Utterly Star Trek Review

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Star Trek: The Next Generation 2.4 (The Outrageous Okona)

stokonaCast:
Whoopi Goldberg(Guinan)
Bill Campbell(Captain Thadiun Okona)
Douglas Rowe(Debin)
Albert Stratton(Kushell)
Rosalind Allen(Yanar)
Kieran Mulroney(Benzan)
Teri Hatcher(Lt. Bronwyn G. Robinson)
Joe Piscopo (The Comic)

Writers: David Lansberg, Lance Dickson, Les Menchen, Burton Armus

I can only be blunt.  I bloody hate this episode.  This is probably the main reason that I have been sluggish watching the last ten episodes or so, because I knew this damned thing was on the horizon.

It almost literally has no redeeming features.  There are two plot strands, and they are both as annoying as hell.  The first is about a ship Captain called Okona who two planets are demanding as a prisoner (the Enterprise have rescued him and repaired his ship) – one because he is a thief, the other because he has fathered the child of the daughter of the leader of the planet.  This one can believe, because Okona spends his first couple of hours having sex with various female crew members (including a very young looking, pre Desperate Housewives, indeed pre Superman Teri Hatcher).  You just want to smack Okona and send him on his way, yet every member of the Enterprise crew he runs into seems to find him really witty and charming.  No!  He’s a tit!

That’s bad.  If anything, the other storyline is worse.  Okona comments on Data’s lack of ability to understand humour, which Data talks over with Guinan.  She decides he is not funny at all (well, not when he’s trying to be) so suggests a comedy course on the Holodeck.  So he meets a comedian, tells some rubbish jokes, makes the audience wants to die with shame and embarrassment, and generally makes you wonder why you are watching this drivel.

It all resolves itself fairly predictably.  The plots are dreadful – this is literally the worst episode so far, and luckily it means that things can only get better!

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 5
Score: 0.5/10

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September 17, 2008 Posted by | guinan | | 1 Comment

Star Trek: The Next Generation 2.3 (Elementary, Dear Data)

292px-sherlock_holmesCast:
Biff Manard (Ruffian)
Alan Shearman (Lestrade)
Daniel Davis (Moriarty)
Richard Merson (Pie Man)
Diz White (Prostitute)
Anne Ramsay(Engineer Clancey)

Writer: Brian Alan Lane

What the hell were they thinking when they put this thing together?  It must have gone something like this: Data episode (as he’s so popular): check.  Holodeck episode: check.  Dressing up: check.  Totally unbelievable storyline: check.

Because that is the problem.  Geordi merely asking the computer to create an adversary capable of defeating Data should not have resulted in a being that was able to take over the ship.  Period.  There would be protocols in the system to prevent that from happening.  So the whole concept of the episode is rubbish.

Then there’s the false start where Geordi walks out because he is fed up of Data guessing what was going on with the original case.  Surely he would have raised his concerns of even programmed the holodeck himself – otherwise he must have realised that exactly this would happen.

Then there’s Pulaski still making viewers hate her by being a bitch towards Data.  She must have realised by now that Data is more than the sum of his parts because a) she has worked with him a couple of times now, and b) HE’S THE BLOODY SECOND OFFICER OF THE FLAGSHIP OF THE SODDING FLEET.

And also there’s that ludicrous bit where they take the bit of paper containing the drawing of the Enterprise off the holodeck.  Duh!

In fairness, if the episode had ended with the twist that the bit they thought was real was all part of the program then this might have worked.  But as it was it did not, it was simply very annoying.  Okay, the guy who played Moriarty played him well (so well they do bring him back at a later date) but this episode is really the worst sort of hokum.  Avoid.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crea Deaths So Far: 5
Score: 2/10

September 15, 2008 Posted by | holodeck malfunction, live music, moriarty | | 1 Comment

Star Trek: The Next Generation 2.2 (Where Silence Has Lease)

nagilumCast:
Colm Meaney (Miles O’Brien)
Charles Douglass (Ensign Haskell)
Earl Boen(Nagilum)

Writer: Jack B. Sowards

This is a very unusual episode.  It has only one plot – many episodes have two things going on that somehow get linked, but this one concentrates fully on the one story.  The Enterprise finds a hole in space, and accidentally ends up inside it trying to get out.  The try flying out the way they came, going to maximum warp and hoping to fly out the other side… they try loads of stuff and basically it doesn’t work.

They encounter a Romulan vessel that turns out to be an illusion, they beam across to the USS Yamato (their sister ship, which also appears to be there but also turns out to be an illusion) and then they are tantalised with openings back into the real universe than vanish as soon as they set course for them.  In the end, they discover an entity called Nagilum that is effectively holding them prisoner in this void.  He kills a member of the crew just to see how much the human body can cope with, and asks Pulaski to demonstrate reproduction.  (Ugh, Troi would have been marginally better!)

Picard decides to destroy the ship (to prevent Nagilum studying human death, which he guesses will use between a third and half of the crew) so Nagilum sends duplicates of Troi and Data to talk him out of if, which of course doesn’t work.  They end up being set free.

Pulaski is still an odd character – she has taken a dislike (or at least an indifference) to Data who is at this point the most popular character on the show – last show she made a bit deal of pronouncing his name wrong (Daa-ta instead of Day-ta) and this time she questions whether or not he knows what he is doing when called upon to magnify an image on the viewscreen.  It is very hard to like her.

Oh, and there is this odd sequence on the holodeck with Worf at the start.  Has nothing to do with the story and shows him fighting monster things.  They do turn up again a number of times – presumably to justify the cost of the costumes and set in this episode.

This is just an odd episode.  It starts with Picard walking out of his ready room looking lost (perhaps he had a few too many in Ten Forward the night before) and just goes nowhere.  Hard to like, hard to have any opionions about at all really.

Crew Deaths: 1
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 5
Score: 3/10

September 13, 2008 Posted by | anomaly (spacial/temporal), chief o'brien, doubles or duplicates, inside another stafleet ship, self destruct, super beings, worfs holodeck exercise program | | 3 Comments

Star Trek: The Next Generation 2.1 (The Child)

01a-3Cast:
Diana Muldaur (Dr. Katherine Pulaski)
Colm Meaney (Miles O’Brien)
Whoopi Goldberg(Guinan)
Seymour Cassel (Lt. Cmdr. Hester Dealt)
R.J. Williams(Ian Andrew Troi)
Dawn Arnemann (Miss Gladstone)
Zachery Benjamin (Young Ian)
Dore Keller (Crewman)

Writers: Maurice Hurley, Jon Povill, Jaron Summers

Aaargh!  What the hell is going on?  Worf and Geordi have changed job (and uniform), as has Beverly – in fact she has moved off the Enterprise, and Wesley is supposed to be going with her!  She has been replaced by a McCoy clone called Katherine Pulaski.  Also, we have a bar called Ten Forward complete with a barkeep that we have never seen before, Guinan.  Wesley has been put in a slightly less horrible costume, and we can see less of Riker’s face as he is hiding behind a beard.

Okay, so it made sense that Worf would officially take over the Security job (he has been acting head of security since Tasha died towards the end of last season) and Geordi also has a lot more to do now (again, he quite often did some engineering bits last year so it is not a total bolt out of the blue, at least we don’t get a different chief every other week!)  Oh, and they have made Worf’s makeup better.

But that is quite a lot of changes for a viewer to take in, and it does feel like we are shedding cast what with Tasha leaving three episodes ago and now Beverly – hell, at least we got a goodbye scene for Tasha, although it was horrible.  There are more changed between this episode and the last than at any point on the old series.

Any why the hell didn’t Wesley go with his Mum at the same time she left?  It doesn’t make sense – unless the stress of moving home and the stress of having that little git around whilst she did it would have just tipped her over the edge – I can see the conversation now: “Captain, please look after him for a few weeks, or I will end up killing myself!”

As for the episode – well, this was apparently a script for the aborted Star Trek: Phase II series.  Basically, a formless creature floats into Deanna Troi (and even I was suprised when I first saw this about which orriface it is suggested the form enters her by) and she has a baby.  Meanwhile, some specimens that are needed to cure a plague start growing when they shouldn’t and threaten to infect the whole Enterprise.  It turns out that the baby (which grows rapidly and is a young man by the end of the episode) is releasing a kind of radiation that causes the plague sample to grow, so the child kills itself (not by stabbing itself or jumping into the warp core, he just kind of switches off).  It turns out that it was just a creature that wanted to understand humanity by being one!

Oh, and Guinan talks Wesley into staying.  Bitch.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 4
Score: 6/10

September 12, 2008 Posted by | accelerated ageing, chief o'brien, disease/sickness, formless creature, guinan | | Leave a comment

Star Trek: The Next Generation 1.25 (The Neutral Zone)

romulamCast:
Gracie Harrison (Clare Raymond)
Leon Rippy(Sonny Clemonds)
Anthony James(Sub-Cmdr. Thei)
Marc Alaimo(Cmdr. Tebok)
Peter Mark Richman(Ralph Offenhouse)

Writers: Deborah McIntyre, Maurice Hurley

Odd episode, this.  For the first two seasons, we don’t get the big two part story split over the season break.  At the end of season one, we get this.

Describe it, and it sounds rather dull.  Firstly, there are three people from 1990’s Earth who were frozen after their deaths and shot off into space.  Data finds a capsule full of people like this – most are decomposed, but three are not, so they are revived and cured of what killed them.

It is quite interesting as these characters are used to show the difference between the enlightened 24th Century and the backward 20th.  Of the three, the most sympathetic is Clare – her husband, she assumes, has her frozen as she knew nothing about it.  Sonny Clemonds, a drug taking heavy drinking guitar player doesn’t seem to care too much (he actually gets the best line – “We won’t be inviting these Romulans so our party, will we”) and Ralph who can’t get his head around the fact that capitalism has been and gone.

Woven around this is a mission to go to the Neutral Zone near the Romulan empire where several Federation outposts have been destroyed.  We are re-introduced to the Romulan Empire (one is played by Marc Alaimo, who will later become Gul Dukat on Deep Space Nine) and we find out that some of their outposts have also been destroyed, revealing that bigger things are going to come…

It’s not bad at all, considering it is such a simple idea.  The thought that there is something out there bigger and badder than the Romulans that is capable of scooping whole cities up is interesting, but it is not until much later that we find out who is behind it…

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 4
Score: 7/10

September 10, 2008 Posted by | people from the past, planetary population destroyed, romulans | | Leave a comment

Star Trek: The Next Generation 1.24 (Conspiracy)

292px-dexter_remmickCast:
Ursaline Bryant(Capt. Tryla Scott)
Michael Berryman(Capt. Rixx)
Ray Reinhardt (Admiral Aaron)
Jonathan Farwell (Capt. Walker Keel)
Ward Costello (Admiral Quinn)
Henry Darrow(Admiral Savar)
Robert Schenkkan(Lt. Cmdr. Dexter Remmick)

Writers: Robert Sabaroff, Tracy Tormé

The opening fifteen minutes or so of this episode are very good indeed.  Without showing anything – just an illicit meeting between four Starship Captains on a rock in the middle of nowhere – you suddenly get a sense of the fact that something Big Deal is happening.  The revelation a few minutes later that one of the ships that met up has since been destroyed is quite shocking.  The Captain – Walker Keel – was an old friend of Picard and Crusher.

So they go back to Earth – another big deal, since this is the first time this series has visited the home of the Federation (we didn’t even go there in episode one).  We meet up with Admiral Quinn from a few episodes ago – and he is clearly different.

The episode goes downhill from this point.  There is a fight in which we see someone kicked through some room doors, which collapse.  Surely that person should have been in great pain with broken bones rather than going through the door.

And the race that has taken people over is quite creepy – although the stop motion movement of the creature looks rather clunky in these days of CGI, although Remmicks death scene is good.  (Incidentally, the BBC cut that actual moment from the episode because they considered it too violent for the time slot.  Yet the clip in the final episode of season 2 which shows the moment again was overlooked).

It seems unlikely that such a race could get such a foothold in the Federation, so although there are some genuinely violent and scary moments, you can’t quite help feeling that it would never have happened.  Also, the final scene of the episode suggests that there is more to come, which never happens in the run of this show or any of the sequels.

There is a lot of death in this story – the whole crew of the USS Horratio, Remmick, several admirals, yet none of the Enterprise crew die.

So, quite an interesting episode, but possibly a bit overrated by fans.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 4
Score: 6.5/10

September 5, 2008 Posted by | admiral quinn, death of a recurring character, destruction of a starfleet ship, mind control, rogue captains, set on earth, vulcans | | Leave a comment

Star Trek: The Next Generation 1.23 (We’ll always have Paris)

parisCast:
Michelle Phillips(Jenice Manheim)
Lance Spellerberg (Chief Herbert)
Jean-Paul Vignon (Edouard)
Dan Kern (Lt. Dean)
Isabel Lorca (Gabrielle)
Rod Loomis(Dr. Paul Manheim)
Kelly Ashmore (Francine)

Writers: Deborah Dean Davis, Hannah Shearer

This is a funny bugger of an episode.  It is basically a meeting between old lovers – Picard and the now married Jenice Manheim.  The twist is that her husband is doing these strange experiments that lead to odd time anomalies.

And that’s it.  There’s no real threat, there’s no chance of this couple getting back together, nobody dies.  Really it’s a character piece with a time anomaly thrown in!

The time anomaly scenes are fun – I especially liked the moment where Riker, Picard and Data walk into a lift, and when the doors open the past versions of themselves are outside the lift having the conversation they were having when they entered the lift – and then they interact with themselves.

Then later in the episode, as Data has to put antimatter into the anomaly to close it properly, there are suddenly three of him and they don’t know which one exists in the correct time frame to insert the antimatter.  Then one of that Data’s exclaims “it’s me” with no explanation as to how he knows.

Also, the vision of the Paris of the future was not that great.  I looks as though it got flattened at some point and rebuilt from scratch – only the Eiffel Tower seems to have survived.  And the person who ran the cafe was rather happy for Picard to take in the view without ordering anything.  It would have been more realistic for him to say “order something or piss off!”

I don’t hate this.  It’s okay, but nothing special.  And very difficult to say much about!

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 4
Score: 5/10

September 3, 2008 Posted by | anomaly (spacial/temporal), asteroid, disease/sickness, doubles or duplicates, exes, time travel | | Leave a comment