Week Ten: Alt History (Sci-Fi)

What other TV shows or movies can you think of which have sinister doubles in them?

Star Trek is a series of endless wonder, set in a universe with unlimited possibilities. As one would imagine, the series based on scientific exploration – of course – explores, through multiple circumstances across multiple seasons and even series, the existence of an alternate timeline. The alternate timeline with the most focus in the Star Trek canon, is a ‘dark version’ of our hero’s current timeline. Where the worst has happened to cultures across the galaxy and, across the span of generations, the negative effect ultimately effects the other history’s versions of the protagonists also – creating ‘sinister doubles’. There are other instances of ‘sinister doubles’ during the shows, usually brought about by a scientific mistake. An example being; the episode where Captain Kirk’s body is duplicated and his personality is split across the two bodies, one taking on the weaker, less impulsive and more thoughtful emotions – leading to him to insufficiently fulfil the role of captain, due to his hesitancy and squeamishness. The other a rageful, impulsive man who lacks empathy – an ineffective captain due to his lack of reason and consideration for the feelings or opinions others. The differences between the two Captain Kirks in the personality split episode are similar to those between mainline timeline Kirk and alternate timeline Kirk – however, due to them being different characters, with different experiences, unlike the emotionally-split Kirks – the personality split episode doubles appear less complex.

The idea of multiple timelines, in the limitation of a Science Fiction show or film, is something which brings about a certain intrigue and can answer a lot of questions (or bring about more) for fans and viewers – especially for those who wonder ‘What if that didn’t happen?’ or ‘What if this happened instead?’. Marvel’s new ‘What if’ is another example of the exploration of alternate history will attempt to explore curious situations within the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).


Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry (1966-1969)



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