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Mon, Jan 12, 2015, 5:50pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S7: All Good Things...

I wish that Q had showed up in any of the TNG movies. He really was a great foil for Picard.

His visits to Voyager were good, but the Q/Picard relationship was the best.
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Tue, Oct 21, 2014, 11:22pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

This film gets a bad rap. I won't claim it's among the best of the Star Trek films. But I like it better than Nemesis and Insurrection. I think I like it better than Star Trek 1: The Motion Picture, too. I'm probably a bit biased since its the first Star Trek movie I saw in the theater.

Here are some reasons I like it:

1. It has humor.
The jokes don't land as well as they did in Star Trek IV, but they are not terrible. It's a more "human-relatable" movie than several other Trek films.

2. The "big three".
The camaraderie between Kirk, McCoy, and Spock is a welcome re-visit that helps close out Spock's character arc of re-adjusting after being reborn, which started really in Star Trek IV. It gave me a warm feeling and it made me think of how William Shatner was probably waxing nostalgic in having so many scenes with the three characters that really were the heart of Star Trek. "God I liked him better before he died!"

3. The whole God thing was really not a bad plot line.
In many ways it was reminiscent of numerous TOS (and a few early TNG) episodes that dealt with a near-omnipotent alien entity masquerading as something else. Actually this entity reminded me of the one they encountered in the first episode of the Animated Series (that one also tried to use the enterprise to escape a dead star/planet, episode title: Beyond the Farthest Star). I suppose for people not familiar with TOS, this may have seemed like a copout from dealing with issues of religion, but really this plot line makes a lot of sense in Star Trek context. It was never about religion, it was about the dangers of thinking too passionately instead of thinking critically.

4. It has a good underlying message:
While it could be argued that Vulcans rely too much on logic, Sybok is the embodiment of going too far in the other direction. He embraces passion and emotion too much, without drawing enough on the cool dampening of rationality. He's also a pseudo-hedonist, convincing people that the bad part of their pasts should be forcibly forgotten and banished from your psyche ("release your pain"). Kirk provides the useful counterpoint: "I need my pain! It makes me who I am!"). This film explores some of the consequences of passionately leaping before you look. (Sybok finally sees the error in his ways, having been taken with legends and seeing what he wanted to see instead of what actually was.)

5. It further develops Kirk's character.
In Star Trek II (yes, probably the best), Kirk went from bemoaning his old age to the greatest ending line of the ST movies: "How do you feel Jim?. . . Young. I feel young."
Now here Kirk goes from bemoaning the solitary nature of the life he chose as a Starship captain (climbing El Capitan alone, saying he knows he'll die alone, telling Bones and Spock that "Men like us don't have families."), to realizing the people close to him are indeed his family, and that he never really has been alone. ("I lost a brother once. . . lucky for me I got him back." "I thought you said men like us don't have families?. . . . I was wrong."

6. It introduced that snazzy Klingon theme music.
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Mon, Oct 13, 2014, 5:48pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S5: Unification

At the beginning, Sarek says Spock must have met Pardek at the Khitomer conference. Do we see Pardek at Khitomer in ST 6?
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Mon, Oct 13, 2014, 5:38pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S5: The Game

When I saw this episode as a kid I thought it was awesome. Probably because as a kid I identified with Wesley, and also the part where he manages to avoid escape for a while seemed pretty exciting, and then Data comes out of nowhere and saves the day. Also. . . Ashley Judd.

Now watching this as 34 year old. . .. It's pretty flawed.
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Wed, Oct 8, 2014, 5:53pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

Note this is the first appearance of Robin Lefler (played by Ashley Judd), helping Geordi try to break through the ionospheric scattering field to try and beam up Picard.

She'd later play opposite Wesley in The Game.
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Wed, Oct 8, 2014, 2:03pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: The Mind's Eye

This is the first appearance of Romulan Commander Sela (Tasha Yar's daughter). You don't see her face, but you see her silouhette and you hear Denise Crosby's voice when they are first experimenting on Geordi. Cool that they introduced her as a shadowy figure here, only to bring her out into the light at the end of Redemption, part 1.

I'm impressed at how much continuity there is in TNG's storyline. This is the era of TV before big long story arcs for the most part, but you can certainly see the seeds of long story arc here, and it's not too big a jump to the X-files-style story-arcs that eventually led to things like LOST.
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Fri, Oct 3, 2014, 3:49pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S7: The Pegasus

This is the episode referenced in the final episode of Enterprise.
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Fri, Oct 3, 2014, 3:24pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

Amazing the timelessness of this episode, filmed in 1991.

Watching it today all I could think about was the series of assumptions that led to the Iraq war, especially when Satie said something like "by the time we get well founded evidence, it could be too late!"

Also the Romulan-ancestor thing touched on the fear that American had for Japanese-Americans during WWII (leading folks like George Takei having to live in internment camps).
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Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 3:46pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: The Wounded

-Marc Alaimo was excellent as Gul Macet. (He later played Gul Dukat in DS9).

-The writers decided pretty quickly to abandon that weird Cardassian headgear that we see in the first couple scenes. We don't see them wearing it ever again.

-Colm Meany has already shown by this point in the series that he is an EXCELLENT actor. His delivery is always subtle and pitch perfect. So glad he got the opportunity for more depth in this episode.
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Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 3:35pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

I actually really liked this episode. Great example of scientific debunking of snake-oil salesmen. Also Ardra is played in a very charismatic way. Surprised it is so disliked by so many.

I can see that it may have been more appropriate in TOS than in TNG, but still: good stuff.
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Thu, Sep 25, 2014, 5:12pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S4: Reunion

Fantastic episode.

Really is a shame that K'Ehleyr wasn't kept around, but I do think it was crucial to Worf's character development that she died. She was a rare kindred spirit for Worf: a Klingon working in the federation.
I had forgotten that she was half-human before she appeared in that first episode a few seasons prior. So she pre-dates Belanna Torres as a female half-klingon half-human.
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Wed, Sep 10, 2014, 5:05pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Offspring

I was age 7-14 when I watched most of TNG on TV, and hadn't re-watched most of the episodes since then. Now, as an adult re-watching TNG via Netflix, I take very different emotional insights from these episodes than I did when I was a kid. Generally because I have had 20 years of life experience since TNG ended, and particularly because I am now a parent.

The scene where Lal tells Data that she loves him, and his silent reaction shows he genuinely appreciates the sentiment, but tragically cannot feel the same thing for her, nearly brought me to tears. Brent Spiner handled that beautifully. The anguish of not being able to give your child something they need is very relatable.

Also: when Dr. Crusher gives Data the advice that "children just need support and love", and Data responds that he can give Lal support but not love, I now, as a parent, take Beverly's full meaning when she says: "Now why do I find that hard to believe." Because I now understand something that Data, at least in this scene, did not: Love is not just an emotional feeling (which Data cannot experience), it is an action (which he can). Making selfless efforts for someone else (as he did in constructing Lal, tutoring her, and working to save her when her systems failed) is an act of love, and Data demonstrates in this episode that he is indeed capable of that kind of love.
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Thu, Sep 4, 2014, 3:34pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

@Robert: Good points.

-I think you're right about the Edo "God". They were highly evolved multi-dimensional beings. Now that I've thought about it, the only powers they demonstrated were the ability to interface with Data and to menacingly approach the Enterprise. That's less demonstrated capability than Apollo, and not really "near-omnipotent".

My main interest was in how often super-powerful god-like characters showed up in the Star Trek series, and the apparent fact that they were more frequent in TOS than later series. Wasn't at first interested in getting into the details of relative abilities of the "near-omnipotent" beings.

That said, it is indeed interesting to think about the variety of super-powerful characters, so let me try to organize my thoughts:

Admittedly there is going to be gray area here. But in general when I think of "near-omnipotent" I am thinking of those characters that have abilities to either:

-manipulate reality (turning one object/lifeform into another instantly, manifesting matter/energy out of nothing, etc. without the use of technology),
-travel through time or over vast distances instantly (and, again, without the use of technology).
-Extra points for immortality

Of course each character is different so we'll get a spectrum. But we can start by categorizing them into groups.

Type A: With the above guidelines a couple of the characters we've seen stand out as obviously qualifying as "near-omnipotent". Q, Trelane, Nagilum, Kevin Uxbridge are all obvious examples: they are each pretty much omnipotent, can travel through and manipulate time and space, are omniscient, and immortal. This was mainly the type I was originally thinking of, though now I see some of those on my list would actually better fit in the below Types.

Type B: A class of characters/races that are less capable or more limited than Type A, but still extremely powerful compared to the "standard" races in star trek (humans, vulcans, romulans, klingons, cardassians etc.). Beings in this category may be telekinetic or able to manipulate reality or manifest objects in real space out of nothing, but are not typically omniscient and are still largely dependent on technology for things like space travel. In this category I'd put characters like Kes (the last time we saw her) since she is extremely telekinetic, but can't teleport or (AFAIK) manifest objects from nothing. Other examples would be Apollo and the Caretakers (perhaps straddling the line between Type A and B), perhaps the Edo God, the dream aliens from "If Wishes were Horses", Charlie X, Gary Mitchell, the "God" from Star Trek V, maybe the "Gorgon" from "And the Children Shall Lead", Maybe Armus the tar-monster that killed Yar, etc.

Type C: would be any beings that cannot really manipulate reality, but have strong telepathic abilities and can use them to control other beings and give the appearance of omnipotence. I'm thinking especially of characters like "Plato's Stepchildren", or the Talosians from "The Cage / The Menagerie".

-Edo God:
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Wed, Sep 3, 2014, 5:46pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

(Updated list: Added the being that defended the Edo, and updated the episode title for the Ecalbians)

Omnipotent / near-omnipotent character (first appearance episode)

-Charlie Evans ("Charlie X", S1E2)
-Gary Mitchell ("Where No Man Has Gone Before", S1E3 / Second Pilot)
-Trelane ("The Squire of Gothos", S1E17)
-Metrons ("Arena", S1E18)
-Organians ("Errand of Mercy", S1E26)
-Apollo ("Who Mourns for Adonais?", S2E2)
-Ornithoids ("Catspaw", S2E7)
-The Providers, ("The Gamesters of Triskelion", S2E16)
-Melkot ("Spectre of the Gun", S3E6)
-Excalbians ("The Savage Curtain", S3E22)

-Q ("Encounter at Farpoint", S1E1)
-God-like inter-dimensional aliens protecting Edo ("Justice", S1E7)
-Nagilum ("Where Silence Has Lease", S2E2)
-Kevin Uxbridge ("The Survivors", S3E3)

-Bajoran Prophets / Wormhole Aliens ("Emissary", S1E1)
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Wed, Sep 3, 2014, 5:27pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

-@Y'know Somebody:

Apollo manifested a giant disembodied hand that literally held the Enterprise in place. He also was an alien with authentic powers that allowed him to successfully pose as a God in ancient Greece.

I'd say that qualifies him as "near omnipotent", at least in the sense I was thinking.

-Regarding the above-posted list, though I may be missing a few in the later series (DS9, Voyager, Enterprise), my sense from just having watched all those episodes was that there were extremely few (perhaps none) near-omnipotent beings in those later series (other than the occasional appearance by Q).
This leads me to conclude that the all-powerful being encounters was mainly a fetish of Gene Roddenberry himself, since they went away after he died.
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Wed, Sep 3, 2014, 5:22pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

Thanks guys!

Updated list:
List of omnipotent or "near-omnipotent" characters in the Star Trek universe

Omnipotent / near-omnipotent character (first appearance episode)

-Charlie Evans (Charlie X, S1E2)
-Gary Mitchell (Where No Man Has Gone Before, S1E3 / Second Pilot)
-Trelane (The Squire of Gothos, S1E17)
-Metrons (Arena, S1E18
-Organians (Errand of Mercy, S1E26)
-Apollo (Who Mourns for Adonais?, S2E2)
-Ornithoids ("Catspaw", S2E7)
-The Providers, ("The Gamesters of Triskelion", S2E16)
-Melkot ("Spectre of the Gun", S3E6)

-Q (Encounter at Farpoint, S1E1)
-Nagilum (Where Silence Has Lease, S2E2)
-Kevin Uxbridge (The Survivors, S3E3)

-Bajoran "Prophets" (Emissary, S1E1)

(any others?)
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Fri, Aug 29, 2014, 4:40pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

Anyone have a list of omnipotent (or near-omnipotent) characters in Star Trek (writ large)? I'm almost finished watching all of Star Trek via netflix (started with DS9, then Voyager, Enterprise, TOS, TAS, and finally TNG).

-Q (TNG)
-Kevin Uxbridge (TNG)
-Nagilum (TNG)
-Trelane (TOS)
-Apollo (TOS)

who else?
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Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 3:22pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

Actually I always liked this episode for the Data part. Data learned that logic and reason aren't always enough. Presentation is just as important.

Regarding the complaints that it was unrealistic that the colonists weren't "getting it", I tend to disagree.

Recall that they had not encountered any visitors in multiple generations. They had not had any contact with anyone off planet at all in over 90 years. The generation of people in charge were intelligent enough to understand the concept of spacefaring races and capabilities, sure, but they had never witnessed such capabilities firsthand in their entire lives. They didn't even get stories of this from their parents, since those parents had not experienced such things.
The problem with expecting them to just "get it" when Data explained is that the people he is explaining it to do not have the right frame of reference. Their reference was the challenge they and their ancestors went through to survive. And hey, they figured that out, didn't they?

The visceral demonstration Data gave at the end did the trick, and properly so. Makes sense to me.
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Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 3:43pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S2: Shades of Gray

I think a clip show like this comes off as worse now that we binge watch the show on dvd or netflix. At the time it was shown, it had been up to 2 years since many of those clips had previously been seen, so it may have been a more enjoyable experience for viewers who were reminded of previous episodes they hadn't had a chance to see for a while.

And the framing for the clips is not as bad as all that. About 20-25 minutes of setup outside the clips, and some decent dialog between Picard and Riker about the how most lifeforms attack out of instinct to survive instead of malice, etc.

Not the best of course, but zero stars? nah.
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Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 1:18pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: Star Trek III: The Search For Spock

Christopher Lloyd was awesome in this.

Also, what was his dog/pet on the bridge of the bird of prey? It was not a Targ, was it?
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Wed, Jul 16, 2014, 5:17pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

What stuck with me about this episode was the final scene between Data and Picard.
Data: "My thoughts center on how I will miss Tasha. Did I miss the point of the funeral?"
Picard: "No. You got it.".

Subtly reinforced one of the central core elements of TNG: Data learning about humanity as a literary method for studying it.
And also one of the scenes that subtly thrust Data up there next to Picard as the central characters of the show.
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Wed, Jul 16, 2014, 5:04pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S1: Symbiosis

Why were they portrayed as incompetent regarding starship operations? They never seemed to pay that off in the story. The backstory was that they were technologically advanced enough for space travel. Seems like something got cut out of the episode.
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Wed, Jul 16, 2014, 4:38pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S1: The Arsenal of Freedom

Ditto the above positive comments for Geordi in this episode. Geordi comes off as well-suited to command, leveraging his technical acumen that would later lead him to Engineering. And Levar Burton plays it believably. The final tactic of entering the upper atmosphere to make the cloaked robot visible was clever and had an effective triumphant payoff.

In the same way that it makes eventual sense that Sulu ended up with his own ship (Sulu always comes off as competent and well suited to command in TOS, and then gets Excelsior in Undiscovered Country), so it makes sense when we finally see Geordi as a captain during his Cameo in the Voyager episode "Timeless".

I wonder why the writers decided to have no consistent Chief Engineer in season 1 of TNG? Given how prominent a character Scotty was in TOS, you'd think they'd have prioritized the position in TNG. Seems odd that engineering has a random Lt. manning it all the time. They obviously fixed it in Season 2. Still odd that they didn't keep a prominent character there in Season 1.
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Wed, Jul 16, 2014, 4:24pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S1: Coming of Age

In this episode, Wesley says "Because [Captain Picard]. . . because someone made a decision, and my father died because of it. . ."

Can anyone tell me if there was ever any followup to the story of what happened to Wesley's father: Jack Crusher?

The hints dropped up to this point in Season 1 suggested that this was going to be a significant backstory milestone impacting, and tying together, Picard, Beverly, and Wesley. IE: the latent romantic feelings between Beverly and Picard, (some level of mutual attraction, but also Picard feeling some sort of "duty" to care for Jack's widow since it seems Jack died under circumstances where Picard was somehow responsible.) Also, Picard started the series telling Riker that he does not know how to interact with children (dialog from Encounter at Farpoint), but when it comes to Wesley he makes special exceptions. Not just because Wesley is exceptionally talented, but because Picard sees Jack in him, and he again feels a subconscious obligation to support the family that Jack left behind when he died.

I'm re-watching the entire series, but in my memory I have no recollection of the show ever revisiting the topic of Jack Crusher after Season 1. Was this just a piece of character development that was abandoned by the writers? If so, I think that's a shame. I remain intrigued. And think the later seasons of TNG are worse off for supporting the pseudo-romantic relationship between Picard and Beverly, where the topic could have fit.
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Fri, Jun 27, 2014, 11:01am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

TMP is closer to classic, cerebral Trek, and in line with the themes of TOS.

I like it, and 3 out of 4 stars is deserved..

-I get why they spent so much time on the introduction to the new Enterprise, but it is still WAY too long. The entrance into the V'ger cloud is also way too long. Show a shot of the cloud, a shot of Sulu's face. A shot of the cloud, a shot of Kirk's face. A shot of the cloud, a shot of Decker's face. Yeesh.

-Was surprised to find that this was the origin of the Star Trek: TNG musical score. I always thought that started with TNG. Nope. TMP.

-Listening to the audio commentary was most interesting, especially with regard to how the ideas from "Star Trek: Phase II" were incorporated into the movie, and how those ideas later morphed into TNG. (ex: Will Decker's character turned into Will Riker. Illia turned into Deanna Troi. Zahn (a full-blood vulcan who didn't appear in TMP) turned into Data. etc.)
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