Star Trek: The Next Generation

“Too Short a Season”

1.5 stars.

Air date: 2/8/1988
Teleplay by Michael Michaelian and D.C. Fontana
Story by Michael Michaelian
Directed by Robert Bowman

Review Text

Two hoary clichés — the Hostage Crisis and the Fountain of Youth — converge/collide to create one of the more forgettable and emotionally impenetrable episodes in TNG's run. This is hardly the worst of TNG, but I'd be lying if I said I could turn my empathy over to anybody in this story's scenario. One of the odd aspects of the show is that it makes the guest character the central character without giving us any notable reason to care about him.

The hostage standoff has to do with a vendetta that dates back 45 years. Karnas (Michael Pataki) has taken hostages and is promising to execute them unless an ancient Starfleet admiral, Mark Jameson (Clayton Rohner), turns himself over to answer for his crime: arming both sides of a conflict (rather than just Karnas' side), which led to four decades of civil war. Who are these hostages, who are the hostage-takers, and who exactly is Jameson? Most of all, what does any of this have to do with Jameson's sick need to answer this hostage negotiation in the middle of a risky drug regimen intended to reverse his aging? Better question: Who cares?

Clayton Rohner is not convincing as an old man — not in the makeup and certainly not in the performance, which seems to equate old age with a (very fake) gruff voice. By the time we get to the revelation that Jameson armed both sides of the conflict, the ship containing our interest has long since sailed. The final act falls victim to its boundless overacting, with Karnas shouting and refusing to believe the young Jameson is who he says he is, despite the lack of any reasonable motive for such a convoluted deception. The story makes too much of proving to Karnas that Jameson is actually himself. Meanwhile, the audience is sitting on the sidelines with blank stares.

Previous episode: 11001001
Next episode: When the Bough Breaks

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60 comments on this post

    I thought your comment about the center of "Too Short a Season" being the guest character. Did you know that this episode was originally conceived as an episode where Kirk comes back to face a decision he made in an episode of TOS (I think it was "A Private Little War"). However, William Shatner refused to do a guest appearence because he said the show was trash (though I'm sure his ego was involved in the decision).
    It makes you wonder how different the series would have been if Kirk had appeared in this episode. For one thing, all subsequent Star Trek films (especially "Generations") would have been very different.

    I see this episode as being generally despised by ST fans, however I thought that it was a fairly solid-by S1 standards-story. I thought that the story was actually quite interesting with an elderly starfleet admiral being forced to confront the consequences of his secret actions many years ago, as well as the tragic implications of his decision to use an alien de-aging drug, not only for himself but also his wife, who was left in the dark about Jameson's decision to use the drugs so that he could be part of this mission. I liked how the episode dealt with Jameson's past decisions to arm both sides and acknowledges that Jameson (probably) made a huge mistake by arming combatants on both sides that cost Karnas' world years of death and devastation BUT also smartly acknowledges the fact, as Picard points out, Karnas didn't have to keep the fighting going either and that he could have worked for peace.

    Hey, let's face it, TNG in the first two seasons sucked. Voyager was far better then this, so it's not hard to see why Shatner wouldn't want to do it, cause yeah, TNG was going the way of show Enterprise at the time.

    This ep was so boring, couldn't agree more with Jammer. The Karnas guy was so bad at his role that it put a smile on my face.

    @ Nic: That would have been pretty cool, dunno how good the plot could have been, though. Haven't seen much of TOS, so I don't know that ep you're talking about.

    @ Duge: One man's trash is another man's treasure, huh? Imo, the plot wasn't so bad, but the acting killed it.

    @ Edax: Completely agree with you until that S2 episode "The Measure of a Man". The series seems to have made a significant leap in quality ever since (I'm only 5 episodes after that one, and so far so good)

    They are cliches yet the story feels oddly innovative.

    Wisely, the "fountain of youth" trope would always be a cliche, so they kept that aspect shallow while focusing on other events. Which is best, the more they discussed the de-aging Admiral's love life with his wife the more I started to cringe, but they kept the thought minimal. So it's realistic (for the scope of the concept) without descending into the drivel other S1 stories would descend into. Thankfully.

    The hostage crisis/arms dealing was one of the "real life" things TOS was known for. It feels like it's trying to be a reversal of what TOS' "A Private Little War" was doing.

    Admiral Jameson's makeup was very iffy at times, but the younger he got the better he got...

    Michael Pataki excelled as Karnas...

    I then just read Nic's response above. It's cool to know the story started as a sequel to "A Private Little War". At the time, Shatner wasn't wrong (but his ego, "GET A LIFE!!!" bit notwithstanding, wasn't why he claimed the show was trash, if he had indeed do so...)

    I rate it 3 of 4 stars.

    After the heights of the last Outing '11001001' odds are we were due a clunker and 'Too Short a Season' doesn't fail to disappoint. The plot such as it is is pretty well derivative of a dozen other shows and the episode rarely rises above the level of cliche. The Enterprise is called To a hostage crisis on Morden IV and Starfleet requests they take along the Admiral who negotiated the Original ceasefire on the planet, Mark Jameson (Clayton Rohner), although it quickly transpires that neither the situation nor he are what they appear to be.

    This episode was for me, arguably the weakest of the season - very close run with 'Angel One' or 'Code of Honor', it tends to get overlooked when worst lists are being considered. But th olotmisnshot full of holes. Michael Pataki overacts dreadfully as Karnas and Rohner's performance, although improving somewhat when he sheds the 'Old Age' makeup is still pretty poor. With the two guest stars failing to impress, a weak, predictable plot, it would look to someone watching TNG fresh that the excellence of the previous episode was an isolated 'lucky strike' - Certainly the episode seems to go on interminably, and as a result merits a low score for simple boredom value alone.

    For me, extremely weak and I'd strongly consider dropping it below the 1 star I believe it merits. I'll settle for that, though given what comes next.

    I think Jammer has the problem(s) here nailed down really well. There is no particular reason to combine Hostage Situation and Fountain of Youth in this story, and the whole episode is devoted to a guest character. Essentially, while it's nice and all that Picard made the effort to figure out what was going on and to try to curb Admiral Jameson's excesses, this episode would have worked out exactly the same had the Enterprise crew not bothered participating in this plot at all. Not only that, but the episode hardly even requires *Jameson* to do anything at all after his (off-screen before the episode starts) downing a bunch of anti-aging drugs, since ultimately he just...dies from those.

    Anyway, nothing in this story requires Trek, for that matter, nor even any sci-fi/fantasy elements outside the basic "fountain of youth" angle, even though that is hardly necessary for the revenge plotline. Heck, the story could play almost exactly the same in modern setting, non-SF/fantasy, with a hostage negotiator (who armed some rival gangs in the past) taking a bunch of steroids or some such so he can stare down the gang leader he had dealt with before, and then dies in front of him. Or as a Twilight Zone episode (hopefully a half-hour one) with nearly the same plot. And even that assumes that there is some reason why the "revenge hostage-taking" plot needs to be wed to any drug-taking plot at all.

    I mean, I don't object to stories that don't require a sci-fi element. But there should be some sense of why exactly this episode exists on this series -- some relevance to character or theme. And this episode is mystifying because there is none. "Fountain of Youth" is genuinely as far as this story went as far as locating it within a sci-fi context, and it went absolutely no further to find some kind of resonances with any of the Enterprise crew. That means that in its own way it is less clear why this exists than the season's actual low points ("Code of Honour," "Justice," "Angel One"), which are worse than this episode but have some effort (albeit botched) to relate the episode story to the main cast and the series' themes more directly.

    The aged-Jameson makeup and acting are laughable even by season one standards. Fortunately, the episode stopped being laughable once he got somewhat younger, but then it just stopped being...anything. 1.5 stars is probably reasonable, but I can't help but go lower for the absolute lack of reason for this episode to exist. 1 star.

    To elaborate a bit more -- the actual idea that Jameson armed both sides and that this led to a civil war, and then his need to atone for this act, is actually potentially strong enough to carry an episode, if this were given the proper focus it is due. Contra Jammer, I think that this scene in which Jameson admits this to Picard is the one (only?) effective scene in this episode, and I managed to care in spite of myself. But this aspect is still badly buried, and almost nothing else in this episode works.

    I also want to stress how perfunctory this episode's action sequence was.

    I like DPC's point that this feels like a follow-up to Kirk's idea in "A Private Little War." There is another TOS reference -- I think that the design of Jameson's wheelchair is meant to evoke Christopher Pike's from "The Menagerie."

    I am one of the few that really enjoy this episode. I am sure it is 7 year old me, but whatever, I love it. As I have stated numerous times, I would take the S1 overacting, over the S7 underacting bore any day of the week. Why shouldn't Karnas yell everything? His mortal enemy is showing up 45 years too young.

    I really loved that ending too, "annie with the hair of Gold", I say it was done pretty well.

    the ONLY thing that annoys me here is the Star Trek trope of discovering the cure for death, and forgetting it by next week....WTF.

    @Nick P: I just watched this the other day. There's a good episode dying to get out.

    The story is interesting in concept. If this had been done in the third or fourth seasons, the acting would have been better. I also think the writing would have been better. The fountain of youth stuff is cliched, but at least here it's a means and not an end.

    This is better than a lot of first season fair, because the concept is stronger. But the episode suffers from a lot of the first season's problems.

    Even if this had been presented as a Kirk story (and thanks, Nic, for that tip), it would've had the same problem of not involving the TNG characters. At least make the admiral a hero, mentor, or close friend of a regular. That's one thing the later TOS crossovers did succeed with.

    The Kirk aspect also explains why the de-aging drug was shoved into the plot: to spare Shatner a few days of age makeup (which must've been hell for De Kelly's cameo in "Farpoint"). The question remains, once Shatner said no, when didn't they drop that subplot?

    Gates McFadden's beauty saved this episode for me. God, she looks gorgeous here.

    After a definite improvement with 11001001, we're right back down in the depths again here. Another one of those episodes that seems to go on forever, largely because it has no B-story at all - there's even a phaser fight thrown in, apparently to spice things up, for no obvious plot reason at all.

    I can see why this might have worked as a Kirk story, but as others have noted putting the guest character front and centre - and making him an unsympathetic one from the start - just makes it a grind to get through. The overblown scenery-chewing finale merely adds to the feeling. 1 star.

    Well, I don't think this ep was as bad as everybody makes it out to be...nothing brilliant, but definitely watchable. I have to say I enjoyed it much more than Datalore, which made me squirm almost as much as Code of Honour or The Last Outpost.

    One thing I don't get is how everybody seems to act like 85 is a really advanced age...shouldn't human life expectancy be well over a hundred by the 24th century, or even significantly longer considering all the tech at their disposal? 85 should barely be retirement age by then...

    Gates McFadden's beauty saved this episode for me. God, she looks gorgeous here -GABRIEL

    Agreed. Her makeup looked great. And her hair was a lighter shade.

    Am i the only one who noticed this episode was about suicide, The Admiral overdosed on the drug that made him younger and he revealed his wrist had been slit at the end, it was a terribly over acted and poorly written episode though.

    The wrist slit was a scar from a ritual 40 years prior in the old negotiations. He was showing it to prove he was the real guy.

    I don't think this guy was suicidal. He took the drug and it was working slowly, and he had a dose for his wife if it worked.

    The problem was, when he was called to this hostage situation, he felt he need to atone for his past and be Mr Action Hero.. so he took the rest of his drugs and also his wife's supply. It accelerated the process so he could accomplish his goal, but killed him along the way.

    I have no sense he was suicidal. He simply took the risk of death in order to be able to "fix" his problems from the past.

    This is the worst episode of season 1 that I have seen so far. From the beginning, one might assume that the Admiral's reverse aging is somehow linked to the hostage situation (does the kidnapper want the potion, perhaps, as part of his demands?). But no, the episode isn't clever enough to link the two stories together. Everything falls flat. For example, in the final scene, when the Admiral's about to be executed, his wife doesn't even so much as yell out. By that point, he should have been 13 or 14 years old anyway - this would have at least made it somewhat more interesting to watch. I give this 1 star.

    The fountain of youth,elixir of life-this pulp concept belongs in an episode of Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea and the acting is just as bad as any other season 1 episode.
    Denise Crosby gets about two lines-never mind Denise-you can leave this farrago in a bit.
    As for the plot-it would have been a lot better if it had been a sequel to A Private Little War.

    Clayton Rohner was woefully miscast in this episode. His characterization of an "old man" has all the finesse of a junior high drama student. It baffles me why they did not simply cast an older actor who resembled Rohner to play the elder Jameson. It still would have achieved the same payoff in the end, and made his relationship with his wife much more genuinely convincing (and far less creepy.) Even as younger Jameson, Rohner paints him in amateurishly broad strokes and comes off as nothing more than an insufferable, selfish jerk. I felt no sympathy for the character at all in the end, and that's a shame, because the way the story was told, it seemed like I should.

    Not my favorite eposode. However, its underrated here. It resonates a bit louder post the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    In this story, Jameson had supplied weapons to a faction of people to get out of a hostage situation. These people then used the weapons to create terrorism and a war that lasted 40 years. It made this man regret his decision, because many more lives were lost than he was able to save by giving in to terrorist demands.

    Historically, there are many instances where the US has intervened on behalf of one side or another during a conflict. Many times giving modern weapons to 3rd world nations. An example being helping the Middle East against the Russians. Well, after time has gone by, those same people we armed with guns, tanks, munitions, etc have built sophisticated terrorist cells all over the world and continue to expand to this day.

    They owe thanks to the US for getting it started by handing them sophisticated weaponry.

    This episode shows powerful insight into the powers of terrorism, 14 years before the United States finally started taking them seriously. Similar to the impact of the episode "the High Ground," which is an even better episode.

    I'm definitely out of step with most of Trekdom on this one.

    I think the episode is fair heading toward good. I thought Clayton Rohner did a good job, and so did the woman playing his wife. Not riveting, but good.

    The situation was serious and treated thusly. Whatever else you think about it, it spares you the awkward goofiness and vague multidimensional creatures that populated the first half of Season 1.

    And I'm not why the de-aging angle is such a turn-off to so many people. I like stories involving rapid aging and de-aging. I think it's a great subject for sci-fi.

    It's not "must-watch" Trek by any means. But I'm definitely more entertained by it than the average Trek fan.

    Haha... look at Matt up there trying to take one of the dopier episodes of S1 TNG and turn it into some kind of political statement. That’s more misguided than even this episode’s premise, which is quite an accomplishment.

    Oh well, I’m sure at the time it musta seemed profound or something. lol

    Mooooving on, yes... this episode was largely a snooze fest and seemed to scream at every commercial break, “Why are we doing this?!?” It was plodding, dull, uninspired, and yet... mostly harmless.

    Not the worst speed bump in TNG’s road to excellence by a long shot.

    Dismal and dreadfully boring right from the first moment. Don't bother waking me up if I fall asleep in the middle of this steaming pile of crap.

    Excellent episode. I guess I'm the minority here, but I found it very enjoyable from beginning to end.
    Also liked Clayton's permanence. 3/4 for me.

    Honestly, I like this a lot.

    The acting doesn't bother me, I like the camp factor of the old age effect- it reminds me of an over the top D/D npc.

    Sure it's primitive, but it's still an Iran-contra allegory, and we needed that. I like how they were able to update the theme in the light of Reagan-administration atrocities.

    Let's also point out that this is one of very few times where Tasha is allowed to be competent and effective rather than being used as a captive. that alone makes me want to watch it. By my count she has the following moments of efficacy: downing some mooks here, getting the drop on the Ferengi in Outpost, and stunning the aliens in Symbiosis with the followup conversation with Riker about how to address their shocking grasp powers. Compare this to being held captive in racist bullshit scenario Code of Honor, being depicted as unstable and provoking Q, being held prisoner by Q, failing to act against Korris in Heart of Glory... I relish the small moments when she can be showcased as successful and competent, rather than just being a pretty helpless face with informed abilities.

    Surprisingly very little goes on in this episode and I feel that this is an issue with Season 1 TNG in general -- as if the writers didn't know what to do with the cast. The first half of the show is basically about WTF is going on with Jameson -- it's not that enthralling and I actually think his wife puts in a better acting performance in a tertiary role. Karnas is a paper thin character. Not enough was made of Picard's scepticism about Jameson's plan.

    Ultimately the payoff isn't worth the hour with a lot of Karnas/Jameson huffing/puffing. If Jameson is supposed to be portrayed as a brilliant negotiator or somebody we should respect etc., that doesn't happen as he reveals he violated the PD. At this stage I wonder what Picard can do to stop Jameson's plan (and arrest him).

    This episode reminds me of "A Private Little War" where Kirk actually levels the playing field before Tyree's people get wiped out -- a vastly superior episode about the Vietnam War. But here very little analysis is done about the PD violation and instead most of the episode is focused on Jameson's reverse-aging. What's the allegory to in "Too Short A Season" if any?

    In addition to a very basic plot (too basic) the acting performances for Jameson and Karnas were weak. It gets hard to care about the back-story when it is suppressed by Jameson's health for the most part -- just a poor choice by the writer. Even the moral conflict within Jameson isn't explored sufficiently -- we just get the picture that he'd do anything (putting his health at risk) to satisfy Karnas and free the hostages.

    Falls just short of 2 stars for me so 1.5 stars it is. Nothing worthy here -- unambitious with poor acting although there was potential for a good story with an arms negotiation gone wrong (40+ years of civil war) and a Star Fleet admiral with a guilty conscience.

    I enjoyed this for the first half. It felt like the TNG I had loved from the first showing. The old admiral I recognized but thought it was more of a TOS character. Captain Pike?

    I think I enjoyed the second half a little less. I don't find the blowhard character type very appealing and it wasn't enough to sustain.


    There's some interesting stuff in this episode: an admiral's desire to "become younger", which he achieves via a miracle drug, becomes a metaphor for his desire to roll back time and undo the errors of his youth. These errors include ARMING ALIEN DESPOTS and INSTIGATING A GLOBAL CIVIL WAR!

    Ah, the follies of youth.

    As an attack on Western meddling and "divide and conquer" politics, this episode doesn't say much. As an episode about aging, or masculinst impulses, it doesn't say much either. But you can see D.C. Fontana's hand on the material, the way she works in broad brushstrokes, the way she merges text and subtext, and favors playing with newly introduced characters, rather than the main cast.

    Somewhat interesting is the way gung-ho attitudes of youth infect the elderly too. The episode's old men lock horns like a couple of enraged bulls, and when one of them "achieves youth", he gets even more brutish; he disappears "underground" and into the "catacombs of his past" where he re-lives rather than conquers his past madness.

    Picard is sidelined throughout most of the episode, and too readily lets everyone off the hook. It is nice, however, seeing him interact with a superior officer. I believe this is also the first episode with a "bad Federation admiral". This trope is usually brought up by those who wish to imply that the Federation is "not perfect", but to me these "bad admirals" always served to highlight how good the Federation is and/or aspires to be.

    I think I like this one more than most people, and personally I'd give it 3 stars. I like your observations, Trent, although personally I do actually think it says a lot about Western meddling. Basically the interference from the past resulted in a militant dictator running the place, where the scars of the past have ever since dictated policy there. The visual of two old men still hanging onto their vendetta is a strong one to me, so as to show the inherent weakness in the 'old practice' of using tactics and force rather than negotiation and peace.

    I also particularly like the de-aging process, and despite the fact that the actor playing Jameson is obviously young, it still hits me as shocking to see him no longer old by the end. But the real twist is that his younger, more vigorous self, is also where he's at his weakest in terms of stability and well-being. And since his gambit fails outright we see that a return to a contest of force is certainly the wrong tack to adopt in such perilous circumstances.

    I'll also note the Shakespeare reference in the title, which paraphrases the famous sonnet's line "And summer's lease hath all too short a date." We can draw a lot from this: first, that the time of youth doesn't last long; or at least doesn't seem so when you're finally grown old. And so for this episode perhaps this equates summer/youth with ancient hostility; if so it actually places the 'glory days' on the wrong side of history and shows that sometimes it's better to leave summer behind us and move on to cooler times. Another point to gather is the wordplay on "lease", which ends with "too short a date", as if one's lease on youth doesn't last the full duration we signed up for with our landlord. Here we almost get the sense of an unfairness that it goes by so quickly; that we've been had in some way. However again for the ep is perhaps shows the mental state of a Karnak who, instead of moving on with life and realizing that growth requires letting go, he hangs on to the feeling of unfairness and 'debt' that goes with the desire for revenge. And likewise Jameson has never let go of it either. And it's a very Trek message - typical of TNG S1 - to show how letting go of the past and accepting being a more aged, wiser people, is necessary. That might mean less cowboy diplomacy compared to Kirk's time, but for TNG to make its stamp it's required to accept the more mature vision of a Picard.

    Overall I like this ep quite a bit, and the scenes between Mr. and Mrs. Jameson are surprisingly affective for me.

    After knowing this episode had bad reviews and reputation and I had generally skipped it for years, it was better than I expected. I somehow forgot about the whole planetary action and final scenes and thought it would all be a slow episode aboard the Enterprise, so at least that helped.

    And man, are Karnas and his guys wearing acid wash camouflage? Too awesome.

    I think many people are thinking of the anti-aging drug as a tangential subplot, but it's the whole point: Much as a person might want to "go back" to fix and/or atone for the mistakes of youth, the attempt to do so is fatal to the person they have become.

    Despite bad make-up and worse acting, this episode starts looking a lot better when you reach the time of life when you have to start facing that reality.

    The fact that the admiral was going to regain his youth was obvious from the moment the actor (Rohner) and his "fakey old guy" shtick hit the screen. That business, with the unnatural movements and voice especially, really ruined the whole ep. The story just wasn't strong enough to overcome it.

    The ep seemed to be made to showcase Rohner, but you don't showcase a block of cheese in a case with hot lights. Bad choice for the pretty cheese, and for the pretty case.

    Yes, I'm saying our ep was an awful cheesy mess.

    The story itself was predictable and made little sense.

    The actress playing Mrs Jameson was well cast and did a good job.

    The ep seems to have a theme about the dire consequences of rushing things, of letting your desires overwhelm your brain - e.g., civil war results when Jameson wants to resolve a crisis so badly he makes a rash choice, and his death results when he takes all the medication at once - it's what happens when you don't take your time, when you try to grow your apple in too short a season - or perhaps, cast your lead actor without screen testing him first.

    I wonder if naming the admiral Jameson was a reference to the Twilight Zone episode "Long Live Mr. Jameson" in which Kevin McCarthy plays a man two thousand years old who doesn't age. At the episode's conclusion, he is killed and rapidly ages into dust. I'll say that the TZ makeup department did a far more convincing job making McCarthy look like an old man in that scene which was 30 years prior to this TNG episode.

    I didn't dislike "Too Short a Season" however. It is certainly flawed as has been pointed out, but it is still quite watchable and entertaining. And I found the ending where Jameson tenderly talks to his wife, and Karnas shows that he has a heart and buries his vendetta to be a good payoff.

    The episode's main deficit is the playdoe used by thee make-up department intern. It makes Jameson very hard to look at, let alone take seriously. I also found his admiral's uniform distracting, and somehow the arrangement of its black and red sections reminded me of a really bad rental caveman costume. You know, the kind that has single shoulder strap, like Riker's male courtesan oufit in Angel 1.

    On a more serious note, the episode was not altogether bad. I always liked Karnas - played by TOS alum Michael Pataki who called the Enterprise "a garbage scow" in The Trouble with Tribbles.

    Also in an episode which seems to go beyond most others in eliminating dialogue by members of the bridge crew, there is a really good scene where Beverly discusses Jameson's health profile is. It's a practice round for the much later scene in BoBW when she reveals how pathetically screwed up Picard's DNA has become because of Borg manipulation. There is also a nicely forceful couple of lines delivered by Troi about admiral dude's mental state. In watching any TNG episode I enjoy watching Troi in the background looking dismayed or aghast whenever someone on the bridge is behaving malevolently or 'not in their bodies' and with Jameson around there's plenty of such fodder.

    These minor reactions by major cast members are enough to hold my interest, even when the ship seems to be taking forever to reach Karnas's god forsaken planet.

    Finally, I thought that fight scene however pointless in the context of the episode was pretty solid, with two hits scored by Tasha. A good enough episode, miles ahead of Justice. 5/9

    I just saw this - never having seen it before.

    It has to be the worst episode ever of any of the series - horrible acting, nonsenesical story, just putrid.

    Kind of disappointing, I was hoping the Admiral would regress to a baby, then an embryo.

    "Trent said: "an admiral's desire to "become younger", which he achieves via a miracle drug, becomes a metaphor for his desire to roll back time and undo the errors of his youth."

    Trent and Trish seem to be the only two people who get the point of the de-aging plot.

    As Nic said, "Too Short a Season" was an obvious follow-up to "A Private Little War" and since that is one of my favorite TOS episodes I can't help but like this one. A top three episode of TNG's first season, imo.

    Yawnfest for me, but it’s cool it works for some.

    It feels rather a lot like a TOS episode.

    I didn’t know they wanted to bring in Shatner. I’m glad they didn’t because they needed to get their sea legs on their own, and that would not be a way to do it.

    The aged McCoy cameo in Farpoint was nice and vaguely organic. It was definitely a good thing Spock wasn’t brought in until quite a lot later.

    Easter egg: in the first scene on the bridge when Picard and Riker walk to the turbolift, at the last moment when the door opens, Stewart, in profile, opens his mouth wide in a joking expression.

    Admiral Jameson calls Riker “Number One” at the beginning, which sounds very strange.

    The worst episode of Series 1 so far. The only thing that kept me awake was to see how bad the story would get (DC Fontana? Surely not...) and how poor the acting would get. It is illuminating that the best bit - a pointless shootout in subterranean tunnels - would have been derisory in TOS.

    The only thing that I looked forward to was a song from Marsha Hunt as the opening credits said she was in it. But no, she wasn’t.

    1 star.

    I'm watching the re-runs of S1 here in the UK and think this one is an OK episode, but there are far better ones in this season.

    Also, as an episode exploring the "fountain of youth", I was suprised and pleased to see that in 2021, Marsha Hunt (Annie with the golden hair), was still with us at 103 years old!!!

    @Tidd, there's 2 different acresses called Marsha Hunt by the looks of it.

    August 6, 2021 I find this ep horrible. I never liked it. AND, Picard won't stand up to a crazy murderer who waits until the end of his own life to demand the death of man who only did what he had demanded. The Admiral was right in giving the opposing side weapons. Why? Because the crazy guy only wanted to wipe out a people that his own father was trying to wipe out.

    If this planet is in the Federation, it should be kicked out.

    The essential heart of the story is Karnas was once a terrorist leader before he became a politician, kidnapped a bunch of Federation citizens, demanded weapons in exchange for the hostages, got them, and then Jameson gave the exact amount of weapons to the other side in order to balance the scales. Karnas is thus infuriated that the short but victorious war (to quote David Weber and Russia) he expected became a long drawn out slog. This kicks off the modern plot as Karnas, now dictator of his planet, lures Jameson back to the world in order to punish him.

    Okay, how is Karnas not a complete monster and the villain of this story? He obviously was planning to launch an attack against his enemies with Federation weapons and only found out that they weren't pushovers after it happened. He engaged a third party (presumably neutral), attacked civilians, and is infuriated that they acted in a way (post-facto) that was hostile to his nation--assuming he had a nation to begin with.

    Everyone acts like Jameson did wrong but it seems like keeping a wannabe Gul Dukat like Karnas from sweeping over the Bajorans is an inherently good thing. Certainly, he plans another act of aggression against the Federation and Starfleet in particular. Why are we meant to think there's anything redeemable about this guy and the guilt is on Jameson?

    I get there was meant to be criticisms of "A Private Little War" but both criticisms require you to ignore letting the Klingons/Morden IV dictators off scott free.

    @ C.T Phipps,

    I suppose the argument would be something like that Jameson is responsible for far more death than would have happened had one side won quickly. His even-handed 'fair' approach resulted in a protracted conflict. Is that really justice? And moreover, the fact that he supplied any weapons to any terrorists is, I think, supposed to be the major scandal of the episode.

    "Okay, how is Karnas not a complete monster and the villain of this story? He obviously was planning to launch an attack against his enemies with Federation weapons and only found out that they weren't pushovers after it happened. He engaged a third party (presumably neutral), attacked civilians, and is infuriated that they acted in a way (post-facto) that was hostile to his nation--assuming he had a nation to begin with."

    We don't know enough about Karnas to say if he is a "monster" or not, we can only say he seems to be a very bad man.

    In any event, the question of Karnas's morality is totally immaterial to the episode, which is about the ambassador and what he did.

    It's a bit like The Last King of Scotland. In that film nobody watching has any doubt that Idi Amin is a monster. But the moral focus is on the Dr. Garrigan character. He's the one who isn't the monster, yet gets seduced by one. His character is the one we care about from a moral standpoint, not Amin's. It's a variation on the "those who study evil are studied by it" principle or along the lines of "those who lie with dogs get fleas".

    Jameson is like the Dr. Garrigan of the story.

    I have to retract my earlier comment about this episode originally certering around Kirk. I remember reading that somewhere, but I haven't been able to find any reference to it since, so it was probably made up by some fan and deleted afterwards.

    It's really incredible how little the main cast gets to do in this epsiode. They are completely sidelined. Picard insists on accompanying Jameson to the surface (twice), but even then he's just an observer. Troi constantly looks like she's sensing something, but she never voices her concerns out loud. Crusher worries about Jameson's health, but she can never do anything for him.

    @Sill "Easter egg: in the first scene on the bridge when Picard and Riker walk to the turbolift, at the last moment when the door opens, Stewart, in profile, opens his mouth wide in a joking expression."

    I noticed that when rewatching it yesterday, and wondered if I imagined it. I'm glad I didn't! It's now my favorite part of the episode :D

    I gave up after ten minutes because of the hammy, embarrassing performance of the "old" admiral. He acted more like a Ferengi or a Warhammer Skaven than a human being, speaking in a voice which didn't sound elderly and craggy so much as evil and scheming. It's only recently that ageing makeup (or the CGI aging we're starting to see) looks convincing but this was horrendous.

    I have now watched most of S1 and am finding the episodes to be miles better then expected/remembered. This doesn't look like one of the better episodes.

    Thanks, Jammers for your comments and for having this forum on this episode. It is amazing that Marsha Hunt, the actress who played the wife of the admiral, at 104 is the oldest current living person to appear in any of the Star Trek series.

    @Prince of Space

    Did my comment trigger you that hard? I admitted it's a bad episode but that doesn't make what I said untrue. Terrorism by nature is political. You're showing a lack of intelligence and awareness.

    Goodness gracious...was this a bad episode. Just when I think the acting can't get any worse...between the yelly guy on the planet and the greasy ham of the reverse-ager, how in the world did Patrick Stewart keep a straight face? Stewart should've been given an Emmy for not laughing at his guest stars.

    So, basically the deal with TNG is the Enterprise now has a shitty captain, is that it?

    Dr: "he lied to me when submitting his exams"
    Picard: "meh, I guess his memory failed, he is old and sick"
    Dr: "nope, he is just phisically sick, not mentally"
    Picard: *proceed to not care anyways*

    Will it be Picard being dismissive of his crew's valid points so the plot can be advanced for the next 6 seasons...?

    Loved seeing Marsha Hunt. What a classy actress. Now going to rewatch the black and white Pride and Prejudice just to see her play the ditzy Mary Bennett again !

    I think I'm also one of the only ones who enjoys not only the transformation, but also the tragedy of watching something unfold that is inevitable. Part of the tragic form here is that at a certain point we have full knowledge of what will continue happening to him, and the ending is unavoidable and pitiable.

    This episode's title hearkens back to the use of famous quotes - especially Shakespearean - as episode titles, like Conscience of the King. And like a classic tragedy, the story often involves us discovering things that have already happened and that impact our understanding of the present. The finale ends up being a natural playing out of the starting condition, once we are made aware of the real facts involved. In this style of writing our characters do not create the story, but stand witness to it. I like that about Too Short a Season: none of the Enterprise crew has an appreciable impact on the crisis or its resolution, but their activities do bring to light the *why* behind what's happening. And I think that's in keeping with the classic Trek spirit, and even that shown in Encounter at Farpoint, that understanding what's going on may be more important than rushing to a safe resolution.

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