I just have to say in passing

It is a cosmic injustice that Sawyer from Lost has a ‘Gaston’ music video on YouTube and Riker doesn’t. Sawyer is nowhere near the size of a barge.

PTUI!

TNG Episode 1.17: When the Bough Breaks

In which won’t somebody please think of the children?

Memory Alpha says: The children of the Enterprise-D are kidnapped by a dying race that has mysteriously become infertile en masse. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
I have zero memory of this episode, and I’m sure not excited about it. I hope I don’t need to use the ‘dullsville’ tag again. I wonder when the next cool episode of this show is? Read the rest of this entry »

TNG Episode 1.16: Too Short a Season

In which we see age make-up even worse than that piled onto DeForrest Kelley for the pilot.

Memory Alpha says: An elderly admiral must negotiate the end of a hostage crisis he helped create. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
The main problem with this episode is: I don’t know who Mark Jameson is, and I don’t care. I (as a notional first-time viewer – I am pretty sure I didn’t see this episode when it was new) just barely know who Jean-Luc Picard is, and am starting to care about him. Commendably, TNG works hard to develop a true ensemble cast, giving different people episodes in which to shine, a refreshing contrast with the TOS situation, where because Bill Shatner had a smart agent, they were contractually obliged to give Captain Kirk the A-plot of pretty much every episode.  (That’s my understanding of the situation, but if I’m confused I’d be pleased to hear the real deal in comments.)

This early along, though, that ensemble is still being developed, so bringing in a guest character whose story we’re all supposed to give a shit about for one episode is a misstep. It could have been done more successfully much later, when we were so used to Picard et al that focusing on someone quite different for an episode could feel refreshing. It’s similar to how miscalculated ‘The Naked Now’ is: it’s not funny to see the crew act goofy when you don’t yet know how they behave on a normal day.

This episode also establishes a central truth of the Star Trek universe: Starfleet admirals are a huge pain in the arse, and exist primarily to make real people’s jobs harder. If you walk into a room full of admirals, do not even turn around, just reverse out. You will note that on her return to the Alpha Quadrant, Kathryn Janeway was promoted to Admiral while Jean-Luc Picard remained a Captain. This is a reflection on their differing levels of usefulness.

Read the rest of this entry »

DS9 Episode 1.15: Progress

In which there are self-sealing stem bolts. Need I say more?

Memory Alpha says: An old farmer refuses to leave the moon where he lives, even though it is about to be made uninhabitable by toxic gases. Meanwhile, Jake and Nog set out to turn an inordinate amount of seemingly worthless condiments into profit. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review

Well, I just coined the tag ‘kirasode’ to denote episodes that focus on Kira Nerys, and my spotty, pidgin-like knowledge of Japanese is telling me it means ‘sparkly sleeves.’ That’s neither here nor there. I seem to have a vague memory of watching this when it first aired – actually, I think I was watching it on the little TV at my grandparents’, the one that crouched under the breakfast bar and beside the liquor cabinet. Either that or the little TV in my parents’ bedroom. Definitely a memory of littleness. Also neither here nor there.

I don’t remember being particularly captivated by Kira’s role in this episode. I think it’s the sort of faintly dull character-building that you sometimes have to go through in order to lay a foundation that you can build a more interesting story upon. I do like the Noh-Jay subplot, though, because I’ve always enjoyed the type of story in which someone has to make a series of unlikely trades to get the object they actually desire (I seem to remember at least one episode of M*A*S*H* which followed this structure, and of course a lot of folk-tales, and something in one of my favourite kids’ books, The Great Brain), and because I like the fact that in DS9, the kid characters are underdogs who sometimes manage to pull off something clever. They don’t bear a charmed life like Wesley Crusher (nor, on the other hand, do they get told to shut up for no good reason). A story in which spunky kids get one over on adult authority figures has a lot of appeal, but not if the victory comes too easily. Read the rest of this entry »

Christchurch Earthquake Appeal

I may have mentioned, or harped on, the fact that I’m a New Zealander. A few days ago, Tuesday 22 February, the city of Christchurch on our South Island was struck by a severe earthquake, a major aftershock of an initial, already horrible earthquake on 4 September last year. The city is in a terrible state, as I’m sure you’re aware from the news. I am very fortunate to be well away from Christchurch, and not to have lost anyone I know in the disaster. I know things are hard all over, but if you can afford to donate some money to the relief and rescue efforts, you can do it through the New Zealand Red Cross site or, if that’s down (it has been struggling since the earthquake, I hope because it is overloaded with visitors wanting to help), try the GrabOne donation page or the Salvation Army.

You would be doing a truly good thing.

Review of ‘Progress’ to follow shortly, and probably at least one more this weekend.

DS9 Episode 1.14 – The Storyteller

In which the best best-friendship ever begins – and O’Brien lets down the entire Irish folk narrative tradition.

Memory Alpha says: Chief O’Brien is appointed spiritual leader of a Bajoran village. Meanwhile, Nog and Jake try to help their new friend settle a struggle between two Bajoran villages. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review

It’s a funny thing about the depiction of Bajorans. They have a high level of technology, zap guns, spaceships, jaunty uniforms, and yet in this episode we see a village of them who are essentially living in the Middle Ages, in a world where, more or less, magic works. The thing is, this story wasn’t even written for DS9 – it was pitched during the first season of TNG, when the show was still using mostly TOS-style plots, and ran with shit like ‘Code of Honor‘ and ‘Angel One.’ And it still wasn’t accepted. Apparently the story just hung around not getting used until now, when it was hastily rewritten in some dude’s Christmas break to incorporate the DS9 characters and setting. Read the rest of this entry »

TNG Episode 1.15: 11001001

In which Riker doesn’t know how to socialise with anyone except a holo-woman, but has the nerve, years later, to be mad at Barclay for pretty much exactly the same thing. Huh.

Memory Alpha says: Aliens who are on-board to overhaul the computer system of the Enterprise hijack the vessel instead; Riker falls for a sultry holodeck character. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
I wonder how many fans are dedicated and nerdy enough to refer to this episode by its title without using copy-paste? I won’t even try to remember it; I’ll just think of it as ‘Bynars’ or ‘Minuet.’ This episode actually shows a modicum of continuity with ‘The Big Goodbye’ and ‘Datalore,’ since this is the computer refit Picard told Riker they were overdue for at the end of the latter, and the Bynars refer to the holodeck having been affected by a probe in the former. It’s also important in character terms because it establishes Riker’s jazz fandom and trombone playing. Minuet seems like a cool chick, and I’d like to think she sometimes hangs out at Vic’s Las Vegas Lounge. Read the rest of this entry »