Archive for March, 2010

Trekathon 150: Up the Long Ladder (TNG)

March 13th, 2010

Oh dear, it’s comedy Irish accents.

There’s probably a good funny episode to be written with the Enterprise transporting a primitive colony, but it’s not this one.

There’s a much more interesting story in the second half of the episode, when Riker and Pulaski get into a ‘right to choose’ argument. Probably one of the better abortion-proxy stories that has been done. But it only lasts for a few minutes before we’re back into the comedy irish accents, and the forced assimilation of two cultures.

So where was their right to choose, hey?

150 down, 587 to go.

Trekathon 149: Samaritan Snare (TNG)

March 13th, 2010

You would think that an episode that is half ‘Picard and Wesley in a shuttle chatting’ and half ‘the chief engineer is kidnapped’ wouldn’t end up with you wishing that you got more time in the shuttle.

So, the A plot starts with aliens who seem to be stupid. But then they turn out to be smarter than they appear. But no, they really are stupid, and the Enterprise has just been outmanoeuvred by them. And then a pretty silly trick is used to resolve everything.

The much better B plot doesn’t have very much time on screen, but the conversation between Picard and Wesley advances both of their characters well.

Overall pretty bad.

149 down, 588 to go.

Trekathon 148: Q Who? (TNG)

March 13th, 2010

Attention writers of the Ferengi episodes: this is how you establish a convincing, scary threat to the Federation.

It’s a bit hard to judge this episode in isolation from what it’s setting up, but I think that it’s fair to call this the single best episode of The Next Generation to date. The plot is unfolded carefully, Q manages to recover a bit of his mischievous malice from the previous appearance, and the sense of peril even manages to survive the inevitable knowledge that there will be an episode next week.

The only slightly off note was the strange comic note with the new ensign in engineering, but that’s only a minor quibble.

Great Star Trek moment: Well, duh: the first appearance of the Borg. The best Star Trek villain (until they ruin them a bit in Voyager).

148 down, 589 to go.

Trekathon 147: Pen Pals (TNG)

March 13th, 2010

The little known ‘it’s OK if it’s a cute little girl’ exception to the Prime Directive.

Data seems off in this episode. It just doesn’t seem in character for him to develop this kind of attachment – he’s not sentimental, as he has no emotions. Just a strange kind of off note.

The Wesley B-Plot is actually pretty good – Wesley has command for the first time, and manages it without being an obnoxious dick, and only lets people walk all over him a little bit.

As an aside, can I say that I find mind wipes very creepy. I hope that we never, ever develop the technology, because I can’t think of anyone I’d trust with it.

I find it very hard to believe that the entire command staff of a starship will spend 5 minutes talking about allocation of tasks to an ensign. And, for that matter, I’m pretty sure that senior staff doesn’t normally include lieutenants, no matter if they’re in the main credits or not.

147 down, 590 to go.

Trekathon 146: The Icarus Factor (TNG)

March 12th, 2010

Urk. Star Trek goes full on soap opera. Riker resolves his conflicts with his father, while Worf’s friends help him come to terms with being the only Klingon on the ship.

The writing acting isn’t terrible, but the story is just dull as ditchwater. The final resolution is also silly: Riker is always going to stay with the ship. Traditionally speaking most military organisations react to turning down a promotion in a simple way: never offer another promotion.

146 down, 591 to go.

Trekathon 145: Time Squared (TNG)

March 12th, 2010

Star Trek’s first time loop. We’ve seen a bit of time travel before, but it’s previously just been to get the Enterprise to a new setting. I actually like this kind of story, when done well it can be engrossing (if a little hard to follow).

The build up is very well done, with a good sense of mystery (and a pretty good mystery as well, with the alternate Picard). But the resolution falls short of great – the ending is interesting, but there’s something about the interaction between the two Picards that felt wrong to me. Picard must have some complicated demons, because he doesn’t seem to like himself very much at all.

This idea will be done better in future episodes. Or perhaps they were past episodes, time is such a tricky thing.

145 down, 592 to go.