Star Trek Crap

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    Sorry to lower the tone and for being so early in the morning. But if you’re a fan of ageing sci-fi franchises generally, or a fan of complaining about them, here are some things going on with Star Trek at the moment:

    Star Trek: Short Treks. Out Now! 4 x short episodes (10-15 mins) being released once a month before Discovery returns. Minimal and supplemental, but proper stories rather than DVD-padding minisodes. The second one (Calypso) is the most Trek has intrigued me since the 90s, written by Michael Chabon. I don’t know where you can watch these where you live.

    Discovery season 2 starts in January. Hope it’s good. I found S1 watchable and they’ve already concluded (abandoned) the war arc I didn’t like. Fan service tends to repel rather than attract me, but I have a soft spot for the ‘lost’ Captain Pike era (I probably watched ‘The Cage’ more than any other episode as a kid), so I’m more interested to see their take on that vaguely-defined crew than watching another reboot of Kirk & co.

    Star Trek: Lower Decks. An adult animated sitcom in development focusing on the humdrum lives of Starfleet technicians. Creator Mike McMahan explains, “I want to do a show about the people who put the yellow cartridge in the food replicator so a banana can come out the other end.” Where do they get their crazy ideas from? Maybe the same places Rob and Doug did, it’s not that similar really.

    Picard series in development starring Patrick Stewart. I didn’t find this announcement exciting, because I prefer new things, but I just found out Michael Chabon’s on the writing team, which will help. Excitement may come as details are released.

    – Various rumours about other shows or miniseries invariably centred around existing characters and concepts, but I don’t think anything’s been confirmed and may all be uninteresting clickbait.

    – Reboot Star Trek 4 is supposedly stuck in development hell, and something about a weird Tarantino proposal. I don’t care about the films any more.

    But never mind that tot – best Trek film? I’d probably go with VI, because I love how timely its analogy is at the end of an era, but 1-IV are all classics or comfort watches in their own ways.



    Star Trek VI is also my favourite Trek film, yeah.

    There is something about the TOS films that makes them endlessly rewatchable.


    Ben Saunders

    I just finished The Motion Picture and holy shit what a boring, slow, plodding, humourless, drab, ugly, beautiful, engaging, glorious, funny, wonderful film.

    There were moments in it where I was thinking holy FUCK won’t SOMETHING just PLEASE happen, but overall I thought it was pretty damn good. Nimoy’s voice is weird and the director does some really strange shit with the focus on the film making parts of it distractingly blurry, and there is one cut to a scene where the music stops, the grade looks different and the sound is messed up or something. Great stuff. Looking forward to Star Trek II.



    I watched the first Trek film as a small kid in the early 90s, and remember it being slow and boring, but also having some kind of epic special spiritual feel that made me want to watch it again some day. I’ve always meant to get a copy but never got round to it.


    Pete Part Three

    I started watching The Motion Picture on 24th December 1995 (it was on telly). I switched it off an hour in, meaning to come back to it. 21 years later, I got around to it but decided I’d better start again from the beginning as I couldn’t remember what was happening (for some reason). I fell asleep during the achingly long tour of the outside of the Enterprise about 15 minutes in.

    I’ve scheduled another attempt at finishing the movie in 2037.



    I’ve always had appreciation for The Motion Picture, but less after seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey and realising how much they were trying to do that, down to the colour of the spacesuits. The model shots and soundtrack are the best thing about it by miles, so ThomasHuntFilms’ ships-only YouTube video is better than sitting through the actual film:

    Ben, there are a few versions of the film around, one a director’s cut that adds/removes scenes and adds new VFX in perma-SD DVD quality, maybe you saw something like that. If you honestly don’t know what’s in store for Star Trek II+ and haven’t seen these before, that’s exciting to me.


    Ben Saunders

    I watched the original version, I checked. I always like to watch the original versions of things first to experience them as a general audience would have for the first time way back when.

    Because Star Trek is so ingrained in popular culture and so often referenced/discussed, I unfortunately do know what happens at the end of Star Trek II, have seen snippets of Star Trek IV from when my dad was watching it and know Star Trek V is some ambitious disaster about finding God, but apart from that I know pretty much nothing else about the movies. I also know all the even numbered ones are the good ones, apparently



    I’ve been thinking lately about the similarity between Kirk’s fate in Generations and Luke in Last Jedi – right down to the actor publicly not liking it – though I’m sure Hamill won’t bother with personally having his own EU novels ghost-written, like Shatner did to bring Kirk back. (not that the new canon rules would let him). But yeah, Kirk really does get an anti climactic end (though maybe that’s the point. He’s a hero, even if it’s not a cool looking battle). I don’t get why they made that film such a dark non-crowd-pleaser. I don’t really get any of the TNG films other than First Contact – they seem to have all the worst of the show without the good.


    Plastic Percy

    Much as Kirk falling off a bridge is crap, it was more dramatic than the originally shot ending where Malcolm McDowell just shoots him the back.



    First Contact was my favourite when I was a teenager, but it hasn’t held up since. I’d rather watch the terrible Star Trek V than any of the other TNG films, because at least that has some real weirdness and ineptitude that gives it so-bad-it’s-funny value.



    I do like the TNG films but they’re TV movies with a massive budget really, apart from Patrick Stewart stretching his acting legs a bit more, there’s not much in them that makes them feel special. Nemesis wasn’t great though obviously.

    The Motion Picture I just can’t figure out. I can’t even remember if I’ve seen it all the way through, I had to stop because I was bored out of my mind after an hour. I think I resumed but I just don’t like it. It’s like Gene Roddenberry ate a load of magic mushrooms before he wrote the screenplay to me.

    Also the uniforms are offensively bad.


    Ben Saunders

    TMP is great if you can stay awake during the gratuitous 17-minute special effect wankfests, they really could be cut in (at least) half and not remove any impact. It’s a shame that the Blu-Ray transfer is so dirty and the matte lines on everything are so obvious, I’m sure it looked fantastic in the cinema in 1979, though. But Star Wars for example doesn’t suffer from the same issues. I mean obviously Star Wars was digitally touched up but it’s a shame to have that as a reference for what great spaceship effects look like only to get hit with dirty film and matte lines wider than headphone cables


    Pete Part Three

    I’m doing a very condensed TNG rewatch at the moment (40 of the best episodes from a list I found online). I haven’t watched the show at all since BBC2 repeated it in full in the nineties, save for a few classics. I think it says a lot for the quality of the show that I can remember the stories of many of these episodes, despite not watching most of them more than once about twenty years ago. TNG nailed so many of TV’s best examples of particular sci-fi stories on first attempt.

    Patrick Stewart effortlessly acts everyone off the screen and Tapestry is up next, which I think may be my all time favourite.

    In terms of the movies, Wrath of Khan is brilliant. Undiscovered Country was the first Trek I ever really watched and I love the Detective Spock stuff. The Search for Spock gets an unfair rep and since it’s the middle part of a trilogy is unskippable., Voyage Home gets a *bit* too much love.

    I don’t quite get the Generations hate. The plot is complete bobbins, but it would be a perfectly good episode of the show, mich like Insurrection. First Contact is fantastic.



    First Contact is the best TNG movie.



    I never really watched TNG when it was on, I always thought it was a bit boring, but having watched it since I feel like it really helps if you can watch it from the start and get to know the characters. I think it’s probably the best Star Trek overall, there’s just quality there.

    Conspiracy was a great watch too, even if I’d have been watching the BBC broadcasts I wouldn’t have seen it as intended anyway, it’s great.



    Top of my head top 10 Trek: The Cage (TOS), The City on the Edge of Forever (TOS), Star Trek VI, Yesterday’s Enterprise (TNG), Tapestry (TNG), All Good Things (TNG), The Way of the Warrior (DS9), The Visitor (DS9), Far Beyond the Stars (DS9), In the Pale Moonlight (DS9).

    There’s so damn much Trek, you can focus in on really specific arcs and get a whole season out of it. TNG’s Q or Data episodes, Ron Moore’s Klingon soap opera in TNG-DS9, DS9’s Ferengi sitcom, poor O’Brien getting punctually put through hell every year…



    Forgot to include Wrath of Khan, idiot.


    Ben Saunders

    Just finished Star Trek II, currently sobbing. For the most part STII is an above average action flick with some strong characters and a notably tight script, but that ending would make a statue cry. And Kirk’s speech, oh man.

    I’ve only seen TOS in its entirety so far, catching various episodes of TNG and Voyager as a child, but according to my imdb ratings my top stories are (in no order): A Taste of Armageddon, The City on the Edge of Forever, This Side of Paradise, All Our Yesterdays, The Corbomite Maneuver, A Piece of the Action, Amok Time, Requiem for Methusela, The Doomsday Machine, The Motion Picture, The Deadly Years



    I didn’t rate Wrath of Khan much when I first saw it, but I’ve come to love it over time. It’s great how it addresses the cast’s ageing and makes that part of the story, like we like in Red Dwarf. I like the pompous literary Moby Dick / Paradise Lost stuff too.

    The main difference between TMP and WOK is Roddenberry was sidelined and Nicholas Meyer got to reinvent the series, plus James Horner’s horns set a different tone than Jerry Goldsmith’s harps. Roddenberry wouldn’t have much control again until early TNG, where Riker and Troi are cut from the same template as Decker and Ilia in TMP.


    Ben Saunders

    I’ll come back and watch the alternate cuts of the movies once I’m done with the theatrical run and see if I grow to like them more, or less.

    WoK reminded me of the phenomenon wherein sometimes having something spoiled for you can actually increase your enjoyment of it. Knowing that Amy and Rory were going to die gave me a sense of foreboding and fear and made me really not want them to go, and perhaps my overall enjoyment of Angels was higher than it would have been going in blind. A similar thing happened with the ending to WoK, because just as things were starting to get critical I thought, oh boy, here it comes. And when Spock stood up from his chair without a word my heart sank and my mouth stood agape as I felt this rushing sense of inevitability and almost hopelessness that nothing can be done to stop what is about to happen. So I wonder if went into WoK totally blind what my reaction would have been to that scene, knowing I had a very strong reaction having had it already spoiled for me.

    Do you think Doug got the idea of Cat needing glasses from Star Trek II? The bit where Kirk has to stand with his back to the viewscreen and put on his spectacles almost in shame was hilarious.

    I have heard early TNG is boring because Roddenberry forbade conflict between the characters, but I’ll see when I get to TNG.



    Apparently, a disgruntled Nimoy (RIP LLAP) spoiled Spock’s death to the press while it was still in production, which might be why he “dies” in the simulator at the start as a misdirect to the audience. But he was still open to negotiation before they finished filming, hence the mind-meld open ending.

    Star Trek III has flaws, but you’ll definitely enjoy it. The odd-numbered “curse” was probably coined after IV was massively successful and V massively shite.



    I really like early TNG, I think there’s some great episodes there.


    Ben Saunders

    Why did Nimoy have such a love/hate relationship with Trek?

    Oh, and having credits at the start of a movie takes a lot of getting used to, I guess I haven’t seen too many older movies but it’s a comparatively dull experience to sticking them at the end, a lot of waiting around. And the Star Trek movies so far are just littered with extremely obvious ADR that sounds completely different to the on-set sounds (much of it from Bones), and sometimes the sound mixing/effects is really odd. The “my son” scene in Star Trek II can’t decide which footstep sound effect it wants to use for the one character and can’t even give us one for each step.

    Star Trek III is the only movie in the series I know nothing about so I’m excited for that.



    He wrote his ‘I Am Not Spock’ memoir in the 70s, which isn’t as negative as it sounds, but he probably wanted to move on and be known for other things, especially directing. They lured him back by letting him direct III & IV, and he had a lot of input into IV’s story. That all turned out good. Unfortunately, it compelled Shatner to demand he direct Star Trek V.

    This year I’ve mainly watched older films that have no credits at the end, where the story’s still going on up to 10 seconds before the end of the runtime and ‘The End’ title card. That’s the way to do it.


    Pete Part Three

    Oh, I hate that. Hitchcock had a bit of a dodgy track record with final scenes, and some of them have very sudden endings. When there’s no end credits, there is no time at all to reflect on the film before the studio logo appears.

    I’ve no problem with a long opening. I really appreciate a nice titles sequence. Spectre’s was better than the movie that followed.


    Ben Saunders

    Nothing wrong with a long opening, it’s just you have The Motion Picture (two minutes of black with some nice music followed by a lot of writing on a black background) and The Wrath of Khan (a lot of writing on a black background) and it makes you so glad that we don’t do that anymore.


    Toxteth O-Grady

    Best film has to be II, although I do really like VI as well. The Motion Picture has some great visuals, but has to be the slowest film in history.

    The Picard series sounds interesting, but not exciting, and has the potential to sour the TNG legacy even more than their poor films.

    Lower Decks sounds terrible. Any adult animated sitcom based on Star Trek should be a parody of it, rather than under the actual Star Trek banner. But then we’ve already had Red Dwarf, Futurama, Rick & Morty, The Orville, Final Space; so isn’t this a bit of a dead horse by now?
    Sounds like the cringe-fest that was ‘Star Wars Detours’ – which at least somebody had the sense to cancel before it even started.

    Haven’t seen Discovery, but I’m glad it has a second season.

    Reboot Trek 4 – this is the only thing here I’d want to see. 1 and 3 were in the better half of Trek movies, and I enjoy a nice 2-hour story with the TOS characters.(although Quinto still hasn’t got Spock right IMHO). The possibility of Tarantino being involved is too interesting to not do.



    To be honest, after Discovery the only way is up in my opinion so I’m looking forward to Picard.

    Discovery feels like an “alright I suppose” sci-fi show that didn’t want to do all its own hard work and establish itself so it piggy backed on Star Trek.



    Not to mention some of the ugliest CGI I’ve ever seen on a modern show.


    Ben Saunders

    Just finished The Search for Spock… I think that’s my favourite of the Trek films so far. That was outstanding. I loved the humour, I loved the sequence of them stealing the Enterprise, I loved the emotion, and I loved that moment when the TV theme plays at the end. An odd structure perhaps, but I don’t understand why this installment is looked down upon so much. Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon captain was totally unexpected, but brilliant.

    One thing that’s for sure is the movie felt incredibly short. Maybe because I was enjoying it so much?

    Consulting Google, the unbearable long ST1 was 132 minutes, the decently sized ST2 was 112, and 3 was… 105. Yes, comparatively short. I could have done with a little more, I wonder how long the director’s cut is.


    Ben Saunders

    I will say it was extremely dark and emotional in a way the television series flirted with but didn’t really get into all that much, so perhaps that is the reason for the dislikenment – it is much more of a dark action adventure serial than an introspective science fiction slow burner. I enjoyed it for its dark tone, with moments of levity, but I can’t imagine ST3 being the “comfort watch” people say the TOS movies generally are. 1 and 2 yes, but not 3. It’s too dark and emotional to just put on if you want to have a good time, I would think.



    Great: stealing the Enterprise (feat. Excelsior’s smug dick captain), destruction of the Enterprise (did you know that was coming?), introduces those new models that would be endlessly reused for the next 15 years, fake soundstage planet has fun TOS vibes, Christopher Lloyd makes the mandatory villain memorable.

    Not so fond: convenient/lazy plotting that gets them out of the hole they’ve dug – just kill off Kirk’s son and put Spock’s magic soul (that exists now) into his new body when it reaches the correct age. And Spock’s hardly in it, Saavik’s been downgraded, and then there’s this guy:



    As for alternate versions, I think it’s only I & VI that have a notable director’s cut. II has a special edition that incorporates a few deleted scenes you could just watch on YouTube (Saavik was supposed to be half-Romulan, etc.) and III had nothing. I stopped collecting the special edition DVDs after that disappointment.

    The longer Star Trek VI (which enriches the story and the climax) is the one we got at UK cinemas and was the only version released worldwide on video and DVD until they reverted to the US cut for the Blu-ray. Unless that means it’s not available in HD, I’d go with the longer version there.


    Ben Saunders

    I knew the Enterprise would be destroyed, I didn’t know in what fashion. I really like how they did it, and I really like how they used the same destruct codes from Season 3’s Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, that was a really nice continuity nod and I felt a real sense of “fuck yeah” at the Klingons getting owned.

    Killing off Kirk’s son gave us an extremely powerful moment from Shatner, damning those Klingon bastards. If you need proof Shatner isn’t a bad actor, see Star Trek’s two and three. Spock’s essence living on sort of almost makes sense with Vulcans being such telepathic races – think of the Time Lord’s Matrix and how if you can transfer thoughts and memories this is just one step further. Also remember (if you dare) Turnabout Intruder. It is a bit easy and tidy, though, I’ll give you that.

    I was amazed how well the plot plot of 3 came out of 2, and how easily the mind meld “remember” stuff fit into the ending scenes from the previous movie. Was any of that reshot a la Back to the Future 2 or was it all pre-planned/left open?

    Leonard Nimoy isn’t in it, but “Spock” is, and his presence and his ideas are all over the film, I don’t mind the lack of Leonard. Obviously I’m glad he came back, in the end.

    Half Romulan was mentioned in the cut of Khan I watched, and I’m certain it was the original. I loved Saavik’s original actress, she had this sassy energy about her where everything seemed tinged with sarcasm, and she seemed to find everything surely humorous. The new actress is indeed a downgrade, and honestly I wasn’t sure if she was supposed to be the and character at all or not. I watched the movie as if she was a new character and it all worked fine.

    The cantina scene was fun if read as a deliberate homage to Star Wars rather than a ripoff.

    I’m still intent on watching original cuts first, but that’s interesting regarding VI. A UK audience would have seen the longer cut, and I want to place myself in the position of an audience member back then for historical context (even going as far as to intend to watch the various Trek movies and episodes all in production order), so watching the longer cut of VI wouldn’t necessarily violate that rule.


    Ben Saunders

    Slightly humorous*

    And I only THINK she was mentioned as being half Romulan in the movie, I could have learned that after the fact and got my memories mixed up



    The mind meld bit was definitely tagged on near the end of filming to keep it open, but it seems they were realistically expecting the films to end there (before TWOK proved profitable), or at least go on without Nimoy. Saavik only existed as a potential replacement in the first place (probably).

    I just checked and there are no alternate versions for III, IV or V. Though the DC comic adaptation of III supposedly follows an early edit that started with the Klingon/Grissom/Genesis stuff and moved to Kirk and crew later, rather than having parallel plots like in the film. I’m sure everyone reading Ganymede & Titan is really interested to know that.

    Speaking of your context, after watching Star Trek VI you should probably read a summary of what it’s *really* about, unless you’re already schooled up. It’s one of Trek’s most on-the-nose and timely real-world allegories that adult audiences would have got it in 1991, but later generations might have to wiki to fully appreciate. Works fantastically at concluding TOS and setting up the TNG universe too.



    …But if you’re watching in production order, you won’t see Star Trek VI until you’re five seasons into TNG anyway.


    Ben Saunders

    I might end up watching V and/or VI early if I’m feeling particularly burnt out on TNG or something, but we’ll see. I already gave up on watching The Animated Series, going straight to The Motion Picture, as after the excellent animated episode Yesteryear the cartoon just felt so… superfluous, and not of the highest quality, so I gave up on it. I also don’t like Star Trek stories being only 20-or-so minutes, everything feels rushed and inconsequential, give me between 50 and 150.

    I originally planned to go TOS-TAS-TOS movies-TNG-DS9-VOY-ENT and maybe Discovery if I can be arsed, before realising TNG/DS9/VOY were somewhat interconnected and aired at the same time



    Sounds good. It’s not as interconnected as you’d probably expect, but they lay some crossover groundwork for the spin-offs around the time they start, and there’s the production continuity and changing trends. Mainly, I think (weak) early DS9 would benefit from alternating with late TNG, as at least it would have novelty value as the weird, alienating show alongside the familiar one, rather than going full-on and struggling through before it gets better. Personally, I think DS9’s already winning by the end of the first year.


    Plastic Percy

    <<I just checked and there are no alternate versions for III, IV or V. Though the DC comic adaptation of III supposedly follows an early edit that started with the Klingon/Grissom/Genesis stuff and moved to Kirk and crew later, rather than having parallel plots like in the film. I’m sure everyone reading Ganymede & Titan is really interested to know that.>>

    I love the DC Star Trek comics. Shoehorning in dozens of issues between II & III where Saavik is Science Officer. And then even more issues between III & IV where Kirk commands the Excelsior and it ends with them going back into exile on Vulcan and Spock gets his mind wiped again to tie into the start of IV.



    If the Picard series is better than Discovery, even at a surface level, it’ll be worth a look.

    Discovery is complete piffle, utterly hopeless. Look how quick they were to throw away the Klingon arc and cater to fanwankery with the Enterprise.

    Bollocky ol’ nonsense, it makes me nostalgic for early season Voyager.


    Ben Saunders

    I watched a video yesterday about the writer’s room for the new Picard series, and how they were sent to a “canon bootcamp” led by somebody who’s only writing credits are for season one of Discovery and how they drew up a shitey wee map of the Star Trek universe etc, and it didn’t exactly instill me with confidence. It was of course from one of those “everything is shite now” channels, so was inherently biased, but still. Discovery is so far away on my watchlist, I still have everything from 1984 onwards to catch up on.



    Discovery is doubleplusungood, brother comrade



    I just watched Forbidden Planet (1956). Very much Star Trek’s Red Dwarf’s Dark Star, I see it in the pilot especially (which also has a lot in common with a 1960 Twilight Zone episode that even shares an actress). Industrial/robot influence on Star Wars too, and Doctor’s Who’s ‘Planet of Evil’ more blatantly rips it off and doesn’t care who knows it. Good film, despite being even more sexist than Star Trek.


    Ben Saunders

    >Star Trek’s Red Dwarf’s Dark Star
    My poor brain

    They mention Planet of Evil being Forbidden Planet on the DVD, it definitely wore its influence on its sleeve.

    Planet of Evil is one of the best examples of how hideous video tape looks compared to film, especially when they cut from the luscious forests to the horrid, cheap spaceship interior.


    Ben Saunders

    I wasn’t in the mood for a movie so I watched TNG S01E01 Encounter at Rarpoint instead of Star Trek IV. That was… really weird. Everything happened so quickly in the beginning and the ending was touching but utterly bizarre. “Lets see what’s out there” gave me chills, naturally. My favourite part of the episode has to be Marina Sirtis’ legs.



    TNG definitely improves later, but I feel like early TNG is “my” TNG just by accident of those ones being repeated on the Beeb when I first got into the franchise after First Contact came out, so I’m forgiving. My god, it sometimes gets SHIT though. But there are some really great episodes in there like GlenTokyo said. Wesley Crusher isn’t going anywhere.



    TNG S1 is a real clunker but it is entertaining. It always gets to the end of the episode with a resolution, the cast never falter and the production value is on point.

    It was the writing, and the way they approached it that was the downfall. You have to write the shit out of something as Rob Grant put it on the Bodysnatcher documentaries to glean an idea of the characters and their motivations in a visceral and natural way and in addition, they had to stop thinking it was 1967. There’s a lot of Gene hovering about the scripts, a lot of very twee thinking and once they shuffled him out of the day to day production, they could move the series forward.

    I’m sure it’s rose-tinted glasses but the ’90s was fucking astonishingly good for American TV in the form of TNG, The Simpsons, The X-Files and Frasier.


    Ben Saunders

    The Naked Now was pretty good, a little funny, a little saucy. But… use the tractor beam to push away the STAR, not the other ship, surely?!

    Also while Wesley didn’t annoy me in this episode, I can see him becoming more annoying as time goes by.


    Ben Saunders

    Seven episode in now and while this isn’t awful, it is pretty boring.



    Wil Wheaton can act and he had the chops to play a pretty good officer in the later seasons but they Mary-Sued him from the get go and he was never able to escape that image for a good few years in Trek fandom.

    Wesley would’ve worked best if he had already been at the academy at the beginning of S1 and graduated in S3 so we could have him assert his place in the crew much more easily and constructively as the seasons progressed. But he is essentially the stereotypical genius kid who wanders the ship, saving it a few times and not having much else to do but act awkward around the senior staff and women onboard.

    Pity as the movies would’ve did well with a more experienced Wesley joining the crew and acting as a decent third element to the Picard – Data focus that overtook the films.



    Comparing to TOS season 3 would make early TNG more bearable. Going back to it when you’re used to the look and feel of the later years, it’s just weird. You’ve done ‘Space Africa’ already, that’s probably as bad as it gets, but there’s also a ‘Space Irish Stereotypes’ one in season two to look forward to.

    Even though all Star Trek series are massively variable in quality and have loads of writers, the good stretches really line up with the exec/”showrunner” and you can feel the change when they take over, even if you’re 12 years old and not aware of it – Michael Piller for TNG, Ira Behr for DS9.


    Ben Saunders

    I read that the director on the Space Africa one was the person who decided to make the aliens all black, and was subsequently fired. TOS season three had a couple of clunkers but isn’t as bad as it’s reputation would lead you to believe imo



    ‘Up The Long Ladder’ or Space Irish as I’m now calling it was hilariously out of touch for 1988 and wouldn’t have fared much better in 1968. What you had was an American’s view of the Irish as stereotypical rural drunkard simpletons who wept for the old country and all the unmarried women were just waiting for big, strong colonists to take then away to a better life and have a half dozen bairns each.

    Yet somehow managing to exist as they are in the 24th century like some lost Amazonian tribe from deepest darkest Galway and yet most bizarrely, not the worst episode out because of the solid story-line running alongside Space Irish about the ethics of cloning.

    Fucking drivel but yet works in a manageable way.



    Look, Colm Meaney’s actually in that one! Considering how angry he got about a leprechaun appearing in DS9 – that they changed to a less culturally insensitive Rumpelstiltskin – I bet he was delighted to be a part of that.



    It’s the only episode you can somehow smell.


    Ben Saunders

    Yikes I can’t wait for that one


    Ben Saunders

    It took until Season 01 Episode 09, but The Battle is the first truly great episode of TNG, imo. That was great. The preceding episode, Justice, was none too shabby either, despite being somewhat of a retread of similar TOS episodes.



    I remember liking The Battle, 11001001 (didn’t need to look up that title to know it’s correct, FFS) and there’s a story arc later in the year that’s literally mind-blowing.

    There’s the “growing the beard” idea that season 2 improves considerably, but I don’t really see that. It has more good episodes, but I’ve always put 1 & 2 in their own formative category before they work out what they’re doing in season 3. That’s one of the strongest years in the franchise.


    Ben Saunders

    The Big Goodbye, Datalore… TNG just keeps getting better


    Ben Saunders

    and Angel One… absolutely terrific. Although while going to rate it on IMDB, I saw it is rated only 5.7 and has been described as a “horrible episode”. Interesting.



    Angel One is one of those episodes that has a noble intention but gets confused in the execution. The strong women of Woman Planet are basically waiting for dominating human men that they can be traditional wives for, rather than the twinks they’ve got. I was somehow allowed to get away with writing my final 10,000-word dissertation for my “English Literature” degree on Star Trek TOS vs. TNG where I passed off other academics’ opinions as my own, and that was a common complaint.

    But more importantly, enjoy spotting that nice Angel One matte painting showing up as other planets again and again.

    I’m rewatching season 3 and just saw the “Space IRA” episode (The High Ground) for the first time, since it was banned in the UK in the 90s for being rather insensitive and including a mad off-hand prediction that violence would eventually reunify Ireland. One of the worst episodes generally – season 3 gets weirdly obsessed with angry rebels in the middle, but then it’s back on track.


    Ben Saunders

    I guess it could be seen that way but we only see two of the women fall for non-local men and both for interesting or necessary story reasons. Riker is a total babe so who can blame her tbh. I just really loved Riker’s speech about revolution vs. evolution and how executing the men would just turn them into martyrs, and the stuff with the disease aboard the Enterprise preventing them from beaming up made everything very tense. I thought it was a very well written and tight script, but another one of those where if an episode deals with something like race or gender and is perhaps construed by some to be not totally spot on or insensitive in some way, it causes people to completely write off the script as a hunk of trash with no redeeming qualities, despite the other aspects of the script being quite strong. Like writing off the Space Africa one for being racist when that was just an unfortunate directorial decision which the script did not call for. It still isn’t a particularly good episode, but for other reasons



    That gets more true as time passes and memory fades. I haven’t seen season 1 since collecting the re-released videos in the late 90s, so I can’t remember much about those nuanced details, just the broad gimmick and received opinion. I wouldn’t write off an episode I can’t remember well without rewatching, but since I remember others from that era much clearer, I probably didn’t watch / like it very much at the time.

    I probably overrate some episodes when I agree with them too, like the more outspoken atheist ones, but that’s fine.


    Ben Saunders

    Had to get a month’s free trial of Netflix because multiple downloaded copies of Haven and 11001001 had sound issues, potentially because they were using the surround sound from the Blu-Ray and I only have headphones, and all the perfectly legal copies available online are in horrendous quality, mirrored, or have the speed altered. Absolutely livid that I have to become a law-abiding citizen.



    I hope Red Dwarf in HD is released for legal paid download in obscure foreign territories, I don’t have a Blu-ray player and don’t like physical belongings any more.


    Ben Saunders

    Echoes of the resolution to M-Corp in the resolution to The Arsenal of Freedom, where they defeat the planet’s defense system by purchasing it and telling to to shutdown. Also a story you could air today and say it’s about a very modern concept, drones.

    You were right about every episode ending with a proper resolution, it’s quite nice to see everything resolved and nice and tidy at the end of every episode.


    Ben Saunders

    In the beginning of Symbiosis, they’re investigating a sun, bring it up on the viewer, the light overwhelms everybody and Picard orders a little black circle to be placed in front of the sun on the viewer to cover it up.


    Can’t you just make the image dimmer? It’s not a window


    Ben Saunders

    Also why bother beaming an away team containing your first officer over to a ship that’s about to disintegrate into a planet’s atmosphere when your transporters are clearly operative and you could just beam the six crewmen over?



    I enjoy early instalment weirdness like that. Like the male skirt uniform in the first episodes and the ‘Vulcanian’/UESPA stuff in TOS. Symbiosis has Wesley getting a drugs are bad lecture like it’s the end of a Sonic cartoon, I can’t remember how cringey it comes across because that was one I didn’t watch much either.

    Good spot on The Arsenal of Freedom / M-Corp. That was the first one I saw on TV after being radicalised by First Contact, so my nostalgia mainly starts there. Interest faded by season seven, I never bothered to watch some of the later episodes when the synopses sounded dull or repetitive.


    Ben Saunders

    Just after my post about how they manage to resolve every episode nicely in TNG… in Symbiosis, don’t they just forget about the sun/solar flares and warp out of there leaving that unresolved?!

    The drugs lecture wasn’t cringy, maybe it was a bit preachy but it was well-played by Crosby and I found it to be a nice moment. I’m really enjoying Tasha Yar’s presence but I know she leaves the show at the end of season one(?) which is a shame. I like her more than I ever liked Chekov, whose sudden inclusion in seasons two and three of TOS never sat well with me.

    The viewscreen has always been a screen and never a window, because in like the second or third episode, and on more than one occasion, Picard orders LaForge to the observation deck to get a “proper look” (through a real window) at what they’re observing. The video effect of placing a little black circle over the sun, a correctly-sized little black circle which they actually move into position (if they have to move it into position did they just get lucky on the size?!) is just so absurd I had to pause the episode to laugh at it.

    TOS was more of an “every installment weirdness” thing, they really didn’t seem to try all that hard for continuity back then – Stardates are all over the place, the Prime Directive/General Order One/whatever is inconsistently defined, followed, broken and ignored. Vulcan has no moon until it does in TMP. Etc



    Yar could have developed nicely, she had more potential than Troi and Crusher if she’d made it to the character-based seasons. There’s a recurring guest character much later on who brings back the girl power a bit, but otherwise it’s mainly romances, mind rapes and nagging mother plots.

    I don’t know what they would have done with Worf if she’d stuck around, since I think he was a late addition to the show which is why he doesn’t have a clearly defined role in season 1. With its crowded cast that doesn’t even think to include an engineer.


    Ben Saunders

    Literally the episode after I menton how much I like Yar is the one she leaves in. Damn that hit pretty hard. The episode did seem fairly rushed, but then you can understand why, it leaves time for the ending sequence. I really like Doctor Crusher, I think her dynamic with Picard is interesting, she’s a great actress and her intelligence and devotion to duty are pretty nice. Troi is Troi, she looks great and cries a lot, pretty convincingly, but isn’t the strongest character on the show.

    Worf was a late addition if I remember right, and so far isn’t all that enthralling, although I remember him being a pretty funny character later on. His big focus episode where those two other Klingons come aboard the Enterprise ended up being my least favourite so far.


    Plastic Percy

    Worf was originally conceived as a ‘glorified extra’ or secondary character, much like Chief O’Brien. I think Roddenberry’s idea was to him to illustrate about ‘present enemies becoming future friends’ (much like Chekov in TOS). Denise Crosby leaving – apparently with a rather huffy “nobody treats Bing’s granddaughter like this” – worked in his favour as Michael Dorn is a better actor and allowed them to do more with Worf, who was a more interesting character. When she comes back in Yesterday’s Enterprise she sticks out like a sore thumb with her acting. Everyone else has settled into their roles, got to know the characters, but she plays alternate Tasha in a very flat way.

    It always sticks in my mind that Crosby clearly quickly regretted leaving the show. Robert Beltran hated doing it as well, but he had the common sense to stick it out for the whole run because it (most likely) netted him a nice little paycheck and royalties over the years.


    Ben Saunders

    >and there’s a story arc later in the year that’s literally mind-blowing.
    I see what you did there. Man, that was gruesome and unexpected. I’m enjoying this.

    I did read on Crosby’s Wikipedia that she asked to return to the show later, and did so in a couple of ways. I had no idea she was related to Bing, and I feel I’m a bit young to even know who Bing is, really, outside of a vague familiarity.


    Ben Saunders

    THAT was the season finale for season one?! Nothing happened!



    Conspiracy is a really good episode, but that gory ending is fucking mental. It was censored by the BBC, so when I eventually got it on video it was even bigger surprise. At 13 I thought it was hilarious and rewound it again and again, but now it seems so out of place.


    Ben Saunders

    Conspiracy is an episode that raises the stakes to an astronomical level, and the gore is the icing on the “holy shit” cake. If similar gore occurred at the end of Encounter at Farpoint or Code of Honour, it would be completely out of place and gratuitous… it’s still gratuitous, but sort of earned. It’s a shame that The Neutral Zone doesn’t even attempt to build on Conspiracy in any meaningful way, and is a low-key, rushed mess, which should have come BEFORE Conspiracy, being a total letdown after the darkness of Skin of Evil and Conspiracy.

    I read that The Neutral Zone was originally supposed to be, or lead into, a three-parter which then lead into an extremely arc-heavy season two featuring the proto-Borg, so it could have kept ramping things up, but then… it didn’t. Writer’s strike. What a shame. I wonder how different the course of TNG and Star Trek in general would have been without that strike.



    I think the Borg were planned to be the conspiracy aliens in some more direct bug-man form, but when they couldn’t think of how to make them look convincing or within budget, they scrapped that and made a new adversary. The Neutral Zone still works as a prelude to the Borg and is referenced later… despite that episode itself being a weird mish-mash of completely unrelated plots.

    So Conspiracy isn’t followed up on, but if you liked the conspiracy theme, Star Trek VI and mid-DS9 are heavy on that.

    The writer’s strike afflicted the already severely afflicted Star Trek V too. Enjoy.



    I just watched that Conspiracy clip in HD for the first time. I always thought that was Remmick’s guts being pushed out by the mother creature, but now I realise it’s just little bugs. That makes it maybe 10% less WTF TNG.

    Imagine if they’d combined that plot with Tasha Yar’s exit and the last we saw of her was her smouldering, headless corpse. “Au revoir, Natasha.”


    Ben Saunders

    I can’t wait for Star Trek V, sounds like a right hoot. A different writer’s strike more recently caused the finale for season one of Chuck to be a total non-event, too. It wasn’t a bad episode, it just wasn’t a finale.

    That would have been far too horrific, at least as is it happens to a character we don’t particularly like, so there’s a cathartic element to it. And Tasha’s funeral would be absolutely horrific had that magnitude of disgustingness happened to her just hours beforehand.



    Love Conspiracy. First time I saw it was when Netflix got it in HD as I was just a casual viewer when TNG was on in the UK in the 90s, plus I don’t think it was shown anyway so I was genuinely gobsmacked by it.



    BBC showed the episode, just cut around the gore. Quite a few episodes were edited like that, if something was deemed too violent or gross. The only episode outright banned was The High Ground (‘Space IRA’) and four TOS episodes were considered too violent/sadistic until they were eventually allowed in the 90s.

    In America, the only censorship I’m aware of is some Southern states banning or censoring the Kirk/Uhura kiss and DS9’s same-sex kiss in the 1990s. Blasting some guy’s face off at teatime is fine though.


    Ben Saunders

    Started season two. I actually quite liked the scene in The Child where they all sit and discuss what they should do with Troi’s baby while she’s sitting right there, with them acting as if she isn’t. They’re discussing the issue like they would any other space anomaly or cloaked vessel, almost dehumanising her and removing her agency. It’s not very nice, but it’s very interesting, and quite a strong moment when she gets them to shut up and tells them she’s going to have it. The episode does suffer a little from “Sarah Sutton In Logopolis Syndrome” where character’s reactions to things are very understated or hardly register at all, although not to such a degree as Nyssa.

    The “what is death” scene in Where Silence Has Lease was pretty nice.

    Bring back Doctor Crusher!! Where did she go :(



    I always liked the Nagilum one, even if it’s a bit silly and Worf’s idiot-berzerker characterisation is ridiculous. It’s the cosmic horror of TOS’s Doomsday Machine, giant amoeba etc. Space still feels big and scary in season 2, which you don’t really get in later years when the universe building gets better and there’s a bit less exploring and more diplomacy and character-based-stories-that-are-technically-better.

    Pulaski & Data seems like an attempt to do Bones & Spock again, but it didn’t catch on. Geordi & Data’s friendship is the heart of TNG for me, I think that kicks off around here. I can’t watch them now without thinking of Troy & Abed in Community.



    Looking at the season 2 episode list through 21-year-old adolescent memory, there are maybe 8-10 decent keepers in there (of 22) and some really dire stretches with 3-4 episodes in a row of absolute tedium that were very disappointing when I was watching on a weekly basis and waiting for them to get to the good ones. Not a terrible year, but not one to be proud of.

    In better news, the back half of TNG season three is almost one top 10 candidate after another, definitely my favourite stretch of the series. Yesterday’s Enterprise wasn’t anywhere near the definitive classic I remembered though – mainly a mash-up of two of the most famous 60s episodes, propped up by the sort of continuity/fan-service overload they hadn’t really done before. Other episodes were pleasant surprises.

    Don’t think I’ll keep going after that point, it averages to a comforting ‘good’ with somehow not so many stand-outs and a more run-of-the-mill feeling now they know what works and will eventually run it into the ground (then make another spin-off with a different ship and cast so they can secretly keep on making more seasons of the same tired thing).



    So I guess I can stop talking about Star Trek now? (DS9 is best).


    Ben Saunders

    The Outrageous Okona… yikes. Are we supposed to like Okana? Are we supposed to care about this Eastenders In Space plot? They were clearly going for some Han Solo/loveable rogue type character, but all we got was a smug arsehole with no real charisma.

    The subplot about Data trying to be funny was excellent though, a real shame that they didn’t marry it with a more engaging A plot.


    Plastic Percy

    Good thing Data didn’t use the holodeck to talk to Bernard Manning about comedy.


    Ben Saunders

    The Schizoid Man was very good, despite the fact that I absolutely hate the cunt who inhabited Data’s body. Cue extremely inappropriate laughter at the “women aren’t people” line.



    Well, that self-imposed ban didn’t last for long. Maybe someone needs to make it official for me.

    I just rewatched the big three Borg episodes. I was thinking I might have outgrown the Borg, since Daleks and Cybermans are never interesting to me, but those episodes are so good. To avoid title spoilers, ‘A New Hope’ is a much-needed blow to the high-and-mighty early TNG, while ‘Empire’ & ‘Jedi’ have fantastic character stuff and palpable dread. Definitely among the best episodes of the series.


    Ben Saunders

    Two episodes that reminded me of Red Dwarf in a row – Measure of a Man echoes The Last Day while The Dauphin echoes Camille. Wesley suddenly being really upset that his girl can shapeshift was really strange. Is Wesley Crusher transphobic? It got even weirder when her real, true form was incredibly beautiful. They probably weren’t trying to say anything with it, but it was still a bit odd.

    Measure of a Man is of course as good as its reputation would lead you to believe. It was really sweet when Data pulled out that little hologram of Tasha.


    Ben Saunders

    I already know the name of the big famous Borg episodes and some of what happens in it thanks to popular culture, and I’m sure I’ll have their other appearances spoiled by the Netflix synopses/thumbnails.



    DS9 implies the advantages a shapeshifting sexual partner can have, Wesley will curse his narrow-mindedness later in life. DS9 was more honest about what people use the holodeck for too.

    Measure of a Man’s one of those objectively top 10 episodes I never loved that much, there are other Data episodes I prefer. But definitely a landmark and one that’ll get brought up in the future when AI reaches that point.

    The next few are good. The Royale’s divisive, some people thinking it’s a quirky, creepy mystery, others a load of bollocks. Very TOS / Twilight Zone.


    Ben Saunders

    >DS9 was more honest about what people use the holodeck for too.
    Endless shagging, I’m sure. 11001001 almost felt like it was going to get into how dangerous Holodecks can become, with a lonely first officer falling in love with a hologram and electing to spend more and more time away from real life, deeply entrenched in his hologrammatic fantasy. A bit like Better Than Life. But then it didn’t.

    I gave Measure of a Man an 8, I don’t think it’s the greatest episode ever, but it was definitely solid, and elevated Data in my eyes to one of my favourite characters.

    >some people thinking it’s a quirky, creepy mystery, others a load of bollocks
    A bit like Ghost Light, then? With me in the latter group



    They made your holodeck idea as season 3’s Hollow Pursuits, with a flawed audience surrogate character rather than Riker. *That’s* a top 10 episode.


    Ben Saunders

    Can’t wait.

    Time Squared was good. Managed to get really into it despite being extremely sick which usually limits my enjoyment of things. I like how we went from a comedy episode into a deadly serious one, though the opening of the episode remained comic. I liked the no-win scenario and the decision of Picard having to do what he did, I just wish it impacted him more and we had a little scene of him having to deal with the trauma of such an image.

    We almost got a “reverse the polarity” line, with the polarity of the power being wrong for the shuttlecraft and them having to re-align the phase. Almost.



    (Ti)me² featuring two Picards who don’t get along. Broadcast April 3, 1989. I hope Rob and Doug called their lawyer.



    It’s Future Echoes as well, isn’t it?


    Ben Saunders

    The two Picards don’t really interact much and when they do one of them is hellbent on carrying out a task so it’s not all that similar, Future Echoes maybe.

    Just reached the Space Irish episode and… yikes. Q Who was decent but absolutely not the 9 that IMDB claims it is. And yes, the Netflix synopsis did spoil the appearance of that enemy. But then I knew already that it was Q who flung them into that encounter so it was hardly a surprise.



    I thought Q Who was ace, but there might be adolescent nostalgia there. Odd that Sonya “Triple-breasted Mutant Prostitute in Total Recall” Gomez gets such a big introduction there, but then doesn’t tragically die for impact or show up in more than one other episode.

    I hope you remain unspoiled for the season finale Shades of Grey. That’s a unique episode that really sums up the journey so far.


    Ben Saunders

    Was she the cute engineering girl? I saw her pop up again an episode later and was looking forward to her becoming a minor recurring character.

    I’ll try to avoid reading the Netflix synopses, don’t think I know anything about Shades of Grey other than having heard the name a few times.



    It’s an introspective character study with callbacks and references galore.


    Ben Saunders

    I just want more of that smokin’ hot Klingon babe from The Emissary, god damn.

    WORF: K’Ehleyr. I will not be complete without you.
    WORF: I cannot believe I just said that.



    Shades of Grey is one of those finale’s you don’t really expect, but once you settle down into it you see what they were going for and can really enjoy the romp that it is. You’ll learn a lot about certain characters from seeing events from their past that really bring them to life a little more.



    I know some people recommend skipping seasons 1 & 2, I can’t really argue against that, but Shades of Grey really encapsulates what those years were about and what that crew’s been through. It’s a fitting tombstone I mean capstone for the Maurice Hurley era.


    Plastic Percy

    <<The Schizoid Man was very good, despite the fact that I absolutely hate the cunt who inhabited Data’s body.>>

    Interestingly, the role was intended originally to be played by Patrick McGoohan.



    The first time I ever watched TNG all the way through I enjoyed series 1 and 2 as much as any. There are some dodgy moments no doubt but more great ones, and I really liked Dr Pulaski.


    Ben Saunders

    Yeah there have been some really outstanding episodes in seasons one and two, and not too many I would unironically tell people to just not watch at all.

    Hey wait a minute… I HAVE heard of Shades of Grey… it’s up there with Spock’s Brain as the widely accepted “worst episode of Star Trek ever.” I liked Spock’s Brain, though, so we’ll see.



    They should have called it Riker’s Brain.

    From Wikipedia:

    “Shades of Gray” is widely regarded as the worst episode of the series, with critics calling it “god-awful” and a “travesty”

    In all the history of the Star Trek franchise, only this episode had an average IMDb review lower than five out of 10, marking it as the worst episode ever.

    That just makes me annoyed for all the lousy episodes that don’t deserve to be recognised as ‘average.’ IMDb reviewers are either too generous or really conflicted.


    Ben Saunders

    Generous, I think. A lot of episodes I really, really enjoy I only give 7/10, but giving things marks lower than 5 is quite rare. I have given a few 4s and a couple 1s and 2s but any time you’re marking something out of 10 you’re going to be a little generous


    Ben Saunders

    [Troi cries for 20 minutes]
    Man that stank


    Ben Saunders

    So happy to see Dr. Crusher back



    How are you finding the transition, if there’s even a noticeable change? Watching recently, I found (i.e. imagined) that episodes 1 & 2 felt like okay season 2.5 holdovers, then it suddenly becomes recognisable, “proper” TNG from ‘The Survivors’ onwards. But still with a freshness that marks it out from the later seasons. You know, in my mind.


    Ben Saunders

    Honestly I feel like that from the second episode, The Ensigns of Command. It felt like there was a huge surge in confidence and probably budget. More CG, I don’t like the new intro but the stuff in the episodes is really nice, for the most part. I thought I noticed a couple CG Enterprise shots in season two but now I’m convinced I saw some in season three. I haven’t seen Survivors yet but I’ll see if the change is even more noticeable.

    I know what that feeling of a show suddenly feeling “proper is like”, I think I got that from Carnival of Monsters for Doctor Who



    No CG Enterprise in TNG originally, unless the remaster has really messed around. Maybe the model just looked weird. They introduce a new shorter model later this year that was easier to film around, which stands out from the longer stock footage model because the hull plates look bulkier. Not worth making your two hero ship models visually consistent, I guess.






    Never mind.


    Ben Saunders

    Hmm, that’s interesting. Maybe it was the lighting, or the cleanup process of the shots, or how it was all put together etc, but I could swear a few shots were CG. They were too… smooth, almost like they had low resolution textures.

    The Survivors was pretty good. I actually caught a bit of it earlier in the year on television as I was making my lunch; some of Picard’s discussion with the survivors and the (spoilers) eventual destruction of their home. I remember thinking at the time, as I was at that point making my way through TOS, that I’d spoiled myself the surprise of what looked like a really good episode of Star Trek. However, while watching the episode just there, I couldn’t remember the details of what I had seen before, only that I had seen it before. So everything that happened remained a surprise to me, with me sort of remembering having seen it after the fact. So that was interesting.

    Very heartbreaking ending, kind of strange that they just let him go without reprimand despite the enormous crime he commited. I get that he did it as a sort of knee-jerk reaction for a sympathetic reason, but that excuse wouldn’t hold up in court. I also grant that they couldn’t prosecute him if they tried, given his immense power, and maybe they decided that his grief and regret was punishment enough.

    Also interesting how Picard and Beverly’s reactions to the “I had immense powers and did nothing” story are played as disgust, judgment, shock etc. Isn’t that hypocritical? Don’t they, and haven’t they done the exact same? Isn’t that what the Prime Directive dictates should be done?

    I see what you mean with this being a step up, Ensigns and particularly Survivors are very meaty stories with a lot to think about.



    Kinda inspired by this thread, I’ve been watching Voyager over the Christmas break. I watched the first few seasons when they originally aired but stopped a little while after 7of9 turned up (no idea what season that is).

    I’ve got through the first two seasons now and boy has it been a slog. I didn’t remember the vast majority of the episodes from first time around, although one or two were familiar. Half the time I ended up fiddling on my phone because they were so boring though.

    Season 3 seems to be picking up now so hopefully this will feel less of a grind soon.



    Oh no, don’t get me started on – too late.

    I have a lot of nostalgic memories of Voyager (as far as season 5), because I really liked it when I was around 11-14. But as soon as DS9 ended and Voyager became the *only* new Star Trek for the first time, I finally saw through how shallow and static it was and stopped renting the videos before the end of that year. I haven’t gone back to the series since (apart from catching up on the finale and a few others), that breakup was painful. I’ll enjoy watching the good ones again when I get over it, but I’d have to switch my critical faculties off.

    Frequent TNG/DS9 writer and Battlestar Galactica creator Ron Moore gave a famously scathing interview about his very brief time working on Voyager before he quit and the fundamental problems he saw with it. Lack of ambition and no respect for their audience, I think. He may have made BSG as a gritty response of how a show like Voyager should have looked.

    At least Voyager had a few decent characters, which is more than I can say for Enterprise. I’ve watched the two “good” seasons of that (3 & 4) and got nothing from those guys. I like some of the Discovery characters though, so have hope there.


    Ben Saunders

    I have really fond memories of Voyager from “watching” (seeing) it as a child, I’m sure they will be destroyed by the time I actually get around to watching it for real. My appreciation of TNG and especially TOS however has only increased since my vague childhood recollection.


    Ben Saunders

    Some notes on Who Watches the Watchers.

    1) The whole idea of the “duck blind” is stupid – RedLetterMedia cover this in their review of Insurrection.

    2) The whole idea to re-violate the Prime Directive in one way which Picard (read: the writer) views is “better” is sketchy at best, immoral at worst. By doing this, the crew of the Enterprise are DIRECTLY influencing the development of the planet, where before they were doing so accidentally. Before beaming the woman aboard the Enterprise, the story of Picard could have been dismissed as the murmurings of an insane man, akin to people on Earth who claim to have been abducted by aliens today, and could quickly fall to the realm of conspiracy theory or legend; there is no need to extrapolate crusades and holy wars from this incident. The obvious anti-religion slant from the script and its writer gives us the idea that guiding the people towards scientific advancement is better than allowing them to fall back into religion, but I think that’s a moot point, a flimsy excuse, and is irrelevant where the Prime Directive is concerned. As a result, we have an episode which, while good, is as confused with regards to General Order One as A Private Little War was in TOS.

    3) This is all Beverly’s fault, although bless her for just wanting to do her job.



    That’s one of my favourite episodes. The start of Picard being great (even as he’s desperate to prove otherwise). I like the weirdly immoral and impractical pervy surveillance, the flustered Prime Directive improv making things worse and especially the overt atheism that flat-out equates supernatural faith with dangerous primitivism. If they’d made it today, right-wing Christian YouTube would be all over it.

    Nice callbacks to TOS too with the recognisable Vasquez Rocks location (Arena etc), secular theme (Apollo episode) and parallel planet development, like they were feeling confident about their show’s identity now and wanted to lean on the sequel/update/improvement angle that week. In my mind again.



    >Frequent TNG/DS9 writer and Battlestar Galactica creator Ron Moore gave a famously scathing interview about his very brief time working on Voyager before he quit and the fundamental problems he saw with it.

    Interesting read and hits a lot of the niggles I have. The episodes where they have a chance of getting home annoy me, as you already know it’s not going to happen. Even when they first aired you knew it, as that would be game over for the show. It’s just waiting to see how they fuck it up. Endless shuttles, sending off probes all the time and permanent running holodeck doesn’t tell me that they’re stuck in the delta quadrant with limited supplies.

    Also the lack of peril bothers me. You know that the core crew are always safe and there will always be a reset button found by the end of the episode. Actions never have lasting consequences. Like that guy says, it just doesn’t feel ‘real’.


    Ben Saunders

    That kind of “no peril”, “reset button” criticism applies to almost every TV show ever made, you just need to get in amongst it and enjoy it on another level. The stars will never die. You could note a few exceptions, obviously, but 9 times out of 10 you know everyone is going to be OK by the end of the episode.

    Isn’t equating supernatural faith to dangerous primitivism antithetical to the entire idea of “Star Trek” ? Ignoring whether or not it’s a massive oversimplification of a complex cultural phenomenon, Star Trek is all about respecting people’s beliefs and cultures.



    >Star Trek is all about respecting people’s beliefs and cultures.

    Yeah, all your criticisms are on point and I recognise them in the ep, but for some reason I just love the bumbling and arrogant Federation in that one (and others). DS9 is more understanding about the comfort people find in religion, and it takes the contradictory Federation to task more since we get the alien perspective.

    >That kind of “no peril”, “reset button” criticism applies to almost every TV show ever made

    Seriously though, wait until you hit Voyager! The very best episodes all have time travel reset button endings so nothing fucking matters. It’s like a White Hole ending again and again without the humour.

    Just to spoil other shows, Battlestar Galactica and Farscape both had “looking for Earth” objectives that were subverted before the end of the series in unexpected ways. With Voyager there was never any doubt from the start that they were going to punctually arrive home in episode 7×26 (but hey, maybe they don’t!) It’s about the journey, but the journey’s a slog.



    >>That kind of “no peril”, “reset button” criticism applies to almost every TV show ever made

    >Seriously though, wait until you hit Voyager!

    Glad it’s not just me then :) I think the problem is that most shows will take their characters right up to the edge of mortal peril, then do something clever or interesting to save them, so that the show can carry on. However Voyager is perfectly content to let them die, then wave a technobabble magic wand and it’s all OK again. It’s significantly less satisfying that way.



    That technobabble reset button ending trope is mainly down to Brannon Braga. He wrote some of the most popular episodes of TNG later on that also fall back on that, but characters at least remember the events. In Voyager, it gets really old and the premise begs for strong continuity and ramifications. But you could watch a season 1 or season 7 episode and they’d look basically exactly the same, apart from one cast change and Janeway changing her hair. Fine if you just want more TNG, but that’s not how it was sold.

    I think Voyager improves a lot in season four, that has more continuity between episodes and a sense of moving forwards rather than literally going in circles (they’re travelling in a straight line as fast as they can, but keep running into Seska and the same Kazon for two years?) But in season five, that momentum’s lost and it just feels like random episodes again. Maybe the best year in terms of individual episodes (epic action, moral quandaries, light comedies), but not much sense of the big picture. I don’t know much after that, I quit!


    Ben Saunders

    TNG S03E11: The Hunted

    ZAYNAR: It was the will of the people.
    TROI: To allow them to suffer?
    ZAYNAR: There was a referendum. The people weighed the costs involved.

    Presented without comment.



    I enjoyed that one more than expected this time around, felt like TNG’s Space Seed.

    What did you think of the Romulan episodes? I know The Defector’s very well regarded, but they didn’t do that much for me, just ending in repetitive Cold War stand-offs before going their separate ways. They’re useful when you need an enemy in an episode (like the Iconian gateways one), I just don’t find Romulans that interesting.

    Worf’s dangerous moral stubborness in The Enemy is interesting though – Roddenberry was getting sick and not so involved any more, so character conflict starts to sneak in.


    Ben Saunders

    I thought The Defector was pretty great, got a 7/10 from me. I liked us being unsure as to the Romulan’s real loyalties, and then the final reveal that he was actually set up, it was pretty tragic. Also a nice little bit of continuity to have the same Romulan commander pop up again. I thought The Enemy was alright too but not noteworthy enough to give it a rating.

    I don’t know if it’s because I’ve watched 59 episodes of The Next Generation in just over a month or because I just woke up or whatever, but remembering specific details about those episodes is quite the challenge for me, lol. LaForge is left behind… meets some Romulan dude… convinces him to help him… some shit happens on the Enterprise. Another Romulan dude appears wanting to defect but he doesn’t do it particularly convincingly, gives a nice speech and Picard quotes Shakespeare or something. I enjoyed it while it was on, for sure.



    They were probably trying to depict a sophisticated high-brow utopia with all the holodeck Shakespeare and string quartets, but when the more relaxed spin-offs come along with their more flawed characters who seem to spend a lot of time pissing about, it makes the 1701-D stand out as the elite and stuffy flagship in retrospect. Where you might be embarrassed to admit you’ve just never been that into 600-year-old, copyright-exempt entertainment from one specific continent.


    Ben Saunders

    I’ve never really “got” the whole thing about Shakespeare, the prestige it entails. I mean sure Macbeth is pretty good and he had quite the influence on many modern stories, but why is his work SO revered? Like why do people get rounds of applause for being able to quote a couple of lines from Hamlet, when I could recite the entirety of Jesus of Suburbia right now and at best people would just ask me nicely to stop? To me it’s a bit like jazz, where because there’s a slight barrier to entry (being able to actually understand it) it invites snobbery. I love Picard, but if my captain was constantly banging on about Henry VIII and classical music in real life I’d probably ask to be transferred to another ship.




    I’m with you Ben … but then maybe we just didn’t pay close enough attention in our English classes.
    I think it’s something to do with how he uses language and stuff, he sentence structure, how it’s poetic and powerful blah blah etc.

    Most of the plays themselves aren’t anything original … it’s like Disney doing fairy tales … but the way he wrote (a lot of which I’m told is quite funny when delivered correctly) was accessible to the masses and became a bed rock of English language.

    I suppose it has historical importance, but beyond that Shakespeare, it’s over!



    Shakespeare’s an easy shorthand in pop culture for old writer bloke you’ve heard of, like Leonardo, Mozart and Beat-hoven in their fields. Mentioned in several Red Dwarf episodes as an easy target for Rimmer’s classical aspirations, before he changes his mind.

    There are lots of old writers whose works I love, but Shakespeare never really did anything for me. He’s the Romulans of English literature. I avoided him almost entirely during my degree, I thought it was more worthwhile to study Star Trek in-depth like some crazy millennial.

    I’ve seen… Forbidden Planet, that’s based on one of them.


    Ben Saunders

    Just finished Yesterday’s Enterprise… now THAT was a good episode. This is why I love sci-fi. For the kinds of stories you can tell, with lots of timey wimey bollocks, bringing characters back from the dead, raising the stakes to astronomical levels. The dynamic between a man who should have died in the past and a woman who should have died in the future. Allowing a character who died senselessly to die again in glory. The idea that one ship FAILING its mission in the past and being destroyed could be the catalyst through which the honour-bound Klingons find peace with the Federation. Cracking stuff.

    It ends a bit abruptly, there’s no real “whoosh, everything is okay now”, no time to calm down after it’s all over, but perhaps because of that, it sticks in your mind long after the credits have rolled. And that final line from Guinan to LaForge is supremely touching.


    Ben Saunders

    The Offspring actually made me cry, that was beautiful. Two incredible episodes in a row, shaw a show.


    Ben Saunders

    What a show*



    This is the good shit! I’d say from Deja Q on (because I love that lightweight comedy classic) they went up another gear and this is peak TNG now… with noticeable dips, admittedly.

    The Offspring: Best Data episode and one of the best TNG episodes. It even makes the reset button ending part of the story – Data just gets on with life unfazed and we have to grieve on his behalf. Racist funnyman Jim Davidson once referenced this episode on Big Break, trying to impress an Indian contestant by showing off that he knew a Hindi word (‘Lal’). He’s apparently a big Star Trek fan. Weird how these things work.

    Yesterday’s Enterprise: Classic, but didn’t wow me watching again after so long, maybe because I know it too well. Felt a bit like a City on the Edge + Mirror Mirror mash-up/reimagining, coming from the new season 3 writers who really know Star Trek and wanted to celebrate it. Don’t think it was even an anniversary or anything.

    A Matter of Perspective: Less interesting now I know the stylistic device is just Rashomon. Not that I’ve seen Rashomon, but I’ve seen several shows’ Rashomon episodes. Most interesting thing this time around was that the sexual harrassment claim against Riker isn’t considered worth investigating on its own right once the murder charge is dropped. We know he’s innocent, but weird that they raised that doubt just to leave it hanging.

    Deja Q: forget season-ending cliffhangers, best ending ever?


    Ben Saunders

    People who recommend skipping the first two seasons are barmy, because then Yesterday’s Enterprise loses a lot of its impact, and you miss out on Measure of a Man et al.

    Déjà Q was fun, and A Matter of Perspective was interesting first time ’round at least. But whatever episode comes after that with Worf and his brother or whatever, man was I bored watching that. Totally fails to keep up the steam from the past two/three eps.



    I actually think the first two series of TNG, whilst a little inconsistent to (what would later become) established Trek quality, are the closest the show comes to fulfilling its mission statement of exploring strange new worlds and new civilisations. From series 3 on wards The Enterprise D and it’s crew become a glorified taxi service, ferrying important diplomats around The Federation, very rarely interacting with any new species. Most of the time they’re interacting with known elements, known species, known civilisations.

    I love TNG for what it becomes but it isn’t the show of exploration it claims to be.

    Voyager on the other hand, by way of the fact they are stranded on the other side of the galaxy, basically hit something new every week (with some recurring races / characters every so often) and as much as it has it’s problems, it’s one of my favourite of the series because of it.



    Early TNG is its own distinct entity bridging TOS and Proper TNG that I appreciate, but I’d recommend people avoid it if they just wanted to check out the series to see if they liked it or had seen it before but just wanted to watch a load of random episodes with a better chance of them not being ‘The Outrageous Okona.’

    If someone’s already decided they’re going to watch a show, I don’t know why they’d ask which bits they can skip and not be incredibly curious about the parts they’re not seeing or feel like they’re missing out. “Do I need to watch the Ninth Doctor?” Nah, just wonder forever what that might have been like and spend the time you could have been watching an episode and deciding for yourself asking this stupid question instead and reading the inevitably inconclusive replies.



    That happened with me and Buffy. I caught one bad season 1 episode (‘The Pack’) that was all the bad things I’d assumed the series would be, so didn’t watch it again for years until my brother showed me season 4’s ‘Hush.’ Then I was in.



    Eesh. Just read that they’ve confirmed one of the rumoured Discovery spin-offs focusing on Michelle Yeoh’s [ridiculous and completely unlikeable] character doing shady things for Starfleet’s Black Ops (which was introduced in a few decent DS9 episodes before getting out of hand).

    Didn’t even read past the headline before quitting that one, that’s a new record. Some of my favourite Trek episodes are when they go surprisingly dark and challenge the franchise’s lofty ideals, but making that the whole series? Oh well, I’ll inevitably end up watching the pilot at least. It’s all about the quality of writing, isn’t it?

    Discovery S2 starts this Thursday/Friday (depending on location). Can’t say I’m feeling very positive, but I liked some… a couple… one of the Short Treks, so they do have the ability to write decent stories, I hope they use it. I don’t mind if it’s not Star Trek, just make it worth watching please. For the record, I enjoyed season 1 more than late Voyager or all of Enterprise.


    Ben Saunders

    It took me until S03E20 to realise Marina Sirtis is wearing contact lenses. I thought she just had really nice, dark brown/black eyes. When I saw Majel Barrett with black eyes I assumed it was just to make her look different from… Majel Barrett, and make her look a bit alien-y. But then I saw Tin Man and realise that holy shit, it’s a Betazoid thing and Trio has them, too. I thought those were just her eyes since I’ve never really seen her out of character.



    I always noticed them on non-Troi Betazoids, I think I’d assumed that was because Marina Sirtis’ eyes were naturally like that so they made it a trait, but apparently not.

    Allegiance: Patrick Stewart lets his metaphorical hair down, pretty enjoyable Twilight Zone style mystery.

    Captain’s Holiday: Captain Picard lets his metaphorical hair down, pretty enjoyable Indiana Jones style mystery.

    Tin Man: feels like a classic Arthur C Clarke style sci-fi short story imported into Star Trek with the regular cast just observing and Romulans as functional villains, loved it.

    Next few excellent.



    Christ, as if it wasn’t bad enough that Discovery is centred around a completely unlikeable character in Michael Burnham, they go and plan a spin off around Phillipa Georgiou who may well be the worst character in any Star Trek ever. I’d rather watch a sitcom based on the continuing adventures of Tom Paris and Janeway’s lizard children.



    Discovery season 2 looks like a mild improvement. Lighter, maybe not trying to be an edgy Game of Thrones / Torchwood in space so much, more focus on the ensemble (who I mainly like). But it took me three sessions to get through the 1-hour episode, so not a great sign.

    People who claim it’s some kind of franchise-ruining abomination have forgotten how bad the last 5-6 years of the Berman era were. It’s not much of an improvement, but Trek’s not really been any good since late 1999.



    For me Enterprise did enough to elevate itself above Discovery, some episodes are fantastic Star Trek episodes not just fantastic Enterprise episodes, most of the characters are likeable, and the Xindi storyline was interesting and a brave choice quite well done mostly. It’s just a bit cheesetastic and Mayweather was acquired from Oak Furniture Land I think.

    Discovery has a long way to go. There’s no connection to any character on Discovery for me, they’re so unreal, the character they’ve tried to turn into “us” in Tilly, saying holy shit at everything is so out of universe it takes you out of the show. I honestly can’t say I like any of them. Maybe if they start making it more Star Trek in tone and have a few stories about other less miserable characters I might find some enjoyment in it, but thus far it’s been a hard old slog.



    I want to like all this stuff, since I don’t get any catharsis from hating, so if Enterprise was on now I’d be finding excuses to like that too, but the characters were the biggest weakness in that series for me, they’re close to blank slates in my memory. I only properly watched series 3 and 4 later on, because they sounded interesting, but didn’t leave much of an impression, as Discovery presumably won’t either.

    I liked Discovery’s weird sci-fi angle with the spores and tardigrades early on, but that seemed to get abandoned in the general chaos of the revolving showrunners and improvised arcs. After this, Doctor Who and X-Files, I should probably take the hint to stop being played by franchise loyalty and spend my precious viewing time on more original things. But I’m not that smart.



    Isn’t that weird sci-fi stuff all stolen from an early access game on Steam or something? There’s a lawsuit.

    I think T’Pol, Trip, Malcolm and Phlox are all likeable, interesting characters, T’Pol and Trip had actual good development throughout too in my opinion.

    Know what you mean though about franchise loyalty, everything is disappointing now haha.. hopefully the Picard show is at least decent.



    I didn’t know about that. It is suspect. Could be a good game too, good old point-and-click.

    So the only thing in Discovery that was original isn’t even original?

    …Yeah, maybe Discovery can fuck off.



    I think that Star Trek probably has to reach outside its core fanbase if it’s going to continue to survive, and I think Discovery does that pretty well. Certainly I know of a lot of people who aren’t usually into Star Trek who are watching it and enjoying it.

    As someone who has watched a bit of Star Trek over the years but isn’t a dedicated fan, I think Discovery is quite good fun.


    Ben Saunders

    Things like Star Wars, Doctor Who and Star Trek trying to reach outside their core fanbases really annoys me, because I am their core fanbase, and trying to appeal to others inevitably means no longer appealing to me. I would rather the franchises die while staying true to themselves than radically alter themselves to be trendy. but I’m selfish like that. Obviously the people who run these franchises and whose livelihoods rely on them continuing aren’t going to agree with me.



    They could have made a new Star Trek minus the cheese and still had the more adult theme, without it being Star Trek in name and technobabble only which feels a bit like what Discovery is. At the very least give a shit about continuity, or don’t make it Star Trek.

    When your core fanbase is as huge as Star Trek’s, do you really need to throw it all out the window and make a gritty dark scifi show that mostly annoys fans?


    Ben Saunders

    There seems to be a culture of picturing “fans” as a couple thousand sweaty, fat middle aged men who they just don’t need to appeal to anymore, so if they can get a new generation of young, sexy people who like Game of Thrones and Facebook on board then it will work out better for them in the long run. Maybe they’ve looked at their numbers and that is indeed the case, and there are millions of new fans out there who will keep the money flowing, but obviously to someone like me it’s more than a little disappointing, and almost offensive.



    I’m hoping the lawsuit takes Discovery down and we get a real Star Trek.

    The Kelvin movies are at least in a new timeline when they piss about with continuity and even then, feel more like Star Trek, you can make a popular Star Trek without having tits and f-bombs to get the HBO crowd.

    Going after that market with Star Trek is like trying to get an entry into F1 with a superbike, they’re so disparate they shouldn’t be seeking the same audience, you can enjoy both, I do myself, but you don’t enjoy them for the same reasons and that’s ok.


    Ben Saunders

    I heard from a couple of YouTube videos that the Kelvin timeline movies are legally required to be different from “Star Trek” by an arbitrary percentage (however the fuck you can quantify that) due to the bullshit between CBS and Paramount, is that true? I also heard that fact attributed to Discovery as well, despite it not being so in the previous videos.



    Since I was raised on Red Dwarf, I’m not bothered about continuity at all, just quality. Discovery actually needs less fan service right now.



    That contractual thing sounds as credible as the Terry Nation estate conspiracy, more like something you’d make up so you can churn out lazy YouTube content for the lucrative angry fan market.

    If “different from Star Trek” means avoiding established concepts, Discovery and JJ Trek both rely heavily (I would say WAY TOO MUCH) on established canon – TOS characters, Enterprise, Khan, Klingons, Mirror Universe, Section 31 – at the cost of coming up with their own ideas, and have lots of Easter-egg type background references, much more than any of the pre-Enterprise series that were more reluctant to reference the past and went to the other ends of the galaxy to avoid it.



    I don’t care about small continuity, like Kochanski, minor character in about 4 minutes of Red Dwarf, but big stuff annoys me, especially when the lore of the in show universe is interesting enough to keep intact. Also sloppy stuff that contradicts stuff that’s already been in an episode.

    I watched all of series 1 of Discovery and found it about as much fun as it’s opening titles to be honest, I thought it was getting better in the middle but that was a peak. It’s founded on misguided fanwankery, stick Spock in the premise and execs think they’ve got a winner, fans think for fuck sake do something new Christ almighty save me from retcons and rehashes.



    Bringing back a famous face used to be a treat for special occasions, but when they’re just recasting dead actors it does nothing for me and I’d be surprised if it did for anyone. At least the Picard series will have the actual Picard in it.

    My favourite Discovery-related thing has been the ‘Calypso’ Short Trek, which was disconnected, unfamiliar and unresolved. I quite liked the one on the planet with the vibrating crystals or whatever, because it was familiar Trek exploring a strange new world and new life, without just being a rip-off like when they did ‘Cause and Effect’ again.



    It’s founded on misguided fanwankery, stick Spock in the premise and execs think they’ve got a winner, fans think for fuck sake do something new

    As someone who knows a small amount about Star Trek but hasn’t watched much, none of this stuff bothers me. So the lead character has a connection to Spock, so what? He isn’t overused in the show to the extent it distracts from the rest of what they’re doing.

    None of the ‘fanwankery’ stuff really bothers me because I hardly notice it, I don’t pick up on all the references etc. I assume that stuff is just there as a nod and a wink to fans, which you’d expect for a long-running franchise.

    It feels like half the time Star Trek fans are shitting on Discovery for being too unlike a Star Trek series, and half the time they’re shitting on it for relying too much on established Star Trek ideas. It’s like the Simpsons scene with the kids’ focus group for cartoons.



    I did used to find the old-school Battlestar Galactica fans funny, with their supposed ‘GINO’ slur (Galactica In Name Only), since I never watched the old show. Presumably they weren’t delighted about the recasting and gender swapping of characters who were important to them. Deal with it, granddad!


    I like it when they do new things and leave the comfort zone, that applies for Trek across the board. Klinging on to the old trappings so much and drafting in familiar characters comes across as a lack of confidence in their own show, but maybe that’s just how things have to be now in post-Force-Awakens-trailer society. Hopefully they’ll get over the nostalgic panic before long, most of the other series took a few years to really work out what they were doing.



    I’ve never understood why people get so worked up about remakes. As if it erases or changes the original in anyway. Both can live side by side as different versions of the same story, it’s fine. And if the remakes gets a new fans to go back and explore the source material, surely that’s a good thing?

    Ditto with Discovery or the Kelvin verse trek. The Kelvin verse doesn’t take away from TOS, nor does Discovery change that much established lore in the way some people keep insisting it does. So the visuals are a bit different … well fuck me if things haven’t changed in the last 50 years!

    Even where there are discrepancies in continuity, TOS was all over the shop with it too and really the bedrock for Star Trek continuity and lore stems from TNG onwards, borrowing from TOS when it needed too and ignoring things that don’t make sense leaving fans to headcanon their own reasons why things are the way they are.

    given Discovery is set in a period of the shows history that is the least explored so imo they’re free to tell whatever stories they want.



    I’ve not watched Discovery or any of the new films, as there seems to have been a huge tonal shift in recent years. Old Trek was primarily about the drama, the stories being told. Any action sequences were there to move the story along. New Trek feels like it’s flipped that around. The focus is on the action and the story is just there to get you from one action set piece to the next.

    I’d be happy to be corrected on that, but it’s certainly the impression I’ve got from the bits and pieces of the new stuff that I’ve seen.



    Film wise there’s definitely a lot of action (though that’s true of a lot of Star Trek films) though there are some good stories there.

    Discovery series 1is yeah, probably more action heavy than you’re used to in a ST series, though it does take place during a time of war. I actually didn’t like the series much but that’s because I found the story boring for the most part.

    Series 2, first episode shows a lot of promise for the rest of it … looks like it might be dialing it back a bit.

    If you want something that is the same in tone as 90s trek then you won’t get it, but that doesn’t make then altogether bad … just different.


    Ben Saunders

    I’ve enjoyed new and experimental (Heaven Sent) things in Doctor Who, as well as things that have subverted my expectations (Hell Bent), but hated such things in Star Wars. The thing with the Who stuff is that it was very respectful of the show it was a part of and was reaching outwith the confines of its own format in a way that was almost celebratory of the format. With Trek and Wars, it’s as if they’re embarrassed of their legacy, and don’t actually want to be making their new show under the old beans and are only doing so for increased exposure. Whether something is traditional or experimental is not indicative of quality on its own, both approaches can end up being wonderful or disastrous.


    Ben Saunders

    The reason stuff like this annoys me is because I recognize the potential of these franchises to continue to make terrific and impactful stories in the traditions set up by the previous installments, if given to somebody who actually wants to and is capable of doing so. But then they hand them over to (what I perceive as) talentless hacks who would be better off making something else



    Even as a lukewarm viewer, I’d say Discovery is more worth watching than YouTube videos discussing why something you’re not watching isn’t worth watching, which would also spoil plot developments if you ever were watching.


    Ben Saunders

    Fair, I’ve mostly heard these ideas in videos that at best have a fairly tenuous link to Discovery itself (and of course I watch RedLetterMedia who have done several videos on it), and the “arbitrary percentage of difference” schtick was featured in a video which purported to be a complete overview of how the rights to the brand were split between CBS and Paramount. It does sound like a load of baloney at first, but given that the rest of the video was presented fairly documentary-like and I assume factually, it was given some credibility, alongside being brought up in a handful of other videos from different channels. But yes it’s most likely like the Nation Estate’s Daleks-Once-A-Year conspiracy, where it just so happens to fit nicely into what we know as well as confirming people’s biases, providing a nice explanation for why Star Trek is different now, that isn’t just “this ain’t your old Trek anymore, grandpa.”

    I’m a long way from reaching Discovery myself, yet.

    Back to TNG discussion, Sarek was pretty decent, nice to see an old face from TOS again, and very interesting that the Vulcan equivalent of dementia would be a gradual incapability to control one’s emotions. A shame they had to give him a second wife, it feels as though the episode was written with his first wife in mind, but when the actress proved unavailable they recast her and chucked in one line to handwave it away (or something). I thought they were going to go the whole episode without mentioning Spock once, which I was going to also say was interesting, but they slipped him in near the end. It was very strange how the preparations for and the conference with the Legarans was given such importance throughout the episode, only to be completely skipped over with an “everything went really well btw” at the end, without us even seeing what a Legaran looked like. Disappointing.

    Pretty funny how the “no character conflicts ever” rule from Roddenberry makes just Wesley and Geordi having a slightly heated argument a huge deal and cause for concern. Some great zingers, too: “You’d get more action from a book” and “at least I don’t have to get my women from the holodeck.” I also just had to look up if the whole open-handed-punch thing was a legitimate move and not just some Shatneresque jumping-off-of-walls bullshit, and apparently it is.



    I thought I was being unfair and regretted typing it to you as general venting about the proliferation of negative channels, but okay!

    Sarek’s first wife would likely be old and dead by that time, even by future lifespans, so I thought they were just being attentive. That episode mainly stood out to me for Patrick Stewart’s incredible performance at the end.

    Did you ever watch Star Trek IV & V or didn’t feel like it? I feel like you would have mentioned V. I enjoy negativity when the subject is actually fun to rip apart and not just a downer.



    Spock as a call back for fans is from the handy writer’s reference work “The Big Bang Theory; Sheldon Cooper’s Big Book of Subtlety”.

    Don’t mind a call back, or something weaving in with canon, but having Spock’s sister is just a writer shouting “PLEASE WATCH MY SHOW, I KNOW STAR TREK, LOOK SPOCK, DILITHIUM CRYSTALS, I NEED TO FEED MY FAMILY” haha.. Have a bit of confidence and write something new.

    It’ll be interesting anyway to see what happens with this lawsuit, because if it turns out that Discovery is just that guys videogame with Starfleet and references in it that’s going to be quite the cock up from CBS.


    Ben Saunders

    That’s a good point about his first wife probably being dead by that point, I didn’t even consider the length of time that would have elapsed for her between TOS and TNG.

    I have some weird complex where I avoid films because they’re “too long” (but will watch three 50-minute episodes instead) and experiencing something I expect to be excellent and important such as the legendary Star Trek IV fills me with anxiety that either I’m not in the right headspace to fully appreciate it, or I will be disappointed to find it isn’t as good as I expect it to be. If V was next on my list I probably would have watched it by now, but I really should throw on IV at some point, perhaps after season three of TNG finishes, just to get a little break from the relative monotony of 90 episodes of the same show in such a short span.

    I do agree a little with GlenTokyo that some attempts to throw longtime fans a bone feel like just that – hollow attempts to keep us interested in these new characters and situations by giving them some tenuous link to ones we are familiar with. It goes back to Warbofrogs idea of less fan service, and of it being preferable for a show or movie to just blaze its new trail with confidence, rather than to try and pretend you give a sack about what came before.



    IV would have been best after II & III since it wraps up the loose trilogy, although quite the tonal shift! There’s never a best time for V.

    IV was the first Star Trek I saw, on TV around the time I first saw Red Dwarf with VI or maybe slightly earlier, so I’m very close to it and when I watch it every decade or so the combination of nostalgia and its totally heavy-handed but real ecological message make me weep.

    I can see it being weird and divisive today though – the most mainstream and accessible Star Trek at the time, in today’s sci-fi-friendly climate it might potentially be one of the least?



    When your core fanbase is as huge as Star Trek’s, do you really need to throw it all out the window and make a gritty dark scifi show that mostly annoys fans?

    Have a bit of confidence and write something new.

    Which is it?



    >Which is it?

    You can write something new without pissing all over the established tone and lore.



    Why keep congesting the timeline, faffing about around TOS, limiting yourself because we all know how it ends. You’ve got one of the most fleshed out universes to explore, move it forward so we don’t know what’s coming.

    DS9 and Voyager are different to each other and TNG and they’re from the same people within a few years, yet the best they could do in the 15 years since ENT is rip off some blokes game and stick Spock, klingon tits and swearing in it.



    Hopefully it’s clear that I’m being a bit facetious, but I do hear people complain that Discovery is both too rooted in Star Trek lore and too much of a departure from the Star Trek tone in equal measure.

    Those things aren’t mutually exclusive though, and I can understand fans wanting a new show that pushes the world of Star Trek forwards while still honouring what came before in terms of the show’s outlook and tone.

    As a casual viewer I find Discovery quite an easy show to like – there’s a light, playful tone, it’s fast-moving and incident-packed, and the cast are all pretty good in the roles they’ve been given. I can understand why some fans think that it doesn’t feel like Star Trek, though.



    > Which is it?

    The other possible answer to this question of course would be to make a new science fiction television show that is not Star Trek.

    A new generation can enjoy a new show without needing to bank on nostalgia to get it funded.



    I think a recognisable brand is about more than just nostalgia. Otherwise the only people interested in this would be existing Star Trek fans.

    I checked it out as the latest incarnation of something I vaguely knew about, to see if it worked better for me than the previous Star Trek TV incarnations that haven’t grabbed me so much – and I liked it.

    I’m not saying the longtime Star Trek fans who dislike Discovery are wrong – I can understand their position and their resistance to the show. But it has successfully appealed outside the fanbase, which I’m sure was a hope for the series.


    Ben Saunders

    I know you were being facetious, but “which is it” reeks of “well TFA was criticised for being too similar to the OT, and TLJ was criticised for being too different, therefore you Star Wars fans will never be happy”, which is a pet peeve argument of mine. Those films and I gather this TV show are criticised for more than -just- being “too different” or “too rooted in the originals”.

    Just watched TNG S03E25 “Transfigurations”, and it struck me how the amnesiac dude is the spitting image of another character from a Scrubs episode who is also named John Doe iirc and who also suffers amnesia. It’s a shame that his ethereal transformation is so obviously some guy in a morph suit, complete with creases and shoddy looking nose. I wonder if it was less obvious on non-HD televisions of the 80s or if it always looked naff – they could have done with turning up the exposure on it or something.

    Beverly Crusher remains one of my favourite characters, I think I’m a little bit in love with her, she’s so warm and caring, and her relationship with Picard fills me with life. Even scenes with her and Wil Wheaton together are bearable because their chemistry and her performance is always fantastic.



    Menage a Troi and Transfigurations are annoying interruptions in an otherwise great run. The former playing human trafficking for laughs and with Lwaxana’s public racist diatribe against Ferengi somehow being okay. Transfigurations is a pure Star Trek story but very boring, and I was struck by the return of technobabble with a vengeance after it had somehow been absent for a while.

    Next episode’s probably alright. Nothing special or legendary or anything.


    Ben Saunders

    I wanted to get rid of Lwaxana for good and I thought we were getting rid of Wesley, so that episode did little other than annoy me. Although it was nice to see Riker and Troi spending some time together. I quite like technobabble to be honest, I love pretending I understand what the fuck they’re going on about and being like “hmm yes, great idea Geordie, realign the warp matrices on the aft nacelle and couple them to the forward flux transducers, THAT oughta fix it!”



    It just used to wash over me, but when the Treknobabble’s really full-on I enjoy it a lot as an unintended joke. Levar Burton does a great job making the nonsense credible. Esteemed thespian Sir Patrick Stewart less so. (Future preview, but not really a spoiler since it’s just the start of an episode).


    Ben Saunders

    Just finished Best of Both Worlds Part One, now THAT is a cliffhanger. The music is incredible, too. They do just enough DUN DUNs before it would get ridiculous



    BOBW 1 is so tense and foreboding. It spends so long setting up Riker’s reluctance to take command and introducing a possible replacement first officer that I can understand why viewers at the time thought Patrick Stewart might be leaving for real. I don’t know if that was ever a serious possibility, but it doesn’t just feel like “yeah whatever, he’ll obviously be normal again next time” as much as it would otherwise.

    It’s widely credited for kicking off the season ending cliffhanger trope in TV, but I recently discovered that Blake’s 7’s season 2 finale is quite similar from 11 years earlier. UK viewers were denied the BOBW cliffhanger though, since the BBC always played both parts together as a feature length, at least in the 90s. They did that for some other two-parters too.



    Of course, if not for the cliffhanger ending in Red Dwarf’s ‘Out Of Time’, there wouldn’t have been a cliffhanger ending in TNG.



    Watching some Voyager at the moment, continuing a complete rewatch I started ages ago. Some great episodes in season 6 which I’d forgot about.



    Discovery continues to be fine but not very interesting for me. It feels like I’m watching a direct sequel series to Enterprise, as if all the years away haven’t reinvigorated the franchise and it’s just carrying on from that point in the early 2000s where things were watchable but already played out. With about 500+ episodes of Star Trek set on a spaceship, maybe over-familiarity is just inevitable.

    I’m glad Spock isn’t dominating as feared (unless he will be), and Pike is true to that character as I know him. He’s relatively obscure and was already recast within the original series, so it doesn’t have the same issue as stepping into Nimoy’s boots.



    With the Thanks for the Memories debacle, here’s a reminder from Star Trek Discovery that spelling mistakes can come in worse forms.


    Ben Saunders

    If you do two simulations concurrently can you call them a simultation?



    There’s a great playlist from the maker of that video of all Discovery’s continuity issues and interviews with the showrunner who seems to be a complete pillock, all humerously edited. There’s also a Tardigrades video which illustrates just how obviously ripped off it is.



    Ben Saunders

    >1 of 40
    I don’t like how so many YouTube people use the CGI remaster shots of TOS for their videos, I think they’re really ugly and fake looking, and if you’re going for authenticity with the original show, surely you’d use clips from the way it was originally shown? I dunno



    Are they the ones on Netflix? I assume all internet video is ripped off streaming sites due to ease so that’s probably why if they are.



    Just on Discovery, a few days ago we were on about Spock being in it and tying it to the old show in too big a way, I mean outside of Spock’s sister the next thing would be having an alien character that’s Kirk’s lovechild from a rapidly aging race like the ocompans.

    It got me thinking about other series ties to the original crew and I thought of Tuvok, admittedly that’s more to do with Tim Russ, but it’s a nice subtle link and doesn’t really contradict or inform anything, but adds to the depth. That’s a good level to aim at to please the Trekkies.


    Ben Saunders

    It probably is the versions available on Netflix. I don’t want to know. They list The Cage as the first episode, for fuck sake, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Best of Both Worlds part two adequately wraps up the story and is clever in places and engaging and emotional etc, but it didn’t -quite- match the quality of part one, and everything came to a stop a little quickly again, with not much time to reflect. Judging by the Netflix synopsis of the next episode, perhaps that will deal more with the fallout of what happened, so Part Two will fit more nicely into the grand scheme of things. Overall I’d give part one 9/10 and part two 7/10.


    Ben Saunders

    Oh, Picard crying – inspiration for Bill crying in World Enough and Time? The Borg are already clearly in the vein of The Cybermen, so it would be interesting if they influenced each other.

    Also, check out the HORRENDOUS quality of this shot (again not as apparent in screenshot form):
    Decent shot:
    Awful shot two seconds previous:



    Yeah, even with my quite bad eyes I noticed that specific shot looking crap when I watched the episodes recently. BOBW2 isn’t really regarded as that special compared to part 1, but I think it’s still brilliant right up to the exact point where they rescue Picard, then you know it’s going to end fine and you’re just waiting for 15 minutes or whatever.

    Season 4 onwards I’m less intimate with, only really having an opinion the more memorable episodes, so fewer smart-arse insights from me. Until you start DS9 (after TNG’s Chain of Command two-parter in season 6), by which point I need to be banned to stop annoying the forum.



    Those type of errors are hardly unique to Discovery either, if that’s being used to criticise it. Let’s get some perspective. I had Phil Farrand’s Nitpickers Guide to TNG as a kid, which was my introduction to recreational criticism and was a funny read. On-screen smeg-ups are absolutely rife.

    Here’s a mouse pointer in Voyager season 6:



    Spelling mistakes are not why I criticise Discovery, just saw it and thought “Thanks for the Memories is better than ‘simultation’ actually appearing in massive writing in an episode”, in the Champions League places in the gaff league. Thanks for the Memories is just outside the Europa League spots, mouse cursor top half.



    Discovery is an ok sci-fi show (though if you watch some of that playlist the sci bit is a tad iffy) but it’s bad Star Trek, for a casual viewer of sci-fi that’s fine but would a casual sci-fi viewer not have watched an original CBS sci-fi show with a decent budget and well known cast? Lots of people watch Orville.

    If you’re making Star Trek and you’re chucking the lore and continuity in the bin, why are you making Star Trek? I might suggest it’s because your idea isn’t strong enough on its own or that your bank balance isn’t as healthy as you’d like.



    >They list The Cage as the first episode, for fuck sake

    I go with TOS production order all the way (The Cage, Where No Man, Corbomite). That’s what UK video releases and the Star Trek Fact Files magazine taught me growing up, so I’ve got no sense of the more accepted broadcast order starting with The Man Trap. Stardates don’t make any sense either way.


    Ben Saunders

    The Cage shouldn’t be part of the chronology at all because you’ll be watching The Menagerie in about fifteen episodes anyway, and it was never broadcast as the pilot iirc. It’s a bizarre choice, The Cage should be a DVD extra



    This was one of the first Star Trek videos I got, so that’s how I like it personally – the transition from the first pilot to the second pilot to the series.

    But if someone clicks on TOS to check it out or reminisce, they definitely shouldn’t be presented with it first. It should be either listed separately or bumped to the end of the run as an addendum, like they did on the original DVD release that had 2 episodes per DVD when they needed to round out the odd number.

    I definitely don’t want it buried as an extra, it’s an important piece of history and an insight into an era that could have been, and which I probably would have preferred. I consider the Menagerie a skippable clip show, but if I was an OG Trekkie who didn’t see The Cage until 20 years later, I would fight me about that.


    Ben Saunders

    I agree with all your points, I just don’t think it should be listed first on Netflix, a place where a lot of people are going to be checking out Star Trek for the first time to see what it’s all about. It isn’t indicative of the series as a whole really, and you’ll be seeing it again shortly, which will be heavily weird to somebody not in the know. I also think The Menagerie is great as its own thing, very tense with a good mystery, but I can understand thinking it’s a skippable clip show IF you’ve seen The Cage already – which is just another reason I think The Cage should NOT be watched first.

    Interesting choice of episodes on that video. I think The Corbomite Maneuvre (though spelled wrong?) is prime Trek.



    Discovery is an ok sci-fi show (though if you watch some of that playlist the sci bit is a tad iffy) but it’s bad Star Trek, for a casual viewer of sci-fi that’s fine but would a casual sci-fi viewer not have watched an original CBS sci-fi show with a decent budget and well known cast? Lots of people watch Orville.

    I just wish there was a version of The Orville that wasn’t just Seth McFarlane’s TNG fanfiction featuring his particular brand of almost-never-funny humor.



    >I just wish there was a version of The Orville that wasn’t just Seth McFarlane’s TNG fanfiction featuring his particular brand of almost-never-funny humor.


    I think I watched about 10 minutes before I’d had enough of the same shite he’s been writing forever in his cartoons. He’s like Dennis Waterman, surprised The Orville doesn’t have a swing theme tune that he sings just he get another credit.

    He must really love himself, he’ll get commissioned anyway so if I was him I’d go and spend some of my billions and have no involvement other than writing it.

    He just wants to play Star Trek.

    Sad state of affairs that people are going to a Seth MacFarlane comedy for anything approaching decent Star Trek.



    The Orville gets better and tones down the comedy very quickly. It is just Star Trek with the odd joke to pull in the punters. At times I wonder if I should just rewatch DS9 instead but I am happy somebody is trying to keep the spirit of the show.

    Stopped watching Discovery after three or four episodes. Most of the characters were unlikeable pricks which meant I didn’t care for anyone outside Saru (who was interesting). When a TNG character dies in Season 1 in a stupid scenario with a tar monster, I am sad because the character was likeable. When a Discovery character was mauled by an alien in Season 1, I was delighted because they were so hateful.

    I do wonder if the Discovery writing team have ever seen Equinox. Somehow I think not. Maybe they read the Memory Alpha page.

    Then again it seems nobody has seen any Star Trek before Discovery. Hollywood Report is currently claiming Discovery touching on faith and how it conflicts with technology is an “untouched topic” in Star Trek. Which is like saying Lister loving curry is an untouched topic in Red Dwarf.



    There’s little point in reading most professional writing on movies and TV now. Reviews and such are more like the marketing agreements you get with videogames nowadays, say nice things, here’s some money. Going on to IMDb to see how a film is doing only to see huge banner ads for said film hardly implies impartiality. I usually watch a selection of YouTube reviews to get a feel now.

    The gulf between the user reviews and the critic reviews on multiple websites says it all, I don’t know how there isn’t some embarrassment from the critics because they’re so obviously overlooking massive, glaring faults, but I suppose they’re getting paid and we’re not. It’s like football commentators when they’re watching fully grown adults flinging themselves through the air after someone coughs on them and they say it’s an obvious booking and a foul instead of calling them pathetic cheating twats.

    As for The Orville, I’ve no issues with it being a comedy, I just don’t like his style comedy or his acting.



    Star Trek Voyager spoilers fair game? Or is someone going to watch it for the first time soon.


    Ben Saunders

    I really enjoyed S04E07 “Reunion”, in fact I’ve really enjoyed season four so far, I just don’t have much to say on it. There seems to be a real theme of family in these first several episodes of this season. Interesting how I really did not care all that much for the episodes to which Reunion serves as a sequel, but they helped set up what I felt to be a terrific episode.

    Family was a nice lowkey episode that served as a breather after The Best of Both Worlds, and had that lovely emotional moment with the fight in the mud. Brothers was a fantastic episode for Brent Spiner and it would have been a great surprise to see Lore again, had the episode not been about Data and entitled BROTHERS. Spiner is almost unrecognisable as Doctor Soong, but you can still see it’s him when he makes certain expressions. Remember Me was a great episode for Beverly, very surreal and you really want to see her return to her own dimension. Legacy I found quite boring and stopped to play games with my friends halfway through, but when I returned to it I found the second half much more engaging, especially the stuff with Data and that wonderful discussion about trust.

    I also quite like how Picard claims to be tolerant of all cultures etc, and yet plays so fast and loose with Klingon tradition to suit his own desires. Of course, in this particular episode he is much more in the right than I felt he was in Who Watches The Watchers, so I am more willing to let it slide.

    >Star Trek Voyager spoilers fair game? Or is someone going to watch it for the first time soon.
    Define “soon”. I know all about the reset button and happy ending, but apart from childhood memories I know very little else.



    Happy ending related, not really a happy ending for one character. I don’t know the backstory about how Voyager ended, whether it was announced halfway through the season but it sure feels like it, the last seven or so episodes feel like a mini series tasked with winding it all up.

    Leaves a bad taste in the mouth.


    Ben Saunders

    Future Imperfect was decent too, glad to have finally reached the infamous “no you CAN’T don’t even TRY” scene. Jonathan Frakes is a good actor for the most part, but occasionally he’ll pull a silly face or scream something like DATA SOMETHING’S GOT MEEE, and I cannot do anything other than laugh.



    Happy ending related, not really a happy ending for one character. I don’t know the backstory about how Voyager ended, whether it was announced halfway through the season but it sure feels like it, the last seven or so episodes feel like a mini series tasked with winding it all up.
    Leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

    Voyager right until the very end persisted in being an adventure of the week series. Those last few episodes are really the only time it embraces serialisation due to the fact it’s winding up.

    Spoilers below

    I remember seeing an interview with Jerry Ryan talking about how her and other cast members had approached the writers and asked them to build up the 7 & Chakotay ending story line much earlier, so it could be sold and be more believable to the audience. She even said it made more sense for her and the Doctor but given how they wanted to the final episode to unfold said that if it was to be Chakotay they needed to lay the groundwork much earlier. And there is like maybe one episode which hints at it but otherwise nothing until Endgame Part 1. Writers/Producers/Studio whoever didn’t want to move away from that reset button until they absolutely had to, and only allowed the final few episodes to start winding the series up.

    And I get it … as much as Voyager could have been/would have been better if it was more like BSG, they wanted another TOS/TNG style series on the air especially as they had very heavily gone in on the protracted storylines in DS9. And I still believe Voyager is great for that if you view it for that reason.

    They still fucked up though especially in that final year when they could have had a little more story development in the characters (Tom and Belana, and 7of9 are really the only characters to develop at all over the entire series) and how they actually get home.



    Spoiler warning like.

    If the episode where Seven runs her simulations was at the beginning of the series instead of episode 18 of 26, then maybe I could get on board, really it’s not the pairing, even if beautiful woman and the only non married man that’s not shown to be useless with women is a bit of an obvious one, it’s the way they dispose of the Doctor and Seven’s arc.

    Those two were obviously the ones with chemistry, and it seemed like Seven absolutely hated The Doctor at the end, halfway through season 6 though she’s writing him letters saying how much she cares about him and shiz.

    And the way they play The Doctor telling Seven how much he cares as a humourous computer glitch really doesn’t sit right when a couple of episodes previous the episode was about how the Doctor should have the rights of a human.

    I think I’d recommend just watching until episode 20.



    Voyager’s ending was never in doubt from the start, so I barely count that as a spoiler. It was no Quantum Leap (I wonder if the Sliders made it home? BBC stopped showing that at the end of season 3 I think, but it wasn’t worth seeking out as an adult). I haven’t seen much of VOY season 7 at all, will get around to a full rewatch some day since there are lots of episodes I used to really like on their own merits (Living Witness, Timeless, Year of Hell despite the ending, Scorpion, most of the Doctor ones, Vidiian ones), I just have this anti-Voyager bias that turns me off the series generally, whether it’s fair or not.

    I’d say you should really try to avoid Deep Space Nine spoilers in the main, since that’s the most serialised and arc based series, but if you’ve ever read or watched any overviews you probably know some of the big developments.



    TNG season 4’s family theme was intentional, Michael Piller was doubling down on the character focus that he realised he liked during season 3. I think it might get a bit much, as there aren’t as many stand-out memorable episodes for me as season 5 & 6 when it gets balanced with technobabble crises again, but season 4 is definitely strong.

    I hope it’s not true, but Remember Me might be the only decent Beverley episode in the whole series. Some of her other episodes are downright infamous. Reunion I’ve always put in my top 10, definitely the highlight of the Klingon arc and a great one for Worf. Those episodes have consequences, thanks Ron Moore.



    Season 7 of Voyager has some great episodes, even the “winding up” ones have their moments, and none of them are bad, just disappointing if you know the characters and I wish they’d had a couple of episodes post return.

    I’m going to rewatch DS9 next, I can’t really remember any of it, never seen it all the way through, and I don’t know much about what goes on so that’ll be good.

    Voyager is probably my favourite overall, despite its flaws and odd stinker. It’s just easy to watch and enjoy and I like the look of it, the ship is the nicest of any main ships, and some of the effects later on get very impressive.



    DS9 takes a while to get going, which can be off-putting, but it’s a more rewarding journey than Voyager despite being literally stationary.

    The station feels more like a real place to me than any of the ships, the massive Promenade set helps. O’Brien, Odo, Quark and Garak are my favourite Trek characters, alongside obvious loveable ones like Spock and Data. Some of the characters could be better though – Dax is too perfect at everything and Bashir’s generally annoying, even if that’s partly the point.



    I wonder if the Sliders made it home?

    I think it was cancelled before they did. Although Rembrandt was the only original Slider left at that point so it didn’t remaster.

    There was that episode in the first series where they do get home but then think they haven’t because a gate doesn’t squeak, and it turns out it’s just been fixed.



    Yeah, that was devastating. Last I saw they were stuck on an alien planet or something, but there didn’t seem to be much point in caring after John Rhys Davies left anyway.

    My friend used to think Rembrandt always called Quinn “Q-ball” as a friendly racial slur (“cue ball”). I said that probably wasn’t the reason.



    Now I want a black friend to call me Q-ball



    Watched the first episode of DS9 last night. Forgot how weird Avery Brooks’ performance is haha..

    Good, but weird.



    Also they look like ass at the beginning. Like a VHS transfer.



    Watching side-by-side with HD:TNG will make SD9 look even worse for Ben Saunders :(

    I like DS9’s pilot, it’s similar to Doctor Who’s Deep Breath as both seem to delight in being alienating to uncertain viewers, with just a little comforting familiarity to cling on to. I like the prickly character introductions, but the rubbish about non-linear time that doesn’t even make sense within context is a Tikka to Ride level of annoying for me.



    DS9 looks a lot worse than even the TNG DVDs I have so I don’t know what went on there.

    It’s a strange one visually, there are some atrocious special effects in the pilot but they’re in with brilliant ones. Blue screen looks very bad, like late 70s TOTP bad at times, but then an episode later there’s some really good compositing with models through the windows and stuff. Things they usually avoid like moving camera shots (no tracking on the windows so it looks rubbish) are in, and there’s no interactive lighting on some things, which is for me one of the most important things when making something believable.

    The station and runabouts are great though, as is the exterior of the wormhole, the interior is a bit Bill & Ted though haha



    but then an episode later there’s some really good compositing with models through the windows

    I though DS9 used CGI rather than models hence them not being able to remaster them for HD like they did with TNG as it would mean re-doing ALL the effects shots



    DS9 only goes mostly CGI from season 6, which always looked too shiny and unconvincing even on VHS in 1998. Before that it was mainly models, but CG increasingly crept in from maybe season 4.

    You can search for clips from ‘Way of the Warrior’ or ‘Call to Arms’ on YouTube for extremely spoiler-filled pyew pyew with models that look great, compared to ‘Sacrifice of Angels’ for when they switched to less convincing CGI.

    They mainly wouldn’t remaster it because even doing the regular remastering was apparently extremely expensive and time-consuming for TNG and they didn’t really profit on it, so certainly wouldn’t for a more niche show. The DS9 showrunner has crowdfunded a documentary that’s remastering select scenes and even that’s taking a while.



    Ah got it, thought it was the whole thing.

    I’ll admit that when I’ve watched it in the past I’ve not really noticed. Although it would have originally been on VHS (well other than catching odd episodes as it aired) about 14 years ago, then once or twice through on Netflix since then, but on my old TV that until I bought my 4K I hadn’t realised was only 720p.

    I’ll have a flick through some things at some point on the my 4k and see how it looks, especially the models vs CG.

    I’m eagerly awaiting that documentary :)


    Ben Saunders

    >Although Rembrandt was the only original Slider left at that point so it didn’t remaster.
    Did you try to say “it didn’t really matter?” lmao

    >HD:TNG will make SD9 look even worse for Ben Saunders :(
    It can’t be that bad, right? The Doctor Who DVDs were always fine quality for me. As was Red Dwarf series 3; pretty sure I can suffer through anything



    I’m no snob when it comes to HD and shiz, but the first few that I’ve watched of DS9 are like that VHS you played a hundred times when you were little. Very poor.

    I know they improve though so I’ll muddle through.



    As I’m sure has mentioned before, the ’90s Star Trek shows were shot on film but edited on video. If you’ve never seen non-HD TNG you wouldn’t believe how grey and fuzzy it always used to look, especially in early seasons. That’s why those shows look so visually degraded compared to other contemporary shows shot on film.

    TOS always looked superior in SD since it was edited the old fashioned way without dropping it down fifty generations of videotape and leaving the master in a damp basement for seven years, only to drop it down seven more generations.

    Once you’ve seen a lot of HD TNG and/or TOS, it’s really hard to get used to the crappy old bargain bin VHS look of DS9. Doubly annoying considering how advanced the effects have gotten even by season one.



    The best/only bet is some billionaire DS9 & Voyager fan deciding to finance those remasters because they want to watch the series in HD. Like George Harrison funding Life of Brian, but more so.



    Um, after they’ve fed the starving children and stuff first, obviously.



    Is there really any point in saving starving children if they don’t have Star Trek in HD to watch whilst they eat?



    Apparently it’d be about $15m per show. If I won the euromillions I’d chuck a bit towards it.



    DS9 though, the first series so far is approaching a point where you’d think Netflix and such would be offering a bit of money towards it though. It really is bad. Voyager is alright I’m SD, but I’d love them to do that too.



    $15m per show!! That doesn’t sound right. There wouldn’t have been even spending that to make the series.

    Wasn’t it about $1m an episode at the time??



    Hang on, when you say show, do you mean episode or the whole of DS9 as 1 show and the whole of Voyager as another show?

    I could see it being 15m for the entire series.



    $15m for Voyager $15m for DS9.

    It was $12m or something for TNG but VOY and DS9 have more CGI that’d need redoing, TNG just had a few video effects.



    I would be really surprised if globally they couldn’t re-coup those costs. Just playing rough numbers, that’s 107k people buying every season of each series for £20 each. Doesn’t seem that impossible.

    Obviously a lot of the content would be accessed via streaming sites, which they already generate. But they will surely come a time people wont’ want to watch those older shows because they look pony on their TVs. Maybe not for a little while but I wouldn’t be surprised if that streaming revenue for older shows dries up as younger audiences refuse to watch shitty quality TV.

    I know I’m tying that not understanding how any of this works and I’m aware the number crunchers at CBS or whoever will have decided it isn’t worth their time/money … just seems like 15m for 170hours of TV which will continue to sell and generate new sales isn’t all that much money for a show that has a massive global fanbase.



    Blu-ray can’t command those prices anymore though. No-one is paying $140 for the complete DS9 collection, $80 would be the tempting price I think.

    As for streaming, as you say, they’ve already got that money so there’s not much incentive unless it’s coming from the streaming services in the form of a cheque for better quality versions.



    I feel obligated to point out that I’ve given some other Orville episodes a try, and the show is substantially better than its pilot. The plots are more interesting and the jokes are fewer but better. It still suffers from “Star Trek did it before” syndrome a lot, but it’s engaging enough. Certainly a better Trek show than Discovery by miles.

    The pilot wasn’t just unfunny, the story was bland as hell. This show did not set its best foot forward. Just another series whose awful pilot almost kept me away from it. I blame Seth MacFarlane for not being able to write a funny joke to save his life.



    I just don’t find pastiches/homages of existing things appealing in the slightest, unless it’s got the selling point of being by someone whose work I already like (e.g. Quanderhorn) which is the reverse case here. Orville’s so far down the list of modern and vintage shows I have to get around to that it’ll never make it, but if there was some really well-regarded A+ episode I might check that out eventually.



    In a way, when you choose to make something that’s so obviously a send up of Star Trek you’ve limited yourself before you’ve started filming because the avenue of it being something worthwhile outside of gags has gone, as CBS would fire up the legal mobile and send a load of lawyers round.


    Ben Saunders

    I went back and watched the first season of Family Guy last year and it really does hold up, it’s some top quality stuff, and early American Dad is really strong too. I don’t know what the fuck happened to MacFarlane, maybe just a case of burning four times as bright etc. He’s got one of those faces, and doesn’t seem to be a very good live action actor, so I’m not really interested in watching anything with him in it in person.



    I thought Family Guy seasons 2 & 3 were hysterical when I was a teenager and I watched the DVDs loads (didn’t like season 1 as much somehow), but then rapidly went off / grew out of it before they made any more and never watched again.

    Obviously there are lots of brilliant parodies like Airplane, Police Squad/Naked Gun and Darkplace that exceed the source material. But they’re far exceeded by the crap. And if it’s more of a legitimate show than just a send-up, we’ve got enough Trek-style space shows already, I never bothered with Andromeda et al.



    There’s a difference between being a Trek-style space show and actually feeling like Star Trek. And right now The Orville is doing a much better job of being Star Trek than Discovery is.



    Obviously there are lots of brilliant parodies like Airplane, Police Squad/Naked Gun and Darkplace that exceed the source material.

    I think a difference is that they all (to some extent at least) are parodies of general genre conventions rather than parodies of a specific show or series of shows.



    I’m sure The Orville’s at least more worthwhile than the ‘Star Wreck’ book I read when I was 12, where the “humour” was on the level of naming the characters “Captain Smirk” (“Captain Kirk”) and “Snotty” (“Scotty”), and the “tractor beam” came out of an actual “tractor.” Ha ha ha, it’s not funny but I know what these things are and feel less alone.

    Apparently there was a sequel called ‘Geek Space Nine.’ How do they come up with this stuff?



    A lot of people call Red Dwarf a science fiction parody simply because it is a comedy.

    No. Just no.



    A lot of people call Red Dwarf a science fiction parody simply because it is a comedy.

    And then something happened which made me laugh


    Ben Saunders

    I’ve got a mate who refuses to watch Spaceballs no matter how often I bring it up, on account of it being a Star Wars parody. He just has a certain expectation of it that makes him pre-hate it, and to be fair I have that same preconception of anything calling itself a “parody” these days. YouTube and the plague of low-effort shitty “parodies” has tainted the medium in my mind forever, along with movies like Scary/Disaster/Epic/Whatever Movie. Luckily I watched Spaceballs before all that shite.



    Seems like Discovery is in a perilous position at the moment, not been renewed yet and some doubt about whether it will be. Actors joking about being unemployed on Twitter, showrunners expressing their hope that a strong finale will get them renewed.

    Don’t know where that’d leave Picard if it got canned, but the more I hear about that show the more I worry anyway, apparently there’s some licensing issues which mean TNG cast members can’t be in it, and maybe TNG can’t even be referenced? Perhaps they’re ringfencing TNG/DS9/VOY because they know STD is generally disliked by the fans of those shows. It’s sounding more likely that this will be an alternate reality Picard following on from Discovery’s Kelvin-lite timeline.

    What’s the point of that? If it’s not the Picard we’ve known for 30 years, it seems a bit of a pointless exercise.

    Generally I just have difficulty understanding the whole thing, we live in a time where the most popular TV show in the world is essentially a medieval fantasy show with dragons in it, then there’s the comic book films, there’s never been a better time to make a proper Star Trek exploration and story show, Discovery feels like if they made a Star Trek to suit the tastes of 10 or so years ago, feels a bit like the Vin Diesel movie of Star Trek TV shows.



    >I wonder if the Sliders made it home?

    They did. Several times from memory. Prime Earth was eventually taken over by Kromaggs (some evil alien that were originally just in one episode but became the main thrust of the show for some reason). I think it was around the same time that Wade Wells is written out the show offscreen by being taken to a Kromagg breeding camp and being brutally raped repeatedly. This is genuinely what happens.

    >Voyager right until the very end persisted in being an adventure of the week series.

    The annoying thing about Voyager is that the first couple of seasons have a nice throughline that means it doesn’t just feel like adventure of the week. It culminates in Basics which both brings together all the ongoing storylines together nicely but also wipes the slate clean and leads to, for the most part, the beginning of the disconnected nature of the show.

    The thing is the later seasons of Voyager have better individual episodes overall but the first two seasons feel more rewarding watching together.


    Ben Saunders

    My new favourite thing is really shitty old trailers for TNG. the attempts at making mostly static camera work and diplomacy exciting, the giving away of key plot points, the way the dude says “STARRRRRR trek!”, it’s all glorious. I knew the trailer for Data’s Day wouldn’t disappoint, and it certainly doesn’t – the Romulan b-plot doesn’t even feature lightly in the trailer, curiously, so they try to make people getting married and Data thinking about emotions into some epic thing.

    Data’s Day was just brilliant, a perfect example of how to do an episode without any real threat… with a little threat thrown in for good measure. Final Mission managed to give us a good Wesley episode somehow (plot logic aside) and The Loss was a lovely episode for Troi, really making us feel just how scared she was when she lashed out at Dr. Crusher etc.



    >the later seasons of Voyager have better individual episodes overall but the first two seasons feel more rewarding watching together.

    I think this too, but it might just be nostalgia. I think season 4’s the most solid overall, Seven and the Hirogen relay stations give it more of a shape and there’s actual progress. Then it just becomes really episodic like they didn’t care (but still some good episodes).


    Not seen Spaceballs, Blazing Saddles or other things I might be missing out on.

    >STARRRRRR trek

    The Hollow Pursuits trailer also completely fails to grasp the point of that episode, focusing on the technobabble B-plot affecting the Enterprise. When people say that modern trailers spoil films, I’d point them to the trailers for Search for Spock and The Voyage Home that show the entire plots in order, destruction of the Enterprise and all.



    I always liked this general Star Trek trailer included on UK video releases of the early to mid 90s, where some fan with a sense of humour decided to juxtapose clips for a humorous effect. Those Brits and their humour!

    I saw it on the Generations video which I bought after seeing First Contact and getting into the series, and it made the franchise seem enormous and fascinating even by that point, when there was less than half what there is now. Even though I know where all the clips are from now, I can still feel that initial wonder.

    The narration’s lifted from the sentimental Star Trek VI teaser, which is also very nice.


    Ben Saunders

    That was a very nice trailer, clearly made by a fan and featuring a lot of clips from all over the saga. I remember Paramount Comedy (now Comedy Central) did stellar trailers of edited clips for their runs of shows like Scrubs and Frasier. Genuine effort must have gone into them and they made dozens and dozens of them, often with really fantastic music to accompany them as well. One particular Scrubs trailer is burned in my mind forever, it used the song Hospital Beds by Cold War Kids, and edited the song in such a way that I actually prefer the trailer edit to the full song.



    Whoops, that accidentally spoiled one of the many GREAT GAGS of Star Trek V where Scotty knocks himself unconscious because he’s an incompetent buffoon, as opposed to the technical genius you may mistakenly remember from all previous episodes and films.

    If V was available on some kind of Twitch chat stream (it isn’t) I’d join in for a hatewatch, it’s the only way I could enjoy watching that again. I watched II-IV & VI with the wifey recently, who liked them, but I wasn’t prepared to go there.


    Ben Saunders

    Has there ever been a “I know this place like the back of my hand” gag that was actually funny? And not only that, it’s combined with a stupid bit of slapstick, the like of which hasn’t been funny since the 20s either. I actually saw that specific clip a few days ago on a YouTube video, so no harm done by you.

    Just finished Clues – that was a very strange episode. A serviceable mystery with a lot of “hmm” moments, but the speed at which Picard just accepts to have his memory wiped in order to leave the xenophobic aliens alone rather than trying to debate or convince them almost seems out of character. And then he lets it happen again.

    Also, this didn’t occur to me at all during the episode, but there is an entire section on the Wikipedia article for Clues entitled “similarity to Red Dwarf”. It reads:

    “In their book The Red Dwarf Programme Guide, Chris Howarth and Steve Lyons point out the “uncanny similarities” between Clues and the Red Dwarf episode “Thanks for the Memory”, which aired on UK television nearly two and half years earlier. Howarth and Lyons note that the American show “has the cast waking up to find that time has passed of which they have no memory. Despite the resistance of their mechanical crew member, they attempt to find out what has happened, but learn that they were better off not knowing. One of them even has a broken limb…””



    I knew Clues was some time this season and thought you’d already be “clued”(!) up on that slight controversy and looking forward to it. Interesting that it didn’t strike you – I’ve only seen the episode having already known about it, since I had the Programme Guide, but I liked both episodes a lot. The Programme Guide makes it sound like more of a rip-off with their very selective description.

    As John Hoare has pointed out on this site before, the only real damning “clue”(!) is that the writer Bruce D. Arthurs only has one credit on his IMDb writing CV ever – this episode – so it does raise the possibility that he’s a chancer who saw Red Dwarf, wrote a story based on it, and sent it in when they started accepting anybody.

    The review has more info and comments from Arthurs himself that make his original version sound more different (before it was heavily rewritten by staff writer Joe Menosky), but it does also mention a “chessboard clue.” Because you don’t tend to see the enlightened TNG characters doing jigsaws.

    Some people also point to season 5’s ‘The Game’ vs. Better Than Life (novel) and season 6’s ‘A Fistful of Datas’ for being the reverse, Grant Naylor accidentally doing something a bit reminiscent of a TNG episode that hadn’t aired here yet, and which might be the origin of Patrick Stewart calling his lawyer if that wasn’t just a story someone wrote for him on the autocue he’s visibly reading.



    At least one of the designers was a Red Dwarf fan by the time of DS9. The Promenade business directory that appears in the background all the way through (illegibly) lists ‘Diva Droid International’ and ‘Jupiter Mining Corporation’ as having premises on the station, among other references and in-jokes.

    From Cracked:

    I remember from the TNG Companion that the TNG set and displays were littered with Buckaroo Banzai references. I don’t know if those are awkwardly visible in HD now or not. I tried watching that film once but couldn’t make it to the end.


    Ben Saunders

    I feel had they done the chessboard thing it may have been more obvious, but honestly memory loss plots aren’t exactly something that’s only ever been done on Dwarf and Trek, and despite the similarities mentioned the two episodes are different enough that it didn’t cause alarm bells to ring in my head. It is striking when put into text form like that, though.

    I recall seeing that DS9 easter egg once before, I love stuff like that. Although I’m glad I don’t notice it in the episodes themselves, because it would take me out of the world of the show I was trying to enjoy, I would think. I know for a fact at least one of the easter egg references in TNG was actually removed during the remaster to HD, wish I could be more specific – but it happened!

    First Contact (no, not that one) was fantastic, I loved how it opens like a regular medical drama featuring aliens – ER in space! Very interesting to see a story from the point of view of other non-Enterprise characters, and while at first I was extremely skeptical of how the Federation present themselves to species about to achieve warp, the more Picard explained it and the more I envisaged how else things would go down out in the blackness of space, the more I understood why they would do things in such a way. Surgically altering oneself to look like the inhabitants of the planet you are studying may seem a little extreme, but I can imagine that after Who Watches The Watchers, you would want to be as careful as possible. I wonder why they forgot that building cloaked research facilities right in the middle of primitive societies is a bad idea by the time of Insurrection.



    The cross-section of the ship in Engineering supposedly features a giant hamster wheel towards the back, implied to be its real, secret power source. The only images online are from recreations, so it was probably never visible in an episode.

    A very early DS9 episode shows that a criminal’s last point of departure was ‘Alderaan Spaceport,’ a bit too clearly and for too long that it’s noticeable even if you’re not looking for it, so reference works are obliged to list Alderaan in the Star Trek universe.



    Next TNG episode (Galaxy’s Child) is notable for prominent early CGI. They seemed to reserve it just for space monsters, like the crystal in Datalore.


    Ben Saunders

    Galaxy’s Child was also wonderful. Poor Geordie. I love sequels to older episode, so far each one has been stellar and successfully built upon the previous material. The lifeforms were beautiful and the regret at killing it was palpable, then the space birth and the reunification was all so moving. Fantastic stuff.

    It was noticeably CGI but it wasn’t that bad, more noticeable in closeups. Better than some of the CG in Doctor Who, up until at least Series 7. But I assume TNG’s budget compared to Who is absolutely enormous – I remember thinking First Contact (the episode) looked pretty expensive.

    Star Wars and Star Trek could be in the same universe, millenia apart, I suppose, but that is pretty funny how they feel they need to list Alderaan. It’s things like the TARDIS on the ‘Dwarf and references in Trek to the JMC which don’t really work for me because of the whole “no aliens” thing in Dwarf. Of course I realise I’m taking it far too seriously and it’s just a little nod to fans.

    Leah Brahms is beautiful, I’d fall in love with a hologrammatic simulation of her too, to be fair. I’m really loving how Geordie is depicted as some socially awkward loner who can only make it with holographic women. The altercation between Geordie and Wesley in Sarek is still one of the most outrageously funny things I have ever witnessed.


    Ben Saunders

    Am I right in thinking that Red Dwarf is where the term “hologrammatic” is from, as opposed to “holographic?” My spell check draws a red squiggly line under hologrammatic every single time, leading me to (I think) recall reading that at some point. They invented hard light as well, didn’t they? This from TVTropes is pretty interesting – “In the episode ‘Demons and Angels,’ an evil copy of the pre-hard light Rimmer uses holo-whip to attack Lister. Presumably this is an early incarnation of the technology that eventually became hard light several centuries later.”



    Star Trek’s holograms are solid, you see that as early as Riker throwing the rock at the wall in the TNG pilot. There’s no telling what Lt. Broccoli got up to in there. It’s explained as either “replicated matter” or “forcefields” at different times.

    Hologrammatic/hologrammic are Red Dwarf things as far as I know.

    Reusing actors takes me out of the show more than anything. The Leah Brahms actress plays a completely unrelated captain in a DS9 episode. Because Trek fans aren’t famously attentive or anything.



    I just read that the Leah Brahms actress, Susan Gibney, was the favourite for Captain Janeway in Voyager, but Paramount rejected her as too young to be a MILF.


    Ben Saunders

    I heard that the people on holodecks are solid via forcefields, and some of the items are replicated matter (seemingly based on whether or not the plot required the item to be removed from the holodeck or be shown to disintegrate upon exiting the confines of it), and that Voyager’s Doctor was officially hard-light and apparently thanks to Red Dwarf. But again I have no idea where I got any of this information

    Is “too young to be a MILF” a direct quote? It would be strange to have a previously fairly important character’s actress return as the captain of your new spinoff, would be a much more sound reason to give.



    My paraphrased presumption of sleazy execs. They probably thought too young for authority / mother figure.

    Not a captain, but Tim Russ had three guest roles across TNG, DS9 and Generations not long before showing up as Tuvok in Voyager. Probably loads more examples, but that’s a particularly weird one.

    The Voyager’s Doctor / Red Dwarf similarity is that he gets a “light bee” during the series, paralleling Rimmer being able to go off the ship more easily later. They don’t use the term hard light, just repeatedly refer to “photons and forcefields” after First Conact coins that handy phrase.



    (Again, they don’t actually call it a “light bee.” He wears it on his arm).


    Ben Saunders

    >He wears it on his arm

    Maybe she did lack the perceived strength required to be a starship captain, I can see that honestly. The woman they ended up with was absolutely right for the part, so whatever.

    Night Terrors is another great episode, really strange and awkward dream sequences aside. Gates McFadden should receive props for her acting, a woman on the verge of losing it, she reminded me of a person having a bit of an overwhelming time on the comedown from MDMA, and they really made Troi look dishevelled. Picard’s vacant “I just want to sleep” gaze was great too. TNG is really on a hot streak this season.



    Remembered the one that was nagging me and is even more distracting than Tuvok. A Voyager star plays an extremely similar character to their previous guest role, to the point that it really seems like it was intended to be the same person but they couldn’t get ownership from the writer, or just didn’t want continuity baggage after all. Won’t spoil that, you’ll get to it.



    Star Wars and Star Trek could be in the same universe, millenia apart, I suppose, but that is pretty funny how they feel they need to list Alderaan.

    Not really – Star Trek is set in the future while Star Wars takes place in the distant past, and Alderaan is destroyed.



    Maybe when Disney buys Star Trek they’ll find a way to make the combined cinematic universe work, delighting two fanbases at the same time.

    The Millennium Falcon appears as an indistinguishable background blur in Star Trek: First Contact. R2-D2’s in both of J.J. Abrams’ films.

    The planet ‘Coridan’ in TOS Journey to Babel always sounded like a very Star Warsy planet name to me, despite predating it. Star Trek planets are called Gamma Hydra IV.



    Honestly, if Marvel/Disney got put in charge of Star Trek I’d be so happy. CBS Paramount can’t be trusted.


    Ben Saunders

    >Disney in charge of making fans of classic sci fi franchises happy


    Ben Saunders

    Also imagine forgetting that Alderaan blew up. That was a fairly important event in those movies, wasn’t it. Maybe Trek is set so far in the future from Wars that all of the stellar matter that once made up Alderaan all reformed into itself again due to gravity… that makes sense I’m sure



    Or all these spaceports and restaurants are just named by fans of vintage Earth entertainment, since that’s the dominant cultural force in the 24th century where they don’t seem to bother producing their own art and culture any more. Apart from rare glimpses like Riker’s holographic harp porn.


    Ben Saunders

    Identity Crisis… an interesting enough first act, and a somewhat touching ending, but man oh man did it drag the fuck on in the middle with Geordie inspecting shadows for 20 minutes. Yawn.

    Is there any particular reason for why everybody in Trek pronounces “sensor” as “sense or”, or is it just because Leonard Nimoy did it? Is it correct?

    What happened to that nice scientist lady who was allowed to stay on the Enterprise after First Contact (the episode) ?

    Man, Jonathan Frakes looks like a a total creep without his beard, but he looks fantastic once he grows it. Those skin-tight Starfleet uniforms also aren’t always the most flattering for his… large figure, at times.



    Vaughn Armstrong and Jeffrey Combs are another couple that pop up all over Berman era Trek and are extremely recognisable regardless of any prosthetics.

    I think they did a good job with Tim Russ though, really liked the Voyager episode Flashback, the other one you alluded to is a lot more troublesome though, and they were probably wise to just leave it.



    Jeffrey Combs slipped my mind, that must be the jackpot with three prominent recurring roles, two even appearing in the same episode one time, plus one-off appearances and being a candidate for Riker. 45 episodes, it feels like more. I didn’t realise he was Brunt for a while until I read a Star Trek magazine interview or something, so they got away with it a bit.

    I can understand the practicality – reliable actors who know how the show works and are usually coming back years later. Good that they got the work, but it breaks the immersion. It’s better when they swap races at least.



    The most distracting one for me was Ethan Phillips playing a Ferengi on Enterprise.



    …he actually started in TNG playing a Ferengi apparently.


    Ben Saunders

    Q-Pid was delightful, I was really wanting a light, fun, humorous “fluff” episode this evening, and that’s exactly what I got. I wasn’t really huge on the Q character in seasons one and two, but I love him now. The stunt double for the guy Marrion was being forced to marry was painfully obvious, he looked about 30 years younger than the man he was doubling for. And curiously, the entire cast all look 10 years older in their Robin Hood getups.

    I fucking can’t stand how everybody on the Enterprise drinks out of fucking test tubes and beakers because it’s the future. Jesus Christ. What happened to CUPS with HANDLES. You’re drinking TEA. Perhaps transparent aluminium or whatever contains heat better so you won’t scald yourself, but yikes.



    Q’s weird and off in season one, when he was written/co-written by Roddenberry, but being weird and off is a season one thing generally. I think he’s great from Q Who onwards, his best ones are probably still to come. I don’t know if there’s ever a good Lwaxana Troi one, but some people like her more serious ones.

    I don’t remember the test tubes, just the ‘tumble-not’ mugs you could buy with the wide base that were seemingly the only thing designed with the inevitable rough and tumble of space travel in mind. Don’t put in seabelts, fuses in the exploding consoles or give Worf a chair though.


    Ben Saunders

    The Drumhead – another episode that ends abruptly and leaves me wondering what the fuck exactly that woman was trying to do. (What the exactly fuck?)
    Some nice use of continuity, especially when she calls Worf’s father a Romulan co-conspirator during the trial – I didn’t care for the episode in which that supposed event actually took place, but just that moment, that closeup of Worf, was better than the entire thing.

    It’s almost cliche to take a message from an old episode of Trek and say “this has relevance today”, but… the message of The Drumhead certainly does. “Have we become so cowardly that we must extinguish a man because he carries the blood of a current enemy?”
    “The road from legitimate suspicion to rampant paranoia is very much shorter than we think… I don’t like what we have become.”


    Ben Saunders

    >I don’t know if there’s ever a good Lwaxana Troi one
    She’s up next according to the Netflix synopsis, oh boy. I don’t like her much.

    I enjoyed season one while I was watching it, but after seasons three and four I can see that it is not TNG reaching its potential, more a somewhat decent continuation of TOS. But the stuffiness and pomposity of the early seasons being undercut so harshly is one of the contributing reasons to something like The Best of Both Worlds being as effective as it is, again.



    I haven’t seen The Drumhead since I was too young to find talky courtroom ones interesting, but it’s extremely highly regarded. Most episodes from this era I know more in a dry encyclopaedic way, with no real memory or sense of whether they’re actually good entertainment.


    Ben Saunders

    I recognised the courtroom immediately from the thumbnail of a YouTube video entitled “Captain Picard’s best inspirational speeches”, so I knew I was in for something. I can imagine a child finding it boring tbh, but not me as a child. I’ve always loved boring shit. My favourite episodes of TOS are “the crew encounter some boring shit in space and sit around debating it” (The Corbomite Maneuvre, The Tholian Web etc). I also think The Menagerie is great because of the boring courtroom shit


    Ben Saunders

    Allow me to eat my words and register my appreciation of the fact that Half A Life did indeed give us a good Lwaxana Troi episode. The central conundrum is Star Trek at its best – you feel as if Picard SHOULD step in and violate the Prime Directive here, but you understand why he absolutely cannot. And so instead of poncey pontification from Picard, we explore the story through another character, not (willingly at least) bound by Federation law, from whom the emotion of the episode can be conveyed, along with a great guest performance.
    Barrett even puts in a good performance and is used as more than just comedy – in fact the episode itself opens as a light, fluffy comedic episode that screams “skip me”, and quickly turns into something much more serious and worthwhile. I hope she went down there and started a revolution. Although you can almost see the logic of their “resolution”.

    The line about “deathwatch facilities, where they waited in loneliness for the end to come” hit home for me and made me remember how awful it was to see my grandmother and so many others wither away in a care home. Obviously that is a very dramatic and very negative spin on the process, but you can see the argument.



    I thought that might be one of the possibly good ones. Though seems a bit harsh to give Majel Barrett a script like that when her husband Gene Roddenberry would be dead within the year. He was still giving notes and voicing disapproval at Star Trek VI right up to the end though, so maybe he was still doing okay.


    Ben Saunders

    I had to look up when Roddenberry died after the episode because I thought Majel’s acting might have been inspired by such a thing, but maybe not. I always feel bad when somebody is cast as “Old Person” and the script makes constant reference to their age, especially in something like The Pirate Planet, with Tom Baker telling a frail old woman to her face that she’s old as fuck and looks like she should be dead already


    Ben Saunders

    Saw this a day after watching The Drumhead, in which this is basically how the Klingon leaks information to the Romulans:

    Honestly I thought it was bullshit but hey ho pip and dandy



    Seems like Discovery’s consciously changed most/some of the things people weren’t so fond of in the first year (not that I pay much attention to what people don’t like). Should have focused on space mysteries from the off and skipped the Klingon/war distraction entirely, or done it the other way around and built up to that so it had more impact like other series did, seeing the starry-eyed characters you care about forced to become veterans rather than giving them their disfigurements and corrective implants off-screen in episode one. Not as reliant on fan service as feared, while still having nice Pike-era nods I appreciate. Feels authentic Star Trek to me, much more than the Abrams films that were their own mass appeal thing. I don’t find any of the characters annoying, only in the good way that I like (needs more Stamets). Still not really compulsive viewing, but I hope it gets some momentum going. My valuable evolving views there.



    Where are you up to in season four Ben? I’ve just watched the two really weird TNG episodes after logging in to Netflix and noticing I was halfway through a rewatch, but I don’t want to talk about them before you’ve got to them.


    Ben Saunders

    I’m about to start S04E24, “The Mind’s Eye”



    So you’ve seen The Host, one of the weird episodes in question.

    Basically a swingers party onboard the Enterprise.

    Dr Crusher falls in love with a Trill and they have many a sexy time, but a shuttle accident on the way to a diplomatic summit causes grave injuries to the host body and the Trill has to temporarily reside in Riker in for the two days it’ll take the Trill to send out a new host (first class signed for).

    This leads to the weird moment where Deanna tells Beverly to shag Riker in a sort of pained way.

    They then do.

    Then the host is a woman and Dr Beverly gets a bit aggressive and seems disgusted even though she just boned someone she described as a brother who is her friends former lover but current and definite love interest.

    All a bit disturbing innit.


    Ben Saunders

    The Mind’s Eye was a sort of yawn-y episode until that twist had me raising my eyebrows, leaning in and going “hmm”. Some very inspired, unsettling direction with a few strange camera angles and what looked like different lenses. I loved Deanna trying to get in on all the goss from LaForge after he “came back from his holiday”, that was cute and pretty naturalistic, you really get the feeling with her and with LaForge and Data that these people are really friends and are real characters with lives that don’t just revolve around the plot. A very strange ending also – we’re left with ominous music and LaForge being faced with the extremely unsettling reality that he can no longer trust his own memories. No happy ending reset button here, if anything we are left with a deliberate sense of unease.

    The Host was pretty interesting also, the kind of very very strange scenario only sci-fi can give us. To look at your lover and see one of your closest male colleagues whom you have grown to consider a brother would be a very peculiar thing to have to deal with. Troi encouraging Beverly to fuck “Riker” is also extremely strange as you point out – Riker and Troi’s relationship is very complex, I recall an earlier situation where somebody expressed desire to have sex with Troi and Riker’s reaction was basically “good luck”, and a few episodes before this (The Drumhead I think) Riker asked Troi if somebody was successful in wooing her and she slyly chose not to answer. They seem to have a real mature care for each other, and I would absolutely be one of those fans to be delighted to see them (Nemesis spoilers I guess) get married.

    To be fair on Beverly it was an extremely complex situation and she was very much in love with the person inside Riker’s body. If you really love someone you can sort look past their appearance, but if you’re straight you’re straight. And that isn’t the only reason she was angry, her given reasoning was that she can’t keep up with the emotional upheaval each and every time they take over a new body (which has happened twice in as many weeks, at that rate it would be madness). Having to accept a new face over and over and with no guarantee that the next body will be attractive in any way (which Riker is I would say) it’s just all a bit much innit.


    Ben Saunders

    I can only wonder how Beverly looks at Riker post-coitus (with somebody else inhabiting his body). Also the host thing is really weird, like is Riker aware at all while he’s being controlled? What about the hosts from the planet of origin? Are these people basically accepting a death/coma sentence because they aren’t a part of the upper class or something? Mad



    I think they changed it for DS9 because I’m pretty sure Dax says the host contributes to the whole too, but in TNG that doesn’t seem to be the case.


    Ben Saunders

    There was that little moment when, after it was revealed that Riker was rejecting the parasite, Picard (I think) commented something along the lines of “for a moment there I saw a little more Riker than [you] in what you were saying”, but apart from that it was as if Riker himself was completely comatose for the entire thing.



    I suppose that’s the only way to do it without sleeping with Dr Crusher being properly strange. If he was some kind of captive (like the Voyager episode Body and Soul, where the Doctor controls Seven’s body but she’s aware of it all), or he’s in there too and is part of the person that bones Bev it’s something you have to address.

    DS9 didn’t have that situation to contend with so could make it a more symbiotic relationship.



    The Host is mainly notable for fans for being weird after their retcon the Trill to not look or function like that. They didn’t want to ruin Terry Farrell’s face with a forehead prosthetic for one.

    But also notable for being weird in that complicated 90s TNG way (also see season five’s divisive LGBT/trans story ‘The Outcast’). Some people took issue with Beverley being comfortable shagging the possessed body of her friend/boss in the 90s but not being willing to entertain a same sex relationship, that’s not just a 2010s thing.

    The Mind’s Eye twist is sort of season four’s Y.A.N.A./Master reveal.



    I actually thought it was quite good that they didn’t go for the gratuitous lesbian kiss and walk away ending, that would have been a bit obvious and eye roll inducing, but just thought that the performance said ‘disgust’ rather than ‘heartbreak’ but as I said, I applaud the willingness to stick to a character’s background when the potential for Trekkie titillation is there haha



    DS9 has a fully-earned, non-gratuitous lesbian kiss along similar lines that some people put up there with the Kirk/Uhura kiss as a TV milestone.

    …Followed up in a later season by a gratuitous titillation one, they didn’t always get it right.


    Ben Saunders

    >Some people took issue with Beverley being comfortable shagging the possessed body of her friend/boss in the 90s but not being willing to entertain a same sex relationship
    I’m bi and very liberal (in the UK sense, ie left), but we have to be careful not to conflate somebody not wanting to engage in a same-sex relationship with “homophobia”, or transphobia, or whatever. Like I said previously, if you’re straight, you’re straight. One may like to project the idea that a gay person would be much more willing to continue the relationship if their partner transformed into somebody of the opposite sex, but I’m really uncomfortable with making assertions like that. One cannot change their brain, or control their desires. If you are not attracted to a particular gender, you just. aren’t. It is not progressive to say that people should be able to overcome such an innate biological limitation. I’m not accusing anybody here of holding such a view, but I have seen similar such views expressed on the battleground that is lgbtq+ Twitter. The people there are largely nice enough, but have… some interesting views, especially on the trans issue. I don’t want to get too into it but you can probably ascertain exactly what I’m referring to, and what my stance would be on it, from my post. Physical, innate reactions just aren’t something you can “get over” because it would be nice to do so.

    Moving on, In Theory was wonderful – funny, touching, warm, a little sad, etc. Great stuff. This back half of season four has been very light, full of fluffy, comedic episodes, particularly in (perhaps deliberate) contrast to some of the earlier episodes of the season. I think up next is the season finale, though, so I assume things are about to get a little more serious.

    I know they were in a blue-ish nebula, but the scenes in Ten Forward and particularly this shot just make it look as if they forgot to key out the bluescreen.



    My one issue with In Theory is the Doug Naylor Dave Dwarf esque dispatching of Lt Van Mayter.

    Absolutely horrific haha

    They could have had her fly into space or something, getting your internal organs crushed by being fused into the floor is a tad much.

    Deck below has some legs dangling from the ceiling I assume.



    Usually when there’s a matter affecting thing and they want to kill someone, it comes into contact with them and they get a dodgy Picasso style prosthetic with a droopy eye and an ear on their neck. I was actually shocked at how distressing that death was.

    The episode is good though after being initially a little cringy.



    Yeah, if you’re not into something you’re not into it. I just saw that stance put forward in those same type of books that demonised Angel One, which I was delighted to find in the uni library as they meant I didn’t have to write about hard or boring books. Robin Roberts, Sexual Generations: Star Trek: The Next Generation and Gender (Urbana: University of Illinois, 1999) at al. Personally, I just find the whole Riker bit fucked up, I remembered it recently and had to double check that it actually happened.

    I can’t remember In Theory much but assume it’s fun and cute. Patrick Stewart directed it. so he always puts it forward as his TNG highlight when they have “the captains’ favourite episodes” lists, that gives it more representation than you’d probably expect.


    Ben Saunders

    It was a pretty horrific death, possibly the worst we’ve seen since Conspiracy. I actually knew it was coming, because I’ve seen the wonderful “star trek TNG clips but out of context” ( and figured as soon as I realised that things were phasing through surfaces, I was probably about to see that particular clip in context. I’m looking forward to the episode where Troi is a cake and Data tries to cut her (??)

    It is quite a difficult situation to empathise with, really. I mean would YOU fuck somebody with the body of one of your closest friends, if they were actually somebody you were madly in love with? You can answer such a question hypothetically, but like with the trolley problem you may act differently if it actually happened to you. Plus Riker is hot, so. I just want there to be a turbolift scene with the two of them after where they confront the situation. A bit like the end of that season two (?) episode where something takes over Picard and he and Beverly (again) have that romantic date.

    I didn’t notice the “directed by Patrick Stewart” credit, that’s interesting. I did notice “directed by Jonathan Frakes” on The Drumhead, and was immediately looking at the episode through a directorial lens, considering shot choices, angles, acting etc etc. It took me out of it a little, actually, I feel like I’d rather not know something like that going into an episode, because then it’s (at least momentarily) all I can think about. My eyes were on Riker every single shot he was in, just to see how he was framed and how he acted in his own episode. There was one very strangely staged shot of Riker whispering into the 1/4 Romulan boy’s ear which seemed a little fast or awkward. And there were lots of big, flowing camera shots, which I liked, but which again sort of meant I wasn’t paying attention to the story, but appreciating Jonny boy’s directorial skills, and attributing them to him, rather than taking in the piece as a whole.

    “The Next Generation and Gender” sounds like one of those books that might make a few good points and interesting observations, but would then probably make a few others that angered me or left a foul taste in my mouth. I’ve read a few critiques of sci-fi through “progressive” lenses that sort of… try a bit hard? Miss the point, or insinuate things. It can be interesting to take a step back and examine things in such a way, though, and to have such conversations.


    Ben Saunders

    >Season two (?)
    Try again.



    The Troi cake was the first/only TNG thing I ever saw when I was about 10, before I saw First Contact a year later and actively got into the franchise, so it was 100% out of context.

    Jonathan Frakes directs quite a lot across all the series – he directed a recent Discovery – as well as First Contact and Insurrection, so he’s considered reliable. The Offspring (Data’s daughter) was his first and the only one I can remember, I think he’s only in the classic “Commander, what are your intentions towards my daughter?” scene.

    Good on the critics who get a serious book out of their fandom, they probably had to stretch or invent things to fill out the page count anyway.



    He also directed the Thunderbirds live action movie so should be considered unreliable haha

    He directed quite a few episodes of Castle I believe too.



    >Good on the critics who get a serious book out of their fandom

    (Maybe not the serious part).

    The best non-fiction Trek books I had (sadly not available in ebook, but it’s presumably all chopped up online in various places) were the Deep Space Nine Companion – so much more in-depth than the other series guides, the guy was on set a lot and it’s full of interviews and concept art – and The Art of Star Trek – only goes to 1994, but full of concept art / model / monster goodness and centrefold matte paintings to rip out and put on your wall.

    None of the fiction books I read were especially amazing, but some of the 80s novels look pretty interesting and experimental (e.g. John M Ford’s) before Pocket Books clamped down on that sort of creativity and made them tediously on-brand. I followed the DS9 “season 8” novels for a while before losing interest, it’s not like it’s real. The Captain’s Table was quite a nice crossover, on the theme of sea shanties in space, but I only read the Picard and Pike ones.


    Ben Saunders

    >…and humans have a way of showing up when you least expect them.
    Hahaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Now THAT’S meta. A wink-wink moment up there with “a genesis… of the Cybermen.” It’s a shame I knew it was her right from her first appearance in the shadows, but still, nice.

    I really don’t care for Klingon bullshit about honour and loyalty and yadda yadda yadda, I just think grow up, and I had trouble remembering exactly what the fuck was going on and what had happened in this storyline up to this point – perhaps a symptom of marathoning the show, rather than watching it play out weekly over the course of four years – but that was an interesting enough finale for season four. I like the moments where people are torn between what they WANT to do and what they MUST do, it’s always terrific drama when something like that occurs. I also like the raising of the stakes with all the parties involved and how it really feels like June 1914, the brink of war.



    Definitely a letdown after last year’s two-parter, but they’re stuck with the formula for good now. The main thing I remember is the tachyon detection grid (in part 2) being a pathetic treatment of scale even by Star Trek standards. Unless I’m getting it wrong, it’s about 20 laser tripwires beamed across space between ships in the hope of catching Romulans passing through those exact beams. In space, which is famously cramped and where you can’t go around obstacles. Hopefully some dialogue addresses those points.



    I watched that last night, pretty sure when the ship is hit by the Romulan beam an area of 100,000km goes out. So it seems it’s a pretty decently sized grid.

    Maybe not in all 3 dimensions though.

    They could just say there are subspace eddies defining a flight corridor though. They might have done. The treknobabble comes thick and fast.


    Ben Saunders

    Yikes, I’m going to finish watching part two before I finish reading either of your comments



    I’ve always thought Worf’s death in part 2 is even sadder than Spock’s. Shit, hope Ben didn’t read that!!!

    I’m being careful about DS9 spoilers at least, because there’s so much plot and character development there. Once it finally gets going.


    Ben Saunders

    Well that was all fine, really. Less Klingon episodes from now on, please. Crosby wasn’t particularly convincing as a Romulan commander, but it gave the story a little extra something I guess, even if not all that much was done with it. Overall a serviceable finale/mediocre opener. Don’t tje Federation now have just cause to go to war with the Romulans? I assume they don’t really want to, but they were very clearly trying to dissolve the Klingon/Federation alliance.

    Tasha just can’t get a break, can she (spoilers) – grows up orphaned around rape gangs, dies, gets revived in an alternate timeline only to find out she’s supposed to be dead, gets sent back to die, lives, gets “saved” by a Romulan who forces himself and a pregnancy upon her, then is executed after her own daughter betrays her rescue attempt of her. Can I get a yikes.

    The tachyon beam thing is certainly presented as “trip wires in space”, but in my head it was more like spraying out a gas or using a reflector dish, in that the tachyons would be spread out in waves rather than directed as beams – otherwise it is a rather silly idea. Space blockades are something you just have to accept, since they aren’t all that feasible over three dimensions like they are at sea. We have to assume they were utilising all three dimensions.


    Ben Saunders

    Also until very recently I was genuinely wondering if the Enterprise was capable of moving backwards – it always turned around in the show – until one episode near the tail end of season four finally showed it reversing. But then it turned around to enter warp


    Ben Saunders

    Darmok was interesting also, the sincerity from the alien captain in his earnest desire for communication was palpable. I had heard about a Star Trek race that communicated only in references to its own past before, but from where I have no idea. Probably some documentary on Trek my dad watched years and years ago mentioned it and it stuck in my brain ever since.



    Russell T Davies mentions in The Writer’s Tale (or maybe somewhere else) that “a species that communicates only in metaphor” was the inspiration for Midnight. He read the Darmok summary in a TV guide in the early 90s and it sparked his imagination. He didn’t want to spoil that by actually watching the episode.

    I get how it’s an episode that might be better in premise than execution. Classic Trek really, but not a favourite, season 5 has loads of better ones. It gets mentioned a lot, but that’s mainly because it lends itself to meme. Picard now has a jacket because Patrick Stewart wanted to stand apart or something. And there’s this:


    Ben Saunders

    Yeah that jumps right out at you, hahaha. Is that really the reason he got a jacket? It looks snazzy, to be fair.

    Interesting re: Midnight, that might be where I heard of it, via RTD. Darmok is a very strange episode and isn’t exactly the best, although its concept is great, and its ending is quite uplifting. It’s mostly confusing for the first two-thirds, as the audience find the alien as incomprehensible as the characters.



    His version of Kirk’s green wraparound(s). It’s nice to have subtle ways to tell which season you’re watching. Oh, here’s another – Rick Berman fired the main composer Ron Jones some time during season 4 because he felt his music was too intrusive (Best of Both Worlds cliffhanger and all the retro spooky/synthy music from the early years). From now on, Trek music is intentionally bland wallpaper outside of a handful of episodes. Maybe the beginning of Fuck You Rick Berman, but not the end.



    Actually, it probably started when he spitefully sabotaged Wil Wheaton’s career by not letting him take time off to appear in a film that overlapped the start of season 3 and then not even putting Wesley in that episode. Wil was understandably not happy and says it’s part of the reason he eventually left. There’s more info online, but it’s mixed with spoilers for other shit Rick does later.


    Ben Saunders

    >Wil Wheaton’s career

    It is fun to be able to tell what season it is just from a glance, yeah. That’s a shame about the music. One of the things I really liked about TOS as I was first getting into it was how every episode seemed to have its own almost-50-minute score. Of course I realise a lot of it is stock/recycled music, but it wasn’t something I was used to and I really appreciated it. Now that I’m 174 episodes into Trek its all becoming one big blur and I haven’t really noticed the music all that much, except I thought the Best of Both Worlds cliffhanger was phenomenal, and I’ve noticed one or two nice little motifs cropping up in the latter half of season four, which were probably always there and it just took me until now to realise.

    Jonathan Frakes seems to be at peak mass at the beginning of season five, absolute unit etc. Does he get any bigger?



    I just watched Ensign Ro because I couldn’t really remember it, and along with The Wounded (Cardassians), The Host (Trill) and The Price (Ferengi + a plot point) it’s (unintended) setup for DS9. Like the Trill, they revise the Bajoran situation later to make Space Israel & Palestine less simplistic and more sustainable as the background to a series. Some discrepancies, but still works as setup.

    I like Ro. Gene Roddenberry’s (about to / just) died, so let’s have some interpersonal conflict! She was supposed to jump over to DS9 as first officer, but Michelle Forbes declined in what feels like a Denise Crosby style bad move, so they created similar-ish Kira instead. It probably worked out for the best to get less Starfleet representation, but always a shame to lose continuity and crossovers.


    Ben Saunders

    I just finished Ensign Ro there, I really liked it, it felt engaging in a way that recent episodes haven’t really, I thought it was just Star Trek Fatigue, but maybe it was just a lack of good episodes. I like her, as well, I didn’t expect her to stay on but I was glad she did. Having her open up via Guinan was a good move as it really helped us empathise with her. It’s maybe a little too convenient how Guinan says all of the right things one after the other, but oh well.

    One of the things I appreciated about Redemption was just how steeped in continuity it was, with loads of references and usage of past events. I also hated that robophobic cunt on Data’s ship, fuck you dude.

    I assume events in this episode will be followed up later, either that or the Star Trek fog in my brain is preventing me from resolving everything in my head. Like, so the Cardassians attacked a Federation outpost in order to convince a Starfleet admiral to help them quell the Bajorans, but how involved in all of it was the admiral? Did he have prior knowledge of the attack or was he convinced by the Cardassians afterwards? I should take a break from Star Trek but I know I’m just going to keep watching and watching until my brain turns to much and seasons and shows blend into each other



    Not directly followed up, but Federation-Cardassian tensions are ongoing. This is probably the point where they eclipse the Romulans as the main antagonists, despite all the similarly unresolved Romulan tension from Redemption.

    Star Trek VI came out a few episodes after this I think, there was a bit of cross-promotion with the Unification two-parter, so you could do IV-VI as a “break”? As another “break” you have the backstory for DS9 now, but still probably best to crack that open where it’s supposed to, if only so that the several crossover characters don’t appear in two places at once (actually, one hasn’t been introduced yet). I suppose you could have a break that wasn’t Star Trek related too, but let’s not talk crazy.



    Star Trek’s 25th anniversary: 8 Sep 1991
    TNG season 5 starts: 21 Sep 1991
    Gene Roddenberry dies: 24 Oct 1991
    Star Trek VI released: 6 Dec 1991

    Those few months feel like the most prestigious Trek era, getting a lot of media attention and the end of eras (TOS cast, TOS creator). TNG gained viewers every year and is extremely comfortable in what it’s doing, so I can see why they felt confident to start planning a spin-off and moving things forward, even if it arguably diluted things by splitting the writing talent and making each series feel a bit less special.


    Ben Saunders

    Silicon Avatar, another great story. A totally unexpected return of the crystalline entity, a great guest performance, and a real emotional connection. You really start to feel for Dr. Marr, and there’s this interesting angle where, while it is seemingly a nice thing that Data is doing for her, talking in her son’s voice, perhaps he should not be doing so. It is not something any human is really prepared for, especially one in her state, and I get a real sense of discomfort from her telling Data/her son “I love you”, and projecting her son onto Data – her connection to the memories stored within Data could arguably be what pushed her over the edge and got her to kill the entity, for “him”. You can understand why she did it, but I still dislike her for it. I guess it’s a tragedy all ’round, and Data telling her that her son would not be happy with what she did is heartbreaking, a little bit of retribution, but not enough. What’s next? A trial on the grounds of (potential) genocide? Imprisonment for murder of an intelligent lifeform?

    Onto Riker – his relationship with the woman killed by the crystalline entity is a strange one. The way they interact at the beginning of the episode is like two acquaintances flirting, before even going on their first date – I assumed they were arranging just that. So it is understandable that Riker would be upset that she died, but the bit in Picard’s ready room where the captain asks him to write a letter to her family is a little odd. The two barely knew each other from what I can gather, what was he going to say? It’s not like they were an item who had been dating for a long time, they were just two young people flirting.

    I’m really enjoying TNG now after a little lull, so I won’t take my break just yet, but I think the TOS movies will be next, yes.


    Ben Saunders

    Just starting S05E05: Disaster. This, along with The Survivors, is actually one of the episodes I happened to catch on TV one day while making my lunch, that convinced me to dive into Star Trek. That, and my taste in science fiction and my dad’s love of it meaning that I was inevitably going to one day anyway. I mainly enjoyed how funny Worf was, so let’s hope this episode lives up.



    I didn’t get that from Riker and the head colonist woman, they’re obviously familiar with each other for me. Perhaps on the journey there or from the academy/previous service. Seems like at some point they had a fling and are basically fuck buddies but with a bit more romance.


    Ben Saunders

    Perhaps you’re right, that was just the impression I got from it. Still a bit odd for your deceased daughter’s fuck buddy to write you a letter, lmao. “[I] enjoyed her… physical attributes.”

    Disaster isn’t the best episode of TNG, but it’s cute enough and quite touching and humorous. I could imagine somebody thinking “THAT’s the episode that convinced you to check out TNG?!”, and while it certainly wasn’t the only factor, all I can say is “yep”.

    The exact line that really warmed me to Worf was Kiko saying she’s going into labour and his simple, direct response, “you cannot”. I remember it being funnier than it really is.

    Here are some general observations, some from the episode and some I’ve been meaning to make for a while:

    – ADR is always bad and very noticeable in Star Trek, they just can’t quite make it convincing, and Marina Sirtis is especially dreadful at it. She clearly can act, but any line she has that is ADR’d comes across stale and lifeless.
    – It’s always odd how quickly Worf claims there is “no response” to a message, barely a second after attempting contact. I know it’s done for the benefit of not having to waste time for the audience, but it’s a bit like hanging up after the first ring. How fast are subspace messages anyway? Not instantaneous, we know because it often takes days for a message to reach Starfleet.
    – O’Brien calls Troi “sir”. Is that standard Naval protocol or some future thing? I liked how in Star Trek 2 they say “Mr. Saavik”, although it is just a symptom of a late re-write iirc, it does come off as very progressive.
    – Disaster seems to fit the “fifth episode rule” very nicely, despite being episode 5 out of like 24
    – The ship model IS different as you pointed out, but it doesn’t bother me
    – Ro (who missed an episode) is a very strong character, and putting her at odds with Troi strengthens the latter, also
    – Picard is good with kids despite hating them; “this is mutiny” is hilarious
    – Geordie (LeVar?) is very handsy with Beverly (Gates?), it’s odd
    – Isn’t the line in Frère Jacques “ding dang dong”, not “ding ding dong?”
    – The Enterprise with all the lights off looks pretty cool
    – Why are the panels for depressurisation and repressurisation of the cargo bay so far apart? (drama)
    – Disaster is a bit similar to The Tsurunga Conundrum, with the birth. Didn’t that episode also feature matter-antimatter engines to power the ship?



    – O’Brien calls Troi “sir”. Is that standard Naval protocol or some future thing?

    In Voyager, Ensign Kim calls Janeway sir at first and she says something to the effect of ‘I know that’s in the regs, but I prefer Captain. Ma’am at a push’, so I think it’s a Navy, or at least Starfleet, thing.


    Ben Saunders

    Yeah with everything else in Trek being essentially like being on a submarine, that’s my default assumption

    Just finished The Game… meh

    – The opening with Riker and the girl playing around is cringe inducing
    – It’s a “Wesley saves the ship” episode
    – Wil Wheaton biting his lips out of lust makes me SICK
    – The game looks shite compared to Better Than Life
    – The shots of beverly enjoying the game so much are… um, a highlight
    – Wesley blinks while they’re supposed to be holding his eyes open, making him unable to shut them
    – With the explanation coming afterward, Data appearing out of nowhere feels like a confusing deus ex machina
    – Wesley’s kiss goes on way too long
    – Yes, but Robin’s Law #71 states just as clearly, “No chance you metal bastard.”



    When I first got into Trek, BBC was repeating from season 1 (I was really impatient to get to the good ones) but I rented a lot of random 4-episode tapes out of Blockbuster any time we were allowed, and most of those were from season 5-6. So stuff like Disaster, The Game and Cause & Effect are among the most nostalgic episodes for me.

    My vague gaps in the series are season 4 (I’ve seen them all, but vague) and season 7 which I never even bothered to watch some of because it sounds pretty weak. ‘Liaisons’ etc, no idea, I guess this is a reason to finally tick those off.



    You know how trivia can sometimes overtake an episode and be more memorable than the show itself? The guest star in 5×09 A Matter of Time was supposed to be Robin Williams and was written for him, but then he was too busy filming Hook. This guy I’m watching now is… the term “pound-shop” comes to mind.

    That happens a few times. The villain in Star Trek V was supposed to be played by Sean Connery – ‘Sha-Ka-Ree’ remains in the script as an in-joke – but he very wisely decided to do Indiana Jones instead.



    Always amazes me how many natural caves have fantastically well spaced and usefully placed staircases in Star Trek…



    One of the shittier fan theories I’ve seen sincerely put forward – for TOS specifically but it could be applied to any series of anything – is that the TV shows are in-universe dramatisations of the REAL events recorded in the crews’ logs, maintaining the credibility of the fiction by explaining away any production or continuity failings. It must be so stressful to have a favourite show that you can’t actually handle watching without loading your headcan(n)on to the brim.



    That theory is actually an official thing in Marvel Comics, where Marvel exists as a company within the Marvel universe and publishes comics featuring the heroes’ adventures.

    Particularly in the early days of Marvel, it wasn’t unheard of for characters to recognise each other from their comic books.

    (The concept falls apart a little bit when you consider that the Green Goblin could just check out the latest issue of ASM and find out that Spider-Man is Peter Parker, but it’s a fun idea.)



    It reminded me of something, maybe the confirmed theory about Super Mario Bros 3 being a dramatic recreation of the actual, unseen adventure.

    Or Blackadder the Third’s “tiny tit with a beard” and “unconvincing grassy knoll.”

    There’s one Inception-style holodeck TNG episode that ends with the characters pondering that maybe they are just the story, I think that’s about as meta as Star Trek gets.



    (The concept falls apart a little bit when you consider that the Green Goblin could just check out the latest issue of ASM and find out that Spider-Man is Peter Parker, but it’s a fun idea.)

    Surely no comic book store owner in their right mind would sell Green Goblin a Spider-Man comic if that were the case.



    There’s one Inception-style holodeck TNG episode that ends with the characters pondering that maybe they are just the story, I think that’s about as meta as Star Trek gets.

    Then there is the Enterprise finale



    And DS9’s Far Beyond the Stars, one of the greatest Star Trek episodes of all time that I somehow forgot.

    And that good Voyager episode where aliens dramatise their biased version of events centuries later about Voyager being a Mirror Universe style ship of psychopaths.



    Surely no comic book store owner in their right mind would sell Green Goblin a Spider-Man comic if that were the case.

    But they might not know Norman Osborn was the Green Goblin! Especially if it was back in the day when the comics hadn’t revealed who he was yet. He must have been shitting himself about that secret finally coming out.



    Presumably they’d use false names and change some details to avoid those problems. Not just in the comic within the comic, but in the comics you’re reading too, and maybe even the comic we’re in that other people are reading and so on.



    And DS9’s Far Beyond the Stars, one of the greatest Star Trek episodes of all time that I somehow forgot.

    And that good Voyager episode where aliens dramatise their biased version of events centuries later about Voyager being a Mirror Universe style ship of psychopaths.

    And both very good episodes they are too. Far Beyond the Stars obviously being one of the best Trek has ever done, but I did quite like the Voyager ep too. Partly because I like episodes that challenge the view the Federation has of itself. Doesn’t happen often but there are little nuggets dotted throughout the franchise.


    Ben Saunders

    The (pre-Disney) Star Wars saga is just a re-telling of the events from R2-D2 to the Whills, so that theory applies to Star Wars (hence “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”), if I remember Lucas’ recently revealed post-VI plans correctly. It was in an interview with James Cameron I think. A pretty interesting idea, Lucas’ (most recent) plans for his sequel trilogy were barmy as fuck and would at least have been a damn sight more interesting than what we ended up getting.



    Red Dwarf is a retelling of the events post the death of Lister, Cat etc as told by Holly. That’s why the early episodes open with a monologue from him directly to the audience. It’s also why the series 6 episodes are more barmy and adventurous, he had to take what the crew told him whilst he was offline and re-create the stories from there.

    Of course this slightly falls apart from BtE onwards …


    Ben Saunders

    Finished Reunification I + II. Nice to see Spock again – is he phoning it in because it’s only TV or is he just old? Surprised to see Denise Crosby again, although perhaps if my mind hadn’t turned to mush from hundreds of episodes I wouldn’t have been. There was one shot that lasted quite a while and seemed to linger on her arse. Not bad.

    The episode, I mean.

    Spock and Data’s conversation was very interesting, and the look of pain on Spock’s face as he mind melds with Picard/his father was a very nice touch, very understated. I’ve noticed that something I praised early TNG episode for – how every episode wraps up very neatly and nicely and is resolved totally satisfactorily – seems to apply less and less to later episodes. Endings such as this one are much more sudden and end with people still down on planets or only having just resolved something, with little time to reflect on anything. 7/10 for Reunification, which is the beginnings of a “very good” score for me.


    Ben Saunders

    I watched some of those “top 5 best/worst episodes” of each season lists the other day, and season 1 and 2 of TNG feel like distant memories to me, it’s really weird. It was only a month or two ago



    It’s definitely an over-hyped episode(s) because of being the Spock one. I remember part 1 being pretty good with the split-up crew, Riker’s investigating, Worf’s duet, Sarek, and Data creepily watching Picard while he tries to sleep, but part 2 is just Romulan-coloured drabness and caves in my mind.

    Sela (Denise Crosby) is never seen or mentioned again in the franchise, which is a bit strange considering she was so set up as the arch villain in this period. I don’t know if she wasn’t available, a lack of ideas or they just didn’t think she worked, but it’s probably for the best.


    Ben Saunders

    Yeah, it feels like an episode that is only so highly rated because Spock is in it – although it’s still quite good. The comedy with Data watching Picard is great, and there is some nice fanservice in part two; I thought part two was more enjoyable, actually.

    I loved Yar, but I just don’t think Crosby has it in her to play a villain like Sela. There’s something a bit “rich girl” about her performance, if you know what I mean. A bit aristocratic. Which is interesting, because that’s not something I see in Yar, only in Sela. Maybe she was going for that? She is a high ranking Romulan iirc. Her backstory is the most interesting thing about her, very wibbly wobbly.



    I thought it was a bit slow at first, but interspersed with good moments, I like the crew interactions that make it seem like they actually do space adventuring, I like the exchange between Dr Crusher and Picard when he’s getting measured up. I thought it was a very decent episode though overall, and there’s some great stuff with Spock and Data and Spock and Picard. Data watching Picard sleep is hilarious, love seeing Patrick Stewart doing more comedic stuff.


    Ben Saunders

    A Matter of Time was great, the guest star was doing a very Jim Carrey-esque performance, though, so much so that I spent a little time wondering if he was doing it intentionally or if they originally wanted Carrey for the role. Beverly denying his advances while seeming somewhat interested was a nice little moment, and the confrontation between him and Picard about the Temporal Prime Directive was outstanding, a terrific performance from Pat Stew. However, Picard hyopthesises that the future may have some temporal version of the Prime Directive… don’t they already? I’m sure I’ve heard it mentioned before in TOS or TNG, but perhaps it is a Voyager thing.

    I genuinely thought the episode was wrapping up and my expectations were going to be subverted in so far as there would NOT be a twist, and the historian would go on his way, perhaps having the stolen items confiscated at the very most. But then that subversion was subverted. Very interesting. “I assume your handprint would open this door regardless of if you were conscious” is such a Data line, a very humorous thinly-veiled threat. I love it.



    Temporal prime directive is in Enterprise, but I think only appears after Daniels appears, so you could say it makes sense if you go TOS, TNG, Daniels and then back around to ENT.

    Janeway also says something like “we might need to draft a temporal prime directive” I think, the above would apply there too if you wanted.



    The character was created specifically for Robin Williams who had to drop out, I mentioned it earlier when I preemptively watched because I couldn’t remember that one.

    It’s funny how the crew’s enlightened, wholesome values make them quite gullible targets, being fooled by guys like this and Kivas Fajo who stole Data that time. They need a wily Ferengi around to see through the bullshit, or a proper Betazoid who isn’t a waste of a bridge chair.



    In case anyone wants to see the classic Trek scene discussed:


    Ben Saunders

    Yeah, they really did just accept what that dude was saying at face value, it was quite odd. I suppose they have no way of verifying his veracity without fucking with time, but still, a little more skepticism would have been nice. I resent you calling Troi a waste of a bridge chair, although… her powers do have to be somewhat limited in order for the show to work, really. It’s a shame

    New Ground was cute, a great episode not only for Worf but for Troi too. Troi running up the bridge and down the corridor going “Worf!!!” was adorable lmao, as was Worf’s annoyance at her doing so. Lovely little character moments like that are something I love. A nice integration of the A plot and B plot as well, everything slotted nicely into each other and it felt like a really tight script.



    I grew up accepting Troi’s prescence unquestioned so don’t really have anything against her, but she should probably be being useful in her office (presumably there are other counsellors working under her) and be called to diplomatic duties when needed. But obviously in TV terms it wouldn’t be great to have an all-male bridge crew, depending on who’s in the former Wesley seat that day.

    Ro’s only in six episodes, which is a surprise to learn. They always give her quite a prominent role and I saw most of her episodes early on, so she has a larger presence. Yeoman Rand was only in 8 episodes and that didn’t stop her from being iconic.

    It’s okay, at least we’ve got an actual child character now! There’s at least one episode where Alexander’s presence is a definite bonus, but another one that I found cringey as hell even at 12.



    Troi you’d imagine is basically just anorher sensor in universe, unfortunately.

    People turn up, she gets a sense of how they are, people respond accordingly, security etc.

    It was the only slightly not good thing in “Disaster” for me, the fact that they seemed to make her so clueless with the running of the ship. She seems more like a Lieutenant Commander Troi though in the movies, and in her Voyager appearances.


    Ben Saunders

    I do like her when she’s actually doing some counseling, her soft warm touch is really soothing and I appreciate the concept behind her, that mental health is deemed as important as physical health in the future and as such every starship has a counselor onboard. I think that would be a fantastic thing to have in the real world, especially with somebody as nurturing and good at it as Troi. But as a bridge officer I agree she doesn’t really have much to offer – if she was truly empathic and could read people’s minds completely, we wouldn’t have any episodes, because Troi would just be like “they’re working for the Romulans captain”, “he wants to board our ship so he can steal Data”, etc. She would essentially be overpowered.

    Having a counselor onboard is as progressive and forward-thinking an idea to me as having a Russian onboard must have been to people during the Cold War. A signal to the audience that humanity will improve itself in the future, and that future isn’t as seemingly hopeless as our present. A strong embodiment of Roddenberry’s vision.

    Hero Worship was a cute episode, a nice “light” one (ie no big alien space baddy) that had some nice Data/Troi moments, and it was sad but endearing to watch the little boy cope with loss.

    SIX episodes? What a shame, I thought we were going to be seeing a lot more of her. I always felt it a bit weird that they have somebody different every week sitting in Wesley’s old chair, and was looking forward to having Ro there permanently. Also shocked Rand was only in eight episodes, and while Alexander was decent in that episode, Klingon stuff has never been a highlight for me so I’m on the fence about the possibility of him returning again and again.

    Oh, drinking out of test tubes:


    Ben Saunders

    This next episode looks promising:

    I wish you could turn off thumbnails/synopses tbh, some of them get a bit spoilery, sometimes basically telling you what happens in the first act



    Not quite as spoilery as GlenTokyo saying Troi has Voyager appearances! I’m probably just as bad.

    You could go back to downloads, depends if the quality’s comparable to Netflix. Last time I watched through all of DS9 six years ago it was when I was travelling so using some not-highest-quality torrent to save bandwidth. Hopefully there’s better quality out there than this.

    These season 5 episodes are looking kind of weak right now, at least in my memory. If that’s the Troi one I think it is (Violations), it does more damage to her reputation on the show than any and isn’t very pleasant. All these kid episodes too, season 5’s quite a mixed bag, I only optimisically remember the great ones.


    Ben Saunders

    Download quality is better than Netflix (and doesn’t buffer/fuck up 40 minutes in etc), but the issues I was having with all the downloads I could find for TNG put me off it. Netflix is extremely convenient as well. It isn’t that bad lol, I can just choose not to look, heh. Although you were so careful to not spoil the first Borg episode, and Netflix outright states that you’re about to see them, and who’s fault it is – again, essentially a description of the entire first act.

    [Spoilers for Nemesis and Enterprise incoming I guess)
    Troiager isn’t too much of a spoiler, I know she lives until the end of the final movie (and appears in the Enterprise finale looking nothing like she did in the episode that’s supposed to take places during). I’ve seen the RedLetterMedia reviews for the TNG movies at least twice each just because they’re so funny, and I gather that (apart from First Contact which they didn’t review) they aren’t that good anyway. I also have vague spoilers for what happens in DS9 (it just sounds barmy as shit honestly so I’m looking forward to see how they pull that stuff off without it being ridiculous), and stuff like Tuvok and the ending of Voyager, thanks ever so much to YouTubers who neglect to put spoiler warnings in their videos and just immediately begin videos with “So after [spoiler] happens at the end of DS9….”



    Plinkett reviewed First Contact, I watched all of those in about 2007/8 before he did the Star Wars ones (because I was scouring barren early YouTube for decent Trek content rather than because I’m ahead of the curve). The review gets posted any time a truther who can’t form their own opinions wants to inform a First Contact fan that their own opinion is wrong because Plinkett says so. (First Contact is a good film and hugely nostalgic for me, it mainly has characterisation issues and somehow the TNG films just don’t have the prestige of the TOS line).

    DS9 has so much going on that there’s plenty to spoil even if you know some of the larger arcs, pretty much every character has an interesting or tumultuous journey. I watched in real time from season 3 onwards, catching up on the early ones thanks to my Trekkie uncle loaning me his off-airs of 1 & 2.


    Pete Part Three

    Plinkett (or Mike Stoklasa, really) had a big problem with the depiction of Picard in the movies, specifically First Contact. I get the complaint, perhaps even moreso after having reacquainted myself with TNG, but they’re reviews from a Star Trek fan, rather than a film fan. I think First Contact is probably the Trek I’ve rewatched the most (with the possible exception of The Undiscovered Country). It’s a great film.



    I love First Contact’s twist on the “historical” setting (the original Renaissance and Civil War ideas could have been terrible) and the very end is fitting for coming out in an anniversary year, taking us right to the start. Best effects of the film series too, or at least alongside The Motion Picture. The main film is a lot less rewarding than when I was 11 though, when it represented the untouchable peak of the franchise for a few years before I got more and more into DS9 and the TOS films and Piller-era TNG gained status as classics.


    Ben Saunders

    Apparently I have seen his First Contact review and forgot, lol. It would have been 4am and I remember it being a horrendously low quality version ripped from their site and uploaded to YouTube.

    Reviewing a film with “Star Trek” in the title as a Star Trek film is absolutely fine, I’m sure we’d have more than a few things to say if they made a pretty good action film called “Red Dwarf” where all the characters were completely different



    The first three TNG films are at least written by proper Trek writers – Moore & Braga wrote Generations* and First Contact, Piller wrote Insurrection – so they’re still on brand (Insurrection so much that it’s basically a mash-up of three TNG episodes).

    Nemesis was written by some action film guy with a Beyond a Joke-style B-plot from Brent Spiner to get himself more screen time and input from non-creative exec Berman chasing mainstream appeal, so the tone’s completely wrong. I’d already drifted away from Trek by that point though, so it wasn’t painful and I just ignore it.

    * The twin excuses for Generations being so mediocre despite the writing pedigree are that the studio supposedly had a long list of requirements that had to be fit in, and Moore & Braga took too much on by also writing the much superior TNG finale at the same time. TNG production went straight into Generations on a tight schedule.


    Ben Saunders

    Just finished Violations – why is this supposed to be a bad episode for Troi? She resists control and almost wins a fist fight against a man who is overpowering her both physically and mentally in the end, if anything this should bolster her reputation, not damage it.
    The Enterprise crew should have never allowed one of the aliens to carry out a test like that, given that they were the accused and obviously one of them could be trying to obfuscate evidence.
    Also a touching scene from Riker to Troi while she’s in her coma.



    More about the insensitive way the series handles Troi. Like Ro has an impact beyond her appearances, there’s a sense that Troi was always getting mind-raped because of the two or three times it happens, or maybe that’s just me and my response to Star Trek doing its sci-fi allegory thing about something more uncomfortable.

    I forgot about The Child where she’s physically impregnated, that’s much worse.


    Ben Saunders

    Always gets mind raped? I’d hardly call two or three times “always.” I mean, if you get mind raped two or three times in your life, one would hardly say that person always gets mind raped. No, it would be a rare, nay, freak occurrence.

    I guess that’s a point, though.
    The Child was very strange. I’m glad it’s three seasons behind us.


    Ben Saunders

    Violations is the second time Riker has been made out to be a creepy sex pervert by the villain of the week.



    According to the TV Tropes Mind Rape page (just going to keep throwing around that term casually), it only happens to Troi twice after all. I was hedging my bets, didn’t want to wind up looking a fool.

    There’s also a [spoilery] description of an episode I’d never heard about: “T’Pol is subjected to this in an early episode of Star Trek: Enterprise by mind-meld with a Vulcan renegade. And it gave her Vulcan AIDS.” Good to see the uncomfortable sci-fi allegories don’t let up.

    TNG could have done a Space AIDS story early on – ‘Blood and Fire’ by Tribbles writer David Gerrold – if Rick Berman and others hadn’t panicked about its openly gay characters. Credit to Roddenberry that he was all for that, enthusiastically requesting to see men and women extras gaying it up in the background on Risa in Captain’s Holiday, but they didn’t even bother trying to sneak that past the bosses and censors.



    If memory serves, in that Enterprise episode (spoilers ahead I guess) Archer gets properly pissed off at the dude that mind rapes T’Pol and it becomes a whole thing about consent in mind melds etc.

    Enterprise actually had a couple of fairly decent, far more progressive episodes than other Trek had done. But probably held it was being made early 00s rather than late 80s/90s



    Pa’nar syndrome is more like corrupted files rather than a disease. It’s somehow not quite as heavy handed as “you’ve got Vulcan AIDs” despite that obviously being what they were going for.


    Ben Saunders

    For some reason I have neglected to post in this thread recently, but I have watched several episodes and made the following notes (it’s a lot, I’m so sorry):

    The Masterpiece Society
    – I spent the entire episode thinking “aren’t they violating the Prime Directive?? Only for them to finally address the issue in the final scene, lol.
    – Amazing how after the eugenics wars, so many people are still trying that shit
    – I have a very faint memory of having seen this episode before, probably as a young child
    – That piano piece (which I now know to be Chopin’s Prelude #4 in E Minor) is incredibly fucking dull
    – The dude Troi shags is a bit like Brosnan’s Bond, especially with the line “this is wrong//terribly wrong”

    – Apparently somebody pronounced “solar” funny but I don’t remember
    – Worf assuming the captain roll is pretty funny
    – Riker acts like everybody’s dad
    – Ro and Riker are kinda cute but then so are Troi and Riker, very interesting/funny dynamic between the three
    – I knew there was something fishy with McDuff the moment they looked at the personnel files, because I thought “who the fuck is this dude I’ve never seen before and why is he so important”
    – A criticism I’ve seen for many season five episodes, and that I agree with, is they could make this stuff less OBVIOUS, leave a little mystery in things
    – Another episode that ends very abruptly

    Power Play
    – A lot of the shots in Ten Forward are in extremely poor quality, why is this?
    – My only other note for this episode is “Troi femdom”. Make of that what you will

    – Couldn’t they transport Worf and fix his back in the beam?
    – I watched this on TV about a year ago while making my lunch
    – Does Patrick Stewart wear a bald cap?
    – The conversation about not necessarily believing in something but going along with it anyway because they’re your friends reminds me of transphobes and how I don’t give a fuck if they “agree” with it, just be a decent human being and let people live their damn lives
    – Is Riker really trying to shame Worf with his “suicide is selfish” shtick? Yikes, that is problematic
    – Yeah Worf just let your kid run off with a huge fucking knife
    – It’s kind of bullshit how Worf comes back after so long, but they did set it up with the redundancies thing
    – The doctor is a bit fucking rich to come into Bev’s office and laud the fact that she was right over her. Get out of my face
    – Worf’s feet are hideous

    The Outcast
    – “Commander, tell me about your sexual organs”
    – In Star Trek, people stand up to signify that shit is getting serious. One after the other
    – This is slightly controversial but we already have a gender neutral pronoun, it’s “they”
    – Riker is an absolute ladies man
    – This episode has a slightly limited view on gender with stuff like “men don’t wear makeup” etc. I know men who most certainly do
    – Inexplicable Geordi beard
    – The Camouflage Planet
    – Worf and Riker’s friendship in this and the previous episode is shown to be really strong
    – Picard slyly asking Riker if “their business is done” in a knowing way is fantastic

    Cause & Effect
    – I’m pretty sure Ro says “we’re losing ATTITUDE control, every single time
    – The Enterprise being fucking destroyed in the cold open is quite the snare
    – What have they done to Ro’s hair
    – It’s quite well played that a seemingly boring and inconsequential card game is woven into the plot, and how Beverly’s “feeling” indicates that this may not be the first loop
    – Beverly has a remote to turn her lights off from her bed. So does my mum. The future is now
    – Seeing the Enterprise explode FOUR times is a bit boring/repetitive, I thought this after the third time
    – Frakes loves moving the camera
    – I’m still as in love with Beverly as I ever was
    – Troi is useless in this episode, like a stereotypical Doctor Who companion just making silly comparisons and asking dumb questions
    – I thought Kelsey Grammar played a villain in Trek after seeing/hearing him mentioned in a couple YouTube videos. I was surprised that the episode just ended there. He looks like a baddie, doesn’t he?



    She probably does say attitude control, attitude control is what you’d use in space I assume, you wouldn’t use altitude, and attitude is like a combination of pitch, roll, yaw and all that other good stuff but in relation to a reference point, like a planet or asteroid or some shiz.

    Her hair is goddamn awful in that episode though I agree.



    “we’re losing ATTITUDE control, every single time

    What GlenTokyo said. I’ve heard it a lot myself in other things and been slightly confused, but it is a thing.

    But also, when WWF Attitude came out on the PS1 20 fucking years ago, me and my cousin always jokingly called it WWF Altitude for some insane, childish reasons


    Ben Saunders

    Yeah I just looked it up and apparently you’re right, oop.

    Also, are the team responsible for remastering season five fucking incompetent, or was the source material poor? Again it’s harder to tell from a screenshot, but this shot from the opening to The First Duty is extremely blurry:


    Ben Saunders

    >Wesley has been involved in an accident
    >This is supposed to concern us enough for ominous music and to be used as the cold open for an episode



    Every other series of TNG was remastered by a different team to speed up the process, so some seasons are better than others, from what I understand of it



    It’s 2AM in my time zone and I’m supposed to go to bed, but oh look Star Trek.

    Ones out of those I’m interested in:

    – Love Conundrum, a bit of a hidden gem. Reset the characters and see their personalities develop from scratch, sometimes down embarrassing routes. Buffy ripped it off, but it might be a common story already.

    – The Offspring mandatory trivia: Jonathan Frakes has said he wanted Soren to be played by a male to make the message stronger than all the genderless aliens just appearing to be somewhat androgynous females. What a surprise Paramount decided against two men kissing in the 90s. Not a bad episode, but you could maybe Inquisitor a great version out of it.

    – Cause and Effect is the first Brannon Braga solo story (he’s co-written lots), so a taste of the technobabble blockbusters he’d continue into Voyager, for better and worse. It does get repetitive and it’s no Groundhog Day, but still fun and a stand-out. ‘3’ seemed really clever when I was a kid.

    – The First Duty is the best Wesley episode, which isn’t saying much, but a solid episode anyway. I guess Gene Roddenberry had to be literally dead in the ground before they could darken a main character like this, especially his boy wonder. You probably recognise his Academy buddy.



    In The First Duty when Wesley is in Picard’s ready room it’s like a bloody dream sequence, the shots of Wesley are so low res that they’ve tried to disguise it by making it super soft and turning the saturation up. Picard is unaffected throughout though so dunno what went off there, was there a mass burning of all Wesley Crusher film reels?



    Maybe Picard’s eyes are steaming up with passion like Kirk’s in TOS. Excellent confrontation, but one of those scenes you can’t watch without thinking of the Picard Song. You don’t deserve / to wear that uniform.


    Ben Saunders

    Yeah there were a couple shots of Wesley during Picard’s speech to him in his ready room that looked fucking shite as well. I really want to know what happened, and I also really want to watch a broadcast/VHS copy to see what the same scene(s) looked like “originally”.

    ‘3’ was pretty clever, I’ll give the episode (Data?) that.

    At least one of the androgynous aliens with a speaking role was played by a man, if I recall correctly. Also given she explicitly states she is a female due to the birth defect or something, and appears female, you would have to out Riker as bi in order for the story to work with a male. Which I would be fine with, but Paramount clearly weren’t.

    Something that occurred to me – was she brainwashed, or was she protecting Riker? At first I thought “it’s bullshit how quickly she decided gender is a bad thing”, but then I thought, maybe she’s doing it out of care and to protect Riker’s career. Which is noble.

    I watched a discussion between Berman and Braga where he seems to be very sure of his own ability and resentful of the fact that people say he killed Star Trek. I guess I#ll form my own opinion in time.

    First Duty was decent yeah, and that’s a good point about Roddenberry’s golden boy suddenly being an accessory to homicide. And yeah I was like hey, it’s that dude from Voyager. Voyager dude was a total self-centered asshole the entire episode, justifying his sweeping a death he is responsible for under the rug as being for the good of “the team” when really he was just trying to save his own skin. But then there’s that line about him accepting responsibility for the whole thing. I would have liked to have seen that, not just been told it.

    More “yes sir” to a woman, that Vulcan dude was way too smarmy and dickish to be a full Vulcan, Bev believing Wesley because he’s her son is pretty sweet.



    Brannon Braga co-writing with Ron Moore produces some of the best Star Trek ever, so he’s better when there’s someone to… add character? He seems like a plot-first guy, which is good sometimes, but not so much when you’re the main writer / “showrunner,” which I think he was on later Voyager and early Enterprise (not my era).

    I’ve read before that Tom Paris was intended/developed to be Nick Locarno, since you’d only have to change dialogue very slightly in Voyager’s pilot about Paris’ background to fit. But I’ve just read that Locarno was used as the rough template for Paris and they weren’t even considering the same actor originally, so maybe no character royalties conspiracy after all.


    Ben Saunders

    Interesting, I’ve vaguely heard something about that before

    I read up on it and apparently CBS Digital, the company who are supposed to be good at remastering stuff, did the odd-numbered series. Those of you who know your numbers will know that 5 is an odd number. So why is season five the one that looks the most utterly, desperately shite in places?


    Ben Saunders

    Cost of Living… yikes. First episode of TNG I genuinely haven’t enjoyed, that I can remember. Shades of Gray I could enjoy as a “relishing how shite this is” sort of deal, but man. Yawn.

    All this talk of “seeing each other’s profiles”, so Lwaxana and the dude met on Tinder?
    Riker telling Geordi and Data to run a test to find out what the thing is after they said they couldn’t find out what it is… are they not doing their jobs properly or do you need direct orders to do absolutely anything on this ship?
    Not a criticism of the episode, but why the fuck would you ever say “bridegroom” when “groom” would do?
    I recognise the dude playing Lwaxana’s groom, that’s not Kodos from TOS is it?
    I don’t believe five hours passed on the way to the asteroid field, it’s as if everything is happening in relatime, ie like ten minutes.
    Why did the lights come on as they approached the field? Did Data need to see a bit better?



    I’m sure there’s a bridegroom in a Red Dwarf episode somewhere. Feel like bridegroom is common enough not to stick out though, maybe it’s an age thing though.

    I thought it was a lumpy episode, pacing is odd, too much going on, the holodeck program was just like “what is this?” for me. Also a lot of nudity going on, Lwaxana, that body paint woman, then everyone else get in the mud too. That kid got a proper eyeful that day.



    Thanks! I don’t remember ever seeing this discussed as Worst. Episode. Ever. but it’s down there. The cringe makes season one look like The Best of Both Worlds. After that really mature and disturbing Wesley episode you go into fucking Sesame Street. Then there’s the disturbing message it conveys to kids about spending time with a fun naturist adult and having a nice mud bath together, but I may be overthinking again.


    Ben Saunders

    I didn’t know what to make of Lwaxana’s relationship to/treatment of Alexander, it definitely felt a little off, but I was worried some of it may have been me projecting a little.
    Yeah, that episode was all over the fucking shop. The weird kid’s show/Wizard of Oz holodeck shit is absolutely some of the worst crap I have ever seen from Trek. It reminded me of TOS, episodes like this: but at least there was an element of menace and context to that bizarre scene. This is just… eh, Worf swatting at the weird multicoloured floating head thing and making it explode was funny at least.

    At least the episode gives us Troi looking fantastic in two situations – one, dressed up for the wedding and two, dressed down for the mudbath. I usually wouldn’t lower the tone this much (I would) but I’m really grasping for things to praise the episode for. There were a couple of laughs, for sure, Worf in the mudbath was pretty funny, too. But yeah, just bizarre.



    I’m similarly conflicted about my worst Deep Space Nine episode that happens to feature Terry Farrell in a swimsuit, proving those spots go all the way down. I won’t like an image because there’s a big cast member spoiler you might not know about, although probably do. And I don’t really want to make this thread hit its inevitable decline into Star Trek Babe lechery, Rick Berman will do his best to make that happen later on.


    Ben Saunders

    Lol. Expect most of my comments on bad Voyager episodes to end with “Seven is a babe, though”.



    People make a deal out of Seven of Nine being introduced for desperate sex appeal and being an insult to Voyager’s feminist ideal, I don’t think there’s any real evid–



    A lot of female characters that aren’t Starfleet are wearing quite tight clothing in TNG/VOY, I often find myself thinking I can see that woman’s entire arse, as though she weren’t actually wearing trousers.

    It’s like you get a Seven catsuit and then if you’re lucky they stick one of Wesley’s jumpers over it to cover you up.



    I’m watching “The Perfect Mate”, around 15 minutes in there’s a bit of score that sounds like Chain Reaction by Journey.




    Kira’s “militia” uniform on DS9 also slyly morphs into a catsuit version over time. That series had its cake and ate it with Quark’s Dabo girls wearing teasing outfits while the humans tut about how sexist and shameful that is. Now that we’ve made our position clear, enjoy 24th-century boobs.

    I don’t really want to make this thread hit its inevitable decline into Star Trek Babe lechery

    Yeah, so The Perfect Mate…


    Ben Saunders

    I have wondered if the producers intentionally cast women with large breasts as extras in Trek actually, or is it canon that in the 24th century humans have just evolved that way. The average does seem to be a little bigger than our current one. I should keep these thoughts to myself.

    Also, are the Klingon sister’s breasts real or prosthetic? One certainly looks real, but they have a lot of armour and stuff and they are so perfectly displayed that I wouldn’t be that surprised to learn they were prosthetic. But then again, everybody thought Ricardo Montalban’s pecs were fake in TWoK, but they weren’t. Will this thread ever move on from the topic of breasts?

    The Perfect Mate
    A nice episode, you almost sort of wanted Picard to give her one, especially after you realise the person she is going to be mated to for the rest of her life isn’t interested in her. And doubly so after you learn that she has already bonded with Picard, but by that point it’s too late. Give her one for the road, lmao.
    >Riker saying “if you need me I’ll be in holodeck four” after rejecting the empath… I wonder what he’s using it for, eh?
    >I wonder who got to educate the empath in “literature, history, art [and especially] sex”
    >It always looks like night time on this show because they’re in space, their internal clocks must be all over the place, mine sure is
    >It’s very depersonalising (perhaps this is intentional) that everybody calls her The Metamorph, only Picard calls her by her name

    Imaginary Friend
    Not awful.
    >It’s another Troi-centric episode in which a luminous speck of video effects swooshes around the ship causing havoc
    >Picard pronounces “Clara” as “Claire-a”
    >Why the fuck is Worf (Dorn) absolutely beaming/laughing as he walks up to his station at the end of the episode?
    >The child actors in this episode, especially Clara, weren’t actually all that terrible
    >another pretty swift resolution



    >Picard pronounces “Clara” as “Claire-a”

    I can’t say Clara without doing an American accent. If I say it in my accent it sounds like Klehruh. It’s the same with Kari Byron off Mythbusters, when the announcer says it it’s halfway between Kerry and Carry but I can only do one or the other with my own accent.

    I’m from near Patrick Stewart so maybe he’s the same or maybe I can’t talk properly haha

    On the episode though, I particularly enjoyed when the real Patrick Stewart came out when he was talking to Famke Janssen about his piano lessons.



    >I have wondered if the producers intentionally cast women with large breasts

    That takes me to Rick Berman trivia again.

    Here’s a long quote from Terry Farrell, Dax on DS9, from the book The Fifty Year Mission (not read it, just read it on reddit). Because that’s better than me paraphrasing and getting things wrong.

    “In my opinion, he’s just very misogynistic. He’d comment on your bra size not being voluptuous. His secretary had a 36C or something like that, and he would say something about “Well, you’re just, like, flat. Look at Christine over there. She has the perfect breasts right there.” That’s the kind of conversation he would have in front of you. I had to have fittings for Dax to have larger breasts. I think it was double-D or something. I went to see a woman who fits bras for women who need mastectomies; I had to have that fitting. And then I had to go into his office.

    Michael Piller didn’t care about those things, so he wasn’t there when you were having all of these crazy fittings with Rick Berman criticizing your hair or how big your breasts were or weren’t. That stuff was so intense, especially the first couple of years.

    I started modeling when I was seventeen, so I was used to comments like that, but it was a different experience for me to be around normal, respectful people. And then he’s my boss.”

    Can’t find a quote for this one, but supposedly the Voyager uniforms had breast padding and Captain Janeway actress Kate Mulgrew refused.

    Mulgrew once “stormed into one of the producer’s offices, dropped a padded bra on the desk, and announced in a captain-like fashion, ‘No! I’m not wearing this!’”

    She wasn’t delighted about the direction they went with Seven of Nine, to put it mildly.

    >Will this thread ever move on from the topic of breasts?

    Not yet apparently.



    I can’t say Clara without doing an American accent.

    I can’t say it without doing Peter Capaldi’s accent.


    Ben Saunders

    I say Clara in Peter Capaldi’s accent because that is also my accent, lol. Apparently Americans mishear that as “Clala” due to the rolled r, leading to an incessant meme of calling her Clala Oswald.

    That Berman trivia is… man. He seemed alright from the two very long interviews I watched with him, obviously he made no reference to anything like that at any point. Marina Sirtis did comment on how she was made to wear a certain kind of bra that made her tits massive, and how other female cast members would tell her “I want to wear one of -those-“, so maybe my theory about them deliberately seeking out large-breasted women is true. What a wild sort of culture to be a part of. In a show that is otherwise very progressive.

    I wonder how true the idea that putting a sexy woman in your show will keep “the dads” interested even is. Perhaps in a time before internet porn that was the case, but these days I can just open another tab and go look at some ludicrously massive jugs before coming back and finishing this comment, so I can’t imagine watching a show just because there’s a cute girl in it. But then I also don’t understand why people enjoy strip clubs, so perhaps it’s me.

    Good for Mulgrew, she seems very steadfast in her convictions. My favourite female character is Dr. Crusher who is (for the most part) not needlessly sexualised, so uh, take that Berman. I do like Troi as well when she’s actually counseling or being friendly and not just being unable to sense things. Data is my favourite character because I want him to show me just how “fully functional” he is….

    I’m now imagining am alternate universe where Rick Berman is an ass man and all the women in Trek have ludicrously huge padded arses instead



    I think the whole Dad’s thing is something invented by producers so they have something other than their own wank bank to back up getting beautiful women to wear very little while working for them.

    There’s probably a little truth in it but not to the extent that all guest characters must have some kind of lycra based garment that accentuates their tits or arse.



    I’m just turning this into a gossip column and ruining Star Trek now.

    Rick Berman: That and the time he tried to prevent Wil Wheaton from having a career are the worst things I’ve read about Berman, so there’s no sense of a #MeToo situation in 90s Trek at least. Which is more than can be said for his predecessors.

    Maurice Hurley: There are unsubtantiated rumours of TNG season 2 producer / head writer Maurice Hurley “sexually harassing McFadden” (TNG trivia page on IMDb), causing her to quit and be invited back by Berman in season 3 when Hurley left. The public story is that he didn’t like her acting and “had a bone to pick with her” so fired her. I don’t know, not my business.

    ‘Chaos on the Bridge’ is an interesting documentary on the difficult early years of TNG that’s probably on Netflix, but it has some clips from the finale and maybe other late episodes so should leave it until then?

    Gene Roddenberry: I’ve seen Marina Sirtis call him a “dirty old man” in some reunion panel, but I think that was just good old-fashioned leery comments. Going back to the 60s though, it’s assumed that there was a casting couch to audition some of the guest stars, because it was 60s TV.

    Roddenberry was already having affairs with both female cast members, Majel Barrett and Nichelle Nichols. Grace Lee Whitney (Rand) wrote about how an unnamed producer harrassed her in her autiobiography, but it’s not confirmed to be Roddenberry (although all the hints fit). It’s the abuse of power / coercion kind rather than physical force kind… if that makes it better.

    So much for escapism.


    Ben Saunders

    >It’s the abuse of power / coercion kind rather than physical force kind… if that makes it better.
    Much better, thanks. I knew about Roddenberry fucking around with Nichols/Barrett/Whitney. I think I watched some of Chaos on the Bridge in a really low quality Dailymotion upload that was sped up and pitch corrected at 4 o’clock in the morning, so I don’t remember much about it, lol. I kind of assume that kind of shit went on in the 60s to be honest. I heard about the Hurley thing but just thought he didn’t like her, I hope he didn’t abuse her. Bless Berman for getting her back, I am deeply in love with her.



    I had one specific adolescent Trek infatuation, but the character itself counts as a big spoiler for now… (what a hook! As if anyone’s bothered). I had a powerful and wholesome dream at 13 that she was my girlfriend, lying together fully clothed in bed with an imagined sense of romantic love in the air, and felt amazing and then bereft when I woke up :D / :'(

    I got over it before too long, but that added a sentimental layer when watching at the time. I was never particularly into obvious Seven of Nine style voluptuousness, even though she came along when I was the target audience for it. Maybe just way too intimidating for my brain to even consider a realistic prospect, I wasn’t the high school football captain.

    When I got more into TOS at university as a young adult, I was a bit “phwoar!” about the gorgeous guest stars and William Ware Theiss costumes, have to admit.



    More Trek / Heat magazine goss, less dark:

    – Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine) started dating [her boss] Brannon Braga after a while during Voyager. Seeing that mentioned in a Trek magazine back then made me go “hmm…”

    – Patrick Stewart (can’t remember who he plays) & Jennifer Hetrick (Vash) started dating after their characters got frisky in Captain’s Holiday and were engaged by the time of Qpid, but then must have broken it off.

    – Alexander Siddig & Nana Visitor (Bashir & Kira on DS9) became a couple during the series, married and even had kids, leading to a mid-series actress pregnancy problem. <3



    I wouldn’t discount the Dad appeal. Mine hated Doctor Who, but would be a lot more tolerant if it was a Leela episode.



    To clear this up, here’s something I bothered to research and type up for people/person watching in original release order. As if that wouldn’t already exist on the internet and could just be linked to.

    Spin-offs + films US broadcast/release order (+ recommendations)

    – DS9 starts after TNG 6×11 (recommended)
    – Generations after DS9 3×08 (any time that year, can even be right after TNG)
    – VOY starts after DS9 3×12 (any time that year)
    – First Contact after DS9 5×09 / VOY 3×09 (recommended)
    – Insurrection after DS9 7×09 / VOY 5×09 (any time that year)
    – ENT starts after VOY ends
    – Nemesis after VOY ends (came out after ENT 2×17 technically, but can go right after VOY)
    – Reboot films
    – DIS

    Rough syncing only really matters for TNG/DS9/films, as Voyager’s so disconnected. All the TNG films have mild to moderate spoilers, First Contact has the best continuity.

    “Rimmer, have sex with someone. That’s an order.”


    Ben Saunders

    Thanks, I found a list that listed all the episodes/movies like that in a list, but I lost the list. I also used to have the link to a list that listed every Doctor Who story in in-universe chronological order from the point of view of The Doctor, which was really cool. It even listed Big Finish plays and books. But I lost that list too.



    a list that listed every Doctor Who story in in-universe chronological order from the point of view of The Doctor

    For the most part, isn’t chronological order from the Doctor’s view point the same as broadcast order? We basically follow the Doctor’s life in a linear fashion with a couple of possible exceptions here and there.


    Ben Saunders

    I should have specified that it included books and studios in the main point rather than just mention it as an afterthought, given that the whole idea of the list is too slot the books and audios into the progression of the episodes. So yeah lmao



    oh right, gotcha


    Ben Saunders

    I abandoned my attempt to listen to the Fifth Doctor audios alongside watching the episodes after a grand total of two audios



    Wouldn’t the bad continuity of characters suddenly sounding noticeably decades older between episodes (and the style being different?) counteract the good continuity of someone maybe referencing what they did last week? It’d be like trying to sequence the scenes from that Enterprise episode into the relevant TNG episode from 11 years earlier. Best to get a bit of distance if there’s even a chance of suspending your disbelief.


    Ben Saunders

    Depending on your era of Big Finish, you could say that they stick to the style of the relevant television series TOO much. Sounding older isn’t that much of a deal for most people, unless they’re very old like Tom Baker, or were very young like Matthew Waterhouse. Something like BF’s Psychodrome is phenomenal and really benefits from you just having seen the Bidmead stuff from Tom’s last season. It isn’t like the Enterprise finale where Frakes has reached critical mass and they didn’t even bother with Sirtis’ hair, not having a visual element helps you suspend disbelief.

    The audios can really benefit from the context of what era they’re seeking to imitate, and your appreciation of the characters in general can be greatly enhanced by hearing them in audio stories where they’re actually fucking given things to do rather than being completely sidelined for most of the story, as was the case for a lot of Five’s era. I also thought it would be nice to experience “all” of a character’s stories before watching them die/leave, but alas, it is an unrealistic goal given just how many audios they are and just how much easier/more convenient it is to just watch the eps.

    I watched The Five Doctors (which is fucking embarassing shite) yesterday and was actually quite impressed with how Wendy Padbury looked and sounded exactly the same as she had something like 15 years after her previous appearance. The same couldn’t be said for Fraser Hines, and Richard Franklin looked horrific. Padbury still looks cute as a button even in her old age, although not exactly like she did in the 60s, obviously.



    Good to know. I’m not interested enough in the 80s Doctors to need more of them, but I check out hot tips like Holy Terror and Jubilee, and the Lost Stories were an interesting novelty. I’d commit to Tom Baker if that range wasn’t regarded as largely drab, and looking at the titles it seems they’re just repeating the past a lot.

    I followed McGann for years (didn’t like the long repeating-the-past stretch in the mid-EDAs) until I got tired of the “epic!!!” boxset style he’s stuck with now, when I have to remember what happened previously and what things are. Unbound was a fun range.



    Oi! This is the Star Trek crap thread. Take this off to a Classic Who crap thread!

    In fact I’ll probably start one myself in a few days if no-one else does. Think I’ve just about got all the DVDs to start watching through Doctors 1 and 2.


    Ben Saunders

    Me at the start of I, Borg:
    This is bullshit. This is the BORG we’re talking about. 39 ships!! Stop trying to humanise the Borg!!

    Me at the end of I, Borg:
    Why am I crying over a Borg?? Don’t go, Hugh 😭😭😭


    Ben Saunders

    I do think Picard was right to deliberately distance himself from Hugh and not let his emotions cloud his judgement, because, well, just ask Spock. The needs of the many. Allowing yourself to humanise Hugh makes you sympathetic to him and ultimately unwilling to use him to destroy the Borg, which dammit, is something you really should do. This is your chance. If you don’t destroy them now, they will go on to kill millions. Sure, Hugh is a tragic, lost, young, sentient being. But so are many of those the Borg will go on to slaughter. The needs of the many (the millions who will die) outweigh the needs of the few, or the one (Hugh).

    Also, I do wish sci-fi writers would come up with something more original than “feed the computer a paradox so it explodes”. Christ. Picard even says “how original” in the episode… is that a joke?!


    Ben Saunders

    I also think they should have killed the sea creature in Doctor Who S10E03 Thin Ice, and any other episode where we’re faced with saving one life form while risking the destruction of countless others, I’m usually in favour of killing the creature. Although obviously in TV land everything is bullshit and everyone lives happily ever after and The Doctor/Geordi/whoever is praised for their compassion when in reality all odds would be in favour of killing the damn thing.



    They said they would have used the Borg more, but knew they couldn’t top BOBW for action and peril so went in different directions like this. Good call. Seeing this before the introduction of Seven of Nine, I was of course mildly irritated that she wasn’t called Seventh of Nine.

    Sorry for being a broken record and overhyping things to the point of annoyance, but DS9 does those difficult moral choices and grey areas well, to the point that it disappointed Majel Barret among others for being “not Star Trek” in a very narrow view.

    You’re not done crying this season yet!


    Ben Saunders

    The cliffhanger to BOBW was more intense than cumming so yeah I wouldn’t want to be the person given the task of outdoing it. The Klingon civil war stuff at the end of season four felt like a bit of an attempt to do that, and it didn’t really work, probably because the Klingons are so dull.

    >You’re not done crying this season yet!
    Oh boy I’m so excited


    Plastic Percy

    As I understand it, ‘Disaster’ was partially written to see if Colm Meaney and Michelle Forbes had on-screen chemistry, as they’d already decided O’Brien and Ro would be transferred to Deep Space Nine.

    Also, I know it would have made fandom explode, but I really liked the pitched idea of Deep Space Nine ending with a fadeout to an elderly Benny Russell, sitting about Paramount Studios, holding the script to ‘Deep Space Nine: The Emissary’ as the cameras start to roll.



    I didn’t consider that about O’Brien and Ro. Ro not being in DS9 is one of those things like not keeping the Victorian Clara in Doctor Who that makes me feel a pang of regret whenever I think about the missed opportunity, but Kira had the whole resistance background and closer ties to Bajor while Ro just ran away, so they’re quite different characters and it probably turned out more interesting.

    I would have loved that bold DS9 ending (today at least, not sure about when I was 14), since you could write it off as a dream or alternate reality if you cared, but doubtless would have infuriated people.


    Plastic Percy

    Avery Brooks had a very minor hand in changing Sisko’s ending. As originally written, when Sisko appears to Kassidy, he would have told her that he would never return. Brooks felt this reinforced a negative stereotype of absent black fathers and the line was changed to Sisko saying he would return someday.

    And I think Kira is a better fit for the show. There’s an uneasiness early on to Kira, where she resents the Federation getting involved and even sides with Vedek Winn’s conservative religious teachings. She does have the fantastic character arc of being able to grow beyond hatred and end up helping the Cardassians retake their planet from occupation.

    I know it’s resolved in the novels that Ro escaped the collapse of the Maquis, and ends up back in Starfleet, but I prefer to think of her going down fighting against the Cardassians/Dominion.



    I sure hope first-timer Ben stops reading that entire post as soon as he glimpses “Sisko’s ending”…



    (Spoilers!) There are a few things that always bothered me in the DS9 finale. The Kasidy scene should have been Jake, a main character’s absence from the flashbacks is distracting, all the cheap re-used footage in the battle (even going back to Search for Spock!), and the convenience of the book being the key. Generally good, but not among their best. TNG had the most satisfying series finale by far.


    Stephen Abootman

    Great to see a cameo from Rimmer’s self loathing beast in Discovery this week.


    Ben Saunders

    I ain’t reading that shit

    The Next Phase: Aww :)

    The Inner Light: Aww :(

    Time’s Arrow Part 1: Wtf?


    Ben Saunders

    The Next Phase was cute, I loved seeing how giddy Geordi and Ro got when their plan started to work. Data planning the funeral was pretty touching, as was Worf’s reasoning for not being the person to ask to help out. I already saw part of the funeral scene out of context on a YouTube video which I think was intended to be bizarre and confusing, and I certainly remember it being, but in the episode itself it was pretty easy to follow. Ro makes some very… interesting noises when she’s being zapped into corporeality again.

    The Inner Light is of course fantastic. Sometimes I’m left wanting things to be less obvious, sometimes more. In this case I was hoping for more reflection and emotion on the Enterprise following the events, but the ending we got was a nice little lowkey moment. Picard’s ageing makeup was very convincing.

    With Time’s Arrow, it’s always hard when they try to open an episode with big emotions and stakes etc before you’re really geared up and ready for it, but the crew reacting to the (eventual) death of Data was pretty touching, especially Troi being cut off during her “it’s like finding out a loved one has a terminal…” line. Ouch. Troi is actually given things to do in this episode, and as she does them she is fantastic. The ending is fucking bizarre and bright and I don’t know what the fuck to make of it – where did they go?!



    – The Next Phase: To over-generalise as ever, this feels like the start of a trend of episodes being based on joke pitches pulled out of a hat (“Geordi’s a ghost”) that the writers are forced to take seriously and make work. Season 6 goes to some strange places sometimes – don’t look at the thumbnails so you’ll get maximum David Tennant style “what? what?” reactions.

    – The Inner Light obligatory trivia: Picard’s “son” was played by Patrick Stewart’s son. This is the only Star Trek episode I’ve thought about fan editing, but wouldn’t bother. I don’t like how it keeps cutting back to the ship, so I’d lose all of that – we know which one is the dream, for god’s sake, just let us stay immersed and worry about how the real Jean-Luc is doing until the end. TNG certainly didn’t suffer from weak penultimate episodes, only season 3’s yellow bodysuit man.

    – Time’s Arrow: These episodes get dissed a lot, but I always thought they were fun. It’s a bit Doctor Who with the period costumes and (admittedly quite annoying) historical cameos. Picard-Guinan dynamic reversal too.



    You know how promo teasers are sometimes released too early, before they actually have any footage to show? This uncanny image was maybe released around this time in TNG.



    Trivia: This chap auditioned to be the new series’ commander, who they had already decided would be black.

    Ira Behr:

    “I actually have some of the auditions and some were sent in from England from some very good British actors. So they were covering on all fronts, but I think that was all just due diligence. It was always going to be a brown captain.”


    Ben Saunders

    “a brown Captain” lmao. Who says “brown?” Even though it is a more accurate description of the actual colour of Avery Brooks, you just don’t hear that lol.

    They made that space station prop for either The Motion Picture or TWoK, then flipped it upside down and used it in basically every single episode after that, it seems. Using it for a Deep Space Nine poster is just too funny.

    They also re-use the planet from The Outcast in one of these last two episodes of season five, at least in the CG Blu-ray remaster



    I didn’t include the earlier bit of the quote where he says they weren’t specifically looking for African-American but also other non-white, so he’s using “brown” more generally. Their UK casting did get them the series’ doctor, who auditioned for the captain but was too young, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

    Because this is the thread for it, and you’d pick me up on getting a Dalek wrong, I have to point out that you’re confusing the Spacedock from Star Trek III/TNG/poster with the smaller orbital station / Regula 1 model (upside-down). It’s an excuse to post nice model shots anyway, which should really be most of the thread.



    The Next Phase was great, really enjoyed it.

    The Inner Light paid off after what I thought was going to be like the various Voyager episodes where crew are stranded and forced to live boring lives and try to effect change despite someone doing something to hinder them. Thankfully Patrick Stewart is a higher calibre actor.

    Times Arrow, again, really enjoyed it. A good, fun story. The cast make it, love Picard bullshitting the landlady. Mark Twain is a bit much at times but he at least has a point.

    Have to say, glad I continued my rewatch. Left it on series 4 about 2 years ago, and this thread got me to have a look again.



    Man of the People, one for the Dads.




    There’s a couple of fades and fade to black scene transitions in season 6 so far that seem really out of place. It’s like Murder She Wrote. What’s that all about or have I just never noticed if happening in other episodes.



    Realm of Fear is such a Braga/Voyager episode. I can really see the creative continuity from late TNG into Voyager now that I’m looking for it, with more Braga scripts and Jeri Taylor co-producing now that Michael Piller’s focusing on DS9.

    The difference is, TNG still has people like Ron Moore (Klingon saga, The First Duty, The Next Phase) and Rene Echevarria (The Offspring, I, Borg) who later migrated to DS9 instead of Voyager. TNG’s children go in different directions when those two series get underway, there’s not much creative overlap.



    Because I’ve always been vague on some of this and it can be good to know, here’s the rough continuity of “showrunner” executive producers in the Berman era as I understand it:

    TNG 3-5: Michael Piller (in his prime, character-first approach)
    TNG 6: Michael Piller & Jeri Taylor (Piller focusing on DS9)
    TNG 7: Jeri Taylor

    DS9 1: Michael Piller
    DS9 2 to late-3: Michael Piller & Ira Steven Behr (Piller increasingly focusing on VOY)
    DS9 late-3 onwards: Ira Steven Behr (a.k.a. “proper” DS9, co-writing with Robert Hewitt Wolfe / Hans Beimler)

    VOY 1-2: Michael Piller & Jeri Taylor (Piller burns out and departs)
    VOY 3-4: Jeri Taylor & Brannon Braga (more Braga, Taylor winds down and retires)
    VOY 5-6: Brannon Braga
    VOY 7: Kenneth Biller (Braga working on ENT)

    ENT 1-3: Rick Berman & Brannon Braga (Berman more hands-on than usual, early on, now there’s no Piller?)
    ENT 4: Manny Coto

    Rick Berman was business-side executive producer on everything from TNG 3 onwards, but creatively he mainly [guided / interfered with] Voyager and Enterprise, since those were on Paramount’s own network in the US and struggling for viewers. Most of his writing credits are in that late period, co-writing with Braga.

    That was useful for me, anyway.


    Ben Saunders

    There’s a face to back every ten minutes in Star Trek, you’ve just started to notice it.

    Berman (co-) wrote Ensign Ro and Unification, which I took to me like a Moffat/RTD type having input on the more “important”/arc-heavy episodes, since they’re the showrunner/producer.

    Times Arrow II:
    – Are the two parts of these season close/openers shot concurrently or is there a long break in-between? I ask because:
    – Sirtis is looking extremely tanned, like she just got back from a holiday, and
    – The Data head actually looks like Brent Spiner in part 2.
    – “I have the utmost respect for the law” lmao
    – Mark Twain’s voice drives me up the wall
    – I’m not familiar with Twain’s work, but surely giving her a tour of the ship before sending him back to the past could completely destroy time?

    The episode after that with Barclay being afraid of transport was alright, too



    >There’s a face to back every ten minutes in Star Trek, you’ve just started to notice it.

    Maybe it’s just the abruptness of the couple of fades I really noticed.

    I’ll keep an eye on it.


    Ben Saunders

    Season 6 episode 2 had a really strange, sudden, badly edited fade into the opening credits if I recall, a strange audio blip, too.


    Ben Saunders

    Man of the People started out as a “oh for fuck sake, another prick beams aboard and Troi gets mind raped again” episode, but in the final act it got pretty tense and emotional and I really enjoyed it.

    – There is an Ensign Janeway scheduled to meet with Troi
    – Pretty good villain, a total fucking cunt who falsely thinks he is justified
    – Troi’s costumes in this episode were top notch if you know what I mean
    – Troi’s first word waking up was “Will”, I’m not crying, you are
    – The ending with the “old and grey” line was really touching

    PICARD: Ambassador, I came to alert you that the Rekags and the Seronians are in disagreement about the seating arrangements at the conference table.
    DATA: Is that entirely relevant, sir? Here we are in mortal danger and you’re worried about the Seronian delegates wanting two seats.

    Come to think of it, was Data in this episode at all?


    Plastic Percy

    I think generally the season cliffhanger/openings are filmed months apart. I don’t know about dates of filming but Part I’s final draft was completed on 6th April 1992 and Part II’s final draft was completed on 2nd July 1992, with filming coinciding with filming of Emissary in August and September 1992.

    I think this is standard for previous seasons. Geordi La Forge is notably absent from The Best of Both Worlds, Part II for most of the episode due to LeVar Burton being sick. And as of the broadcast of the first part, it was still uncertain whether Patrick Stewart would be returning as his contract was up for negotiation at the time.


    Ben Saunders

    RELICS: The crew of the Enterprise are attacked by the opening credits to Star Trek Voyager


    Ben Saunders

    SCHISMS: The crew of the Enterprise are attacked by technobabble from the showrunner of Star Trek Voyager



    The Dyson Sphere is one of the most mind-blowing things in Trek, even if it’s not their original concept and they credit the source. I thought too hard about it when I first read about it, and it felt as if my brain actually expanded. V’ger was bigger, but that was more abstract. Someone built this. It’s the sort of mysterious space thing you’d see more of back in season 2.

    Schisms is one of those Weird Season Six™ ones I need to rewatch. There’s a few of them.


    Ben Saunders

    Schisms is just technobabble, lmao. So, so much of it. The Dyson sphere was indeed wondrous, I actually had my mouth agape thinking “whoa” when I saw the interior of the sphere, with the landmasses and oceans on the inside. What an interesting concept, although I don’t want to think about how gravity works, or what the sky looks like. It is also enormous. I also had a drink in me so when Worf said “we’re being pulled in” about forty seconds after that was painfully obvious I according said “thank you Mister Worf” out loud, sarcastically, hahahaha



    I just watched the Dyson Sphere clips in HD, it was always blurry before but now sells it better. Reminds me of Arthur C Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama, which describes a similar mysterious structure with a planet on the walls, but on a more tolerable scale.

    Any sense of TNG being past its prime “these days?” They’re still churning out classics, so this is probably still golden age, but season 7 is the notably worn-out year. Patrick Stewart only stuck around because of the promise of the film, he enjoyed directing the odd episode more than being in them by that point.



    Schisms had one of the dodgy fades, it’s during Data’s recital.

    Think a Dyson sphere atmosphere would just look the same as ours or whatever alien’s atmosphere looks like. Same gasses innit, it and the people on it held there by either actual gravity due to the sheer mass of the sphere, or artificial gravity if it’s spinning, or Star Trek artificial gravity by means of gravplating.


    Ben Saunders

    Yeah I noticed a fucked up fade in that episode too. Sara’s poetry was hilarious and his poem about Spot was touching, it’s a shame Geordi couldn’t appreciate it and told Data it was shite



    I was just like “who the fuck do you think you are Geordi?” Ode to Spot is a classic.



    True Q

    Nobody ever gets teleported doing anything other than standing up, what are the chances?

    How come Q never catches Bev having a Constitution class dump or Picard scratching his arse?

    Anyway, I enjoyed it.



    A Fistful of Data’s has me thinking maybe Patrick Stewart should have rang his made up lawyers…



    If that story was even true, there’s a good chance that’s the episode he was thinking of, since he directed it (so would know it well) and Gunmen was repeated by the BBC more often than most (so more chances to catch it randomly).

    I can’t really remember the episode, and not in a hurry to watch another bloody holodeck episode, but I guess there isn’t really any similarity beyond the superficial.



    Quite strikingly similar, they both establish the gaming platform, then due to a linkage between the ship and an artificial mind the events in the artificial environment become life or death, both crews start of cocky, doing along with the Old West theme due to the knowledge they are perfectly safe in the artificial environment. It then becomes clear that they’re not and a confrontation with the bad guy leads to a duel in the main street.

    In Star Trek the time limit is the memory purge, Red Dwarf it’s the software antidote.

    And the end shot of main craft flying toward Red sun with old West music.



    Another Dwarfy connection to another series VI episode, 6:12 “Ship in a Bottle”, to attempt to determine whether a crew member is real or an imposter, a character shouts catch and throws an item. Upon the catch the handedness of the crew member is remarked upon. Star Trek has it as confirmation though, whereas in Psirens it’s the guitar playing.



    A bit Back in the Red part 3 plot-wise. Although more reminiscent of better versions of that idea.


    Ben Saunders

    Just finished Chain of Command, time to bust out this list: (the one I was talking about before)

    I have such a backlog of comments to make on episodes I’ve watched recently that I almost can’t be bothered. I’ll do it shortly I promise


    Ben Saunders

    Did I miss the line in Chain of Command that sets up DS9, by the way?



    Admiral Nechayev: “The Cardassian forces, which were recently withdrawn from the Bajoran sector…”

    Cough and you’ll miss it!




    Great that someone bothered to put that episode list together, but, like, it really doesn’t matter that much if you want to watch a few TNGs in a row or whatever. Keeping the years in sync would be good though for larger developments, crossovers and “this is when they go mainly CGI” type observations.

    Personally, I’d say:

    TNG season 6 >>> DS9 season 1

    DS9 season 2 > TNG season 7 (although TNG’s high points exceed DS9’s)

    Then DS9 starts getting really good.


    Ben Saunders

    Just finished Face of the Enemy and can I just say, YASS QUEEN SLAY

    Finally a really good Troi episode, she’s great in it



    Troi is great, really like her in A Fist Full of Datas too.

    Knowing how she talks in real life, it must be a great feat of acting to do a cowboy accent through an Israeli one.


    Ben Saunders

    Two absolute scorchers in a row with Face of the Enemy and Tapestry. I have to say it would have been a wonderful surprise to see you-know-who, but as soon as I saw the white background I knew he was going to appear, thanks to my memory of that TNG out of context video. One of his best appearances, I would say


    Plastic Percy

    With Tapestry, I’ve always liked how you’re never quite certain if this is Q attempting to once again fuck with Picard’s head; or if it’s a dying fantasy Picard is having as he flatlines on the operating table.



    Tapestry is one of the all-time greats.

    How are you finding The Quark Show with special guests some Starfleet people? If you were watching one series after the other, that moment where the Enterprise leaves and you realise they’ve abandoned you in this shithole with these nobodies could be pretty traumatic.



    Tapestry is amazing.

    Watching Tapestry really makes you realise how bad we’ve got it at the moment with the current excrement CBS is curling out into a brown paper bag and lighting on our doorsteps every week.


    By Jove its holmes

    nothing like referring to dilithium crystals as “magic rocks” on reddit ;)



    Anyone remember Star Trek night?

    Wonder if they made special idents. It’s fun to look back on a time when the BBC gave a shit.



    I remember two Star Trek nights. One in early/mid 1996 that I didn’t watch because I wasn’t a fan until later in the year, I think that’s when Voyager debuted on the BBC. Another in the early 2000s that was notable for its interviews with the original cast that included a shockingly gaunt and wheezing James Doohan on death’s door, pretty depressing.



    My memories of watching Star Trek on the BBC are me and my Dad watching TOS at the weekends, and seeing TNG after school and it always getting turned off for Home and Away or something.

    Never really watched TNG at the time due to that, Voyager on second hand VHS were what started me off properly.



    TNG came late to the BBC even by import standards, I’ve read that whoever was in charge of that stuff didn’t like sci-fi. Then they broadcast all of seasons 1-3 + BOBW part 2 in one long stretch, took a daft break for 18 months for TOS repeats, then caught up on seasons 4-7, the series finale coming out when the second film had almost arrived.

    In the late 90s we really couldn’t complain though, even as a terrestrial viewer a couple of years behind. TNG repeats on Wednesdays, first-run DS9 on Thursdays, first-run Voyager on Sundays, occasional TOS on Fridays, TOS films in the bank holiday cycle.


    Ben Saunders

    Starting Starship Mine, just reached the opening credits (that was a long cold open).
    1) This feels like a Braga co-write, let’s see if I’m right
    2) Hey it’s Tuvok!


    Ben Saunders

    3) Did Picard just neck pinch Tuvok?


    Ben Saunders

    4) That episode was pretty funny but otherwise wasn’t all that engaging
    5) Some lovely acting from McFadden as she sets off the VISOR
    6) The woman terrorising the Enterprise feels like a character I’ve seen done a million times before, the backstabbing conniving badwoman, didn’t really care for her



    Die Hard Picard.


    Ben Saunders

    It did feel very Die Hard to me, despite me not having seen Die Hard. *hides*



    I think Patrick Stewart wanted more action. It’s a precedent for the action hero stuff in the films that RLM hates, so that didn’t come out of nowhere. It’s just not what we remember Picard for. At all.



    They really got into split screen didn’t they in season 6…



    It’s easier to list characters who haven’t interacted with their duplicates/family/holograms at some point. Beverley maybe… Worf?


    Ben Saunders

    Suspicions was fucking great. My wife really had her moment to shine in that episode, bravo.



    I forgot all about that other good Beverley episode, I only remembered Remember Me. Because it told me to.



    To let my younger self chime in from the time he was really into this stuff – but more importantly to push this thread to page two – here are some of my early “”reviews”” of the Star Trek films written when I was 14.

    You probably shouldn’t read them if you haven’t seen the films, since my main approach was to explain the entire plot from start to finish as I understood it, when I wasn’t giving unnecessary technical details about the starships.

    You probably shouldn’t read them if you have the seen the films either. Just generally.

    Star Trek: The Motion Picture

    Born Again


    Written on 20.10.00

    The first in the continuing line of Star Trek films has often been criticized for having a poor storyline and just being a special effects extravaganza, but I still like to watch it every so often, possibly for sentimental reasons.

    The story is set two years after the end of the classic Star Trek: The Original Series and involves the USS enterprise NCC-1701 (which has been given a cinema special effects makeover to make it look less “sixties”) trying to stop an invading, vast object over eighty AUs (astronomical units- the distance between Earth and the sun) in diameter eventually turning out to be an old Earth space probe, Voyager VI, launched from Earth in 1999 (well, this film was created twenty years earlier) that was found by a race of living machines (who some fans think may be the Borg from The Next Generation and Voyager, although this is not stated) and sent back to Earth, its mission garbled, to exterminate all living beings. [What a magnificent sentence! – Ed]

    The story is rather poor, but there are some important and very good scenes. If you’re a Star Trek fan then you’ll like this film, but if you’re just a person who likes to watch movies, this may not be to your taste. However, the special effects, for the most part, are exceptional by 1979 standards, and that earned the film a well-deserved award. The film was criticized, but still had a massive viewership because of it being a Star Trek film, and the seed for the successful box office hits were sown…



    Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

    ‘The Green-Blooded One is Back’

    Written on 20.10.00


    The third Star Trek film was based around the premise of Spock, the series’ most popular character, having his soul (or katra) returned to his body. It continues directly from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and is generally accepted as being better than hat film, not least for its action-packed sequences and special effects.

    The film is also notable for introducing the Spacedock, the gargantuan facility in Earth orbit that has been ripped off uncountable times by other science fiction films, and the Excelsior- and Oberth-class ships, which would go on to feature in the other Star Trek series set almost a hundred years later. The Klingon Bird-of-Prey is also introduced.

    The film’s basic storyline is [Comprehensive spoilers follow</em] that Sarek, Spock’s father, and Admiral Kirk discover that Spock may still be alive and has placed his consciousness into Doctor McCoy, who attempts to visit the newly-created Genesis Planet from the end of the last film. Kirk and his crew disobey direct orders and take the skeleton-crewed Enteprise to Genesis, which is breaking apart due to Kirk’s son, David Marcus, using faulty biomatter in its creation to accelerate production. Spock’s corpse has regenerated on the planet, but the intervention of some Klingons lead by Kruge (Christopher Lloyd) cause the death of David and force Kirk to self-destruct the Enteprise with the Klingon crew aboard. They eventually escape on the Bird-of-Prey to Vulcan, where Spock’s katra is returned to his body and he begins reintegrating into his life.



    Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

    “Could You Turn Off that Damn Noise?”


    Written on 20.10.00

    The film that appealed to the most people, both science fiction fans and regular cinemagoers, was due in no small part to its depiction of Kirk and his 23rd. century crew trying to adjust to life in “the late twentieth century” which was supposed to be 1986, but was never actually stated. There is a lot of comedy, especially on the part of Spock, and a very good, believable storyline.

    Sights such as Spock mind-melding with a humpback whale in front of a crowd of unknowing people and Scotty’s attempts to use a contemporary computer are hilarious, and there’s also some more romance for Kirk in the form of Doctor Gillian Taylor.

    The story concerns the Cetacean Probe, a mysterious cylinder that is wreaking havoc on Earth’s oceans. Kirk and his bunch of rebels hear about it en route back to Earth in their Klingon Bird-of-Prey (which McCoy has christened the H.M.S. Bounty in light of their recent mutinous actions to save Spock in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock) and Spock reasons that the probe is attempting to find humpback whales to communicate with. Since they were hunted to extinction in the twenty-first century, the Bounty slingshots around the Sun to take it back in time to 1986. Kirk and Spock attempt to procure a pair of humpback whales named George and Gracie, while Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, McCoy and Chekov look for a nuclear reactor to power the Bounty, as its dilithium crystals were burnt out during the time trip.

    Eventually they return to the present with Doctor Gillian Taylor, the whales’ cherished carer, and save Earth. Because of these actions their charges are taken lightly and Kirk is demoted to captain, and given command of a new Enterprise, the NCC-1701-A. They set out once again, boldly going where no man has gone before.

    Advantages: Hilarious, and appealing to everyone.

    Disadvantages: Not a lot of action, or special effects.



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