Ian Thomas Malone

star trek Archive



April 2023



Star Trek: Picard’s third season is one of the franchise’s finest achievements

Written by , Posted in Blog, Pop Culture, TV Reviews

Star Trek: Picard was built on the noble premise of exploring arguably the franchise’s most beloved figure against a backdrop that wasn’t just a reboot of The Next Generation. The execution of its first two seasons ran into some regrettable issues. A series that was simultaneously trying to establish a new cast, redeem the Romulan and Borg races, build on synth lore, and examine its titular figure’s complex relationships with franchise titans such as Q and Data, alongside tertiary TNG characters like Hugh the Borg and Bruce Maddox was always going to be a heavy lift. The first two seasons were often defined by sluggish pacing that didn’t see the urgency in all the complex storytelling the show ostensibly strove toward.

Many might point to the acclaim of season three as indicative of the show giving into nostalgia. The real triumph of Star Trek: Picard’s final season is its cohesive, determined storytelling. Retaining only Jean-Luc (Patrick Stewart), franchise stalwart Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), and Raffi (Michelle Hurd), the single original Picard character to retain a starring role across all three seasons, the show balanced out its roster with a compelling mix of fresh faces and legacy characters, including the entire core TNG cast. Three seasons in, Picard finally figured out how to balance its affection for the past alongside the franchise mandate to “boldly go where no man has gone before.”

For a season that riffed most of its core premise off storylines already thoroughly explored in Deep Space Nine with the changeling infiltration of Starfleet, as well as the not-so-original secret child trope in Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers) the real X-factor has been the USS Titan. Picard is the first new Trek series to take place in the timeline established by TNG, DS9, and Voyager since the opening sequence of the 2009 Star Trek reboot. The Titan actually feels like the Starfleet many of us grew up with, not the bleak deconstruction favored by prestige television.

Picard found itself an unlikely sleeper gem in Captain Liam Shaw (Todd Stashwick). The curmudgeonly foil to Picard and Riker (Jonathan Frakes) could have been an easy person to hate, but Stashwick quickly sold audiences on one unassailable truth. For as fun as it’s been for the audience to watch the crew of the Enterprise save the universe all these years, rank and file Starfleet has to be pretty sick of their nonstop drama. Shaw provided audiences with a sympathetic conduit unwittingly roped into their shenanigans.

The Titan serves as a place where the legacy characters can meaningfully interact with newer characters. The show took great care to establish figures like Sidney La Forge (Ashleigh Sharpe Chestnut) independent of her famous father (LeVar Burton), who everyone knew was bound to show up. Raffi and Worf (Michael Dorn) provided meaningful plot progression independent of the Titan, while Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) navigated the complexity of her place on their ship with ample grace, a triumph for fans who always wished for more for her character. Frakes delivered similar career-best work as Riker, the grief of a father channeled through his interactions with Picard and Troi (Marina Sirtis).

The success of season three’s story reflects the essential nature of its cast to the conflict. Unlike previous seasons, you actually get the sense that these people need to be a part of this particular adventure, a pivotal time in these figures’ lives. The show does a serviceable job looping in the previous two seasons, while also undoing plenty of their resolutions in less satisfactory manners, particularly with regard to Data (Brent Spiner) and certain antagonists vital to Picard’s entire arc. We the audience know that Picard exists because Paramount needs subscribers for its streaming service, but the show finally stopped feeling like it was reverse engineering ideas in search of a purpose.

The other big triumph of the season is the way the show managed to present satisfying episodic storytelling alongside its broader narrative. Early episodes such as “Seventeen Seconds” or “No Win Scenario” could have easily belonged to the 90s Trek canon while serving as pivotal setup for the rest of the season. The mandate for this season might have been to say goodbye to Picard, but the show also managed to lay out a compelling rubric for how future series, including a much-anticipated spinoff, might handle this beloved era of Trek lore.

It would be an oversimplification to lay the blame for Picard’s earlier failures on the show’s original, far less compelling cast that have almost all been sent packing. Season three sells the idea that the magic wouldn’t have been there if the show hadn’t tried other things first, even if they didn’t work very well. The TNG crew also aren’t all necessarily there to make up for the sins of Picard either, but earlier crimes in the form of the lackluster swan songs provided by Insurrection and Nemesis.

Season three is one of Star Trek’s crowning achievements, the gold standard for how franchises can blend in legacy characters while maintaining vitally present plotlines that don’t completely rely on nostalgia. There are so many obvious throwbacks here, the motherlode of which was dropped in the season’s penultimate episode. The passion burns brighter because we the audience have finally been given ample reasons to care.



May 2021



Star Trek: The Next Generation – “Yesterday’s Enterprise”

Written by , Posted in Podcast

We are back on the Enterprise-D, and also the Enterprise-C. Tasha Yar faced a tragically silly death in “Skin of Evil,” marvelously analyzed on this humble podcast. Natty Strange is back to help us assess the return of everyone’s favorite lesbian chief of security and her weird relationship with Shooter McGavin. 


You can follow Nat on Twitter @nuns_on_film. Be sure to check out her new Star Trek blog, deepspacenat.com and her new Twitch channel

You can follow Pokey the Penguin’s latest adventures by checking out Pokey’s website https://www.yellow5.com/pokey/ & @pokeythepenguin



March 2021



Star Trek: The Next Generation – “Skin of Evil”

Written by , Posted in Blog, Podcast

Grab your phaser and your away team, because we’re heading to Vagra II. “Skin of Evil” lives on in Trek infamy for the senseless death of Tasha Var. Armus is one of science fiction’s earliest incels, taking the spotlight away from a female character in order to harass the rest of the crew with his endless whining. Natty Strange, co-author of the iconic web comic Pokey the Penguin, returns to the show to discuss this mess of an episode.

As Data put it, Armus has “no redeeming qualities.” That’s probably true, except with that annoying pile of goop, we probably wouldn’t be talking about this episode. Tasha deserved better. We all deserve better.


You can follow Nat on Twitter @nuns_on_film. Be sure to check out her new Star Trek blog, deepspacenat.com.

You can follow Pokey the Penguin’s latest adventures by checking out Pokey’s website https://www.yellow5.com/pokey/ & @pokeythepenguin



March 2021



Adrienne Wilkinson

Written by , Posted in Blog, Podcast, Star Wars

We delighted to welcome Adrienne Wilkinson to the show for a wide-ranging interview including her new film Dreamcatcher. Fans of Estradiol Illusions may know Adrienne best for her roles as Eve on Xena: Warrior Princess, Daughter in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Maris Brood in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, and as Captain Lexxa Singh in Star Trek: Renegades. Adrienne shares many fascinating insights from her career throughout so many iconic franchises.


Dreamcatcher is available March 5th, on demand and digital, on Amazon, Apple, Redbox, and other major VOD services.






Ian’s review of the film: https://ianthomasmalone.com/2021/03/dreamcatcher-subverts-slasher-norms-in-an-intriguing-horror-narrative/


Headshot courtesy of Adrienne Wilkinson. Photo by Damu Malik.


Poster and stills courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.



December 2020



Star Trek: The Pon Farr

Written by , Posted in Blog

The Pon Farr is one of the weirder aspects of Star Trek lore, making it a natural topic for Estradiol Illusions to explore! Join host Ian Thomas Malone and specials guests Johnny Kolasinksi and Dr. Jackson Vane from Hi Everybody – a Bad Medicine Podcast, as well as Dr. Courtney Nicholas and Dr. Greg Winter for a wide-ranging discussion all about everyone’s favorite Vulcan mating ritual. What would happen is a transgender Vulcan underwent the Pon Farr?  Why don’t any Vulcans ever want to talk about this totally normal biological function? All of that and much more ahead!

This episode covers the following Star Trek episodes, as well as parts of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

TOS: “Amok Time”

VOY: “Blood Fever,” parts of “Blood & Soul”

ENT: “Bounty”


For more of Hi Everybody, check out their website https://hieverybody.libsyn.com/ (available on all major podcast platforms). 

You can also follow Hi Everybody on Twitter, @hieverybodymd and Johnny, @cycloptiko, and Jackson, @JacksonVane


Star Trek logo courtesy of ViacomCBS




March 2020



Star Trek: Picard Is Full of Missed Opportunities

Written by , Posted in Blog, Pop Culture, TV Reviews

The very premise of Star Trek: Picard fulfilled a longtime wish for many Trek fans. Jean-Luc may be one of the most popular characters in the franchise, but the episodic adventures in Star Trek: The Next Generation frequently impeded the character development that would fully utilize the talents of an actor like Patrick Stewart. Serialization offered a chance to take the character to new horizons glimpsed in TNG episodes like “Family” and “The Inner Light.” Unfortunately, the series just doesn’t seem to know where to take him.

Picard is a series that can’t resist the allures of the past, often at the expense of its own narrative and original characters. This dynamic creates strain on the necessary exposition for the other series regulars, forced to eat up large chunks of episodes while leaving barely any room for the plot to move forward. The story moves at a glacier-slow pace, not exactly a great development for a spin-off of a show that almost always wrapped up its conflicts by the end of each episode.

Raffi (Michelle Hurd) and Rios (Santiago Cabrera) are both interesting characters, but episodes like “Broken Pieces” expose the series’ broader flaw. With such slow pacing, why would anyone who loves Star Trek want to sit and watch two people sitting on the floor of their ship bonding over their various life problems? The presentation of the new characters is bound to please nobody, a problem exacerbated by the fact that the premise of Picard isn’t exactly welcoming to new fans. For a show that’s only supposed to last a few seasons, there’s a lot of time wasted on slow-walking.

The very nature of the “daughters of Data” plotline feels quite perfunctory, a mere excuse to bring Picard out of retirement for one final ride. Data obviously means a great deal to Jean-Luc, but Soji (Isa Briones) is essentially just used as a vessel for android nostalgia. The show hasn’t given the Romulan “Artifact” narrative the time it deserves, leaving it to come across as a poor imitation of Section 31. The whole story is just a big mess.

Nostalgia can be a very toxic force in art. Picard utilized an easy opportunity to bring back fan favorites like Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Troi (Marina Sirtis), but it’s unclear why others like Hugh (Jonathan Del Arco) or Bruce Maddox (John Ales), very minor characters in TNG, received so much attention when the show has its own roster of characters to worry about. All the time spent playing “remember when…” adds up pretty quickly over the course of a ten-episode season.

Picard has managed to give one legacy character a substantive arc. Though Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) had never interacted on screen with Picard prior to the series, the show has given the Voyager star plenty of moments to shine. Seven feels organic to the plot, exploring some of her old themes with regard to the Borg in a way that actually feels productive.

As for the rest of Picard, the show is a deeply frustrating experience. This is the first new Star Trek production that isn’t a prequel or reboot in close to twenty years. The world has changed quite a bit since the destruction of Romulus. So far, we haven’t really been given an opportunity to explore that.

Star Trek: Picard has all the makings of a prestige series. The sets are beautiful and the cast is excellent. Unfortunately, the pacing is just a total mess. As a captain, Jean-Luc Picard was thoroughly prepared for anything. It’s not too much to expect a series bearing his name to possess the same amount of diligence.



May 2019



What We Left Behind Is a Heartfelt Tribute to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Written by , Posted in Blog, Pop Culture, Reviews

The raw beauty of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine stems from the ways in which it changed the very definition of what it meant to be Star Trek. The primary form of exploration came not from visiting planets, but the characters who inhabited an isolated space station out in the Gamma Quadrant. The show pioneered serialized narratives well before the “golden age of television” ushered in the era of long-form storytelling. As with many trailblazers, the initial reaction proved divisive, but recent years have been kind to DS9, with the ease of streaming paving the way for future generations of fans to experience the show.

What We Left Behind is a documentary crafted to celebrate the legacy of Star Trek’s “middle child.” Co-directed by Ira Steven Behr, who served as the showrunner on DS9, the film takes a thorough approach to exploring all the various elements that went into making such a complex show. The extensive interviews, which feature the entire principal cast, practically every recurring actor, and plenty of members of the production crew and writing staff, highlight the profound impact that the show made on all of their lives.

It’s clear from the very first moments of the film that Deep Space Nine changed the lives of practically everyone involved. Behr does an excellent job not only capturing that energy, but also sustaining it throughout the course of the documentary. Building on that strong connection, Behr brought back a few of the writers to plot what season eight might have looked like. Complete with numerous animated graphics, the prospective episode is featured throughout the documentary, perhaps serving as the best example of the show’s staying power after all these years.

While the Deep Space Nine’s streaming and DVD releases haven’t had the same complete HD makeover that its two predecessor series received, most of the footage from the show included in What We Left Behind has been beautifully modernized. The show looks absolutely spectacular in HD. The chance to see one of the series’ many space battles up on the big screen with that kind of careful restoration is well worth the price of admission itself.

Behr’s greatest strength as a director is his ability to maintain an introspective lens. Like any show, mistakes were made along the way. An interview with the former chairman of Paramount Television Group Kerry McCluggage in particular took a hard look at the decision to forbid Avery Brooks from shaving his head or wearing a goatee. For all of Deep Space Nine’s progressive values, the show fell short on the subject of LGBTQ inclusion, a misfire that Behr acknowledges head-on in a way that brought me to tears as a gay Star Trek fan. That kind of raw honesty is quite rare for a documentary crafted by people personally involved with their subject.

While the documentary goes to great lengths to avoid being just a “talking heads” retrospective, it is rather powerful when it examines pivotal moments in the show’s production history. There are times when the cast and crew get pretty emotional with each other, understandable given the immense stress of working on a television show that puts out twenty-six episodes a year. Though Behr acknowledges the narrative confines of a single documentary, his film provides an immensely satisfying look at all the elements that went into making the show.

What We Left Behind is a beautiful celebration of Deep Space Nine, crafted with love by the people who poured their hearts into the show. Fans of the series couldn’t hope for a better examination of the show that changed Star Trek. It’s the kind of documentary that makes you want to put on an episode right when you get home, a powerful tribute to a show that lives on in the hearts of so many.



March 2019



Star Trek: Discovery Season Two Uses Fan Favorites Without Letting Them Take Over the Show

Written by , Posted in Blog, Reviews

For a franchise that popularized the phrase, “where no man has gone before,” the past twenty years of Star Trek have seen a lot of familiar faces. The idea of Christopher Pike playing a prominent role both in the 2009 reboot film and season two of Discovery seems almost impossible to fathom after his unceremonious exit in the original series. While Captain Pike was intended to helm the Enterprise in the original pilot “The Cage,” which had its footage reused for the season one two-part episode “The Menagerie,” the character became a footnote in franchise lore for decades. That is, until Bruce Greenwood was called upon to play the character, now meant to be a mentor for a young James T. Kirk. Ten years later, Anson Mount has brought considerable depth to the man once intended to lead the franchise.

After a bumpy start, Star Trek: Discovery put together one of the strongest freshman seasons in the franchise. The serialized format played well to the cast’s strengths, allowing the characters to grow alongside the complex long-form storytelling full of twists and turns. The conclusion of the season-long Klingon War left the future for Discovery completely open, somewhat conflicted by the sight of the Enterprise in the finale. After a season building up a whole new cast, it seemed a little puzzling that the show would want to highlight characters who have been around for decades. Season two ran the risk of devolving into a literal TOS prequel rather than simply a show set before it.

Perhaps season two’s greatest achievement is the way it integrated Captain Pike onto the bridge of Discovery without taking away from the enjoyable dynamic already in place. He’s an asset to the crew, not a leader hell-bent on molding his subordinates in his own image. Pike feels like a natural part of the team and it’ll be sad to see him go, assuming the rumors about his departure at the end of the season are accurate.

Discovery is still very much Michael Burnham’s show. Sonequa Martin-Green has done a superb job this season in making sure Burnham still commands the stage in scenes opposite Starfleet higher-ups as well as her half-brother Spock, quite possibly the franchise’s most beloved character. As intriguing as the Red Queen is, the plotline is further accentuated by the personal weight it carries for the show’s leading character.

Season two makes use of the series’ talented guest cast, with characters like Admiral Cornwell and (Mirror) Captain Georgiou making extensive appearances, but the show is at its best when it focuses on its core cast. Episode four “An Obol for Charon,” showcased the relationship between Burnham and Saru, delivering an emotional payoff that was quite impressive for a show only in its second season. Characters like Ensign Tilly and Paul Stamets haven’t had as much time to shine this year, but actors Mary Wiseman and Anthony Rapp make the most of the time they’re given. The show has also gone out of its way to highlight background characters like Lieutenant Kayla Detmer and Airam, giving its bridge officers an additional sense of purpose.

Placing Spock at the heart of the narrative was a tricky proposition, but the show’s navigated the popular Vulcan quite well. Ethan Peck does a great job playing the character, putting his own spin on Spock while staying faithful to the spirit of Leonard Nimoy’s performance. The mood of the show is a bit different without the Klingon War, but the varying tone from episode to episode is refreshing from an audience standpoint, never quite sure what’s going to happen each week.

Season two uses fan favorite characters to bolster its strong cast without relying too heavily on the franchise’s existing lore. I don’t know how much Spock is too much Spock, but the show handles him with grace. Star Trek: Discovery has been consistently great at long-form storytelling. While I’d like a little more of the focus moving forward to be centered on Discovery-created characters, the show has proved adept at navigating whatever part of space it chooses to fly into.



August 2016



Star Trek Beyond Is As Entertaining As Skeptics Feared It Would Be

Written by , Posted in Blog, Pop Culture

The fans who raised concerns over Star Trek Beyond’s action packed, Beastie Boys fueled trailer had a point. The comparisons to the Fast and the Furious franchise were warranted even before considering that director Justin Lin helmed four installments, overseeing the series’ shift away from car racing into buddy action films. Vin Diesel would have look more appropriate in Beyond than Patrick Stewart or Kate Mulgrew. The problem for those critical of the trailer is that while they weren’t wrong to point out the franchise’s shift in direction, the result is the single best thing to happen to Trek since Seven of Nine’s introduction to Voyager back in 1997.

Funny thing is, I can’t really find a spot where the fast pacing, sharp writing, and overall strong performance from the cast would have been improved by longwinded technobabble exchanges or impassioned debates on the Prime Directive. Lin took Trek and made it his own, but it’s still Trek. Giving Simon Pegg control of the script proved genius as he brought his comic wit and fan’s perspective, giving Leonard Nimoy one of the most heartfelt tributes I’ve seen in fiction, giving me great optimism for how Anton Yelchin’s unfortunate death will be handled.

Beyond succeeds because it knows where to concentrate its phaser fire. The plot is about as forgettable as The Final Frontier or Insurrection, certainly no whales, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The film wastes none of its two hour run time, knowing when enough is enough. My only real complaint is that Idris Elba is largely wasted in the role of Krall. Having been highly underwhelmed by Benedict Cumberbatch’s go as Khan in Into Darkness, I’m not sure more Krall would have been a good thing, but it’s always at least a bit of a shame to see a talent like Elba underutilized.

It’s rare to see a blockbuster film, let alone one that’s part of a franchise, to not suffer under the weight of its perceived obligations to its universe. My main criticism of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Batman V. Superman, various films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that they spend too much time worrying about the bigger picture of the franchise that they don’t put enough focus on being entertaining films. A cameo from an older cast member or from the upcoming Discovery series would have been fun, but I’d rather not have either than suffer an unnecessary subplot designed to “connect” individual works together. Beyond is a pleasant throwback to the days where movies dedicated themselves to satisfying the audience sitting right in front of them rather than those who complain in coffee shops, comic book stores, or the internet.

The film is fun. That’s about all there is that needs saying. Those who were bothered by the trailer probably won’t like the film, but the trailer was inaccurate in at least one regard. Beyond has a lot of heart for a movie that’s mostly focused on explosions.

The new Star Trek films have different obligations than the earlier films, which were continuations of television series featuring characters the audience had ample opportunity to get to know. We’ll never know Pine’s Kirk as well as Shatner’s. Every few years we get to have a couple hours of fun with these characters. For Trek fans who haven’t had the luxury of a Trek series on TV in over a decade (at least until January), resistance to Lin’s different style is, well, logical. As an ardent Deep Space Nine fanatic and a fan of the other series, I welcomed Trek’s decision to boldly go where no captain had gone before, even if it that involves going into the Fast and the Furious’ quadrant.



January 2016



What Marvel Can Learn from Star Trek

Written by , Posted in Blog, Pop Culture

Though the Star Trek franchise will soon celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, much of its on screen canon was released in one decade. The 90s were a great time to be a Trekkie (Trekker) with three different TV series (The Next Generation premiered in 87 and Voyager ended in 01) and four movies out in such a short time span. It would have been hard to fathom in ‘96, with Voyager on network television and First Contact proving that the film franchise could thrive without the original cast, that the franchise would soon be in decline. By 2005, Star Trek was nowhere to be found except for a hundred times a day in re-runs and on DVD and VHS at old yard sales.

Though the franchise would make a comeback just a few years later with the 2009 reboot and will be returning to TV in 2017, it’s hard to imagine a world where Star Trek reaches the same level of prominence it enjoyed in the 90s. Star Trek Beyond is already under fire from fans and members of its own cast for its action heavy trailer and the decision to place the TV series on CBS All Access will severely limit its exposure. The status of entertainment behemoth belongs to a different franchise.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the most ambitious shared universe ever attempted. Since 2008, we’ve seen twelve films and four television series released with plenty more on the way. To put things in perspective, the Star Trek franchise has released twelve films and six series in a fifty year span, though Marvel’s TV series have a long way to go before they come close to Trek’s combined total of 30 seasons and 726 episodes.

It’s clear that this is a total that the MCU would like to eventually surpass, along with more films than one can possibly imagine. Backed by Disney, it’s hard to imagine a world where the MCU doesn’t blow that total away. Then again, it was once hard to imagine a world without a weekly Trek series either.

Though the MCU is in little danger of not being a multi-billion entity, there are some reasons to be concerned with its overall longevity. The status of the main Avengers cast post Infinity War is unclear and it seems highly unlikely that all will stay with the franchise. Age of Ultron may have grossed 1.4 billion dollars, but was met with significantly less critical praise than its predecessor. Jessica Jones has been a critical gem, which helps to soften the near irrelevance of its other three series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil, and Agent Carter. Recent estimations done by NBC Universal place the viewership of Jessica Jones as competitive with the middle pack of network TV dramas with an impressive performance among the key 18-49 demo, though Netflix disputes these reports.

Not even Chicken Little would say that the MCU is in any danger of imploding anytime soon. Their schedule looks to packed with bankable box office draws all the way to 2019 and a team up of the Netflix superheroes in The Defenders should elevate their smaller screen presence. If the MCU was the seemingly unsinkable Titanic, making its voyage through an ocean of cash, there is one thing to be worried about.


Star Trek: Nemesis and Enterprise didn’t kill the franchise because they were terrible. The chief complaint against Nemesis was that it felt tired and the poor box office can realistically be blamed on stiff competition from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Reviews of Enterprise got better with time and the series’ cancellation has more to do with a shift in UPN’s demographic rather than a ratings implosion given the series’ modest decline in ratings when moved to a Friday timeslot opposition Stargate SG-1. I’m not a big fan of Nemesis or Enterprise and certainly don’t want to come across as an apologist for either, but it’s important that we understand that neither can strictly be blamed because of quality. Fans stopped caring. Do you like movies about Thor? Thor Hammer Time is a new slot from Nolimit City provider that was released in 2019. Here the gambler will have to get acquainted with the Vikings and the gods of Scandinavia. Thor Hammer Time online slot https://50-spins.com/thor-hammer-time-slot/ can be played for free if you include it in the demo version. Launch the machine, spin the reels for virtual credits, learn the rules of bonuses and the price of winning pictures, and develop a betting scheme.

The MCU will inevitably face the same problem down the road. There will come a time when more of the same simply won’t cut it anymore. Granted, a chief problem with Age of Ultron was that it wasn’t particularly memorable, but that isn’t likely to have any long-term impact on the franchise unless Captain America: Civil War is a complete bomb, which seems about as likely as a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine film (a man can dream).

Variety will be the factor that keeps the MCU relevant when the post-Downey Jr. era inevitably arrives. The MCU has already shown a willingness to take risks with Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Daredevil, and Jessica Jones which all could’ve been expensive flops. The Benedict Cumberbatch led Doctor Strange will be a further deviation from their standard superhero offerings later this year.

Unlike Star Trek in the early ‘00s, the MCU is well protected against bombs. A person who stops watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t necessarily not going to go see Thor: Ragnarok. Agent Carter fanatics may not be interested in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Few mainstream franchises have such diverse assets that don’t collide with one another.

Failure is okay for the MCU as long as the fans care. It’s when the indifference settles in that Disney should start to worry. Maybe Paramount would’ve shifted gears if there had been fiery outrage to Star Trek: Enterprise. Instead, it just powered down.