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Night Terrors (TNG S4 E17)
5th March 2024 • The Joy of Trek • Kay, Khaki and Greg
00:00:00 01:05:05

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Night Terrors (Star Trek: The Next Generation, S4 E17) was recommended by Rob MacWolf (he/him), who said: It comes so so so close to being that point where space opera crosses over into cosmic horror, but then in a rare example of the REVERSE twilight zone twist veers away at the last second.

It ALMOST even invents a cosmic horror trope, now commonplace, DECADES in advance of Night in the Woods which much more widely disseminated it, the "the thing you thought was a feature of the landscape all along turns out to have been some being so unfathomably vast that you didn't see it all the while you were looking at it." But even after LOOKING like it's foreshadowing exactly that trope, the entire episode, it never does it.

The scares, the slow burn of tension, and the acting all prove they COULD do cosmic horror. There's maybe reasons that have to do with the ethos and goals of star trek that explain why they don't, but as someone who loves both cosmic horror and twilight zone twists it's fascinatingly frustrating.

Night Terrors first aired on March 18, 1991, written by story by Shari Goodhartz, teleplay by Pamela Douglas & Jeri Taylor, and directed by Les Landau

The Joy of Trek is hosted by Khaki & Kay, with editing & production by Chief Engineer Greg and music by Fox Amoore (Bandcamp | Bluesky)

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