Saturday, September 29, 2012

ST:TNG 1.19 Coming of Age ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch


Images Source: TrekCore 

The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

Coming of Age
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 19

Story:
  • While Wesley takes the Starfleet Academy entrance exam, The Enterprise is visited by Admiral Quinn, and old friend of Picard, who sets of Lieutenant Commander Remmick off to question the entire ship looking for something elusively 'wrong' with the ship, or even Picard. 
What it's really about:
  • The Academy testing is a lot about expecting the unexpected/everything is a test/there is no right answer and the like.
  • The Remmick questioning, or even 'testing' the crew, we see a strong loyalty of the crew and a demonstration of the principles above (there is no one right answer for sure).
  • There are also some seeds planted for future episodes in a few story lines.
Character Focus:
  • Wesley is one of the focus here, I always think of this episode as they one where he takes the Starfleet Exam for the first time.
  • Picard appears to be under the suspicious so he's questions and the entire crew is questioned about him as well, so we get a virtual 360 on his character as pretty much everyone speaks about him to Remmick.
  • We also get an awesome Worf Wisdom Moment!  When Wesley is trying to 'prepare' for the psych test which will challenge his greatest fear, Worf gives him the following advice: "Thinking about what you can't control only wastes energy, and creates its own enemy. " Go Worf, talk about insightful! 
  • We are also introduced to the characters of Admiral Quinn and Lieutenant Commander Remmick.
What I remembered about this episode:
  • I remember the two pieces of this episode as separate parts: Wesley's exam & The grilling by Remmick.  And I'll admit my own geekyness of thinking it'd be so cool to go to Starfleet Academy!
  • I also reminded the side plot of Jake, who steals a shuttlecraft and almost goes boom into the planet but is saved at the last minute by Picard.
What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
  • Sometimes it's odd knowing all the episodes because again I mis-read this as a future episode. 
  • You can really see the loyalty of the crew of Picard, and it's also amazing to see how many crazy things they've already encounter in less than a season that are questioned by Remmick.
  • It seems so bizarre that after all the grilling, Remmick says he's like to be stationed no The Enterprise; but then again working for Internal Investigations must such in any time period!
What feels different now, than then:
  • With all the build up of Wesley as so smart, it was surprizing to see that he didn't make it into the Academy.  It also felt very strange that they tested a mere 4 people together, and of that only took 1 person although they stressed all of them were valuable candidates.
  • I think this is one of the few times I was a little wha? about gender stuff in an episode of Trek.  There are 4 candidates for the academy: 2 guys and 2 girls, but the 2 guys were the clear top choices from the get go, and the 2 girls seemed to just fill the ranks.  The vulcan girl barely spoke and the 'cute young girl' who was there pretty much to talk to Wesley it seemed, didn't appear to even be smart enough to be there!  Very strange, and very not Trek.
What remained the same:
  • I still feel the entrance exam was cool.  I know that's supremely geeky, but it's true! 
  • The editing is really cool how they cross cut the interviews with the various crew members, starting asking 1 question to 1 person, but by the time it's asked we 'see' someone else.  I actually remembered the editing, and looked forward to seeing it here. 
What I see differently:
  • Through the re-watch, I've noticed that The Next Generation isn't really a long-arc in terms of plot/reveal, and now I almost exclusively watch shows that are long-arc based. This episode has some elements that lend to the long-arc, but because it's done so rarely it feels a bit strange, or even confusing and definitely unfinished. 
Great Quotes:
  • "Thinking about what you can't control only wastes energy, and creates its own enemy." - Worf
  • "The only thing I am guilty of is allowing this charade to go on so long." - Picard
  • "The only person you're truly competing against, Wesley, is yourself." - Picard
Left off at:
Wesley does not make it into The Academy, but is comforted by Picard who said he himself failed the first time.  Picard also turns down the offer to be Commandant at Starfleet Academy.


Images Source: TrekCore

Friday, September 28, 2012

ST:TNG 1.18 Home Soil ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch


Images Source: TrekCore 

The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

Home Soil
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 18

Story:
  • The Enterprise visits a terraforming station which isn't that happy to see them, but does let them on to the station at which time one of the terraformers is killed.  When it's clear that there was intent behind the death, the mystery of who is responsible starts to unravel a much larger mystery. 
What it's really about:
  • A discussion what is life?
  • Don't mess with inorganic life.
  • And when you think there could be life... don't terraform!  When will people learn that there are *no* lifeless planets?  AKA Just because we don't see/understand that life is there, life could be there.
Character Focus:
  • I think this one is more of a general discussion of life, and the focus is on the inorganic life form as well as the terraformers, but not so much any particular crew member although we do see Beverly in deductive action as well as seeds planting in Data's head on the discussion of what is life (and if he is included in that definition). 
What I remembered about this episode:
  • It's quotability.  This one is officially known to me as "Ugly bags of mostly water".  Always will be.  I didn't even remember the terraforming bit, so this one it took me quite a while to recognize which episode it was.
What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
  • I actually found the deductive reasoning of trying to solve the mystery quite compelling, even though I knew where it was going it was cool to see. 
  • Troi gets Riker to talk to the woman terraformer because she think the woman will be more responsive to him.  Wild.
What feels different now, than then:
  • There was such a strong air of suspicion from the terraformers, especially the director that I'm surprized that they didn't know about the lifeform.  Even though they had seen things, like patterns in the sand but just thought it was random and kept going.  Makes you wonder, what's a sign and what isn't? 
  • I'm surprized that being 17 episodes in and this is at least the third, fourth or even fifth entity they've encountered that is leaps and bounds ahead of them, and they barely even knew it was there.  The lifeform said not to come back for at least 300 years.  .
What remained the same:
  • Once I realized which one it was, I was just waiting for the quote!  Humans as 'ugly bags of mostly water'. Too funny! 
What I see differently:
  • Hindsight is 20/20, but it does make me wonder if we've ever seen terraforming work anywhere in science fiction.  It almost always goes wrong.  I'll keep my eyes open for examples of it working.
Great Quotes:
  • "Ugly giant bags of mostly water." - Inorganic Lifeform via The Universal Translator
  • " Disregard incongruity, and theorize as to source." - Beverly
  • "Only life can replicate itself, Doctor. Inorganic or not - it is alive." - Data
Left off at:
After finding a way to make the lifeform weaker after it's declaration of war, The Enterprise dims the lights and drains it's power which leads them to a stand off of returning the lifeform to the planet and being directed not to return for at least 300 years.


Images Source: TrekCore 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

ST:TNG 1.17 When the Bough Breaks ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch


Images Source: TrekCore 

The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

When the Bough Breaks
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 17

Story:

  • The Enterprise finds a planet of mythical standing, who invites them through their shield and cloaking device to open negotiations: for children as their have become sterile and need a new generation to rebuild.
What it's really about:
  • I think this message is clear: Don't mess with people's kids.  They'll fight ya from them.
  • We also have an environmental message as the sterility of the inhabitants is come from something similar to the ozone.
  • There is also an undercurrent about understanding the technology you have, and not just letting it do everything for you; Wesley notes this when he says that all computers need maintenance (oh, how I wish that wasn't true...).
  • It's also an episode that highlights that there are many families aboard The Enterprise, and that those families agreed to the risks involved of being on a starship.
Character Focus:
  • Wesley has the strongest focus of the main cast, as he is included as one of the abducted 'children', although he's a lot older than any of the other kids. 
  • It was wild too see that one of the planetary folk, Radue, was played by Jerry Hardin whom I know best from his role as Deep Throat on the X-Files.  Perhaps that is why I didn't trust him right from the get go!
What I remembered about this episode:
  • I remember it as the 'kids get stolen' episode.  Although, this was so far the hardest episode to place, it took me a good 11 minutes to figure out which one it was even though it was clear pretty quickly it was a kid-centric episode.  
  • One of the little girls is ridiculously cute.  I totally remember that (see pic below)
What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
  • We saw so few people that represented an entire planet, yet what did they do?  It was clear no one seemed to work on the computers and they refer to scientists but it doesn't seem like they are around.  They want kids with arts adeptness, but are they artists themselves?  What do they create? And for whom?  I guess I didn't understand the world very well.  I really hope they weren't saying that if you have everything taken care of for you, only then can you focus purely on art.  I can't image that being the case though.
  • I was really surprized to see Picard play along with the negotiations of the children, just to keep them talking as if it was revealed they weren't open to discussion they would lose the option forever.  
What feels different now, than then:
  • One of the notions that I really didn't like about this one was that they stole kids with artistic potential, and it was something none of them were using or even felt akin to.  Having someone else define what you are 'suppose to do' was oddly horrifying.  Isn't it worth taking that journey yourself?
    What remained the same:
    • I found it very strange the devices they used to create art with the children, they are very hands-off.  I don't understand how they work, and I don't understand why it'd be desirable and/or better for them to be so un-tactile.
    • All the kids, save Wesley, had artistic inclinations which made it a little weird that he was chosen.  But it makes sense from the perspective that we see the story through him, and he puts the kids into action. 
    • Little kids taking Calculus! hahaha...
    What I see differently:
    • This one reads about the same to me: don't steal peoples kids, people aren't merchandise, you can't pretend to be happy when you aren't and I still felt really weird about the arts stuff and I feel very strongly about people choosing their own path.
    • I was surprized it ended amicably. 
    Great Quotes:
    • "Things are only impossible until they're not!" - Picard
    • "Captain, I am not aware of Regulation 6.57." - Data, on Picard's created regulation to ensure Beverly can beam down to the planet
    • "The legend will die. But the people will live." - Picard
    Left off at:
    After a passive stand off by Wesley and the kids, Data finding a way through the shield and him & Riker shutting down the power supply plus Beverly finding a way to treat their radiation poisoning, they finally convince the planet folk to give up the kids and start learning a-new themselves.


    Images Source: TrekCore 

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012

    ST:TNG 1.16 Too Short a Season ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch


    Images Source: TrekCore 

    The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

    Too Short a Season
    Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 16

    Story:
    • The Enterprise is on an escort mission to bring Admiral Jameson to a planet where he negotiated a treaty 40 years prior with a man named Karnas.  The planet now has a terrorist threat with a hostage situation which Jameson, with full command of the mission and away team (over Picard) is being sent to hopefully resolve.
    What it's really about:
    • This one has several messages, one that stand out over the entire episode is that being younger isn't necessarily better, and even go as far to say that it's out-of-place in this time to even consider youth as desired. They reflect back on Jameson's quest for strength and de-aging to deal with the folks on the planet.  I think the attempt isn't as successful as when they tackle the 'outdated' sexism in both Code of Honor and Angel One, as with age often comes illness (as with Jameson) and eventually death, whereas there isn't an evident downside to equalizing sexism.
    • There is also a note on giving arms to both sides heading for potential war, is a bad thing.
    • I was surprized to see that Jameson's character seems to be on a quest for redemption, but it's hard to 'see' that as the tone is much more like revenge and shrouded in defensiveness.  Perhaps it's most aligned to atonement, which Picard states late in the episode.
    Character Focus:
    • Admiral Jameson is the focus here, and I think that makes it our first episode where ther entire focus is not on a main cast member.  We see him as an 80 year old Admiral and negotiator, that made some bad decisions (and covered them up) in the past, and this story chronicles his journey to try and not only cheat death through an alien process of promise of youth, as well as to possibly right a wrong from his past.

    What I remembered about this episode:
    • I remember the de-aging of Jameson, but I didn't remember the whole hostages/planet situation at all.  In fact, when they showed a mid-aged Jameson I thought this was a different episode with and Admiral beaming down to a planet which actually scared me.  I wonder when that one will come up!
    What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
    • I recognized the idea of trying to right a wrong, but I had to look very closely and recognize it analytically, because I didn't 'feel' that when watching at all.  It just felt angry and mysterious.
    • There are lots of 'hide in shadow' moments so we get a big 'reveal' of the de-aging.
    What feels different now, than then:
    • I think ever since I've become a fan on Face Off, I feel very differently about aging in film/tv because I'm curious to how they represent it through make up.  I used to just feel that it didn't look great, but now I really look and wonder what it is about the person that we continue to see over time, and what changes, and how that changes us individually as well as how we are perceived.
    • It's one of the new times that they've had someone travel with their spouse, as Jameson's wife is a key part of this episode too as she doesn't want to be younger and doesn't want her husband to be either! 
    What remained the same:
    • Not too much, because I didn't remember it that well. It is wild to see the guy so young at the end, although that's the actor we've been watching the entire time!
    What I see differently:
    • It's sad to feel like the hostage threat and war torn world feels more accessible now, than it did at the time.  That really makes me sad.
    • The weight of the fact that Jameson had control of the mission and away team had me worried that something would go very wrong, and I didn't quite remember what would happen!  I guess I don't remember them all as well as I thought I did!
    Great Quotes:
    • " I have found that peace, or the appearance of it, is often a prelude to war." - Jameson
    • "The quest for youth, Number One - so futile. Age and wisdom have their graces, too." - Picard
    • "Rest, Jameson. Your long night... and mine... are over." - Karnas
    Left off at:
    Jameson beams down to the planet and eventually convinces Karnas he is the Jameson of the past, and outs Karnas that this was all a ploy to get him out there to show him the world 40 years later after war and destruction.  Jameson actually does pass away on the planet, which is one of the few character deaths we've had so far.

    Images Source: TrekCore

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    ST:TNG 1.15 11001001 ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch


    Images Source: TrekCore 

    The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

    11001001
    Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 15

    Story: 
    • As The Enterprise docks at a space station it receive enhancements from the dual-centric Bynars who work in pairs and are highly computer integrated beings.  While the upgrades are in process, the crew partakes in recreational activities on and off The Enterprise.
      What it's really about:
      • Harmph.  A clear message doesn't ring out on this one; although it could be 'when things seem too good to be true, they probably are'.  As an adamant optimist, I'm not fond of that point of view!
      • There is a message in there that different people thing in different ways, as they Bynars thing in yes/no mentality, they didn't ask as they weighed their need too great to receive a possible 'no' as and answer, and therefore acted on their need with an acceptance of the consequences.  
      • The lesson should be the holodeck is dangerous!  So far we've had this encounter with Minuet distracting Riker & Picard so the Bynars can steal the ship, the brouhaha of someone being shot in the first Dixon Hill episode and ski trip turns into virus on the ship in Angel One episode.  Crazy!
      Character Focus:
      • It's definitely a Riker episode as he falls pretty hard for the holodeck character Minuet.
      • Picard also plays a key role here, as he sets the ship for auto destruct while him & Riker try to figure out what happened to the ship.  
      • We also get to see what Data, Geordi, Beverly, Yar and Worf get up to on some off time. I love that Data has an attempt at creativity with painting, but was sad to see he felt responsible for not being on the bridge and had a moment where he stated he does not require recreational activities.

      What I remembered about this episode:
      • I remember this one for being the one with the Bynars, they are so crazy!  I think it might have been then first time I even heard the word binary, and was very curious to what it meant.  I thought the whole only knowing a yes/no answer was fascinating.
      • Although I of course remember the character of Minuet, I didn't remember that she was on this episode.
      What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
      • I think my theory that 'Wesley is always right' might be panning out.  He's suspicious about the Bynars, and they do steal the ship!  They should have listened to him. 
      • It's a little odd to give The Bynars so much access to the ship; sure they were there to do enhancements, but they seemed to do a lot more!  
      • I wondered how did the Bynars create Minuet?  She's so intuitive and subtle, which is very un-Bynar.
      • I also was always shocked to see the character who's on the space station who looks *so much* like Patrick Stewart (see below); I was convinced they were suppose to be related.
      What feels different now, than then:
      • It feels a bit creepy for all this romance going on on the Holodeck, although they do often make notations that they usually use it for sport and training type of recreation and these more dramatic and 'real' settings are pretty 'new'.
      What remained the same:
      • Love the Bynars.  Sure, what they did was wrong but they were logical and it all worked out in the end. 
      • I'm again not super keep on Holodeck-centric episodes, which is probably why I didn't remember this was also the Minuet character.
      What I see differently:
      •  I can't believe how quick they were to evacuated and send away the ship (whoa Data - that's fast acting!) and that it wasn't confirmed that Riker & Picard were off the ship (the computer says 'all decks are empty', lying computer! HoloDECK wasn't).  
      • I was also surprized that Picard & Riker were going to blow up the ship!  In the first season!  That's nutty. 
      Great Quotes:
      • "A blind man teaching an android how to paint? That's gotta be worth a couple of pages in somebody's book." - Riker
      • "For them there are only two choices, one or zero - yes or no." - Riker
      • "You know, Number One - some relationships just can't work." - Picard
      Left off at:
      Picard & Riker save the Bynars planet and get back to the space station to hand off the Bynars for a hearing and reunite with the crew.  Picard even drives them home!  Fun stuff.  It's also one of the few episodes that leaves some loose threads, as Riker goes back to the Holodeck but can never find Minuet again.


      Images Source: TrekCore 

      Sunday, September 23, 2012

      ST:TNG 1.14 Angel One ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch


      Images Source: TrekCore 

      The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues (and back in order...) with...

      Angel One
      Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 14

      Story:

      • After encountering a Federation freighter with no one aboard The Enterprise heads to an planet where they may have landed, Angel One which is a matriarchal planet that is not part of the Federation although is strategically placed and therefore the need to remain in good relations is very important.
      What it's really about:
      • Sexism is sexism, regardless of who is considered 'superior'.
      • It also lends to the idea that equality is a natural part of evolution. 
      • We also get to see The Enterprise cope with sickness and a skeleton crew, as a virus knocks out almost everyone aboard.
      Character Focus:
      • It's not so much about any one particular character, although Riker does stand out on the away team (he gives a great speech and totally works the 'indigenous' garb of Angel One with confidence), and Troi, Yar & Data who fill out the away team all contribute to the activity on the planet, especially responding to or playing along with what's generally received as an imbalanced society. 
      • As a virus also takes almost everyone off duty for sickness, we also get to see Beverly at work cooking up a solution and Geordi take over the ship.  I notice that we often get some really on-target comments from Geordi on the bridge who seems to always make note of what's actually going on; in this episode he notes that the folks on Angel One make it clear that they Federation visit is not wanted.  

      What I remembered about this episode:
      • I remember it for being the reverse sexism episode, as opposed to a 'matriarch' society.  Interesting.  And that Riker played along when need be!  Wow.  
      • I actually forgot that the fact the survivors created a revolution was the reason Angel One agreed wanted them off. One this re-watch I thought maybe they had made the men slaves and were trying to hide it, but nope...that's not what they did!  
      What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
      • I didn't remember that they women on the planet were 'bigger and stronger' than the men.  That was weird, can't it be a matriarchal society without that.  It feels so specifically role-reversed that it's easy to understand it's imbalanced.
      • I forgot so many things were at play, not just the sexism on the planet but also the fugitives to find as well as sickness on the ship and an impending Romulan threat.  That's a lot for one episode! 
      • Totally loved Geordi taking charge!  I don't think we've had a Geordi-centric episode, but I hope there is one in the near future of the re-watch.
      What feels different now, than then:
      • It oddly felt less shocking that the guys were dismissed as not smart, although it still feels really wrong to judge any group of people by one limited idea.
      • I was shocked that the crew took the one survivors word for it that none of the four of them wanted to leave; considering the obvious volatile situation and the fact that they were gone so long, wouldn't they want to speak to them individually to see if anyone wanted to leave? 
      • If felt a little strange that the survivors would want to stay on the planet, instead of leave with their new families.  It had been 7 years, which is a lot, but still...wouldn't they want to go 'home'?
      What remained the same:
      • Sexism, and any -ism, always feels wrong.  I think one of the reasons I love Star Trek is how equality-centric it is. 
      What I see differently:
      •  I can't believe Riker got all cozy with the leader... wow.  They joke about it a bit, but still seems rather shocking. That's one part where if the roles were reversed, I'm not sure it could read with the same energy.  They went with it though, which is a bold choice!
      Great Quotes:
      • "Angel One has evolved into a constitutional oligarchy. It is governed by a parliamentary body consisting of six elected mistresses and headed by a female they refer to as 'The Elected One'. " - Data
      • "Let's not look for problems." - Riker
      • "Our library is far too sophisticated for a man to comprehend." - Beata (The Elected One of Angel One)
      • "It's not my function to seduce or be seduced by the leader of another world." - Riker
      Left off at:
      After a great argument/speech by Riker that the 'revolution' is more likely 'evolution' and that the process can not be stopped, Mistress Beate decides to exile the survivors and their new families somewhere hard to live so they won't have much time to cause trouble.  On the Enterprise, Beverly creates an inoculation for the virus and the ship heads off to the Neutral Zone for it's next adventure.

      Images Source: TrekCore 

      Saturday, September 22, 2012

      ST:TNG 1.12 The Big Goodbye ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch


      Images Source: TrekCore 

      The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues (albeit slightly out of order...) with...

      The Big Goodbye
      Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 12

      Story:
      • To take a break from preparing with an encounter with a very strict on etiquette insect-like race, Picard makes use of the Holodeck to explore the world of Dixon Hill, a fictional private detective character from the 1940's set in San Fransisco .
      What it's really about:
      • It's out first episode almost entirely set in the Holodeck, so we get to see how it works (and how it doesn't) as well as getting to know the Dixon Hill character.
      • It also points to that taking a break can help you out with a stressful situation, although it does lead to pretty extreme places and maybe that helps with the perspective of how well the studying went in the first place, but that might be looking too deep.
      • There is an interesting piece in this one to how people react in what is perceived as a non-dangerous environments.
      • It's also a great example to see how 2 parts of the same team work when apart, as communication is lose between the bridge crew & the folks on the Holodeck.
        Character Focus:
        • We get to see Picard in a relaxed environment, in fact he's so excited about the reality of the Holodeck that he's actually quite excitable in a bridge staff meeting and it's really cute.
        • It's also an introduction to Dixon Hill, which I thought was an actual pre-existing literary character, but actually looks like he is Trek-specific & created! One cool thing about that is that Picard really *is* the character as he is who we see him through.

        What I remembered about this episode:
        • I mostly remembered this as the first Dixon Hill episode, and the whole 'correct pronunciation is really important' with these aliens, although I didn't remember that it was inferred the Enterprise would be blown to bits if Picard messes it up.
        What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
        • I definitely appreciate the time period a little more, and the sense of excitement.  I never was big on the Holodeck episodes or the wonder of them. 
        • I love the different tactics they had to revert to with the gangster thypes when they realized that they couldn't get out of the Holodeck.
        What feels different now, than then:
        • I really thought that the 20th century historian who gets shot in this episode, actually died in the Holodeck.  I was very surprized that he survived.
        • I also thought that this wasn't the episode where the gangsters try to leave the Holodeck, and when they do they survive for a bit.
        • I really felt for the character who plays the cop in the Holodeck who when it's revealed he's not real, gets pretty sad and longing.
        What remained the same:
        • I always love any episodes that have some great interaction between Beverly & Picard, and with this fictional setting and 40's awesomeness that was definitely something to enjoy.
        What I see differently:
        •  I didn't love the Dixon Hill eps on the first go but I do love the awesomeness and stylish-set of the 40's so I think I might like them more this time round.

          Great Quotes:
          • "He's, er... he's from... South America." - Picard regarding Data
          • "Senseless killing is immoral. But killing for a purpose... can be quite often ingenious." - Cyrus Redblock (Holodeck character)
          • "I spell knife with an 'n'. But then I never could spell." - Picard
          Left off at:
          Wesley saves the day by fixing the Holodeck, and Picard saves the day by saying the traditional and required formal greeting to the strict alien race & honouring them.

          Images Source: TrekCore 

          Thursday, September 20, 2012

          ST:TNG 1.13 Datalore ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch


          Images Source: TrekCore 

          The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

          Datalore
          Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 13

          Story:

          • The Enterprise stops by the planet where Data was found, and although the colonists have disappeared the crew finds an series of android parts which when assembled create Lore, Data's brother.  
          What it's really about:
          • It's clearly an introduction to the character of Lore, who is a lot more smooth with humans than Data.
          • We also get a fair amount of history to Data's origins and his choices and duration of stay with Starfleet so far.  
          • A big part of this episodes I feel is to show how easily Data could have been different, and less likeable, if he didn't have the characteristics that make him awkward and unusual.  It's also a way for the audience to really cheer along and support Data as he is, when seeing the contrast of a more 'human' version which they describe as including humans needs and ambition.
          Character Focus:
          • Data and Lore are the clear focus, almost the entire episode is centred on the finding, constructing and introduction of Lore as well as how he betrays 'his brother' Data and tries to hand over the lifeforms on the Enterprise to the Crystalline Entity.
          • There is also a minor focus on Wesley, who appears to be the only one to strongly suspect that Lore poses in Data's role.  It's funny, because although there are many things I take for granted with the show (like Worf's ideas are always shot down), this episode made me think that Wesley way always be right, yet no one listens.  I'm going to keep an eye on this.

          What I remembered about this episode:
          • Although I certainly remembered the whole introduction of Lore, what I mostly remember is the introduction of the Crystalline Entity!  I always thought it was one of the creepiest monster-y things in TNG.  It was just so big and weird and organic but felt non organic.  It totally freaked me out.  
          What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
          • I couldn't figure out why the heck they went down to the planet in the first place!  And was the disappearance of the colony before or after they found Data?  After feels logical, but why would they not have found Lore at that point as well?  Weird. 
          • Brent Spiner does an amazing job acting in this episode.  Sure we have the obvious ways to tell the 2 characters from another, but it's the interaction and reactions that are so good.  It feels completely natural. 
          • The is the second time where someone new asks about how helm control works; perhaps that's not a good thing to share as it seems to leads to folks wanting to take over the ship!
          What feels different now, than then:
          • I really thought that the effects that they used to see the 1 actor-2 characters would feel dated, but they don't.  It feels clear when it's very 'centre of the screen' divide which one character on each that they are doing something to make this work, but I don't see it and I rarely feel it.  That's impressive.  It's like knowing you are watching a magic trick but still just marvelling at the bird that comes out of the hat.  I loved that. 
          • They spend a lot of time with putting together Lore and with almost whimsical musical that kinda screamed "Isn't this cool?".  I didn't find it that cool.
          What remained the same:
          • It's so much fun to have episodes where you second guy and try and sort out the who's who when there is a duality thing going on.  It's weird, duality or duplicates often scare me and androids can totally put me over the edge, but somehow when you put them together it was awesome over scary.
          What I see differently:
          • I loved the whole Sick Bay & Engineering working in harmony together.  That was cool.
          • It's a little weird to watch this one knowing snippets of things in future episodes, it made me feel like I didn't have to watch it too closely.
          • I was surprized Lore was introduced this early in the series, although it's a great way to learn more about and really get on Data's side, it still is very soon.
          • I adored Picard's 'lets get over this awkwardness of language and egg shell treading on if we are hurting anyone's feelings' speech (see actual quote below); he's such a great Captain: acknowledge the situation, provide a solutions and set the tone to more forward.  Awesome. 
          Great Quotes:
          • "More than interested - fascinated. One might say, agog. But I also find sneezing interesting." - Data
          • "You'll feel uncomfortable about aspects of your duplicate, Data. We feel uncomfortable too, and for no logical reason. If it feels awkward to be reminded that Data is a machine, just remember that *we* are merely a different variety of machine - in our case, electrochemical in nature. " - Picard
          • "And you want to be as stupid as them, dear Brother?" - Lore
          Left off at:
          After the betrayal is revealed, there is a showdown between Wesley, Beverly, Lore and Data in a ...oh, I want to say cargo bay but I think they use a different term.  Lore is beamed off into space by Wesley after direction and diversion of Data and the Crystalline Entity leaves the area.   This is one of the few episodes so far that feels like it leaves a few doors open: Lore's off in space and the audience knows the awfulness of what he did with the Crystalline Entity and the colonists, but the Enterprise just seems like "And it's moved away - jolly good."  But will this be the last time we see it?

          Odd side note, this is the first one I watched out of sequence after 1.11 Haven to 1.13 Datalore.  I didn't really mean to do that and it's a good thing this series isn't overly linear with the exception of a few arcs.

          >
          Images Source: TrekCore 

          ST:TNG 1.11 Haven ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch



          Images Source: TrekCore 

          The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

          Haven
          Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 11

          Story:
          • When arriving at Haven, a place that seems to magically cure people of a variety of things, Deanna receives a message that her marriage ceremony will take place shortly. 
          What it's really about:
          • what I got from it this time around is that going in the direction you think you need to go, or at one point felt compelled to go, can lead you in the right direction even if it feels confusing along the way.  This is more in reference to the journey of Wyatt's character, Deanna's betrothed, as he felt compelled to the marriage but it wasn't actually her that he was drawn to. 
          • I think there is also a strong piece in there that people and goals change over time. 
          • There is also a cautionary tale about biomedical warfare, with the arrival of the thought-to-be extinct Tarellians who are infected with a communicable, terminal illness after their world went to war.  
          Character Focus:
          • Deanna, is the focus here as we learn a lot more about her, her past and Betazoid traditions.  We also see more into the previous relationship of Deanna and Riker, including the reason they split ways was because of his goal to be a starship captain, although he is very resistant but tries to remain distantly supportive of Deanna's pre-arranged marriage.
          • This episode is also the first one with Deanna's mother Lwaxana Troi (played by Majel Barrett who also voices the computer), and I *love* Lwaxana Troi.  Love her.  Talky, telephathic, hilarious, often not appropriate but holy smokes she's very entertaining and very much her own person.  It was a joy to see her on this ep, I can't wait for more with her. 
          • We also have Wyatt Miller (played by Robert Knepper), as Deanna's finance.  I was surprized he was human.
          What I remembered about this episode:
          • I mostly remember Lwaxana's antics, like having a gong being ...gonged every time she takes a bite of food, and the of course shocking idea that Betazoid weddings have everyone go naked.  I also very much remember the blue outfit wore by the Tarellian Wyatt has fallen for, Ariana (pictured below)
          What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
          • It took me most of the episode to try and figure out where I had seen the actor who plays  Wyatt Miller from.  I resisted looking it up until I figured out it was Robert Knepper, whom I most know from Prison Break where he plays a not-so-nice character of T-Bag.  He's a fabulous actor, so it was exciting to see him here.  I bet that will be the first of many guest stars that I end up knowing for multiple roles in other shows & films.
          • Picard is quite tender with Deanna when it looks like she'll be leaving the ship.
          What feels different now, than then:
          • It feels very surprizing to have a pre-arranged marriage in the time of the show, especially as it was noted it was a human friend of Deanna's father that she's getting married to; if it was a Betazoid thing, it might have felt less confusing.
          • I was also really surprized that Deanna would leave the Enterprise once married, that seems crazy. 
          • It was also surprizing that Deanna would honour the agreement, or even commit to it in the first place.  But I thought it was cool she made the decision to stick with it. 
          What remained the same:
          • Love, love, love Lwaxana.  It's so nice to have someone on the show that just doesn't follow the rules and does things like ask the captain to carry her luggage.  Inappropriate, likely, but it loosens things up!
          What I see differently:
          • The moment they were beamed down to the planet, I thought it was another episode. I was very sad it wasn't, shall we say, more Yar-centric. Ah, well! I think that one is still Season 1 so it should be pretty soon.
          • The title feels a little odd as Haven is the name of the planet below, and they never go there.  The folks of Haven ask Picard to stave off the approaching Tarellian's which is a Federation obligation as Haven has no defenses.  I totally forgot Trek could work that way with treaty's and such.  I guess I focus more on the characters!
          Great Quotes:
          • "I am Lwaxana Troi, daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed. Who are you?" - Lwaxana Troi
          • "But I'm always serious, dear boy. Only my pleasant nature makes it appear otherwise." - Lwaxana Troi
          • "Our destiny is elsewhere. But I'm happy that yours is here with us, Counselor." - Picard
          Left off at:
          Wyatt sneaks off the Enterprise to transport to the Tarellian ship to meet the woman of his dreams (literally), and help the Tarellian with their medical condition even though it means he can likely never return.


          Images Source: TrekCore

          Tuesday, September 18, 2012

          ST:TNG 1.10 Hide and Q ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch


          Images Source: TrekCore

          The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

          Hide And Q
          Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 10

          Story:
          • While en route to help a planet which requires emergency medical treatment, The Enterprise encounters Q, who this time takes an interest in Riker and puts the crew through tests to see how he will react.
          What I remembered about this episode:
          • That it's the one where Q gives Riker the power of Q.
          What it's really about:
          • Definitely demonstrates the idea of absolute power corrupts absolutely, they even quote that quote in the show. It also could say that power, isn't everything.
          • Also addresses temptation, and that getting to a goal on your own merit/time can be the choice of fast tracking.
          • And it also tells us that Q is here to stay on the series - only 10 eps in and we have a second grandiose appearance.
          Character Focus:
          • Riker is the focus here, as Q has chosen him to give the power too. We also get to see how he sees and thinks of the bridge crew (Wesley, Worf, Geordi and offered to Data) as he grants them what he believes to be their greatest desires.
          • We also get insight into Wesley, Worf, Geordi and Data as the gifts are offered and their responses. I was most surprized that Data outright stopped and turned down the offer to be human before Riker could materialize it.
          What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
          • Tons of Shakespeare references and chatter between Picard & Q, I love how Picard takes Q head on and doesn't even falter for a moment. I also loved that he stood up for Riker and said he would make the right choice (even though Riker didn't!).
          • Riker gets crazy arrogant post-power-of-Q, even when he decides not to use it, he still acts very superior.
          What feels different now, than then:
          • Picard actually wagers with Q! The ship for the non-interference of Q, although I don't think either of this was held up I felt very suprized he would gamble his ship!
          What remained the same:
          • Q is very entertaining! I can't help it, he's one of the best guest stars on the series and I do enjoy when he pops up. Even if he's always a troublemaker.
          What I see differently:
          • The moment they were beamed down to the planet, I thought it was another episode. I was very sad it wasn't, shall we say, more Yar-centric. Ah, well! I think that one is still Season 1 so it should be pretty soon.
          Great Quotes:
          • "What is this need of yours for costumes, Q? Have you no identity of your own? " - Picard
          • "But it won't be boring. If Q is anything, he's imaginative." - Riker
          • "Oh, I know Hamlet. And what he might say with irony, I say with conviction: "What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty! In form, in moving, how express and admirable! In action, how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god!" - Picard
          • "Sir, how is it that the Q can... handle time and space so well, and us so badly?" - Data
          Left off at:
          Riker returns everyone to normal and feels a fool to be drawn by the power of Q.


          Images Source: TrekCore

          Sunday, September 16, 2012

          ST:TNG 1.09 The Battle ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch


          Images Source: TrekCore

          The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

          The Battle
          Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 9

          Story:
          • The Enterprise rendez vous with a Ferengi ship who after a long wait, appears to extend the hand of friendship by returning the Federation ship The Stargazer, previously under the command of Captain Picard. The Stargazer and was abandoned in a battle which The Ferengi refer to as The Battle of Maxia, in which the Ferengi's captains' son was killed.
          What it's really about:
          • I would guess it's a way to see how their are not only 2 sides to every story, but the result of any action can have a hugely different effect on the people of either sides. Although the 'Battle of Maxia' was one in many events in Picards past, it was the one driving force in all the actions one Ferengi who seeks vengeance.
          • It's a way to see into the past command of Picard.
          • It's also a way to see more about the Fenergi who were only recently introduced in 1.05 The Last Outpost, and it reinforces their profit-centric way especially as they relieve their Captain of duty when seeing his vengeance actions had no profit.
          Character Focus:
          • Picard is the focus here, not only do we see him with his guard down and under the influence of the mind control/memory device, we also see how the crew reacts to him when he's acting oddly and try to manage when, or if, they should intervene.
          What I remembered about this episode:
          • I mostly remember the mind control device, but had forgotten the vengeance theme and The Stargazer being in this episode.
          What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
          • I liked how Riker called on the 1st officer of the Ferengi ship to talk 'first officer to first officer' when their captains were acting strange.
          What feels different now, than then:
          • This one is pretty straight forward, so not much new cropped up.
          What remained the same:
          • It's awful that someone could go into an manipulate your memories, and also that someone could be so affected by a misunderstanding to lead to huge vengeance actions.
          What I see differently:
          • Wow, not much. I felt like I really 'got it' the first time around.
          Great Quotes:
          • "Why do doctors always say the obvious, as though it's a revelation?" / "Why do captains always act like they're immortal?" - Picard / Beverly
          • "As you Humans say, I'm all ears." - Kazago
          • "Very strange, Number One. Like going back to the house you grew up in, but no one's home - except phantoms of the past. " - Picard, regarding The Stargazer
          Left off at:
          We are two weeks into the re-watch and this was the first episode I didn't tape concurrently while watching, and wouldn't you know it it also consequently ended up being the first episode I feel asleep watching. I only missed 5 minutes but I can't believe the timing. Good thing I remember it well enough that missing that5 min (hopefully) didn't make too much of a difference.


          Images Source: TrekCore

          Thursday, September 13, 2012

          ST:TNG 1.08 Justice ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch


          Images Source: TrekCore

          The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

          Justice
          Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 8

          Story:
          • After helping with a planet colonization, The Enterprise scouts out shore leave on a nearby planet inhabited by free loving and pleasure-centric folk who have a simple, but brutal, crime & punishment system.
          What it's really about:
          • We get to see the Prime Directive in action here, and actually in conflict with the sensibility of the crew vs the planet they are interfere. If you are new to Trek, the Prime Directive means not interfering with other cultures. I actually thought the Prime Directive was not to engage at all at pre-warp cultures, as oppose to not interfere. I wonder if it changes over the series & films.
          • It also says that simple doesn't mean there won't be a big affect.
          • It can't go without saying that this episode has been easily made fun of over the years, between the scantily clad folks, the simple law/punishment systems, the one of many legal-type cases in the series, an easy way to make fun of Wesley, as well as lots of fodder in there.
          Character Focus:
          • This one is mostly about Wesley as he is the one who unknowingly commits the crime, for which the laws of the culture would have him be executed on the spot.
          • Picard also plays a huge role as it's up to him to decide whether to break the Prime Directive to save Wesley or not.
          What I remembered about this episode:
          • This is the episode that when the series first came out had me totally rolling my eyes. I usually call it 'the one where they run' and it probably was the impetus to stop watching the show religiously on a weekly basis; although I did come back to it regular when it ran concurrently in syndication and new episodes.
          What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
          • Like 1.07 Lonely Among Us we see the crew of The Enterprise in the middle of things in terms of a social/advancement structure they engage with a culture that is presented as simpler then themselves as well as an entity they barely can communicate with as it's so much more advanced as themselves. They almost become the middleman at odds, where neither side really wants to engage in or change their relationship with each other.
          • The 'simple' characteristics of the folks on the planet feels pretty weird, especially because they not it themselves by outright saying that The Enterprise has the power to not abide by their laws.
          • It has a 'follow the rules and you will be rewarded' kind of feel to it that's really weird.
          • Maybe more research should be done before taking an away team! We'll see if they get more cautious.
          • I did like the philosophical discussions near the end and that Picard does take a stance to break the Prime Directive as following it would result in an action that is not the intention of the Prime Directive. It's a great example on when to break the rules, and the power of doing so.
          What feels different now, than then:
          • Not much, it's hard to distance it from the first impression it leaves.
          What remained the same:
          • It really is as ridiculous as I remember. I do see how it could feel like a nod to the free spirited nature of some original series episodes, but I don't think that read as much in then-current culture of the 80's so it didn't fly then (or now).
          What I see differently:
          • I again only remembered on part of the story (the running folk and the unintentional crime of Wesley), and forgot about the God-like or worshipped-as-a-God entity that's in orbit around the planet.
          • Again there is no tension that Wesley would die on the planet because I've seen it before, but I did kinda feel like hey... he did totally run into those flowers. He didn't have to chase the ball....
          • Yar does a review of the planet and says their culture is quite simple with laws as mostly common sense things (umm....), she corrects this later by indicating nothing of the punishment of breaking the laws was indicated (add that to the 'To do' list Yar!); but Geordi gives us an early yellow alert when he says "They're wild in some ways, actually puritanical in others. Neat as pins, ultra-lawful; and they make love at the drop of a hat."
          Great Quotes:
          • "Let's just hope it's not too good to be true." - Picard
          • "Capital punishment in our world is no longer considered a justifiable deterrent." - Picard
          • "When has justice ever been as simple as a rulebook?" - Riker
          Left off at:
          Picard makes the decision to take Wesley from the planet even though the action breaks the Prime Directive. When the transporter fails to beam the away team away, Picard appeals vocally to the 'Gods' of the planet, saying that there is no justice when laws are absolute. The transporter then beams them to safety and Picard also offers to have the nearby colony moved, but is an indeterminate whether or not the 'sign' from the 'Gods' is an ask to take up that offer.


          Images Source: TrekCore

          ST:TNG 1.07 Lonely Among Us ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch



          Images Source: TrekCore

          The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

          Lonely Among Us
          Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 7

          Story:
          • While The Enterprise experiences several technical oddities and energy surges through the ship (and crew) while transporting two conflicting races to a peace conference.
          What it's really about:
          • To be honest, I fine the message here not entirely clear. It could be that there are things out there that are so different that be barely can understand or connect with. I think that is what it is.
          • We also get to see any of the characters who are 'taken over by' the energy as not quite themselves; it's quite early in a series to do that because we don't know the characters yet. Even so, Patrick Stewart goes a great job on created the dual-influenced Picard that's hard to tell if he is, or isn't, himself.
          Character Focus:
          • This episode doesn't have a character specific focus, although Worf, Beverley, Wesley, Picard and the two alien races are involved a lot in the episode, I don't feel like any are actually featured..
          • We also get to see Yar and Riker doing a fair amount o of day-to-day operations while managing the warring aliens that's pretty entertaining, and Data takes on a Sherlock-Holmes persona for a bit.
          What I remembered about this episode:
          • My memory of this episode is actually surrounded more on one of the things I'm doing here: Comparing what happens in the episode, to what the episode is really about and also what I remember from it. I remember seeing the first image (top left, blue electric stuff) in an episode guide of the series and I was *convinced* I had never seen this one, because I didn't remember this image. I waited and waited for it to be on TV (which was harder then than it is now!) and when I finally saw it I was like... oh, ... they get taken over by energy and aren't themselves as opposed to the picture we see it as like some kind of crazy and possibly action-oriented episode.
          What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
          • This episode seems to plant the seeds that the characters like mystery (historical & fictional), and introduces the love and exploration of Sherlock Holmes.
          • Could be the first time we see them in dress uniform!
          • I totally forgot about the 2 alien races, as they aren't the cause of the happenings on The Enterprise.
          • I think it's the first red-shirt moment when an engineer dies, although... he is wearing a yellow shirt.
          What feels different now, than then:
          • Yar seems repulsed by the idea of eating meat from a live animal, and Riker mentions that they don't 'slave animals' anymore. More forward thinking here! Although they do allow the aliens to bring their own live animals aboard for food.
          • I can really see the difference in the level of acting depending on the actors.
          • I actually was rather entertained by the 2 alien races who keep attacking each other on the way to a peace conference, it had a great everyday-life on the ship feel to it.
          What remained the same:
          • Actually, nothing - because although I know I saw this one originally, my strongest memories of it are mis-thinking I hadn't seen it.
          What I see differently:
          • I'm starting to really notice that the peripheral parts of the stories and the things that don't contribute to the mystery, I often have forgotten. Which means by default, what I remember is the cause of the effect on the episode.
          • I also realize that I don't actually understand the title. Who is lonely? Are they among us? Or was it only briefly so?
          Great Quotes:
          • "You've seen something as fresh and tasty as meat, but inorganically materialized, out of patterns used by our transporters." - Riker
          • " A mystery is only a mystery as long as it remains uninvestigated, sir." - Data
          • "We can learn something from non-disclosure?" - Yar
          Left off at:
          Transporter saves the day (I'm sure this is the first of many), the seem to beam back the Picard that went randomly out into the energy entity in space. Felt a little too tie-it-up-with-a-bow simplistic for me, but I'm thankful they got Picard back!


          Images Source: TrekCore