Archive for April, 2012

Trekathon 350: Time and Again (VOY)

April 20th, 2012

Janeway and Paris blow up a planet, and then try to prevent it.

Too complicated, and a terrible child actor. This doesn’t ruin the episode completely, but is enough to make it all come off as very flat. For the most part it simply doesn’t jell together very well.

As for the logic: I enjoy time puzzles like this normally, but there’s not enough internal logic. And the paradox is a bit too similar to the previous episode. The weakest so far, but we’re still a long way ahead of TNG Season 1.

350 down, 387 to go.

Trekathon 349: Life Support (DS9)

April 19th, 2012

A peace treaty is derailed by a severe injury to Vedek Bareil

A worthy attempt to tackle difficult issues. It’s a good example of the more serial nature of the show too, as this episode would be almost inaccessible to people who hadn’t been following the show at least somewhat wouldn’t understand a lot of the significance of what’s going on in the episode.

The Jake/Nog B-plot is also pretty well done, especially for something that relies on Ferengi custom. But it’s an odd fit with the rest of the episode.

(As a side note: ‘I won’t remove any last shred of humanity’ – he’s NOT HUMAN, he’s a Bajoran. I bet that casual racism really gets on the nerves of the other races).

349 down, 388 to go.

Trekathon 348: Parallax (VOY)

April 18th, 2012

Voyager tries to rescue a ship from a singularity.

Again, this is pretty good. There’s a horrible moment early on with Neelix explaining what’s happening to Kes in such a terrible way that I was surprised that his version was ‘true’ in the Star Trek world, rather than being an insight into his character. The physics here really are that silly and wrong.

But once we’re past that hurdle it’s pretty good. There’s some more good character stuff, although B’Elanna switches from rage to ‘Star Fleet nerd’ a bit too quickly. So far the show is happy to create situations and see what happens with the characters, which at least shows some confidence in the premise.

348 down, 389 to go.

Trekathon 347: Caretaker, Part II (VOY)

April 17th, 2012

In a lot of ways this is the best Star Trek premiere yet. Now that is damning by faint praise: The Cage and Where No Man Has Gone Before were shaky early TOS episodes, Encounter at Farpoint was largely bad, and Emissary was mixed at best. So, simply by clearing the bar to ‘good’, this makes it in as the best.

But it’s really a promising start. The characters are well developed, and the actors seem to be fairly comfortable with who they are already. The setup includes some good internal conflicts. And even the ‘comic relief’ character is, after a bad start, capable of some interesting depth. Although I wis they’d be confident enough to not bother with the comic relief.

But there are also some worrying signs. The writing does a bad job of setting up the ‘long way home’ problem, and resorts to a long ‘heroic captain speech’ to do the job. The ‘bad guys’ are very one-dimensionally drawn, with no depth provided. And Paris is just a bit too smug to be watchable.

But all in all, so far so good.

347 down, 390 to go.

Trekathon 346: Caretaker, Part I (VOY)

April 16th, 2012

I should start with a brief note: I have seen less Voyager than any other Star Trek series, including Enterprise. I’m not sure that I’ve seen even one complete episode. So this is all pretty new to me. But I start with the general knowledge that this was not a popular series with the fan world.

But so far it’s not too bad a start. There are some awkward moments, like the mysterious farm house. But for the most part it’s economical in setting up character’s and relationships. It is, for instance, far better than TNG’s attempt at the same thing.

But the time with character is coming at the expense of plot, and so far in this episode it would be easy to be confused. A couple of big things have happened – thrown across the galaxy, lost a lot of the crew – and I think you could be forgiven for not having noticed. This is just part one of what was originally a two hour movie length episode, so I suppose I should be a little patient.

346 down, 391 to go.

Trekathon 345: Past Tense (II) (DS9)

April 15th, 2012

Sisko and Bashir try to get history back on the right track.

I made the mistake of thinking too deeply about this episode for a second and the logic all fell apart. Bashir and Sisko get events back without any help from Kira or O’Brien, so why should their history have changed? And shouldn’t there be more changes, as it sounds like they should have been called the ‘Webb riots’ from the way we saw them on screen.

That, plus the distinctly mediocre ‘comedy visits to the past of San Francisco’ added up to an episode that was far far too ambitious for the skills of the writing. The acting makes a good job with weak material, but it’s just too confused and messy to really be an enjoyable episode. Sisko in particular has a lot of fun letting his anger out, though.

345 down, 392 to go. And now for the next series…

Trekathon 344: Past Tense (1) (DS9)

April 14th, 2012

A transporter accident throws Sisko, Dax and Bashir back over three hundred years.

The real problem this show has is that since airing it’s gone from 30 years in the future to 10 years in the future. It makes the ‘future’ shown a lot harder to believe.

As for the rest: they undersell the new future that the rest of the crew find themselves in. They could have at least done an ominous com message rather than just ‘everything’s missing’. The idea that worked best was the contrast between Dax and the others experience in the future, but by choosing the Bill Gates equivalent it didn’t quite land for me.

344 down, 393 to go.

Trekathon 343: Fascination (DS9)

April 13th, 2012

Lwaxana Troi visits again.

There is practically nothing good in this episode. There’s a strange virus spread by Lwaxana causing people to fall in love. Much embarrassment and ‘hilarity’ ensues.

This is just a painful way to spend an hour.

343 down, 394 to go.

Trekathon 342: Defiant (DS9)

April 12th, 2012

Riker turns up on the station, and steals a ship. No, not that Riker, the other one.

There are some pretty good parts here. A TNG guest star taking advantage of the wrap of the movie. More Gul Dukat. Cardassian intrigue. Some of the best combat VFX scenes I’ve seen in DS9.

But something doesn’t quite gel. The Obsidian Order has come across as very threatening before, but here it doesn’t work. The idea of them getting their own ships should be scary, given the implications for the balance of power in Cardassia, but it doesn’t work out. And Sisko going to Cardassia to hunt down his own ship should feel more momentous, but he sets on a course so early there’s never a chance to develop any conflict about it.

342 down, 395 to go.

Trekathon 341: Star Trek Generations (MOV)

April 11th, 2012

The Next Generation makes an uninspiring leap to the big screen.

So, what did I think was the problem here?

  • There’s a long stretch (basically the first hour with the TNG crew) that feels little removed from an episode of the show. A relatively slow moving one at that. There simply isn’t the scale of threat that the previous movies have involved.

  • It takes far too long to reintroduce Kirk, and he has nearly nothing to do once he’s back in the film.

  • There’s a whole bunch of additional padding that helps nothing (Lursa and Betor! Data’s emotions! Picard’s family!), or which could have been done a lot more gracefully.

  • There’s a lot of ‘random stuff leads to terrible consequences’. The Enterprise is destroyed mainly because a lucky hit takes out the conn. Kirk dies when a bridge falls on him. Not good writing.

There are some great bits and pieces here. Picard and Kirk together is nice. The Nexus scenes are fairly well pitched (other than the gratuitous horse riding). Soren is a fairly convincing villain. But overall it’s a miss.

341 down, 396 to go. A few more DS9 episodes, and then Trek series number five kicks off.