Utterly Star Trek Review

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Star Trek: The Next Generation 2.7 (Unnatural Selection)

292px-katherine_pulaski_prematurely_agedCast:
Colm Meaney (Miles O’Brien)
J. Patrick McNamara(Captain Tagget)
Patricia Smith (Dr. Sara Kingsley)
Scott Trost (Transporter Ensign)
George Baxter (Child from station)

Writers: Mike GrayJohn Mason

Oh for the love of God!  Seriously, if I were a fan of Star Trek and I was watching this season the first time it ran, I think this episode would have just about killed my interest.  There has not been a really good episode yet in this season – this is the seventh dreadful episode in a row.  Season One was not the greatest, but it never got this bad. 

For one, the format changes just have not worked.  As this episode proves, Doctor Pulaski is just no replacement for Beverly Crusher (something even the production team seemed to pick up on as she didn’t even get a mention in the main credits).

Basically a genetic research base tries to create a race of superbeings (children) but their immune systems are aggressive and cause the normal people around them to age.  Pulaski stupidly wants to risk beaming one onto the Enterprise, even though clearly that will put them all at risk (the way they found out about this was when they found a Starfleet ship with a dead crew, all from premature aging).  Actually this is a simplification – at the start of the episode we don’t know that the children cause the illness, and Pulaski wants them beamed onto the Enterprise so they can survive when their parents die.  To prove that being around them is safe, she beams into a shuttle with one and gets infected and starts to age.  Sadly, she doesn’t die.

From this point the episode is tedious.  She ages, as do the people at the research base, and then when it looks like all is lost she finds a cure, and everyone returns to their proper age.  Dull, predictable nonsense.

It’s a shame, because anybody who gave up as a result of this one missed an absolute gem.  The next episode doesn’t fix everything, but it is rather good.  Doesn’t make this drivel worth sitting through though!

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 5
Score: 1/10

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December 1, 2008 Posted by | accelerated ageing, chief o'brien, destruction of a starfleet ship, disease/sickness | | 1 Comment

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 III: The Search for Spock

Cast:
William Shatner (Kirk)
Leonard Nimoy (Spock)
James Doohan(Scotty)
George Takei(Sulu)
Walter Koenig(Checkov)
Nichelle Nichols(Uhura)
Merritt Butrick (Dr. David Marcus)
Robin Curtis(Saavik)
Christopher Lloyd(Kruge)
Mark Lenard(Sarek)
Judith Anderson (Vulcan High Priestess)
Grace Lee Whitney (Janice Rand)

Writer: Harve Bennett

You know, my memories of this particular story of the film series were not that great.  There is a theory among the fans that the odd numbered films are not that good.  I have to say both the first film and indeed this one prove that wrong.

The story is relatively simple.  The Enterprise arrives on Earth having returned directly from the events of the previous film.  McCoy is behaving oddly, and when they arrive, they are told that the Enterprise is so badly knackered that she will not be repaired – she is to be scrapped.  Spocks’ father, Sarek (played by the fantastic Mark Lenard) visits Kirk to find out where Spock placed his memories before he died.  It turned out to be McCoy.

Meanwhile, on the Genesis planet, David and Saavik find Spocks coffin but it is empty.  Their ship (the Grissom) is destroyed by a Klingon ship that wants the secrets of the Genesis device.  They find a young Spock with no memories who is rapidly aging, like the planet.

Kirk asks if he can take McCoy to the Genesis planet, but is told he cannot, so he steals the Enterprise and all but Uhura go to Genesis.  There they are attacked by the Klingons, David is killed because Kirk will not surrender and eventually they have to self destruct the Enterprise.  Just before it explodes they beam down to the Genesis planet, which is breaking up, Kirk fights the Klingon commander and wins, and pretends to b him and they get beamed up to the Klingon ship, capture it, and eventually take Spock back to Vulcan (he is now about the right age) and reunited with his body.

The story is not anything like as good as the previous film, but it does have some benefits.  Firstly, this is the first appearance by Klingons as we know them – bumpy foreheads, costumes, knives and everything.  We saw something that was a bit like this in the first film, but the Klingons here are the template used from this point on, and they are great.  Chrisopher Lloyd is especially good as their vicious Captain, who kills crewmembers just for making a mistake (he killed his gunner when the Grissom is destroyed, he only wanted it disabled) and he also orders the death of David (well, any death, it was up to the Klingon on the ground who actually died).  So Yay to the Klingons, they are finally here!

The next two bits I adore are the obvious bits: I love the sequence where Kirk and company steal the Enterprise – they are persued by the experimental TransWarp ship the USS Excelsior, but luckily Scotty has sabotaged their new engines, so the persuit does not go very far.

Also, the destruction of the Enterprise is a really big deal moment.  This is the ship we have seen in every TV episode, and every movie up until this point.  Okay, it was going to be scrapped, but the fact that Kirk destroys her is a poignant moment.  And the effects are pretty good as well – the saucer explodes, but the rest burns up in the atmosphere of the planet.

I also love the fact that Sarek is back – we see Mark Lenard in two more films, and even in a couple of episodes of The Next Generation.

So what if the plot isn’t the strongest, so what if the sequence on Vulcan where Spocks’ mind is taken from McCoy and put back into Spock go on for a bit.  It’s nice to see him again, even though he only gets a few words at the end.

As I said before, this is kind of the middle story in a trilogy, and whilst the two that surround it are much stronger (perhaps the best the series has to offer) I think this one is good too – the quality of two and four tend to push this third film into the shadow a tad.

Crew Deaths: 0 (David doesn’t count, he isn’t Enterprise crew)
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 58
Score: 7.5/10

May 30, 2008 Posted by | accelerated ageing, cloaking devices, david marcus, death of a recurring character, destruction of a starfleet ship, family members, inside another stafleet ship, klingons, mind meld, pon farr, saavik, sarek, self destruct, set on earth, set on vulcan, stolen ship or shuttlecraft, vulcans | | 2 Comments

Star Trek 3.11 (Wink of an Eye)

Cast:
Kathie Browne(Deela)
Jason Evers(Rael)
Erik Holland(Ekor)
Geoffrey Binney (Crewman Compton)

Writer: Gene L. Coon, Arthur Heinemann

On the surface of an alien world (Scalos), Kirk and company beam down to the exact point where they are recieving a video transmission from a group of five people.  Trouble is, they aren’t there, and a few moments later, red clad ensign expendable (well, Crewman Compton) vanishes.  On the Enterprise, there is a machine on the life support systems that cannot be touched, shot or anything – in fact their phasers vanish when they try to shoot it.

What has happened is they have been slowed down in time – and soon Kirk is as well (when he drinks an agent that causes this to happen).  The idea is a bit odd – you would have thought that if someone stood in the same place for long enough, you would see them, but that doesn’t seem to happen.

The Scalosians refer to them as having been accelerated, when actually it seems like the opposite is true.  The only hint of the existence of Kirk and the Scalosians that the rest of the crew have is an insect like noise when one of the “accelerated” people is about.

One unfortunate effect of “acceleration” is that if they get hurt whilst newly accelerated, (meaning cell damage like a cut) they rapidly age and die, which is what happens to Crewman Compton (eleven episodes in and the first Enterprise crew member to die!) 

I remember really liking this tale a while back, yet somehow it does not live up to my memory.  The Scalosian unit that is on the life support system is going to freeze the whole Enterprise crew.  There is no real reason given as to why – if it is just a way of getting rid of the crew, the Scalosians are in an easy position to kill the crew, why they don’t do that I have no idea at all.

In some scenes, actors have to stand still as the Scalosians act around them.  This is sometimes done very well, and other times it is not.  Scotty did seem to be swaying somewhat as he stood still in the entrance to the transporter room!

The episode slows down an awful lot, and the last ten minutes or so are pretty painful.  The bit where the Scalosians fall for Kirk pretending to be finally accepting what is going on around him is just nonsense, I cannot believe they fell for it (although apparently it is normal for people to succumb automatically to their way of thinking a while after their acceleration!)

The episode ends with Spock deliberately accelerating himself once McCoy has come up with an antidote to the situation.  They then destroy the freezer, take the antidote and everything is hunky dory.  I actually think it would have been better not to show Spock taking the water, then have him pretend to be at normal speed by standing still in the background of a scene, then have him suddenly enter the scene at an opportune moment.  A real missed opportunity, that!

So all in all, not bad but not great.  Understanding why the Scalosians were doing what they were doing would have made a difference.  And also, at the start, Deela (the Scalosian woman) says that the transport process was very slow (which makes sense) but when Kirk beams her back down (before he takes the decelerant) it takes the usual amount of time.  Oh well!

Crew Deaths: 1
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 46
Score: 6/10

May 8, 2008 Posted by | accelerated ageing, ship/station taken over | | 1 Comment

Star Trek 2.12 (The Deadly Years)

Cast:

Charles Drake (Commodore George Stocker)
Sarah Marshall (Dr. Janet Wallace)
Felix Locher (Robert Johnson)
Carolyn Nelson (Yeoman Doris Atkins)
Laura Wood (Elaine Johnson)
Beverly Washburn (Lt. Arlene Galway)
Writer: David P. Harmon
I remember this episode as a kid – I think it was one of the very first ones that I saw. I recall being terrified at the obvious ageing of the characters.
Many many years on you do tend to look at this episode a little differently. Firstly, we know what the actors actually looked like when they were that much older, and whilst some of the ageing makeup is quite good for it’s day, they do look rather different in this episode than they do for real now.
The story is going okay then takes a massive nosedive when they do a competency hearing. Of course Kirk isn’t fit for command – we see that he is forgetting stuff very early into the episode. Why the hell McCoy didn’t declare him unfit for command (something we know for later stories is the prerogative of the chief medical officer) I don’t know. This portion of the episode is a waste of time. As are the arguments of the main crew. It would have been far better to have them lucid and just having the odd memory lapse (enough to get them declared unfit for command) and
having to deal with what comes next…
Then when Commodore Stocker takes command (as everyone else is too senile) he makes the decision to go the most direct route to the Starbase – and this happens to be through the Romulan Neutral zone.
We don’t see the Romulans properly in this one – we see their ship trying to blow the crap out of the Enterprise, but luckily McCoy (even in his advanced aging state) comes up with a suggested drug that might reverse the effects, and luckily Jim is able to take command of the ship again before they are blown to kingdom come (using the corbomite bluff used in the first season!)
Ooh, and the radiation drug hyronalin gets mentioned, I think this is the first reference but we get to hear a lot about if in future generations…
This is okay fair, there is much better, there is much worse…
Crew Deaths: 1
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 35
Score: 6/10

April 3, 2008 Posted by | accelerated ageing, romulans | | Leave a comment