Star Trek: the Next Conversation (a podcast review)

I’ve never even seen Matt Mira, and I’m a fan.

Okay, full disclosure: I just saw images of him on the web when I Googled his name. But, until that moment, I never saw him.

Matt was born the year I graduated from high school, so he’s a little younger than I am. That’s “little” on the geological scale, of course. I learned about Matt Mira after I learned about podcasts. He was frequently on the Nerdist podcast after I found my way to that, along with Jonah Ray and Chris Hardwick. He was also on Talk Salad and Scrambled Eggs, a Frazier podcast with Kevin Smith that seems to be on permanent hiatus. Then, FEaB, which stands for “Four Eyes and Beard” the podcast he still does, sporadically, with Scott Mosier, who is Kevin Smith’s longtime friend and collaborator. And then there’s James Bonding, his podcast about all the James Bond movies.

So, I was a more-than-casual fan of this former Apple genius who dove head-first into the podcasting world. He has a voice and a singular take on the world that I happen to like. A lot.

I, as a much older man, had decided to watch all 725 episodes of the existing (at the time) Star Trek series. I started with TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise, with the intention to begin the original series and the animated one after finishing Enterprise. I’ll also be watching Star Trek: Discovery later this year. Don’t worry about that. But, I’ll be watching that one in almost real-time, not on Netflix.

So, what happened was serendipitous. I was listening to one of the live Nerdist shows that Matt had returned for, and he mentioned that he and Andrew Secunda were beginning a podcast called Star Trek:The Next Conversation. That’s all I needed to hear. I was only about eight episodes into the first season of TNG when I heard this—and, frankly, having a hard time getting through it—and I was sold. I needed to hear someone else talking about it. I knew Matt, and I was willing to get to know Andrew.

Mira and Secunda are both writers on the television show The Goldbergs. I’ve seen one episode, I think, so I guess I’m not really a fan. Listening to these two talking on the podcast, however, may make me watch the television show. I can’t give higher praise than this. There are not many sitcoms that hold my attention for long.

The premise of Star Trek: The Next Conversation is that Matt Mira is the true fan of the series, the one who has watched every episode and loves the franchise. I do believe this about him. Matt seems to be a nerd’s nerd. Andrew Secunda, however, is a casual watcher of the show, like most of us. He is experiencing most of these episodes for the first time. And the results are entertaining.

I listen to the podcast more for the interplay between Matt and Andrew than for the discussion of the show. The first season of TNG is not great. I thought it was the first time I watched it in the late-80s, early-90s. But, it’s really not. Some of the episodes are the worst television episodes I’ve ever watched of any series.

But, it’s fun to listen to Andrew experiencing this. Even Matt, as a superfan, pulls no punches when it comes to criticizing individual episodes, and I appreciate that as well. The format of the podcast is loose and conversational, and it’s easy to imagine sitting around with these two writers talking about Star Trek like old friends. I find myself looking forward to the new episodes of their podcast every week.

I just watched “A Matter of Honor,” the eighth episode of the second season of TNG. It’s probably the first episode of the series that I consider to be “good.” I just listened to Matt and Andy talk about the last episode of season one, so I look forward to what’s ahead.

This is a great podcast if you’re a fan. Maybe even if you’re not. Try it out.

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