Utterly Star Trek Review

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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 1.9 (Hide and Q)

Cast:
John de Lancie (Q)
William A. Wallace (Older Wesley)
Elaine Nalee (Klingon Survivor)

Writers: Gene Roddenberry, C.J. Holland

This episode is so crap I won’t go into too much detail of the “plot” but basically Q turns up, shows an interest in Riker, gives Riker the powers of the Q, and eventually Riker decides he doesn’t want them.

So, it’s a weak premise.  When I started watching this series, I really didn’t like Q.  Eventually they work out what to do with him – in fact, from his next appearance onwards.  But in this he is just a pathetic, immature cretinous turd.

The scenes on the world where they are attacked by, and I quote the episode, “vicious animal things” are just embarrassing.  And then when Riker has his Q powers he starts to change straight away.  Of course someone with those abilities would change over time, but there is no way he would start being disrespectful to Picard that early on.  And the scenes where he gives everyone their greatest wish are just awful.  He gives Worf a mate (the first Klingon we see in this show other than Worf, although she probably doesn’t count as she doesn’t really exist!)  He also makes Wesley ten years older (yawn) and gives Geordi his sight back (and we get a second hint that he fancies Tasha, the first being in The Naked Now).

There are some good ideas – when the Enterprise arrives at the scene of a disaster and they find the body of a small girl just too late – it could have been good, with Riker holding back on using his powers due to his promise to Picard, but it came across as just damned cheesy.

Q’s reason for all of this sort of makes sense – the Q continuum believes that one day man may be a more powerful race than the Q and they want to make Riker a Q so they can understand them.  But the execution is embarrassingly bad.  Even the spectacle of Wesley being run through with a bayonet is not enough to rescue this drivel from the sewer.

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

June 17, 2008 Posted by | klingons, q, super beings | | 1 Comment

Star Trek: The Next Generation 1.1 (Encounter at Farpoint)

Cast:
Patrick Stewart(Captain Jean-Luc Picard)
Jonathan Frakes(Cmdr. William T. Riker)
LeVar Burton(Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge)
Denise Crosby(Tasha Yar)
Michael Dorn (Lt. Worf)
Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher)
Marina Sirtis(Counsellor Deanna Troi)
Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher)
Colm Meaney (Miles O’Brien)
John de Lancie (Q)
Evelyn Guerrero (Ensign)
Chuck Hicks (Military Officer)
David Erskine(Bandi Shopkeeper)
Timothy Dang (Security Guard)
Carey Hiroyuki (Mandarin Bailiff)
Jimmy Ortega (Lt. Torres)
Michael Bell(Groppler Zorn)
DeForest Kelley (Admiral Leonard McCoy)

Writer: Gene Roddenberry, D.C. Fontana

The crew of the new USS Enterpriseare on their way to pick up the rest of the crew (including the first officer and Chief Medical Officer) at Farpoint Station when they are stopped by a being with unimaginable powers called the Q.  They try to outrun Q, and in doing so separate the ship into Battle Section and Saucer Section – the saucer contains all of the families and the battle section contains all of the armaments.  Q puts them on trial in a 22nd Century court, but the Captain, a chap called Picard, suggests that their actions should act as their defence.  So grudgingly Q lets them continue with their mission to Farpoint.

When there, the two parts of the ship reconnect and the rest of the crew come aboard.  The Bandi (the people that built Farpoint) seem rather eager to please – they seem to bve able to get their hands on anything anybody wants.

The crew explore the tunnels underneath the city, when a massive ship turns up and starts shooting the Bandi city (not Farpoint station).  Then Riker and some others beam across and the corridors in the ship look exactly like the tunnels under Farpoint.  Q turns back up and tries to interfere with what they are doing (telling them to fire on the ship etc) but they soon realise that both the ship in orbit and the station down below are massive life forms capable of transforming energy into matter – the Bandi have been keeping one barely alive and using it to build resources like Farpoint Station.  The Enterprise feeds the creature on the surface energy and it flies into space to be with it’s mate.  Q lets them off and says he will be back.

It is very hard to know what to say about this.  When it was new and unusual we all loved it – but now this opening episode just seems a little dated.  The ship itself looks great, although you don’t get to see that much of it.  The saucer separation is a nice touch, but Q is just irritating.

Patrick Stewart gives a solid performance as Picard, and Spiner excels as Data, but the rest do not fare so well.  Troi’s accent is horrible (they really tone it down as the series goes on), and Worf, Geordi and Yar just seem like background characters (although in fairness Worf was originally just that, he was not a main cast member at the start, he was only supposed to be in a few episodes).  It was also nice to see Colm Meaney (he gets no name in this, but we can assume it is O’Brien I think!)

The effects are okay – I never liked the force barrier thing of Q’s, and the flash as the ship goes into warp now seems a bit tacky.

All in all this is just okay – in fact, I have realised that it feels more like an episode of original Star Trek than The Next Generation.  I know it gets better, but I wonder how long before it feels like the show I am expecting?

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

June 5, 2008 Posted by | character from another series, chief o'brien, exes, q, space creatures, super beings | | Leave a comment

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Cast:
William Shatner (Kirk)
Leonard Nimoy (Spock)
DeForest Kelley (McCoy)
James Doohan(Scotty)
Walter Koenig(Checkov)
Nichelle Nichols(Uhura)
George Takei(Sulu)
David Warner (St. John Talbot)
Laurence Luckinbill(Sybok)
Charles Cooper(Korrd)
Cynthia Gouw(Caithlin Dar)
Todd Bryant(Klaa)
Spice Williams(Vixis)
George Murdock (God)

Writers: William Shatner, Harve Bennett, David Loughery

Sybok – a man who turns out to also be a son of Sarek – takes over Nimbus III, a planet that was intended to be the planet of galactic peace, but has kind of been forgotten.  By holding the Klingon, human and Romulan ambassadors (yes, we finally see a Romulan in a movie and a female one at that) he judges that someone will respond by sending a starship.  Both the Klingons and the Federation do – they send the new Enterprise, which is still having it’s faults ironed out bu Scotty.  However, when the Enterprise arrives, and they try to rescue the hostages, it turns out they are on Syboks side.  Sybok takes over the Enterprise, and they fly off to kind God, who is at the centre of the Galaxy.  The Klingons follow.  God turns out not to be God just some creature that has been trapped in this place (presumably by an advanced race who saw it as a threat).  Sybok buys them time to escape with his life.  Then the Klingons arrive, and are talked down by the Klingon ambassador.  Everyone survives.

I really don’t want to come across as the stereotypical Trek enthusiast and slag this movie off.  My memory of it before I watched it today was that it was a lot of nice moments that just did not add up to being a great film.  Sadly, when I watched it today, I have realised that it isn’t even that.

I think the idea behind this film was to go back to the original idea that the story is about these three men – Kirk, Spock and McCoy, and their relationship.  I noticed that all of the other regulars were listed as co-stars, for the first time in the movies.  And they are marginalised in this film – even made to look a little foolish (Sulu and Checkov getting lost on Earth, for example).  The ease with which Sybok influences them all is also a little frustrating, although he fails to convince Scotty (although the story had another way to make Scotty look foolish – “I know this ship like the back of my hand”).

It’s got some good guests – David Warner, a really good actor, is given very little to do (although they more than make up for this in the next film when he plays a Klingon, and later in The Next Generationwhere he plays an awesome Cardassian).  Charles Cooper is good as Klingon Ambassador Koord – they obviously liked him, as he came back as another Klingon on The Next Generation.

This film possibly suffered because it was the first Trek movie to come out during the run of The Next Generation.  It was filmed between the breaks between seasons 2 and 3 and came out during 3.  This cannot have helped – season 3 was when The Next Generationreally found it’s feet and became a distinctive show of it’s own.  The fact that many of the sets were just Next Generation sets redressed didn’t help – there are a couple of corridor shots that are blatant Enterprise-D corridors, not a redress in sight.  It is a real shame.

So, all in all, the first bad film in the series.  I genuinely think that this would have killed the movie franchise if The Next Generation has not been doing so well on TV at the time.  Luckily, the original crew have one final outing to make it up so us…

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 58
Score: 5/10

June 3, 2008 Posted by | family members, klingons, mind control, romulans, sarek, set on earth, set on vulcan, ship/station taken over, songs, super beings, transporter problems, vulcans | | 1 Comment

Star Trek 3.10 (Plato’s Stepchildren)

Cast:
Michael Dunn (Alexander)
Liam Sullivan(Parmen)
Barbara Babcock(Philana)
Ted Scott(Eraclitus)
Derek Partridge(Dionyd)

Writer: Meyer Dolinsky

I really hate this episode.  In fact, it was not shown by the BBC in the UK until 1993 – they decided during the original run that it could not be shown because of the sadism in certain scenes.  This is possible.  I would rather follow the line used once by a British comedian called Jasper Carrott.  “Why’s it banned?  ‘Cos it’s crap!”

The basic idea is that a group of aliens with telekinetic powers have lived alone on their planet for years.  Now there are only 38, but they have lived for thousands of years.  However, they have no immune systems left and have started falling ill.  McCoy cures the illness easily, and so is told he will be staying.  The Platonians disable the Enterprise, and torture Spock and Kirk to get McCoy to agree to stay.

The torture scenes are bloody silly.  I am not sure what the production team wanted to do, because there is one scene that is so cringeworthy and silly it spoils the whole episode.  This is the moment when Alexander rides on the back of Kirk like a horse, complete with Kirk making horse noises.  It is utter, utter crap.

This episode is also renowned because it contains American TV’s first interracial kiss.  Bollocks.  Both Kirk and Uhura are being controlled by the Platonians at this point – the action is not voluntary.  So in fact what we have here is technically the worlds first televised interracial sexual assault.  Brilliant.  Well done.

Spock is forced to dance and cry.  I cannot say anything good about this utter turd of an episode.  Well done BBC for not showing the bloody thing for 25 years! 

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 45
Score: 0/10

May 7, 2008 Posted by | earth based culture, mind control, songs, super beings | | 2 Comments

Star Trek 3.4 (And the children shall lead)

Cast:
Craig Hundley (Tommy Starnes)
James Wellman (Prof. Starnes)
Melvin Belli (Gorgan)
Pamelyn Ferdin (Mary Janowski)
Caesar Belli (Steve O’Connel)
Mark Robert Brown (Don Linden)
Brian Tochi (Ray Tsing Tao)
Lou Elias (Technician #1)

Writer: Edward J. Lakso

This is reputedly one of the very worst episodes ever made.  I am unable to agree.  It’s not very good, but I have seen far worse since this project began.  The Enterprise visits a planet where the adults all seem to have killed themselves, leaving only the kids.  Only they are not bothered.

The main problem is that the child actors are the stars of this episode, and they are not all that good.  And once the kids start playing with people’s perceptions of what is going on it just is embarassing.  The scene where Kirk breaks down at the realisation that he has lost the Enterprise is pathetic.  Uhura seeing an older version of her self is dreadful, and I just don’t get why Sulu sees a knife kaleidascope!

It’s not all bad.  The kids cause the Enterprise to be taken out of orbit of the planet, but they trick everyones perception so that the crew think they are still in orbit rather than space.  So when they beam the security people into space, that is quite creepy.

The ritual thing that the kids use to summon the angel is embarassing – in fairness to the kids, they always look pretty embarassed when they are doing it.  And the stabbing motion the kids do when altering perceptions looks pretty silly.  (In fact, it rather looks like they are miming something else, but you’ll have to have seen the Buffy episode The Hush to get that one!)  And the fact that Spock just plays a recording of the chant the kids do in order to summon the angel for himself – just plain silly.  And they break the hold this thing has on the kids by playing some home movies of the kids before the parents died.

The final end of the angel is just silly, and we end up with a bridge full of crying kids.  Nice.

Crew Deaths: 2
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 45
Score: 4/10

April 29, 2008 Posted by | mind control, ship/station taken over, super beings | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 2.9 (Metamorphosis)

Cast:

Glenn Corbett (Zefram Cochrane)
Elinor Donahue (Commissioner Nancy Hedford)
Writer: Gene L. Coon
An old man is rejuvenated and held on a planet by a gentle force called the Companion, but he is lonely so it ensnares the occupants of a passing shuttle to keep him company. The old man is Zephram Cochrane, the occupants of the shuttle are Kirk, Spock, McCoy and an annoying ambassador (Nancy Hedford) in the middle of a peace conference being rushed to the Enterprise for some emergency medical treatment.
Cochrane is an interesting character – like Spock’s father Sarek, he is one of the few characters to make it it into various forms of Star Trek (albeit played by a different actor). He also gets to meet Picard and co (in his past, in Star Trek: First Contact) and even has a cameo in a couple of episodes of Enterprise.
It is a bit of a hokey love story bewteen Cochrane and the shimmering being Cochrane calls the Companion. Although he only finds out that it adores him when the Enterprise crew build a translation device and it turns out to be female. I am torn as to whether Cochranes initial reaction makes sense or not – this thing has sustained him for 150 years and yet suddenly when he finds out it has a crush on him he gets all pissed off? Then again perhaps he saw it as a betrayal. I don’t know. Anyhow, the resolution is that is merges with Nancy (who, as it happens isn’t too ugly even by 60s standards) and suddenly as the Companion is in a sexy female body as far as Cochrane is concerned it’s game on!!
Too long, dull and wordy, and the few scenes featuring the Enterprise seem thrown in just so you don’t forget they exist, they are incidental to the plot. (Nice to see Scotty in command again though).
So all in all, very very average, only elevated by the fact we see Cochrane again.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 33
Score: 5/10

March 28, 2008 Posted by | formless creature, people from the past, super beings | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 2.7 (Catspaw)

Cast:

Antoinette Bower (Sylvia)
Theodore Marcuse (Korob)
Michael Barrier (II) (Lt. Vincent DeSalle)
Rhodie Cogan (Witch #1)
Gail Bonney (Witch #2)
Mary Esther Denver (Witch #3)
Writer: Robert Bloch
Having just watched a Trek tour de force, I suppose that it makes sense that the episode that follows it is a bucket of old poo. I cannot think of anything better to say about this episode. It makes sense for shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer to have halloween episodes. But what the hell was this all about? The opening moments (especially the three witches) was just embarassing and awful.
This has the trappings of episodes like The Squire of Gothos and Who Mourns for Adonais (aliens that have almost magical powers that they can use to do almost anything, who have a piece of equipment that gives them their power, the destroying of which destroys their power). Those episodes have some merits (although neither are, in my opinion, examples of Trek at it’s best) but there is something about the way this episode is acted that makes the two protragonists down on the planet even more unbelievable than the characters in the aforementioned shows. The fact that neither are acted very well doesn’t help. You cannot empathise with either.
And I think Sylvia was supposed to be sexy. No she isn’t (Kirk really must have forced himseld to kiss her… no, I forgot, this is Kirk we are talking about) and I think somehow they should have cast someone who could move in a somewhat feline way (we do also see her transform into a cat after all). And whilst I am on the subject of the things that piss me off, the moment where she puts the model Enterprise over that bloody candle just winds me up. I don’t know why. It is just so cringeworthy. It is the kind of moment that people who don’t like this show could latch into as a good reason not to watch “s**t like that” and sadly they’d be right. Coupled with the scenes with the giant cat… awful. Just awful.
And the final revelation of what the aliens really look like. They look like they should be from some dreadful BBC kids 1970’s puppet show. This is an episode that fans should only watch if they, like me, are watching them in sequence. One of my least favourite episodes of Star Trek. Ever.
Crew Deaths: 1
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 33
Score: 2/10

February 13, 2008 Posted by | super beings | | 1 Comment

Star Trek 2.2 (Who mourns for Adonais?)

Cast:
John Winston (Lt. Kyle)
Leslie Parrish (Lt. Carolyn Palamas)

Michael Forest (Apollo)

Writers: Gene L. Coon, Gilbert A. Ralston

This episode is well remembered, although arguably not as one of the absolute classic episodes. I think the shot of the Enterprise being held in space by a giant hand is an enduring image from this series, although I would expect most people may not be sure what else happens in the episode.
Well, not much as it happens. Apollo brings some of the crew down to tell them that they have to dismantle the Enterprise, and beam down to the planet and worship him. Everyone thinks this is a rotten idea – everyone except anotehr weak willed female member of the crew, Carolyn Palamas (who Scotty has a thing for) who falls for Apollo. I find this very annoying and rather unlikely, just like the woman who fell for Kahn in Space Seed. I hate the way they feel they have to include these pathetic female characters who fall for someone poweful even though they are obviosuly dodgy. Palamas ultimately makes up for it and is instrumental in saving the day, but I just don’t believe that she would have fallen for him in the first place.
I also was annoyed by the sexism towards the females in this show – McCoy comments that Palamas will leave the service when she finds the right man – the idea that she could marry and stay in StarFleet just doesn’t enter his head. This is clearly sixties thinking, so is less annoying than the previous point, but it still rankles a little.
This episode is also rather cheap. There are the Enterprise sets (and all we really see is the bridge) and the planet (which is basically Apollo’s temple and a few shrubs) and that is all we see.
The notion at the end that perhaps this was the real Apollo is quite interesting, although I feel that Kirk accepts this idea rather too easily. For all he knows this could have just been another Squire of Gothos, especially as he is defeated in exactly the same way, the destruction of a “hidden” power source.
It really isn’t that original even for early Star Trek.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 26
Score: 5/10

February 10, 2008 Posted by | super beings | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 1.18 (Arena)

First Aired: January 19, 1967

Cast:
Jerry Ayres (Lt. O’Herlihy)
Grant Woods (Lt. Cmdr. Kelowitz)
Tom Troupe (Lt. Harold)
James Farley (Lt. Lang)
Carole Shelyne (Metron)
Sean Kenney (Lt. DePaul)
Writers: Gene L. Coon
This episode is one of the most well known of the original run. The basic idea has been copies many times, however I do admit that my knowledge of the genre before this show is rather limited, so whilst I am assuming that the original Star Trek series did it first, I am also first to admit that I could be wrong.
The actual area that they beam down to – the outpost on Cestus 3 – is pretty good. The destruction looks to be on quite a large scale, and when the outpost is once again attacked, this time with our heroes on the ground, it is pretty realistic (apart from one bush that explodes twice!!)
Also, the effects for what is a photon torpedo and what is a phaser seems to have settled down now. I don’t recall if I mentioned it on here, but in an earlier episode we hear the call for a phaser blast and we see the effect for what we now call a photon torpedo. Picky bugger, aren’t I?
The Enterprise persues the ship of the aliens that destroyed the colony, with the intention of destroying it when another race – the Metrons – intervene and throw the captains of both ships onto a planet and they are left to fight it out man to man. The rest of the crews can watch the fight (yes, it’s reality television folks! Interestingly, a recent episode of the UK comedy Hyperdrive does the same, only they add the reality TV element, and when the crew of the HMS Camden Lock finally manage to contact their crew, instead of giving them information on how to escape, they give them all feedback on how they are coming across!)
The Gorn captain is a man in a very bad rubber suit who makes silly animal noises, and in fact the second half of the episode is Kirk running around trying to kill the Gorn whilst the Gorn runs around trying to kill him! Interestingly, the Gorn race apparently turn up again in an episode of Enterprise but are done using CGI. I look forward to that!
The end is a little obvious – Kirk shows The Quality of Mercy (TM) and the Metrons let the Enterprise live to fight another day. This is one of those okay episodes – it ain’t crap and it ain’t great.
Crew Deaths: 2
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 25
Score: 7/10

August 28, 2007 Posted by | monsters, super beings | | 1 Comment