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Dusty - Tue, Dec 1, 2015, 6:16pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

Not deserving of the hate it gets here, but still a pretty weak outing. Jake Sisko and a lot of shaky young actors can't hold an entire episode together, and the whole premise really strains credulity. Only Nog and Dorian (the moon girl) were of any interest.

The surprise isn't that these kids were destroyed, it's that they survived out there as long as they did. Red Squad seem to be a cadre of privileged "elite" cadets who think they're really special and can do anything. But the truth is, their entitlement and arrogance makes them a liability to themselves and the Federation. We saw that plainly here, and in Homefront and Paradise Lost as well. That's what this episode is about. Not fascism.
Dusty - Tue, Dec 1, 2015, 6:02pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Take Me Out to the Holosuite

I instantly dislike Solok, but not for the reasons I'm supposed to. More like "this cold, arrogant racist is supposed to be a Vulcan?!" Since when is Vulcan pride based in anything but the functionality of their own logic-based society? It's not about their species being superior; it's about having a system that works for them and naturally they want to promote it. Sisko claiming that Vulcans lack heart is almost as bad. This series really didn't know what to do with Vulcans, it seems. Only a few of them, such as Sakonna in Season 2, seemed authentic.

Racial bollocks aside, this episode worked okay when it focused on baseball. Odo was great as the umpire, Ezri's backflip off the wall was cool (must've been channeling Emony there), and it was reasonable that the DS9 crew lost badly but still gained something from the experience. I won't go back to it often, but it's a decent filler episode.
Dusty - Tue, Dec 1, 2015, 5:23pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: Time's Orphan

Endings like this bother me. Not quite as bad a cop-out as Sons of Mogh, but close.

The actress who played the older Molly was very good, though. It was mainly her performance that kept my attention. I still couldn't bring myself to like Keiko, but I was...neutral. She was a mother concerned about her child and played that part fairly well, without pushing O'Brien away. That was an improvement.
Ross - Tue, Dec 1, 2015, 4:59pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S2: Crossover

This is one of those episodes that makes me ache for DS9 in HD. The production design and cinematography are off the charts. I'd love to see it remastered! Sigh. Alas.

The steep camera angles when the Klingons beam onto the runabout in the teaser are very dynamic (for Trek, especially). Everything about the camera in "Crossover" is slightly tilted, slightly off, much like the Mirror Universe itself. Also loved the tracking shot following Bashir through the access tube. It accentuated the urgency of the situation.

The lighting also gives the 'other side' a subtly different look ... somewhat like the 'noir' look in "Necessary Evil" but with more color, perhaps (more nefarious reds and such). It never felt like a copy of the Occupied Terok Nor. It felt like its own universe.

And, as mentioned above, Odo's 'explosion' was a visceral piece of FX.

Story-wise, I love the performances, even though nothing much happens. Kira and Bashir show up, everyone reacts to them, and they leave. But it's still very entertaining. Evil Odo slapping Bashir and Bashir talking back. Mirror Kira is unhinged but there's an air of menace about her (unlike her following appearances). And I just love Trek doing sequels to past series' episodes. Makes the franchise feel even more interconnected.

Four stars, in my book. Great all around, but the real winner here is the production team. They really sell the setting.
Maq - Tue, Dec 1, 2015, 4:22pm (USA Central)
Re: TOS S1: The Corbomite Maneuver

Yes, a hit, I do not like giving stars but I enjoyed this very much. This is the Star trek that I remember from my childhood. Unless that I then, at the age of 8th, was not so fascinated of Yeoman Rand's and Lt Uhura's spare-some uniforms. It was funny, it showed daily aspects, the teamwork, that violence, also when proper selected according to the situation, may not solve your problem, list and cunning will do and that compassion gave the success.
Kevin - Tue, Dec 1, 2015, 3:09pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Our Man Bashir

Having started going through the episodes again this really stands out in the way it took advantage of Goldeneye having been released. I know its one of the comedy episodes and has no baring on the series or even the next episode but its one great laugh. Bit of a worry that Quark was the one who worked some of it out. great viewing
Wouter Verhelst - Tue, Dec 1, 2015, 2:36pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S2: Dead Stop

The computer voice made me think of that other Roxann Dawson computer voice in "Dreadnought", even before I realized that it was her. It gave a certain creepy character to it, which only enriches the whole experience of this episode. Two AIs who turn to killing innocent living beings. Can't be a coincidence.

Dawson would be great as a villain in some show or movie.
SlackerInc - Tue, Dec 1, 2015, 1:42pm (USA Central)
Re: TOS S3: The Paradise Syndrome

I just checked out a little of "Star Trek Continues" and Googled to find if Jammer had anything on it. Maybe he could make a thread to discuss the show, even if he doesn't have tim to review it...
William B - Tue, Dec 1, 2015, 12:13pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: For the Cause

For the Cause:

I think it's best to start near the end, with Eddington's big speech. So, in many respects, his speech comes basically out of nowhere. Eddington basically has almost no established personality, so it is not inconsistent per se with what we know of him. But we have no personal context for why he believes this. As far as his comments about Starfleet's attitude about the Maquis, the underlying idea that "we have done nothing to you!" and that the Maquis are unfairly persecuted by the Federation is directly countered by other Maquis episodes in DS9. The Maquis work from within Starfleet to do terrorist activities like blow up ships (the Bok'Nor) or to pirate ships (Tom Riker and the Defiant). Eddington himself assaults a Bajoran national, uses Sisko's girlfriend's sympathy for the Maquis plight as a way of ensnaring Sisko in a trap in order to steal a bunch of industrial replicators. He justifies this, when Sisko calls him on it, by saying that the Federation will continue to be robbed if they continue to give Cardassians replicators, because it is apparently an assault on the Maquis to offer Cardassians replicators for partially destroyed planets *away from the DMZ*. Eddington's persecution complex relies not just on the Federation opposing the Maquis, but by their continuing to be allies with the Cardassians and helping the Cardassians cope with the destruction from the Klingons. Eddington's willingness to play a long game and to sacrifice Yates and her crew -- he had no way of knowing that Sisko wouldn't arrest the lot of them, and indeed his plan relies on the expectation that Sisko would arrest them -- is a classic case of an extremist ideologue sacrificing the moderates in his cause for the greater good; that Kasidy has enough sympathy to help plague victims but not enough to supply weapons makes her great to use as a tool to help get replicators to make weapons, which really undermines Eddington's moral credibility.

The point that the Federation is worse than the Borg! etc. is provocative and it is pretty easy to dismiss it as meaningless ranting when Eddington goes straight into that with so little set-up. It does seem to be somewhat of a thesis statement for a certain criticism of the Federation within the show, which is/is not justified. The source is pretty discreditable at least at this point, but he raises something of the same point that Quark and Garak discussed in "Way of the Warrior," about the difficulty adapting to their fates being essentially tied to the Federation, and that ambivalence. The shifting metaphor here of the Federation as actual ideal to the Federation as something of a Western hegemony, and the dangers of Federation overreach being akin to the dangers of globalization, is not entirely thought out and has some inconsistencies...BUT that there isn't an easy answer to the conflict between individual values and the values of a benevolent but increasingly powerful interplanetary organization/nation is well taken. Eddington strikes me as reactionary, especially because there is little in this episode at least to suggest that he has any reason for siding with the Maquis besides anti-Federation sentiment; Quark and Garak, like the Klingons in "Heart of Glory" (one of the first TNG-era episodes to deal with the difficulty adjusting to "civilization" encroaching on other values), have actual values, not necessarily one I'd share (and both of whom eventually break with their own culture's traditions in significant ways), but which make their uneasiness about having to rely on Federation protection (directly or indirectly) more sympathetic and interesting. I'll have to see whether future Eddington episodes fill in his motivations besides anti-structure.

Where Eddington's rant becomes interesting is even if it's hard for me to believe he is right about the Federation, he is maybe right about Sisko. Looking at this episode in isolation, the way Eddington successfully plays Sisko is by recognizing that Sisko takes things very personally, and that hitting him where his heart is will put him off-kilter and make him unable to think straight. And so that Sisko ends up failing to stop Eddington from pulling off a major heist is because Sisko is devastated and put off his game by the possibility of a more minor betrayal by someone closer to him. I guess I am not sure what the rules actually are about smuggling food and medical supplies to the Maquis, and what exactly the situation is; maybe Kasidy is not even a sympathizer, but a samaritan who worries about people suffering and sees what she can do about it. Or maybe she actually is a sympathizer; or maybe she is in it for some sort of personal gain. Regardless, a case can certainly be made that smuggling medical supplies is not all that terrible, which characters even attempt to point out to Sisko. But Sisko takes Kasidy's smuggling too personally to be able to put it in context; he gets viscerally angry at Odo and Eddington at the suggestion that she is smuggling (before he calms down when they remind him they said it was uncertain), then refuses to listen to people trying to soften the blow of the discovery that she is smuggling to them, then even tries to talk her out of going with some sort of plausible deniability, some sort of test of whether she really means to smuggle or just, like, stumbled into it somehow. Sisko allows Eddington to recuse himself from the mission because Eddington doesn't want the responsibility of having to make the call of whether to fire on Sisko's girlfriend's ship, which on some level Eddington should not have been able to get away with -- it's his job, after all (though why would he be in charge?); Sisko accepts that he needs to be there because Kasidy is so important to him and he needs to see her betrayal himself. Sisko never does end up asking Kasidy why she smuggled, at the episode's end, which is sort of an episode flaw but also maybe is because Sisko on some level does not make distinctions based on *why* a person broke one of Sisko's cardinal rules, but only sees the personal betrayal.

All of which is to say, maybe Kasidy should go to jail because there are some reasons I can see why smuggling medical supplies to a terrorist organization are wrong. (Medical supplies can maybe be used to manufacture biological weapons, e.g.) It may be that her actions are morally wrong. It is frankly hard for me to believe that she is more deserving of jail than Dax running off to kill people in "Blood Oath," which Sisko knew about, but I digress; I find it pretty easy to believe that she broke the law and is willing to face the consequences, etc. But for Sisko it is all very deeply personal, more about her lying to him and about him not knowing what she was doing (and that their jobs bring them in opposition) than the content of what she did. And Eddington exploited that. Sisko's ability to forgive Kasidy is largely because Eddington's huge con on him, including using his feelings for Kasidy against him, gives Sisko a new place to displace his feelings of personal betrayal onto, and suddenly Eddington becomes a deeply personal revenge target despite Sisko having had barely any feelings about him at all before this moment.

For once, I have little to say about Garak in this episode. I do think that this is not the best year for the character -- while he's always a phenomenally entertaining presence, IC/TDIC put the Obsidian Order intrigue surrounding Garak to rest, at least for a while, and I think that the writers aren't quite sure what to do with him right now. (I do think that s5-7 turn this around.) His fear about Ziyal is amusing, and the notion that she would seek him out even though he is an enemy of her father's is interesting, albeit underexplored here. What *does* it mean that he is the person who killed her grandfather? Does simply being the only Cardassians on the station provide enough reason for them to interact? I guess obviously the episode answered that question with "yes," but it feels incompete somehow, particularly with Ziyal's strong-willed effort to approach Garak, which (as methane commented above) plays a little oddly given her age, which the actress' age here somewhat obscures.

To some degree, I think this interesting element of the episode is too subtextual, to the point where I'm not even positive about it. But I think it unifies the episode and makes the hard left turns the plot takes make more sense. It also makes the episode pretty interesting as a character study of Sisko. Too much is left unexplored for me to be too wild about it as a final product, but I find it pretty interesting. Probably 2.5 stars, though that's a bit provisional. (If the next Eddington and next Kasidy stories dealt with the fallout here really well, this could go up -- since, yes, the episode is self-contained, but it could also be planting seeds for later.)
Dusty - Tue, Dec 1, 2015, 4:18am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: The Reckoning

The Emissary/Bajoran religion stuff was always the least interesting part of DS9 and that didn't change here. Sisko was already an important figure in StarFleet; he didn't have to be a demigod too. I'll take Winn and Bareil and their religious politics, because that at least was realistic. But the stuff about Sisko having visions and the Prophets talking to him just got ridiculous after a while.
Shoregrey - Mon, Nov 30, 2015, 7:35pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: The Fight

I just watched this episode recently and had the recurring thought - Guest Starring: Ray Price as Boothby as Burgess Meredith as Mickey.
Shoregrey - Mon, Nov 30, 2015, 7:21pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: Dark Frontier

To those arguing the timeline of Seven's age and the time of the Hansen's explorations: This was addressed in Q-Who - Borg Maturation Chambers; it's possible Seven's growth/age was accelerated by a number of years when she was assimilated....how many assimilated small children have we seen running around in Borg ships? Not many.
methane - Mon, Nov 30, 2015, 3:29pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Body Parts

"FCA somehow has jurisdiction over a bar on a Federation station"

Quark probably has all of his assets not currently on the station in Ferengi assets (banks, stock funds, or whatever). You might also believe that his Ferengi employee salaries somehow go through Ferenginar. Just as the Obama administration has enforced US laws on overseas banks that use dollars (leading to large disagreements with US allies), the Ferengi could claim that Quark's accounts give them the right to enforce all sorts of laws on his financial activities.

Quark could likely shield his station-based assets (like his furniture) if he renounced his citizenship, but that would likely cause problems for his family back home, as 2piix pointed out. Regardless, his accounts on Ferengenar being confiscated would have been a far bigger financial loss than whatever they took from the bar.
Chrome - Mon, Nov 30, 2015, 3:05pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Rules of Engagement

The Sisko scene at the end was completely unnecessary. Sisko has sufficient evidence to show that the whole trial is a farce. Why would Sisko or the JAG waste any more time, or poor Worf's time with such a circus?
Diamond Dave - Mon, Nov 30, 2015, 1:29pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Improbable Cause

I'm a big fan of episodes that start small and end big. This is perhaps one of the best examples - each twist spiraling up and out until we get to the biggest reveal yet as the Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar plot to launch a first strike on the Dominion.

And of course we have Odo and Garak butting heads throughout, which is a joy. It's also good to finally start seeing some hard facts about Garak - "plain, simple" can only go so far - and his evident glee about being invited back to the fold by Tain at the end makes perfect sense.

Downside, well it isn't the fastest paced and you can see how some filler could have been excised had this been a standard episode, but top quality nonetheless. 3.5 stars.
Del_Duio - Mon, Nov 30, 2015, 10:55am (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

"The ability to watch out-of-order is a key part of preserving rewatchability. If the series compels you to watch it in order it will lose something as a series. "

See, this guy gets it.

You develop your characters throughout (mostly) standalone episodes, with occasional unifying themes when it calls for it.

P.S: I think even if CBS could do 26 episodes no way in hell they would, it would cost them way too much money. I think the day of the 26 episode season is long gone. Sad to say, but hey I still have my TNG / DS9 DVDs so it's not a total loss.
CPUFP - Mon, Nov 30, 2015, 9:29am (USA Central)
Re: TOS S2: The Omega Glory

Oh, almost forgot: Didn't you just love Spock's comment on the parallel Earth trope? "Kohms? Communists? The parallel is almost too close, Captain."
CPUFP - Mon, Nov 30, 2015, 9:19am (USA Central)
Re: TOS S2: The Omega Glory

I agree with the few positive remarks Dan A. and William B made. To me, the episode's message was that even a society which prides itself on being built on democracy and personal liberty can devolve into barbarism in the course of war if it treats its own civic symbols and texts as religious artifacts, dehumanizes its enemies and stops seeing them as worthy of the same liberties as its own citizens. So at its core, the episode actually had a few points going for it as a comment on the US's role in the Cold War, and that actually was enough to make me forgive the whole flag-waving, parallel Earth nonsense and plot inconsistencies.

One detail I found funny, in addition to all that has been said above by other commenters, is the return of the "trapped in a cell without guards" trope, which has saved the skin of a lot of Starfleet officers in the 23rd and 24th centuries (though it is not exclusively used in the Star Trek franchise). After being beaten unconscious by the Yangs, Kirk is lying in his cell for seven hours without anybody checking on him. But granted, there was only one Kohm guard in the whole facility, and he had his hands full with stopping McCoy from flirting with the meal delivery lady!
John - Mon, Nov 30, 2015, 3:45am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Scorpion, Part II

So the Borg were speaking in Seven's head about casualties and the need to take Voyager into the alien realm, and Seven responded "we understand" VERBALLY! Um, did she think the Collective would hear her voice or something?
Wilt - Sun, Nov 29, 2015, 7:49pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S6: Barge of the Dead

Mixed feelings about this one. The whole point of the ST mythos was not just showing cooperation of other alien races and their overall role in Starfleet. It was also to show acceptance of those other races' cultures' values, mindsets and spirituality. I really detest the way the show continues to trivialize and satirize any way of life that isn't consistent with middle America (or more specifically it seems, the writer's values).

B'elanna's whole attitude towards her Klingon half displays a self loathing that K'Ehleyr herself never showed. All that in spite of the fact her Klingon half had already changed lives in the delta quadrant for the better exclusively because she was Klingon. (Faces, Lifesigns, and Prophecy sort of). We know that contempt stems from her human half, whom clearly shows a lot more intolerance and contempt. Just watch S1's Faces and you will see what I mean.

She still wanted her father's acceptance while rejecting both her mother and her Klingon half. keep in mind her mother at least stayed with her thru all of it in spite of her headstrong ways. But her mother is Klingon and it seems to be par for the course for them.

Ironic that the human half is what made her push them all away yet that's the half she desperately wants to embrace. I suppose the one thing about this we can take from it is humans really have low to zero tolerance for others. At times it borders on outright xenophobia, at least from watching Voyager (and ENT). Runs contrary to the whole point of ST and Gene Roddenberry's vision of a utopian future.

With that being said, I enjoy the heel face turn in the story we get not too long after the ceremony in the mess hall. Things take a decidedly different route. And then we are thrust head first into a scenario that no one saw coming. I know I sure didn't. Didn't see how the title of the ep fit in until that moment.

Speaking of which in spite of her vehement denials of her Klingon side it seems there was a part of her that very much believed in it. After all, she wouldn't have appeared on the barge of the dead otherwise. The Klingon in her runs deeper than she likes to admit, even to herself.

And just as things get interesting...it suddenly comes to an end and she finds herself awakened startlingly in sick bay.

I'll skip over her sudden deep belief in Klingon lore. Those scrolls she looked at in engineering must have been poured over throughout her childhood up until she left home. I guess she didn't accept it until it happened and had to look up the details to see if there were a way to undo it. Like a good engineer, I suppose.

Anyways after some pleading convictions to the Captain she's recreating the shuttle accident's environmental conditions and abra ka dabra, she's back on the barge of the dead.

She does indeed get to confront her mother. And it seems the conversation begins where it left off 10 years ago for both of them. I mentioned in the S7 Lineage review how this paralleled Jean-Luc Picard and his older brother, Remy. And apparently their father as well. Except it would take him 20 years and a forced borg assimilation before he returned to his roots.

In any case She gets to lift her mother's dishonor and take her place in klingon's Hell. As surprised as I was I'm sure no one was more surprised than she was as to where exactly that Hell would be located.

The rest was more of an awakening of sorts for her to just accept who she is and stop running away. (Still can't imagine any Klingon saying to forget any part of their lore, especially when she flagellated the point to death in B'elanna's youth. Enough to drive her father away and eventually B'elanna herself. Writers needed to reword that some.)

This ep is a companion piece to S7's Lineage. Which I will admit I found a bit more fascinating and almost as infuriating. (Wasn't quite as meticulously executed, tho.) Because it found B'elanna right back at her seeds of contempt regarding her Klingon nature. It wasn't as if she had a monopoly on Klingon temperament and ridges (that weren't even that pronounced). But at least that episode had a reason for her to be that way. The pregnancy triggered that dormant self loathing she still had about being Klingon. I'm guessing it mirrored how her father had felt at the time about it all. And she didn't want her child to have to go thru that as well. Seems with Klingons it always comes down to the sins of the father doesn't it?

This one was very well paced and executed with pinpoint precision. I was definitely riveted to the screen till the end. At least it tried to restore a respectability to Klingon beliefs. In spite of B'elanna's misgivings (not to mention serious patronizing from a few members of the crew) it's hard not to give it a perfect 4. Except the show had an annoying tendency to belittle all the nonhuman species' beliefs far too often (glares at the doctor). Klingons just got hit the hardest. Gotta dock it half a star. Still, In spite those flaws this is nonetheless an outstanding one this late in the series.
Maq - Sun, Nov 29, 2015, 3:11pm (USA Central)
Re: TOS S1: Dagger of the Mind

Good episode. Mccoy have concerns and Kirk fulfils his task.
Regarding Dr Noels skirt, Well we are in two different times late 1960 and 23 Century. Obviously the length was appropriate in those times.
Robert - Sun, Nov 29, 2015, 2:09pm (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

"The ability to watch out-of-order is a key part of preserving rewatchability. If the series compels you to watch it in order it will lose something as a series."

Yes and no. If the plot line of episode 18 can't be enjoyed without watching episode 19 you lose the quality you are referring to.

It shouldn't ruin anything for REwatchability that Captain Sisko gets married, Worf had a child or Tasha dies. And if any character goes the same 7 years without development as INTERMINABLE ENSIGN Kim for a show in 2017 the show is a failure. Our views are not incompatible.
Diamond Dave - Sun, Nov 29, 2015, 1:37pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Through the Looking Glass

I think the episode survives much better if you treat it as a romp rather than something worthy of a university dissertation. Essentially these are designed to be comic book capers, and this delivers in spades. I'd much rather see the cast play off character in this way - ie madly chewing the scenery - than the highbrow rubbish in Distant Voices. For heaven's sake, Rom gets staked to a door!

And if there is a finer delivery of a word than Garak's "Pursue!" in the whole of Trek than I've yet to hear it. 3 stars.

PS I'm not sure why anyone would have a problem with the unlikely nature of the mirror universe taking the form it has when "Parallels" clearly shows that every possible combination of events is being played out in an infinite number of universes. It then becomes a certainty that this mirror universe HAS to exist in the form it does. It might be a story-writing cop out, but it seems internally consistent to me.
John - Sun, Nov 29, 2015, 12:51pm (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

Back to the premise for the new series, I suspect that it will not be anything that we are discussing here, but I hope that it is nonetheless something interesting.

As for what it would include if I were God-Emperor for a day (sorry mixing SF universes there...):

- Need to get it out of the Alpha Quadrant. I've seen enough of the Klingons, etc. Keep them in the series as background races and have them occasionally show up and get referenced... but we need new blood for new stories.
- A problem with the old Trek series was that the Federation was too large and technologically strong. There weren't enough challenges to the protagonists short of vast alien empires attacking the Federation. I say send it to another galaxy. Say, a wormhole to the Magellanic Clouds? The protagonists need to work under material and technological limitations.
- I would like to see the Klingon and Romulan Empires overthrown by their subject peoples between the end of the old series and the beginning of the new. I mean really, these empires probably brutally suppressed a lot of races that should be free.
- It would be very surprising if the series was not serialized. All the best new series are, and that is a good thing.
- The crew of the new ship should have some interior conflict. I would hope for a conflict that made sense and that would never be completely resolved. Call it Spock and McCoy II, albeit with a 21st Century Twist.
Dom - Sun, Nov 29, 2015, 12:41pm (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

I think the question isn't serialization vs. episodic, but rather how much do you want character development and larger plot lines. It's extremely hard to tell a big story in a 1 hour TV episode. When DS9 initially introduced the Dominion War, Berman wanted it to be a six-episode arc, but the DS9 writing team insisted that you can't have a war of that magnitude in just 6 episodes. And they were right. The Dominion War is a richer story because it had time to breath and had time to allow characters to react to events over time. That's the benefit of serialization.

The drawback of serialization is that it loses focus. It's much easier to focus on a particular theme, idea, or character in a 1 hour chunk than it is over 10-20 separate episodes. TNG was at its greatest when an episode focused on a particular Big Idea and really ran with it (Darmok, I Borg, etc). Sometimes, I feel that in heavily serialized shows like Game of Thrones, individual characters and ideas get sacrificed to the overarching story. Each episode is more about moving pieces on the board than focusing on something important.

Something like the first 4 seasons of the new Doctor Who might work well, which generally has standalone episodes, but a larger theme or plot thread throughout each season.
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