primitive Culture: A Star Trek History and Culture Podcast

Feb 8, 2019

Short Treks and bite-sized content.

Between 1966 and 2001, Star Trek seemed to be the incredible shrinking franchise. The 50-minute running time of The Original Series gave way to the 44 minutes for episodes of The Next Generation, 43 minutes for Deep Space Nine and Voyager, and a lean 42 minutes by the time of Enterprise. But when Trek made the leap to a streaming service with Discovery, all bets were off. The length of an episode began to vary from week to week, depending on the needs of the story. More striking than Discovery’s variable length, however, was the decision to release a series of shorts between seasons. This short-form approach to storytelling was previously the domain of fan films, not officially licensed Trek.

In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Duncan Barrett and Clara Cook look at the Short Treks in relation to both Star Trek’s own short and long forms—from The Animated Series (22 minutes) to The Motion Picture (well over two hours), and also in relation to short fiction in general. Is brevity truly the soul of wit? What does it mean for Star Trek to embrace the format so readily? And is something inevitably lost when our content keeps shrinking and shrinking?

Intro (00:00:00)
First Impressions (00:03:04)
Picking Up the Pace (00:18:00)
Comic Timing (00:36:10)
To B-Plot or Not to B-Plot? (00:46:01)
Anthology: The Final Frontier (01:00:30)
The Perfect Proving Ground (01:18:12)
Final Thoughts (01:26:25)

Duncan Barrett and Clara Cook

Clara Cook (Editor) Duncan Barrett (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Tony Black (Associate Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)