Archive for April, 2012

Trekathon 360: Prime Factors (VOY)

April 30th, 2012

Voyager finds a race with the power to send them halfway home.

For the first 15 minutes or so this felt like an unwelcome step back to the bad old days of TNG Season 1. Something about the staging and set design of the planet rubbed me badly the wrong way. Super-advanced aliens are hard to write, and generally a bit boring. There was something creepily decadent about the alien society here, but that gets no exploration.

But once this became a story about the crew, and the divisions within the ship, it became a lot more interesting. The idea of ‘what are you willing to pay to get home quicker’ is one worth exploring. Tuvok’s decision to help out was a bum note, though.

The one cop out was the ‘catastrophically incompatible’ nature of the technology. That’s it, really? Surely there was at least the potential for a bit more investigation.

360 down, 377 to go.

Trekathon 359: Emanations (VOY)

April 29th, 2012

Harry Kim is dying to get back to Voyager.

I enjoyed this. It was a pretty successful attempt to look at a trickier issue, and for once didn’t feel like all the answers had to be there for the episode to be complete. And it was nice that the solution came from Harry’s actions and taking a chance, rather than technobabble speech no. 147.

The one thing it didn’t really do is further any of the characters. Really any of the role here could have been played by any others, or the story transplanted to TNG or DS9. Or even TOS. That’s ultimately a sign of weakness, as it gives the story a too generic feel.

359 down, 378 to go.

Trekathon 358: Ex Post Facto (VOY)

April 28th, 2012

Tom is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. So he says, at least.

This fell pretty flat. The science fiction element (the ‘relive the victims last moments’ thing) didn’t get a lot of use. It would have been nice, for instance, for the repetition to cause Paris to start to doubt his innocence. And the rest is a fairly dull procedural investigation, with a small side helping of ill-defined medical drama.

The final resolution is pretty clever, but it isn’t enough to carry the rest of the episode all on its own.

358 down, 379 to go.

Trekathon 357: Visionary (DS9)

April 27th, 2012

O’Brien becomes unstuck in time.

Time travel episodes are pretty tricky to get right. It’s a fun story when you write it down in 200 words, but once you have to start working out the internal logic it’s very hard to do something that has strong internal logic without spending half the episode in exposition.

This episode threads that needle very nicely. While the final act starts to lose coherence, it makes sense as a time travel story. And there’s also a nice link between the main story and the (apparent) B-plot. The only jarring note is that it felt odd to be seeing Romulans again when the Voyager episode just did that as well.

357 down, 380 to go.

Trekathon 356: Eye of the Needle (VOY)

April 26th, 2012

Voyager finds a way home. Maybe.

This is a good story, although I would have preferred to have a bit more of the Doctor’s B-plot than some of the slow development in the main story. But I felt that the emotional content was a bit lacking. The crew goes from having a 70 year journey home to almost being there, only to lose it again. And all we get is a plaintive look from Janeway. There is still just a lack of concreteness to the situation they’re in.

The Romulan also bothered me – 20 years ago the Romulans were in isolation (remember that it was their first appearance in a while back in Season 1 of TNG). Couldn’t that have at least been mentioned, rather than the idea that seeing Star Fleet vessels is routine enough that a remote scientist knows all about them?

356 down, 381 to go.

Trekathon 355: Prophet Motive (DS9)

April 25th, 2012

Grand Nagus Zek tries to change all Ferengi culture.

So, whose bright idea was it that the first reappearance of the wormhole aliens since the pilot should be in a ‘comedy’ Ferengi episode? That takes my normal annoyance at Ferengi episodes to a whole new level. It’s better than some of the other Ferengi episodes, but not by a lot.

The sub-plot was kind of nice, with Bashir trying to not become too attached to winning a prize he can’t win. At least until I found out afterwards that the whole thing was an extended metaphor for TNG’s Emmy nomination, which kind of coloured my view of it in retrospect.

355 down, 382 to go.

Trekathon 354: The Cloud (VOY)

April 24th, 2012

Voyager investigates a nebula that may provide energy for the ship.

For the most part this is the first episode to really try and address the situation that the crew is in. It does a good job with a lot of the elements – the reduced circumstances for the crew, the slow realisation of their situation, and so on. It completely fails to mention the Maquis element though, which is disappointing.

But there’s a lot of good character stuff, with almost all of the main cast getting at least a little bit more definition. I came away from the episode liking each character a little bit more. There’s also some really good writing, just in terms of some of the throwaway lines.

Great quote: “There’s coffee in that nebula.”

354 down, 383 to go.

Trekathon 353: Destiny (DS9)

April 23rd, 2012

An ancient prophecy predicts doom as Cardassian scientists visit.

A slow and talky episode, but not in a bad way. We’re calling back to something that hasn’t been mentioned at all lately, namely Sisko’s night job as a Bajoran messiah. And there’s some nice development of the new peace between Cardassia and Bajor.

On the other hand, things are a bit dull. The only threat is to the worm hole, and we know that’s not going to play out. There’s a nice subplot with O’Brien and a Cardassian scientist who gets the wrong idea that could have been made more of, and the undercover spy gets hardly any use at all. So it certainly could have been a bit more exciting.

353 down, 384 to go.

Trekathon 352: Phage (VOY)

April 22nd, 2012

Neelix’s lungs are stolen.

Well, it’s better than *Spock’s Brain, the last major organ theft episode from Star Trek (almost 300 episodes ago…)

It’s not that bad at all, really. Once past the silliness of the concept there are some interesting points. The Doctor is developing well as a character, although it’s all a bit too ‘sketchy’ so far as most of his scenes are loaded down with medical technobabble. Kes is improving as a character as well, although something just isn’t quite working for me.

352 down, 385 to go.

Trekathon 351: Heart of Stone (DS9)

April 21st, 2012

Major Kira gets her foot stuck.

Another focus on Odo, this time looking at the Kira/Odo relationship in more detail. I was honestly finding this all a bit rote and boring (threatening the life of a main character never works well for me, I know its not going to happen), but the resolution redeemed things somewhat.

The subplot, with Nog trying to join Starfleet, was a lot stronger. There’s still something about the acting here which doesn’t quite work, but it’s an interesting story that was fairly well told. And plenty of potential for the future.

351 down, 386 to go.