Archive for September, 2012

Trekathon 507: Far Beyond the Stars (DS9)

September 24th, 2012

Sisko has a vision where he’s a 1950s pulp SF writer.

I am really torn about this episode. On the one hand, it’s an interesting conceit, and is pretty well delivered (apart from the ‘breakdown’ scene at the end, which is a bit too scenery-chewing). It deals with real issues, without resorting to crude analogy. And it’s fun to see the alien cast without their makeup on.

But it doesn’t feel a lot like Deep Space 9. It’s a bit too ‘meta’, and the connection to Sisko’s ‘inner conflict’ is pretty sparse. And it sets things up for an ‘it was all a dream’ ending, which I hate. And while the racism issues of the 1950s are all very real, the inciting incident of ‘they won’t publish my story’ isn’t significant enough without a much better understanding of Sisko’s 1950s doppelganger.

507 down, 230 to go.

Trekathon 506: Who Mourns for Morn? (DS9)

September 23rd, 2012

Morn dies and leaves his estate to Quark.

This entire episode is based on an in-joke – Morn, the bar rat (an anagram of ‘Norm’ from Cheers), who we’re told talks a lot but never talks on screen. He’s been a background character since episode one, but he’s never been given any interesting character, except at a remove. A lot of the first act of this episode revolves around a single joke – ‘hey, isn’t it funny how much they know about this guy we never see do anything’. It’s not a particularly good joke.

Things pick up marginally in the second half when Quark gets caught in the ‘criminals fall out’ scene of the average heist movie. It’s OK, but over complicated, and the resolution is a bit weak – falling back into those ‘tell, don’t show’ habits of TNG and early DS9.

506 down, 231 to go.

Trekathon 505: Message in a Bottle (VOY)

September 22nd, 2012

Voyager finds a way to phone home.

It’s very nearly halfway through Voyager as a series, so I suppose it’s time to contact home. The network they use is a bit implausible (it just happens to start near their location, and finish near the Federation), but it was good to finally force the Doctor to do something all on his own, with no support.

While I suspect the tone of the EMH Mark 1/EMH Mark 2 bickering wouldn’t work for a lot of people, personally I found it quite funny. Some of the better comedic writing in a while. It was also good that the emphasis was on them winning the day despite their ineptness, rather than on any implausible piece of luck along the way.

505 down, 232 to go.

Trekathon 504: Waking Moments (VOY)

September 21st, 2012

Voyager has a bad case of the nightmares.

Or, alternatively, the Voyager travelling players present Inception (12 years before the film, of course). The dream-within-a-dream stuff seems pretty predictable now, but for the time it’s very well done.

I was a bit worried that this was going to be another ‘horror’ episode, something that has never worked well in Star Trek. But instead again we get the imaginative SF approach to an alien race who lives in dreams. Good, but under explored.

(Tuvok’s nightmare at the top didn’t seem right. Why would a Vulcan have a classic anxiety dream?)

504 down, 233 to go.

Trekathon 503: Waltz (DS9)

September 20th, 2012

Dukat and Sisko are stranded together after a crash.

Really great, but not quite spectacular, stuff. It’s really a one man show, with Sisko not doing much other than move the action along a couple of times. It’s mainly Dukat coming to terms with his demons, and deciding once and for all to be a devil. I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s a 9/10, and not a 10/10, but there is just something that didn’t quite lift this to the very top.

There were also a lot of things that could have been done wrong here. Trying to strain the ‘Dukat is seeing people’ thing for too long, for instance. But for the most part the episode avoids the many pitfalls. The one odd note is the additional scenes around the search for Sisko – they seemed to add very little. I wonder if the first draft of this was a little short.

503 down, 234 to go.

Trekathon 502: The Magnificent Ferengi (DS9)

September 19th, 2012

Quark assembles a rag-tag group of Ferengi to rescue his mother.

Some truly horrible moments: Quark and Nog just wandering into the Captain’s office accidentally, many scenes of the five Ferengi fighting, the reapparance of Empok Nor, screaming Ferengi, ‘To the Infirmary’, the inevitable final act conflict over money, ‘let’s do it for equal shares of 50 bars of gold pressed latinum’, ‘Weekends at Bernie-Vorta’s’, ‘How does it feel to be a hero?’, the dead Vorta endlessly crashing into a wall.

No good moments.

(And, purely as a matter of accuracy: surely this should be the Dirty Ferengi, story)

502 down, 235 to go.