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Matthew Burns
Mon, Aug 17, 2020, 3:48pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: Star Trek: First Contact

As a movie First Contact is most definitely the most 'popcorn' and most 'accessible' for general audiences unfamiliar with the TNG Star Trek universe/canon. The script writers, and probably Frakes who directed it, wasted no time with getting the movie moving at speed to the real meat of the story. Generations for example effectively meanders for over half it's running length before anything really happens, namely the saucer crash and Picard getting down on the planet and getting involved with the Nexus.
I like Generations but I like it probably more because its TNG on the big screen with better lit sets, than because it's actually got a really good story, I'll admit. The story takes too long to get going and is not in fact executed that well.

First Contact finds a much healthier balance between great visuals and engaging and well executed story, and its paced very well indeed, and credit goes to Frakes who really hits his own creative peak IMO here, as a director.
Speaking of Frakes, he also directed the sequel, Insurrection, and it's a film that gets a fair amount of stick from the fans, which is unfair. I think with a better script he'd have been able to pull off another big winner. TNG movie era was a little let down mainly by underwhelming and convoluted scripts/plots. Even First Contact didn't escape that downfall, in that the Borg essentially are portrayed in a way that betrays their original concept from the TV show. But the execution and overall story in that case overshadows the problems.
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Matthew Burns
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 4:04pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

"what happens if Sir Patrick Stewart dies? He's getting pretty old. It looks to me like he's really deteriorating"

Really deteriorating is not really an appropriate suggestion to make considering, like you say, he's 79. He's not going to be action Picard from the 90's now, of course not.
He's in fantastic condition compared to the average 79 year old!
Actors die irrespective of age and chances are Stewart will be fine, but there are no certainties for any of us and you cross that bridge, if, god forbid, you have too. The show would go on regardless!
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Matthew Burns
Wed, Jan 29, 2020, 3:51pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: PIC S1: Remembrance

It's great to see Brent Spiner back to help launch the series, and even if it's true that he will not appear again in the series in Season 1 at least, it's a lovely couple of scenes and I for one think they did a fantastic job of de-aging Spiner as best they could without going to far to make it look too jarring.

The Romulan attack scenes were the least interesting to me to be honest, but overall I really enjoyed it.

Hopefully the show goes from strength to strength going forward.
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Matthew Burns
Wed, Nov 8, 2017, 1:36pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Dark Frontier

This episode is now nearly 20 years old! It holds up well I think. The VFX look good even by todays standards.
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Matthew Burns
Fri, Dec 17, 2010, 7:16am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: Redemption, Part I

I actually don't think this season is quite as consistent as the third season with a few episodes that are actually the worst since the second - episodes like "Suddenly Human", "Half a Life" and "In Theory" come straight to my mind as "not awful" but pretty weak in any case. I didn't like "The Host" either and "The Loss" and "Night Terror's" were quite drab episodes that feel more like filler material designed to pass an hour.

That being said, I disagree with one review from jammer, that being the review for "Qpid". I actually kinda liked it - its definitely not as bad as "Q Less" that's for sure. It is probably another filler, yes, but its definitely one of the better filler episodes of TNG in my opinion and I'd have given that one 3 stars for entertainment value in my opinion. I don't quite understand why you can give "Qpid" one star and "Suddenly Human" two stars because the latter, in my opinion, is the much inferior episode - "Suddenly Human" is probably the top three worst of the fourth season for many fans, I'm pretty sure of that.

Anyway, its a great season and there were some terrific episodes. "The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2" (obviously), "Brothers", "Data's Day", "The Wounded", "The Drumhead", "First Contact", "Reunion" and "The Mind's Eye" are probably my favourites overall.

I was a little disappointed with "Redemption" I suppose. As jammer put it, it ain't no "best of both worlds". Having said that - it's neither bad nor poor really, just satisfactory and enough to whet your appetite for the fifth season resolution.

Good stuff.
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Matthew Burns
Thu, Dec 16, 2010, 12:34pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: Evolution

The third season of TNG was like the beginning of a fresh start. Seriously. The opening scenes on the premier season-three episode "Evolutions", while not exceptional in any sense, conveys to the audience that this is the start of something better.

Crusher is back, the crew look much more professional and more comfortable in their new uniforms, and in a strange sense the whole show looks so, so, soo.. much more mature than the feeling you constantly got with the first season, and mostly (some exceptions, I surpose) the second season as well. Even the Enterprise exterior shots look like brilliant FX shots for late-80s-early-90s.

Mark my words, Michael Piller helped save this show from the abyss of cancellation that be-felled the original show in my opinion. I can't believe that another season like the second season would have sufficed to warrant a fourth chance. There were too many poor episodes in the last year in my opinion. However punctuated in-between those poor episodes you had episodes like "The Measure of a Man", "Q-Who" and "Peak Performance", too name the very best in my opinion. "Shades of Grey" was the worst possible way you could end any season. Dear God; why use that as the season finale - better yet - why make it at all? It was awful and I'm absolutely sure that had I been alive to see TNG at this time I would have worried or perhaps even given up on a series that seemed to be surviving for dear life (i.e. TOS third season, regarded by fans as awful generally) much beyond that point.

This season was a marvellous revival. It was also the first season I purchased of TNG on DVD (I hadn't seen any episodes of TNG apart from the The Best of Both Worlds - I collected the DVD'S and watched that way). It actually the PERFECT season of the show to introduce newcomers. If this was ever the case for any reading this - I strongly recommend you DO NOT give them the first season of the show because in all frankness it could be a fatal turn-off. The second is probably an OK start-point but there are still too many cheesy and god-awful episodes to get through, that again, could be a turn-off for potential newcomers to the series. I recommend the third simply because nearly every single episode is AT LEAST tolerable and the majority are good in any case.

Let me put it this way: If a newcomer cannot get into TNG in the third season then they probably won't understand, enjoy, appreciate or be a overall fan of TNG. The season has a whole group of episodes of a standalone adventure nature that are generally all good in different senses. The climax is brilliant as well. I myself was most certainly compelled to get the fourth season and the rest was just a matter of time and money. I saved up in anticipation for the next season up to the finale - and in honesty was kinda sad it was over when it was over in "All Good Things' (Although four films did follow for TNG). THEN I got the first season, and finally the second. Strange I know. But in my opinion this is trully the best way to watch the series for any newcomers.

By watching the more adult, mature and enjoyable episodes of the third season and later, you then look at those first two seasons from a more thoughtful and fulfilling perspective. In my opinion you get more out of the first two seasons by watched Seasons 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 in that order first. I did - I consider myself a pretty big fan of the series now and I love all the series (overall) and appreciate everything.

Please Note: I have to say second-season finale "Shades of Grey" is truly, totally, absolutely the only episode in the whole series I would recommend ditching and missing altogether - it shouldn't exist and I am pretty sure everyone who has seen the episode ONCE (and only once in my case) will agree with me on that.
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Matthew Burns
Wed, Dec 15, 2010, 9:56am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

I love - no - I absolutely love 'Jammers Reviews'. They MUST be the most comprehensive reviews of ALL the star trek episodes that can be found on the internet at the moment. They are brilliantly produced and thoughtful in the right places. I hope you get around to finishing those later TNG episodes that still aren't done yet - I am looking forward to that.

I agree mostly with the reviews on this first season. Of all the modern trek's first years (TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT) TNG'S is probably the worst by some stretch. Half the episodes (at least)of the season are mediocre or worse. The very best for me were 11001001, The Big Goodbye, Datalore, Conspiracy and Where No Man Has Gone Before. Encounter at Farpoint was quite good in places, especially scenes involving Q; It just wasn't a well executed episode and although felt fresh and and different, was evidently restrained by a background intention to help the show appeal to fans of TOS in the early stages of the series (which I surpose is understandable). However, DS9 tried to capture a TNG spirit in places during its first season and I think this damaged that show's first season as well; to a lessor extent than TNG suffered here, I'll admit. Voyager was also a culprit as well; trying to mix TNG and DS9 themes into one - quite successfully at times. ENT was bad throughout the first two seasons of existence as well trying to be like, yeah, like TNG and VOY again.

I think its just a modern star trek trend for a trek series to either start badly, or attempt to recapture the essence of a previous incarnations. Or - in the case of TNG-S1 - Both.

On the other-hand TOS's first year is generally regarded as its best and it's third year the worst - strange that. Although it did only have three seasons it still is a fact in my book regardless.

Michael Piller would have loathed this season, I'm sure of that. Drama and character development is simply bad or non-existent most of the time. That's why the third season was so, so, so much better! It was like a new series that year, started anew! And nobody ever never looked back after that season.
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