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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 30 November 2017 at 11:29am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

If I remember correctly, Picard accented his pronunciation of "Tin Man" in an odd way.
+++++++++++

Yep. He consistently says it "Tin MAN", as if he's questioning the name after the first time he ever hears it.

Edited by Greg Kirkman on 30 November 2017 at 11:30am
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Ted Downum
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Posted: 30 November 2017 at 3:22pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I haven't seen it in years, but I remember liking "Tin Man" quite a bit--almost in spite of Harry Groener's performance, which left a lot of scenery chewed...but, in the end, that worked for the character.

As you get farther into the third season, Greg, I find myself wanting to revisit more and more of these episodes myself. I'm reminded of how I felt back when the third season was broadcast; my Trekkie friends and I all had a sense that the show had found its voice and was building momentum. I looked forward all week to a new episode...which is a kind of excitement I haven't often felt about any subsequent iteration of Trek.




Edited by Ted Downum on 30 November 2017 at 3:26pm
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 30 November 2017 at 3:56pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Finished Deep Space Nine. Now working to catch up on TNG. Still in Season 1 saw the Stargazer one. Headache = mind-control. 

the Q one with riker, Worf's woman! Sexually repressed much. Season One Worf head is about as bad as beardless Riker. 

The Troi marriage one. "you want to be a starship captain you have no time for a wife" Funny how different that is compared to today where having a proper 'Navy Wife' is essential to achieving higher ranks. 

And Dixon. That one was fun! The this isn't real/doesn't matter by crusher and guy who got shot was annoying. 

Looking forward to 4 more tomorrow. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 01 December 2017 at 12:17am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I haven't seen it in years, but I remember liking "Tin Man" quite a bit--almost in spite of Harry Groener's performance, which left a lot of scenery chewed...but, in the end, that worked for the character. 
++++++

Exactly.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 01 December 2017 at 3:08am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

"Hollow Pursuits".


This marks the introduction of the great Dwight Schultz as Reginald Barclay, and is a really unusual and solid character-based episode. The sci-fi "B" story is almost totally incidental to the main drama of Barclay and his shyness. Lots of humor and good moments, here, the best being Picard accidentally calling Barclay "Broccoli", and Troi seeing her doppelgänger on the holodeck.

This episode also raises a heck of a lot of questions regarding holoaddiction, the legality and ethics of replicating living people/acquaintances on the holodeck (and for what purposes), and issues of privacy. After all, TNG often shows crewmen just popping onto the holodeck while programs are running, without announcing themselves to anyone on the holodeck. How many times has Data or Worf walked right into one of Riker's alien sex programs, I wonder...?

Geordi explicitly refers to his falling in love with the simulation of Dr, Brahms, and it's hinted that the real Troi isn't the first counselor that Barclay has had. The episode treads lightly around the logical (and creepy) implications of Barclay's holo-fantasy life, and instead focuses on literalizing the more basic theme of a shy person retreating into a fantasy world because he can't deal with real life. Michael Piller is said to have really seen himself in this story, which is a very interesting factoid I was unaware of.


This is basically TNG's first real "lower decks" episode (long before the episode with that title), in that we get a story told mostly from the point of view of a lower-level crewman who isn't the sort of top-notch space hero that our main characters are. As a low-key, low-stakes character drama, it's very effective, but also wickedly funny. The opening scene really works in a "What the heck is going on?" way, and the final scene is a very clever inversion of the opening. Glad to know that we'll be seeing Barclay again!
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 01 December 2017 at 6:28am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Glad to know that we'll be seeing Barclay again!

I think the later episodes, series and movies where Barclay appears kind of diluted the uniqueness of his character -- he becomes more like the rest of the bridge crew (super-competent) and less of a "lower decks" type of everyman character.   One of my biggest criticisms of TNG-era writing is how the main characters suffer from most-important-individuals-of-their-entire-race syndrome  (Worf, Sisko, Odo, Kira, Dax, Quark, Rom, and Nog are good examples).  Barclay becomes not only 'SuperBarclay' (in a very Gary Mitchell way, without ending up dead) but also becomes instrumental in both the slavery-analogue plight of the EMH's and in establishing communications between Voyager and the alpha quadrant, facilitating it's eventual return.    It's like the writers had a lot of good ideas and not enough characters, so the existing characters become magnets for amazing events.

It's interesting how they don't really address the bridge crew's holier-than-thou attitudes to someone not in their clique.   The discussions of Barclay's performance, character traits, and the unflattering nickname (which comes from *Wesley*, of all people) all happen when he isn't present to defend himself, and while I'm sure this sort of thing happens all the time in modern workplace HR situations it's disappointing to see in the usually progressive STAR TREK.  

Picard seems to be the only one aware or even ashamed of their behavior.  Data remains neutral but appears more interested in nuances in language rather than the rather ugly display of 'human interaction' (that's actually in character for him, so I can't fault it too much).  LaForge in particular acts like he's drawn the short straw for pet-sitting a farting cat, like he's never been tasked with being a leader of a group of people despite being a department head.   Yet when the bad optics of his unconventional use of the holodeck in "Booby Trap" come to light he gets a free pass from his peers, because... reasons.   

Only Guinan seems to see the situation for what it is.  Everyone else acts like no one has ever been 'fired' from Starfleet in the entire history of the Federation and so no one has the skills or experience in dealing with problem people (kind of like how Starfleet has never had a mutiny according to DISCOVERY, but I digress).   It's patently ridiculous when you think about it -- the Federation has diplomats out the wazoo for communicating with species who think in ways alien to humans yet they can't deal with one of their own who shows up late for work.

Which is why I think the writers kind of spoiled Barclay later -- they overcompensated for his dumping on in this episode by making him super-competent.

Now just imagine if Barclay wasn't the one who discovered the maguffin of this episode...
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 01 December 2017 at 11:20am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I think the later episodes, series and movies where Barclay appears kind of diluted the uniqueness of his character -- he becomes more like the rest of the bridge crew (super-competent) and less of a "lower decks" type of everyman character.   One of my biggest criticisms of TNG-era writing is how the main characters suffer from most-important-individuals-of-their-entire-race syndrome  (Worf, Sisko, Odo, Kira, Dax, Quark, Rom, and Nog are good examples).  Barclay becomes not only 'SuperBarclay' (in a very Gary Mitchell way, without ending up dead) but also becomes instrumental in both the slavery-analogue plight of the EMH's and in establishing communications between Voyager and the alpha quadrant, facilitating it's eventual return.    It's like the writers had a lot of good ideas and not enough characters, so the existing characters become magnets for amazing events.
+++++++++

Yep.



I think what Barclay's VOYAGER stint comes down to was an attempt to boost ratings by tying in with TNG, but also by using the least expensive actors they possibly could (Schultz and Sirtis, the latter having been threatened with replacement in the TNG movies if she asked for too much money, not long after VOYAGER).

I'll never forget the cheap trick they used in the promos for the first TNG/VOYAGER crossover episode, with Troi's dialogue carefully edited to say, "I've decided to ask Captain Picard for help", which raised the hope that Patrick Stewart himself might actually appear on VOYAGER. But, no, in the actual episode, Troi's line is, "I've decided to ask Captain Picard for leave", with the "for help" bit coming from another line of dialogue that was grafted onto the first line for the sake of the promo. A cheap editing trick designed to provide a false impression for viewers.



And, yeah, the smarminess of the entire Bridge crew was dialed way up, for this episode. I suppose it was done in part because the episode is largely presented from Barclay's POV, and also because, up until this point, we hadn't ever really seen the Bridge crew deal with a problematic subordinate. This episode sort of comes across as a "between adventures" story, where we get more of a sense of the mundane, day-to-day stuff aboard the ship, with a focus on an HR-type issue that we don't normally see on TNG. One gets the impression that there aren't very many HR issues in the hypercompetent TNG era, since, as you note, Geordi and the others almost act as if they've never had to deal with a subordinate being late for work. 

And, speaking of Wesley, this episode features what is probably his most prominent role since the beginning of the season, and he doesn't come off very well, since he shows up Barclay and comes up with that nickname. I presume his reduced role in the third season is a combination of the writers response to viewer complaints about the character, and Wil Wheaton's desire to leave the show.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 01 December 2017 at 3:27pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Damn Wil Wheaton. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 02 December 2017 at 1:25am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

"The Most Toys".


A really solid and enjoyable episode, bolstered by a deliciously nasty performance by Saul Rubinek. The trivia on Memory Alpha's page for this episode describes how the original actor playing Kivas Fajo had to be replaced (due to a suicide attempt, with a later attempt proving successful) after several scenes had been filmed. I do wonder how the episode would have played without Rubinek, because he's really memorable in the role.

There's a interesting subplot for Worf--which is explicitly addressed in dialogue--in that he's called to take the job of a dead friend and coworker for the second time. That's pretty depressing. It's like deaths are the only way the poor guy can get promoted. How many bodies did Worf leave behind him in order to get posted to the Enterprise-D?

My favorite moment in this episode is Data attempting to copy the Mona Lisa's smile, which is just a perfect moment, since Spiner's little smiles and half-smiles (among his many other mannerisms) are such an subtle-yet-important part of Data's character.


I'd forgotten the ending. The last few minutes really kick the episode's impact up several notches. It's played somewhat ambiguously, but Spiner and the writer of the episode were in agreement: Data deliberately fired that weapon at Fajo just as the transporter beam enveloped him. And then he basically lied about it when being questioned by Riker, and proceeds to deny that he's taking any pleasure in Fajo's imprisonment. It's a really interesting twist the end the story with, and arguably a turning point for Data's character. Not quite a loss of innocence, but definitely an exploration of new and interesting territory. I was really impressed by how well it all played out.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 02 December 2017 at 1:29am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I found that VOYAGER promo, dagnabbit. Still annoys me, nearly 20 years later.

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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 02 December 2017 at 6:45am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Greg, there's one other knock-on from this episode -- both Worf and O'Brien mention Barclay and the events of "Hollow Pursuits" in DS9, yet neither character witnessed these events firsthand.   It heavily implies the bridge crewmembers gossiped amongst themselves about Barclay well after the fact and continued to do it for years.

In the two plus decades since that TNG episode aired the term "horizontal violence" has come into prominence, though I see it applied more within the medical profession than elsewhere.   The rise of reality TV has made depicting these types of negative workplace interactions a quick and lazy way for writers to artificially ratchet up the drama in their scripts.  The current trend of showing STAR TREK crews as dysfunctional back-biters almost seems like a backlash against the perceived squeaky-cleanness of the early 90's TNG bridge crew.   Even THE ORVILLE gets mileage out of this perception.    
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 02 December 2017 at 11:32am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Greg, there's one other knock-on from this episode -- both Worf and O'Brien mention Barclay and the events of "Hollow Pursuits" in DS9, yet neither character witnessed these events firsthand.   It heavily implies the bridge crewmembers gossiped amongst themselves about Barclay well after the fact and continued to do it for years.
++++++++

Yeah, I saw that in Memory Alpha's trivia for the episode. I'm sure that's a case of the writers wanting to make the reference, despite neither character witnessing the events firsthand. 

But, really, who wouldn't gossip about Tiny Riker and the Goddess of Empathy? It's the equivalent of finding a coworker's erotic fanfic stories about other coworkers in the staff breakroom. It's creepy enough that everyone at work would be muttering about it.
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 02 December 2017 at 5:02pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Well THE ORVILLE is supposed to be a bunch of malcontent , doesn't fit in kind of crew, plus it's a comedy. 

I don't know in the present day a lot of the comments seem odd. Riker seems to have most of the barbs (as of season one) even the famous "shut up wesley" seems more of a dig. It's feel like a "Gene says no conflict so we'll just use these put-downs instead" 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 04 December 2017 at 2:36am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

"Sarek".


An important turning point for TNG, in that we get our first tangible connection to TOS, outside of McCoy's cameo in the pilot, and the Psi-2000 virus in "The Naked Now". There was apparently a lot of debate over whether or not to use Sarek, much less even mention Spock.

Mark Lenard is in fine form, and a joy to see. The two standout scenes in this episode are the big confrontation between Picard and Sarek, and Picard having his meltdown after the mind-meld, which shows off Patrick Stewart's incredible acting skills. And, as with Spock's breakdown in "The Naked Time", it's all in one shot, with the camera slowly dolling around Stewart.

The use of Sarek makes perfect sense, given the established fact of Vulcan lifespans. More interestingly, we see that Sarek seems to have a fetish for human woman, and his second wife is much, much younger, too. There's also an interesting mention of Picard having attended what was presumably Spock's wedding. And, when Picard is breaking down after the mind-meld, he expresses Sarek's feelings for Perrin, Amanda, and Spock, but there's no mention of Sybok...or...Michael Burnham. Funny, that.

It's also interesting to note that, since Sarek had once mind-melded with James Kirk, this episode could very well represent the first "meeting" between Kirk and Picard. Not unlike how, in "Unification", Picard will offer Spock a chance to touch an echo of Sarek's mind by mind-melding with Picard.

All in all, this is a really good episode. And, as Michael Piller has noted, Gene Roddenberry was on the writing staff's minds at the time this episode was made, since his health and mental faculties had begun to fail. There's an interesting and subtle little meta-commentary there, just as there would be later on with Zefram Cochrane in FIRST CONTACT. In both cases, we have the literal next generation of STAR TREK creators examining the man who started it all. "Sarek" is the story of a great man whose dignity is on the line due to the ravages of age and a desire to live up to the memory of past success, and FIRST CONTACT is the story of a man revered by generations of people as a visionary and a genius, but who turns out to be a deeply flawed and self-serving human being when the crew actually meets him.

Oh, and Wesley makes a subtle reference to Geordi's holographic recreation of Dr. Brahms. Why the heck would Geordi tell anyone about that, especially the kid? Yeah, he alluded to it when trying to reason with Barclay (who was dealing with a similar-yet-different holodeck psychodrama) in "Hollow Pursuits", but it's not exactly the sort of thing that he'd want to broadcast to all of his friends, is it?


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 05 December 2017 at 1:33am
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 04 December 2017 at 5:23am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Why the heck would Geordi tell anyone about that, especially the kid? Yeah, he alluded to it when trying to reason with Barclay (who was dealing with a similar-yet-different holodeck psychodrama) in "Hollow Pursuits", but it's not exactly the sort of thing that he'd want to broadcast to all of his friends, is it?

----

I don't know. In "Galaxy's Child", Geordi seemed pretty indignant that Dr. Brahms found his creepy holographic recreation of her creepy. It was just a professional collaboration! Yeah right, Geordi.

And somehow they ended up married, at least in one alternate future.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 05 December 2017 at 1:42am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

"Ménage a Troi".


A fun and slight little adventure, and one co-written by Gene Roddenberry's secretary (and longtime secret lover), Susan Sackett. It's fun to see Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, as always. More than a little weird to think that Sackett was writing this episode's story for the wife of the man she was having a long-term affair with. That's Hollywood, for ya.

We also get an early TREK appearance by Ethan Phillips, who, of course, would later become a regular on VOYAGER. And, this episode also features Wesley's field promotion to full Ensign. I suppose "Yesterday's Enterprise" provided a bit of foreshadowing of this development, although the implication there was that a lot of young people in the alternate timeline were being given commissions because there was a war going on.

I must admit to being a bit surprised by Wesley's commissioning, since I'd forgotten the exact circumstances of his eventual departure from the show. For most of this season, his role has been greatly diminished, no doubt due to Wil Wheaton's desire to leave combined with backlash against the character. Out of the blue, this episode established that he'd soon be leaving, and then it did a complete 180-degree turn. After viewing this episode, I remembered that Wesley does indeed stick around for a while longer.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 05 December 2017 at 1:49am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I don't know. In "Galaxy's Child", Geordi seemed pretty indignant that Dr. Brahms found his creepy holographic recreation of her creepy. It was just a professional collaboration! Yeah right, Geordi.
+++++++++

I haven't gotten to my rewatch of "Galaxy's Child", of course, but Geordi most definitely told Barclay that he fell in love on the holodeck. I seem to recall from "Galaxy's Child" they Geordi insisted to Dr. Brahms that it was a "professional collaboration" mainly to save face, and because he was horrified by her discovery of--and reaction to--the whole matter.

It's sort of amazing how prescient that whole storyarc was, since it basically predicted the whole phenomenon of falling for someone based only on limited information found on the Internet (or via online dating and whatnot) vs. actually meeting them in the flesh.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 06 December 2017 at 12:39am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

"Transfigurations".


A very solid and enjoyable episode, with a proper mystery, an interesting guest-star, and the classic TREK concept of an energy being. According to the Memory Alpha trivia for the episode, the idea was to actually show that transitional step from humanoid to energy being, which we never saw with the Organians or any others like them. It's a simple premise, but it works really well, and the episode is sensitive and thoughtful.

We also get to see Geordi do something other than be unlucky in love/friend zoned, which is a nice change of pace for him!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 07 December 2017 at 1:09am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

You get the Borg cube out front
Hottest tech, every chip, every color
Yeah, when you're a Borg it can be kinda fun
It's really Picard, as the crew soon discovers

In some ways you're just like your human friends
But as a new Borg you're a star

You get the best of both worlds
Chill it out, take it slow
Then assimilate the show
You get the best of both worlds
Mix it all together
And you know that it's--



"The Best of Both Worlds" (part 1).



Geez, here we are. Hard to believe! Man, what an episode. This is where TNG truly and finally became its best self, and stepped out from under TOS' huge shadow. This is the show's major turning point, and quite possibly the pinnacle of the post-TOS era of TREK shows. Is it the best episode in the entire run? Well, I haven't rewatched the entire series, yet, but I'm gonna say "yes". Even today, 27 years after its first airing, I was still glued to my couch as it unfolded before me.

From beginning to end, it's tense, moody, character-driven, and perfectly-executed. This is most definitely a Riker story, and the episode uses the past three seasons' worth of continuity and relationships to build tension, suspense, and dread. For three seasons, TNG had been looking for an arch-enemy. "Q Who?" Introduced the Borg, but the writing staff had trouble figuring out how to make a faceless, personality-less enemy work. The answer, of course, was to turn them into techno-zombies who assimilate their enemies. And, of course, giving them a "queen bee" to serve as a mouthpiece works incredibly well, because the reveal of Locutus is a complete punch in the gut.

So many wonderful little touches. When speaking to Troi about why he hasn't left the Enterprise-D, Riker subtly gestures to her, but then thinks before he speaks about what he's given up for the sake of his career. Also, after Picard is kidnapped, note that Riker doesn't actually sit in Picard's chair when reporting to Admiral Hanson (well-played by George Murdock, who had previously appeared as "God" in STAR TREK V) in the ready room. And, the whole subplot with Shelby constantly one-upping Riker and overstepping her bounds works really well. 

The great dramatic irony of the story is the implication that Riker has turned down multiple command opportunities (another bit of continuity that's explored to great effect) because he'd basically like to inherit the Enterprise-D from Picard...and then he suddenly finds himself in command under the worst conditions possible. And he has to choose between Picard and Earth. He chooses Earth.

And, man, that ending. Picard-as-Locutus' delivering his message to the crew is still a chilling moment. And I still--STILL--got goosebumps as Riker gave the order to fire, and the show cut to black, with the "To Be Continued..." card fading in.


This is, without exaggeration or qualification, a genuinely great hour of television, and fully deserving of the praise and attention it's received, over the years. All of the subsequent Borg-themed episodes and movies are a testament to just how effective it was (and still is). I can only imagine what it was like to watch this in first run. Love it.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 07 December 2017 at 11:51am
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 07 December 2017 at 5:49am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I need to rewatch this one soon. You’ve whetted my appetite, Greg. 
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 07 December 2017 at 7:31am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

At the time I was reading articles about The Best of both Worlds, I had not yet seen a single episode with the Borg in because the BBC was so far behind with the series.

During the '90's, the BBC were horrendous at showing genre, especially USA produced genre series. When they eventually got around to showing Buffy, they would take it off air at the drop of a hat, which eventually led to Sky getting the back half of season two and the BBC suddenly stopping showing it around episode 7. So, once again, viewers were left with knowing there were some incredible stories coming and just sitting there for a year, waiting for the BBC to be able to show them.

Was so frustrating
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 07 December 2017 at 8:49am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I sympathised with Riker,if you`re in a job you
love,with good colleagues why would you want
promotion,especially in a society like in Next Gen where
money is more or less no problem.
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Jack Bohn
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Posted: 07 December 2017 at 10:47am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Watching "Best of Both Worlds" first run: perhaps the only time knowing "it's just a TV show" increased the suspense of the ending!

As I mentioned at the end of season 2, remember that they killed Tasha Yar to let Denise Crosby out of her contract. Now, wouldn't everybody in the world want to hire away Patrick Stewart? If Jonathan Frakes left, we had Shelby as a replacement for Riker. To a lesser extent, any of the cast could decide to leave for bigger and better roles, so none of the crew was safe. A definite feeling at the cliffhanger that this could change everything!
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Michael Casselman
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Posted: 07 December 2017 at 10:53am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

I just remember watching and around the 40 minute mark thinking "Wait... there's no way they're going to wrap this up... is this the season finale or was there one more ep for this year... they wouldn't..."

In those days, the cliffhanger was the property of the Dallas / Dynasty / Knots Landing type of drama, certainly not one that a syndicated sci-fi show would attempt! Trek was done-in-one, 'fer cryin' out loud (Menagerie and Farpoint excepted) ! Those bastards!

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 07 December 2017 at 11:56am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

I sympathised with Riker,if you`re in a job you 
love,with good colleagues why would you want 
promotion,especially in a society like in Next Gen where 
money is more or less no problem.
++++++++++


According to the episode's Memory Alpha trivia, Michael Piller was basically using Riker as a mouthpiece for his own struggle, since he'd only signed a one-year contract to work on TNG. As he was writing the episode, he had to decide whether or not to stay with the show.
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