Archive for April, 2010

Trekathon 245: Chain of Command, Part II (TNG)

April 29th, 2010

The core of the episode is the battle of wits between Picard and his Cardassian interrogator. The acting is superb, both from Patrick Stewart and from guest star David Warner. It’s not an original story, but it’s very carefully and cleverly done, with original notes such as the interrogator’s daughter (good old ‘bring your daughter to work’ day).

The rest of the episode, with the temporary captain of the Enterprise, isn’t as good – it’s enjoyable, but just doesn’t have the depth of the main part.

And then the episode, with just the final 30 seconds, really kicks it up a further notch with Picard’s confession. It’s a pity that this isn’t the kind of show where the consequences will show up next week, but that’s just a constraint of the genre.

245 down, 492 to go. And now we go on to Deep Space 9, and I have to start jumping from series to series in order to keep in chronological order.

Trekathon 244: Chain of Command, Part I (TNG)

April 29th, 2010

Shortest teaser in an episode? At about 40 seconds, it’s pretty close. I’ve noticed that the shortest teasers seem to go with the best episodes.

The premise to take Picard out of command, put him on a secret mission, and put someone else in charge of the Enterprise, is pretty silly, and stretches believability. Is there no Starfleet Special Forces that could have gone?

The bit of the episode devoted to the new Captain taking charge is interesting – he’s of the school of thought that you need to put your own stamp on those areas you’re in charge of. He’s a bit of a dick about it, but it’s a bit of a dick way of managing an organisation.

The Picard/Crusher/Worf scenes are more of the ‘two parter prologue’ type, but that’s more than made up for by the sheer creepiness of the final scene between Picard and his Cardassian captor.

244 down, 493 to go.

Trekathon 243: The Quality of Life (TNG)

April 29th, 2010

Cute robots have rights too!

I thought this was a philosophically interesting episode that ended up missing the mark because a bit too much time was spent dancing around the subject of ‘what can the robots do’. It would have been much more interesting if that had been settled quickly, and the debate was instead about whether that was enough to represent intelligent life.

It was nice to have another call back to the question of when machines are life, and it’s good to put Data in this kind of situation – his reaction was believable. The writers just needed to have a bit more faith in their concept, rather than trying too hard to maintain a sense of suspense about the robots.

243 down, 494 to go.

Trekathon 242: A Fistful of Datas (TNG)

April 28th, 2010

Holodeck malfunction time. Well, I suppose it’s been a while.

(Actually, I haven’t commented on how much better things have gotten on that front. No super-powerful aliens except Q in ages, and the idiot plot hasn’t been around much).

I’m not really sure what they were trying for here – a better relationship between Worf and his son? But Alexander spends most of the episode kidnapped? Some fun for Brent Spiner playing multiple Datas? Maybe, but none of the other personas are given much to do.

I think they were shooting for ‘fun’, but missed and hit ‘bad’.

242 down, 495 to go.

Trekathon 241: Rascals (TNG)

April 27th, 2010

Oh dear, Star Trek babies…

(OK, teenagers. But still).

So, it’s a silly idea, and I wasn’t a fan from the start. But the actor playing the ‘young’ Picard won me over – he managed a fair impersonation (not perfect, but very good). The others weren’t bad either – I did feel that they were still ‘themselves’ even in a different actor. I was won over to the idea of a story about coming to terms with this kind of change, even if the reset button would be coming at the end.

But then the writers seemed to just lose confidence in their concept, and so suddenly the ship is taken over by Ferengi, and the story becomes much less interesting. In particular, the story is no longer about the four being children any more – instead, it’s Home Alone on a spaceship. It’s the sharpest turn from OK to bad I’ve seen so far.

241 down, 496 to go. And 33.31% complete, or 6 minutes short of one third of the Trekathon.

Trekathon 240: True Q (TNG)

April 27th, 2010

Better than the start of the episode suggested, but still not that great.

I think the idea just wasn’t strong enough on its own. The real strength of the Q episodes is in Q’s interactions with Picard, and that gets left out here, partly due to the focus on Beverley more than Picard. The young Q was also not that great an actress, so we didn’t get a strong enough sense of her internal conflict.

Still, it was a lot better than Qpid.

240 down, 497 to go.

Trekathon 239: Schisms (TNG)

April 27th, 2010

Good teaser: the Enterprise explodes.

Bad teaser: Data reads poetry and Riker falls asleep.

This episode could have been great – aliens from another dimension stealing Enterprise crew members in their sleep? That could be a great horror-style episode. However, this episode features a seven minute scene of people discussing how a table from their dreams should be arranged. Sure, it’s a creepy table – but seven minutes!?

Maybe it’s just that the Star Trek style is too bright to allow horror to work, but this was an episode that could almost send you back to sleep. Ironic considering that it starts with Riker’s own sleep problems.

239 down, 498 to go.

Trekathon 238: Relics (TNG)

April 26th, 2010


The third of the original crew to turn up in Next Generation, and the only one to get a story about him – Bones got a cameo, and Spock got a lot of Romulan politics. Here the story is squarely about Scotty, and coming to terms with his usefulness in the new world.

The first half of the episode was a bit odd – while I can understand that Scotty was in a bit of shock, we haven’t seen him before as a rambling old man (closet alcoholic, sure, and there was nothing here to disprove that). It just felt out of character for him to be so oblivious to others when he was reeling off stories, something we’ve never really seen him do before. But the second half of the episode, with Geordi and Scotty developing a friendship, was a much better story.

And I loved the callbacks to the older episodes, it was nice to see some acknowledgment of the original series, which often gets short shrift in the Next Generation.

238 down, 499 to go.

Trekathon 237: Man of the People (TNG)

April 26th, 2010

So, this ambassador who is really a psychic vampire turns up, seduces Troi, but then they work out what’s happening and stop him.


Bad episode, bad premise, and (after some fairly good recent performances) some bad acting from the main participants. Not ‘cover your eyes’ awful, but not a fun hour of television.

237 down, and a nice round 500 to go.

Trekathon 236: Realm of Fear (TNG)

April 26th, 2010

The basis of this episode feels very real – Transporter phobia would undoubtedly be a very real thing in the world of Star Trek.

The episode starts out a bit poorly – it seems to be setting things up to be an hour long counselling session for everyone’s favourite whipping boy, Reg Barclay. The actual plot plays out a lot more cleverly than that, thankfully, playing Reg’s phobia off against the strange things going on with the transporter.

The main weakness turns out to be a bit too much technobabble, and some overly long scenes of adjusting technical equipment.

236 down, 501 to go.