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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 05 October 2017 at 6:32pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply


(At the time, I recall thinking that "Heart of Glory" was the first really great episode of the first season.)

Just re-watched "The Naked Now" today... yikes, even more poor than I'd remembered... but the humor and acting helped keep it from being a complete disaster.  Lousy script, but fun bits sprinkled thorughout.



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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 05 October 2017 at 8:04pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I'd say that "Heart of Glory" isn't a truly great episode, but, yeah, it's a great episode by the low standards of the first season.

And, amazingly, despite the fact that they'd barely gotten the script together by the time shooting began, it probably has the best script of all the episodes produced up to that point.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 06 October 2017 at 12:12am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

"The Arsenal of Freedom".

I enjoyed the heck out of this one. Not a particularly deep episode, but a fun adventure that moves at a good clip, with good parts for all of the characters. It's a lot of fun to see Geordi in command, and one can't help but chuckle at his head-butting with Chief Engineer Logan, considering that Geordi will literally have Logan's job, a few months down the road. On a related note, we also see Worf manning the Tactical station for the first time.

The episode also marks the second and final time (in the series, at least) that the Enterprise-D's saucer separates from the stardrive, and, unlike in the pilot, it's done to good effect, here.

In reading the trivia for this episode, I see that the original intent was to focus on Crusher declaring her feelings for Picard, an idea Roddenbery nixed, since he apparently didn't want too much character development. Despite his having already stepped down as head writer, by this point, the episode was still heavily reworked at the last minute, and that aspect of the storyline was minimized. There are hints of it, but it never quite comes together. I believe it wasn't until "Attached"--literally YEARS later--that the Picard/Crusher flirtation was explored in any serious way.

This episode also contains one of my favorite jokes in the entire series, with a totally straight-faced Riker telling the image of Captain Rice that the ship he comes from is the Lollipop. It's a good ship...
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 06 October 2017 at 7:59pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

You are to commended on your studious work, Mr. Kirkman! Sadly I have taken a pause on this, epic project. I find I cannot DS9 and TNG at the same time. So once I finish season 4 of DS9. I shall Catch up on my TNG, 2 a days. 

I just wanted you to know you project is appreciated and being read. Good day to you sir. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 07 October 2017 at 1:45am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

"Symbiosis".


Heavy-handed in its anti-drug message, to say the least, but this is still a solid entry. And, in an unusual coincidence, we have not one but two WRATH OF KHAN costars appearing in this episode: Merritt Butrick and Judson Scott. I believe this episode also marks the first use of a simple nose appliance to create an alien race-of-the-week.

This episode, more than perhaps any other seen thus far, feels most like what TNG will end up becoming, complete with an ending where Picard basically condemns a planet to terrible suffering in order to uphold the Prime Directive. Of course, his intent is to allow the drug trade between the planets to break down (since there will be no way to transport them once their freighters break down), and to force the Ornarans to go through withdrawal, as a result, but this solution still seems like the less-heroic way to go about it. I find myself wondering what Kirk would have done in this situation.

And, of course, there's that fun little moment at the end of the episode, with Denise Crosby waving goodbye in the background as the cargo bay closes (since this was her last filmed episode, although she appears in the next episode aired).
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 October 2017 at 11:52pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

"Skin of Evil".


This one marks a major turning point on several fronts. First and foremost, it's the first time a TREK regular has been killed, but not resurrected (although this would not technically be the end of Denise Crosby/Tasha Yar'd association with the series). I think it also marks the beginning of TNG moving out from under the shadow of TOS by employing genuine growth and change for the characters, rather than keeping the status quo intact for its entire run. 

As for the episode itself, I like it quite a bit. It's very simplistic, but it moves by at a good clip, has genuine stakes, and builds tension. It's pretty much just an hour of the crew being tortured by an oil slick, but it's never dull. And, of course, Tasha is killed in Act Two--a mere 15 minutes in. That really sets the tone. I know that there was a lot of controversy over how quickly and easily she was dispatched, but this was apparently at Roddenberry's insistence. He wanted her to die in the line of duty, rather than in some big, heroic moment. After all, she was essentially just a redshirt...er...goldshirt...who merely happened to have billing in the opening credits. Having her killed in such an offhanded way was a bravely realistic way to go, I think.

That said, there's still some cringe-y stuff in this episode. Holo-Tasha's parting line, "Hailing frequencies closed, Sir." almost comes across as an unintentionally funny meta-reference. After all, for years, Nichelle Nichols had often felt relegated to just sitting at her station and saying that line, and Crosby had also started to fall into that same trap. The whole bit with Tasha going down the list of characters and saying how they've inspired her also comes across as a bit forced, since the relationships between the characters still aren't all that well-developed, yet. 

At the end of the day, I kinda think that Tasha's death worked out to the show's benefit. Yeah, it's a drag that the character--interesting on paper, and given charm whenever possible by Crosby--was never properly utilized, but killing her off gave TNG's troubled first season some weight and emotion that it would not otherwise have had. It also cleared room for Worf to step into her role as security chief and become a deeper and more prominent character, which is a path the character was clearly already on.

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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 09 October 2017 at 9:27am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I've always felt that Tasha was created specifically as sacrificial cannon fodder but Crosby was never told of this -- and in a huge coincidence when Denise asked to be written out Roddenberry already had the exit written (at least in his head).  With the show's production schedule it seems pretty convenient that there was a ready-made episode slotted near the end of the season with the perfect bad guy to dispose of the character.

It's pretty obvious that the 'Spock role' (aka finding your humanity) was split between Worf and Data (the two most obvious 'alien' characters in the cast) and they were always intending for Worf to take a more prominent role.  That progression is clear in the scripts even before Crosby started making noise about wanting out.

Compare Crosby's departure to McFadden's...  McFadden leaving was something they *hadn't* anticipated and it shows.   Most of Pulaski's lines are Dr Crusher lines with an extra snarky comment pasted on.
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 09 October 2017 at 12:37pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Actually in The Fifty Year Mission, Piller, I belive it is, talks about how they had to go over Gene's head to do the first Worf-Centric episode.I don't think anything was clear that first season. 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 October 2017 at 12:18am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

"We'll Always Have Paris".

A TREK riff on CASABLANCA, and not a particularly remarkable episode. Some good moments, though. It should also be noted that absolutely no mention of Yar's demise is made, and Denise Crosby's name still appears in the credits, just as it will for the remaining episodes of the season. I do actually find myself missing her, though.

This episode also gives a bit more backstory on Picard, but it all feels rather superficial and tangential to the plot. No real drama comes of it, and the overall time-hiccup plot isn't particularly compelling, either.
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Jack Bohn
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Posted: 10 October 2017 at 8:16am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I'd taped the first season only keeping the ones that would be worth rewatching. "Skin of Evil" put a crimp in this. When Crusher reports that Yar is dead, Picard asks how quickly she can be revived, a story beat from "Code of Honor," which I'd already recorded over. Parts of "The Naked Now" inform Holo-Tasha's testament, and later in "The Measure of a Man" we'll find Data keeps a copy for reasons he can't quite explain, pulling the episode out of the iffy category.

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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 10 October 2017 at 11:51am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

And, in an unusual coincidence, we have not one but two WRATH OF KHAN costars appearing in this episode: Merritt Butrick and Judson Scott.

Truly a "next generation" episode, as the kids of Kirk and Khan have at it...
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 11 October 2017 at 12:53am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

"Conspiracy".

Despite featuring a story that goes nowhere (despite the tease for a follow-up), I do like this one quite a bit. It builds tension, and is still rather creepy (despite the dated stop-motion parasites). It's also notable as being the only TREK episode to air with a viewer discretion advisory, due to the violence and body horror.

Speaking of which, Picard and Riker--without hesitation--kill the innocent Remmick, who is hosting the "mother" creature. I mean, yeah, the creature appeared to be an imminent threat, but still...


Anyway, I've read that this episode was originally intended to feature a military coup within Starfleet, rather than an alien invasion. Roddeneberry strenuously objected, and so the story was rewritten. Due to that change, the episode basically becomes a monster hunt, with very little to chew on in terms of themes and subtext. That being said, there was a lot of potential for this story, both in regards to a potential follow-up, or even as a season-long arc (not that TNG would have ever gone down that road). 

As it stands, it's a sort of weird, creepy. experimental one-off. A tense and fast-paced episode which ends up being rather inconsequential, in the long run.
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