Star Trek: Short Treks: The Girl Who Made the Stars
December 13, 2019 8:49 PM - Season 2, Episode 4 - Subscribe

When a lightning storm in space scares a young Michael Burnham, her father aims to ease her fears with a mythical story about a brave little girl who faced her own fears head on.

Memory Alpha isn't afraid of the dark:

- This short, along with "Ephraim and Dot" (which premiered at the same time as this episode) is the first animated episode or film in the Star Trek franchise since TAS: "The Counter-Clock Incident" first aired in 1974.

- io9: The Newest Short Treks Offer a Bright Hope for Star Trek's Animated Future [note: also includes spoilers for the other Short Treks episode released at the same time, "Ephraim and Dot", which will have its own entry on the purple]:
It’s a beautiful tale in its simplicity because that simplicity lets these values come through clearly. “The Girl Who Made the Stars” frames Star Trek’s boldest morals as ones that have defined humanity across generations, whether it’s values being passed from Mike to Michael, to the young girl and her elders, or across eons of time, from the ancient past to the boldly-goings-on of the future. It’s especially important as it’s a message told through, in a rare moment, “ancient” stories from a lens beyond the Western canon Trek typically relies on for its heroes’ view of history.

How many times have we seen the series refer to the likes of Shakespeare and 19th century literature as almost the de facto when it comes to an interpretation of human history—even alien histories—on the show? There have been attempts before, of course. Chakotay’s trope-laden Native heritage on Voyager may have been handled clumsily, but it was at least an attempt to portray the cultural history of a person of color in a way Trek hadn’t really tried before. That it’s taken so long for Trek to start doing this more regularly is unfortunate, but hopefully stories like this are only just the beginning.
Poster's Log: Not much more to add to the above. Lil' Michael is super cute. The myth that Mike tells Michael is the same one referenced by Michael at the beginning of the DSC S2E1 episode "Brother"; the holographic serpent that young Spock makes on being introduced to young Michael resembles the darkness serpent from the tale.
posted by Halloween Jack (2 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I like the ideas behind this one even though the alien scene made me silently mutter "Please don't be 'Tattoo' again, please don't be 'Tattoo' again" (an unfair association, to be sure, and doubtlessly not by the showrunners' design) and I couldn't look at the animation without thinking "so CBS thinks they're Pixar now."
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:05 AM on December 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think it's fantastic that Short Trek is being used to let creators do strange, experimental stuff. Even if it's not entirely my bag.

But. . . you're really going to write into Trek that ancient aliens saved prehistoric Black people by teaching them not to be afraid of the dark? "How should we end this hear-warming short children's story?" "I know, let's make an obvious reference to the most racist and ugly popular psuedoscience since eugenics went out of fashion!"

I'm probably more twitchy about ancient aliens than most people. (My profession and that of my spouse both mean we get told about it *a lot* by cab drivers.) But I'm kind of astonished to see a Moorehouse grad on the writer's list. It's been a long time since we've seen ancient aliens in Trek. Doing it for the first time in a decade in this context probably isn't a sign of bad intentions, but it sure isn't a good look for a show that otherwise handles race better than nearly all other SF television to date.
posted by eotvos at 2:40 PM on December 22, 2019

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