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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 11 October 2017 at 1:29am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I remember watching "Conspiracy" when it first aired, and I was completely pulled out of the episode by the prop for the container that held the parasite. It was actually a Trapper Keeper-alternative hard plastic binder that had come out at the beginning of the school year. I had one in my backpack at the time. All they did was cover the logo.


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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 11 October 2017 at 2:24pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Ah, "found" props!

I just noticed the very 20th century, height-adjustment levers on the undersides of the Observation Lounge chairs while watching an episode, the other night!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 11 October 2017 at 11:28pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

"The Neutral Zone".

The first-season finale was affected by the 1988 writers' strike, and it shows. The story is a sort of,strange hybrid of "Space Seed" and "Balance of Terror", and features uncharacteristic behavior from Riker (who has no interest in investigating a space vessel launched from Earth, centuries prior) and Picard (who would have preferred leaving the dead, frozen HUMAN BEINGS WHO COULD EASILY BE REVIVED drifting in space).

There are still some good moments and character bits in this one, although the overall episode is rather weak. The return of the Romulans is played with a lot of menacing overtones for future episodes, but this all ends up being a red herring of sorts. We also have Worf referring to the Romulans as being "without honor", a statement which foreshadows future exploration of the whole Klingon-honor thing, as well as TNG's cultural flip-flopping of the Romulans and the Klingons. This episode also introduces the Romulan brow-ridge makeup appliances, which are a stupid change, and apparently only serve the function of distinguishing Romulans from Vulcans.

More importantly, this episode provides the first hints of the Borg. I get the impression that the Romulans were perhaps intended to be TNG's recurring Big Bad, after the Ferengi failed miserably in that regard, but the Borg ended up taking over that role, of course.


All things considered, TNG's first season was...rocky, to say the least. It did the job of laying the foundation for the series to come, but there was just so much lacking in terms of characterization, style, and depth. Still, the back end of the season is demonstrably better than the front. There's nowhere else to go but up, at least!
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 5:16am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

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...

For me, it's the knowing *look* that Picard and Riker give each other before they blast him that chills me to the bone.   Sort of a "Yeah, I never really liked this a-hole either" look.   

While having to act in front of a special effect that you can't see isn't anything new (and is now the rule rather than the exception) you have to wonder what the director told them they were shooting at for that scene.

Also, isn't that the first (and only?) time that Starfleet phasers were shown to destroy tissue in that nasty way rather that just vaporizing the person outright?   Is it a lower power 'kill slowly' setting?   'Datalore' also suggests that TNG phasers work in this way when Lore threatens to turn Wesley "into a torch".  (and it's not clear whether he means a torch in the British or North American sense -- likely North American).
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 11:27am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I presume that the Wesley and Remmick bits would have employed lower "heat" settings of the phasers, rather than causing outright disintegration, although what happens to Remmick defies physics. Of course, we did see earlier how the parasites' influences caused the infected officers to be both superhumanly strong, and resistant even to phasers set on "kill".
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 12:05pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I'm enjoying reading your reviews, Greg. Just watched that Conspiracy death scene, care of You Tube, and that's pretty graphic stuff. Not sure if the BBC ever showed that! I don't recall it, if they did.

Musing on my own memories of TNG -- in the UK the show had a substantial delay before it got aired, in the order of at least a year. I watched Encounter at Far Point as a video rental... If memory serves, the BBC didn't start broadcasting TNG until autumn of 1988. This had the weird effect of making Tasha Yar a member of the crew for a long time as far as my own personal experience went.

The only episodes I have strong memories of from that first season are the pilot, The Naked Now (especially, "you jewel", lol) and the one with the oil slick that kills Tasha.

I do remember it picking up as it went along, but didn't have, at the time, thoughts of 'this is crappy' during that first season, apart from maybe during the pilot.


Edited by Peter Martin on 12 October 2017 at 12:07pm
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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 12:36pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

"I just noticed the very 20th century, height-adjustment levers on the undersides of the Observation Lounge chairs while watching an episode, the other night!"
*****************************************************
Geordi's chair from Engineering was auctioned off a few years ago, and was revealed to be a store bought chair from an Office Depot type retailer.
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 2:23pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Despite featuring a story that goes nowhere (despite the tease for a follow-up),
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Star Trek Online followed this one up out of the blue, without warning.  It was one of the truly memorable surprise moments in that game when suddenly a completely unrelated (seemingly) story linked up with that episode.
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 8:04pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply


Interesting about "Conspiracy" and the supposed parental warning at the beginning... I saw this episode first-run, taped it off the TV, and watched it many times afterwards... never saw such a warning.

Was that in certain markets, perhaps?



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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 8:11pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply


And for the record, those last few minutes of "Skin of Evil" always get me... wept when I was 15, and got misty-eyed all over again the last time I saw it (maybe 9 or 10 years ago?).

Amusing story:  I brought a TNG magazine into a high school class, a few weeks after "Skin of Evil" aired, and which featured Denise Crosby on the cover.  My high school buddy, being his normally insensitive self, took one look at it and said, "Isn't that the chick who died on that show?  Did you cry, Barry?"

Of course, I over-emphatically exclaimed, "NO!!!"  Fooling no one, I'm sure.



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Brian Hague
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 8:23pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Rob, Marina Sirtis has spoken at conventions about how she had a very definite sense that she was going to be fired during TNG's first season, suspicions that were confirmed to her by Majel Barrett years later. Crosby's quitting the show in effect saved Sirtis's job. 

It's unlikely events would have gone that way if Tasha's death had been planned all along. Also, there was a strong dislike of Gates McFadden from one of TNG's execs, so her off-screen departure sans a spotlight "farewell" episode could be easily explained that way.

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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 12 October 2017 at 9:20pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply


In this current climate, almost makes you wonder what kind of crap Gates McFadden may have been putting up with at the time.





Edited by Shaun Barry on 12 October 2017 at 9:21pm
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