Utterly Star Trek Review

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Star Trek: The Next Generation 2.10 (The Dauphin)

dauphinCast:
Colm Meaney Miles O’Brien
Whoopi Goldberg Guinan
Paddi Edwards Anya
Cindy Sorenson Animal Anya
Jennifer Barlow Ensign Gibson
Mädchen Amick Anya as Teenage Girl
Peter Neptune Aron
Jamie Hubbard Salia

Writers: Leonard MlodinowScott Rubenstein

After a pair of excellent episodes, The Dauphin is a bit of an anticlimax.  It’s not that it’s horribly bad, like most of the first seven episodes of the season, but it’s not that great either.

It’s a basic plot.  The Enterprise is taking the next ruler of a planet from a planet (Salia) where she has been hidden until she is ready to rule.  Her only company on this world has been her protector, an old woman called Anya.  Anya, it turns out, is a shapeshifter and will do anything to protect Salia – even if the threat is relatively minor (for example, she orders a crewman with a mildly contagious disease to be killed).

Meanwhile, Wesley and Salia seem to like each other.  Wesley, not having had much experience with the opposite sex, goes around asking people for advice on how to approach her, and this gives us two of the best scenes in the episode.  The first is when Worf describes Klingon mate attraction techniques (complete with roar) and seems to get rather carried away.  The second is when Riker uses Guinan to demonstrate his chat up lines, but they both get so carried away they ignore Wesley who leaves in disgust.

We do not initially know that Anya (and later Salia) are shape shifters, but it is not a major shock.  Anya is very well played, and although she is a small woman you seriously get the impression that she could take on Worf.

The scenes between Wesley and Anya are quite nice, but it is still not all that substantial an story for the character.  Wesley is hard to use well, and they very rarely manage it.

So, an average tale, made slightly better by the couple of humorous scenes in the  middle.  It is something this show can sometimes do very well.

Oh, and in case you don’t know, the episode title is a French historical allusion – in France, the Dauphin was the title given to the heir apparent of the throne of France from 1350 to 1791, and from 1824 to 1830.  See, you learn something from this!

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 5
Score: 6/10

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May 17, 2009 Posted by | chief o'brien, formless creature, guinan, monsters, shape shifters | | 4 Comments

Star Trek: The Next Generation 2.9 (The Measure of a Man)

180px-brucemaddoxCast:
Colm Meaney (Chief O’Brien)
Whoopi Goldberg(Guinan)
Amanda McBroom (Philippa Louvois) 
Clyde Kusatsu (Admiral Nakamura)
Brian Brophy (Bruce Maddox)

Writer: Melinda Snodgrass

This is the second episode in a row that is something special.  It has a very basic story: a scientist who is an expert of the works of Data’s creator, Noonian Soong, wants to break Data up to find out how he works.  The problem is that there is no guarantee that Data will work when out together again.  Data refuses to undergo the experiment, so Maddox (the scientist) claims that Data cannot refuse as he is the property of Stafleet.  The rest of the episode is a hearing about whether or not Data has rights.

It sounds dull, but it really isn’t.  There are some wonderful scenes.  The one where Riker finds out some information from the computer that gives him an egde in the case (he is forced to act for Maddox against Data) is awesome.  He looks pleased for a moment, then the realisation crossed his face about what he might be about to do.

The scene in Ten Forward where Guinan gives Picard a hint if how he should defend the case is also brilliant.  The scene between Patrick Stewart and Whoopi Goldberg is amazing.

And the moment where Data reveals to the hearing that he was intimate with Tasha Yar is amazing – the look on the face of Louvois (the Judge Advocate General) is a picture, and for me is the turning point of the case.

It is a simple courtroom drama, wonderfully scripted and acted.  The premise sounds dull, but you have to see it to believe how good it is.  Many fans think it is one of the ten best this show ever did, and whilst I would not go quite that far, it’s certainly close!

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 5
Score: 9/10

February 5, 2009 Posted by | admiral nakamura, chief o'brien, crew poker, guinan | | 1 Comment

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

September 17, 2008 Posted by | guinan | | 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