Ben Hufbauer

Ben Hufbauer

Ben Hufbauer teaches art history and film studies at the University of Louisville. He is the author of the book "Presidential Temples."

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    Ben Hufbauer

    Michel: You make some great points here about both The Enemy Below as well as this episode. One thing to consider, however, is that a TV show has a lot of limitations in terms of what they can show and the shorthand they sometimes need to employ. For instance, as you know, on one level it might be silly that the Romulans aren’t speaking Romulan—although we could potentially say that the Universal Translator is working really well! But, on the other hand, the “foreigners speaking English” thing is used on so, so many programs, many of which are excellent. To give just one example, everyone in the BBC program “I, Claudius” from the 1970s speaks with a British accent rather than Latin with subtitles. Anyway, in terms of your bigger point of the problematic morals involved, I think you illuminate some important issues. I still think for a TV program from 1966 it’s thought-provoking, as well as dramatic, and has also stood the test of time pretty well.

    "Balance of Terror": Star Trek, History, and National Security
    Ben Hufbauer

    skag: I love TNG as well, but even though they are both Trek for me it’s almost like comparing apples and oranges. For instance, the music which is so dramatic, memorable, and over-the-top on TOS becomes in TNG an often-bland wallpaper background. Picard and Kirk are obviously a study in contrasts in terms of age, looks, nationality, approach, etc. But both are equally great captains imho. There are more “good” episodes of TNG, but that’s largely because it lasted 7 years instead of the 3 that TOS got, etc. But then again I also love the best of DS9 and Voyager just as much.

    In any case, there are definitely several episodes of TNG that might be worthy of the kind of in-depth exploration that I attempted here. Maybe you or someone else will be the one to write an article of your favorite TNG episodes?

    "Balance of Terror": Star Trek, History, and National Security
    Ben Hufbauer

    Sike—that’s a great list. Mine list is similar, although it changes each time I try to make one lol! Anyway, my top three are the same as yours:
    1. Amok Time
    2. City on the Edge of Forever
    3. Balance of Terror
    4. The Doomsday Machine
    5. The Enterprise Incident
    6. The Tholian Web
    7. Mirror, Mirror
    8. The Menagerie
    9. What Are Little Girls Made Of?
    10. Arena

    and I’m still leave a lot of favorites out.

    "Balance of Terror": Star Trek, History, and National Security
    Ben Hufbauer

    An amusing and perceptive article. Thanks for your research and insights!

    Star Trek and Society's Ridicule of its Early Fans
    Ben Hufbauer

    Thanks, everyone, for your comments. As David writes, The Enemy Below was yet another influence on this episode. And, as he also says, The Enemy Below is a good World War II sub movie that’s worth seeking out. For me, “Balance of Terror” is in my top ten in terms of episodes of the original Star Trek—I’m just not sure what the other nine are right now….

    "Balance of Terror": Star Trek, History, and National Security
    Ben Hufbauer

    Thanks, Samuel Burleigh, for this insightful history, analysis, and appreciation of the great Bob Dylan. It’s enjoyable reading that makes me want to go back to some of the wonderful songs themselves….

    Bob Dylan and The Nobel: Greatest Living American Writer?
    Ben Hufbauer

    A fascinating and enlightening examination of this film. Thanks for sharing your insights!

    Anatomy of A Murder: The Art of Observation
    Ben Hufbauer

    An enlightening critique of what is, for me, anyway, in spite of its flaws, still a very good movie. Thanks for sharing this sophisticated and historically-grounded analysis. Great work.

    Philadelphia and AIDS: Looking Past the Pedantry