Monday, 29 December 2008

Star Trek: TNG 3.2 - The Ensigns of Command

Review 133 - Episode 129 (2nd Oct 1989)

The One with the aliens who are not hanging around.

Wow, that was longer than I thought. Apologies for the delays in posting here, real life, yada yada.

Anyway, this is quite a lowkey episode where not a lot happens. The Sheliak are an interesting race in that they barely tolerate human life and have no compunctions with wiping the colonists off the planet. Picards growing frustration with the aliens and his final victory are made all the more sweeter by Stewart, giving some excellent acting with his body language. Wiping dust of the plaque was a lovely touch.

Data has the other plot, trying to convince the colonists they have to leave. It's okay, but sometimes the whole Data as Pinocchio angle can get overdone and repetitive at times

Decent episode, but not a lot for the regulars to do.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 385/660

Troi/Crusher Appreciation Society

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Star Trek: TNG 3.1 - Evolution

Review 132 - Episode 128 (25th Sept 1989)

The One with the Nanites

So, finally, here is Season 3. When I first thought about doing this Blog, I was going to start here as this feels like my TNG. It's almost a reboot of the series.

The stupid uniforms have gone to be replaced with smart collars that actually look like they could be real uniforms. There is an altered beginning and Beverly's back! For the first time, we have a stable Cast and look to the show. Add in some lovely new effect shots and actors who are comfortable with there roles and you have a great base to build on.

Couple of admin things to note as well. I'll probably only review one episode a week from now on, maybe two. I find that if I watch four in a row, then go to review them a week later I can barely remember any details. So the reviews will be longer, but less frequent (I say that now, but if I get a run going I'll probably do more in a week). I'm also going to add links to existing Trek Reviewers I used to read way back when. For TNG, it's got to be Tim Lynch, arguably the first Internet reviewer of note. I don't always agree with him, but he's worth a read and I'll add more as we go through the different seasons. Troi Cleavage Fans can rejoice as Deanna starts to wear a blue dress number this Season. I'll also add a couple of screen caps of other hotties as appropriate. It's rather nerdy, but it brightens up the Blog and makes a bad episode worth watching (and just because we're in Season 3, doesn't mean there's no bad episodes coming up. Nooooo, it certainly does not)

Anyway, this episode is basically a Wesley episode and I normally can't be doing with these. But Wil Wheaton is older now and not as whiny, so it's actually very watchable. He does still have his super smarts and and has accidentaly created a new race by accident as a school project. This would be annoying, but it actually ties in to the main plot, that being Dr Stubs is planning an experiment and has been a boy wonder like Wes. This is the man Wes could turn out like and has been in his shoes.

Beverly returns this episode and although there's no song and dance, she has missed her son and her conversation with Picard is excellent (and Guinan as well). The fact is, you would feel smothered by your mom on board a ship and it raises these questions excellently. Her scene with Wes when he turns on her for abandoning her is full of subtext and good acting on both parts.

Troi also has a big part this episode and confronts Stubs head on. It's a shame the director chose to film it in the back ground as we can't see anything, but there you go. Also, Her and Guinan co-exist in the same episode! Eureka! I think the key is Troi deals with Guest stars and Guinan the crew. Not ideal, but better than nothing.

Data has some nice scenes being the Nanites voice, but it's all very quick the way they create this conduit ib his brain. It could almost be an episode in it's self. Geordi has a few scenes that are mostly technobabble and Worf and Riker are sidelined for the most part.
This is a decent episode, but I could have lived without the baseball stuff - it really makes Trek seem so USA (which it is, but come on, make an effort). Really nice effects as well.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 382/655

Troi/Crusher Appreciation Society

Basically, this will be whatever screen caps I think are decent of these two TNG babes from the episode that will appear here from now on. Nuff said!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2 Index

2.21 -

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Star Trek: TNG 2.22 - Shades of Gray

Review 131 - Episode 127 (27th July 1989)

The One thats an insult

Sometimes, you're better not screening an episode. This is a fucking travesty. As the writers have said, it was written in 3 days as the writers strike was looming and it shows. Made up of clips from Rikers POV (even when he's not in the scenes? Man, that's just lazy) it's the only "clip show" in star trek history.

It's bad, obviously a hash job and puts a sour taste in the mouth for a finale. When will they learn? (next season actually with the Borg)

Simply put, Riker injured. He go to sleep. Erotic dreams bad. Nightmares good. He wakes up.

Anyway, that's Season 2 and Pulaski's swan song. She never really fitted in with the crew, though the writers are to blame for that, but she became a bit more likable in later eps. Still, next season is what I consider the Official start of the Star Trek phenomenon. With the uniforms, stable cast and great storys and effects, its good. Season 2 was better than I thought and actually produced 3 5/5's so it can't be all bad. But I'm glad it's finished.

Never watch this episode.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 379/650

Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner

As this is the last BCAC I thought i'd put a picture of her first day. To be fair, Pulaski actually came good at the end, but she's no Bev. Welcome back.

Star Trek: TNG 2.21 - Peak Performance

Review 130 - Episode 126 (10th july 1989)

The One with the war games

Arghh, I fucking hate Sirma. He's too OTT for me and almost derails this episode.
With the Borg on the horizon, starfleet gets Riker to take charge of the Hathaway and engage the Enterprise in some war games.
The scenes on the Hathaway are excellent. You really sense the crew are up for the challenge of tring to beat the Enterprise. Picards respect and practical fawning of Riker are maybe a bit much, but fuck it, I like it when Picard hands out the compliments. Nice effects as well of the ship powering up.
I don't really believe the Ferengi would appear out of nowhere, be confused and boost again. But it kindof works as a twist.
Data having a lack of confidence is also a good B plot and praise when it's due, Pulaski is very good here. Shame it's 2 episode before her finale, but I like her here which makes a change.
Good episode again, but Sirma ruins it slightly.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 379/655

Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner

Star Trek: TNG 2.20 - The Emissary

Review 129 - Episode 125 (29th June 1989)

The One with Worfs Bird

Worf gets laid! Yep, it happened here (and he obviously doesn't perform safe sex either as we'll see in future episodes)
Quite drunk writing these final 3 season 2 episode reviews, so apologies if they are brief and rather pointless.
K'Ehleyr (and that's the last time I'll be writing that) arrives in a cool photon torpedo type device. She tells the crew that Klingon's from Kirks day are getting ready to "awaken" and they are going to tear up some Federation ass if they see it. She's there to stop it. And she's Worf's ex bird.
This is a good Worf episode and his relationship with her is strained and causes him to lose his rag a few times. She's a good character and also pushes the right buttons with Worf as we see aspects of his character not seen before.
The solution, of Worf pretending to be captain is well done, humorous and tense at the same time. I also really like the poker scenes at the start. Lovely character building.
Good episode.


Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 376/650

Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner

Star Trek: TNG 2.19 - Manhunt

Review 128 - Episode 124 (19th June 1989)

The One where Lwaxana's back

Yes, it's that yearly episode where Deannas mother Lwaxana comes to visit.
You know by now if you love these episodes or loathe them. I used to loath them, but maybe I'm getting soft in my old age, as I though this was decent and had some funny moments. It's a terrible idea though. Troi's Mother is sexually active and wants a mate. She pursues everyone bar Geordi (once again, he get's no sexual storylines). Now, whether you think this is a funny concept will determine whether you like this episode. On the face of it, it looks bad, but I actually laughed out loud at Picards antics and Rikers as well. Majel barrett does seem a natural at comedy. I don't mind these episodes, but I'm always glad when they're gone.
The assassin B plot with the fish people is bizarre and tacked on for on apparent reason. There seem to have been issues with the script, so maybe that had something to do with it.
Better than you'd think. But no more for a while, eh?

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 373/645

Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner

Star Trek: TNG 2.18 - Up the Long Ladder

Review 127 - Episode 123 (May 22nd 1989)

The One with the Oirish.

Fucking hell, this is bad. A race that have spurned technology become rural Irish folk people. The other race become white suit wearing weirdos. I don't know who's worse?

There's a story about cloning, the dangers of inbreeding and taking DNA without permission, but you were never going to get me back after that opening. There might be a message in here that could change someones viewpoint about science, but I ain't watching it again to find out. Avoid.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 370/640

Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner

Star Trek: TNG 2.17 - Samaritan Snare

Review 126 - Episode 122 (May 15th 1989)

The One where Picard and Wes bond

After the Borg, this is a bit of a let down.

Picard and Wes bond on a shuttle craft trip and Geordi is help hostage by aliens who trap good Samaritans.

The Picard/Wesley sub plot is quite interesting to watch, but I could have done with out the whole Pulaski to the rescue to save his life ending. Though to be fair this will feature in one of the best episodes, Tapestry, later in the show. But it's always good to see Picard talking to Wes and even the Kid isn't half bad here with some nice touches of continuity.

Geordi being trapped is rather boring to watch and the solution is a bit weird. Seemed like space filler to me.

Quite dull episode this.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 369/635

Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner

Star Trek: TNG 2.16 - Q Who?

Review 125 - Episode 121 (May 8th 1989)

The One with the Borg!!!!

Yeah baby! Probably the best episode of the first 2 seasons, the Borg are here!

So many good things about this episode. I like the teaser with Gomez and spilling the tea on Picard. Q is excellent this episode, the first time he really becomes the Q we know. His scenes with Picard are always excellent, but these are some of the finest.

The Borg themselves are obviously brilliant, the best villain in Trek lore. Probably they were made too dangerous, as every time we see them after this, they get gradually downscaled in power, but still evil.

The Borg cube is very different to later episodes with an Alien feel to it. Especially creepy are the Borg babies, never seen again but a nice touch. Guinan is also good here, in her dealings with Q and the Borg.

The chase scene lets it down slightly, but only because I've watched it over and over, you spot daft things, like how ineffective the rear torpedo is. Then they do it again, with dramatic music, and it still does nothing!

We're really getting into a period where the writers and cast had settled down and could produce genuinely good shows that anyone could watch and enjoy, not just Trekkie's. This is one of the best.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 367/63

Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner

Star Trek: TNG 2.15 - Pen Pals

Review 124 - Episode 120 (May 1st 1989)

The One where Data makes a friend

Prime directive abuse alert!

Data befriends a small girl on a planet whose planet is tearing itself apart. However, they have never met aliens and the Federation cannot interfere.

Standard "we can help them, but we shouldn't help them" episode which completely undermines it's whole premise by helping them just because a little girl was on the radio. They'll probably turn into a new race meaner than the Borg, but hey ho, lets break the directive again. If it had been a mean barbarian with access to the radio, they would have turned it off and never thought about them again. You shouldn't do episodes like this if you're not prepared to see it through to the logical ending. It makes the characters, especially Picard, look foolish and weak.

The Wesley subplot is interesting as he faces command for the first time, but I've seen it with Geordi already and I struggle with these early Wesley episodes.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 362/625

Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner

Monday, 20 October 2008

Star Trek: TNG 2.14 - The Icarus Factor

Review 123 - Episode 119 (Apr 3rd 1989)

The One with Rikers Dad

I feel this could have been a lot better given the subject material, but it's merely okay.

Riker is offered his own command on a smaller rather insignificant ship and the man assigned to brief him on it is his estranged father, Kyle. Meanwhile, Worf is depressed.

The chance to see some of Rikers background and what makes him tick is largely thrown away here. His relationship with his dad comes across as a teenager with abandonment issues and his petulant responses to Kyle start to grate. Not that Kyle's much better. Maybe it's that actor, or because there no real follow up to this, but I didn't believe for a second that this man was Rikers dad. Add in the fact he had a relationship with Pulaski (eewoo, nasty!) which she has never mentioned before and the whole thing just falls flat. Their rebonding scene, through some made up futuristic gladiators fighting, is embarrassing to watch and makes no actual sense.

More interesting is Riker conferring with Picard and Troi about his reasons to leave as he accepts the assignment. This is interesting stuff, but then in the final minute he abruptly changes his mind with no real reason given. WTF? At least have a heart to heart with Picard.

The Worf subplot is enjoyable enough and O'brien really is part of the main crew now.

Watchable, but could have been so much more.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 360/620

Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner

Star Trek: TNG 2.13 - Time Squared

Review 123 - Episode 119 (Apr 3rd 1989)

The One with two Picards

A case of great special effects saving a gobbledygook story that barely makes sense.

It starts with a lovely teaser. A shuttle found drifting in space contains a future Picard who is the only survivor of the Enterprise. How did this happen, why is here and how do they stop it?

Well, it turns out to be a large energy vortex that appears out of nowhere (as they do) and sucks the Ship in. The effects are very impressive, much better than I remember. They really do make you feel there is a giant vortex in space, however implausible.

There's fun in seeing the two Picards interacting and our Picards reaction to his future doppelganger. But none of it stands up to scrutiny. The Vortex may be alive and scans Picard who trys to distract it from the ship by leaving on a shuttle. He's getting ready to do it again when Picard stuns or kills him and orders the Enterprise into the vortex. Why? Who knows. this does the trick and everything is back to normal somehow!

I suspect the writers had a brilliant 1st act and had no way of solving the mystery so just put some techno babble time travel nonsense in and hoped for the best.

Looks pretty, but don't think about it too much.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 357/620

Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner

Star Trek: TNG 2.12 - The Royale

Review 122 - Episode 118 (Mar 27th 1989)

The One with the Casino in space

Acknowledged as one of the worst TNG episodes to be produced, I actually thought this was just bad, not awful. I mean, the concept alone, of God like beings creating a Casino based on a book an astronaut had in space, has TOS written all over it. I'm not sure anyone could save this basic terrible idea. But it has a cheesy charm, or maybe I was in a generous mood watching it.

Riker, Worf and Data have to try and escape from their strange prison by pretending to be characters in the book. The whole episode is bizarre and actually becomes watchable as you watch in awe at the fact it was commissioned and made.

A bad idea that no execution could save, but strangely enjoyable.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 354/615

Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner

Star Trek: TNG 2.11 - Contagion

Review 121 - Episode 117 (Mar 20th 1989)

The One where the Yamato goes boom

Enjoyable, if only for the novelty value. The Enterprises Sister ship blows up and unfortunately deposits the computer virus on Picards ship.

It's obviously budget restraints, but I always liked the idea of the Yamato. You have to remember this was years before the DS9 episodes with Galaxy class ships ten a penny.This was a big deal and I remember not really paying attention the first time watching this episode and missing the explosions. Ah, the olden days where if you missed something, you were FUCKED. Cases n point, 20 odd years later I finally have seen the Yamatos destruction!

The whole virus thing sees a bit antiquated, though worringy still valid even now. the neutral zone and romulans are a nice touch as well.

Decent episode

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 352/610

Beverly Crusher/Deanna Troi Appreciation Corner

Star Trek: TNG 2.10 - The Dauphin

Review 120 - Episode 116 (Feb 20th 1989)

The One where Wes falls in love

There's not a lot to say about this episode. Wesley falls in love with a girl who's destined to be a leader on a war torn planet. It's not that Wes is bad, but the actual storyline does not interest me in the slightest. Wil Wheatons still too young for a story like this and he can't carry it. Add the fact that there is no B story and you've got an episode that struggles to hold your attention. Anya's true form is also unintentionally hilarious.
There are a couple of decent moments as Worf continues to be the funniest character on the ship with his romantic advice and Guinan once again steals Troi's scenes. If there's one thing I've noticed this season it's that Troi is barely in these episodes. I think the writers could not see a way of having her and Guinan onscreen at the same time, so punted poor Deanna.

Not bad, but unless you're a huge Wesley fan, skip it.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 349/605

Beverly Crusher/Deanna Troi Appreciation Corner (we haven't had a Picture of Troi for a while, plus she's practically absent this Season, so here's a reminder of why she's so good)

Star Trek: TNG 2.9 - The Measure of a Man

Review 119 - Episode 115 (Feb 13th 1989)

The One with the Court room drama

A genuinely gripping hour of TV. It boils down to a simple question. What is Data? An android who can mimic humans impressively or a new life form with a soul of it's own?

Maddox wants to take Data apart to learn how he ticks. When Data refuses and decides to resign, Maddox tries to claim he is Starfleet property. Picard refutes this and is forced to go ahead a reluctant Riker who has been drafted as prosecutor with Data's very existence at stake.

There are so many great pieces in here. Having Picard and Riker work against each other is a masterstroke. We see Riker doing his research and almost enjoying the challenge, before remembering it's Data he's trying to deconstruct. His excellent prosecution speech and his internal anguish at having to do it are well portrayed.

Picards defence is also good, though relies more on the human emotive touch and Maddox getting flummoxed. His core argument is sound though and while there was no real doubt he would win, his closing statement made sense and was convincing. Having a history with the presiding judge, Phillipa and there obvious attraction to each other, makes for another layer of interest. Also his scene with Data when he considers Maddox's pffer and is ashamed is Patrick at his best. The rest of the crew don't really get a chance to shine or react to the situation. Wes seems perfectly fine with Data resigning and Geordi is moody and sulking, which doesn't really make the character come across well. Worf and Pulaski have a couple of good one liners, though O'brien gets the best lines at the poker game and is almost an official part of the crew even this early in Season 2.

Troi is strangely missing again and Picards scene with Guinan again highlights the fact that this should really be the ship counsellors job, though Whoopi is a better actor and the obvious slave parallels with American history make her a better choice for the scene than a Greek sex bomb.

Data's final scenes with Riker, who is tortured at the fact he nearly won and with Maddox, who finally sees Data as a man are both excellent and nicely played.

This is Trek at it's best, asking big questions and almost delivering the answers. Maybe the best Data episode ever made.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 347/600

Star Trek: TNG 2.8 - A Matter of Honor

Review 118 - Episode 114 (Feb 6th 1989)

The One where Riker joins a Klingon Ship

This is why I'm doing this. I had extremely vague memories of this episode and thought it would be standard clash of cultures and Riker would be finally accepted as "one of the guys" And in a way, that IS what happens. But apart from a plot flaw which I'll discuss later, I though this was excellent, one of the best I've seen so far.

Riker is taking part in an exchange programme with a Klingon ship, serving as it's first officer (though no Klingon comes the other way now I think about it). He discovers the programme when Picard tells him while they're playing a cute Tron type shooting game in the Holodeck, which visually is a nice change. His preparation is hilarious as he tries different Klingon foods. Jonathon Frakes really excels in this episode, showing he can carry an episode and also has a nice line in humour.

When he gets onboard, his scenes interacting with the crew are fascinating. My favourite is in the dining room when he is challenged to sleep with a Klingon female, who may be too tough for him. "One or two?" replies Riker (actually, I'm paraphrasing here, but you get the gist - Kirk would be proud)

Unfortunately,we come to the extremely obvious plot device where the writers have said to themselves, "we've got Riker on board a Klingon ship, how cool would it be if it attacked the Enterprise?" Why would it attack the Enterprise? Well, it's got a strange metal eating bacteria on its hull, that the Captain thinks the Enterprise planted it, so he goes off to destroy it. Riker says that makes no sense, the Klingon 3d in command says it makes no sense, we say it makes no sense, but the Captain plows ahead. It's a very weak premise and makes the Klingon captain look stupid, foolish, incompetent and his crew weak for not having dispatched him earlier. If there had been a bit of back story of the crew grumbling about his bizarre decisions, then I could maybe buy it. But it doesn't really work.

Rikers solution is clever though and he gets a grudging respect from some of the crew.

The B-plot has a lovely bit of continuity as Wes meets Mendon, a similar alien to Mordock. His over eagerness and blunt assessments of the ship are cringy to watch (in a good way) and Worfs reactions to him are priceless. It's also a nice touch as being a newbie on the Enterprise is just as hard as on a Klingon ship (almost).

This is a really good episode that really make the most of it's idea. I'm not wild about the Klingon captains moronic behaviour, but I can forgive it that, And Frakes really shines here. Good episode


Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 342/595

Star Trek: TNG 2.7 - Unnatural Selection

Review 117 - Episode 113 (Jan 30th 1989)

The One where the Pulaski gets really old

Ah, Pulaski. Pulaski, Pulaski , Pulaski. I really don't like this character. I should add that I have no problems with the actress who did a fine job in TOS (twice), but the writers have really messed up with her. I hate to keep harking on about this, but her whole "Data isn't human" obsession does my fucking box in. She cannot move beyond the fact he's an android and keeps having digs about his lack of emotions on the shuttle craft. She's a total bee-atch towards Data. This thread should have been dropped episodes ago. It's not character development, it's just a personality trait to show she's kindof like McCoy and Spock. But it doesn't work, because it's not his personality, it's his being she finds distasteful. It makes her look prejudiced and small minded. Add in the grumpiness towards Picard and her fear of transporters and we get a watered down, poorly written, crap female version of Bones. Rubbish. Bev got booted for this?

Anyway, she contracts an ageing disease (hello, haven't we been here before in TOS?) and Picard has to save her. One good thing about this episode is that Chief O'Brien get's his first real scene beyond pressing buttons. Colm Meaney is a immense actor and it's great he was given room to shine (and he's been in it from the start).

It's a rehashed TOS story about a character I have no time for. Only the B plot on board the Enterprise and scenes with the Lantree (especially the rather poignant moments when it blows up) save it for me.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 334/590

Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner

Star Trek: TNG 2.6 - The Schizoid Man

Review 116 - Episode 112 (Jan 23rd 1989)

The One where Data goes evil

Brent Spiner episode this one, as his mind is slowly taken over by Ira Graves, his "Grandfather"

I'm not sure I like Data episodes where he malfunctions or is possessed. It reminds me of when Spock used to start showing emotions when he was infected with a virus or something. The novelty and shock value decreases every time and as you know it's going to default anyway to his normal state, it just seems pointless. Of course, Spiner is such a good actor that he makes it watchable and believable, but the storyline is simply a non starter for me.

I suppose back when it was first broadcast, it was a novelty, but with all my memories of Data going weird episodes, they're a bit tiresome.

Also of note this episode is Dr Selar, the hot Vulcan doctor. This is her only appearance in TNG, but she's constantly name checked and would pop up in various other media. She's really cool and a Vulcan doctor is an interesting concept as they're all normally passionate or grumpy. Much better than Pulaski anyway.

f you're a big Data fan, it's worth a watch, but I was struggling with this.


Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 332/585

Dr Selar Appreciation Corner (we'll give Bev a rest this episode):

Star Trek: TNG 2.5 - Loud as a Whisper

Review 115 - Episode 111 (Jan 9th 1989)

The One with the Deaf Ginger Guy

(editors note: I've saved a bunch of drafts, but being a bit of a technophobe, don't know how to schedule them. So the remaining reviews of Season 2 won't reflect the day they're written. Nightmare, but there you go)

Bit preachy this one. Riva is a star mediator who happens to be deaf and speaks through a chorus of 3 interpreters. They get zapped and he has to find new ways of communicating his ideas.

The whole episode is based around the concept that deaf people are capable, able and passionate people, but it's rather unsubtle in it's execution and seems to be an agenda shoehorned into a Next Gen episode. All very worthy, but is makes for a rather dull episode.

The acting of the regulars is quite good , especially Troi and Picard, but it can't disguise the fact this is boring.
Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 329/580

Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Star Trek: TNG 2.4 - The Outrageous Okona

Review 114 - Episode 110 (Dec 12th 1988)

The One with the greasy Han Solo wannabe

Not good this and only a semi interesting B plot and decent acting from the regulars saves the day. Okona is a fly by night rogue, who charms the pants of women and is a bit of a Lad. He manages to pull Teri Hatcher and 2 other women and he's only been on the ship 20 minutes. The problem is, he's not charming, funny or especially likable, but the whole cast react to him as if he's the best thing since sliced bread. The Romeo & Juliet plot twist at least shakes up the plot slightly, but it's poor fare.

Data and Guinan isn't much better, but there's a novelty in seeing Data's continuing search for humanity. He is trying to make people laugh this week and generates a comic (from the 20th Century, natch). I was getting ready to cringe at the these scenes but they're decent and rather amusing at times. The only thing I would say is that Deanna should really be involved in these moments and I suspect Guinan is going to steal a lot of lines from her. Oh yeah, Pulaski's missing. Good.

Watchable fare, but I wouldn't visit this again.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 327/575

Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner

Star Trek: TNG 2.3 - Elementary, Dear Data

Review 113 - Episode 109 (Dec 5th 1988)

The One where the Holodeck malfunctions (no.2)

Actually, that's not fair. It's not so much that the Holodeck misfires as that it takes Geordis command to the ultimate end which in turn endangers the ship and crew.

Data and Geordi decide to play as Sherlock Holmes on the Holo deck, but when they realise that Data knows every Holmes story ever, they decide to get the computer to crate an adversary for Data, Moriarty, who becomes more than a holodeck creation.

Couple of things. Geordi is really surly in this episode, storming out the Holodeck without explaining why he's so miffed. Data also rushes off without saying anything. These are dramatic exits, but I don't think they are really in character. Also, Pulaski is so fucking annoying with her whole "Data isn't human" obsession. I mean, if she was indifferent to him, fair enough, but she follows hims and eavesdrop on his conversations. She's a stalker really. Sooner she leaves the better.

The whole concept of Moriarty becoming a real person is interesting and opens up a whole can of worms which is never really explored as the idea that every creation of the Holodeck could ultimately be sentient eventually and you have a situation where they are creating life instead of amusement. Moriarty would come back in a few seasons in a cracker, but here he simply allows Picard to win.

I've never really been a big fan of Holodeck episodes. It seems to be whichever genre that writer is interested in can get crowbarred into the series by setting it in the Holodeck. And the Holodeck is still incredibly unsafe. I can't believe people really use it and the fatality rate must be through the roof all over starfleet. But I like Data and Geordi's friendship blossoming and the change of scene is good for the show and actors.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 325/570

Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner

Friday, 17 October 2008

Star Trek: TNG 2.2 - Where Silence Has Lease

Review 112 - Episode 108 (Nov 28th 1988)

The One with the black cloud in Space

Very similar to a TOS episode whose name escapes me, this has the crew enter a hole in space where they are put into stressful fear situations and ultimately told that half of them will die by a creature known as Nagilum.

Lets get the bad bit's out the way. Pulaski's constant referral to Data as a limited android is beyond boring and annoying and this is only her 2nd episode. We get it, she's old school and has strange prejudices towards certain technology (like McCoy and transporters), but she's coming across as stupid here. I remember now why I dislike her so. There's also not much happening in this episode, with the Romulan ship appearing, then the Yamato, which I've always liked as a cool concept of a sister ship (before Galaxy class ships were 10 a penny). Riker and Worf investigating it was interesting, though Worf is really all over the shop, from the opening savage Klingon to total confusion and panic over the 2 bridges. I liked the scene at the start which was a nice set up that had nothing to do with the episode and was good looking

Picard sitting in his quarters as he waits for the ship to explode is cool looking, but nothing really comes of the whole self destruct sequence and the creatures reasons for letting them go are vague and confusing.

It's watchable, but feels too much like filler at times.
Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 322/565

Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner

Star Trek: TNG 2.1 - The Child

Review 111 - Episode 107 (Nov 21st 1988)
The One with the Star Child

So, Season 2 and there have been some big changes, which are more interesting than this episode.

The first big change is that Dr Crusher has left and Dr Pulaski is now on board. Apparently, the writers wanted to shake things up and decided to bring in a Dr McCoy type character who would be more grumpy and not so familial with the crew. This was a mistake. Beverly's character was weak at times and her relationship seemed to be solely as a mother and potential attraction with Picard. But dammit, she created a different dynamic on the ship and I would want to be treated by her before any of the other Docs. And frankly, she was a MILF and this new Doctor is not. The fact we know that Pulaski lasts one season and Crusher is back for Season 3 means it's probably going to be hard to invest in her as a character, but she didn't really annoy me this episode, it's just that Bev had to go for her to come on board. And why is nobody bothered by Beverly's leaving? Surely Picard would have mixed feelings about it?

Anyhoo, Guinan makes her first appearance as does Ten Forward. This set is excellent, the lighting especially and it's a mystery why every starship doesn't have something similar in later series. Guinan's relationship is very mysterious and she comes across okay as a sage but we never really find out WHY she's so important to Picard. Surely these dialogues could have been assigned to Bev or Troi? In many ways, Guinan devalues their characters slightly as Picard seeks her opinion over there's. But that's for the future (and my memory is hazy) Her scene with Wesley is nice (though his acting is suspect at times here - he's not quite unannoying yet) and at least raises the issue of Beverly.

Worf now has head security officer rank and gets the yellow uniform as does Geordi who is now Chief engineer. It was a sensible move for the writers and gives his character more to do, but I think they always struggled with him at times beyond being a nice guy. Riker is sporting his beard and the uniforms may have been tweaked slightly (this could be my imagination) but Troi is now wearing her purple jump suit and her hair is less severely styled. Sadly, TCW is on hold as her betazoid assets have been put away, but don't worry Troi fans, they pop up again in the next costume change (where the writers appear to decide that if Troi is going to get dodgy storylines for the next few years, she may as well have a bit of sex appeal to pull in the punters, IMO)

The story is a never-used TOS script and it shows its age. Troi is impregnated by a light and gives birth at exceptionally quick rate. The annoying wee bastard gives of a radiation that threatens a deadly component the Ship is transporting (which is quite interesting but really doesn't join well with the A story). He tops himself and turns into a light and leaves. Nobody really comes across as believable in this episode and the reactions to the child are bizarre, plus all the characters seem to have reversed into early season 1 mode with Picard being cold and aloof. Pretty dire and I fell asleep for 5 minutes watching it, so tells it's own tale.

Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 319/560

Troi Cleavage Watch is on hold for the rest of the season, so for Season 2 It's going to be Beverly Crusher Appreciation Corner (or BCAC) from now on. It was such a bone headed move to ship her out, so there's going to be picture down here every episode. Why? To remind you how good she is dumbass!