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

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

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

William Shatner (Kirk)
Leonard Nimoy (Spock)
DeForest Kelley (McCoy)
James Doohan(Scotty)
George Takei(Sulu)
Walter Koenig(Checkov)
Nichelle Nichols(Uhura)
Jane Wyatt (Amanda)
Catherine Hicks (Gillian Taylor)
Mark Lenard(Sarek)
Robin Curtis(Saavik)
Robert Ellenstein (President)
John Schuck (Klingon Ambassador)
Brock Peters (Admiral Cartwright)
Grace Lee Whitney (Rand)
Majel Barrett (Chapel)

Writer: Leonard Nimoy, Harve Bennett, Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes, Nicholas Meyer

The fourth film in the series starts where the previous film left off on Vulcan, with the crew about to depart for Earth to learn of the consequences of their actions in the previous film.  As they leave, a strange alien probe heads for Earth and starts tranmsitting a signal to the Earth from orbit.  The signal causes mass power failure, and also disrupts the atmosphere, causing one hundred percent cloud coverage.  They send out a message for nobody to come to Earth, as the planet is doomed.

En route, the main Enterprise crew inside their stolen Klingon ship pick up the signals.  Uhura distorts the signal so that they can hear what it would sound like underwater, and Spock recognises the sound as the singing of the extinct humpback whale.  So Kirk suggests that they go back in time and get some!

After a successful Time Warp, they arrive in 1986 San Fransisco.  Kirk and Spock cry and find where the whale are kept, McCoy, Sulu and Scotty arrange for the tank to be built inside the Klingon ships hold, and Uhura and Checkov try to find a nuclear power source to collect radioactive particles to regenerate the knackered dilithium crystals.  It all happens, and when they return to the present the whales talk to the probe and it buggers off.  The only punishment they get for what happened in the previous film is Kirk gets demoted to Captain and is given command of the new USS Enterprise NCC 1701-A.

This is often mentioned in the same breath as film two, and whilst it’s not quite as good, it is an excellent movie.  It is the only story played for laughs (I’m not saying it is a comedy, it isn’t) and some of the humour is excellent.  Spock in particular, as he tries to fit into his new surroundings by using what he calls “colourful metaphors” are very funny, as is the scene where he mind melds with the whale.

The film is unabashedly conservationist, the message is hammered home with a lack of subtlety that could be off putting.  Luckily, it isn’t, and there are some moments in the film that are quite tense – when they only prevent their whales being killed by whalers in the nick of time it’s quite tense, although it’s so far into the movie and you know at this point that if they loose the whales there is no time to find any more.

I like the Gillian Taylor character – she is the marine scientist who is responsible for the whales in 1986, and it is nice that she ends up going forward in time with them.

It was also nice to see both of Spocks parents again – Sarek and Amanda both appear, although not together – she is on Vulcan, he is on Earth. 

It is a really nice film, and wraps up the unofficial trilogy of movies really well.  This is the longest story we get in Star Trek until we get into Deep Space Nine and I have to say that after watching the third film I had to watch the fourth on the same day.

So, I’m nearly there with this cast of characters.  Just two more movies to go, and after that I can only look forward to cameos of some of the characters in various of the future versions of the show…  I’m going to miss them, actually.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 58
Score: 8.5/10

June 2, 2008 Posted by | amanda, andorians, contemporary earth, family members, inside another stafleet ship, klingons, mind meld, saavik, sarek, saving a planet, set on earth, set on vulcan, time travel, vulcans | | 2 Comments

Star Trek 3.23 (All our Yesterdays)

Johnny Haymer (The Constable)
Stan Barrett (The Jailer)
Al Cavens (Fop #2)
Anna Karen (Woman)
Ed Bakey (Fop #1)
Ian Wolfe(Mr. Atoz)
Mariette Hartley(Zarabeth)
Kermit Murdock (The Prosecutor)

Writer: Jean Lisette Aroeste

Well, two from the end and we have an episode that isn’t bad.  It isn’t great, but it is a damned site better than anything we have seen for a while.

A sun is about to go nova, and the planet that orbits it (Sarpedion) has sent it’s population into the past of the planet to escape the disaster.  Each person could choose the period of Sarpedion history that they went back into.  When Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to the planet, the last person there (who sent all the others back) thinks the Enterprise crew are stragglers.  Kirk goes back to the equivalent of the sixteenth century, and McCoy and Spock accidentally end up in the Sarpedion ice age.

I won’t pretend that it is great, but there are moments that I like.  The fact that Kirk is rescued from almost certain execution as a witch by someone from the future who is also living in the past is quite nice.  The fact that Spock starts to revert to behave like contemporary Vulcans from that time period (5,000 years ago) is quite well handled for this show given the state it is now in.  He doesn’t very violent (just mildly!) and considering they could have had him revert to an animal state (complete with snarling and foaming at the mouth!) I thank heaven for small mercies.  There is one tired Trek cliche in that the guardian of the library seems to have made two identical copies of himself for no apparent reason.

Of course they all find their way back just in time and the Enterprise does get out of the solar system just before the sun goes nova.  But we finally have an episode that isn’t so bad – and it could have been.  I was not so keen on the segments showing Kirk in the past, but the bits with Spock and McCoy were quite good (they meet with another person from the future.  A couple of books suggest that perhaps Spock fathered a child at this point, but it ain’t cannon if it isn’t in the show).

So, a slight return to form.  And only one to go!

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 52
Score: 6/10

May 26, 2008 Posted by | doubles or duplicates, time travel | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 2.26 (Assignment: Earth)

Robert Lansing (Gary Seven)
Teri Garr (Roberta Lincoln)
Don Keefer (Cromwell)
Lincoln Demyan (Sgt. Lipton)
Morgan Jones(Col. Nesvig)
Bruce Mars (Charlie)
Ted Gehring (Policeman)

Writers: Gene Roddenberry, Art Wallace

This episode was actually meant to be a pilot for another show, starring Robert Lansing as Gary Seven.  The Enterprise is sent back to 1968 to gather some information covertly, but they intercept a long distance transporter beam from a far off planet to Earth in 1968.

Gary Seven is there to prevent Earth from destroying itself, on this occasion the USA is launching a nuclear weapon into space, and he wants to stop it.  But due to the Enterprise interfering, it almost crashes in Europe and causes a war!  They sort it all out, and the Enterprise leaves.

It’s not that it’s terrible (although it isn’t that good either) but the Enterprise crew are in the episode an awful lot less – it really is Gary Seven’s episode, the actor even gets a guest star credit at the start.  Of course, it never made it to a series, and it’s easy to see why – it’s quite bland.  The Gary Seven character is rather like an inferior version of Doctor Who– he even has a device that looks and is overused just like the sonic screwdriver.  Being set on modern day Earth resembles the Pertwee era, only without the military backup, so perhaps he was actually working for Torchwood NY!

So, rather bland, and a silly bit at the end with the shape shifting cat.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 43
Score: 5/10

April 23, 2008 Posted by | contemporary earth, shape shifters, time travel | | 3 Comments

Star Trek 1.28 (The City of the Edge of Forever)


David L. Ross (Lt. Galloway)
John Winston (Lt. Kyle)
Bart La Rue (voice of The Guardian)
Joan Collins (Edith Keeler)
John Harmon (Rodent)
Hal Baylor (Policeman)
Writer: Harlan Ellison
When you ask a Star Trek fan to list their very favourite episodes, this one nearly always comes in the top three. Why. Does it deserve it or not?
Well, yes is the brief answer. For a start is introduces the concept of the Guardian of Forever, which is used to great effect down the line on an episode of Star Trek: New Voyages. It is also quite a clever story – high on a medication that is injected in error, McCoy goes through the portal and changes history so badly that the Enterprise no longer exists. Spock and Kirk follow (although the actually arrive first), and Kirk meets Edith Keeler (Joan Collins) and falls for her. Sadly, when Spock gets his tricorder working again he realises that her death is that turning point, and by saving her McCoy changes the future, so in a nutshell he has to let her die when he knows he can save her.

This is a really nice tale – set in the past, it has some nice dialogue and the interplay between Kirk and Spock is great, especially the moment where they explain Spocks ears to a cop! It is nice seeing our regulars as fish out of water in an environment they don’t really understand, but a lot of the episode revolves around Spock having to build a rudimentary computer to view the information stored on the tricorder. So what kind of tit designs a handheld unit that can store loads of data that cannot be accessed without a larger computer?

Oh, and the insistence of the director of doing all of the close up shots of Keeler in soft focus really gets very annoying very quickly. When every other shot is nice and sharp, those are just annoying.
And those really are the only gripes, the rest is great. It is regarded as a classic, and deservedly so.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 26
Score: 8/10

January 19, 2008 Posted by | time travel | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 1.19 (Tomorrow is Yesterday)

First Aired: January 26, 1967

Roger Perry (Capt. John Christopher)
Hal Lynch (Air Police Sergeant)
Richard Merrifield (Technician Webb)
Ed Peck (Col. Fellini)
Mark Dempsey (Air Force Captain)
Jim Spencer (Air Policeman)
Sherri Townsend (Crew Woman)
Writer: D.C. Fontana
What’s going on? Confusingly, the episode starts in the modern day (well, modern for when it was made). The USAF scrambles at the sight of a real UFO, then suddenly you see the Enterprise in the skies of modern day Earth! It’s a quick teaser, but a really cool one!
When they are directly persued by a fighter pilot, rather than shoot him down, they lock a tractor beam on his plane, but it is not built to take that stress and breaks up so they beam the pilot up, but they cannot give him too much information on who and what they are. The history books also point to the fact that an ancestor of his does something vital in the future, so they have to put him back somehow!
The pilot, John Christopher, is played really well by Roger Perry – his sense of wonder and awe is excellent, but he also kind of takes everything in his stride.
We have the first incident of a silly computer – the ships computer has been given a personality by an all female refit team, and it wants to get into Kirks pants. Ugh.
This is an early example of a comedy episode that is very funny but also managed to not be very silly. The peril the crew are in is real enough, but there are some nice moments, such as when they are forced to beam up a military policeman, and when Kirk is kidnapped on Earth and told they will lock him away for 200 years. He gives a wry grin and says that that would be about right!
The way the end the episode is a bit twee, but I let them off: this is Trek done right and is one of the best.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 25
Score: 8/10

August 28, 2007 Posted by | contemporary earth, time travel | | 1 Comment

Star Trek 1.4 (The Naked Time)

First Aired: September 29, 1966

Stewart Moss (Joe Tormolen)
Bruce Hyde (Lt. Kevin Thomas Riley)
William Knight (Amorous Crewman)
John Bellah (Laughing Crewman)

Writer: John D.F. Black

I am very familiar with this episode for two reasons – firstly, I like it, and secondly I had not realised how similar the Next Generation remake (The Naked Now) was!

Also, this is the first episode of the run that has all of the season one regulars in place – Uhura, Rand, Sulu, Scotty, Chapel, Kirk, Spock, McCoy – all are there. And it’s so cool to have them!

The plot moves along at a nice pace, and there is time for some enjoyable, and funny, character moments, but as their situation gets more serious, as the ship stops working and the planet starts to break up, there is a real sense of tension, even though you know in your heart of hears that they are going to survive. It is great watching everyone going bonkers, with only a few people remaining sane. The frustration on Shatners face as Kirk has to deal with the degenerating situation are great, Sulu going mental with a sword (surely one of the most iconic images of any character within the show) is a lot of fun, Kevin Riley taking over engineering and demanding ice cream and singing over the intercom is also funny when it could have got annoying. We also find out for the first time that Chapel has a thing for Spock.

One gripe – there is a Captains Log that says, and I quote, “…our need for efficiency critical, but unknown to us, a totally new and unusual disease has been bought aboard.” How the hell can you do a Captains log that basically says “however, unbeknown to us…” It just sticks out. The Captains Log cannot be used to communicate something that the Captain does not know at the time. It’s just bollocks.

Generally, this is a fun episode, the only part I was not convinced by was the last few moments where Kirk and Spock fight and this somehow cures Spock and he thinks up the formula for a “never been done before” cold start on the Enterprise engines and it causes them to go back in time in a way that is not at all relevant to the story and serves it in no way whatsoever. Yep, Kirk does the timewarp a few years before the cast of Rocky Horror! It is a slightly hokey ending that lets down an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable episode.

Crew Deaths: 1
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 17
Score: 7/10

July 26, 2007 Posted by | disease/sickness, kevin riley, time travel | | 1 Comment