Archive for August, 2012

Trekathon Season Review: Voyager, Season 3

August 26th, 2012

The good news for year 3 was that Voyager finally managed a great episode. Before and After is up there with the very best of Star Trek. Unfortunately, it took almost 60 episodes, and is matched this year by two of the worst: Alter Ego and Favorite Son. Sadly both Harry Kim episodes – the writers can’t find anything interesting to do with him except slap him around. At least the writers are going for range – the worst Voyager so far within an episode or two of the best so far.

But there is more promise than in Season 2. The show has tried for the fences a few more times, with episodes that take brave risks. These risks aren’t paying off as often as I’d like, but at least they’re being tried. We’ve ditched the boring Kazon, and now have a much more interesting foe in terms of the Borg. I’m more optimistic than I was.

Overall it’s still a bad series of TV, but sneaks ahead of TNG Season 2 (which the previous season couldn’t manage).

That takes the rankings to:

The very best of Trek:

  • TNG Season 6
  • DS9 Season 2

Strong performers:

  • TNG Season 3
  • TNG Season 5
  • TOS Season 2
  • TNG Season 4

Mixed bag:

  • TOS Season 1
  • DS9 Season 2
  • DS9 Season 1
  • VOY Season 1
  • TNG Season 7

Not good:

  • DS9 Season 3
  • VOY Season 3
  • TNG Season 2
  • TAS Season 1
  • VOY Season 2
  • TOS Season 3
  • TAS Season 2
  • TNG Season 1

Two more episodes of DS9 for Season 5.

Trekathon 478: Scorpion (1) (VOY)

August 26th, 2012

Voyager finds the Borg territory, as well as the alien race that is crushing them.

To quote George Lucas’s masterwork – ‘there’s always a bigger fish’. In this case, the unstoppable ‘Species 8472’, whose motto is ‘the weak will perish’. That’s the setup for a pretty good action episode that still takes the time for developing the complexity of the Janeway/Chakotay relationship.

There are a few weaknesses – for a start, no one thinks about the implications this new species would have for the Federation. Sure it’s a while off, but there’s a good argument for worrying about that now. And the new aliens are a bit too powerful. It’ll be hard to write around that one later.

478 down, 259 to go.

Trekathon 477: Empok Nor (DS9)

August 25th, 2012

A mission to salvage parts from DS9’s twin goes awry when they seem to end up in a bad horror movie by mistake.

Not good. I suppose it’s a reasonably competent attempt to create a more oppressive atmosphere. But it’s really pretty silly stuff. They stretch a long way to set up the situation in the first part, and so as a result we only get a couple of minutes as ‘Garak the bad guy’. And the idea of a drug that makes you more xenophobic? Yuck.

I think the real problem is that ‘horror’ is just too far from the usual Trek tone. There’s normally good lighting, sensible character actions, all that jazz. So the standard horror movie tricks stand out pretty badly.

477 down, 260 to go.

Trekathon 476: Worst Case Scenario (VOY)

August 24th, 2012

Chakotay leads a mutiny against Janeway.

Another missed opportunity. While the story here (Seska’s booby trapped the holodeck program), it would have been much more interesting to try and maintain the pretence that this is a real mutiny a lot longer – the whole episode, even. There was a really good idea, but it gets turned into another ‘holodeck malfunction’ episode.

Say, make it that this is Janeway running through the scenario. And have the reveal saved for the very last scene. Make it about something current – make it concerns about relationships now, the tensions that still exist. By setting it ‘way back when’ it takes any of the character interest out of it, beyond ‘see how they’ve changed’.

476 down, 261 to go.

Trekathon 475: Blaze of Glory (DS9)

August 23rd, 2012

Eddington helps Sisko stop a final revenge attack by the Maquis.

Last season we had a great Sisko/Eddington episode, followed up by an even better one earlier this year. Fortunately someone was taking notes about what works, because while this is really just more of the same it works really well. It’s a great pity that they didn’t discover the relationship here until after the changed direction made it academic, because this time it’s farewell to Eddington.

Everything fits together well – there’s a nice twist, and there’s even a fairly decent Nog B-plot. There’s a bit too much time spent in mechanics rather than the real meat of the episode to keep it from being great, but overall this is pretty strong.

475 down, 262 to go.

Trekathon 474: Displaced (VOY)

August 22nd, 2012

The crew of Voyager is kidnapped one-by-one, to be replaced by aliens.

Just didn’t make sense. Either this is a situation that should have been easily dealt with by Voyager security, or the alien race is so advanced that the elaborate plan was a complete waste of effort. Mind you, the theme of the day seems to be ‘incompetent security’, given the ease the crew has wandering around the alien’s ship.

Other than that, we get some terrible flirting between Paris and B’Elanna, and not much else.

474 down, 263 to go.