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  • #239110
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #239111
    Hamish
    Participant

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

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

    #239113
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #239115
    tombow
    Participant

    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.

    #239117
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    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.

    #239119
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHWlccpsYIA

    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.

    #239124
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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

    #239126
    tombow
    Participant

    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.

    #239127
    Plastic Percy
    Participant

    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.

    #239128
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #239129
    GlenTokyo
    Participant

    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.

    #239131
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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

    #239133
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    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.

    #239134
    Dax101
    Participant

    First Contact is the best TNG movie.

    #239135
    GlenTokyo
    Participant

    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.

    #239136
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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…

    #239137
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Forgot to include Wrath of Khan, idiot.

    #239138
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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

    #239139
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #239140
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #239141
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #239149
    GlenTokyo
    Participant

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

    #239164
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #239170
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #239173
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    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.

    #239174
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #239176
    Toxteth O-Grady
    Participant

    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.

    #239179
    GlenTokyo
    Participant

    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.

    #239206
    Katydid
    Participant

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

    #239314
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #239315
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #239316
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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:

    #239317
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #239318
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #239319
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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

    #239320
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #239321
    Warbodog
    Participant

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

    #239322
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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

    #239323
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #239324
    Plastic Percy
    Participant

    <<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.

    #239530
    Berlin
    Member

    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.

    #239532
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #239534
    Berlin
    Member

    Discovery is doubleplusungood, brother comrade

    #239536
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #239543
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    >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.

    #239704
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #239706
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #239710
    Berlin
    Member

    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.

    #239722
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #239963
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

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

    #239967
    Berlin
    Member

    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.

    #239979
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #240094
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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

    #240095
    Berlin
    Member

    ‘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.

    #240096
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #240149
    Berlin
    Member

    It’s the only episode you can somehow smell.

    #240203
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    Yikes I can’t wait for that one

    #240362
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #240365
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #240613
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    The Big Goodbye, Datalore… TNG just keeps getting better

    #240614
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #240615
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #240646
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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

    #240647
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #240648
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #240650
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #240884
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #240887
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

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

    #240888
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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?

    #240889
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #240890
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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

    #240891
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #240892
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #240894
    Plastic Percy
    Participant

    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.

    #240895
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    >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.

    #240896
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

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

    #240897
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #240898
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #240899
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #240900
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.”

    #240901
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #240902
    GlenTokyo
    Participant

    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.

    #240903
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #240943
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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 :(

    #240944
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #240988
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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).

    #240989
    Warbodog
    Participant

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

    #241060
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #241067
    Plastic Percy
    Participant

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

    #241107
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #241244
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #241313
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #241314
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #241348
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #241349
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    >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

    #241350
    Warbodog
    Participant

    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.

    #241356
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

    #241361
    Warbodog
    Participant

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

    #241362
    Warbodog
    Participant

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

    #241363
    Ben Saunders
    Participant

    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.

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