Season 5, Episode 15 “Favorite Son” (VOY) with Dr. Mohamed Noor

Try to resist the siren call this week as we get tied up in “Favorite Son”!

Duke University Dean of Natural Sciences and Star Trek science consultant Dr. Mohamed Noor returns to the show this week to discuss an episode of Star Trek: Voyager that proves Trek can be educational even when the science is bad. The ship discovers a planet of beautiful women who are eager to welcome Harry “home”. Will Voyager’s pluckiest ensign learn the truth about his heritage before it’s too late or will he be consumed by his sinister new brides?

In the interest of good storytelling, Trek often prioritizes the “fi” over the “sci” in sci-fi. However, Trek has always been concerned with exploring the story potential of real-world physics and biology, often incorporating contemporary discoveries and theory into its scenarios. Even when they get the facts wrong or new discoveries are made, Trek’s focus on scholarship and the sciences has inspired countless viewers to examine the world more scientifically or to become scientists themselves. On this episode, Dr. Noor explains the science behind the premise of “Favorite Son” and other Trek episodes, and we talk about the prevalence of genetics-themed plots on Voyager, Star Trek’s misconceptions about evolution, the real life behaviors used in luring mates, environmental gene activation, the plausibility of mixed-species babies on Trek, junk DNA, and the challenges that educators are facing during the current pandemic.

We also discuss adding “quantum” to everything, Voyager’s “Trilogy of Terror”, a “male fantasy piece with a dark twist”, Lifeforce, ReGenesis, “Muller’s ratchet”, the passion of Harry Kim, losing your head ridges, getting demoted by your mom, androids “feeling” human, opening another Doctor instance, “dangerous sex” parables, some Battlestar Galactica talk, and feeling loathing for your enemies!

This is the best Voyager episode with a Terminator in it!

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Listen to “Season 5, Episode 15 “Favorite Son” (VOY) with Dr. Mohamed Noor” on Spreaker.

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