Trekathon 176: Hollow Pursuits (TNG)

Yet another episode that skirts around the subject of Holodeck porn. Because do we seriously think that Barclay was just talking with his virtual Troi and Crusher? And there’s no regulation against this kind of thing? Seriously? Surely the Star Fleet sexual harassment guidelines alone would suffice – that’s really what Barclay was doing here.

Still, this is a good example of the right way to build a guest star – Barclay’s character is built up through his interactions with the main cast (or their virtual counterparts). He’s also dealt with in a fairly humane fashion, as someone who has a problem, rather than as someone to be laughed at (well, by the end of the episode at least). I also particularly liked the scene where the Enterprise engineering crew were working out what was happening – it was a lot more entertaining than the average technobabble solution at the end of the episode, because there was more of a sense of process rather than just words picked out of a hat.

Secrets of Star Trek management: I have to say, I’m with Picard in this episode. Transferring a problem staff member out of your area should be a last resort, and Geordi and Riker seem to be trying that as their first option here. I’m not sure if ‘become his best friend’ is a good option.

176 down, 571 to go.