Archive for March, 2010

Trekathon Season Review: The Next Generation, Season 2

March 14th, 2010

Season 2 is a pretty polarised year. As opposed to Season 1, which was bad with the (very) occasional hint of good, Season 2 seemed to alternate between bad and good. There are some very dreadful shows (The Royale, Shades of Gray), and some of the very best of all time (Q Who, The Measure of a Man).

The average is clearly much much better than the first year. In fact, all things considered I’d say this is the best season of Star Trek since the end of Season 2 of TOS back in 1968.

But there’s still quite a bit of room to grow. The actors have fully settled in, but the writing still relies a bit too heavily on cliched aliens, and easy idiot plots. But the good writing has started to let the characters grow, especially Wesley who, while he didn’t have a lot to do, got away from saving the Enterprise every week and was instead just a very junior officer.

The really positive sign is that when the writing is bad, the characters are starting to feel ‘wrong’, rather than just stupid. That means that all the writers have to do is to come up with interesting situations, and then throw the characters in and see what happens.

That brings the rankings so far to:

  • TOS Season 2
  • TOS Season 1
  • TNG Season 2
  • TAS Season 1
  • TOS Season 3
  • TAS Season 2
  • TNG Season 1

To date, that’s 7,151 minutes watched, or 21.61% complete. Next on to Season 3 of Star Trek, where things really started to fire on all cylinders.

Trekathon 155: Shades of Gray (TNG)

March 14th, 2010

Everybody loves a clip show.

OK, no they don’t. No one ever likes a clip show.

This episode isn’t dreadful until it gets to the clip show bit – a bit by the numbers, but still not the worst thing ever put to film. The clip show itself is dreadful – poorly organised reminders of some of the low moments of the two seasons so far. They seem to have taken a positive delight in choosing episodes like “Angel One” rather than “Q Who”.

Still, not the worst bit of Star Trek ever. I’d rather watch this than The Way to Eden any day of the week.

155 down, 582 to go. And that’s Season 2 of TNG done.

Trekathon 154: Peak Performance (TNG)

March 14th, 2010

Sharing your episode title with the subject line of spam I’ve received recently isn’t a good start.

Still, I thought this episode was very good up until the Ferengi turn up. That was enough to push the episode from ‘very good’ to ‘good’, but even the Ferengi weren’t as awful as previously here.

Overall the back half of Season 2 has been pretty good.

Aside: A bad Star Trek habit is the monoculture: all Klingon’s are warriors, all Zakdorn’s are brilliant strategists, and so on. It’s a lot easier to write, but it doesn’t feel very real.

154 down, 583 to go.

Trekathon 153: The Emissary (TNG)

March 14th, 2010

Another strong episode, this time with Worf getting a girlfriend (and also a little bit of time in the big chair).

Klingon culture struggles along – apparently Klingon mating rituals are largely based on 1980s romantic comedies, where the two main participants fight until they realise they’re in love. I was a little sad that the previous suggestions about Klingon love poetry didn’t get used here, it would have made it a lot more interesting.

(Important note: despite the fact that this episode inevitably leads to Worf’s son Alexander, I am not deducting any points for this episode).

153 down, 584 to go.

Trekathon 152: Manhunt (TNG)

March 14th, 2010

Poor Star Trek fans. After the shock of how bad Star Trek V is, what do they get when they turn back to the TV? A Lwaxana Troi episode.

I do have to admit – I enjoyed this episode a lot more than the previous one. The first appearance of Mrs Troi was played just a touch too flamboyantly. But here she at least has some excuse for her actions, which makes her much more sympathetic. It’s also fun to see Picard run away from her into the Dixon Hill holodeck.

In fact, the only thing holding this back from being a ‘great’ episode is that it really isn’t about anything, but it’s worth noting that it’s the first time that not having a ‘jeopardy’ plot hasn’t undermined the episode fatally.

152 down, 585 to go.

Trekathon 151: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (MOV)

March 14th, 2010

The famously bad fifth movie.

And while it’s bad, it’s really bad in an ‘inept and dull’ kind of way, rather than the sort of transcending badness that some things manage.

A lot of the problems come from the film trying to be light and funny, but with a group of people who just aren’t suited to the type of comedy. It ends up more bad slapstick (Scotty hitting his head and falling down) than funny. Then the material (a renegade Vulcan kidnaps the Enterprise to visit God) is not exactly what you think of as “comedy gold”.

But the real reason to complain is simply that everything comes across as incredibly dull.

151 down, 586 to go. And I’m now back on schedule as well.