Archive for December, 2012

Trekathon 593: One Small Step (VOY)

December 19th, 2012

Voyager finds a link to the early exploration of Mars in the Delta quadrant.

This could have been a magical episode. The component parts were all right – dipping back into the earliest days of (future) space flight, reminding us of the exploring mission that has always been at the core of Star Trek. But it doesn’t quite work. I think that’s mainly because the Seven of Nine felt off – she was too ‘Borg’, not really up to where she has been in other recent episodes in terms of learning about humanity. And so as a result her epiphany about the value of exploration seems forced, not earned.

Which isn’t to say this isn’t a good episode. I enjoyed it, it’s a good story, with the right mix of action and nostalgia. But it could have been so much more, with just a little bit more care on how Seven was written. And, probably, a less didactic approach than ‘play the old log tapes’ – there were other ways to tell the lost astronauts story.

593 down, 144 to go.

Trekathon 592: Dragon’s Teeth (VOY)

December 18th, 2012

Seven awakes an alien civilisation from sleep.

The title of this episode is pretty much a spoiler – if you know the legend of the dragon’s teeth, you also know they aren’t going to be fighting on the side of the good guys. So from the start you can be pretty sure that the aliens here are going to turn out bad.

But the sudden yet inevitable betrayal is built up nicely, and it was a cool touch using ancient cultural references as the clue that gave things away. Although I didn’t like it that the main reason things were discovered ultimately comes down to some children being mean about Neelix behind his back.

But I see a wasted opportunity here. This story could have been part of a broader arc. We could have seen Voyager going through a region of space where an ancient evil empire had been overthrown for many episodes. And then we could have had a far more effective fakeout, to discover that these are the aliens who were in charge, not more victims. Serial story telling can give you better results.

592 down, 145 to go.

Trekathon 591: Riddles (VOY)

December 17th, 2012

Tuvok loses his memory.

“The Vulcan Brain. A puzzle wrapped inside an enigma, housed inside a cranium.”. No. Bad writer. No biscuit.

Tuvok subconsciously prefers Neelix to Janeway? I’m not sure that makes any sense. And while we’re talking about not making sense, the obsessive alien trying to prove that this mysterious species exists quickly deciding to help them cover up their existence? Doesn’t make sense either.

As for the rest – it’s the stupid Tuvok vs Neelix thing again. Surely there is nothing left to be done here. It was not good last time. They do find a new angle, by suggestion that Tuvok subconsciously likes Neelix, but nothing much more than that. We know that the interest in puns and jazz will be short lived as well.

591 down, 146 to go.

Trekathon 590: Alice (VOY)

December 16th, 2012

Tom’s new find goes all ‘Single White Starship’

Mysterious alien technology takes over Tom. It’s an old plot for Trek, but it’s not entirely stupid – after all, if there really was a spaceship wandering around alien races, it would be a realistic concern. Of course, in that case there would be careful security checks, safeguards, clean-room procedures, and so on. But that doesn’t make for good TV. But what also doesn’t make for good TV is having the main character with mysterious motivations. They don’t ‘earn’ Tom’s seduction here, it goes from zero to 100 in a second. And they confuse things with an element of mind control as well.

The rest was padding – there was no real benefit in having the ship be found at the mysterious alien junkyard, it just gave the writers a few extra pages in the story to avoid getting to the point.

590 down, 147 to go.

Trekathon 589: Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy (VOY)

December 15th, 2012

The Doctor’s day-dreaming gets out of hand.

The Doctor really needs to stop editing his own program. Indeed, last time he did this her promised to not do it on his own again. Oh well, short memories and all. We get more of an insight into the Doctor this time around, with his literal need to be loved. Well, we know he’s not gay now.

But will this be yet another ‘Doctor loses his memory’ – a major change, forgotten by next episode? I hope not – the ‘Emergency Command Hologram’ is an interesting idea, and it could make for some fun plots. The Hierarchy on the other hand appear to be transparent ripoffs of the Vogons – hopefully they won’t be back.

589 down, 148 to go.

Trekathon 588: Barge of the Dead (VOY)

December 14th, 2012

B’Elanna hallucinates Klingon Hell.

So, here’s pretty much the summary of what goes on here – B’Elanna gets into an accident. After the accident she has a dream that’s largely due to her non-acceptance of her Klingon half. And then decides to have another dream, so she can ‘resolve’ her relationship with her mother. Doesn’t sound like exciting TV now, does it?

Mysticism and unexplainable experiences can make for a good story. But they don’t work well in a show so firmly based on rationalism as Star Trek, and it doesn’t work well with a character like B’Elanna. The ‘solution’ seems like it shouldn’t work either – if it’s fundamentally a problem in your subconscious, then using a trick isn’t really going to work, is it?

588 down, 149 to go.