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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 12:11am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Where Silence Has Lease

This episode is even worse than I recall.

Almost a decade later, I agree with everything the poster named Damien wrote. This is awful.

Seriously, I'd rather watch "Angel One" again. At least watching Trent spritzing himself with perfume is funny.

P.S. -- That was seriously the worst intro to an episode in "Next Gen" history.
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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Wed, Jan 17, 2018, 12:05am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: The Child

Better than I remembered, though it's mostly the outer edges that save the show.

At the core, it doesn't work. There's simply not enough Troi/Ian time for there to be any emotional payoff at the end.

However, "The Child" definitely shows they've thought some things out from Season 1. I like how the changes are presented with little fanfare or exposition.

And I may be the only "Next Gen" fan who liked Dr. Crusher and Dr. Pulaski. I wish they had been on a show or two together.

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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Tue, Jan 9, 2018, 1:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Heart of Glory

Forgot to comment on this one. I think it's a worthy first entry into the pantheon of Worf/Klingon episodes.

And I liked seeing that the alliance with the Klingons was a very shaky one. Makes a lot of sense.
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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Tue, Jan 9, 2018, 1:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Conspiracy

Count me in the camp of folks who liked it. Provides some tense counterbalance to some of the sillier outings in the first half of season 1.
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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 7:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

More thoughts on this:

This is going in the opposite direction many would like, but this could have actually made a good two-parter on which to end the season.

"Past and Future, Part 1":

Opens like it did. Picard away at a conference. Enterprise waiting for rendezvous with Picard in five days. They find the derelict ship. It's been damaged in a meteor shower that the Enterprise easily passed through.

Data and Worf go over to the ship. It's going to break up in hours, so urgent decision is to be made.

They beam over four containers and unfreeze four people. Get a scene with Dr. Crusher with the containers and how to do this we didn't see before.

We get the same three we had before plus a young, overeager dreamer who had himself frozen without even having an illness. He is a geeky, overeager, brilliant type (think a variation of early Dr. Bashir on DS9) who was convinced he'd see other species in space, etc.

Crew is actually much more thoughtful and careful about how to handle them this time (giving something truly useful for Troi to do with her psychology and abilities), and each survivor kind of "attaches" to one of the crew.

-- Data (and to some degree Dr. Crusher) and the musician (who is still homespun but has more backstory as a country musician who was riding high but crashing in his career and started drinking, etc.)

-- Riker and the young overeager guy (Riker sees something of himself in the guy and is actually enjoying the four people in this version).

-- Troi and the sad family woman.

-- Worf and the financier, who sees more of himself in Worf than the 24th century humans. And Worf starts to respect his more combative view of life.

The first two-thirds of the episode is about their adjustment, etc. The Enterprise heads off for a Starbase, knowing they have enough time to get there and back and meet Picard.

About two-thirds of the way through, we see Picard for the first time at the conference. He expresses he's getting bored and ready to get back to the Enterprise (to some other captain) and glad its mostly over with just four days to go. He and she then get the urgent news about the Neutral Zone attacks from an admiral. Both captains want to go but the admiral says they'll send only the Enterprise. Other captain half-jokingly complains Picard and the Enterprise get all the fun.

Picard contacts Enterprise. They must immediately divert away from Starbase and pick him up ASAP in shuttle. From there, they'll go to Neutral Zone.

The foursome learn about this and are: anxious (woman), pissed-off (financier), musician takes it in stride and the overeager guy is naively excited about seeing Romulans and is too young to take in the gravity of the situation. They don't like being kept in the dark about the diversion.

Picard meets up with team, they do debriefing on threat and Picard learns about the foursome. He's annoyed and says keep them out of his way. Troi says they are worried and he meets them briefly. Picard has the argument with the financier while Worf listens and sees both sides.

The remaining Neutral Zone bases are being evacuated when possible, and a freighter will meet just long enough with the Enterprise for the frozen four to beam over to the freighter, which is headed back the Starbase in Federation space.

Then, at the close of the episode, they hear the frantic call for help from the freighter before they disappear. Their static-laden last words implicate the Romulans. End of Part 1.

"Past and Future, Part 2":

Open on the bridge of a Romulan ship. They are investigating the disappearance of their bases on their side of the NZ. First Officer is sure it's the Federation at work. Captain isn't so sure and says they will investigate further. FO is clearly not happy but naturally has to go along. Captain: "If we go to war, I want to make sure we chose the right enemy."

Then we flip back to the Enterprise with a more tense discussion that we had before. Worf and Riker wanting to take a more offensive approach. Geordi and Data are more cautious. Troi asks probing questions of both sides. Meanwhile, the four survivors contemplate their fates alone, wishing they had more info.

Then the Romulan ship and the Enterprise both get another brief, crackly distress call from the last remaining Fed outpost. Romulan FO thinks Federation is attacking its own outposts to set a trap for the Romulans. Captain, again, isn't so sure.

On Enterprise, another debate speculating about whether it's Romulans and tactics to use. Worf and financier have longer scene about Khitomer.

Romulan ship and Enterprise converge at the outpost. Overeager guy and financier sneak up to the bridge for a longer, tenser face-off scene that comes closer to a weapons exchange than original episode did (with FO on Romulan ship attempting to fire a weapon. His captain kills him before the order is executed). Financier guy makes the observation about the Romulans that helps in the face-off while overeager guy witnesses the downside of space travel.

Ends with the four frozens having one last talk with their Enterprise buddies as musician gives a little concert before getting new transport to Earth: Troi sends sad woman off to see her progeny. Riker encourages overeager guy to study and maybe apply to Starfleet. Worf and financier would like to meet again as they both adapt to worlds not their own. Musician sees hope for new career from Crush and Data and no longer tempted by booze, etc.

Episode ends with crew speculating about the frozen four's new lives on Earth and if they'll adjust and the new reality of their own future lives: A Romulan Empire no longer in dormancy. "Whatever the future holds, our lives, just as theirs, have become a whole lot more complicated."
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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 1:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

I think the concept of this episode is fine. The execution was flawed, mainly in the script. They had some very odd/dismissive/haughty reactions from the crew toward the derelict ship and the three people aboard. Examples:

-- Riker being dismissive of the "space junk" or whatever he called it. They are explorers and usually relish the thought of an encounter with history or any mystery.

-- Picard being so dismissive of them altogether and seemingly think it fine to have just let their ship break up with no chance of revival.

-- Grouping all three of them together as terrible examples of humanity. The woman didn't do anything but naturally be shocked and sad. She didn't even know that she would be frozen. Under the circumstances, I think she behaved admirably. The musician was overly homespun and country-ass, but otherwise he was reacting quite well to the situation. The only prick of the three was the financier, but he actually had some valid points himself.

I'm not sure why they chose to throw in those random lines from the crew and take that approach. I think they could have achieved the same level of tension without the Enterprise crew being so cold and dismissive to their plight.

As for the Romulan angle, HURRAY! The Ferengis were a flop and the Klingons somewhat neutered, so FINALLY some adversaries worthy of the name.

I thought it was a great note to end the season with considering it wasn't an actual cliffhanger but more of a foreshadowing episode: "Our lives just got a whole lot more complicated," as Picard said.

This and "Conspiracy" gave me hope for a better Season 2, and it was delivered.
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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Thu, Dec 28, 2017, 11:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: We'll Always Have Paris

Again, random observations (I'm too addled to pull together a coherent review):

One: Michelle Phillips is lovely and deserved a better outfit than that loose metallic number. Also, I'm not sure I buy her as Picard's type, though.

Two: I wish we actually had more Beverly / Paul moments. As the more scientific members of the little quadrangle of love, they actually shared something Jean Luc and Janese didn't. I wish that could have been worked into the plot more. In fact, writing this, I wonder why they didn't make him a doctor, too, and have this be a medical experiment gone bad vs. a physics experiment. That would have added another layer to this.

Three: Yes, as time travel episodes go, it was a bit simplistic. But threat was great. And that leads me to No. 4.

Four: They got really lucky that this could be fixed with no real damage. But why would they just leave the Manheims to start right back where they started, giddy at the thought of screwin' with time some more as well as each other?

Bottom line: Nothing great, but it added to the general tapestry of the show, and I'm glad "Next Gen" devoted some time to backgrounds, family, personal history, romance. I like the variety. Not every episode can or should be epic. That said, I'm glad they didn't do this kind of show too often, either. Over the sweep of seven seasons, they had a decent balance on that.

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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Thu, Dec 28, 2017, 10:34am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

Even with the flaws, this was a big episode for the "Star Trek" franchise. The original series never killed a main character, and you knew they wouldn't. It was always "red shirts." So you knew Kirk and company were never really in jeopardy. That always took much of the tension away.

But with "Skin of Evil," now we know a regular on the cast member can be killed off. And it can happen in a flash. At the beginning of an episode. Even though they never did it again on "Next Gen," it was always in the back of your mind that it was a possibility.

A few other disjointed thoughts:

-- Call me sappy, but I liked the memorial scene in the Holodeck. Tasha's closing remarks were rather inspiring and really helped define the best in each of the remaining characters.

-- I never thought her death was "an empty death" or one "without meaning." She died trying to rescue two Starfleet officers. What could be more heroic than that.

-- I was sorry to see Denise Crosby and Tasha go. We were just beginning to see the potential there, I think, in "Arsenal of Freedom."

-- However, without this death, we wouldn't have had one of the best episodes of the entire "Trek" franchise: "Yesterday's Enterprise."

-- Personally, I think this was Troi's best moment up to now, engaging the creature psychologically. It may have been a miscalculation to say "you have my pity."

-- My biggest problem with the episode is the same one I often have with these strange, powerful beings. LIke someone said, its powers (and weaknesses) seemed to be whatever the plot called for at that moment. It can transport the crew in and out of the shuttle, control them, etc., yet needs to a hitch a ride in a spacecraft?

And I wasn't enamored with the whole "skin" of evil concept. I wonder whether the whole thing would have played out better with a true human villain -- say a Hannibal Lecter type who had escaped a Federation prison. He could be hideously disfigured during the escape, and the episode could be called "Face of Evil."

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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Wed, Dec 27, 2017, 4:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Symbiosis

This is a decent episode if you just turn off your brain and let it flow over you. That's what I did last night. And except for the stunningly awkward Wesley/Tasha drugs chit-chat on the bridge, I was mildly entertained.

However, the more you think about the episode (and read the reviews noting plot holes on here), the more it just falls apart.

I think "Symbiosis" is best watched under the influence of a few bong hits (which I did not do) or some general post-Christmas, brain-tired malaise, which I did do.

As for Merritt Buttrick, that was very sad. In hindsight, you could see the effects of HIV on him already. I didn't pick up on it at the time. Like someone else said, if he had just a few more years in him, he might have made it to the era of effective antivirals. Poor guy may not have even been aware of his medical condition at the time.
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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Tue, Dec 26, 2017, 3:24pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Arsenal of Freedom

Good show. Great show by Season 1 standards.

The weakness was Logan and the way he was hostile when Geordi stayed and then hostile when Geordi left orbit. They should have written better and consistent motivations for challenging Geordi.

I liked the arms planet theme. I wish they had kept the two junior officers on the battle bridge around as extras for other shows or either had one of them not be human.

I loved Picard's gruff-on-the-outside-but-proud-on-the-inside order to Geordi to return command of the bridge AFTER he delivered the ship in one piece.
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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 1:04am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Coming of Age

I've always liked this one. It's OK-to-good, but more importantly, it's important.

It marked a first step, so to speak, in a much more sophisticated storytelling than we had on the Original Series. In "Coming of Age," we learn that what has happened will have a bearing on the present, and what's happening currently will have a bearing on the future. There was almost none of that on the OS.

Also, it's a good "Federation" episode as they slowly start to paint us a picture of this planetary union. We get to meet a Benzite. And look -- a Vulcan girl! And finally Starfleet Academy is just more than one sentence of conversational chatter.

The intensive questioning by Remick has the important function of binding the crew. And it's another step in making Wesley slightly more tolerable.

Finally, I think they did a nice job of setting up the "Conspiracy" episode with just the right amount of foreshadowing.

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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 12:24am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

Ugh. I left out an important word:

One: On the planet, she was practically dismissive about the Romulan situation. The very second the word "Romulan" comes into play, the drama on Angel One SHOULD take a back seat. PRIORITIES!

(In other words, it was unprofessional of her to get so wrapped up in the away mission that she missed the bigger picture).
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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 12:21am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Datalore

I don't have a particularly compelling reason for not enjoying the Lore episodes.

I loved Brent Spiner as Data, but I don't like his presentation as Lore, for one thing.

I think Lore just became tiresome as he continued to pop up time to time. I can't think of a single Lore episode that really drew me in, though as I continue watching these again one by one, I'll perhaps see one I like better.

Call me sappy, but the best "Data's Family" episode was the one where he created a daughter.

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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 12:14am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Haven

I think I have more patience and appreciation for Deanna and Lwaxana than most ST fans, so I was OK with this.

And I liked the effort to give these characters families and things to worry about besides alien threats and rips in space/time.
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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 12:07am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Last Outpost

Not a whole lot positive to say on the episode, but I liked the Ferengi ship design too.
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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Wed, Dec 20, 2017, 11:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Home Soil

Within the many episodes of "life forms we don't understand," this was a fair entry.

I'm OK with the actress who played the female terraformer. They wouldn't strike me as a particular lively, extroverted, animated bunch.

I'm on this kick of being driven crazy by what the crew knows and what it doesn't. They can know very specific things sometimes, and other times seem almost clueless about things they should know.

While they may not know the details of terraforming, Data and the landing team treated it like some kind of mysterious alchemy. For Pete's sake, terraforming in that century ought to be a pretty common branch of science.

But if nothing else, the episode gives us the classic line: "Ugly bags of mostly water." Clever touch to throw the "ugly" in there. By Season 1 standards, a pretty decent show.
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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Tue, Dec 19, 2017, 9:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: When the Bough Breaks

So I was sort of dreading this one and didn't have good memories of it. But it's not quite as bad as I remembered.

I really don't like the opening and the utterly stupid dialogue about the "legend of Aldea." I hate the way Riker even says the word, and after he waxes on and on about the legend, Tasha's reply is incredible: "What a wonderful fairy tale."

HONEY, you have already experienced the following on your short tour of duty:

-- An omnipotent being who froze you at a 21st century trial and who later put in you a "penalty box" when you balked at fighting "vicious animal things."

-- You witnessed a jellyfish-like creature rise from a planet and fly off into space (and turn its body into its own spaceship)

-- You screwed an android after getting a weird space disease.

-- You were on the Enterprise when Wesley's boyfriend, "The Travelah," sent your ship not only to another galaxy but also to a place where thought becomes reality.

-- You beamed down to a planet where some portal type dude from 500,000 years ago didn't realize it was dead but still had the power to immobilize your starship.

-- You had recreational sex with people who worship some kind of machine-being that's there and not there and who want to employ capital punishment for falling into flower beds.

-- You saw your captain beam out into a possessive energy cloud to join it for good-times exploration (or were you too busy not keeping two diplomatic delegations apart?).

And this is a "wonderful fairy tale" that's beyond possibility in your world? This is what you scoff at and can't possible believe? PLEASE. Except for the weird cat fight, the wedding party bickering and meeting up with some gals more dominant that yourself, Aldea is the most normal mission you've been on!

What horrible writing. Poor Denise Crosby. OK -- got that off my chest.

In concept, I'm down with the story: Hidden planet, needs children, takes them. The execution was typical Season 1 clunky in many places, but there were a few positives:

-- Wesley, for once, is tolerable and believable in his efforts as the leader of the kids (who were bad little actors for the most part).

-- I like the actual kidnapping sequence of the Aldeans sending the landing party back and immediately transporting away the kids (though I think they could have milked the shock factor of that better)

-- The scene at the end when they walk into the huge cavern area storing the Provider computer was really good! Nice work for 1980s FX.

I think if the Season 3 team had done this show, it could have been a good one.

P.S.: Brenda Strong is in it, who later was the voice of the dead woman on "Desperate Housewives."

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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Fri, Dec 15, 2017, 9:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Too Short a Season

I'm definitely out of step with most of Trekdom on this one.

I think the episode is fair heading toward good. I thought Clayton Rohner did a good job, and so did the woman playing his wife. Not riveting, but good.

The situation was serious and treated thusly. Whatever else you think about it, it spares you the awkward goofiness and vague multidimensional creatures that populated the first half of Season 1.

And I'm not why the de-aging angle is such a turn-off to so many people. I like stories involving rapid aging and de-aging. I think it's a great subject for sci-fi.

It's not "must-watch" Trek by any means. But I'm definitely more entertained by it than the average Trek fan.
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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Thu, Dec 14, 2017, 9:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: 11001001

If "Next Gen" had a greatest hits album, it would be on there. It's no "Inner Light" or "Best of Both Worlds" or "Yesterday's Enterprise," but it's a bona fide hit.

This is the first episode where they really pulled it together. I remember being thrilled back in the day, because after this episode, I knew they had it in them to deliver really good episodes. Even little scenes were done well like Tasha and Worf going off to the sports competition.

I liked the evacuation scenes and pulling into and out of the Starbase. I think the weak part was Minuette, but it was good enough.

I wish the Bynars had showed up another time or two. They were an interesting species.
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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Thu, Dec 14, 2017, 7:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

Clearly, not a good "Trek" outing. I don't dislike it as much as many fans do, but it's a bottom 25% episode. I'm actually not against the idea of episode in general. But the execution was Season 1 bad. Still, I was sufficiently entertained despite the many flaws discussed above.

I'll talk about Troi in this episode:

I think she stepped up her game a bit at the beginning. But toward the end, they wrote two really dumb things for her:

One: On the planet, she was practically dismissive about the Romulan situation. The very second the word "Romulan" comes into play, the drama on Angel One takes a back seat. PRIORITIES!

Two: At the very end, after they've cleared up the Angel One situation but still recovering from the virus, they warp off to confront the Romulans. And she's smiling and goofin'. Please. They are about to warp off to a much higher-stakes situation. It's not the moment for mirthy shared smiles.

Oh well, Troi will learn in about five more seasons to take these Romulans seriously.

P.S. -- I did LOL when Data was playing with the perfume bottle and then after the crew leaves the room, "Trent" comes in and gives himself a couple of squirts. Just a weird little moment that was cheesy but funny.

P.S. Two -- This show would have been dramatically more interesting if "Trent" was part of the package for a roll in the hay with Beata. I can legitimately see her insisting that Riker include her little man in the sexcapade. Alas, it was still the '80s.

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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Thu, Dec 14, 2017, 6:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Datalore

So this started out promising but falls apart as the show wears on. Plus, I just never took to Lore. And title of the show: "Datelore." Stupid.

Count me in with the chorus who felt like the adults were really dumbed down so Wesley could look good. Again. Ugh.

In some timeline, he was executed for violating that innocent flower bed on the Edo planet. I want to see that show.
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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Thu, Dec 7, 2017, 9:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Big Goodbye

I liked this better than I remembered liking it on first go 'round.

So we've had:

The Battle / Hide and Q / Haven / Big Goodbye

While none of these will go on to be even a Top 30 or even Top 40 episode, each in its own way, helped lay the groundwork of what's to come.

With "The Battle," we finally got a Federation vs. other corporeal space-dwelling beings episode. That became the bread and butter of Next Gen: Those Klingon / Romulan / Cardassian / Federation arcs and episodes.

With "Hide and Q," we got our first signal this series was actually going to do follow-up episodes and that what happened in previous episodes will possibly come up again.

With "Haven," we get a character-driven story. Our main players are being fleshed out with families and feelings and concerns that go beyond energy beings. It will make their encounters with the truly alien species all the more impressive.

With "Big Goodbye," we get our second technology driven episode, and our first one where we start to learn of the characters' interests and passions. More fleshing out.

To me, all four of these were rough drafts of better kinds of episodes to come.

All of these episodes are flawed, but they were a lifeline to a ST fan who was really beginning to despair that the show was going to be one bizarre, disjointed encounter after another with unfathomable, powerful beings.

P.S. May I mention my annoyance for this episode and the show in general and all Treks in general? These people are ALL OVER THE MAP when it comes to their understand of Earth culture. Sometimes, they seem to know the oddest, most detailed tidbits of history. Other times, they are baffled by broad swaths of Earth history anyone should know.

For instance, Worf was raised on Earth. Why would an "automobile" be a puzzle to him and more than a "chariot" would puzzle us? (Perhaps at the time, Worf's backstory didn't involve being raised on Earth).

They never really did get a dial on historical recollection by the characters.

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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Tue, Dec 5, 2017, 11:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Hide and Q

There were several aspects to this episode I liked, making it one of the best of season 1 up to this point:

One: Q's return gives us our first solid evidence this version of "Trek" is going to follow up on previous developments and characters.

Two: Good interplay between Picard and Riker. I think we learned more about what Jean-Luc is made of in the way he handled Qriker.

Three: The scene when they find the dead girl is good and helps us sympathize with Qriker. I'd be PO'd, too, about not saving her when I could.

This episode and "The Battle" before it gave me hope that the writers and producers had some structure and more sophisticated storytelling in mind for their new show.

On the downside, "vicious animal things." REALLY?

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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Mon, Dec 4, 2017, 1:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Battle

I agree with the general consensus here.

When I was first watching this back in the '80s -- and now rewatching from the start -- one thing I really liked about this episodes: no very powerful, vague life-form aliens. I think they are fine in small doses (this is sci-fi), but Season 1 start was heavy with them:

Farpoint: Q and the jellyfish creatures

Last Outpost: The Tkon portal

Where No Man Has Gone: Wesley's boyfriend, The Travelah

Lonely Among Us: Energy cloud being

Justice: Edo Overload that's there and not there

And then Naked Now and Code of Honor were just TOS throwbacks.

This was the truly the first episode that gave us something of a somewhat equal adversaries in corporeal form plot. It's the first one to give us a little of the lay of the land about the Federation and the Alpha Quadrant.

Back in the '80s, I was really beginning to despair that all Next Gen was going to be was an endless series of encounters with energy beings and things not there, etc. And for the foundation/base of the series, I like it when our guys in spaceships meet up with other guys in spaceships or their planets.

This episode had plenty of plot holes and weaknesses already discussed (including the ridiculousness of the Ferengi as Klingon replacements and the crew's very slow catch-on to what was going on), but it was to me the very first Next Gen episode that laid the foundation for how the series would usually work.

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Sarjenka's Little Brother
Wed, Nov 22, 2017, 7:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Lonely Among Us

Hiding in this bad episode were two good ones that would have made great Season 1 getting-to-know you episodes.

Episode One: "Prudence and Prejudice"

Goals of episode: 1. Give viewers a little snapshot of Alpha Quadrant/Federation. 2. Show how the crew handles conflict and diplomacy. 3. Have the crew examine their prejudices.

Synopsis: The Enterprise is sent to ferry delegates from Antica and Selay, two planets in the same solar system, to a peace conference on the planet Parliament.

The solar system lies near Federation space but is also near a part of space where the Ferengi have recently become more active, so it's strategically located.

The two planets fought a war more than 100 years ago when the Anticans achieved space flight and landed on the more primitive Selay. Since then, the Selay have also achieved space flight but are still behind the Anticans in technology. They've had a cold peace for almost 80 years but a new war is threatening to break out.

It's crucial to the Federation to make sure a firm peace is established so the Ferengi can't exploit a conflict so close to Federation space. (We can learn all that in briefing early in the episode with Data).

Here's where it gets interesting. The Anticans are very humanoid looking and get along great with Terrans, sharing many of the same attributes, culture and food. There's informal talk they'd like to join the Federation, and the Enterprise crew thinks that's a grand idea. The Selay are reptilian. They are aloof and demanding and eat disgusting things (to us). Also, Troi can't read them. She can only "feel a presence." They have no interest in joining the Federation and have only reluctantly agreed to the conference out of desperation because they are also practical.

Each side is accusing the other of acquiring weapons from the Ferengi to mount an offensive attack and the Selay say the Antacins are courting the Federation as well.

Troi, Riker and Picard have an initial meeting with both groups and have positive impression of the Anticans. The Selay meeting doesn't go as well. Troi meets with them alone a second time. Right after the second Selay meeting, Troi falls mysteriously ill.

Dr. Crusher believes she's picked up a type of venom from the Selay, which the Antacins subtly encourage. They even hint the venom was transmitted on purpose. After talking with the Anticins, Beverly administers a treatment but it has the opposite effect and sends Troi into shock.

(And that's our B-plot: Beverly frantically trying to save Troi's life and her guilt at making her worse, not better).

Meanwhile, hostilities mount between the Antacins and the Selay, and an Antacin is found dead and appears to have been killed by a Selay weapon. Tasha and Worf are assigned to security.

As the episode progresses, the Selay look more and more guilty and the Atacins make more inroads with everyone but Worf. He sees the Selay as noble and honest and admires their stark philosophy.

Eventually, a Ferengi vessel attacks the Enterprise, and it turns out it was a rogue Antacin delegate (and arms dealer) who has been working with the Ferengi to incite a new war. He sent coordinates to the Ferengi ship and was caught by one of the Selay. He attacked the Selay, who killed him in self-defense. The Anacin is also the one who infected Troi, and they also learn he learned the ability to block empathic probing from the Selay. (Worf is the one who figures all this out, with the help of Data).

Crusher almost loses Troi during the Ferengi attack, but the Selay leader helps her figure out the right antidote (using some of his own blood). The Ferengi attack is repulsed.

The Selay demand to turn back from Parliament because of the human prejudice, while the Antacin leader begs them to reconsider. They decide to work together toward a peaceful resolution on their own without Federation help or Ferengi interference.

Ends with staff meeting where Picard praises Worf for his prudence and admonishes himself and the others for letting their prejudices against a reptilian life form cloud their judgment and they must do better next time. (And in the B plot, Beverly goes through same thing making assumptions about Troi's medical condition).

With any luck, that paints a little picture of the political and cultural climate in the Federation, reinforces the Ferengi threat (such as it is), gives us some character growth and maybe gives you two species you might could bring back again.

I'll do Episode 2 later.
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