Archive for May, 2012

Trekathon 381: The Way of the Warrior (1) (DS9)

May 21st, 2012

A Klingon fleet visits the station, and a certain ex-Enterprise Klingon is called in to help.

For the most part this is a really clunky course correction. It introduces a lot of new stuff, and brings back some Klingon plots not touched much in years. But the decision to introduce a new war between the Klingons and Cardassia is puzzling. A complication too far, with a lot of balls already in the air.

The episode is weighed down by equal parts dull exposition, a bit of pointless Holodeck diversion, and then a lot of soul searching by Worf. None of it adds up to a very fun way to spend an hour, but maybe the second half will bring a bit more.

381 down, 356 to go.


Trekathon 380: Non Sequitur (VOY)

May 20th, 2012

Harry Kim finds himself back in San Francisco (and in nearly 400 years they still haven’t knocked down the hideous Transamerica Pyramid).

Voyager’s first ‘return to Earth’ (I’m betting there will be more yet) is ultimately a bit underwhelming. The how and why of getting there and getting back is all done through some pretty dull ‘convenient alien’ exposition. And the show never gives Harry Kim any doubt that he’s in the ‘wrong’ reality – it would have been a lot more interesting if his decision to leave was a hard one.

The main failing, though, is that we don’t learn anything about Kim or Paris. We get a glimpse of the path they might have gone down without Voyager, but nothing there is new or interesting. Kim’s a nerd, Paris is a loser. Surely we could’ve seen something just a bit more interesting.

380 down, 357 to go.


Trekathon 379: Elogium (VOY)

May 19th, 2012

Kes goes through space-puberty.

Probably one of those ideas better left alone. Accelerated puberty, like any accelerated ageing, is hard to pull off well. A couple of the characters run around going ‘am I ready to be a parent’ – such an old story, with nothing new done here. And then a cop out at the end to reset everything.

And the B-plot, with the aliens who want to ‘mate’ with Voyager, is pretty silly as well. Just not much to like here.

Great/terrible line: “It appears we have lost our sex appeal, Captain.”

379 down, 358 to go.


Trekathon 378: Projections (VOY)

May 18th, 2012

The Doctor is left all alone on the ship.

Apart from the actual explanation of what was going on in the last act (yuck, technobabble city), this was a pretty good piece of paranoid ‘what’s real here’ storytelling. It’s always an uphill battle in this type of story within an ongoing story, because the audience ‘knows’ what reality should be. But this episode manages it well.

It’s also good to see Barclay make a reappearance, and he and the Doctor work well together. None of the other crew-members really get very much time on screen at all, though.

378 down, 359 to go.


Trekathon 377: Initiations (VOY)

May 17th, 2012

Chakotay gets caught up with a Kazon child going through his initiation rite.

So far we’ve seen quite a bit of Chakotay’s spirituality. And it’s certainly a nice change for Star Trek to allow a character to have that side. But it all feels very shallow, like a Fisher Price religion. I don’t know very much about animistic religions, but I’m pretty sure there’s more depth than we get to see here.

The Kazon are a pretty dull one-note culture of the type that Star Trek is far too guilty of. All X’s are Y’s. It’s ultimately an incredibly racist view of the world, as it suggests that races or species can ever be summarised in that way. And in reality there’s always a lot more going on that that.

(Oh hey, the actual episode – OK, but not great. Just pressed a couple of my buttons).

377 down, 360 to go.


Trekathon 376: The 37’s (VOY)

May 16th, 2012

Voyager meets Amelia Earhardt.

A strange episode that started out bad but somehow redeemed itself by having an interesting problem to resolve in the final act. The whole ‘finding ancient alien abductees’ thing has been done very often, and isn’t fundamentally a very interesting story. There’s way too much time spent on the ‘this is what happened since you were abducted’ history, which everyone in the audience already knows. And without even the aliens who did the abducting there’s little drama.

But at the end of the episode the twist into ‘who will stay’ makes the episode worthwhile, and addresses a useful development point for the main characters and the rest of the crew.

376 down, 361 to go.


Trekathon Season Review: Deep Space Nine, Season 3

May 15th, 2012

Ouch. Not a good season. There are a few pretty strong moments, such as the Romulan/Cardassian 2-parter, Shakaar and Visionary. But there is nothing close to the great episodes of the previous season. And against that there are some real stinkers – Fascination and Meridian are the two worst, but the surplus of Ferengi episodes (House of Quark, Prophet Motive and Family Business) is pretty bad as well.

There seems to have been a deliberate attempt to reboot the show in a few respects, such as adding the Defiant. But there seems to be a lot of missed opportunities. The best stuff in this season has been when the ongoing plots of the Dominion, the Cardassians and Bajoran politics are used. But instead we spend too long with the Ferengi, and too long with generic episodes that could be in any series.

One trend I did like was the few quieter episodes, such as Explorers and Facets, where character stuff was allowed to happen without big threatening situations. Some more of that would be good, although the attempts so far haven’t bought in enough character to compensate for the loss of action.

Overall this is the weakest season since TNG’s second, and right now the trajectory of quality is not looking good.

So now we have the master list as:

  • TNG Season 6

  • DS9 Season 2

  • TNG Season 3

  • TNG Season 5

  • TOS Season 2

  • TNG Season 4

  • TOS Season 1

  • DS9 Season 1

  • VOY Season 1

  • TNG Season 7

  • DS9 Season 3

  • TNG Season 2

  • TAS Season 1

  • TOS Season 3

  • TAS Season 2

  • TNG Season 1

That’s 375 watched, 16,811 minutes, and 51.55% complete. 59,103 words written. 362 to go.


Trekathon 375: The Adversary (DS9)

May 15th, 2012

A little trip on the Defiant turns paranoid when a changeling is found aboard.

Another escalation in the cold war with the Dominion that has been running since the start of the season. Slow to get going, and a couple of drawn out sequences in the middle. But plenty of The Thing style paranoia, which while not new is at least well done and appropriate. I just wish the potential conflict was with an alien race we’d heard of before, and not this ‘introduced for one episode only long-term threat and past source of conflict’ race. Surely we’d have heard of them before.

This really seems like an awfully elaborate plot for a changeling. I’m pretty sure that there would be an easier way to start a war than this. And there’s a clearly a lot to be learnt about ‘Changeling on the loose’ security. O’Brien turns up with an unconscious Dax, and no one even questions if he’s still O’Brien? Sloppy. A lot of the pairs split up for little good reason. And no one ever suggests a second changeling either.

375 down, 362 to go.


Trekathon 374: Facets (DS9)

May 14th, 2012

Jadzia experiences her past selves.

This kind of episode is a big opportunity for the actors to do something new. Most of them don’t do that much with it: Kira overacts, O’Brien is nebbish, Leeta is hard to distinguish from her normal self, Quark is a one note joke, and Bashir seems mostly like himself with a more American accent. Sisko does well with Joran, although personally I would have liked a bit more ‘Hannibal Lecter’ creepiness. The main focus is the Odo/Curzon combination, and fortunately that works really well.

There isn’t a lot of excitement in the episode, everything develops slowly. I would have preferred having all the different past selves out, and interacting with each other as well as Jadzia. It ends up being very ‘bitty’.

374 down, 363 to go.


Trekathon Season Review: Voyager, Season 1

May 13th, 2012

Voyager’s first year has some promise, but it hasn’t hit its straps yet. But it’s a lot better than I’d heard it was.

There isn’t a single fantastic episode, but there’s also only one awful one (Cathexis, yuck). Caretaker, Faces and State of Flux all showed a lot of promise.

But the stories have all felt a bit generic. There’s a lot of promise in the setup (far from home, a split crew), but many of the stories could have been done in any of the other series. The most interesting stories have always come from character, and the stories have only intermittently given us more information about the characters here.

Still, overall I think it was a good year. Not as strong as DS9’s first year (which did a lot of good ongoing story building), but a lot better than TNG’s first year. Or last year, for that matter.

Let’s have a look at the big board:

  • TNG Season 6

  • DS9 Season 2

  • TNG Season 3

  • TNG Season 5

  • TOS Season 2

  • TNG Season 4

  • TOS Season 1

  • DS9 Season 1

  • VOY Season 1

  • TNG Season 7

  • TNG Season 2

  • TAS Season 1

  • TOS Season 3

  • TAS Season 2

  • TNG Season 1

Two more episodes to finish DS9’s third season.