Justin Snead

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About Justin Snead

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    Klingon Bird-of-Prey

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    Jersey City, NJ
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  • Favorite Trek Movie
    The Wrath of Khan
  • Favorite Trek Captain
    Jean-Luc Picard
  • Favorite Trek Series
    Deep Space Nine

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  1. Well I will take that opinion. Thank you. One of my high school students once said my voice would be great for bed time stories. I won't deny having read Shakespeare to kids and putting them to sleep. It may have happened once or twice.
  2. This week I launched my first podcast. It is called Masterpiece Science-Fiction Theater. http://www.justinscottsnead.com/category/podcast/ The premise is that I apply literary analysis to sci-fi shows and movies. First up I am analyzing every episode of season one of classic Star Trek. I've been wanting to re-watch for years so this is a great opportunity to see them again and talk about it. With Discovery coming soon, it is a good time to explore what made the first series so special. I take a literary look at how the show was put together, from writing, to directing and acting. Cushman's These Are the Voyages is a main source. If you are on iTunes, just type in my name and you can subscribe. I will probably release four or five episodes a month. I have already posted the first five episodes of the series, from "Where No Man Has Gone Before" to "The Man Trap." Take a listen and leave a comment if you feel so inclined.
  3. Here is a link to my new blog post about the 2nd reason DSC will be very different: the lead will not be the captain. Here is the cliff notes version: Keep in mind this is not a ‘lower decks’ situation where the lead is toiling away down in the astro-metrics lab, taking part in stories where the command crew is not central to the plot. Burnham is the first officer, positioned right beside the captain on the bridge. She will be in the middle of the action, integral to the main mission of the ship along side the captain. And yet–somehow–we are supposed to pay more attention to her than to him. I am not suggesting it is impossible. But this is the challenge the writers have set out for themselves, and it promises to make for a refreshing new take on a 50-year-old formula. There is the ‘bad captain’ theory, wherein Lorca is designed to be the type of captain that we do not look to for the solution or the right answer–either because he is morally corrupt, or merely incompetent. In this case, the narrative tension rests on how Burnham handles situations where she has the right solution but is unable to act on it, or has to convince Lorca to act on it. There is the ‘good captain’ theory, wherein Burnham idolizes Lorca. Here the narrative tension would rest on her struggles to live up to his standards, to make him proud of her. In both of those scenarios, Burnham will still be stuck in Lorca’s orbit (and Martin-Green in Isaacs’s). Perhaps the series will slyly challenge the audience’s Trek (and other more engrained) biases by forcing us to turn our gaze from the white man in power to the black woman at his side. Yes, he is in the center seat and he gets to make the decisions, but the true drama and the real story is in her. That would be a radical change, and it would be a welcome updating of Trek’s long tradition of inclusivity and social commentary.
  4. I have had similar thoughts, though Im not too eager for Trek to wade into partisan thinking about our current political situations one way or the other. I want it to have a point of view and a message, but I dont want it to be stridently partisan. Trek needs to be open minded. But I do want it to comment--again non-partisanly--on current issues. You mentioned several. For example, is the Federation like the EU? If so, how is is democratic? Are Vulcans regulated by Federation laws, and if so, how does an entire planet get fair representation in a galactic organization? The economic angle I am less interested in. Trust me, it is best left un explained. If they started down that road it would take years of episodes--and boring ones--to construct the economy that makes possible everything we see on screen. And I would love to see that humans still have religion in the future. Or a more believable depiction of what will replace religion. Now that Roddenberry is dead over 20 years they might feel they are able to do this.
  5. I am totally pumped for DSC. It is the exact same feeling as when TNG premiered (when I was 6) and when DS9 premiered (when I was 12) and even when VOY premiered. Even in the early months of 2001, I was even stoked about ENT (although in my heart I knew it would not be for me.) The arrival of a new Trek show brings me back to those feelings: being awestruck, being transfixed on the screen in those first minutes and utterly transported. Watching the old episodes is a trip down memory lane, great to rediscover the old shows and feel the nostalgia. But the only way to truly revisit the Trek universe is to watch new Trek. And when we can do that it is magical. I cannot wait.
  6. I have been thinking that Rainn Wilson and the writers should Trumpify Mudd. It could work. A point about casting. Bad recasting of previous characters pulls me right out of the story. It kills the suspension of disbelief that our head canon demands. The actor that played Sarek in 09 did this to me. It's not that the look was wrong, but the VOICE. Mark Leonard's voice was 75% of the character. This is true for Mudd as well. Rainn Wilson has a reedy voice, not Carmel's baritone. A good actor can take us by the lapels and force us to accept the character, as Wilson will surely do. But I worry about the voice. Also, Carmel was 33, Wilson is now 51.
  7. I agree with the Mudd critique as rife with sexist stereotypes best left to the 60s. Kenman sums it up nicely. I was arguing that Roddenberry was not going for human trafficking but was thinking of more common Western story lines. He WAS playing cute with the pimp-prostitute image, which I guess counted for sex appeal in the 60s. We can call it an anomaly, but it was one of the five or six stories ideas in Roddenberry's original Star Trek concept pitch dainty back to '64. And it was the 3rd episode written and produced for the series. Solo and Justman probably should have tried harder to get the script thrown out--and I think they did try. (I just have to add that I find aspects of VOY and ENT way more sexist that Mudd's Women.) But even for all that, Mudd is still a well-written and well-conceived character. Set aside the relationship with the women. He is a true rogue, greedy, deceitful, charming, self-deluded, and cut throat. Star Trek needs more characters like that who can mix it up with the squeaky clean officers and bland bureaucrats and pious/devout aliens. The Mudds of the universe make the Trek universe more interesting. Im sure DSC will bring this element of the character to the fore, and leave the space pimping in the past (or technically in the future).
  8. It gives me no pleasure to pull this card, but both of your interpretations of Mudd are simply not supported by canon. If the women were being sold into bondage, there would be more of a case that Mudd fits with our modern view of human trafficking. But marriage is not bondage or sex slavery. And the marriage actually suggested on screen is far from that description. Mudd doesn't own the women and he is not really selling them. They hold some power in the relationship and they want to go exactly where he is taking them, but they need him to get them there. Is it unseemly that Mudd is profiting from making the transaction? Sure. But he is the villain. He's not supposed to be seemly. Im trying to think of a modern precedent, but I feel like that is anachronistic. In 1966 "wiving settlers" would have had a different connotation than today. Google the word "wiving" and you will find that in 1974 there was an episode of Gunsmoke called "The Wiving": "Three saloon girls are kidnapped in Dodge by 3 men who want to marry them, and oddly enough, the women do start to fall in love." (Im not vouching for the quality or morality of this episode having never seen it.) Here is a piece of history from a blog post A History of Love in the Wild West: "It wasn’t long before men started to think of creative ways to get wives without having to travel away from their land and risk it being claimed... Men in the west advertised in eastern newspapers for wives. In the ads, they would tell a bit about themselves and what they were looking for in a wife. Interested women who met the qualifications of a particular advertiser would write back. From there, the process from first letter to marriage was much the same as for men who got wives through their social networks back home. Once in a while, a woman would advertise in a western newspaper looking for a husband, usually if she wasn’t finding anyone who was interested in her (or vice versa) at home, and the courtship process was the same as if she was answering an ad rather than writing one." It is possible for us to say "Yes, that is a thing" without us granting approval. (It's also possible to withhold moral judgment as well.) It is possible for us to imagine that this is even a thing that happens in the TOS universe without it sullying Trekian ideals. Even in the episode, it is clear Mudd's behavior is not sanctioned by Kirk and crew. He's a known galactic criminal after all. But the description of the final frontier and the nature of the social economy--as depicted in the episode--makes what we see in Mudd's Women a bit ambiguous. Which means Mudd is ambiguous, and therefore not irredeemable. Hell, even if he WERE an irredeemable war criminal--like say Kahn--is no reason not to resurrect him on DSC. Even the Enterprise crew openly admired Kahn.... I guess it was a less partisan era.
  9. The ship in the screen cap there is not the Discovery. Totally different design. It is pure speculation that it is the Schenzou. No one knows. But it cant be the Discvoery unless they have completely changed the design.
  10. Ok y'all, I know Ive been a pessimist about Trek over the years, but I come here to defend Harry Mudd. And Rainn Wilson's portrayal of him on DSC. First, Mudd is a great TOS character. I'd much rather see him again than.. I don't know... Captain Garth. For those of you accusing him of human trafficking, go back and watch the episode. In fact, he was "wiving settlers." Now that may sound patriarchal and misogynistic to our modern ears. But when you are on the Frontier, whether it is the Final Frontier, or the Western Frontier that Trek was emmulating in 1966, it contains a certain logic. On top of that, all three of Mudd's women were very much in approval of being relocated and married off. The lives they lived before him were not ideal and they wanted out. One of them described their colony as being populated by only family members and machines with no opportunity to marry or (presumably) to procreate. The prospect of leaving home, venturing out to the frontier and settling down with a man appealed to them. I'm not saying that "Mudd's Women" is any kind of feminist manifesto, but it's more complicated that people are giving it credit for. It definitely hews to a traditional view of marriage and how woman are perceived by men--in line with how a TV audience would have perceived these things in 1966. That does not make it irredeemable. Maybe the trick is to think of Harry Mudd not as a product of 1960s male libido, but as a product of 23rd Century frontier culture. He's not a war criminal or even a pimp. Mudd, and the way Roger C Carmel portrayed him, was the redeemable factor of the episode. He's a lovable scoundrel. Now, as for DSC. The writers have a 13 hour story to tell. Mudd would not be thrown in unless he was important to part of that story. Im sure his role no matter how large or small will make sense in the overall arc. When DSC was first announced as taking place 10 years prior to TOS I described it as a pedestal upon which TOS will eventually be placed. This was my hope (and the wasted potential) of Enterprise. It seems that DSC is going to be more TOS-centric than we ever thought. There are dangers in this approach, but I truly doubt that CBS will allow this flagship series to be mere fanboy drivel. IN the grand scheme, all Trek series have always been self-reverential. If I were writing a series set 10 years before "Where No Man Has Gone Before" I'd be hard pressed not to include a lot of TOS characters. That fact that there are only two (so far) can be called restraint.
  11. Speculation is that this is the Shenzhou. This screen cap is from Trekcore's breakdown of the last DSC teaser trailer. You have to click on the link cause Im unable to post a picture. Click on the two images of the computer renderings: Screencaps
  12. I wish the novel was more of a set up for the show and that we could read it before the series starts. But I don't think the book will be out until after the series starts.
  13. It always made sense to me that there would be two ships. It seems like this show will operate with multiple settings. Unlike previous Trek series, the scenes will not shift form the bridge to the briefing room to the sick bay to the transporter room to the cave set and back to the bridge. The setting will jump across multiple ships, from Klingon planets to Vulcan to star bases to other alien worlds all in one episode. It will be very different in this way. My question is the design of the ship. The ShuttlePod trio commented that the schematic on the last DSC trailer looked a bit too 24th Century to be in the same fleet with the Constitution Class. It was only a schematic and we don't know it is the Shenzhou. Does anyone have a screen cap of it?
  14. Ok let's map this out: (some minor spoilers, but I really don't know anything but hints about the series plot) 13 Episodes 1: Intro to the principals and the conflict (planetary health crisis; Klingon politics) 2: Deepening of the conflict 3: First Stand Alone (explores Number One) 4: Second Stand Alone (explores Klingon characters) 5: Return of the Running Story (introduces Sarek) 6: Third Stand Alone 7: Merges elements of the Running story (the two ships meet; Vulcan and Klingons; diseased planet, etc) 8: Fourth Stand Alone 9: Sixth Stand Alone 10: Convergence of Story Lines & Build Up 11: Build Up 12: Build Up 13: Climax and finale When you look at it this way, 13 is a lot of episodes. There can be many opportunities for contained allegorical episodes. In this way, maybe they will take the approach of the recent X-Files revival (and old X-Files, Buffy, DS9 and a lot of other old shows that partially serialized): A couple main story lines woven through a series of episodes some of which are dedicated to the major arc and some of which are stand alines. On the other hand, if they go the HBO model, all 13 episodes will tell the same couple stories. Time will tell.
  15. While I'm not against arcs, I will continue to point out that the best DS9 episodes happened outside of its tightly serialized arcs. However, the fact that the series as a whole was glued together by its larger arcs made the whole series stronger and more meaningful. Anyway, a lot of TV shows today you just have to watch the entire season to fully appreciate the story. It's not bad or good, but I can get how it can wear some people down who just want to tune in for one episode. Bing watching is a lot of pressure. I don't do it. Not my style. Im still on episode 4 of West World for example, and god knows when I will finish.