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Van_Patten
Wed, May 15, 2013, 4:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Coming of Age

With 'Home Soil' TNG turned round a shaky run of episodes since 11001100 and this episode continues that positive stretch. Again the episode has a dual plot. Whilst Wesley sits his entrance exam for Starfleet Academy, the Enterprise is visited by an Officer from the Inspector General's Office with a brief ' Find whatever is wrong on the ship'

With this kind of setup, much hinges on the Guest Actor coming in - fortunately Robert Schenkkan is sufficiently hostile to pose a genuine threat whilst not crossing the line into being ludicrous and the scenes where he interrogates the crew (especially the one with Data) are excellent.

As for Wesley, it might not be an exaggeration to say that he has been rather poorly served by many of season's one scripts - so it is a surprise to find one that uses him quite well. As Jammer says, this is probably the first episode (maybe Datalore?) where he isn't absurd because it emphasises his inexperience and callow nature. I enjoyed the scenes involving him and Mordock (John Putch)and the interaction between him and Worf show the growth in the latter character and might be the first time where he isn't merely 'the boy', at least from Worf's point of view.

A pretty good script by Sandy Fries, and (certainly in comparison with most of season one) Strong Direction by Mike Vejar add up to a strong episode overall - Agree with William B that this one merits 3 stars for me. An unexpected highlight and one that stands up quite well to repeat viewing.
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Van_Patten
Wed, May 15, 2013, 4:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: The Forsaken

The First appearance of Lwaxana Troi on Deep Space 9 - hardly one of fandom's most well-recalled characters, although I have to confess whilst she had her fair share of total clunkers:(Anyone want to watch 'Manhunt' or 'Cost of Living' - thought not!) - she could be at least tolerable, 'Haven' or 'Half a Life' whilst not series high points were at least watchable. This, whilst not a must -see episode actually holds up quite well.

The basic plot is two fold - a computer anomaly invades the station and various mechanical and computer problems ensue. Leaving aside the weakness of the technical issues, this really does betray a lack of imagination on the part of the writer - I appreciate the Static setting makes the kind of adventures TNG had difficult to replicate (And part of the brief was to make this a different show from its forebear) but it really didn't work, and comes across as more than a little tedious.

The secondary plot involves the visit to the station of four Alien ambassadors, amongst whom is Lwaxana Troi - these are assigned to Bashir by Sisko who then delights in the Doctor's obvious discomfiture. As mentioned by Jammer, unarguably the highlights are the scenes involving Barrett and Auberjonois which really work, giving us a good insight into Lwaxana's character. It almost seems superfluous to praise Rene Auberjonois but his performance is consistently amongst the highlights of the First Season. The opening scene:

'When did you join Starfleet?'
'Dopterians are distant cousins of the Ferengi. Since you couldn't read Quark, it made sense you couldn't read this charming fellow either'

are dialogue highlights from what is an otherwise inoffensive but largely forgettable episode. Agree with the 2.5 star rating. Some good character points but ultimately not one to linger in the memory.
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Van_Patten
Fri, Feb 8, 2013, 8:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Home Soil

This one was a bête noire of another great reviewer, Tim Lynch, who described it as having 'no redeeming features' - For once I'd disagree, and after the last two dreadful instalments, this is a welcome lurch back in the right direction.

The Enterprise is called to a Terrforming project whose Leader (according to Troi) is hiding something and that discovery may threaten the survival of the Enterprise!

This is a strange amalgamation of the good and bad. The concept is an intriguing one - a genuinely alien life form and although later CGI development make the effects of the 'Microbrain' Silicon based life form look quite quaint now, it's a genuinely interesting concept. The early scenes on the Terraforming colony are also quite interesting and well played as Data gets trapped and has to out think the mining laser which has already killed one of the Terraformers. The late Walter Gotell (General Gogol from the James Bond series) is a first rate guest star, and the other male Terraformer with a classic 80's mullet is also fairly competent.

However, the episode as a whole never really executes the concept as well as it could. The pacing, especially in the middle, sags, and the wooden performance of the Third Terraformer, who delivers every line with exactly the same intonation (although she is easy on the eye) hampers any sense of emotion. The end result seems a little too pat as well. However, it's an eminently watchable entry and one of the stronger episodes in the season. Most definitely much more than an 'Ugly bag of mostly water' - surely a highlight of dialogue from Season 1 - not without serious flaws but a big improvement on the last two instalments. 2.5 stars from me..
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Van_Patten
Tue, Jan 8, 2013, 6:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: When the Bough Breaks

Oh boy, it would appear that '11001001' was looking more and more like an isolated one- off. This episode really hasn't aged well. The basic premise, as Jammer says, is inherently ludicrous, although this episode seems to have attracted a significant number of defenders in the Comments here. I could take the point that the concept is an intriguing one but the implementation is dreadful.

Stumbling across the hitherto mythical world of Aldea, and the Aldeans want something the Enterprise will be extremely reluctant to give up.

Hoary, predictable and simplistic, I erred in my review of 'Too Short a Season' - this is, for me the low point of Season 1- thinking ahead to the remainder of the season, I can't quite think of anything this poor. The plot makes Wesley into the 'Mary Sue' , having the brilliant idea of 'maintaining the computer', and whilst I love Jerry Hardin as 'Deep Throat' in the X Files, here he fares badly, coming across as absurd in the role of potential 'villain'. The scenes following the children's abduction are pour rire, as the parents sit around apparently barely bothered that their kids have been abducted. No - Sorry, for me this is a definite turkey - Half a Star from me - though fortunately at least two of the next three episodes see the series turn in the right direction.
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Van_Patten
Fri, Jan 4, 2013, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: If Wishes Were Horses

Often derided ( not least by Jammer) as the weakest episode of Season 1, I must confess I wasn't exactly breathless with anticipation for this one, and let's not kid ourselves, it isn't up to the best things This series has done.

So the basic plot revolves around Spacial anomaly number 7 or 8 of the season (I really do think the writers needed more imaginative Macguffins but no doubt Effects budgets played a part) which gives people's imaginations form, the three main centring on O'Brien (Rumpelstiltskin), Bashir ( a subservient Dax) and Jake (Buck Bokai- imaginary breaker of Babe Ruth's hitting streak)

That's really all there's to it - because the jeopardy premise is so lacking, the episode really drafts by, with as Cal Corishev, rightly puts it, interaction between Guest characters ( you could call the fake Jadzia A guest) and the main ensemble never really hoping to rise above the inconsequential.

Nevertheless, it is not, for me the weakest of the season. In fact in star rating terms I'd agree with the two star rating. The highlights are the always Welcome Michael J.Anderson. (The Dancing 'Man from Another Place' in Twin Peaks) as Rumpelstiltskin and the final interaction between Sisko and Bokai (although it seems odd that the Aliens have never encounterd a Species with imagination before)- I also enjoyed the scene with the fake and real Dax and Bashir a lot.

So, largely inoffensive, but definitely better scripted and less trite than 'Q-less' and not as irritating as 'Move along Home' - In the bottom 5 of the season, certainly, but definitely not the weakest episode for me.
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Van_Patten
Wed, Dec 12, 2012, 6:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Too Short a Season

After the heights of the last Outing '11001001' odds are we were due a clunker and 'Too Short a Season' doesn't fail to disappoint. The plot such as it is is pretty well derivative of a dozen other shows and the episode rarely rises above the level of cliche. The Enterprise is called To a hostage crisis on Morden IV and Starfleet requests they take along the Admiral who negotiated the Original ceasefire on the planet, Mark Jameson (Clayton Rohner), although it quickly transpires that neither the situation nor he are what they appear to be.

This episode was for me, arguably the weakest of the season - very close run with 'Angel One' or 'Code of Honor', it tends to get overlooked when worst lists are being considered. But th olotmisnshot full of holes. Michael Pataki overacts dreadfully as Karnas and Rohner's performance, although improving somewhat when he sheds the 'Old Age' makeup is still pretty poor. With the two guest stars failing to impress, a weak, predictable plot, it would look to someone watching TNG fresh that the excellence of the previous episode was an isolated 'lucky strike' - Certainly the episode seems to go on interminably, and as a result merits a low score for simple boredom value alone.

For me, extremely weak and I'd strongly consider dropping it below the 1 star I believe it merits. I'll settle for that, though given what comes next.
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Van_Patten
Sat, Nov 10, 2012, 12:30am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Progress

DS9's inaugural season continues with an episode that when first watched, I must admit I found rather far-fetched, overly talkative and with, frankly little at stake to make one care about the outcome. Revisiting it now, I think I can safely say it holds up remarkably well.

First review we've encountered Elliott's argument in such a crystallised form so worth tackling it. Apparently DS9 subverts the Trek canon against the Other Series (Possibly against TNG) but it remains far better acted, and to be blunt much more interesting than Voyager ever managed in its first season that I think this critique is a little harsh.

In Progress, The population of a small moon is to be evacuated to provide power for Homes on Bajor and Kira finds herself in a dilemma regarding one holdout household.

In response to Carl Corishev, I can only offer two arguments -1/ The Federation, given Bajor's thinly veiled ambiguity as to whether Federation membership IS desirable (Witness Episode 19 and the Trilogy at the start of Season 2h is reluctant to give them the requisite technology?

2/ They fear a renewed Cardassians buildup as a result of them becoming too much of a 'donor' to the Bajorans - the critique observing the ridiculously small scale of the project's impact is a fair one.

That said, taking the episode with these caveats in mind, I found it very interesting. Nana Visitor gives her best performance yet (better than 'Battle Lines') and her scenes with Brooks are very believable. The performance of Brian Keith as Mullibok is also very good and the interaction between the Primary lead and the main guest is a highlight.
I did not find the B plot as irritating as Jammer and it highlighted the character development of Aron Eisenberg as well. Definitely an episode that needs to be watched carefully, but for me a highlight of the season, if not the best episode thus far in the series. 3.5 Stars from me.
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Van_Patten
Thu, Nov 1, 2012, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: The Storyteller

I can recall my first exposure to DS9 back in the mists of 1995 when the show first aired onbBritish network television, on Thursday nights. Due to my then job requiring me to work till 9pm in the evening, I would set up the VCR to record the episodes. One misstep saw the recording cut off the last three minutes of 'Babel' whilst a power outage caused me to miss 'The Storyteller' completely so I didn't watch this episode until about 3 years later, and it remains probably the episode in Season 1 I have seen the fewest times.

I agree with Jammer, much to my surprise this episode worked far better than on paper it should. I groaned outwardly upon seeing Varis (Gina Phillips) but her scenes with Nog and Jake worked surprisingly well. Although not the focus of the episode, the ever reliable Rene Auberjonois ( does he ever strike a wrong note?) is as good as ever.

The main highlight of the episode was that it marks the first real interaction between O'Brien and Bashir, a theme that would recur throughout the series run. Those scenes, from the opening in the runabout strike me as wholly on the money. I can well believe that O'Brien, being the enlisted, experienced engineer and all round 'fixer' would find Bashir's naïveté and enthusiasm intensely irritating, and although the story is extremely lightweight, Imfound my self enjoying it far more than I expected. As Carl Corishev points out, I think had the Voyager ensemble done this in season 1(I'd need to consult Memory Alpha to see if there is an equivalent, unless any Voyager stalwarts can help me out?), it'd have been rated a Turkey but the cast chemistry lifts this one into an unexpectedly strong 3 stars for me.
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Van_Patten
Thu, Nov 1, 2012, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

The season's halfway point (if you count Encounter as two episodes) and worth reflecting on how the season shapes up.

Of course, I doubt were the series shown now that it would have been picked up for another 13 episodes, let alone another 6 seasons, even with the benefit of the StarcTrek moniker. Looking at my ratings vis a vis Jammers, he seems a touch more generous, with only two utter clunkers in the season's first half, and two episodes above the 2.5 star middling/ mediocre bar. I was surprised given the opprobrium levelled at some episodes, how few poor episodes there were. Only three ('Code of Honour' , 'Lonely among us' and 'Justice' ) are below 2 stars, with the last five instalments all hitting 2.5 stars. Nevertheless, recurring middling fare probably wouldn't have saved the show now, but there's some promising signs.

Enter thus, the first ep of the season's second half, the notorious 'Angel One' which crashes the series back down to the depths. It is for the most part, fully deserving of the calumnies it receives. Jammer has listed the clichés and hallmarks of lazy writing that characterise the episode. Rewatching it did nothing for it. The sets look hokey, the acting is at best passable in the case of Karen Montgomery (Beata) and to be frank, poor in the case of Sam Hennings (Ramsey) and Patricia McPherson (Ariel) - the script s a real turgid mess - the story doesn't hold up to scrutiny fr any real time, and despite attempts to set up multiple jeopardy premises, the story fails to create enough tension. The egregious use of the Romulans as a plot device (flatly overwritten in the series's finale) also annoyed me.

The weakest episode since 'Code of Honour' and fully agree with Jammer on the 1 star rating. That only because of two even weaker entries subsequent to this which merit even lower ratings in comparison. A month after Christmas, this Turkey was still very much on the table.
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Van_Patten
Wed, Oct 31, 2012, 6:02am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Datalore

I agree with Rikko that this one is pegged slightly too high in terms of ratings. The Enterprise visits Omicron Theta, site of the Starfleet colony where Data was found, and discovers clues as to his mysterious origin.

Leaving aside the implausibility of this colony not having been thoroughly excavated and the Lore prototype evading discovery for all that time, the story is one of the better outings to this point. It utilises an old cliche (the evil brother) but it does, as Jammer suggess provide useful back story on Daa, and uses the skills ozone of the better ensemble members , Spiner so at least looks plausible.

However, the comparison Rikko makes with 'the Last Outpost' makes is very apt. I don't think the second haf of the episode is sunk by hokey gyrating and overplayed dialogue but the writers seem to have removed the main characters ( other than Wesley) brains for the 15 minutes or so that Lore steals his identity. The climatic scene with Lore and Data facing off is good, and as I say , Spiner who is this episode's real focus ( First time this season) is excellent but the glaring hole in the plot drops this, once more to 2.5 stars for me - Oh, look which episode's up next - Happy Days....
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Van_Patten
Sun, Oct 28, 2012, 8:18am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Big Goodbye

Again, am slightly more sympathetic to this oe than Jammer, but I agree it is very much a 'slow burner' and not in the sense of a 'Wire' episode either. Whilst on a mission to a diplomatic rendezvous with the Insectoid and notoriously punctilious Jarada, Picard chooses to enter the Holodeck world of Dixon Hill, but becomes trapped when the holodeck malfunctions due to a probe scan.

The obvious logical hole in such a plot device aside, and the fact that one probe can cause such potentially dangerous malfunctions meaning I question whether they would have commissioned the concept in the first place, this episode is very much one to appreciate the 1940s 'film noir' episode sets as opposed to the story which is, as Jammer says, all setup with relatively little in the way of payoff.

I Did enjoy the guest cast with one glaring exception. Lawrence Tierney as Redblock and Everyman Dick Miller as the News Vendor arguing with Data's revelation that DiMaggio's hitting streak would be snapped by the Clevland Indians are both excellent. Gary Armagnac and David Selburg as Detective Mcnary and Historian Whalen are also excellent. The one bum note is Harvey Jason as Felix Leech, whose ridiculous line delivery probably knocks half a star off this one!

I'm slightly torn here, as I recognise the story's inherent weakness but did enjoy both the sets and the Guest cast- the script's rather meandering nature again holds back what could have been a very strong episode. Nevertheless again a 2.5 star rating which continues a run of fair to reasonable eps. Sadly it isn't long before two of the most notorious clunkers in the show's history...
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Van_Patten
Sat, Oct 27, 2012, 10:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

Have to agree with Elliott on this one. For me, this is a straight 4 star episode. The basic premise is excellent- a race who as Picard says'are extending a hand' encounters the Enterprise but is unable to communicate, as although the Translator makes their language comprehensible to the Enterprise crew - the ideas are couched in a form which is incomprehensible.

This was, and still is, one of the best episodes of this or any season. Guest star The late Paul Winfield, superb in Star Trek 2, is pitch perfect here as Captain Dathon, the Alien willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of greater understanding between the two elope, and Patrick Stewart gives his customary excellent performance, thriving on having such a strong guest star. A must watch for anyone seeing TNG or indeed any Star Trek incarnation for the first time. As I say, Elliott and I haven't always seen eye to eye on some episodes but here he is spot on.
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Van_Patten
Fri, Oct 12, 2012, 8:14am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Battle Lines

Following an impromptu visit to DS9, the Crew take Bajor's Spiritual Leader Kai Opaka (Camille Saviola) through the wormhole and tragedy ensues.

Not sure I think this is as good as Jammer does. I found it seemed to drag, especially the battle scenes on the Moon. The opening, with Opaka visiting the station does promise much and I like Kira's reaction when given the details of her intelligence file (Odd how Dukat is not mentioned by name) - Indeed for me the various conversations involving Sisko/ Odo/Bashir and Kira in the Captain's Office are some of the most memorable parts of DS9's Freshman season.

The story goes somewhat off the rails in the second part of the story. As Jammer says, although it's high concept, the idea of 'perpetual war' where no one can die seems far-fetched. I confess to not recognising under the make-up the usually superb Jonathan Banks as Shel -La, but the script here doesn't do much to flesh him out. Unquestionably the highlight are the scenes between Nana Visitor and Saviola. I liked the Kira/ Opaka dynamic, and it's a shame they didn't return to this story later in some ways. (I'd argue Season 2's 'the Collaborator' is more about Bareil than Opaka) I've been critical of Nana Visito's performance but here she is in fine form, perhaps foreshadowing an even better performance in a few episodes time.

All in all, the interminability of the scenes involving the Aliens and the shakiness of the concept do undermine what could have been a season highlight. 2.5 stars for me.
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Van_Patten
Thu, Oct 11, 2012, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Vortex

Agree with William on this. I think you have gone a little too overboard on this one. God knows it's always desirable to see the excellent Rene Auberjonois in a starring role but I' m not sold on several of the guest performances.

Following a murder, the suspect, Croden is thrown in a cell and is revealed to be a wanted criminal. Odo must take him back, whilst evading the vengeful brother of the murder victim.

This is the first episode to tackle the issue of Odo's origins, and the narrative is fairly good at keeping is in suspense as to whether Croden (Cliff DeYoung) is merely lying to save his skin or is at least partially telling the truth. One wonders how much the writers of Early Season 3 looked at this episode before scripting it!

As always, Auberjonois is excellent, wrestling between his overriding conception of duty and finding out more about his origin. I think even my colleague Elliott would concede Odo's arc was strong throughout this series and this is strong character development. Whilst DeYoung is good, I was less impressed by Randy Oglesby as the Miradorn Ah -Kel, who gives a quite monodimensional performance.

That said, the diligence between Croden and Odo is good and the sets, as Jammer says look very impressive. A strong episode, although for me 3 stars only.
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Van_Patten
Tue, Oct 9, 2012, 5:14am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: The Nagus

Difficult to add much to the summary above. The first of what would become an annual Ferengi outing and this one works better than most, if not all of its successors, with the writers' predilections for these episodes culminating in the Only episode of the series that, 13 years after it finished airing, based on Jammers Review, I refuse to watch on principle!

The Nagus is very lightweight but does at least recognise that. It moves very quickly and, as mentioned the subplot does intertwine nicely with the main one (although the Ferengi must learn quickly if Nog goes from illiteracy to potentially going to Starfleet Academy in 2 years, but that could be nitpicking)

For the main plot, Armin Shimmerman gives a very strong performance. Also worthy of note are Wallace Shawn, as Zek, who is excellent, and also Max Grodenchik as Rom, wholly admirable as the brother trying to collude in his on- screen brother's downfall. On of the greatest disappointments was that the writers, with both characters' turned them into parodies of what they were here, adding inappropriate relationships and making them two of the most annoying characters on the show. Lou Wagner (as Zek's son, Krax) is also good, and I wish they had had the nous to use him, rather than the increasingly over acted character of 'Brunt- FCA' who became arguably the worst character in the series over the last three seasons.

An amiable, eminently watchable romp - 3 stars from me.
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Van Patten
Sun, Sep 23, 2012, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Haven

Another reasonable episode with major flaws. The Enterprise is visited by Troi's mother, Lwaxana and her fiancée in adherence with traditional Betazood custom.

I found Lwaxana Troi distinctly unappealing from the off, as though the writers had deliberate chosen to make her into 'Mother from hell', but this is actually one of her more tolerable appearances ('Cost of Living' or 'manhunt' anyone?) The scenes at the pre wedding dinner, especially the classic line:

'Please could you continue the petty bickering'

I still find entertaining. However, as Jammer points out, there is no real jeopardy premise here. No way is one of The main characters going to disappear off with a stranger. The Miller family were fairly uninteresting and I found Robert Knepper distinctly unimpressive. I did enjoy Carel Struycken as the Valet, Mr. Homn, though! An uneven episode which, I agree merits 2.5 stars - probably the most consistent run of fair to middling episodes yet.
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Van Patten
Sun, Sep 23, 2012, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Hide and Q

Probably not as enthusiastic as Jammer about this one, although I agree it is watchable. Q returns to the Enterprise once again, this time to offer Riker the option of joining the Continuum.

The episode is again somewhat faster paced than evident missteps like 'Code of Honour' or 'Lonely Among us', and the dialogue between De Lancie and Stewart is once more entertaining. However, the scenes involving the Aliens dressed in Napoleonic costume are at best tiresome, (although seeing Wesley killed off no doubt made many fans days, even if it wasn't real) - however, for me the episode feels rushed. There was no real tension in the scenes at the end and the outcome was fairly predictable. By no means a terrible episode but ultimately unsatisfying. 2.5 stars from me.
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Van_Patten
Tue, Sep 11, 2012, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Battle

For me only the second (maybe excluding the pilot) episode that I would unambiguously argue is watchable. Whilst the costumes for the Ferengi still look absurd, the acting is far superior to their appearance in 'Outpost' - Frank Corsentino is rather hammy but his obvious insincerity and 'fake smiles' strike the right note making him more two dimensional than some villains on the show.

The main issue I have is, as Jammer says, this is another example of 'Wesley -Boy wonder' solving a puzzle which trained officers should easily be able to spot days before he does. Also, how the devil did a hitherto only glimpsed and presumed hostile race get access to a Decommissioned Starship, and also acquire the means to make it functional again? It's easy to slag off Wil Wheaton but to my knowledge he didn't write the script and he's badly served here. The rest of the cast come off looking like dullards.

However, the pacing is much better in this than most previous season 1 outings.. I liked the further exploration of the relationship between Crusher and Picard, and Frakes gives a better performance than in most previous shows -.All in all, despite it's obvious flaws, I'd agree with the rating - 2.5 stars from me, the equal 'best' rating thus far for the season.
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Van Patten
Tue, Sep 11, 2012, 2:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Move Along Home

I'm somewhat surprised at the rating Jammer gives this, especially when he points out the obvious flaws, both in concept and execution.

The first 'official' visitors from the Gamma Quadrant arrive, the Wadi, and immediately request to be taken to 'The Games' - when they learn that Quark has cheated them, they take it upon themselves to force him into a 'Game' of their own, the pieces involved being four of the Senior Officers.

And I have to admit I wasn't looking forward with breathless anticipation to rewatching this one. The scenes with Dax,Sisko, Kira and Bashir playing 'The Game' haven't aged well - for me the episodes best scene is the opening sequence with Sisko talking to Quark in his bar about 'First Contact' protocol and as seems par for the course, the episode's strongest performance is once more Rene Auberjonois as Odo trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. I had forgotten that the Primmin character (James Lashly) appeared in this as well as 'The Passenger' and it's a shame he wasn't reused at all, as the interaction between him and Odo worked quite well.

As an hour of inconsequential silliness, it just about works, but I can't help but think this is the Season 1 low point, together with maybe 'Q-Less'. Even the oft-disparaged 'If Wishes..' works better for me than this - 1.5 stars.
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Van_Patten
Tue, Sep 4, 2012, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: The Passenger

The Passenger is one of those episodes that is often overlooked in summaries of DS9, a middling 'standalone piece' which does little to advance our understanding of DS9 and in terms of character development is weak.

The basic plot is a routine mystery - Bashir is unable to save an Alien criminal from dying and the accompanying Security officer who has had a lifelong obsession with the criminal thinks he has evaded capture by 'transferring his consciousness' to someone else.

The aspects of this show that worked were for me, the 'B Story' involving Starfleet bringing in a new security office (James Lashly) to work alongside Odo. Once more the interaction between Auberjonois and Brooks is exceptional - I had forgotten how good the Odo character is, and this episode reinforces him as the strongest link in the cast.

Caitlin Brown as Kajada is reasonable but the denouement of events is obvious by the second act and the penultimate scene features an extraordinary ( in the sense of surreal) performance from Alexander Siddig as Vantika, which destroys the 'jeopardy' premise. Whilst the episode isn't bad, it's no better than mediocre overall. 2.5 stars from me.
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Van_Patten
Fri, Aug 10, 2012, 6:02am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Justice

For many Trek fans, until the advent of Voyager, Season 1 of TNG was the closest equivalent to a perpetual Xmas, with a seemingly endless stream of Turkeys. Following on from 'Cide of Honour' and 'Lonely Among Us' here is arguably one of the most badly remembered (maybe barring 'Angel One') The basic premise is that the Enterprise is looking for suitable planets on which to undertake Shore Leave and stumbles across the Edo homeworld, where the inhabitants live lives of constant running around and apparently having sex most of the time.

If this sounds absurd, then the execution is way off kilter - even taking into account that this aired in 1987' the Edo look absurd and the very concept invites nitpicking, always a bad sign. As Jammer points out, we then shift, following the episode's first half into a stern morality drama regarding the morality if the Prime Directive. It's an uneasy change of tone, and it's hard to take the Edo seriously, especially when dressed in those absurd outfits.

As Rikko points out, some of the dialogue is so laughable, it's memorable (I do believe this is Worf's first reference to the fragility of 'human females') but the performances are fairly poor across the Board. It seems wrong to single out Crosby and Sirtis, as Frakes gives his poorest performance thus far. As always, Stewart and Spiner provide the best exchanges and the most memorable scenes, basically because much of their dialogue takes place without the Edo!

A well-renowned Turkey -1.5 stars from me.
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Van_Patten
Fri, Aug 10, 2012, 5:43am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Dax

The strongest episode of the season thus far, and a welcome antidote to the insubstantial 'Q-Less'. Ths grabs you from the very beginning when the Klaestrons attempt to abduct Dax, right through the courtroom scenes until the eventual denouement at the conclusion.

Jammer mentions the performance of Anne Haney as the Arbiter, who is superb, but also worth singling out is the excellent Gregory Itzin (Who appears in episodes of Voyager and Enterprise by my recollection) as the prosecutor. The regular cast's performances seem stronger as well - This is probably Avery Brooks best performance yet, and Odo (still for me in 'Blunt instrument' - to quote 'Duet' - mode) is driven and as relatively dispassionate as ever. The following exchange is for me a classic:

Sisko: 'It's nonsense, I Tell you Constable, I knew the man!'

Odo: 'Yes, but did you know the symbiont inside the man?'

As far as courtroom dramas go, for me the Standard, as I think for many was set by the TNG episode 'Measure of a Man', and whilst this isn't quite as compelling as that episode , it does prove a very strong outing. Arguably only Terry Farrell's slightly dispassionate response to her plight, as pointed out by William jars somewhat, especially when viewing the episode now. Agree with the 3.5 star rating - for me a very strong episode.
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Van_Patten
Mon, Aug 6, 2012, 8:24am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Q-Less

Well, the first real stumble of the series and one of the season's low points for me. The plot, such as it is, involves Vash arriving at DS9, with artefacts foraged from her travels, and with companion Q in tow. One of these objects then threatens the station's survival. I was surprised this was the first use of the 'unknown special anomaly' threatening the station as it does get used quite frequently in the First season.

The plot is thus perfunctory, and thinking about it this is a sequel to the episodes 'Captain's Holiday' ( arguably amongst the low points of TNG Season 3, if not the nadir ) and 'Qpid', probably the weakest Q related story in the TNG canon. I can only think they'd have been better to try and use either 'True Q' or 'Deja Q' perhaps as source material, but have to agree with William in any case, that mining TNG for Guest starship the 6the episode smacks of a degree of early desperation.

The dialogue is very weak, and whilst I normally like John De Lancie, the performance is phoned in, with the auction scenes, especially looking terrible now. The episode moves at a sloth's pace and the jeopardy premise is wholly unconvincing. For me one of, if not the weakest episode of the season. 1.5 stars for this one.
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Van_Patten
Sun, Aug 5, 2012, 5:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Emissary

The pilot episode of the Series and I think the first thing to say is that you can tell the Producers had taken on board some of the lessons of TNG, which would be a recurring feature of the First season of DS9, and ironically one of the things that would sink Voyager, comIng in its wake.

The plot I won't reiterate here, as anyone watching the series I'd hope finds it easy to follow. It's a sequel (of sorts) to the episodes, 'The Wounded' and 'Ensign Ro' which first introduced the Cardassians and the Bajorans.

As to the episode itself, I'd have to agree with some of Elliott's feedback - the plot seems stretched out to fill the 90 minutes in some ways. I liked the fact that the underrated Colm Meaney s being moved up to a higher billing, and for me the part that works best is the initial first twenty minutes of the episode, from the recreation of Wolf 359 through to the initial tour of the devastated station. Arguably the sole false note is the scene between Kira and Sisko, which seems somewhat forced, and it would seem difficult to believe that a government which has 'requested aid' would send such a fiery person to liaise with the Federation!

The remainder of the episode is a mixed bag. The scenes first on the beach where Brooks re-enacts meeting his wife ( Felecia Bell is awful - I think that needs to be said) and then when meeting the 'Wormhole aliens' now just drag on a little. Where the episode is much better is when the Cardassians are 'back' using the station's recreational facilities, and when they're on the scene, the episode is much stronger.

It's a mixed bag, as I said- with good and bad aspects but it does tell a more compelling story than 'Encounter', with the promise of an intriguing world at a new 'Final Frontier' Early impressions of the cast. The obvious stronger links are Rene Auberjonois and Armin Shimmerman, whilst the weaker links (again) are the two female leads (at least for now) Overall, I'd give this 2.5 stars I think. The expository dialogue regarding the Orbs and the Prophets hasn't aged well, and the episode could probably have Los 15 minutes and added more focus to merit a higher rating.
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Van_Patten
Sun, Aug 5, 2012, 7:58am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Captive Pursuit

Another classic concept -'Aliens arrive and aren't what they appear to be, and then a crew member befriends one of them and goes against his creates to save them' - been a staple of drama and SF in particular for years.- Again the startling difference between TNG season 1 and this is once more execution. Scott Macdonald had appeared in TNG ( 'Face of the Enemy') and would go on to appear in Voyager and Enterprise also. He's good here as the Alien whose interesting ability (self-camouflage) hides his true nature, effectively a beast bred to be hunted. There's great rapport between him and the excellent (again) Colm Meaney who follows up his hitherto strong performances in the Pilot and 'Babel' with another competent display here.

What lets the episode down, for me, is the villains of the piece (ostensibly), The Hunters - Gerrit Graham's an underrated actor, but their dialogue makes them one-dimensional - also, given Sisko's flagrant defiance of them, there seems no repercussions in later episodes (although I grant that's most likely due to the fact this is designed as a standalone premise)

That said, this is another commendable effort - The sisko/O'Brien scene at the end is powerful, and the concept,although not exactly earth -shattering plays out well. Another good effort, meriting 3 stars....
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