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Sun, May 26, 2019, 6:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Clues

4 of 4 stars until the reveal,
1,5 of 4 stars after the reveal.

the first half was so good that i felt the need to give two ratings, but the reveal did not really work and was somewhat disappointing... and the solution had some logic holes.
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Sun, May 26, 2019, 6:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Night Terrors

4 of 4 Stars. One of the best episodes in season 4.

Starts out like TOS Naked Time and the TNG Naked Now in season 1, but becomes unique for its horror atmosphere. Brilliant. I watched it alone at night first time not knowing what to expect and it really creeped me out - especially the morgue scene was well done.

So this is a basically a haunted/ghost story and should be watched and rated as such - and it delivers the atmosphere.
I feared that the explanation would not work like in clues, which I would rate 4 Stars for delivering the mysterious setting until the point of the reveal and 1,5 stars afterwards... but having no R.E.M. sleep was a great idea and the telepathic communication explanation was reasonable enough for me.

I really cant hear all the Troi hate anymore. In season 4 shes far better than in season 1-2. Don't see the problems with the dream scenes... I can also fly in my dreams, you not? And repeating thoughts and not exactly doing what you want is totally reasonable as youre not really in control. found that aspect actually quite realistic.

This whole alien communication critic is a bit silly, isnt it? Troi received the message in her dreams and her brain interpreted the delivered message in that cryptic way, and we dont know how different the telepathic communication of the aliens is. in the end a creative idea to give that creepy dream message a reasonable meaning.
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Wed, Jan 16, 2019, 3:44am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Where Silence Has Lease

One small (fun) observation I accidentally stumbled upon:
Watch closely for Troi, she will suddenly disappear from the bridge around the ninth minute in the episode just to pop up in the room 15 minutes later when she gets involved in the episode again. The chair next to Picard becomes suddenly empty.

I personally liked the episode for the atmosphere, especially the Yamato scenes worked very well. I thought at first "meh, another space cloud episode" but this one was entertaining. Some small annoyances, they obviously wanted to show Worf as Klingon needs to actively control his Klingon instincts in this episode... and why on earth did they make Pulaski disrespect Data that bluntly? Awkward and unnecessary moment, yeah they wanted to create a McCoy-Spock moment, but why? I found those moronic scenes between Spock and McCoy always annoying, but explained it with the age of the show: cheap creation of drama and tension or they just had no better idea to characterize Spock and his unemotional behaviour. It was tolerable for a 60s show, but in the 80s? this really killed the Pulaski character, which I found sound otherwise. Maybe it was originally done in TOS to give the part of the (American) audience that gets alienated by scientific talk a person to associate with, who knows. Nevertheless: 3 Stars
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Sat, Dec 15, 2018, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Lights of Zetar

I really liked the horror aspects of this episode, yes it has some plotholes and the solution is not so believable (pressure) but it was definitely not one of those episodes where you start checking how many minutes still left to the end. in general pacing was good, dialogues were fine, Scottys romance with the guest actress worked, yes this episode had not a real message to think about, but I dont expect that from every episode. Had shore leave in season 1 a message? Not really, but was rated 3 stars for being fun. I had fun with this episode, suspense was there for me, so I give it 2,5-3 stars.

Im right now asking myself how shore leave and some other episodes would have been rated if they had been aired in season 3, this season is not as bad as people say it is.
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Sat, Nov 24, 2018, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Spectre of the Gun

Can’t understand why this episode gets by many so favourably reviewed, probably because it is western themed.
The story is very uninspiring and the episode with its dialogues drags on endlessly, there seems not to be enough content to fill the hour, so a lot of scenes feel stretched out. For most of the episode, nothing of interest really happens except a lot of western clichés that have not aged very well.

This is the first episode of season 3 where you can see a real impact of budget slashings.
Granted - they did the best they could do - making it a surreal world to explain the poor set - rooms without walls etc. - but it is what it is: a poor filler episode. They put some faces of buildings in a studio up, probably lent somewhere from Paramount, and lighted the background red to imitate a planet surface. Then they got some used western costumes and pistols and created a poor science fiction framework around a western themed set they wanted to use. It just didnt work for me. The incomplete buildings and rooms without walls looked so cheap it destroyed the immersion. You can even see in some scenes the reflections of studio lights on the hair of the actors in contrast to the dim background set.

This episode is mostly just a western homage with strange lighting - and with only some crumbs of science fiction content tacked onto it.
The pacifist message played out very unconvincing, Kirk used violence, wanted to take revenge, but somehow it is enough for him to spare a person, who he regards as a illusion anyway, to convince the sock puppet alien that humans are peaceful. ok. (this idea was taken from Arena and Corbomite Maneuver, nothing original)
In the beginning, Kirk gets a clear warning to stay away and ignores it, because „we need to make contact at any price” - could anyone think of a lazier plot device to get the crew into trouble? Spocks conclusions and remarks about illusion and reality at the end of the episode are interesting and sound, but good 5 minutes don't save 45 minutes of boredom.

I give it 1 Star, maybe 1,5 Stars if you get warm with the surreal look, it was at least an inventive idea.
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Fri, Nov 9, 2018, 5:14am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Gamesters of Triskelion

I have to completely disagree with Jammer and most of the commenters here. After reading this 1-Star review, I expected a real stinker like Alternative Factor in Season 1 with a nonsensical/thin storyline but this episode is surprisingly sound plotwise and has quite memorable dialogue.

I was quite surprised how direct Trek handled the slavery topic, I didnt expect that they could or would pull it off that way in 60s American TV. The decision to force the viewer into the victim-perspective by letting Kirk and his crew getting actually enslaved is quite bold, because it is not entertaining or fun at all (at first) to experience slavery through your beloved Trek crew. I was especially surprised of the rape-scene with Uhura, this went quite far, but was nicely handled by making a cut at the right time and then repeating the scene a bit with a (luckily for Uhura) different outcome. Quite remarkable for the 60s.

Especially the first 20 minutes of the episode are unusually grim and emotional demanding for the viewer, but it fits the topic. I dont see how it could be handled differently in a serious way. It was a good decision of the writers to alleviate the heavy scenes with Kirks Romance with Shana which went further than usual in TOS episodes so far. Luckily, those scenes are played out well from both actors and the dialogue is believable enough to avoid being (overly) cheesy. Kirk leaving her in the end is kind of a dick move, of course the usual plot device to keep Kirk as captain unoccupied, but was at least handled well in its execution. I liked how the writers let the Shana character react and the way they gave her the last statement of this episode.

The Plot of this episode is quite solid, especially in the end how the writers solved the issue of getting Kirks crew free. The dialogue between Kirk and the providers belongs to the better ones I've seen in TOS so far, Kirk does a good job confronting the alleged superiority of the providers, which quite well parallels superiority thinking of slaveholders or racist people in general. Seems like the writers put some effort into the plotting of the episode, probably because they handled a controversial topic and wanted to get their message through. Teasing the providers into a gamble for their freedom and abolishment of slavery was a clever way of avoiding that Kirk and his crew free themselves by overpowering their opponents - because the whole point in constructing a slavery setting is that slaves don't have the necessary power to force other people to see them as human beings. To show disparity of power, the providers have the ability to immobilize the Enterprise, to beam their victims lightyears through the galaxy and let the thrall master pop out of thin air. These are not cheap plot devices as someone might think.

The whole subplot on the Enterprise is solid as well. We have some good dialogue between Spock and McCoy and Spock acting for the first time consequently in command, putting McCoys mutinous behaviour in its place.

I generally dont like fighting-scene action episodes that much and find especially the alien costumes often cringeworthy from todays perspective, but the scenes - average in execution - fit at least into the plot, so they bothered me not that much.

This is classic Science Fiction which takes controversial topics from present or past and projects it into a future context and is therefore Star Trek at its best. I give this episode 4 of 5 stars. This episode should be more noted for its progressiveness and its bold decision to let the audience experience also unpleasant scenes and does not really deserve a 1-Star rating.

I am really a bit disappointed with Jammer here, comments like "cheap entertainment","slavery handled in overly broad manner" and "arrogant episode" give me the taste of somebody who seemed more offended by the chosen topic for the episode than its execution. The cliches mentioned could be brought against nearly every episode of TOS.
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