Archive for July, 2012

Trekathon 447: The Ascent (DS9)

July 26th, 2012

Quark and Odo crash land on a remote planet.

‘Tonal whiplash’ is the easiest way to describe this episode. We have a lighter story about Jake and Nog learning to be roommates, contrasted with Quark and Odo facing death on a remote planet. Every time they switched from one to the other, I was disoriented. B-plots need at least some relationship to the main story.

As a result of this, and also some weaknesses in clearly setting the peril they were in due to poor location choice, it’s hard to get too invested in the story. Some of this is also that Quark in this situation just doesn’t work very well.

447 down, 290 to go.

Trekathon 446: Star Trek: First Contact (MOV)

July 25th, 2012

The TNG crew return to save the Earth from the Borg.

This is a very solid movie. It has some great moments, a plot that moves along at a fair clip, some interesting action scenes, and some good performances from the non-core cast. There are even some very nice directing choices, like the shot early on of Picard and Riker using the reflection in the glass.

But all the action distracts from the core of the story, which ought to be the Data and Picard arcs. Instead the Picard emotion journey is largely compressed into a single (admittedly strong) scene, and Datas arc is compromised in order to create some false suspense in the final sequence. If those stories had just been given a bit more room, rather than spending 10 minutes unlocking a deflector dish, this movie could have been great.

There’s a bit of redesign of the Borg here – I’m not sure quite what to make of the Borg Queen – is she symbolic of the hive consciousness, or is she a specific individual. But I’m happy to forgive most of this, as it serves to make the story move along more smoothly.

It’s easily the best of the TNG movies (both of them), but it misses out on the emotional content of The Wrath of Khan, or the fun of The Voyage Home.

446 down, 291 to go.

Trekathon 445: Warlord (VOY)

July 24th, 2012

Kes’s mind is taken over by an alien Warlord.

I’ve found Kes to be an intermittently interesting character. Sometimes she’s the exposition backup in the medbay. Sometimes she’s just Neelix’s love interest. And then, every now and then, we get a glimpse of a more complex character, such as in Cold Fire, and here in the scenes where we see the internal struggle between Kes and the Warlord.

But the rest of Kes being possessed wasn’t that interesting. It’s normally a chance for an actor to do something outside their normal range. But when that’s combined with the character of Kes it doesn’t work, as we’re never very sure if it’s Kes (but the angry Kes) or the Warlord we’re seeing.

445 down, 292 to go.

Trekathon 444: Things Past (DS9)

July 23rd, 2012

Everyone takes a trip back into Odo’s memories of Terek Nor.

I dislike episodes that change important elements of a character in order to tell the story. Here Garak suddenly becomes quite racist (speciesist?) towards Bajorans, and an apologist for the occupation. It’s new, and out of character for him – he’s been sold as a good observer, not someone who believes the propaganda line.

The rest of the impact of this one was a bit muted by the fact that I’d basically always assumed Odo had been doing this sort of thing with the Cardassians. Can’t lay down with dogs without getting fleas, and so on. So the reveal of what was going on was nice, but didn’t really hit me strongly.

444 down, 293 to go.

Trekathon 443: Future’s End, Part II (VOY)

July 22nd, 2012

Voyager saves the future.

This episode has a really bad case of the stupids. The evil businessman has captured the Doctor, and then takes the communicator off him? During a conversation about him being a hologram? READ THE SCRIPT! It makes no sense to remove an object from him, it’s not real. Then we have the Nobel Prize for Archaeology, or no one realising that Starling would bring his own car, “it looks like a tricorder” when it simply doesn’t, thinking the time ship is in a truck that is simply not wide enough, and so on. I was deeply turned off the episode, all because of a few QA points.

Maybe without those things, or if I hadn’t noticed, it would have been better. As it was, it was frankly bad. Not an enjoyable experience.

443 down, 294 to go.

Trekathon 442: Let He Who Is Without Sin… (DS9)

July 21st, 2012

Worf and Dax (and Leeta & Bashir and Quark) go on romantic vacations to Risa.

This episode crystallised for me the problem that I’ve been having with the portrayal of Worf since he joined the show. We oscillate from ‘Worf with the strict sense of duty’ to ‘Worf whose anger gets the worst of him and he goes too gar’. It makes no sense for Worf to become a terrorist just because he doesn’t like his holiday. And then we find out the moral to the story is that ‘Worf feels he always has to control himself’? It’s like they hadn’t even read the rest of the script.

Also – why was Quark there too? He added nothing to the plot at all.

442 down, 295 to go.