Archive for November, 2012

Trekathon 568: The Fight (VOY)

November 24th, 2012

Chakotay hallucinates a boxing movie.

Without quite noticing, I see we’re in another patch of movie pastiches. We’ve had gangster, 1950s SF serial, war movie, spy thriller. And now ‘boxing movie’, probably the greatest stretch seen to date. Or, I should say, boxing movie with an overlay of A Beautiful Mind for no reason that I could possibly discern.

If you liked boxing movies you’d probably get more out of this one. But for me it was an incomprehensible mish-mash – stuff that might have been meaningful to some, but not to me. And introducing a confusing history of mental illness for Chakotay did not make it better.

568 down, 169 to go.

Trekathon 567: Course: Oblivion (VOY)

November 23rd, 2012

A strange disease strikes the Voyager crew.

Interesting idea, and it’s clever to show us the consequences of one of the previous episodes – Star Trek is too often a ‘no consequences’ show. But at the same time this episode is a pretty good argument against such a show. The writers didn’t have any new ideas to add to before – themes of identity, and what it means to be a person.

Still, we did get the highest core cast death count in an episode so far. Well, kinda. But once the twist was clear it didn’t really matter, as we knew it didn’t really ‘count’. And the writing never made us connect with this doppelgänger ship.

567 down, 170 to go.

Trekathon 566: Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges (DS9)

November 22nd, 2012

Dr Bashir goes to Romulus to play spy.

They really tried. But at the end of the day this episode just circles around and around getting more complicated without any point. The plot is convoluted, and poorly explained – there’s a series of ‘explanation’ monologues, each harder to understand than the one before it. So all we really get is Bashir getting more and more morally superior and smug.

There are some good, interesting episodes to be written about an organisation like Section 31. It’s a major step from Roddenberry’s perfect future, and it makes a kind of grim sense. But it’s painted without the shades of grey needed, and as a result it isn’t a very interesting story to watch.

566 down, 171 to go.

Trekathon 565: The Disease (VOY)

November 21st, 2012

Harry falls in love like a rebel.

Dear ‘writer’ of this episode,

As it turns out, I have watched Star Trek before this episode. As a result, I found the abrupt introduction of Star Fleet sexual purity confusing. Perhaps you haven’t watched The Original Series and Kirk’s liaisons. That was a while ago. Or any of the other 20 or 30 interspecies relationships that have occurred in all of the series since then. So maybe you didn’t know that your premise for this episode made no sense at all.

However, I’m sorry to tell you that the problems don’t end there. Everyone else acts like a total idiot. From the resistance fighter who starts the interrogation with “I’ll never tell you about the movement” to Harry Kim asking Seven of Nine what she thinks of love. Or the alien who has never heard of a shuttlecraft.

As I see that your writing credits include some very good episodes (including The Visitor and Bride of Chaotica), I can only assume that you’ve been abducted and replaced by an alien. Please, can George Lucas and the others of your kind please just leave us alone.

Thank you,

565 down, 172 to go.

Trekathon 564: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang (DS9)

November 20th, 2012

DS9 does a 1950s heist movie.

You remember, less than 10 episodes ago, when I loved a holodeck episode that was a flashback to an older genre? Well, here’s some proof that it does actually have to be good for me to like it. I love a good heist movie. This is not that.

How do you even get a heist episode so very wrong? It’s a deeply established formula. Most of the pieces are there, but the direction is off, the music is wrong, and the players don’t seem to understand. For instance, anyone who’s watched these knows that if you see them do it flawlessly it’s a rehearsal – you don’t just do a disconnected monologue. And then things go wrong in the actual heist – but there’s meant to be a clever reverse at the end. Go watch some Leverage.

564 down, 173 to go.

Trekathon 563: Dark Frontier, Part II (VOY)

November 19th, 2012

Seven of Nine gets to know the Borg queen.

They were shooting for epic here. I respect the ambition, but the result is bogged down by the pacing and structure of weekly TV. There are some decent action sequences, for instance, but they’re obviously broken up by ad breaks (as well as weighed down by technobabble).

I really don’t understand why the Queen was so keen to have Seven on their side. It seemed like a long way around to try and write ‘Locutus II’, but it didn’t work for me. As a result the moral dilemma is undermined from the start, and we never really fear for Seven’s allegiance.

Still, as with the ‘Killing Game’ two-parter from last year, these longer stories are working a lot better than the old TNG cliffhangers ever did.

563 down, 174 to go.