Could We Ever Have Sci-Fi Tech Like the ‘Star Trek’ Transporter? A New Roddenberry Entertainment Podcast Finds Out

On April 5, Roddenberry Entertainment, the company behind the “Star Trek” universe, launches a brand new sci-fi podcast called “Does It Fly?” that answers one of the biggest questions sci-fi geeks love to ponder: Could the technology we love in out-there science fiction franchises someday exist in real life?

We’re talking about the “Star Trek” transporter, the subject of the first episode, as well as the lightsabers in “Star Wars,” the replicants in “Blade Runner,” Iron Man’s Arc Reactor, the TARDIS from “Doctor Who,” and the technological and philosophical questions raised in the “Black Mirror” episode “San Junipero” — all will be episode topics in the future on the podcast, which will be hosted by astrophysicist and science communicator Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi and pop-culture aficionado Tamara Krinsky.

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The concept for this show — along with its very title — comes from something Gene Roddenberry, who pitched a version of the transporter in even his initial “Star Trek” pitch to networks, was known to say during the making of the 1960s original “Star Trek.” When shown a model of the U.S.S. Enterprise for the first time, he asked, “Does It Fly?” Essentially, could this thing actually do what it’s supposed to do onscreen? The idea being that, as fanciful and conjectural as his show could be, he wanted it to be rooted in some basis of scientific reality, even if highly theoretical at times. That may explain why some tech imagined in “Star Trek” actually has found its way into real life: The original communicators certainly prefigured flip-phones, while the PADDs very much anticipated the iPad and other tablet computing, and Majel Barrett Roddenberry’s “voice of the computer” set us up for Siri.

“Does It Fly?” will go even a bit further and explore less-tech-oriented big-picture sci-fi concepts: There will be an episode on whether planetwide infertility could happen, as in “Children of Men”; whether apes could evolve to have human-level intelligence as the in the “Planet of the Apes” movies; or if something like what happened to John Hurt in the first “Alien” movie has any biological reality.

Says executive producer Trevor Roth, “When Matt Jefferies was designing the original starship Enterprise, Gene Roddenberry is known to have said, ‘I want it to fly!’ Now it’s time to put the question to some of our other favorite entertainment inventions and see if they make the grade.”

By the end of each episode of “Does It Fly?” the hosts will make a determination about whether the concept in question could actually happen, if it conforms to its own storytelling rules, and if it is socially valuable — along with being cool.

If you’re surprised that the company behind “Star Trek” might take on examining even “Star Wars” tech, don’t be. Roddenberry’s son, Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, showed in his documentary “Trek Nation” that his dad actually was a fan of “Star Wars” — while acknowledging it’s an extremely different franchise and not even really sci-fi — and you see a photo of Gene hosting a “Star Wars”-themed birthday party for his son.

“Does It Fly” will be available on and Den of Geek, as well as on Apple Podcasts. Along with Roth, Eugene Roddenberry is part of the producing team that also includes Mike Cecchini, Chris Longo, Matthew Sullivan-Pond and Kelsey Goldberg.

All this geek can say is: Hopefully an episode testing the viability of the holodeck is on the horizon!

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