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Joe Boster
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Posted: 18 December 2017 at 8:56pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

as an aside, Best of both worlds is available editied to a single 2 hour (145 or whatever) episode. I plan on watching it that way. 

Made it to season 3. Everything looks darker! The Alien spore thing for the season finale of season 2. looked like they ran out of money so did a flashback episode! What a bad way to end. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 19 December 2017 at 1:10am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

"The Loss".


I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one, because not a lot actually happens, plot-wise. It's TNG's "character X temporarily goes blind" episode, with the twist being that Troi loses her empathic sense, which none of the other characters have. It's a very sensitive look at the emotional process of coming to terms with a sudden disability, and Marina Sirtis really gets a chance to shine.

It's also nice to see Troi doing her day-to-day job as a therapist, which lends that much more verisimilitude to the show. And, of course, I can't help but think about all those security officers Jim Kirk lost during TOS, and how those grief counseling sessions might have gone, if the original  Enterprise had a counselor. 

The "B", story, with the two-dimensional beings and the cosmic string, is also pretty neat. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 20 December 2017 at 12:48am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

"Data's Day".


A fun "day in the life" episode, full of first appearances and interesting details. Most notably, we meet Keiko O'Brien and Spot. There's a nice bit of continuity in that Data is maintaining an ongoing correspondence with Dr. Maddox (from "The Measure of a Man"). We also get a glimpse of the midnight shift on the ship's Bridge, in which the lighting conditions simulate a nighttime feel (a subtle TOS reference, and a sign that Ron Moore worked on the script, as are Picard's pre-wedding preamble, and Worf's mention of the Murasaki quasar). 

It's neat to get Data's unique perspective on each of the main characters, and human life in general, which makes the episode move at a good pace. The Romulan subplot feels a bit forced and unnecessary, and it doesn't surprise me to learn that it was added at Rick Berman's insistence, so as to give the episode a "B" story and a mystery-type hook.


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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 21 December 2017 at 1:12am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

"The Wounded".


On paper, this is a fairly standard HEART OF DARKNESS riff (which also foreshadows the loyalty/bigotry/revenge/war themes of the then-upcoming STAR TREK VI), yet it ends up as a really good episode, thanks to the characterization and performances. 

This is where O'Brien finally becomes a fleshed-out character, with a backstory, personal conflict, and a key role in a TNG story. Colm Meaney is a very likable and engaging character actor, and it's no surprise at all that he was tapped to carry O'Brien over to DS9, two years later. He'd been with TNG since the pilot, after all, and his growth from background player to recurring bit character to important secondary character has been a joy to seen.

Speaking of DS9, we also have the first appearance of the Cardassians (with their early makeup design and uniforms), with Marc Alaimo (another great character actor) as Gal Macet. Alaimo, of course, would go on to play Gul Dukat, DS9's greatest villain. This episode certainly lays a lot of the groundwork for DS9, in terms of the Cardassians' sneakiness, their prior war with the Federation, and O'Brien's attitude toward them. 

And, of course, there's Bob Gunton--another oft-seen character actor--as Captain Maxwell. His scene head-to-head with Picard is a highlight of the episode. This episode also marks the first appearance of the Nebula class starship, which is basically a Franz Joseph-ized rearrangement of the Galaxy class design, and started as a literal kitbash for "The Best of Both Worlds", before graduating to a prominent role (and a dedicated FX model) in numerous episodes.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 22 December 2017 at 1:00am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

"Devil's Due".


A fun little episode with an interesting backstory, in that, like "The Child", it was reworked from a script originally written for the aborted PHASE II TV series. In the original script, the Devil character wasn't a female, and I find myself wondering how it would have played with Kirk vs. Ardra, rather than Picard. Indeed, this episode has a very TOS vibe to it, which only makes sense, given its origins.

We also get another appearance of Picard The Advocate in this episode, and a contradiction of TOS lore, since we see what is apparently a Klingon version of the Devil. 

Not a lot of depth or complexity, here, but it is both fun and funny.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 22 December 2017 at 5:50am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

"Devil's Due".

----

Being in my teenage years when this aired, Ardra attempting to seduce Picard as Troi remained one of the more memorable scenes of the series for me.

Watching it when I was older, it occurred to me that the Enterprise should have been able to detect much earlier and have built-in protections against the sort of holography and transporter tricks that Ardra used in her cons.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 23 December 2017 at 1:01am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

"Clues".


A great episode, and very much a case of TNG doing what it did so well during its peak years. It's a high-concept idea (albeit one possibly cribbed from an episode of RED DWARF for the spec script that this episode was generated from) which slowly unfolds as the episode moves along. This one really flies by, and is full of interesting details and moments. 

It's interesting to note that all Data had to do was say "yes" when Picard asked if Data's silence was protecting the ship from grave danger. Of course, Picard's prior order to Data to conceal what had happened would (and did) prohibit him from actually answering that question, which ends up placing the ship in danger all over again. It's a fun little logistical problem, and one of my favorite touches in the episode.
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Joe Welsh
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Posted: 24 December 2017 at 9:56pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Greg Typed:
It's interesting to note that all Data had to do was say "yes" when Picard asked if Data's silence was protecting the ship from grave danger. Of course, Picard's prior order to Data to conceal what had happened would (and did) prohibit him from actually answering that question, which ends up placing the ship in danger all over again.
---
I had a problem with Picard in this episode,  Specifically, when Data won't cooperate with Picard he says something to the effect of "Do you realize you will be stripped (disassembled) to your component parts to see what has gone wrong" 

Given how Picard has advocated that Data is Alive and Sentient, this amounts to a threat of "killing" Data for disobeying an order.  If Geordi or any of the other crew had done this he certainly would not threaten death to get an crewman to obey his order.  

This is a glaring contradiction in Picard's character as well what has been established for the treatment of Data.  

Of course, this is my interpretation of the episode
and others may not see it the same way. 

Joe
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 24 December 2017 at 10:50pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I don't think that Picard was indicating that he or his crew would ever consider disassembling Data, but rather that other people in Starfleet and/or the cybernetics field (like Dr. Maddox) would be happy to do so, once word got out that Data had possibly malfunctioned in such a serious way. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 25 December 2017 at 12:04am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

"First Contact" (the episode, not the film).


A really good and interesting episode, which is basically TNG's version of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD still. The teaser is well-done, and immediately sets up the idea that this episode will be unique, since it's told from the point of view of the aliens being contacted by Picard and crew. It provides an interesting look at something that TREK had never directly tackled, prior--what is the Federation's methodology for initiating first contact with planets on the verge of warp travel? Also, it's stated that disastrous first contact with the Klingons led to decades of war, but that doesn't quite jibe with what later series would tell us.

The most memorable bit in the episode, of course, is Riker getting it on with Bebe Neuwirth's kinky character. She plays it perfectly, too. The episode's subtext serves as commentary on our own perspectives regarding first contact with alien life, and Neuwirth's character very much represents all of the alien groupies out there. She'd be right at home on the cover of her planet's version of WEEKLY WORLD NEWS, claiming that she was impregnated by an alien named Riker.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 25 December 2017 at 9:25am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

"First Contact" has IMO the best cold open (ie WTF?) of any episode of STAR TREK.   Backed up by a great episode with great acting from both the regulars and guest cast.

Thematically it's a retread of "Who Watches the Watchers" but in an urban/industrialized setting rather than rural/agrarian.  What's more interesting -- technically superior civilizations, no matter their good or benign intentions will almost always subvert the theologies of those who are less developed.   We only have to look at the history of our own planet for examples of this.   This type of social disruption is particularly pernicious when the lesser culture is close to advancement on a technical level but still has a long way to go in terms of social development as it can make it's citizens cling to the safety of their worshiped gods even more tightly and violently.  

It's something to think about as we enter an era where our sometimes secretive governments are now weirdly being open about their investigations into things like UFO's (and the existence of aliens).  Why now, and not 20 or 50 years ago?

As for the Klingon first contact, I like to think that a century or two removed from events the official history has been tweaked and bent a little to better serve the underlying morality and ethics surrounding the covert monitoring of 'promising' species.  It's a "If we don't do this then the terrorists will win" type of argument.  The Federation could just as easily practice complete non-intervention and perhaps remotely monitor civilizations on the cusp of warp technology -- but for some reason feel a need to get their hands dirty, all the while preaching about the evils of corrupting another society.   Federation officers reciting the Prime Directive start to sound a lot like they are reciting religious doctrine rather than organizational policies sometimes. 

I consider "First Contact" to be the middle act of a loose thematic series that started with "WWtW", is continued in "Homeward" and is capped off in "Insurrection" where the tables are nicely turned when observing the Ba'ku, a species they think are technically and socially less advanced but are actually much more developed than the stodgy (and increasingly corrupt) Federation.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 26 December 2017 at 12:41am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I should also note that there's no way the episode would be presented today as it was in 1990. Riker is extorted and forced to have sex with a woman in exchange for his freedom, and it's played for laughs. If the genders were reversed, it probably wouldn't have aired in that form. Of course, female rape of men (which is admittedly a rarity) is still often overlooked and/or handwaved, but it does happen. 

Being an established horndog, Riker's control of his sexual rights aren't even an issue, here, and the scene is played for humor. And it is humorous (in part due to the inherent unreality of the show and the situation), despite the underlying ugliness. Still, there's no way it would be done, today.
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