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James G
Sun, Oct 18, 2020, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

Something a bit different. I profoundly dislike the idea of Q due to its apparent reliance on the supernatural, yet paradoxically, I always enjoy the Q episodes. This one has the interesting twist that while Q may be as thoroughly irritating and patronising as usual in his manner, he's actually doing Picard a big favour.

Quite a low key episode but I guess you can't have the Enterprise in grave danger or a face-off with the Romulans every time.

The old Starfleet uniforms are horrible, aren't they? And the dynamic between young Picard and his friends is a little bit overcooked.

Still - I liked it.
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James G
Sat, Oct 17, 2020, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Face of the Enemy

There's a lot to like about this one. It's very interesting to see the internal politics of the Romulans, and I found the revelation that they have a sort of Gestapo, feared throughout the military and civilian population alike, darkly, deliciously sinister.

I also liked that the Romulan captain is a bit more complicated and three-dimensional than your usual Romulan villain. I started to wonder whether she might defect after it transpired that her father had been killed as a traitor. The dynamic between Deanna and the captain reminds me, initially, of Ferraday and Jones in 'Ice Station Zebra' - it's Ferraday's ship, but Jones has effectively been put in charge due to the secrecy and criticality of the mission. But then of course it descends into outright hostility.

Speaking of traitors - DeSeve. Again, a moral ambiguity that I really liked. He's clearly betrayed the Federation even though he's trying to be useful, yet he's not really shown as a villain. It's good that we're introduced to the idea that someone might defect to the Romulans for moral reasons. A Federation traitor could easily have been painted with the villain brush, or the writers might not have wanted to entertain the idea of a Starfleet ensign committing treason in the first place. It's a detail that makes the TNG universe that bit more interesting and nuanced.

When Deanna is asked for the access codes for the Starfleet sensor nets I assumed that the whole thing was a setup to get them off her, a bit like Riker in 'Future Imperfect' (although that turns out to be something else entirely, of course).

The Romulan captain looked so familiar, but I couldn't work out where I'd seen her - so as soon as I'd finished watching I did a bit of judicious googling to find out. Not only was she Mirasta Yale from 'First Contact', but none other than the famous Carolyn Seymour! Carolyn played a character called Abby in a mid-'70s BBC show called 'Survivors' as well as a few other memorable parts 40-odd years ago. I never recognised her when I saw 'First Contact', perhaps partly because she affects an American accent in that one. In this one because she's supposed to be a bit evil, her usual English accent is encouraged. None taken.

I thought the conclusion was a bit easy and lame, quite honestly. And I don't think Marina Sirtis (or Deanna if you like) was a good choice for a badass Gestapo figure. Maybe Ro would have worked better. Or even O'Brien. But it's a very enjoyable episode.
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Undesirable Element
Fri, Oct 16, 2020, 9:48am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 1

I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. There have been MANY times when I thought an episode focused on Michael for no good reason, but here it made a lot of sense. It allows us to see this entirely new universe through the eyes of a single person. We encountered new bits and pieces just as she did. It permitted this new universe to grow naturally instead of providing us with frantic exposition like we've gotten in the past.

I wasn't wild about the idea of the Federation collapsing, but the concept of severely curtailing warp drive made for an interesting starting point. As Michael states, the Federation is more than just ships and technology, so I imagine that we're going to find that a lot of the individual member worlds are intact and continuing the ideals of the Federation, but the ability to link together in common purpose is a problem to be overcome... presumably in this season.

If Book is being set up to be Michael's new love interest (which I think is pretty likely), I think he's a FAR superior choice than Ash Tyler. Giving him a strong level of emotional intelligence provides him with a nice counterpoint to Michael's overtly logical way of approaching all problems. The actor also seems far more capable.

The continuity nods were nicely subtle this time around, and they did address some lingering concerns. Quantum Slipstream is still a thing, and Book mentions needing benamite crystals... which is exactly what was used to power the slipstream drive back in Voyager's "Timeless." The mention that time travel technology has been destroyed and banned after the Temporal Wars alludes to that ridiculous plot from Enterprise and nicely eliminates that can of worms from being opened. After all, if time travel is as everyday as that plotline indicated, we'd have a completely unworkable mess on our hands.

I'm weirdly looking forward to the rest of the story. And I wasn't expecting to say that.
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Ruomyes
Fri, Oct 16, 2020, 8:42am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 1

@ Chrome

You're right about the definition of "left turn". It is too easy to take out of context though, particularly these days.
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Ruomyes
Fri, Oct 16, 2020, 8:35am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 1

I really enjoyed this chapter.

Martin-Green was on form, David Ajala's charming rogue Book had elements of Han Solo, only much more caring and conscientious. The whole theme of hope shone through the whole episode, from when Burnham cried out in triumph, to when Sahil met Burnham and Book. I didn't mind the shoot n' chase scenes, they actually made sense considering what Book was trying to do. It also made sense that conscientious people would be out there trying to do some good (e.g. protecting endangered animals) where there is no Federation, nor intergalactic laws being enforced.

This chapter's structure was effective in taking us to the final scene, and it was indeed a tear jerker.

Was the actor who played the first Andorian we saw the same actor who played the Andorian admiral in the previous seasons?
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Ruomyes
Fri, Oct 16, 2020, 7:52am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 1

@ Rahul

"(Found Book's line of "galaxy took a hard left" referring the burn to be quite topical given how the behavior of the left has become more radicalized/destructive -- but that's a separate discussion...)"

When I heard this in the trailer I wondered when someone was going to try to link it to the political left (groan!)
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Ruomyes
Thu, Oct 15, 2020, 5:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 1

@ Jef Willemsen

So, would you prefer stylised dialogue, or natural dialogue?
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James
Thu, Oct 15, 2020, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Lineage

The idea that this isn’t science fiction is preposterous.

It’s super high concept.

“What if a victim of racism could erase those racial traits from their child?”

Also, the idea that science fiction can’t be character stories is ridiculous. Science fiction is ultimately about science’s impact on humanity, and that impact can be shown at any level, from the galactic to the microscopic. Why not the personal?
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Chris Lopes
Thu, Oct 15, 2020, 1:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 1

Overall it wasn't bad at all. We have a chance to do Andromeda without Kevin Sorbo's ego getting in the way. The action was cool, and the 32nd century tech was even cooler. In short, the season has the potential of being very good.
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James G
Wed, Oct 14, 2020, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Aquiel

I didn't mind this one. It wasn't a good one, but it wasn't one of the awful ones either. It does have a lot to commend it - it's quite an original idea, and I didn't see the twist of Aquiel being alive coming.

What I did see coming was the twist that the dog was the alien monster. I was already scratching my head about why they'd bothered with it, given that it was totally unnecessary to the plot. So the moment we found out that one of the organisms from the relay station was the villain: it's the dog.

And that made the conclusion a bit anti-climactic. Even if I hadn't seen that coming, it seems to wrap up a bit quickly.

There's a bit of the usual Klingon aggression and bravado, but not too much to be annoying. I notice that the Klingon vessel arrives opposite the Enterprise exactly 'level', as if they were ships meeting at sea. Just once it would be nice if two space vessels encountered each other sideways on, just to acknowledge that the universe doesn't have an up, or a down.

The fully-formed hand rising out of the tomato puree is ridiculous, really.

Why does Aquiel have to be an alien? Apart from the ritual with the object on the bed and the mention that she's telepathic, she seems not only to be culturally entirely human in her mannerisms and behaviour, but culturally entirely human American.

At least sometimes the Star Trek franchise makes an effort. Klingons are believably non-human. Far too aggressive and overbearing. Vulcans, too. Cold, analytical, emotionless. The Ferengi. Not much human about their demeanour.

But far too often all you get is a bit of facial prosthetics and that's it. Ensign Ro is a perfect example. There's nothing other-wordly about her at all. And it's the same with Aquiel. What, I wonder, is supposed to be the evolutionary reason for those fleshy bumps to appear on her species' foreheads? Perhaps in distant times her ancestors liked to head butt a lot.

Anyway it was original and mildly entertaining. Quite nice to have Geordi falling for a person he knows only from a set of recordings, I like that that aspect of his character was reinforced.

But pretty forgettable.
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Chris Lopes
Sun, Oct 11, 2020, 4:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

LD is entertaining enough for what it is. It's not the greatest thing since Raktajino, but it's fun.
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Diogenes
Sun, Oct 11, 2020, 11:24am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

This episode had one nice line: “What kind of an architect would deliberately design a raised rim at the entrance to every door?”

I mean, think about it. The station used to be where they forced bajorians to do tasks like processing ore to the point of exhaustion, and they probably didn’t have much energy left to lift their legs above the entrances. So yeah, I thought that that was a nice way to show yet another way the Cardassians are brutal.
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James G
Sat, Oct 10, 2020, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Ship in a Bottle

I like this one a lot. It's nice to have a Reg episode that isn't about Reg's personality defects. And it requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. But it does reward that.

The guy who plays Moriarty is really very good, and Stephanie Beacham, perhaps best known to American and British viewers alike from Dynasty (although I remember her best from an ITV drama called 'Connie' personally) puts in a very good shift.

Really quite an imaginative and clever story this, with a clever twist when we discover that Picard, Reg and Data never actually left the Holodeck.

However - it's really a stretch to imagine that the computer's Holodeck technology is really as powerful as this. If it can create a self-aware, conscious person as clever and ingenious as Moriarty, it could create a couple of brilliant first officers, or science officers, or .. etc (actually I suppose that Voyager does explore this idea). Every crew member's cabin could be a miniature Holodeck, so they could appear to have 20 times the space they really have; perhaps even a 5 storey house as living quarters. Maybe the whole Enterprise could be a fraction of its usual (apparent) size, but still have a spacious holographic bridge, engineering sectiom, residential decks etc etc.

And the idea that the Holodeck's own Holodeck can be programmed to create realities independent of its parent. Far out.

The left hand / right hand thing didn't really work for me - seems a very coherent program bug.

And there's one odd moment when the transporter console reads "transport log 721", when the computer claims it is displaying log 759.

Nice that Picard refers to the Simulation Hypothesis at the end, there. Despite being a bit far-fetched even for the Star Trek franchise, a thought-provoking and entertaining episode.
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James G
Thu, Oct 8, 2020, 5:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part II

Watched both parts tonight, and I'll comment on the whole shebang here.

What makes this one quite special is the psychological edge to the tension between Picard and Madred. I don't think I've seen anything as chilling as Picard's captivity in the whole of TNG. I can't imagine the Romulans or even the Borg being so chillingly, creepily sinister in similar circumstances. Madred's calmness, his very civility, underlined by the scene with his daughter - and the space that this two-parter gives the dialogue to breathe - make those scenes very powerful.

And of course so does the lovely homage to 1984, reinforced by Picard's comment at the end that he was ready to believe that there were five lights.

David Warner is excellent in this, and of course his Englishness makes him just that touch more evil, doesn't it? None taken.

It's a great shame then that this story has some rather obvious flaws. Firstly - did we really need the action film aspect to the first part? And if the Federation really needs a three-person elite special forces team to infiltrate a secret base behind enemy lines and destroy stuff, are two of them really going to be Jean-Luc Picard and Beverley Crusher? I didn't buy the excuses, sorry.

Also, not a major point by any means but that bit where Beverley tells the Ferengi that she'd be "very grateful" - what an absolute cringe. That whole business of getting where they need to go on a Ferengi cargo ship - it's not very well thought out.

More importantly - Riker and Geordi overcome an entire fleet of Cardassian war vessels with a shuttlecraft and some magnetic mines? Easy as that, eh? Sloppy writing. The mines are shown as being in the crew compartment; what do they do, just sling them out of the back door?

I enjoyed the tension between Riker and Jelico. Not as intense as Madred vs Picard of course, but nicely done. The cliched version would be that Jelico ends up endangering the lives of the crew and ends up being relieved of his command, but this story is much more subtle. Jelico is not all bad, in fact he's quite effective in some ways. Maybe there should have been a scene where there's at least a moment of grudging respect between Riker and the temporary captain; if that's what we got with Jelico's parting comment it was a little too brief.

Anyway - just for the psychological drama of Picard's captivity, a good one. But I wish they'd put a bit more thought into it.
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James G
Tue, Oct 6, 2020, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: The Quality of Life

After the enjoyable whimsy of A Fistful of Datas, proper sci-fi TNG. A superb episode.

I really liked the way the story developed, and the idea of the machines becoming sapient. It reminded me in a way of the old TOS episode in which a newly developed command computer takes over the Enterprise.

The story appears to take a wrong turn with the emergency on the space station - I was far more interested in the idea of the sapient machines - until it turns out that it's a premise for a very interesting ethical dilemma around the same subject.

And I think it is a very genuine ethical dilemma - whether Picard and Geordi are his friends is not the point. Would it be OK to send three human strangers to their deaths, to save his comrades? Three slaves?

The micro-replicator that the exacomps have seems a bit far-fetched. Why can't Data equip himself with one, so he never has to go looking for a screwdriver?

The way the alien engineer woman comes round at the end seems a bit easy. And what happens to the exocomps now? Data is no longer alone in the world and the Federation has the capacity to create similar, conscious life. But I expect we never hear about them again.

Nonetheless, a very thought-provoking and absorbing episode. Possibly the best in the sixth series so far.
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James G
Mon, Oct 5, 2020, 1:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: A Fistful of Datas

Just how many excuses did the Star Trek franchise find to indulge itself in historical Earth period pieces? That was the question I found myself asking as I realised what this one was going to be about. And I expected to be writing some fairly snarky comments here.

I don't really think people watch Star Trek to watch a pseudo-Western. They want to find escapism in distant space, in the future. Not 19th Century America (or is it the 19th Century? It's never obvious to me, though I note that the revolver was invented in the 1830s).

But - if you turn up at an Indian restaurant and they offer you pizza, after your initial irritation, the question becomes - how good is the pizza? And as it happens, despite my expectations, I liked this one a lot. It's not a thought-provoking moral tale. It's not high drama. It's not (really) particularly suspenseful. But what it is, is a lot of fun.

I don't actually like the Worf character but Michael Dorn gets some marvellous deadpan comedy out of this episode. Bravo. And of course Brent Spiner puts in a brilliant shift as the villain(s) of the piece. Even Marina Sirtis does a good job.

It's a little odd that none of the four crew playing protagonists in this Western drama are human, and strange to think that a Betazoid and a Klingon child would have a particular interest in the affairs of Deadwood.

A couple of thoughts. I've often thought it perverse that an Android with a powerful computer brain would interact with the ship's systems by typing and talking to them, so it was nice to see the idea of an interface explored briefly.

Does Worf indulge a touch of compassion for the holographic Frank Hollander when he spares his life at the end?

And when you think about it, a Holodeck technology that can propel bullets at the proper speed to injure someone is pretty phenomenally unlikely, isn't it? Wouldn't it leave a dent in the holodeck wall if it missed?

Even so, a splendid episode. This one entertained me thoroughly. I can't wait for the sequel in the seventh series, no doubt entitled For A Few Datas More.
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James G
Sat, Oct 3, 2020, 11:22am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Rascals

Well - there's a lot wrong with this one.

Firstly - this whole idea of sudden ageing and unageing, as we explored only a few episodes ago, is ridiculous. I could just about accept it if Q caused it (because: magic) but as an effect of some physical phenomenon - sorry, no. How do the wrinkles disappear, and the skin tighten? Who exactly has cut and styled the hair that appears on Picard's head?

Secondly - the kids who play the usually-adult characters are not great actors. I thought the Picard kid was the worst of the lot, to be honest. And to have a character usually made so real and natural by a brilliant actor become so wooden and stiff - the kid was doing not much more than waiting his turn to read out the lines - is particularly hard to take. The young lad just was not capable of expressing the earnestness, the lifelike thoughfulness. I'm not surprised to note that he didn't pursue a career as an actor. He wasn't one.

I thought the Guinan kid did alright, she was a believable Guinan. The Ro girl as well.

Thirdly - how easy is it for a few renegade Ferengi to take over the Starfleet flagship? I'm not having it.

One nit-pick that struck me; Picard calling Riker "Number One" is seen as a mistake, but Riker has already called him Jean-Luc. Surely the name Jean-Luc must be well-known to Ferengis everywhere by now.

The solution to the problem of being taken over by Ferengi pirates, involving crawling through conduit tunnels (I was reminded of 1960s dramas like Mission Impossible where people used to escape by crawling through ventilation ducts every week) was boring.

A poor one.
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James G
Thu, Oct 1, 2020, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: True Q

There's so much wrong with this one, but despite its flaws, I really liked it.

To start with : Q. Omnipotent, or near-omnipotent beings make no sense at all. How do they wield these powers - magic? The original series has plenty of it I admit but I just don't like supernatural powers in sci-fi.

And how could a human-dominated Federation of Planets amount to anything in a galaxy where beings powers like that exist?

On a similar note, the way that Picard addresses and relates to Q, a being against whom he is utterly defenceless and who has the capacity to grant any wish he might think of, is stupid. As soon as Q turned up, Picard should have been asking for help with the Polluted Planet. And would you mind making our warp engines 10 times more efficient? Thanks!

Despite that, I was delighted to see Q pop up in this one, simply because I enjoy the character.

The backstory for the girl who becomes a Q doesn't sound entirely convincing, I must say. And why would the Q need to summon up a tornado to perform the execution of her parents? Surely with a snap of a Q's fingers, they could simply vanish out of existence, or never have existed.

But - the girl accepts her powers with considerably more grace and humility than Riker did, when he had a go at being a Q in the first series (or was it the second?).

I thought the bit where Q talks to his superiors in the Continuum was hilarious, intentional or not. Reminded me of Mork and Mindy.

The conclusion surprised me - I would have put money on the girl choosing to become mortal. But like Kal-El in Superman II, it would have been a mistake.

Despite my misgivings, it plays out nicely. Interested to see that the Q girl is a British actress; I watched an interview with her from 2012 out of curiosity.

A good one.
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James G
Wed, Sep 30, 2020, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Schisms

After an excellent run of episodes, a poor one. This really did not work for me. It occurred to me that this is probably the very last TNG episode you'd show to someone unfamiliar with the franchise.

It's just downright bizarre, and the conceit it's based on is a huge pile of technobabble nonsense.

It starts off with something that about half of all TNG episodes suffer from; Geordi or Data making a "modification" that the engineers who built and designed the warp engines, the sensors, the shields and the rest of it somehow never thought of.

Then the "anomaly"; this monstrously dangerous rift in the fabric of the universe that shouldn't exist (or whatever it is). Picard, Data, Geordi and the others stand there looking at it like it's a bit of mould on the bathroom wall.

How could Data be affected in the same way as the rest of the crew, when the aliens are apparently using some sort of neural sedative to render their victims unconscious?

The funniest part is the holodeck computer's hilariously specific response to "make this a metal table". It's as though about 20 minutes of the participants describing what they wanted was edited out. All it needed was "wait .. I remember now .. it was like a dentist's chair! Computer, make this a dentist's chair".

Speaking of the computer, why can't it raise an alarm when two crew members go unaccounted for, instead of waiting to be asked?

I was delighted to see two Philips head screws in the helm console, but I googled this and apparently they were removed in post-production from the original video. In the HD versions restored from film (I watched this on Netflix), they didn't bother.

The aliens were nicely creepy, I must say that.

I found myself hitting the rewind button quite a few times when I realised that I'd stopped listening to the dialogue. I stopped paying attention a few times. This one is just not engaging, it doesn't gel, it doesn't work.

i would award a small degree of credit for the conclusion though. Nice to see an episode end unresolved, in a way. The crew are safe, the danger has passed, but we don't end up knowing much about the other-universe aliens, and they're still out there.
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James G
Tue, Sep 29, 2020, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

A good one, despite its faults. A nice, sentimental diversion. I think the Scotty character is possibly a little overcooked at times in this one but the conceit that allows us to see him 75 years after his time is quite clever.

The Dyson Sphere story that is a background to all of this is also quite original, and builds the suspense nicely toward the conclusion, with the Enterprise trapped.

Odd though that a 75 year old ship can hold the doors open with its shields, when the Starfleet flagship can't punch a hole through them. I suppose the difference between material strength and motor strength.

The dialogue between Data and Scotty about the Aldebaran whisky is priceless. "It is .. green".

The reference implying that Kirk was still alive in Scotty's present day - he's on his way to retirement - is unfortunate.

When we see Scotty's ship on the surface of the sphere, it looks curved, even up relatively close. Yes, sphere surfaces are curved, but this particular sphere would be millions of times flatter than the surface of the Earth.

The ending is a bit weird - he's just going off into the unknown in a shuttlecraft? It would make more sense to return him to his own time, but he doesn't seem that bothered to have been flung 75 years into the future.

This is a general observation about TOS + movies vs TNG but when you think about it, the technology and culture isn't really all that different between them. There's a lot in the present day (2020 as I type) that would seem extremely alien to people in the 1940s, but we never really get a sense of that in Star Trek.

The scene where the Enterprise escapes through the closing doors sideways is real class - proper entertainment.

Anyway - self-indulgent maybe, a bit overly sentimental for some perhaps, but I liked this one a lot.
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James G
Sun, Sep 27, 2020, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Man of the People

There are some obvious cliches in this one. I'm not a fan of the mystic voodoo empathic nonsense, but a lot of Trek episodes are plagued by that. Also - this notion of rapid ageing and unageing, quite popular in science-fiction but especially the Star Trek franchise - is very silly. It's doubly silly when you see a woman's hair not only restored to the previous colour but also the previous style, over a few minutes.

But if you can get over all that - it's very watchable.

Many male viewers will have appreciated seeing a somewhat different side of Deanna in this one.

There's a hint of darkness in Beverley's demeanour when she appears to take a small measure of satisfaction from Alkar's death.

I found the story adequately coherent, and there were solid performances all round. After an awful start with part two of the dire mess that is Time's Arrow, another winner for series six.
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James G
Sat, Sep 26, 2020, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Realm of Fear

I do like a Reg story, and I really enjoyed this one. The techno-nonsense aspect of the plot is really just a vehicle for the main plot trajectory of Reg being neurotic, conquering his fear, then solving the puzzle and saving lives - and I think it works really well. Dwight Schultz is a very effective performer in this role.

Of course there are problems with it. Deanna doesn't seem to have her empathic abilities in this one; she comes across as having no more insight than a human. How could Reg keep what he describes as "mortal terror" from her? She even asks "is there something you're not telling me?"

And how can you be sentient enough to recognise bizarre space creatures while your brain molecules are being dispersed?

Reg's hair style is more or less a combover. Surely if you're sufficiently bothered about being bald, there must be some sort of cheap and easy hair transplant technique by the 24th Century?

I was interested that the dead burns victim was shown so graphically; surprising for family TV in the early '90s, or even now.

Anyway, very good. After an awful start, this episode gives me hope for the sixth series.
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James G
Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Time's Arrow, Part II

Comments here apply to both parts.

I was really looking forward to this one - the idea of Data's head being discovered in San Francisco was fascinating and intriguing. In practice, the whole story turned out to be, for me, an overlong dog's breakfast of fanciful nonsense. It's comfortably one of the worst-conceived ideas of the whole Trek canon, so why it was singled out to be padded and stretched out to a two-parter is beyond me.

Now - I know you have to suspend your disbelief a bit in science fiction. Especially in time travel stories. But Christ on a Bike, there's so much wrong with this.

This idea that the aliens are invisible because they are living in a fractionally different time - why? You'd just see them as they were a fraction of a second previously. There's no character development for the villainous aliens at all. Why is it even necessary for them to be visiting 19th Century Earth from the 24th Century? Their own time could just as easily be the 22nd Century, or the 26th, or even the 13th!

Star Trek period pieces always bore me I'm afraid but the Mark Twain character makes this one unbearable.

There's a curious feature in this story in that Crusher appears to speak a lines intended for Geordi: "I haven't been able to determine if our phaser energy can generate a stable field". Similarly for some reason early on in the first part, Geordi turns out to be an expert in cellular fossils, and their origin.

I think it's just really sloppy writing.

There's some real, awful technobollocks around this idea of "synchronic displacement".

We're supposed to accept that Data's head is over 500 years old now, for the rest of the canon.

I quite like the idea that Guinan was in 10th Century San Francisco, even though it's a bit of a coincidence. She continues to live for another five centuries or so before she turns up on the Enterprise. I sort of like that. But at what point in this timeline do the Borg attack her planet, and leave the rest of her species wandering like nomads? She already seems to have that existence.

Data tells us that there is "no way to prevent it", on the subject of his severed head. You just can't change destiny. But Guinan refuses to tell Riker what he should do, on the basis that you can change it. The whole 'First Contact' movie is based on the idea that you can. Who's right?

I wondered if Data building some sort of improbable technology from 19th Century bits and pieces was an homage to Spock doing similar with 1930 tech in City On The Edge Of Forever.

Anyway the various plot holes and logical faults are not really the problem here. It's just not engaging or interesting, it's not coherent and all the fanciful flamboyant tripe like the old bugger with the cigar and Picard's acting troupe, and the old Irish landlady are grindingly boring.

For me the worst episode of the 5th series, and - hopefully - of the 6th.
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James G
Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 12:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Time's Arrow, Part I

I watched the first of this two-parter a few days ago, and the second part just now. I really didn't like it. But I'll summarise my thoughts about both parts in the comments for the concluding part.
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James G
Sat, Sep 19, 2020, 8:17am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

I'd seen this one once, before, but I'd forgotten how mind-scaldingly brilliant it is. I must have, because until this afternoon I've considered First Contact and Who Watches the Watchers? to be my favourite TNG stories.

This is so affecting. The masterstroke of this one is that Picard comes to accept and embrace his new life. He even has children that he can't imagine being without, and the moment he suggests a nursery to his wife was a real jaw-dropper for me. One can imagine that in a TOS story, Kirk would have fought against his illusion until he found some way out of it, probably by blowing up a computer somewhere.

There are of course some problems with this episode. I'm loath to write about them because despite them, this TNG story was absolutely fantastic telly.

But anyway -

The civilisation on the doomed planet seems quite simple, almost even agrarian. No dramatic cityscapes with pointy towers, no replicators, or transporters, etc.

They do have missile technology, we learn, but only just. How do they build a probe capable of identifying a passing space vessel then beaming a 30-year 3D reality into a starship captain's brain?

Picard must bring knowledge of his life in Starfleet to his new life. There must be a definitive way, via understanding perhaps of technology they don't have, to establish that he is Not Of Their World. Yet over time he seems almost to accept that his former life was a delusion .. or does he? It's never quite clear.

Surely after losing his new life, the old one would almost be as hard to accept, all those years later, as his life as Kamin was, when he wakes up on the doomed planet. One can imagine him raging against it .. no .. NO this is just an old dream! But he adapts very quickly.

It occurred to me that to make a man lose his wife, friends and children, real to him albeit actually an illusion, is actually an abuse. But then again - even in the illusion, they are doomed by their planet's star. Perhaps that's the point. Millions of the planets inhabitants lost their lives and families.

It crossed my mind that a nice touch might have been for someone to retrieve the program from the probe, and extract its data to make a holodeck program from it. But on further consideration - no. The finality and the loss of that society makes the story more emotional.

Anyway. That last scene, with Batai and his family gently explaining to Picard the meaning of the apparent last few decades of his life is really haunting.

Bravo.
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