Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Time's Arrow, Part II"

**1/2

Air date: 9/21/1992
Teleplay by Jeri Taylor
Story by Joe Menosky
Directed by Les Landau

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Part two of "Time's Arrow" is a competent but unremarkable conclusion to the competent but unremarkable part one. If part one felt anemic as cliffhangers go, then at least part two didn't have a high bar to clear to live up to its predecessor. And that's pretty much what it does: lives up to part one without for a minute transcending it.

The procedural aspects of the plot here are dealt with fairly reasonably and not without a certain level of basic interest. We get the entire crew back in the 19th century (posing as a traveling acting troupe) where they try to figure out the nature of the time-traveling alien soul-eaters, who are sucking the life energy out of human beings and then leaving their corpses behind where their deaths would be chalked up as cholera victims. Meanwhile, Picard meets Guinan for the first time in one of those paradoxes that proves Guinan's dialogue in part one correct: Picard meets Guinan in the 19th century, where she does not know him; much later (from her perspective), she will meet him again in the 24th century, where he will not know her.

Alas, the time-traveling alien soul-eaters turn out to be one of the most perfunctory alien devices in quite a while. There's exactly one scene where Picard attempts to communicate with them, and their single-minded determination to continue feeding on human energy from the past is not open to negotiation. But the scene doesn't even make them menacing but instead just sort of ... there. And that's that. In the 24th century, they're ultimately destroyed with a torpedo blast from orbit. As time-bending alien mysteries go, this one proves surprisingly pointless. Meanwhile, the significance surrounding the discovery of Data's head plays out here as a necessity of closing a logical loop (and there is some fun to be had with that), but with none of the consequence that was implied in part one about Data's possible mortality. His body is taken back to the 24th century where Geordi reunites it with the 500-year-aged head.

The bellhop (Michael Aron) turns out to be Jack London, in one of those conceits that acts like it's a Major Reveal but instead comes across as a ho-hum writer's lark that doesn't have any real point. And probably the biggest problem here is the continued presence of Samuel Clemens (Jerry Hardin), who ends up getting transported to the 24th century along with much of the rest of the Enterprise crew, where he provides a (mostly wrong-headed) running commentary on the future. Hardin's portrayal is so endlessly cartoonish and overplayed as to make Clemens an annoying presence throughout.

If I sound like I hated "Time's Arrow," that's not really the case. On balance, it's a watchable time-travel storyline that might've worked if trimmed down to a single hour featuring a lot less of Clemens. And I enjoyed the last shot of Data's head being left in the tunnel, to be uncovered 500 years later. But this doesn't add up to a whole lot more than a collection of scenes, some clever, others not.

Previous episode: Time's Arrow, Part I
Next episode: Realm of Fear

Season Index

39 comments on this review

Josh G. - Sun, May 27, 2012 - 9:59am (USA Central)
Hmm, while I do agree that this isn't the most inventive or gripping of two-parters, I've always liked it. My guess is that this enjoyment turns a lot on seeing the crew in the 19th century setting and - actually - Jerry Hardin's performance. I always really enjoyed his Clemens!

Time's Arrow Part 1 was also the first cliffhanger I remember seeing on TNG (or anywhere). I remember being quite shocked that we'd have to wait the whole summer to find out happened.
Andrew - Sun, May 27, 2012 - 3:26pm (USA Central)
Glad you're back reviewing again Jammer!

I will always have a soft spot for the Time's Arrow two-parter. I had just gotten into TNG to watch the last two-thirds of season seven.

I was 12 at the time, and itching to see anything that was TNG that I could get my hands on. I remember the confusion I had at watching Generations before TNG finished - it was 1996 on BBC2 in the UK. And then when they starte showing it from the start again, I couldn't believe how different it all was.

Nevertheless, all this madness didn't stop me picking up a couple of VHS' from the library, that had The Inner Light, the Time's Arrow two-parter and Realm of Fear on them. I lost count of how many times I rented them, but I loved them all so much! Maybe it was compared to season one that I felt very indifferent towards.

In part two, I particularly liked seeing the crew trying to settle into the period. I loved that little scene where the landlady comes in asking about rent again, but they throw an improptu Shakespeare rehearsal to throw her off the scent!

I also love the paradox that exists in Picard and Guinan's frienship. Neither knows the other when they meet each other!
Nic - Sun, May 27, 2012 - 5:29pm (USA Central)
Yes, seeing the origins of the Picard/Guinan friendship was definitely a highlight of this two-parter. What I find really unfortunate is that we barely even saw Guinan after this.
Paul - Mon, May 28, 2012 - 3:12am (USA Central)
I never liked this one. Seems very Voyager-like tom me, manipulative and too simple at the same time.
Latex Zebra - Mon, May 28, 2012 - 4:23am (USA Central)
I'm glad it's not just me that found the Mark Twain actor annoying as hell.
Kind of like this two parter though, nothing amazing.
Sanagi - Tue, May 29, 2012 - 3:12am (USA Central)
It's true that it's only an okay episode, but I do love how it ends on the shot of Data's severed head. The entire plot has been tidied up and you know everything's going to be fine, but... Data's severed head! And Picard's just going to leave it there! Great use of the nonlinearity of time travel.
grumpy_otter - Mon, Jun 4, 2012 - 2:08pm (USA Central)
I'm with Josh--I really like Sam Clemens in this. If I were more introspective I could probably tell you why. The whole bit with the lost watch was cute and clever, I thought.

I was fine with the Jack London conceit--he was so helpful and present he needed to be SOMEBODY.

I found the aliens quite terrifying--they are truly ALIEN. Most of the aliens on Star Trek are communicative and open to discussion--these were just life-sucking bastards and therefore frightening.

I always TIVO this episode when it comes up--it is one I can enjoy again and again, and not just because Picard is VERY sexy in the 19th century.
David - Sat, Jun 9, 2012 - 11:21pm (USA Central)
2.5 stars seems about right. Unlike Jammer, I actuallly enjoyed the set up in Part I but Part II really dropped the ball. To me this seems like a story idea that should have had a few episodes to tell it. We barely got a taste of the crew in the past--which could have been fun--instead everyone returns to the future not too far into the hour. The story just feels like the writers minutes into it want to reset everything so they wouldn't have to drag it out beyond the hour unfortunately it becomes plodding.
Jack - Sun, Jul 1, 2012 - 9:05pm (USA Central)
Ugh...I have to disagree with David...what we did see of the TNG crew in the 19th century was already too much...I couldn't have borne another minute of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" rehearsals or "Mr. Pickerd" or "Tursday". And don't even get me started on Jerry Hardin's Twain....my skin crawled clear out the door....
Mike - Thu, Sep 6, 2012 - 1:59am (USA Central)
I have a fun story about this episode. I am friends with the English woman who plays the landlady in this episode (her name is Pamela Kosh, and she also shows up again in the final TNG episode "All Good Things..." where she plays future Data's English house servant, Jessel). She told me a story about the scene she had with Patrick Stewart where they argue about the rent, and at one point Picard gives her a little kiss as a way of playing nice with her. Well, apparently Stewart adlibbed the kiss...and her funny, surprised reaction was real! She played along of course and adlibbed a funny line with a little giggle. :)
navamske - Wed, Feb 27, 2013 - 9:59pm (USA Central)
One of the things I liked about this episode was that in Part 2 they didn't waste any time on setup. At the end of Part 1 they're stepping into the time portal wearing their spacesuits, and when we first see them in 1893 they already have nineteenth-century clothing (no need for any "My friend is obviously Chinese" silliness), jobs, and a place to live. The episode did not suffer from the absence of this setup.

One nitpick is that after Twain uses the snake thing to go back to his own century, Riker and Worf wait for Picard to show up, and Worf grumbles, "We have no way of knowing if Mr. Clemens was successful." Yeah, they did -- check the historical database and see if it says, "Mark Twain died in 1910” or "Mark Twain disappeared in 1893 and was never heard from again."
Grumpy - Thu, May 16, 2013 - 9:43am (USA Central)
Been watching what's happening at Slate? After a complete survey of all Trek, Matt Yglesias (whose stuff I've been reading online almost as long as I've read Jammer's) attempted the impossible task of ranking the top 10 episodes from all series.

www.slate.com/articles/arts/the_completist/2013/05/star_trek_rankings_movie s_tv_series_villains_and_crew_members_from_best.html

While most of the picks are safe (he even agrees with Jammer that "Cogenitor" is a standout for ST:Enterprise), Yglesias includes one bit of troll bait with this forgettable episode. He doesn't specify part 1 or 2, but neither measures up to Trek's best. Both rightly received average ratings from Jammer. What, no "Yesterday's Enterprise" or "The Inner Light"?

Maybe Yglesias felt they deviated too much from the series' core themes (though I would disagree). I assume that approach explains his choice of the two Voyager episodes in the top 10, "Equinox" and "The Void," which are okay but stand out less for their overall quality than for their startling commitment to engage with Voyager's premise.
Paul - Thu, May 16, 2013 - 11:02am (USA Central)
@Grumpy: Thanks for posting that list. It is pretty strange.

How are Riker, Dax, Sato and Geordi better characters than Kirk or Picard (or even Sisko)? Maybe Riker stays, but the others?

My top 10:

Spock
Picard
Data
Kirk
Worf
Sisko
Kira
McCoy
O'Brien
The Doctor

Honorable mentions: Riker, Garak, Seven, Trip, Dukat, Sulu, Bashir
Elliott - Thu, May 16, 2013 - 11:07am (USA Central)
@Grumpy :

That might be the strangest list I've ever seen. There are only 3 episodes on that list I can agree with (BOBW, City on the Edge and Trouble with Tribbles [that's actually a stretch to include on a list from all 5 series]).

Lursa & Betor on the top 10 villain list? Really? I could understand, maybe, Duras, but them??

None of the captains makes the best character list, but Riker and Geordi do. Okay. And Worf is more interesting than the Doctor or Kira?

The only list that sort of makes sense is the movie list. I know many people don't care for TMP, but I think it deserves the no. 1 or no. 2 spot. Star Trek [2009] belongs a notch above Final Frontier as far as I'm concerned.

I take your point about the chosen episodes reflecting the core of their respective series with regard to "Cogenitor, "The Void," "BOBW", "Equinox" and maybe "WYLB" (although I think even most fans of DS9 can think of better examples than that), but it doesn't really explain "Chain of Command," "INPM" or "Tribbles").

Anyway, thanks for sharing. As much fun as ranks and scores are, I still enjoy the analyses on sites like this one and SFDebris more than the final tally (in spite of obvious prejudices).
Elliott - Thu, May 16, 2013 - 11:45am (USA Central)
But who can resist giving their own (admittedly prejudiced list), hmm?

Movies :

TMP
Khan
First Contact
Undiscovered Country
Voyage Home
Insurrection
Search for Spock
Generations
Nemesis
(2009)
Final Frontier

Series:

TNG
TOS
VOY
DS9
ENT

Episodes:

BOBW
Inner Light
Year of Hell
City on the Edge
Far Beyond the Stars
Darmok
Scorpion
Measure of a Man
Timeless
Tomorrow is Yesterday
The Forgotten

Villains :
The Borg
Dukat (I have to blot out the final few eps for that one)
Khan
Gul Madred
Annorax
Weyoun
...I don't know, can I include Sisko? Star Trek isn't really about villains...

Characters :
Picard
Data
The Doctor
Spock
Seven of Nine
Garak
Janeway
Odo
Hoshi
Kirk
William B - Thu, May 16, 2013 - 2:06pm (USA Central)
And again, who can't resist?

Movies (I haven't seen Into Darkness)

Wrath of Khan
First Contact
Voyage Home
Motion Picture
Undiscovered Country
Search for Spock
Generations
Star Trek 2009
Insurrection
Nemesis
Final Frontier

Series:

TNG
TOS
DS9
VOY
TAS (animated series)
ENT from what I saw of it

Episodes:

Too difficult without a full rewatch, skipping for now.

Villains -- I'm not counting Khan or Madred who only made 1-2 appearances

The Borg, TNG era
Q
Dukat, excepting final episodes
Weyoun
Winn, some of the time
Female Shapeshifter

Characters:

Picard
Spock
Data
Garak
The Doctor
Odo
Worf
Seven
Kirk
Kira
William B - Thu, May 16, 2013 - 2:10pm (USA Central)
It occurs to me that he specifies "best CREW MEMBERS" in the characters list, which maybe suggests why there are no captains. Maybe the captains are in a different category, which would explain the absence of Picard et al.
Paul - Thu, May 16, 2013 - 3:00pm (USA Central)
@Elliot:

Wait, wait, wait. The Motion Picture is your favorite movie and Janeway is in your top 10 characters?!!!

I don't think we can be friends anymore ...
Paul - Thu, May 16, 2013 - 3:14pm (USA Central)
Movie ratings:

Wrath of Khan
Undiscovered Country
First Contact
Voyage Home
Star Trek
Search for Spock
Generations
TMP/Nemesis (tie)
Insurrection
Final Frontier

Episodes (in no particular order):
BOBW
The Trouble with Tribbles
The Visitor
Yesterday's Enterprise
Mirror, Mirror
Chain of Command
Inner Light
In Purgatory's Shadow
Azati Prime/Damage/The Forgotten
Timeless

Series:
DS9 - the most daring series with the best characters and acting. If only they hadn't devoted two episodes to Ferengi nonsense each year.
TNG - if not for the goofy first season, the uneven second season and the really awful seventh season, it would beat out DS9. Season 3-6 are pretty great.
TOS - hard to judge against the others. I can ignore the really bad episodes or even enjoy them. But a lot of the really dull episodes ("Lights of Zetar", "Immunity Syndrome") drag down the series.
ENT - season 3 and season 4 are actually pretty good and took some really interesting risks. Bakula/Archer didn't work well, though.
VOY - the most frustrating series, both in terms of long-term consequences for the crew and failure to develop most of the characters. Easily sixth for me, even way behind Enterprise.
Elliott - Thu, May 16, 2013 - 4:14pm (USA Central)
@Paul :

I don't see why being "daring" means being "good", but if that's the case, TNG should win hands down considering they were the first to air Star Trek without the original cast after it had been cancelled and without most of the elements which had to be added to Gene's original version to sell it to the network (that "Space Western" angle--the pre-Kirk vision was much more like TNG).

In any event, while I would never ask you to change your preferences, you were kind enough to list your justifications for ranking series, so I'll respond to them and offer mine in kind.

DS9 -- relative to TNG and TOS, yes DS9 was the most daring (except for stretches of ENT, but as a whole, DS9). Relative to television in general, I don't really think so. The themes were, for the most part, quite in line with mainstream ethics and politics; the serialisation aspect was generally good, but hardly more daring than an average soap opera. Regarding the acting, I have to strongly disagree. DS9 had a couple good leads (Auberjonois, Shimmerman, Siddig) but was lacking in its most pivotal main characters (Sisko and Kira, especially). There was exceptional acting on the guest character list (admittedly a rather tenuous distinction in the later series). Characters as drawn by the writing...I might not fully agree, but I have to concede they were quite balanced in developing the entire cast pretty equally (with the exception of Jake).

TNG/TOS -- I think we are in agreement here, but my issues with TNG 1-2 are more in execution than concept (as opposed to late 6 and most of 7 which were basically unnecessary). At this point, I don't feel any differently watching 60s camp or 90s camp. It's all the same, we just aren't as used to the gimmicks from generations past.

ENT -- again, there's this focus on "risks" being taken in the 3rd and 4th seasons. Hmm. For me the real problems with the series were the cast (the only emotionally consequential characters were Phlox and Hoshi, who had very few moments to shine) and the "popification"--a trend which was exponentially retooled in the Franchise reboot in 09.

VOY -- I think I'm a bit infamous now for defending VOY against the masses, but what I'll say is this; yes, Voyager never became anything like what everyone expected (and apparently wanted) it to be. It certainly had the best main cast, was more consistent than TNG in its overall storytelling and had great moments which can move you to tears. No, it's not as good as TNG or even the original, but it's a solid show--exactly what I think you could hope for in a TNG spin-off.
Elliott - Thu, May 16, 2013 - 4:20pm (USA Central)
I meant to add that regarding Q, I have a hard time seeing him as a villain--he was really only villainous in "Hide and Q" and maybe "Farpoint". For most of the (3) series, he was more of imp, or a (sometimes tragic) Pulcinella character. He'd go at the top of any list which could accurately categorise him though!
William B - Thu, May 16, 2013 - 4:46pm (USA Central)
@Elliott, he was a villain in "Q-Less" and "Q2" because if it weren't for him we wouldn't have had to watch those episodes. :) In all seriousness I agree that "villain" is the wrong category for Q, though for that matter I think villain is also the wrong category for Dukat for pretty much any episode between "The Maquis" and "Apocalypse Rising," in terms of both his honour system such as it is and his narrative role (which is to help as often as he hurts). At best, with Dukat they created a character who HAD been a villain and currently was not, not due to any change in him but due to a change in circumstances.
Elliott - Thu, May 16, 2013 - 5:32pm (USA Central)
@Willaim: haha can't argue with you there!

I think Dukat was a great villain for the same reason the Borg were (yes over the entire 13 year period they were depicted)--there can be no question that they are evil and their motivations contradict human values and liberties, but what made them interesting was how well their perspectives were flushed out. We learn, by the end, that the difference between a dictator like Dukat and a leader like Damar or between a threat to free-thinking like the Borg and a collective of peaceful allies like the Federation is all a question of subtlety, of nuance. That's why I 1) am so disappointed by Dukat's final arc in season 7 where he turns into a big space-devil and 2) why I don't mind Voyager's so-called "neutering" of the Borg--yes, because of that show, the Borg seem less threatening than in, say, "Q Who?", but those same steps allowed us to see the very human and familiar impulses behind the façade of a collective conciousness.

I don't think Madred's or Khan's infrequent appearances make them ineligible for the list--after all, if one episode, like "Space Seed", could be in the running for a great episode, why not that episode's antagonist? Besides, in Trek you're left with very few options if you limit yourself to recurring villains--beside's DS9's Dukat, Weyoun, She-Founder and Winn, you've got, what...Tomalok? Seska? Dolum? eek.
Grumpy - Thu, May 16, 2013 - 7:35pm (USA Central)
I now suspect that Yglesias intended to include the more conventional choice of "The Inner Light" but got confused and latched onto the adjacent episode. Longtime readers of Yglesias know he's prone to embarrassing typos.
William B - Thu, May 16, 2013 - 8:10pm (USA Central)
@Grumpy: That would certain explain these eps' inclusion. Then again, maybe he's just a huge Mark Twain or Jack London fan. Then again, if he's a huge Mark Twain fan he probably will not be holding this episode up as the best portrayal of him....

@Elliott, I definitely agree about Dukat. I should have added explicitly that the fact that Dukat hasn't changed is in part because he is basically still evil. I feel like I was perhaps thinking of the word "villain" as more of an "antagonist" -- which is a role that Q holds in all his appearances, at least on the surface, though it becomes increasingly clear that his antagonism is more of the trickster impish type designed to help spur Picard along rather than actual evil. Conversely, Dukat is not really an antagonist until Cardassia allies with the Dominion, and is something like a neutral figure or even ally. But he never changes (well, I wrote earlier than allying with the Dominion to blow up the entire Bajoran star system is rather much, but I mostly ignore that, and there is the problem of the Pah'Wraiths). Still, he is evil and his value systems are contrary to what the shows and most of the audience celebrates. Even then, he can be even an antihero during season four, because the qualities Dukat displays when he's fighting the Klingons -- bravery, gumption, dedication to his "beliefs" etc. -- are genuinely admirable and heroic qualities. It's just that they coexist and even overlap with his villainous qualities. Dukat's willingness to go toe to toe with the Klingons (or the Maquis, or whatever) is striking because it's part of the same pride that leads to a complete denial of others' POV and right to exist when things are going his way.

As to the Borg, I agree in principle. I think it's a difficult balancing act to take away some of the things that made the Borg INTERESTING while "humanizing" them. I think with "I, Borg" and Seven of Nine's arc they did a fantastic job. "Scorpion" to an extent. I'm less certain about the rest of Voyager -- but I don't feel confident enough to comment on it, it's been so long (and I didn't rewatch Voyager obsessively back in the day).

I don't disagree that it's unreasonable to eliminate one-off (or two-off) villains; it's just that I would feel obligated to comb through and search for other candidates from other one-offs and that sounds harder. I agree that Trek is not about the villains though. DS9 worked best when its villainous characters were not all that villainous, though the Female Shapeshifter and Weyoun could "get away" with being more extreme since their default premises were that the entire main cast besides Odo were entirely expendable.

On that note, I guess I will comb through and pick out my favourite one-off (or short-term) villains. I'm looking at an episode list and not doing it from the top of my head. Khan and Madred are the top two for sure. Of the others (keeping in mind that I'm not necessarily indicating villainy as extreme evil, just of being wrong and antagonistic in some way)

TOS: Khan first, then (in some order) both Romulan Commanders (Mark Lenard and Joanne Linville), Mirror Sulu, Gary Mitchell, Chang. Whew, short list.

TNG (I'll include Lore here because he's in so few episodes): (semi-ranked) Madred, Norah Satie, Lore (though he's not always in good episodes), Fajo, Adm. Pressman, Maxwell, Krola from "First Contact" (episode), ... Nagilum? Soran is my favourite of the three TNG movie one-off antagonists (I prefer First Contact's take on the Borg Queen.) It is really interesting how many of the TNG antagonists who are not just "misunderstood" but actually can be argued to be villains (though usually well-intentioned to a degree) are human.

I'd rank Toreth (from "Face of the Enemy") high in one-off antagonists, but I think it is a stretch to call her a villain (Troi doesn't really see her that way).

OK well that's enough of that for now (two series is enough). Trek really is not about villains.
William B - Thu, May 16, 2013 - 8:12pm (USA Central)
ETA: Scorpion is terrific; the "to an extent" is meant to modify the question of whether Scorpion humanizes the Borg (which it does but only to a degree, less so I think than "I, Borg," though it starts Seven off on the show), not whether it is excellent (which it is).
Paul - Fri, May 17, 2013 - 8:15am (USA Central)
@Elliot: Thanks for the thoughtful response. A couple counterpoints:

I really disagree that Voyager had the best cast. The Doctor is a classic character and Seven was a great (if overused) addition. But otherwise, the Voyager characters were badly developed. Some had their moments (Chakotay, Paris, Torres) and some were well-acted but poorly written (Janeway, Tuvok). But Kes, Kim and Neelix just bring the overall cast average down.

Also, I think Enterprise had better character developments than you give it credit for. Trip was a strong character who had a real emotional arc in the final two years of the show. T'Pol was a weak character for two seasons, but became more interesting. Enterprise's biggest problem -- other than a terrible season 2 -- was Archer, who was not written well (too many swings from easy-going to Jack Bauer) and not well acted. It's a shame, because I'm a Scott Bakula fan, but he wasn't good in that role.

I don't disagree that Avery Brooks wasn't great, but I thought Nana Visitor was one of the better actors in Trek. Colm Meaney was great, too. Other than TOS, I think DS9 had the best overall cast. TNG would get the nod, but the overuse of Troi (Trek's worst character not named Harry Kim) the overuse of Data (a great character who became a crutch in later seasons), the weird direction for Worf in the final season and Riker's marginalization in the final two years hurt the overall cast ratings, IMO.

Now, was TNG the most daring? That's a really interesting thought. I suppose it was in that in tried to reboot the entire TV franchise and did it successfully. But a lot of it in the early days was just redone TOS ("Code of Honor" being the most obvious example) and it was standard episodic fair from the time.

Still, I'd probably say TNG would be my favorite series if not for the seventh season.
Elliott - Fri, May 17, 2013 - 9:28pm (USA Central)
@Paul :

Just to clear up the semantics here, by "cast" I mean the actors who portray the characters, not the characters themselves. Voyager's only real weak link acting-wise was Garret Wang. TOS is hard to judge this way since the non-Big-Three were rather cartoonish (in a loveable way of course). TNG had to contend with Sirtis and McFadden and VOY's child actor (though only a guest), Scarlet Pommers outdoes any of the other series child actors except maybe Aron Eisenberg. DS9, as I said, had weak players in the key positions (Brooks especially)--I think Visitor did better in the later seasons, but it was really rough for a few seasons. It also had only average players in their Science Smart Person (Dax). Compare to Spock, Data, The Doctor, Hoshi--it's no contest there. ENT had only decent actors in its key positions, and the winner of all terrible in the person of Anthony Montgomery. Jolene Blalock made for an horrendous Vulcan.

The implication in your assessment of ENT's characters' developments mirrors what you say about DS9 and seems to imply that only by surviving brutal tragedy can characters develop well (cf O'Brien, Sisko, Trip, T'Pol). One need only cite Picard as the perfect example (up until the overrated "Tapestry") of a great character who defies that rule, and I would broadly apply that principle to most of the VOY cast. Ironically, the oft-hated Neelix is in many ways one of Trek's most tragic characters with regard to backstory.
T'Paul - Sat, Jun 15, 2013 - 7:31pm (USA Central)
To make an exceedingly brief contribution to the "lists" discussion, I can't get enough of Weyoun as far as villains go, Dukat either, Garak's mentor is pretty memorable too. All from DS9. Tomalak was always enjoyable, and from Enterprise, Degra, although he was reformed into an ally toward the end. None really stand out for me from Voyager, but yes, I guess Annorax could be one.

I agree that Blalock was a poor Vulcan, not intriguing at all. I wish that they had been able to go with the T'Pau back story and with another actress.

Also agree that Bakula was not a great captain in ENT... certainly not up to the Picard, Janeway or even Sisko standard... For me ENT reflected a time when there was a backlash against PC culture in the US, which is why it didn't work... it was trying too hard to be the anti-TNG.

As for characters, I am liking Worf (almost said Wolf a la Lwaxana) more and more in this rewatch of TNG. Big fan of Phlox too, and The Doctor and Bones of course. I think Karl Urban does a decent job of him in the reboot, as does the new Scotty (haven't seen into Darkness yet).

As for the films, I really enjoy The Voyage Home and The Undiscovered Country. Wrath of Khan I enjoy because we get to know a different starship, but Khan himself doesn't appeal to me as much as he seems to to others.

As for uniforms (to go off on a tangent) for me none beat the uniforms from movies 2 to 6...

Well, those are some random disorganized thoughts, haven't put as much work into it as others.
mephyve - Fri, Jul 26, 2013 - 3:33pm (USA Central)
Spock
Data
Kirk
Picard
Worf
McCoy
Riker
Scotty
Odo
Q

Inner Light
Q Who
Best of both worlds
Cause and effect
First Contact
Redemption
Unification
Second Chances
Qpid
Timescape
Latex Zebra - Mon, Oct 21, 2013 - 3:49pm (USA Central)
Never done a list on here before!

Judicously copying and pasting Elliot's list I have replaced it with my own choices. :)



Movies :

TWOK
First Contact
TSFS
TVH
Star Trek (2009)
Star Trek into Darkness
TUC
Insurrection
Generations
Nemesis
Final Frontier

Series:

TNG
DS9
VOY
TOS
ENT

Episodes:

Measure of a Man
The Best of Both Worlds
Darmok
Hard Time
In Purgatory's Shadow/By Inferno's Light
Living Witness
Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy

To be honest I could list far too many I love.


Villains :

The Borg
Khan
Gul Dukat
Q (is he a villain?)
Weyoun
The Krenim

Characters :

Picard
O'Brien
Data
Spock
Bones
Odo
Garak
Riker
The Doctor


Elliott - Mon, Oct 21, 2013 - 7:56pm (USA Central)
@Latex Zebra: Where does TMP (my personal favourite) land on your movie list?

And for the record, I would place Into Darkness right above (2009), as in 3rd from the end.
Latex Zebra - Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - 7:28am (USA Central)
@Elliot

I was so intent on making sure I didn't copy your answers (well aprt from the ones we agree on) that I deleted and forgot it.

TWOK
First Contact
TSFS
TVH
Star Trek (2009)
TMP
Star Trek into Darkness
TUC
Insurrection
Generations
Nemesis
Final Frontier


I have no hate for the new films, they're a different Trek animal but I still enjoyed them.
TMP is a great movie, most of them are until you hit the last 4, but it is a little slow in my opinion. I did watch it again recently and enjoy it but found my attention drifting.

I have since remembered a ton of episodes I wish I had listed and would giggle those characters about a bit too.
Still, that is why we love Trek. There is so much to love... and occasionaly get fraustrated by.
Jack - Sat, Nov 16, 2013 - 9:49pm (USA Central)
I think VOY gets a bum rap, because unlike TNG and DS9, it bore the burden of carrying a network, and therefore was subject to every absurd gimmick thrown its way by the myriad array of people who fancied sticking their finger in its pie, and I won't even get into the ridiculous promos it had to endure.

If DS9 were slave to a network I think it would have fallen victim to an onslaught of similar gimmicks as VOY was, rather than essentially doing whatever it wanted.
Dom - Sun, Nov 17, 2013 - 2:11am (USA Central)
Hooray, lists! Not sure why we're doing this under this episode, but here goes:

MOVIES
1. Undiscovered Country
1. First Contact
3. Wrath of Khan
4. Voyage Home
5. Nemesis
6. Search for Spock
7. The Motion Picture
8. Insurrection
9. 2009 Trek
10. Into Darkness
11. Final Frontier
12. Generations

SERIES
1. DS9
2. TNG
3. ENT
4. TOS
5. VOY

EPISODES
1. Pale Moonlight (DS9)
2. Pegasus (TNG)
3. Improbable Cause/Die is Cast (DS9)
4. Tapestry (TNG)
5. Duet (DS9)
6. I, Borg (TNG)
7. All Good Things (TNG)
8. The Wire (DS9)
9. Chain of Command (TNG)
10. Defector (TNG)
11. The Visitor (DS9)
12. Inner Light (TNG)
13. Balance of Terror (TOS)
14. Darmok (TNG)
15. Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges (DS9)

CHARACTERS
1. Data
2. Odo
3. Bashir
4. Picard
5. Garak
6. O'Brien
7. Riker
8. Spock
9. Dukat
10. The Doctor/EMH

SHIPS
1. Romulan Warbird
2. Dominion fighter
3. Klingon Vor’cha Cruiser
4. USS Excelsior
5. Romulan Bird of Prey
6. Ferengi Marauder
7. Klingon K’tinga Cruiser
8. USS Reliant
9. USS Enterprise (TOS)
10. Cardassian Galor Cruiser
Smith - Thu, Feb 20, 2014 - 12:27pm (USA Central)
My favorite two parter is times arrow. Yes, the 2nd half is slightly inferior to the first, but not by much. This is one of the best directed episodes as well...very smooth. Nice methaphor with the aliens feeding on the humans to real life parasites/psychic vampires.

Am not sure about the complaints about Mark Twain. I would always prefer a little overacting and being cartoonish, to underacting and being flat. The actor did a perfect job and brought a lot of the energy to the show.
Ian - Thu, Jul 3, 2014 - 7:12pm (USA Central)
I agree with you Jammer for the most part. I found the Aliens were underutilized and their defeat was anticlimactic. We only get that brief scene with Picard exchanging a few lines with one. On the other hand I have to give the episode some props for at least have aliens that were well "alien". I like any episode that at least try's to break out of the "rubber forehead of the week" format.

The scenes with the crew in the

Ian - Thu, Jul 3, 2014 - 7:22pm (USA Central)
Cont...

in the past work pretty well and are fun enough to watch. The portrayal of Twain starts out pretty well, I enjoyed his monologue at Guinan's reception. However he becomes more and more grating over time. Because of the underutilization of the aliens he becomes the primary antagonist for a good portion and the acting devolves more and more into the realm of caricature.

The episode really falls apart at about the half way point when Picard is separated from the crew and trapped in the past. It becomes a series of unfocused scenes and Twain's scenes on the Enterpirse are particularly groan worthy. It seems like the writers didn't really know where to go with the plot and just padded the script for a good 25 minutes.
SkepticalMI - Sun, Jul 20, 2014 - 4:14pm (USA Central)
Entropy is time's arrow, as entropy is always increasing. Which also seems to fit with this two-parter, which becomes more and more of a mess as time goes on. It starts out very good. The reveal of Data's head was shocking, and more importantly the response of the characters to that revelation was very well done. Data practically looking forward to his death was a rather nice touch, as was everyone else's overprotectiveness of him. Then we have Data turning invisible and giving a creepy and unsettling description of what he is seeing, ending with an explosion and his disappearance. We have him coping to appearing in the 19th century and going about his business. We have the aliens appear and murder a poor beggar. We have Guinan being mysterious in the future and present in the past. It's all built up rather well, and certainly we have a lot to look forward to in part II.

And certainly part II has its rewards. Trying to guess how the time loop restores itself was interesting, and it did finish in a logical manner. Even if it's a bit silly to think Data's 500 year old head would work just fine, it's a reasonable conclusion to a story that needs to be reset. The Picard/Guinan scenes were nice. And of course, there's always a few good laughs when Starfleet officers go back in time. But still, there were plenty of problems:

- The Jack London side plot was an eye-roller. I hate convenient little historical in-jokes like that.

- Worf conveniently beaming back to the bridge before everyone else goes back in time. Yes, I know he's a lot harder to hide than Spock's ears, but the order still came out of nowhere. Then again, given how heavily Guinan was hinting to Picard that he needed to go on this mission, maybe he already guessed they were going back in time and ordered Worf back for that very reason.

- The over the top caricature of Sam Clemens started to get very very annoying over time.

- Why was it built up like such a big deal that only one person could go back in time? The answer was obviously to push Clemens' through it whether he wants to or not. And yet he had to bring it up while all the genius Starfleet officers were befuddled over the situation.

- I'm not sure when it happened, but the character of Riker seriously degraded at some point. I understand that he's not as interesting as Picard or Data or Worf, so be it. But he can still be a good supporting cast member like LaForge or Bev. And yet his character took a nose dive. In the first season, he was an annoying cross between Sun-Tzu, Kirk, and maybe Superman. But they toned him down into a reasonably interesting character: a fun loving everyman who had a good ability to think outside the box and adapt to situations on the fly. But now? He's a dumb idiot who yells at his officers and constantly has no idea what's going on while the rest of the crew has to calmly tell him what to do. This aspect was sadly on display here.

- Speaking of which, why was it ok for Guinan to push Picard onto the mission, but not ok to tell Riker anything?

- Also speaking of Guinan, the resolution of her and Picard's relationship was disappointing to me. That's "beyond friendship, beyond family"? He took care of her when she was hurt when he already knew they were going to become close. That's it? Boring...

- The resolution to the aliens was utterly boring and pointless. They started out so creepy, so interesting. And then they are killed off without any meaning or care. Sigh...

So yeah, there was something good here, but it seemed to disappear as the episode went on. It definitely deserved a better part II than this.

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