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Rikko
Wed, Jan 22, 2014, 11:16am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Price

You know, I have this rule of thumb that if I don't recall much of an episode after a while it means the episode was bad.

And I don't remember much about this...

The "romance" of Troi and the disposable guy of the week must have been laughable, but I do remember he was like a selfish version of her.

I agree with William B when he says Troi didn't have to make a hard choice in the end. Since most of the TNG characters hold such pure values, going the moral way is a given. What we see it's a faux hard choice.

What's always more intestesting to see is morally grey stuff like what Worf did just one episode prior.
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Rikko
Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 10:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Enemy

I really liked this one!

Most of what I wanted to say was already said by William B (Great analysis, btw!). I particularly liked the contrast between the Geordi and Worf stories. While one group survived and moved forward by collaboration and trust, the other one ended badly because the hate got the better of them.

And Picard proved to be a fine diplomat.

Btw, as SkepticalIMI said, the Romulans are the "enemy" the series needed (for all the reasons he described and I agree) , specially considering the good bunch of episodes with Romulan material from now on. It's definitely much better than their S1 introduction and with episodes like this I can finally understand how much of a threat they are to the Federation.

"We are back" and then fade to black wasn't enough. On the other hand, this kind of cold-war tactics are just awesome.
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Rikko
Thu, Jan 9, 2014, 11:09am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Booby Trap

@ Paul: You're right! I forgot about "The Arsenal of Freedom"! Geordi was one of the main characters there. And to think that was my favorite episode of the first season. Oh, well, it's been a while.

What I meant by "Breakthrough" was an episode that highlights a particular character for the first time, not necessarily followed by his/her own personal background history. And those eps usually showcase their motivations and character quirks.

That's why I mentioned those S1 episodes for Riker, those were the first to let you know he was something more than just the second in command.

And while it's true that Wesley didn't have much of a background (he was a very unbalanced character most of the time, and didn't sit well with the rest of the crew, imo), most solutions for S1 problems came from him and that established something important: He's a boy genius. If we like that or not it's another mater entirely, hah.


Oh, and I can't comment on those episodes from upcoming seasons you mention, since I'm just at mid S4 at this point in time. Although, I've heard A LOT about Sub-Rosa.
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Rikko
Wed, Jan 8, 2014, 4:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Booby Trap

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think this is Geordi's breakthrough episode, and by now it was long overdue because the most important characters of the crew already had one.

IIRC Picard's was "The Battle" (S1 Ep9), Data's "Datalore" (S1 Ep 13), Worf had "Heart of Glory" (S1 Ep 20),Riker's was probably "Haven" (S1 Ep 11) or maybe "Angel One" (S1 Ep 13), both terrible episodes but he was the main character there, although the first good one was "11001001".

Wesley had his as early as in "The Naked Now" (S1 Ep 3) and during most of the first season. For Troi is much harder to tell, maybe "Haven" with Riker, but I'd say "The Child" (S2 Ep 1) was her breakthrough.

When it comes to main cast of yore, Tasha Yar's was Code of Honor (S1 Ep 4) I think; and Pulaski's was "Unnatural Selection" (S2 Ep 7), imo, first episode getting to know her well.

The only character that took a long time to get one of those was Dr. Crusher, with "Remember Me" (S4 Ep 5).

.....................

Now, I really liked this particular episode. I only stopped following the technobabble very close to the end, but for most of the episode it sounded like something that makes sense, hah.

As for the rest, you've said it all already :)
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Rikko
Tue, Sep 3, 2013, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Bonding

All I want to add to the families aboard the Enterprise dilemma is that it makes for a more lively ship, and it's a good excuse as to why there always seem to be new Starfleet people you've never seen before or sudden patients for Troi, etc.

Now, I share the general feeling of William B on this one. I think the plot was fairly ok until that point when the ghost appeared. That was just dumb.

Worf was pretty convincing as a guy experiencing some sort of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but the boy lacked expressions. I can understand feeling a bit numb, but instead of that it felt like the guy simply wasn't expressing himself enough. That's not good acting.

So, I want to discuss what I think it's the main issue with this: The guest actors don't have enough time to develop their characters. Just one episode doesn't cut it. It's not totally their fault. They only have some 20 to 30 minutes to "shine" and we'll never see those faces again. I doubt the directors and writers give them much attention and orientation.

Just think how much time the main cast needed to feel right in their roles. They spent a good part of two entire seasons experimenting and adjusting their personalities the entire time.

There are a lot of bad actors here and there; after all, John De Lancie's Q is wonderful from the start; but even the worst of them all could get better if TNG didn't have such a "use it once and destroy" mentality.

The standalone nature of most TNG episodes works fine if you want different stories and a sense of wonder each episode at a time, but it has some unwanted effects like this serious problem with guest actors.

Anyway, that's my take on this. What do you guys think?
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Rikko
Sat, Aug 31, 2013, 1:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers

Ugh! now I know how Trajan felt about "The Measure of a Man". An episode that's otherwise fine and praised by others is completely ruined by the fact that it goes against stuff you've been studying for a while now. And I don't mean the religious thing.

It's the anthropology aspect of it what drives me crazy.

First, did you guys noticed that we wouldn't have a problematic situation if that accident at the observation installation didn't happen? So, it seems to be ok to spy on other civilizations just because they are less technologically advanced. Great. They are studying them like they were a bunch of animals.

Second, that underlying concept of linear evolution. The Federation feels the need to study the Mintakans because they are thought to be representative of a former state of their own evolution history. Oh, really? Why does it have to be that way? The Mintakans aren’t a transparent window to the past like the federation thinks they are. This is an almost pure XIX century anthropology mindset (early XX being generous). Now, I’m aware this is something more or less present all the time in TNG, but it never took central stage until now. And sure, we’re talking about a show that’s more concerned with human drama and sci-fi than being anthropologically correct, but I can’t help myself here.

Now, even if I ignore that issue, this episode still doesn’t work to me. The guest actors are a bit stiff, and the events seemed to develop far too quickly to feel convincing. We move from first contact to religious fervor in 20 minutes. Plus, the only real good scene in my eyes is Picard saying that speech right at the end; but that’s a huge throwback to season 1 with episodes such as “Justice”.

Jammer rating seems about right to me.


Edit. - On religion: I don't see anything wrong with Picard's actions in the context of this episode alone. Maybe his line of thought is a bit anti-religion but he couldn't be more right about the importance of not being called a God.

Picard is a fine guy and he wouldn't abuse that sudden position of power, but any other guy has the potential to enslave the whole Mintakans civilization. What he did was the best course of action given the situation at hand.

Plus, he only has one episode to get it right, hah.
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Rikko
Tue, Aug 13, 2013, 10:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

Well, I have to politely disagree with all of you guys.

I didn't love this episode, but didn't hate it either. It's funny, because I don't have many complaints about it. It's just left me feeling a bit apathetic.

The acting was fine, the plot was revealed slowly and the story is pretty cool but at that time I was coming from two terrible TNG seasons, and that hurt my perception of the episode.

Instead of looking at all those good points you mentioned (the responsibility of being super powerful yet a pacifist) all I saw was yet another god-like creature of the week. Q is my favorite among them, but there were oh, so many "Gods" that didn't work after him: The skin of evil, the nebula of energy in "Lonely Among Us", the sentient cube at certain episode which name I can't remember, etc.

When this episode's guy revealed the truth my line of thought was like "Oh, so he's like a God...again. And he killed an entire race I never heard anything about. Ok. Moving on, next episode".

I'll try to keep an open mind and re-watch it sometime later, now that I've become a Trek fan. Back then I wasn't.
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Rikko
Wed, Aug 7, 2013, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

I only liked the Picard bits on this one. I wanted to like Data's part but the acting of everyone but him was real bad. If we got better actors, then it'd have been one hell of an episode since Data ended up learning a lot.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong but I think this was the first time that Picard actually acted like "The Captain"(tm). He have just beaten the Sheliaks at their own game, and enjoyed every bit of it.

Back then, I thought Picard became a smart ass, but it was in fact him becoming a stable character with a defined personality. Totally different from S1's Picard, that'd have surrendered at the first five minutes.
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Rikko
Sun, Jul 28, 2013, 11:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Evolution

You guys have made some excellent points, particularly Matthew Burns and William B, you said like 90% of what I wanted to say! And a lot more that I didn't even think about, hah.

Still, since I'm not a big fan of baseball, during that scene when Dr. Stubbs imagines the game, I just felt bad for him. He was a poor little guy, all alone, a "tragic figure", who only lived for his work.

I can clearly see the parallels with a future Wesley if he continues to be just a brilliant nerd, and reading the notes from the episode (at Memory Alpha) it seems that was the writers intention all along.

Needless to say, the human part was far more interesting to me than the "nanites" issue. I loved Wes confessing to his mother that he must have made a terrible mistake. Things like this from now on, makes him a more relatable character than the perfect boy he was these last two seasons. He'll also become a more integral part of the crew, as his oncoming friendship with Data and Geordi will tell.

Crusher's return took a time to get used to, I was really enjoying the character of Dr. Pulaski, even when the actress really started to deliver some flat acting in the last few episodes of S2. Diana Muldaur looked bored, maybe because she knew that was it for her.

Now, the new uniforms were so much better, the actors looked more comfortable on them. It was as much as improvement for the whole cast as Riker's beard for his character back then in S2. We never got rid of the Picard Maneuver, but that's part of his charm, isn't it?
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Rikko
Mon, Jul 22, 2013, 9:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Shades of Gray

I'm with everyone when they say "Shades of Gray" is a bad episode, but I don't think it's the worst ever. The fact that's the season finale is far worse than the episode itself.

Things must have been a real disaster back then, or else they'd have changed places with "Peak Performance".

Now, time to look at the whole season: Overall, I think it was a bad season. But, you have to remember that S1 was terrible, instead. So, this is an improvement!

Now, what makes S2 better than the first season is a mix of a couple of great episodes and more subtle progress.

Great episodes: "A Matter of Honor", "The Measure of a Man", "Time Squared", "Q Who". And both "Peak Performance" and "The Emissary" deserve a special mention, imo. I already talked about these eps in their respective pages.

And when I say subtle progress I mean better acting: everyone is much more relaxed, lines are starting to come out naturally; and characterization is becoming more stable.

We are just about to see the show taking new heights next season, and no small part of S3 success was thanks to the solid foundation S2 left before.
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Rikko
Sat, Apr 27, 2013, 8:05am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Peak Performance

Very, very good episode. One of my favorites of Season 2. Without "The Measure of a Man" and "Q Who" this would have been the very best of S2. And I have to agree with you all, guys: Even Wesley was cool, the overall quality was good, Data was fantastic and somehow Peak Performance prepared the ground for Season 3's finale.

Only two things bothered me: At first sight Kolrami was a bit too alien for my tastes, but I got used to him fast. At this point in the series, I was still worried about weird alien designs, as it usually meant bad episodes.

And the other thing is a bit bigger: The Ferengi. I don't think they needed to be there. It's a shame TNG came out way before the "Slice of life" genre was popular. Some episodes, like this one and (much later) Data's Day, are better off without a big evil lurking around or your classic Urgent Conflict Of The Hour(tm).

Still, this was a neat TNG moment and a Season 2 highlight. I bet everyone wanted this one to be the last of S2 because...
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Rikko
Fri, Apr 12, 2013, 11:31am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Emissary

Actually, I liked this one A LOT more than Jammer.

Maybe it's the context of the episode, and I don't mean the story within "The Emissary", but the episodes that preceded it. After 3 long hours of "We're far from home", crazy sex-driven Lwaxanas and lame irish stereotypes I was ready to embrace any resemblance of a good story. And this was the ok story I was looking for: Character development and a brand new interesting Klingon.

What's not to like? The execution was a bit cliched and bad, yes, but they were aiming for something that could change the way you looked at Worf forever. That's a lot more fun than the menopause issues of the Trois.

The only part I could do without is the "Klingon lost in time" story. As soon as they woke up, they should have contacted the Empire for feedback and that's it, problem solved.

@ William B: Just another thoughtful analysis of yours :) I'm starting to like reading your comments, I never gave so much thought to early episodes, so it's cool to read stuff that sometimes makes more sense than the actual episodes we're discussing, hah.

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Rikko
Tue, Apr 9, 2013, 4:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Manhunt

Ugh, I hate episodes about Lwaxana Troi.

It's like the Ferengi effect: Characters could get a bit better or at least tolerable after a few times, but their stories are always so bad.

@ Paul C: I don't remember Data's laugh :( But I remember the conversation with Lwaxana, that scene and Worf's "What a handsome race" were the only really fun bits of the episode.

@ Xaaos: By definition, everything in Data is artificial, hah.

Nah, but I get what you mean.

@ William B. : Because it was played as a comedy I don't see a problem with this, just your typical situation with characters acting dumb or otherwise they wouldn't be able to fill the hour with this.
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Rikko
Tue, Apr 9, 2013, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

William B: So, we come back closer to Jammer's original score, hah.

Talking about drafts, this script should've spent more time in the oven, for sure. I feel like they had two half-baked ideas, each one feasible to be expanded into their own standalone episodes: One pseudo-comedy ep about the "Irish" people, as bad as that'd have been; and another episode in full serious mode with the hyper-tech clone society. Maybe that last one had the chance to be about something interesting.

Alas, that never happened. What we got was a mix of two lacking premises with the subtlety of a moving train.
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Rikko
Fri, Apr 5, 2013, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

@ William B: Jammer has a point, though. While I do think the episode was set up to arrive at the conclusion you're saying, it was the way they handled it that made it feel cheap and as far as they wanted to go because the hour was, indeed, over.

What a mess. Half funny, half serious, all S2 bad.
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Rikko
Tue, Mar 26, 2013, 8:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Samaritan Snare

"We are smart"! The Pakleds are some hilariously stupid race, aren't they?

That part with them was the kind that's so bad it's good, and totally overshadowed the real good stuff with Picard and Wesley.

You said it guys, quotability is off the charts!

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Rikko
Thu, Mar 21, 2013, 10:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Q Who

Wonderful episode. As xaaos said, it's probably this season's best.

It is funny now, my first reaction to it was negative. I wasn't very conviced by the episode and when Ginan started talking about the evil aliens that destroyed her world I was ready for yet another disposable alien of the week.

But...the BORG, the B-O-R-G! They were just awesome and I didn't mind their suits, sure they'd get better but it's still light-years ahead of most early TNG designs (The Ferengi, anyone?)

And, of course, Q is great. He always is :)
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Rikko
Sun, Mar 17, 2013, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

I was a bit put off by Sarjenka's vivid orange color, but other than that Data-Atomic Tomato Girl's relationship was the crux of Pen Pals.

Wesley was still "S1 Annoying Wesley" at this point, so I didn't particularly like him.

It was fine for me, but nothing special.
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Rikko
Tue, Mar 12, 2013, 1:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Icarus Factor

This is more like 2 stars for me.

I'm with Eric when he says "Wow, that sucked". It was a slow and contrived show.

I think they had some good ideas going on. The whole thing with Riker's not-so-perfect family was nice, and discovering that Worf is more "sensitive" than expected is fine.

But the execution was very bad. The whole thing feels so fake. "Anbo-jitsu" looks like anything but a real sport, or game, or anything remotely believable. And Worf's ritual wasn't that much better, either.

At least there were some funny parts. Like when Data tries to cheer up Worf and he gets a "BEEEGOOOONE!...sir" as an answer.
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Rikko
Mon, Mar 11, 2013, 10:09am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Time Squared

Well, I liked 'Time squared' and I 'd like to consider it one of the highlights of season 2. It has nothing to do against better eps in the same line like 'Yesterday's enterprise', thought.

But, Jammer is right when he said this ep comes so early that feels different, intriguing and even good. After season 3 this would have been quite boring.

I particularly liked the not-so-happy ending, music and Picard vs Picard action.
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Rikko
Mon, Mar 11, 2013, 8:38am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Royale

I'm surprised by the number of positive reactions to this. I find 'The royale' to be somewhat boring and after the teaser I remember thinking :oh, no. Random stuff again.

My interest was lifted a bit when they found out it was all part of a novel and how they managed to get out. But, most of the episode was slow and the guest stars were bad.

@TDexter: That's a magnificent analysis! Never thought of TNG that way.
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Rikko
Mon, Mar 4, 2013, 10:01am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Contagion

This was fun, not as much as with "The Measure of a Man", but still. I liked the last third the most, and it's actually the only part I remember off-hand.

I can cut them some slack when it comes to computer technicalities, since the mainstream PC market was fairly recent back then and I don't think the idea of a backup was so "natural" for the audience. Of course, I'm guessing from stuff I've read and what I can make out of that period, since I was just a few years old back then.

Even in the late 90s (When I got into Pcs) backups weren't that common because big hard drives were a luxury.

Anyway, one last thing regarding "Contagion". On my comment of S1's finale I said the Romulans wouldn't appear until S3, but I seem to have forgotten this particular episode. Even then, they weren't central to the plot here, so maybe that's why I didn't recall them to begin with.


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Rikko
Mon, Mar 4, 2013, 8:45am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Dauphin

What really kills "The Dauphin" for me it's the bug-eyed monsters, was it really necessary? I guess the point was to show Wesley's point of view to the audience. Something like "what you thought it was pretty, it's actually nasty and scary inside". Still, it would have been better without that "metaphor".

Even then, I liked Wesley in this episode. All in all, it makes the boy genious all the more human. I think it was a first then, Wesley being proven wrong about something.

@ Xaxaos: That was some hilarious stuff, probably the best part of the episode. Worf was really into it.

@ Mike: What you say was exactly the same problem I had with Wesley Crusher during the first season. Everytime he saved the day, the rest of the crew must act like utter idiots to compensate, so Wes was like the only working mind there. It didn't feel natural at all.

But I'd say he got a lot better as a character starting from this season. I couldn't buy him saving the crew in "The Naked Now", but I can see Crusher being a friend of Geordi since both of them are huge engineering nerds.



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Rikko
Sun, Feb 24, 2013, 9:52am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Measure of a Man

What a wonderful episode!

@ Trajan: I don't want to beat a dead horse, but I think you're being too hard on this ep for something it isn't. TNG is not trying to be 'law and order in space'. It's always about the bigger questions.

I can suspend my disbelief with stories like this, specially when I compare 'The measure' to total fantasy wrecks like the black pond of tar of 'skin of evil' or the many energy life -form from countless episodes.

Still, I wont deny that the lack of crew for a trial of this gravity was hilarious. The production staff must have been in dire straits during this season.
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Rikko
Tue, Jan 22, 2013, 7:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: A Matter of Honor

@ Adam: Yep, I agree that there's a quality bump that starts off with "A Matter of Honor" and we can enjoy some of the best episodes of early TNG.

If the whole series was like a long movie, I was half-asleep at this point, and "A Matter of Honor" and particularly "The Measure of a Man" were the first signs that this film was something worth watching.

@ William and Xaaos: The mess hall and the "Surrender" scenes are just great! This was the antithesis of "Code of Honor". Where the latter was a racist, stereotypical and boring ep, this was smart, fun and promoted the best values of TNG.

When Riker demands the Enterprise to "surrender" he is using Klingon's laws, instead of the Federation's, we haven't seen that very often until that point in the series. And the solution ends up well for both parties, even when he received a punch for being a very clever smartass.

Really great stuff.

@ Jammer: I can't stress this enough, your writing style is fantastic.

This single line, for example: "The beauty of "A Matter of Honor" is its ability to find common ground between these divergent characters through universal qualities like food, humor, and self-integrity."...is a piece of review art. Simple, beautiful and to the point.

I wish I could write my own reviews like that =D
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