Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Parallax”

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The science is a disaster, but at least the character work is strong. (Seriously an event horizon is not a force field!!!!!) The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch looks at the second episode of the series, “Parallax.”

An excerpt:

Gene Roddenberry had always wanted Star Trek to at least be a vaguely believable future. Yes, there was plenty of made-up science, but he at least consulted with futurists, and tried to make things at least vaguely plausible in the original series. He didn’t always succeed, but he tried. By the later years of TNG, however, the technobabble had gotten a bit out of hand, with one bit of made-up science often used to solve another bit of made-up science.

This is far worse when they use real stuff and get it wrong, and the thing that drove me crazy about this episode two-and-a-half decades ago, and again now, is the portrayal of an event horizon of a singularity—which is a real scientific phenomena—is so totally wrong. It is not a force field!

Brannon Braga, who scripted this episode, is quoted in Cinefantastique as saying, “Though ‘a quantum singularity’ is a mouthful, I decided to use it anyway; but I literally could have called it ‘a quantum fissure,’ ‘a quantum sinkhole,’ anything. And who cares? Who really cares?” It’s honestly hard to believe that two decades after this, Braga would help shepherd a new version of Cosmos into being, given his cavalier attitude toward science here.

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