Episode 496: Michelle Yeoh With A Goatee Is Still Out There

On the Overthinking It Podcast we tackle the first half-season of Star Trek: Discovery with special guest Manu Saadia.

On the podcast, Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matt Wrather are joined by special guest Manu Saadia (@trekonomics), author of the speculative economic work Trekonomics, to discuss the first season of Star Trek: Discovery. Stay to the end to hear the shocking conspiracy theory that will change how you see the show!!!

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2 Comments on “Episode 496: Michelle Yeoh With A Goatee Is Still Out There”

  1. Margo #

    It’s too bad there was never a TNG Mirror Univefdse epiode. Mirror Picard would be have been a treat!


  2. John C #

    Apologies for the length and maybe-incendiary assertions, but for myself, I feel like the “problem” with Discovery is that there are multiple “varietals” of Star Trek and Discovery is almost exclusively the one that’s probably the least popular in the short term but most enduring.
    What I mean is that shows in the franchise are basically (a) social satire slyly (or not-so-slyly) making a statement about we viewers, (b) live action tech manuals, or (c) The Space Breakfast Club. Discovery is, like the original series (and Deep Space Nine), squarely in the social satire camp, illustrated best in campy 1960s style by Kirk performing his dramatic reading of the Preamble of the United States Constitution. In Discovery’s case, it’s about our tension between the individual need to be heard and collective action, our often-warped leadership (a shockingly common Star Trek trope, as long as the officer isn’t from the ship mentioned in the title), our concerns about militarism and runaway technology. Heck, the Klingons are basically the alt-right, trying to Make the Empire Great Again…at least for the right kind of Klingons.
    By contrast, there are a lot of fans who really just want to watch conventionally attractive folks in unitards play games and/or describing how technologies might work or alien mating rituals in uncomfortable detail, and I feel like that a lot of complaints about the show are basically that it’s not that. (Notably, all the shows have dabbled in social satire, but most have been…very bad at it.)
    Discovery is also doing something I haven’t seen done before in the franchise, though, which I love: It’s not above calling people out for their crappy behavior. We’re not taking the toxic masculinity of the Vulcans (denial of emotion, sex drives so powerful they might die, etc.) to sweep it under the carpet. When someone paints an alien race as having a single personality, it’s not true, even when taking Michael’s advice would’ve been healthier. I assume that, if we go planet-hopping, we’re not going to find toxic societies and dismiss the issues with “it’s their way.”
    There are things I don’t like about the show. Tilly strikes me as bizarre, for example, from her “special requirements” to her social awkwardness to her very-not-shocking plan to command a starship (are there cadets who don’t?) with its implication that she’d normally be disqualified; none of that fits unless there’s supposed to still be a stigma against neurodiversity (which is how I read it) or something. But apart from that, this is (at least in my eyes) definitely the most solid Star Trek we’ve had since Deep Space Nine, and has the potential to top it assuming it keeps moving forward.


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