Monday, November 21, 2011

Revenge of "Dime a Dozen": The Origin of "Bat to the Beginning"!

Greetings and salutations, ladies and germs! Big announcement from this oft-neglected and scatterbrained blog. Originally beginning as Dime a Dozen, this blog was meant to compare and contrast Golden Age and Modern Age comicbook storytelling by reviewing appearances of prominant characters in both periods, showcasing the difference between the era of 10-page, four-color, 10 cent storytelling and the current day style of 12-issue, 22-page, computer coloured, $3 epics. The blog started by reviewing Batman comics, and never really moved away from that. Of the two eras, I had more fun writing the Golden Age reviews, and felt they were more successful overall because they were, paradoxically, "newer" (in the sense that reviews of "Year One" and "Dark Moon Rising" from Frank Miller and Matt Wagner are everywhere on the net), but the blog itself never really became what it was supposed to be. Meanwhile, I got busy and stopped updating it as much as I should have. In an attempt to motivate myself to update more, I changed the title to "Rowe Rowe Fight the Power" (an online identity of mine), and generalized the blog more, adding my movie reviews, my TV reviews, and my general ramblings. But while that got the thing more content, I think it hurt the blog because now it was all of the place.
Which brings us, appropriately enough, back to the beginning. Bat to the Beginning will launch as a spin-off blog, and the spiritual successor to the original feel of Dime a Dozen.
Playing to my interests and strengths, Bat to the Beginning will review Golden Age Batman comics, from the beginning and moving forward. Old Golden Age Batman posts from here will be reposted there, and then the blog will continue from where I left off (Detective Comics #39). Meanwhile, this blog will continue to be the home for movie reviews, archived Star Trek reviews, and rants and ramblings.
I hope that this move will enable Bat to the Beginning to be stronger, more focused, and more successful overall as a blog.
Here's the link: goldenagebat.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 6 Review

Man, it would've been great if they had done an alternate title sequence for the six episode arc, with like Cardie and Jem'Hadar ships around DS9? Or Starfleet ships around Starbase 375? Anyways...

"A Time to Stand"
Absolutely amazing. The balls on this episode. Massive. Not only have three months passed, not only is the Federation losing, not only do we NOT get the station back in one episode, not only is the plot totally different, but when the episode ends and we're floating on a Jem'Hadar ship with no warp drive -- there's NO "to be continued..." screen. Massive. Balls.
You really feel that DS9 has reached full maturity. To use a common Trek phrase, it has evolved beyond its beginnings, it has surpassed the Star Trek formula and become something more. Each and every character, regular or not, gets a good moment, each scene is well written, everything that happens has proceeded naturally from what comes before. And it's all just a prelude to some of the greatest hours of television Trek ever produced.

"Rocks and Shoals"
This is a brilliant hour of television. It shows that DS9 could produce a serialized arc, keep it moving forward, but still tell effective one-hour stories within the arc. And the writing here couldn't be better. From the planetside plot with our crew and the Dominion, which is probably the greatest exploration of the Jem'Hadar yet (and a huge improvement on last year's "The Ship") to the absolutely gripping stationside storyline, where Kira realizes she has become a collaborator. The scene where the Vedek hangs herself is incredibly powerful to me. This episode also has great cinematic technique, above and beyond standard Trek episodes -- its use of slow motion is stunningly effective. Final shot of the show is fantastic.

"Sons and Daughters"
A quieter hour of the arc, it reintroduces Alexander and Ziyal into the mix. I'll comment on Ziyal first -- the way the writers use her to inject such tension and awkwardness into the Dukat/Kira relationship is like salt in the wound in a way. It's, for lack of a better word, brilliant. As for Alexander? This episode is to be highly, highly commended for its use of him. Alexander, on TNG, was a horribly annoying character and his arc on that show was botched to say the least. Worf was a terrible parent, and the whole single dad thing just did not work. Then he sent Alexander away to Earth and we were apparently supposed to think that was okay, and since then the whole franchise acted like it forgot he existed, except for an occasional mention, even as major events continued to happen to Worf and his family.
The best thing this episode does is acknowledge all of this, that Worf botched it with Alexander and was a terrible father, and have Alexander turn out as an angry, bitter teenager. It makes sense, it feels right. And then to work to improve his character like this show does? And by the end set him on the way to being a legitimate individual, a worthwhile character? Absolutely impressive. To do that kind of turnaround and have it all feel like it naturally flows from what came before? Amazing.

"Behind the Lines"
And what the writers do here? With Sisko? With Odo?
Before I talk about that, I want to mention that throughout the arc, two recurring characters who are fantastic. One is Weyoun. Weyoun 5 is an amazing character, fantastically well written and performed. The way he turns on a dime from eccentric to grovelling to threatening is just... bravo! The other is Damar, a guy who went from being a random Cardie on Dukat's ship into the multi-faceted guy we see here. And he's only gonna get better.
But, as for Sisko -- promoting him to a desk job was a great move, so that we could see the other side of war. See what it's like for the guys at the base who have to send men into battle and then sit through the hell of just WAITING. It's brilliant because too often in war movies and Trek in particular the guys with the desk jobs are demonized. Speaking of which, one person I haven't mentioned is the character of Admiral Ross -- aka Trek's first really legitimately great Admiral character; he just sells it all the way, he has all the qualities an Admiral should have and yet makes him likeable enough that you accept and LIKE him as Sisko's boss. The problem with Admirals like Necheyev before was they were such hard-asses that you didnt like them and didnt like the Captains taking orders from them. It wasn't good long term. Ross works long term. He's great.
What was I saying?
Ah yes, Odo. Pulled to the dark side in such an insidious, slippery way. And yet it works, perfectly, from everything we know and have seen about his character up to this point. It's totally believable where he ends up at the end of the hour -- not really caring that he's betrayed Kira and doomed Rom.

"Favor the Bold"
This is just an hour of brilliant build up, fantastic character touches, and pure adrenaline producing excitement. Too great!!

"Sacrifice of Angels"
This may just be the space battles talking, but this is possibly the greatest single episode of Star Trek produced up to this point. In fact, it probably is the space battles talking, because "Operation: Return" is the greatest on screen battle up to this point in Trek history, including the Battle of Sector 001 in FIRST CONTACT. Incredible effects work, exciting and dynamic and all around heart poundingly exciting! But what's truely fantastic about this episode is that its not all about the battle. It's balanced perfectly with the culmination of the character threads on the station, leading to Odo's minor redemption, Damar's murder of Ziyal, Dukat's insanity, etc etc.
And then -- the Prophets FINALLY enter the plot. After five years of build-up and some very interesting episodes about Sisko as the Emissary, the Prophets storyline finally coalesces with the "main" storyline. Some may call it a deus ex machina, and literally speaking it is, but it's so well done and well thought out and just plain about time and perfect and the foreshadowing of a penance on Sisko is a great harbinger that says "just because this arc is ending doesn't mean this show is!"
The Dominion retreats (I love Weyoun's line "Time to start packing!") -- we get the station back -- Dukat found, crazy, devastated, and gives Sisko his baseball back. The arc ends.
Wow. Just wow.

Six incredible hours of television. Pulse pounding. I dunno how people could've done it a week at a time. Every character, from Ben Sisko to Jake Sisko, gets something really great to do. In fact, as I recall, Jake never really gets anything else after this, except a very minor role in "It's Only a Paper Moon". Speaking of which, Nog gets a field promotion to Ensign, which again MAKES SENSE in this context. Everything that happens MAKES SENSE, nothing feels conjured. Garak? Looks awesome with that headset on btw. Those were great. And that last moment with him and Ziyal in the Infirmary, her already dead? Perfect.
Every damned scene is great.
Pitch perfect.
Ah! This is a fantastic show!

"You Are Cordially Invited"

I don't care if the plot is basically the same as all other TV wedding shows. This is still one of my favourite DS9 outings. I think it's because it gets the characters so right. It's just a fun, genuine, heartfelt hour. It reminds of the fact that of all the Trek crews, the DS9 bunch are the ones I'd most want to know socially, as friends. Also, while many feel the resolution between Odo and Kira is a cop-out, and in fact it is, I still like it. It's better than histrionics, and it's not all that unbelievable -- having spent many a party up all night talking in closets myself.

"Resurrection"
A decent, if predictable episode. It's undoing is mainly that, after all this time, I don't care about Bareil, mirror or otherwise. And I also don't really care about the mirror universe. "Shattered Mirror" sort've took it as far as it could go and now that DS9 has moved on to bigger and better (Dominion War) things, it just feels too unimportant and removed from the tapestry of the show. This entry and "Emperor's New Cloak" were just sort've unnessecary.

"Statistical Probabilities"
This episode, on the other hand, is great. From the subtle nods at the classic Foundation Trilogy, to really giving Bashir's genetic enhancements some depth, to the able juggling of a standalone plot that still advances the War storyline, it's just a fun, engrossing hour with some interesting characters. I really like it.

"The Magnificent Ferengi"
Gloriously hilarious -- almost everything works, with maybe my favourite gag being Quark and Rom accidentally ending up in Sisko's office. The only element that doesn't quite gel is it's never explained why the Dominion kidnapped Ishka in the first place. One could assume it's due to her connection to the Nagus, but why?

"Waltz"
A powerhouse of an episode, mostly devoted to the performances of Brooks and Alaimo. Probably the best Dukat episode, and maybe the high point of the character from a writing standpoint. While I love every minute of this episode I can see why the writers weren't sure what to do with the character now that he had been pushed, to use Simpsons terminology, from ordinary every day villainy to cartoonish supervillainy.

"Who Mourns for Morn?"
A delightfully clever hour. Both this and "Magnificent Ferengi" are among the good examples of how to do Quark comedy.

"Far Beyond the Stars"

I don't know if I have anything to say about this classic Star Trek episode that hasn't already been said. Anyone who says DS9 didn't understand the meaning of Trek and was inferior to VOY should shut up and watch this. Nothing VOY did ever got close to the power of this episode, or as close to the spirit of Trek as it does, for that matter. My only nit to pick would be that Brooks milks his final speech as Russell maybe a little too long.

"One Little Ship"
Absolutely ridiculous, and absolutely delightful. A very enjoyable episode, practically TOS-like, and even better than TAS' shrinking episode. In between all the shenanigans it even moves the war plot forward with the knowledge of the Dominion breeding Jem'Hadar in the Alpha Quadrant.

"Honor Among Thieves"
A brilliant O'Brien episode, that really plays to Meaney's strengths. It's funny because Meaney is basically playing the Billby character in LAYER CAKE. My only regret is that Ramos, the higher-up in the Syndicate that we meet, is some non-descript alien as opposed to actually being an Orion. It was a nice touch having the Vorta be the same in this episode as in the prior one though.

"Change of Heart"

Fantastic. Probably the best exploration of the Dax/Worf relationship, and a great change to standard Trek cliches that Worf sacrifices the mission for his wife, and is seriously reprimanded. It really shows the depth of his love for her. I found it touching, really.

"Wrongs Darker than Death or Night"
Revealing. It's a bizzarre, sick, nightmare scenario Kira finds herself in. It puts the relationship between her and Dukat in a whole new, insane, light. And I found it interesting that after six years it seemed almost as if Kira didn't really remember how hard things were during the Occupation, that she had gotten used to the luxury of always being able to make the right decision. Good show.

"Inquisition"
Ah, Section 31. There's a percentage of fans who hated the notion, and believed that it never should have been introduced. Not me -- Section 31, the premise, is great, this episode is great, Sloan is great, Bashir is great, DEEP SPACE NINE is great. Great episode.

"In the Pale Moonlight"
What can I say? Greatest episode of DEEP SPACE NINE by far, equalled maybe only by a couple of TNG episodes and a couple of TOS episodes. Glorious -- well played DS9 writing staff. Well played.
Enlarge this image

Also, Sisko and Garak are the greatest ever.

"His Way"
I have never understood the apparent hatred an apparently large portion of the fanbase has against Vic Fontaine. I doubt I ever will. I have never seen it satisfactorily explained, people on the Internet just dislike him. The closest I ever heard to rational argument was that he took up too much screentime in such a late and crucial phase of the series and wasn't important enough to the main story for the time spent on him.
Frak that. Vic is a great character, for the primary reason that he is FUN. Which is part of the point of this episode. Sometimes I feel like Trek fans are a little too much like Odo in this installment, closed off and agitated, allergic to fun and emotion, unwilling to even try to talk to girls (ba-dum-ch!).
Anyways, this episode is fantastic and fun, and immensely satisfying after the four seasons of frustration between Odo and Kira. That scene on the Promenade leading up to the kiss is fantastic.
And the music! Man, what a time.

"The Reckoning"
This is a good episode that apparently a lot of people don't like. What they don't realize is that it's the necessary middle step between "Rapture" and basically the whole of Season 7. Which makes it good, but is also part of the problem. Because while Sisko's relationship with the Prophets had been developing gradually and well throughout the show, the Pagh-wraiths had gotten one Season 5 episode and 1 dialogue reference in Season 1. So we have this episode to bring us all back to speed and where we need to be, and while it's good and effective (especially the sfx work) and has some interesting stuff to say about faith, the parts on Sisko and Winn and the Prophets all feel like recap, the stuff about the Pagh-wraiths and the Reckoning feel underdeveloped, and you get a very major sense that this episode is MAINLY about setting things up and putting them off for later, basically serving as a reminder about all this shit.
That criticism aside, it IS a good episode, I just wish there had been a bit more to the final Ben/Jake Sisko scene in the Infirmary on the subject of Jake sabotaging Kosst Amojan's efforts from within to save his father, which is basically Jake finally accepting his father's place in the Bajoran mythos.

"Valiant"

Aka "Star Trek XI: The Episode". Seriously, this should be mandatory viewing for anyone who liked the new movie -- the new movie being the complete fantasy that this episode serves as a wake-up call to. You can't put a bunch of cadets in charge of an ultra-powerful new starship. Even if they mean well, even if they are heroes, even if they have all those good qualities, the fact that they literally have no clue what they are doing will get them killed. The actor playing Watters here even reminds me of Chris Pine's Kirk -- hell, he actually has more dimensions than Pine's Kirk. Anyways, I'm getting off track -- this is a great episode that really utilizes Nog and Jake and their differences very well and tells a really good War story as well. People frak up, people die.

"Profit and Lace"
180 into terrible. It's not aggressively bad -- I don't hate it like after watching like a Lars Von Trier film -- but it's also not so bad its fun. It's just bad. Fall on its face, makes you wonder what they were thinking, bad. Far worse than any other bad DS9 episode -- it's definitely I think the one DS9 episode most Niners would pay to forget. The whole thing really just crashes the instant they put Quark in drag. Man it's awful. Man.

"Time's Orphan"
This year's "Let's Torture O'Brien" and also the first straight-up sci-fi story that DS9 has done in a while. I don't have a lot of comments, other than that the ending is a little pat, but I agree that keeping Molly 18 would've been one more thread than the series needed going into the final season. The coolest thing is that I swear to Zod the time portal in this episode is the same tech as the Guardian from "City on the Edge".

"The Sound of Her Voice"
A quiet character piece before we rush headlong into the season finale. I honestly enjoyed the Quark/Odo/Jake B-plot more than the sci-fi A-plot, but it must be said that the best scene in the episode is the Irish Wake at the end. O'Brien's line about how someone in this circle of friends may be gone before we know it, well, it hits you hard when you know what's coming.

Both of these episodes feel like filler, but good filler.

"Tears of the Prophets"
I think this episode would have been better served with a 90-minute run-time like "Way of the Warrior". Way too much happens for any of the legitimate drama to ring true, or for the melodramatic epic tone they are wanting to shine through. It all comes across as mechanical and exposition heavy -- We invade Chin'toka, Dukat is possessed by a Pagh-wraith, Dukat kills Jadzia, the Orbs go dark and the wormhole closes, Sisko leaves for Earth -- all huge events, but none get the sturm and drang they deserve.
I'm still not sure exactly what happened with Dukat's plan -- I thought his plan was to use the Wraiths to kill the Prophets, thus ensuring the wormhole stays open, but instead what happens is the Wraith flies from him into the Orb, the Orbs go dark, and the wormhole closes. And I'm not really sure why.
I can't fault anything in this episode exactly, I just wish it could've been expanded a little more. It feels like the writers knew where all the pieces needed to be on the end of the board, but waited until the last 45 minutes of the season to get them there.

Star Trek: Voyager Season 4 Review

"Scorpion, Part II"
This is a pretty good, big, sweeping, cinematic-feeling episode. It's a pretty worthy follow-up to Part I as well, serving the double duty of wrapping up the Borg/8472 storyline and introducing Seven of Nine. It actually handles this well -- Seven seems like a natural guest star character and if you hadn't been paying attention to all the hype and press about this episode you might actually be surprised when she ends up still on the ship at the end of the episode.
The only thing that really bugs me about this episode is that we don't really see or learn anything more about this cool new species than we did in Part I. They're a one-dimensional means to an end -- we never even see them in the flesh in Part II, apart from their telepathic contact with Kes.
# of Crew: 143 Total -- 126 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 4 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 4
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,473.3 lightyears
Seven claims Voyager has 32 torps at the start of the episode, which is hilarious.

"The Gift"
It was pretty smart on the writer's parts to not try to sandwich Seven's integration into the crew and Kes' departure into the previous episode. This episode feels like a natural evolution for Seven's character from "Scorpion, Part II" and the scenes between her and Janeway are very effective -- both characters make some good points about the morality of severing her from the Collective. As for Kes, well natural evolution isn't the phrase I'd use. The methodology used to get her off the series is probably the best we could hope for given the circumstances, and evolving into a higher life form is a classic Trek trope, but it would've felt more natural if they had built up Kes' telepathic abilities over time more naturally. Up to this point, they'd only been used or dealt with once or twice a season. Other than that, her exit is great except for the false jeopardy run to the shuttlebay at the end.
All in all, a good character based episode.
# of Crew: 142 Total -- 126 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 3
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,942.9 lightyears -- Kes sends the Voyager 9500 ly, past Borg space, as her final gift. Why she doesn't just send them all the way is a question I won't even bother asking.

"Nemesis"
No points for guessing its better than the movie of the same name. But it is a pretty good exploration of the standard Trek themes of war and prejudice, with a nice twist at the end. The style is also pretty innovative for Trek, with the bizarre dialogue of the aliens and the guns shooting bullets and the general feel of a 1980s Vietnam movie. It's also probably one of the last full blown Chakotay episodes (every time Chakotay claims to be a man of peace from a culture that solves its difficulties with negotiation I rolled my eyes though -- four years ago this guy was a terrorist).
# of Crew: 142 Total -- 126 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 2
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,867.2 lightyears

"Day of Honor"

Basically B'Elanna has a terrible day, and at the end of it finally establishes her relationship with Tom after a season of will they/wont they. It's a pretty good character study, and of course has a necessary Season 4 subplot about Seven of Nine fitting in. As for the aliens of the week, the moral of the story should have been that the needs of another cannot be a blank check on your resources, but then Seven magically devises a tech solution to the problem that leaves everyone happy.
# of Crew: 142 Total -- 126 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1 <-- We've lost three shuttles in as many episodes
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,783.1 lightyears

"Revulsion"
This one has a great A-plot about a muderous, psychotic hologram (classic robot run amok scenario) with some great Trekkian observations about humanity. It's paired with a subplot about Harry having the hots for Seven and blowing it because, well, it's Harry. These are both great, but they way they mix is a little off, just because one is SO serious and the other SO comedy.
# of Crew: 142 Total -- 126 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,774.7 lightyears

"The Raven"
A very good, and necessary, episode for developing Seven -- who has been a major subplot in pretty much every episode since her introduction alongside Tom and B'Elanna's burgeoning romance. The whole "Seven's back to being a dangerous Borg!" is something they obviously had to do sooner or later, I'm just surprised it was this soon. But, it is a good episode, especially the necessary details about her backstory. I'm a little annoyed that the Hansens' ship, the Raven, is somehow 60,000ly away from Earth despite being a civillian craft and this episode implies it just flew there on its own and within a reasonable amount of time despite the return journey for Voyager being stated as this massively long impossible journey. However, in later episodes they explain the Raven followed a Borg Cube into a transwarp conduit, so I'm cool.
That aside, this is a good episode.
# of Crew: 142 Total -- 126 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,741.1 lightyears
Seven steals a shuttle. Tom goes after her with one. But they only have one!!

I feel now would be a good time to say how I feel about the Seven of Nine character. I like her. I know I've been cynical about her introduction, it's hard not to be given the obvious raitonale behind it (not just her boobs, but a Borg crewmember was an obvious ratings ploy as well) -- and I'm not saying I support getting rid of Kes -- but Seven IS a good character. She's interesting, has a ton of potential and Jeri Ryan IS a good actress as well. She delivers great performances. And, despite my cynicism, I have to admit she is really hot. So hot that it's actually almost distracting during scenes. What I can't decide is if Seven is legitimately a better character than the rest of the cast, or if she's just better written. What I mean is, that a character like Paris or Chakotay might look better on paper, but other than the Doc not a single cast member has been written to potential. Seven has been, and then some, and maybe that's because the writers felt they had three years of character development to catch up on, but still -- some of the cast still haven't gotten much at all (Harry) while others (Chakotay/Paris) have been completely domesticated from their original premise. Seven's development, on the other hand, has proceeded naturally, and quite interestingly.
One incident I will point out as poor development, of a kind that would never occur on DS9 -- in "Day of Honor" Paris offers his friendship to Seven, stating that he knows what it's like to have a past that others can't see past. In the very next episode he's warning Harry to stay away because she's a Borg and not trustworthy.

"Scientific Method"
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWN. Is it over yet? Two acts of Paris/Torres shenanigans, then some boring DNA mutations that aren't interesting and go nowhere, then some hostile aliens, then a final scene of Paris/Torres. It's not an actively BAD episode, just very mediocre.
# of Crew: 141 Total -- 125 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,715.9 lightyears

Other than the last one, VOYAGER has actually been pretty good lately. But in direct comparison to DS9? Even the best of episodes (like "The Raven") feel very mediocre and very difficult to maintain an interest in.

"Year of Hell" Parts I & II

Full disclosure: This two parter is one of my favourite episodes of VOYAGER, even despite the reset button plot. It is frustrating seeing the show do in two episodes what it should have been gradually doing all along to this point (that is, Voyager accumulating damage) and this is something BSG did really well (it's always weird seeing early episodes of that show where the ship is nearly pristine). But despite all that, its a really good show. An example of what the VOY writers could do if they really set their minds to a concept. What really makes the show work is Kurtwood Smith's performance as Annorax. He's the first really good VOYAGER villain up to this point, in my eyes. And the time travel issues are pretty cleverly done as well. It's a great episode.
Even though it never happens.
# of Crew: 141 Total -- 125 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,707.5 lightyears

"Random Thoughts"

Interesting, semi-intelligent, but full of Trek cliches -- a planet of human looking aliens with one strange custom that they don't mention to outsiders who visit their world but which is a serious crime, usually punishable by death, that one of our crew infringes upon and is held and convicted despite never knowing the law or even being part of the society. This time it's Torres, whose crime is thinking violent thoughts. The episode uses Tuvok and Torres well, but the whole thing is practically overshadowed by two great scenes where Seven questions the entire premise of the series.
"Your philosophy of exploration exposes Voyager to constant risk. If you maintain a direct course to Earth and avoid all extraneous contact with alien species, it will increase your chances of survival."
Seven has just become my favourite character, and it has nothing to do with the T&A.
# of Crew: 141 Total -- 125 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,589.8 lightyears
Opportunities to Get Home Missed: 9 (decided to start keeping track)

"Concerning Flight"
Watch this episode. Then watch "Elementary, My Dear Data" (TNG) or "Ship in a Bottle" (TNG).
It's clear the writers wanted to get Janeway and the daVinci hologram into a wacky adventure. But the adventure is so cookie cutter, so mediocre, so full of holes and cliches, that all you can analyse is what the episode does with the characters. And the answer is not enough. There are a couple of good dialogue exchanges and some nice speeches, but nothing coming close to the analysis of reality and human nature the two aforementioned TNG episodes explored with the Moriarty hologram. At the end of the day I'm wondering "so what?"
(Also, a bunch of pirates steal some of my tech, I send down an assault team with phaser rifles in shuttles, not a hologram and the Captain unarmed).
# of Crew: 141 Total -- 125 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,570.2 lightyears
Opportunities to Get Home Missed: 9

"Mortal Coil"

Ah, this year's "serious Neelix" episode. I must say I really respected the way this episode utilized the VOY mythos, drawing on continuity from several past shows to create a very effective, emotional story. It also approaches the faith vs. reality issue much more effectively than last season's "Sacred Ground". It's very powerful material, and Ethan Phillips really sells the notion of a Neelix who has lost so much faith in life that he's driven to suicide. It's not as good as Colm Meaney's performance in "Hard Time", but then we can't all be Colm Meaney.
# of Crew: 141 Total -- 125 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,528.2 lightyears
Opportunities to Get Home Missed: 9

"Waking Moments"
It's a pretty stock plot, but it's handled somewhat interestingly. A telepathic alien invading the minds of the crew is nothing new, in fact it's similar to a second season VOY episode, and dream within a dream isn't new either, but it's all done in an interesting enough way to stay entertaining. Just call it Voyception -- BRAAAHMM!
# of Crew: 141 Total -- 125 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,517 lightyears
Opportunities to Get Home Missed: 9

"Message in a Bottle"
This is one of my all-time favourite episodes, featuring Voyager's first real contact with home. Also, the USS Prometheus ("the Fightin' Over-compensator!" I call it), Andy Dick as the EMH-2, the debut of the Hirogen (aka the "Not-Predators") and some Alpha Quadrant pre-Alliance Romulan fun. I think it would've been cooler to have the Prometheus taken over by Jem'Hadar, but I suppose having it be the Romulans kept things neutral for non-DS9 fans (altough I liked how the DS9 theme was used as a leitmotif for the Alpha Quadrant). Also, the Hirogen relay network reached into the Beta Quadrant, so Romulans were a logical choice. In any case, the back and forth banter between the Doc and the EMH-2 was loads of fun and the whole episode is just a great delight.
# of Crew: 141 Total -- 125 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,505.8 lightyears
Opportunities to Get Home Missed: 9

"Hunters"
The second in the "Hirogen arc", this episode introduces us to the 7 foot tall aggressive species, and has Seven of Nine in bondage. But the strongest elements of the hour isn't the jeopardy plot, but the human angle in the letters from home the crew receives. Janway learns that Mark has moved on, Harry is eager to know if his parents know he's alive, Tom dreads hearing from his Admiral father, and in a nice continuity touch, Chakotay and B'Elanna are devastated to hear of the destruction of the Maquis ("Blaze of Glory" [DS9]). All of the actors handle this varied emotional material quite well, and the episode sets up not only the Hirogen, but the later Barclay/Pathfinder arc. So despite the rather derivative nature of the Hirogen as a species, it's a winner of an episode.
# of Crew: 141 Total -- 125 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,471.9 lightyears
Opportunities to Get Home Missed: 9

"Prey"

And we continue our Hirogen arc with an episode that must've made the preview guys happy: Hirogen vs. Species 8472, it practically sells itself! But while all of that is exciting, and Tony Todd gives a good performance as the first well-defined Hirogen character, the true meat of this episode is the slow-burning conflict between Seven and Janeway that comes to a head at its end. What the episode does really well is not give us an easy out on this conflict -- both Janeway and Seven are right to a degree, and wrong to a degree, and the episode ends with an uneasy, open ending with Seven essentially put on probation. It's good stuff, but only really comes to the fore in the final act.
# of Crew: 141 Total -- 125 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,317.7 lightyears
Opportunities to Get Home Missed: 9

"Retrospect"
Here's another episode that's really mediocre until about halfway through, then gets good for the final moments. Basically it's a twist on the old "friendly alien is not what he seems", when it turns out he was totally friendly all along, we were wrong in accusing him, and he essentially kills himself because of the accusations, and now we're all horribly guilty. The only real issue is that why Seven's false repressed memories manifested against this alien is never really explained, except in a kind've offhand manner. That being said, this episode continues Seven's probation from the previous installment, but man I'm definitely noticing VOYAGER transforming into the Janeway/Doc/Seven show rather quickly.
# of Crew: 141 Total -- 125 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,312.1 lightyears
Opportunities to Get Home Missed: 9

"The Killing Game, Parts I & II"

While I enjoyed this two-parter while I was watching it, once it was over I couldn't help but wonder "So what?"
I mean, what was, really, the point of this episode? I mean, it seems the whole thing was cooked up for the WWII actiona and Hirogen in Nazi uniforms and I just wonder why two whole episodes were spent on it. There were times when the episode tried to make me care about the pointless holodeck drama and I wondered why. Then there was the ending, where Janeway gives the Hirogen holodeck technology in exchange for a cease fire -- is this the same woman who two years prior absolutely would not give the Kazon a frakkin' replicator in exchange for safe passage through their space?? And though it was a minor detail, it bugged me that for some reason in the Klingon holoprogram the computer ADDED Klingon features to the crew, yet did not REMOVE alien features in the WWII program -- nevermind that its already been established that the holodeck doesn't alter the appearances of real people. I dunno, it was like a big action movie -- it was fun to watch, but one wonders what the point was other than the spectacle. Also about half the ship is laid waste to, including all of sickbay BLOWN UP, and I know that next week everything will be fine.
# of Crew: 139 Total -- 123 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,253.2 lightyears
Opportunities to Get Home Missed: 9

"Vis รก Vis"

Is Tom Paris just a magnet for bad episodes? I swear this must be the worst VOYAGER has been since "Threshold". It's at a "Spock's Brain" level of terrible, but without the high level of camp fun that makes "Spock's Brain" enjoyable. It takes half an episode of nothing happening before we get to the point (Paris switches bodies with an alien) and then another half an episode before the ending (they switch back) and there's nothing interesting to any of it. The alien doesn't even have a motivation for switching bodies -- he doesn't want to take over the ship or steal any technology, he's just there to take Tom's life, and he sucks at it and is easily found out. This is a terrible GNDN episode.
# of Crew: 137 Total -- 121 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,205.5 lightyears
Opportunities to Get Home Missed: 10
Oh, I forgot to mention -- the alien villain of the week has a "coaxial warp drive" that folds space, allowing a ship to cross vast distances in the blink of an eye. Before we find out he's a villain Tom begins to work on altering one of the shuttles to incorporate the technology. It totally works, then we find out the guy is a villain and the technology isn't mentioned again - ever. So we abandoned it because he was evil? Either the entire crew are idiots, or the writing staff is.

"The Omega Directive"
And then we get this, a glorious episode of classic Star Trek that, if anything, should have been a two-parter instead of "The Killing Game" so it could give its ideas a chance to breath, especially since I'm sure we'll never hear about any of this ever again. The Janeway/Seven conflict was great, but I think the main thing I liked about this episode (other than it's interesting ideas about science and religion and the dangers of both) is that the crew is on a Mission for the first time in ages and it gives everything and everyone such a great focus that the average episode where we wander into a problem doesn't have.
# of Crew: 137 Total -- 121 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,185.9 lightyears
Opportunities to Get Home Missed: 10

"Unforgettable"
This review practically writes itself. This episode isn't just forgettable, it's laughable, terrible, stupid, pointless, and again GNDN. I can't believe it's the same writers as season 1's "Prime Factors" because it's just awful. What a waste of my time. Essentially a woman who Chakotay cant remember comes onboard saying he fell in love with her and then forgot her, then they fall in love again, then she forgets him, doesn't love him, leaves, and he forgets her, all thanks to some pretty shit tier technobabble. It doesn't help that they don't have the least bit of chemistry.
# of Crew: 137 Total -- 121 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 11
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 62,003.9 lightyears
Opportunities to Get Home Missed: 10

"Living Witness"
A good, classic style, Trek episode. Shades of "Planet of the Apes", and with an element of "alternate Voyager" that Brannon Braga loves to do, but still admirably done. The idea of the Doctor's backup module is a bit of a contrivance, but it enables a good story about revisionist history. It's a story well told, centred around interesting ideas. That alone makes it a successful VOY episode.
# of Crew: 134 Total -- 118 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 10
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 61,995.9 lightyears
Opportunities to Get Home Missed: 10

"Demon"
Unlike this episode, which was pointless. Aggressively pointless. Basically a mystery for 40 minutes, then four minutes of explanation, and then a nothing ending. I mean, WHAT? We just COPIED THE WHOLE CREW? Who does that? The whole hour is just an aggressive barrage of stupid, like a second or third season episode. What a waste. It's only redeeming feature is the new "assertive" Kim, a development which I'm sure will be immediately forgotten.
# of Crew: 134 Total -- 118 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 10
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 61,953.4 lightyears
Opportunities to Get Home Missed: 10

"One"

Not bad. The basic premise is a little laughable, in that it violates three points of logic*, but as a vehicle for exploring Seven of Nine its very effective. Granted, it's not like Seven is really lacking for exploration, she's either been the A or B plot in every episode this season practically, but I'm not about to complain about the few instances of good character development on this show.
* 1) Chakotay established in "The 37's" that Voyager can't run with a crew of less than 100.
2) If the ship CAN run with the whole crew in stasis, why not just do that for the whole trip?
3) So, your plan to stop the crew from being affected by the radiation penetrating the ship is to stick them into metal boxes with their own life support units? Isn't that, in effect, what Voyager is? And don't tell me the stasis units are made of a special metal the radiation can't penetrate, because then why not coat the whole ship with that if you had enough to build 133 stasis tubes of it.
# of Crew: 133 Total -- 117 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 10
# of Gel Packs: 30
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 61,812.4 lightyears
Opportunities to Get Home Missed: 10

"Hope and Fear"

A pretty decent one-hour season finale addressing the season's central conflict of Janeway v. Seven. While the conceit of the alien who is not what he seems and the ship from Starfleet being a deception are forgone conclusions, the best element is the alien who wants revenge on Voyager for inadvertantly causing the destruction of his race -- it's a nice element of consequences of Janeway's actions coming back to haunt her, a story style used often on DS9 and should've been employed much more regularly on VOY than it was. Overall, a satisfactory hour, drawing the inaugral year of the Janeway & Seven Show to a close.
# of Crew: 133 Total -- 117 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 1
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 6
# of Gel Packs: 30
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 61,495.9 lightyears
Opportunities to Get Home Missed: 10

Monday, August 8, 2011

Review of Star Trek: Insurrection

STAR TREK: INSURRECTION (because STAR TREK: MILD ISOLATED CONFLICT just doesn't sell)


"We are betraying the principles on which the franchise was founded. It's an attack upon its very soul."


"And it will destroy the integrity of those characters, just as characters have been destroyed in every rebooted franchise throughout history."


"Jean-Luc, it's set in an alternate timeline. We're only changing a few things."


"And how many changes does it take, Admiral, before it becomes wrong? Ten, twenty, a hundred?"


"How many changes does it take, Admiral?!"


"I'm making Spock french Uhura in a turbolift."


"Post in whatever forum you wish. By the time you do Kirk will have a motorbike."


Y'know, this movie has a much worse reputation than it deserves. After NEMESIS and NuTrek, I can't say I fault it much. It has two major issues -- one is that it tries too hard to be a big Hollywood action movie, and falls into all the cliches thereof. The second is that it doesn't really seem important, plotwise, in the grand scheme of things. It comes across as a two-hour episode of TNG with better effects and more shooting.

I mean, every other Trek movie depicts events significant to the overall story. But INSURRECTION, produced while DS9 was on, was clearly made with the intent of being accessible to an audience who weren't watching that show. But in making it accessible, it comes across as an irrelevant side story. The most significant things to come out of this movie are the renewed Troi/Riker romance (shown on-screen) and the Dominion finding an Alpha Quadrant supply of white (implied by the aftermath).

There are some good scenes here, good drama, but it's undercut by all the violence, explosions and lame attempts at humour. Data in particular is occasionally saddled with some character assassination in favour of some cheap laughs. Picard's rebellion, while appropriate to his character and coming off more than a little like an Ernest Hemingway hero, doesn't really have any consequences since he's so clearly right and Ru'afo and the Admiral so clearly in the wrong. I always thought it funny that Ebert didn't like the movie because he more or less sided with the Admiral's reasoning that better medical technology for the Federation's population of 800 billion or so is worth taking immortality from 600 people (Needs of the Many, right?)

But I see what Piller was going for, a return to the TNG style of ethical dilemmas and grand speeches from Picard. But it just feels so inconsequential. The movie itself is all right, well produced and put together, but never really excels into something special. To this day I still don't get what they were trying to do with the whole slow-down-time-Jedi-powers thing.

INSURRECTION is not a bad Trek movie. But it's probably the most easily skippable one.

5/10

1. STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT
2. STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY
3. STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN
4. STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME
5. STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE
6. STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK
7. STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER
8. STAR TREK: GENERATIONS
9. STAR TREK: INSURRECTION
10. STAR TREK

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review of Star Trek: First Contact

Originally Posted on BondandBeyond on May 28 2011


"Jean-Luc, 94% on Rotten Tomatoes!"


"No!"


"NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"




"They destroy Vulcan, and we fall back."


"They annihilate entire timelines, and we fall back."


"Not this time. The line must be drawn HE-YAH! This FAH, no FAHTHA!"


"Nice speech. No way Orci and Kurtzmann could write that."


Ah, now this is how you make a TREK movie. Action packed and exciting, yet with a strong character drama core and a well developed, intelligent plot. Full of great tidbits for longtime fans -- yet entirely open and understandable to franchise newcomers. Fully embraces and dramatizes Roddenberry's vision -- yet takes a more realistic look at it by making the author of that vision a drunken cynic. FIRST CONTACT is simply a great Star Trek movie, and an example that modern TREK films should really look to. Well directed, well performed, well written, great score, the movie fires on all cylinders. Perhaps its only flaw is that the cuts between the A-B-C plot structure sometimes feel rushed, but then that's also one of the film's strengths: it's lean, it doesn't waste its time getting anywhere; yet clarity and plausibility in the plotline are also maintained. You taking notes, Orci/Kurtzmann?

Standout performances from the TNG cast. Stewart of course rocks the movie, but Spiner is great also, and unlike most of the TNG movies all the crew members get their own moments and things to do. Heck, Deanna is actually all right in this one!

Yeah. FC gets a perfect score. Which surprises even me, since that bumps it above TUC -- which is probably still my fav Trek movie due to a TOS crew bias, but admittedly has flaws.

10/10

1. STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT
2. STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY
3. STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN
4. STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME
5. STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE
6. STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK
7. STAR TREK GENERATIONS
8. STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER
9. STAR TREK

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 5 Review

Originally posted on BondandBeyond from May 05 2011 to Jun 27 2011

"Apocalypse Rising"

A great season opener with two really aggravating problems:
1) Worf goes along on the mission, despite the fact that he's persona non grata in Klingon space, and yet no attempt is made to disguise him at all. You can recognize a House of Mogh member by their ridges, and yet no one recognizes Worf. When Changeling-Martok walks by, everyone is worried about him recognizing O'Brien THROUGH the Klingon make-up, but not Worf whose appearance is in no way altered. Grr.
2) Martok-Changeling has only himself to blame for getting caught, since after Odo screams out his identity, he openly uses shapeshifter powers to attack him, drawing down all that Klingon fire. I'm sure if he'd been smarter he could've kept the charade going.
Oh well, it's a pretty good season opener, but those issues bug me.

"The Ship"
This episode is really trying hard, but it falls flat. For one thing, nearly all the acts are the same -- the crew in the ship, getting on each other's nerves, trying to figure out what the Vorta wants, while Muniz dies VERY slowly in the background. Then we find out it was a Founder on the ship, and I start wondering why the Vorta didn't just tell them that. Then the episode takes another act to try and convince me about how shooken up the whole crew is over losing five crewmen, when I've seen the Defiant lose more in battle and no one bats an eyelash. I mean, yeah, it's interesting to show that those guys are real people, but to have Sisko agonizing over it as he does in this episode's finale feels really out of character -- Sisko's the guy who does what it takes to get the job done; his soliloquy about how being the Captain isn't as easy as they make it out at the Academy sounds like something a real rookie would say, not Sisko, and the whole "OMG one of my men is dead, I must be a terrible Captain" is more of a Kirk reaction. So while the episode had good dramatic intentions, it just falls apart.

"Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places"
A charming Trek comedy piece with some fun revelations for the characters. A nice sequel to third season's "The House of Quark", a nice beginning to the long teased Worf/Jadzia relationship, and a very honest probing look at the difficulties Miles is experiencing living with both Keiko and Kira.

"Nor the Battle to the Strong"

Absolutely fantastic episode. Hey, guess what -- war is terrible, not everyone is a hero, and even the guys trained to do it are gonna crack under the pressure. The best Jake material since "The Visitor". Everything works. The beginning of a fine tradition of DS9 showing what real war is like, at least within the confines of Star Trek.

"The Assignment"
Genuinely creepy, full of suspense, with fantastic acting performances, Season 5's "Let's Torture O'Brien" episode also introduces the Pagh-Wraiths. Great show.

"Trials and Tribble-ations"
What can I say? Positively glorious. The perfect tribute show.

"Let He Who is Without Sin..."

So this has a reputation as being one of the worst episodes of the series. And yeah, it's not a great episode, but its not horrendous. Its not even memorably bad, like a "Threshold" (VOY) or "Profit and Lace" next season. It's just sorta there. I agree with the producers that what kills it is that we go to essentially a sex planet but see nothing even vaguely sexual. There's no erotic flavour in this show at all -- even the skimpy bathing suits are pretty tame compared even to TOS's feminine warddrobe (not that I'm complaining about Terry Farrell's outfit). I think Worf is written a little overly stubborn, even for Worf, and I think the Essentialist's arguments are overblown (Risa is a vacation planet, for cryin' out loud! Are you vacations are immoral?) but there is some value to the discussion. I also think the episode has a few good scenes exploring the early nature of the Dax/Worf relationship, essentially clearing the air between two very different characters to allow them to understand one another and be together. The scene where Worf talks about his childhood on Gault almost makes the rest of the show worthwhile. Almost.

"Things Past"
Basically the long overdue follow-up to "Necessary Evil" from season 2, and a very mature observation on the part of the writers that there's no way Odo could've been in charge of security during the Occupation for as long as he was and not gotten his hands dirty. It's always fun to return to Terok Nor and see the darker side of things, especially when the show has been making Dukat so sympathetic lately and seems to have largely forgotten about Bajor and the Occupation. A very good episode. And Kurtwood Smith is always welcome.

"The Ascent"
A fantastic Odo/Quark episode. Really great writing and even better performances. The subplot between Jake and Nog was also well done, addressing how the two have evolved into very different people in the little over a year since Nog left the station. Having Nog take his practicum was a very good excuse to get him back on the show and not have to come up with excuses for him to be away from the Academy (or have the crew visiting) like TNG had to do with Wesley. (And of course the War that's coming up was a good excuse for him to stay on the station long after his practicum was over).

"Rapture"
Ah, new uniforms. Excellent. The final major visual signal that DS9 has become awesome (in order these are, the Defiant, Bald Sisko with Goatee, Worf, Grey Uniforms). And it's announced with a great episode that has Sisko finally coming to terms with his role as the Emissary and synthesizing it with his role as a Starfleet Officer. Meanwhile, Kai Winn, Bajor's admission to the Federation, Sisko's visions, all these pieces on the board get shuffled around and all hold major portents for the future of the series.

"The Darkness and the Light"
A classic "old-school" style DS9 episode that recalls "Duet" in first season with its discussion of the morality of the occupation. Even if Kira's captor had some good points, I like that she stands her ground and says "fuck you" instead of coming to some kind of sympathetic understanding (like a TNG character would). Very good episode from Ron Moore.

"The Begotten"
Kira gives birth and Odo gets his powers back. The best part of this episode is its analysis of parenting, while dealing with your own parent. The whole theme of "I'm going to do it differently". Very strongly written.

"In Purgatory's Shadow"
Aka "Improbable Cause, Part III". Where the REAL DS9 begins. Aka a flat-out GREAT episode. Amongst everything else the best scene in the whole show is the Garak/Tain scene.
"Elim, do you remember that day in the country?"
"How could I forget? It was the only day."

"By Inferno's Light"
Absolutely AWESOME. In 40 minutes the entire status quo of the series is flipped around. The Cardassians go from a civillian government under siege to a Dominion dictatorship ruled by Gul Dukat, formerly an anti-Klingon freedom fighter. The Klingons go from our enemies to our allies. Turns out Julian's been a Changeling for the past five episodes. And now we have a full Starfleet and Klingon task force on the station, with the real, one-eyed Martok. Gowron sums it up best,
"Think of it. Five years ago no one had ever heard of Bajor or Deep Space 9. Now all our hopes rest here. Where the tides of fortune take us, no man can know."

"Doctor Bashir, I Presume?"
And just after you've digested that for the past five episodes Bashir has been a Changeling, turns out for the past five years he was also Superman. I seem to be one of the few people who like this episode -- I like Robert Picardo, I like the LMH idea, I like the Rom/Leeta subplot, I think the characterization of Bashir's parents and their backstory fits with everything we've been told about Bashir over the years, I like bringing genetic engineering into the Trek fold and mentioning its illegality in light of Khan, and I like that it's made clear that mainly only Bashir's mind was enhanced. I like the conflict that parents with a mentally retarded child would face in a world where genetic enhancement was a possibility, even if just a black market one. I like the episode. But apparently most people, Siddig included, hated it, and felt this development came out of the blue and wasn't good for Bashir's character.

"A Simple Investigation"

A classic sort of noir story with Odo falling in love with the woman he's protecting. Very well done on all fronts.

"Business as Usual"
A great Quark episode featuring his cousin Gaila and the ethics of weapons dealing. Very well done -- I often feel that Quark, as a comedic character, works better in these kinds of dramatic stories (like Season 4's "Body Parts") than the full-on comedies he is often placed in. Superb episode.

"Ties of Blood and Water"
An excellent follow up to Season 3's "Second Skin", while also continuing threads such as the Dominionized Cardassia, Dukat's new position, and the debut of Weyoun 5. A great moving episode that really hits home so far as the death of a loved one is concerned. Just fantastic.

"Ferengi Love Songs"

There's some good stuff here and there, but for the most part this is a pretty weak, predictable, cliched Ferengi outing that's more important for the events portrayed (beginning of Ishka/Zek, Rom and Leeta's engagement, Quark getting his licence back) then the actual telling of them.

"Soldiers of the Empire"
A somewhat cliched, but still very well done Klingon outing, showcasing Jadiza, Worf and Martok very well respectively. It was nice to see some "Klingon outcasts", see some diversity in the look of Klingons, etc. A well done episode.

"Children of Time"
One of the all-time greatest Trek time travel stories -- great bizzaro paradox, fantastic character drama, heart-renching plot twists, superb moral dilemma, and finally Kira knows how Odo feels about him. An amazingly well written show.

"Blaze of Glory"
And so the Maquis, at least in the Alpha Quadrant, meet their end, along with their morally ambiguous Canadian leader Michael Eddington. The Eddington/Sisko feud was fun, and the Maquis were always great for throwing a dark reflection up against Federation values, but I suppose the show had to start ending some of these ongoing plot threads. It's another great hour of DS9.

"Empok Nor"

An exciting, eerie, well shot episode that just goes a little too far off the rails at the end. Garak becomes too much of a villain for me to be comfortable with the show continuing on as if nothing happened.

"In the Cards"
Perhaps the greatest comic episode of DS9. But with a solid human core. It's like the anti-DS9 episode: Lighthearted A-story, Important B-story, and a message of hope amidst darkness. It's also fantastically written and wonderfully performed.

"Call to Arms"
Ranks with "Best of Both Worlds" as one of the greatest season finales in all of Trek's history. Except this episode has a way better pay-off, with the pure balls to not resolve all its plot points in the next hour. This is an exciting, daring hour of DS9 that's less concerned with ratings grabber cliffhangers and more with pushing the boundaries of Trek and setting up the fantastic opening arc of season 6. Amidst all of the big moments and galactic cliffhangers, it also finds time for great human moments with Rom, Leeta, Jadzia, Worf, Jake, Quark, etc. Can't wait for season 6.

Star Trek: Voyager Season 3 Review

Originally posted on BondandBeyond from May 02 2011 to Jun 23 2011

"Basics, Part II"
A fun, mindless action-packed follow up to the season 2 cliffhanger. It basically kills off every loose end from Season 2, setting us on our way to Season 3 free of any plot related burdens. I do think it was an annoying cop-out to have the child be Culluh's though, because that doesn't really match up with Season 2 episodes and it certainly wasn't the original intent. It's just a cheap way to get rid of the kid and not deal with him or Chakotay's feelings -- despite that being one of the main themes of Part I. Originally the idea was that the kid would die and Seska would suffer from the loss -- but that left Seska and Culluh around and Taylor and Berman wanted to be free of the Kazons. So they killed Seska and had Culluh take the kid that was now suddenly his, just to be free of all of Piller's characters and storylines, since this was the last episode he wrote. I think it would have been more interesting if the kid had died, and the crew captured Seska and flew away from the Kazons, and had to figure out how to bring Seska to justice -- all of which was I believe Piller's original intent.
# of Crew: 144 Total -- 128 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 7
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 18
# of Gel Packs: 47
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 73,267.1 lightyears

"Sacred Ground"

And people claim that DS9 went against Roddenberry's principles? For fuck's sake! This episode was frustrating, trite, and stupid. It's message seems to be either 1) If you encounter something you can't explain, why bother? Aren't mysteries wonderful? or 2) If you believe hard enough, you can avoid death. Who needs technology?
Fuuuuuuuuck.
# of Crew: 144 Total -- 128 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 7
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 18
# of Gel Packs: 47
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 73,236.3 lightyears

"False Profits"
While following up a strand from a third season TNG episode is cool, the fact that the problem was solved in the first act ruined the show. Literally Janeway had the Ferengi in custody and a stable, open wormhole to the Alpha Quadrant to fly through, and she LET herself get talked into ruining everything by said Ferengi, and spent the rest of the episode trying to trick her way back to where she had already gotten by way of a serious of tiresome scenes. The entire final act made me want to tear my hair out -- once again we've got the Ferengi in custody and can fly home, yet somehow they overpower the guards, somehow get into their shuttle, somehow exit the shuttlebay and evade the tractor beam, and for some reason them going through the wormhole F***S it for us. Way to go, Janeway! Fuuuuuck!!
# of Crew: 144 Total -- 128 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 7
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 18
# of Gel Packs: 47
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 73,225.1 lightyears

"Flashback"
VOY's celebration episode of the 30th anniversary of Trek has 3 massive problems:
1) Tuvok's repressed memory turns out to be a virus, which means the experience has no meaning for him, no personal growth, there is no drama, we learn nothing about Tuvok we didn't already know.
2) Our protagonists (Janeway and Tuvok) do not actually solve the problem through any of their mucking about on the Excelsior, the Doctor solves it just fine from the confines of the Holodeck.
3) The Excelsior sequences, partially due to the above 2 points, actually have nothing to do with the story. They are there to fit the 30th anniversary theme, but the story isn't about that. So they seem superfluous. On that note, a lot of lip service is paid to nostalgia for the past and having fun with the maverick early Starfleet officers, but the audience never actually feels any of that because the entire Tuvok/virus story, which has nothing to do with the Excelsior, is hanging over all of it.
Basically, this episode is great because we get to see more of Captain Sulu in action, which is cool. But it totally fails in comparison to "Trials and Tribble-ations" [DS9].
# of Crew: 144 Total -- 128 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 7
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 18
# of Gel Packs: 47
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 73,205.8 lightyears

"The Chute"
Okay, this episode is pretty good, except for all the cutaways to Janeway and the ship, which were terrible. As cool as it was for Janeway to come down the Chute with a phaser rifle blazing, this is ANOTHER case o the protagonists (Kim and Paris) not actually solving the problem. Although it's at least nice to see Kim DOING something for once. Have I mentioned that I officially HATE Janeway now?? Somewhere in season 2 the effects of being stranded in the Delta Quadrant got to her and she's split into her 2 personalities and is now crazy, irresponsible, and a terrible captain. I fucking hate her.
# of Crew: 144 Total -- 128 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 7
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 18
# of Gel Packs: 47
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 73,194 lightyears

"Remember"
Ever notice how the only way VOY can tell interesting stories is when they AREN'T happening to our people? But seriously, this episode has good intentions, with its Holocaust allegory, but confuses the entire issue by making Jews into Amish people, and not giving the Nazis a reason to exterminate them. It would actually be EASIER and less costly to re-settle them (the cover story) than kill all of them. It's an imperfect allegory because it doesn't fully understand why the Holocaust happened. But I suppose it's an okay episode. Although, Torres uses Janeway's exact reasoning from "False Profits" on why they should interfere, but THIS time Janeway will absolutely not do so. FUCK.
# of Crew: 144 Total -- 128 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 7
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 18
# of Gel Packs: 47
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 73,175.7 lightyears

"The Swarm"
The parts where Holo-Zimmerman interacted with Holo-Doc (aka Robert Picard playing opposite himself) were GENIUS. And the idea that the Doc being active for 2 years and fillling his program with making friends and learning opera is degrading his memory is great, logical, and makes sense at this point in the show. Which makes it all the worse that the entire rest of this episode was FUCKING TERRIBLE. It was like the entire crew took RETARDED PILLS this morning. Janeway was insufferable, especially. She gives a speech where she justifies her actions (which endanger the entire crew needlessly) by saying that they are a long way from the Alpha Quadrant and Starfleet rules don't apply in their situation. AKA THE EXACT FUCKING OPPOSITE OF HER POSITION THROUGH THE ENTIRE SECOND SEASON where we had to follow Starfleet principles despite everything, lest we forget who we are or something like that. FOR FUCK'S SAKE! And then the ending, which says the Doc has forgotten everything, but has a hope of remembering things. Why the hell would you write that ending when you have NO intention of following it up? It's like what happened to Uhura in "The Changeling" [TOS] but I forgive that because it was the 60s. Goddamnit!!
# of Crew: 144 Total -- 128 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 7
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 18
# of Gel Packs: 47
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 73,156.4 lightyears

While seasons 1 and 2 of VOY were frustrating, or subpar, they were at least mediocre. Okay. Following the premise, however loosely. But so far season 3 has tossed the baby out with the bathwater and been fucking terrible. I trace it to the departure of Michael Piller. "Basics, Part II" was a farewell to all his storylines, characters, and concepts, and now we're just doing stories week by week, hit and miss, mostly miss. It feels like the writers of DS9 do what they do because they love the show, and the writers of VOY do it because it's a job and they want to get paid. There's no passion. And it shows onscreen.

"Future's End, Parts I & II"

Time travel is confusing. The plot is a little more than an excuse for the fun here. But in times it feels like the fun is padded to make this a two parter. And it doesn't help that all of the "lol, it's the characters from Star Trek in the present day!" gags were for the most done before, and better, by the Original Series in two episodes and a very popular movie. This episode is fun, but it's light and meaningless (and derivative) fun. Ratings grab.
# of Crew: 144 Total -- 128 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 7
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 17
# of Gel Packs: 47
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 73,027.1 lightyears

"Warlord"
This episode goes down as the point where I officially became fed up with Neelix. We are done professionally. Meanwhile, the best part of this episode is Jennifer Lien's performance. You can tell she's having a lot of fun, and I love the dominating, sexy, arrogant portrayal she created for Tieran. It's a damn shame her career went nowhere after being fired for Seven of Boob. Meanwhile, she kind've breaks up with Neelix while under Tieran's control, which is hilarious because it's never addressed again. And the final scene is even better, when Tuvok tells Kes how this experience will change her outlook on life and how she behaves as a person and how she'll have to live with the consequences. Does he think he's on DS9 or something?
# of Crew: 143 Total -- 127 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 7
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 17
# of Gel Packs: 47
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,996.3 lightyears

"The Q and the Grey"
A wasted opportunity. First third of the show spent on the laborious Q-after-Janeway jokes, then we finally get to the meat of the story, the Q Civil War. Nice to see that "Death Wish" had consequences, but fourthings really bugged me:
1) Q's rebel faction wearing Union colours. Yeah, I know that it's so we'll sympathize more with him, but a more accurate metaphor would've been Q's faction as the Confederates.
2) The Voyager crew intervening turns the tide?? Puh-leez. The worst was when they showed Tom sneaking up behind the Q General. How do you sneak up behind an omnipotent being?
3) No Q has ever procreated? I direct you to "True Q" [TNG]
4) All of Janeway's high and mighty Roddenberry-esque speeches about how humanity has evolved beyond using violence to solve its problems so why not the Q? First off, the whole premise of VOYAGER is that 13/143 of the crew are terrorists. Janeway was on a mission to capture terrorists. Secondly, the whole premise of the Q on TNG was that they judged humanity for being a barbarous race who had to proove their worth to be in space. So this all felt really hollow. The idea of a Q Civil War after the events of "Death Wish" is interesting, but this episode doesn't really explore it -- it just uses it for action setpieces and wastes most of its time on dumb jokes.
# of Crew: 143 Total -- 127 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 7
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 17
# of Gel Packs: 47
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,959.9 lightyears

"Macrocosm"

Someone really wanted to do ALIEN on VOYAGER, I guess, with Janeway as Ripley. It almost works, but the entire drama of the episode is killed by an act-long flashback that has the same atmosphere as just any ol' VOY episode, rather than the dramatic, tension filled episode up to that point. From then on, it's all downhill.
# of Crew: 143 Total -- 127 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 7
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 17
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,943.8 lightyears

"Alter Ego"
Yaaaaawn. Everything in this episode has been done before on Trek, and better. Falling in love with a holo-character, a holo-character achieving sentience, a determined woman trying to seduce a Vulcan, the ancient alien wracked with lonliness, on and on.
# of Crew: 143 Total -- 127 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 7
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 17
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,907.4 lightyears

"Fair Trade"
A surprisingly great VOY episode, largely because it falls into the rare "we're acknowledging the premise" category of stories. Neelix is featured in an effective character examination as he realizes that now that Voyager has entered space he is unfamiliar with, he has essentially no use on the ship. It's a great episode with some great thematic material.
# of Crew: 143 Total -- 127 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 7
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 17
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,896.5 lightyears

"Coda"
Ugh. What the frak was this supposed to be? Was it supposed to be deep? Meaningful? Tell us something about Janeway? It did none of that. It mucked around for the first few acts pretending it was "Cause and Effect" [TNG], before aping "The Next Phase" [TNG], "The Tholian Web" [TOS], and even STAR TREK V. It's all ultimately meaningless and very stupid. If the answer to the mystery is an alien is trying to suck Janeway's lifeforce as she dies, then what's the explanation for endless near-death loop cycle at the start? They act like this creature might be back at the end, but he never returns, leaving a ton of vague unanswered bullshit. Terrible show.
# of Crew: 143 Total -- 127 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 6
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 17
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,888.2 lightyears

"Blood Fever"
Ah, here's a good show. It's basically "Amok Time" [TOS] in the Delta Quadrant, and explains why they brought Vorik onto the show about four or five episodes previous. A little silly as to why they didn't just use the Vulcan they already had, but then I could never see Tuvok acting the way Vorik does here. This is a fun show that also ignites the Paris/Torres relationship. And, of course, omg the borg.
# of Crew: 143 Total -- 127 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 6
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 17
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,880.7 lightyears

I think the number one problem with the Trek spin-offs is that by this point there are basically three kinds of Trek episode: one that advances the premise/plot of the show as a whole, one that develops a main character, and a standalone. And by now the standalones suck, because after seven years of TNG and three years of TOS, all of the interesting sci-fi tales that can be done in one hour of TV within Trek's premise have been done -- so any standalone adventures on VOY or DS9 are repeitive of what's gone before. The only thing making DS9 and VOY unique are their individual premises and casts, and DS9 utilizes those brilliantly. Most DS9 episodes are either advancing the story or bringing a character to a new place -- which VOY doesn't do enough of, content to merely tell episodic stories that are all derivative and thus boring by now. It really is TNG Lite --- same kind of stories, but solved with gimmicks and phaser fire than intelligence and drama.

"Unity"

In following up on the promise of "Blood Fever" and setting up the excitement of "Scorpion", this episode does a great job. With the way things are done here it almost feels like the VOY writers knew that they were going to have to make the Borg interesting and different to validate doing them. This is a very well written and interesting little episode. I kinda really hate that our crew is somewhat responsible for the Borg Co-Operative gaining control of that planet, for all we know the guys battering down their door to come kill them were screaming "For Liberty!" as they did it. But other than that, I think this episode probes into a very interesting topic -- namely, how something like the Borg came about in the first place. Of course it would've started innocuously, as it does here. The Borg probably started as hippies with Apple technology. But as VOY Borg episodes go, this is a good one. Very smart.
# of Crew: 142 Total -- 126 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 5
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 17
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,849.5 lightyears

"Darkling"
At first it seems like this is gonna be a "Kes is like a teenage girl now" episode, with Doc and Janeway as the parental figures. Then it suddenly turns into Jekyll/Hyde on VOY with good Doc and evil Doc. It's basically just Robert Picardo having fun hamming it up for an episode. It's a fun watch, for sure, but there's nothing else here of import.
# of Crew: 142 Total -- 126 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 5
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 17
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,768.2 lightyears

"Rise"
I've seen a lot of shows steal the basic plot of "Flight of the Phoenix", including Trek a few times, but never this blatantly. This is a fun show, it's got some good Neelix/Tuvok characterization, but other than that there's nothing to recommend.
# of Crew: 142 Total -- 126 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 4
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 16
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,751.4 lightyears
"Favorite Son"
Ugh, so TAS did this episode and called it "The Lorolei Signal" -- and the episode itself admits its ripping off The Odyssey. Yaaawn. Not terrible, but pretty darn mediocre. Did I think for a second the aliens were going to be just as friendly as they seemed? They never are. Did I think for a second Harry was going to stay behind with them? I wish. Foregone conclusion, tired premise, weak hour.
# of Crew: 142 Total -- 126 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 4
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 16
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,729 lightyears

"Before and After"
A fairly good time paradox story that utilizes Kes and her character's unique lifespan very well. It also does a great (and clever) job foreshadowing the Year of Hell storyline, which at this point was apparently planned as the S3 finale cliffhanger and was actually going to happen as opposed to just be a reset button story (notice the damage dealt the ship here isn't as severe as when the writers knew they were just going to undo it all). All in all, a good VOY episode. So, y'know, a rarity.
# of Crew: 142 Total -- 126 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 4
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 16
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,678.5 lightyears

"Real Life"
An interesting episode for the Doctor (Kenneth Schmullus!), even if his holo-family essentially swings from one extreme stereotype to the other, while the sci-fi subplot of the week is the dullest its ever been. A memorable, if just okay, episode.
# of Crew: 142 Total -- 126 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 4
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 16
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,619.6 lightyears

"Distant Origin"
This is a very intelligent, well written, well produced episode, worthy of the name Star Trek. Too bad it was essentially all done before and called PLANET OF THE APES. All kidding aside, it's a good show, even if its central concept (that a genus of dinosaur developed spaceflight and left Earth before the extinction event) is a little farfetched. I wish VOY took this more intelligent path more often -- when it does (like in last season's "Death Wish") it pays off.
Also, the crew complement is given as 148 here. Learn math, writers -- it's 142.
# of Crew: 142 Total -- 126 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 4
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 16
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,586 lightyears

"Displaced"
OMG, aliens have abducted our characters, placing them in an idyllic prison. They are confused when we want to leave, because the prison is paradiscal and after all they are only doing what they need to survive.
This plot should be banned from Trek. Mainly because it was the plot of the GORRAM FIRST EPISODE EVER!
Ugh. Yawn.
# of Crew: 142 Total -- 126 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 4
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 16
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,566.9 lightyears

"Worst Case Scenario"'
Best season 1 episode of VOY I've ever seen. But all kidding aside, a really well done, fun, compelling show, even after it's clearly just a holoprogram. The only part that doesn't really work as well is the third act jeopardy angle with Seska, but even then it's still a good time. Good stuff, VOY.
# of Crew: 142 Total -- 126 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 4
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 16
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,547.8 lightyears

"Scorpion"
Wow. The first genuinely exciting, tension-filled episode of VOY. Ever. After three years we finally get a good balance of action, excitement, tension, plot, character and drama. A fantastic finale, even if the actual cliffhanger itself is pretty darned lame. But the idea of the Borg/8472 war is compelling. As is everything else in this show. Certainly leaves one excited for VOY. About time.
Fun fact -- this plotline was in development as far back as "Unity" -- the cube there was meant to be destroyed by 8472 -- but this episode was decided on as the cliffhanger instead of "Year of Hell" AFTER the decision to bring on Seven of Boob had been made. What HADN'T been decided yet, was who was leaving the show -- that's why Kes seems to have a pretty big role in the link to 8472 while Harry is lying on a biobed in sickbay dying -- because Garret Wang was originally supposed to leave instead of Jennifer Lien. If only.
# of Crew: 142 Total -- 126 Starfleet, 13 Maquis, 3 Civilians
# of Shuttles: 4
# of Warp Cores: 2
# of Photon Torpedoes: 16
# of Gel Packs: 46
Distance to Alpha Quadrant: 72,539.8 lightyears

In three seasons, we've gotten about 3.3% of the way home. Way to go, Captain Janeway.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Review of Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Originally posted on MI6Forums on May 14 2009


"Well, Captain, your whole crew has been replaced by teen idols."


"Those *******."




"Spock, what do you think of all this?"




"Not for us?"


"No, Jim. Not for us."


"For NuTrek."


"I weep for NuTrek as I would for an aborted fetus"


STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (The Director's Edition)
Cause I'm sorry but if you don't have the sickbay scene or the weep for V'Ger scene, you don't have the movie.

Since the last Trek movie I saw was AbramsTrek, this was an extreme spectrum shift to the other side. Sedate where Trek XI is hyperactive, talky where Trek XI is action-packed, dull where Trek XI is colourful, cerebral where Trek XI is retarded.

But despite that, there are a lot of similarities between the two movies. Both were attempts at bringing the classic 60s characters to the big screen after a long hiatus. Both are extremely reliant on visual effects. Both have very high quality visual effects. And both feel like they have the big scope of a movie.

That's one of the big things I like about TMP is that it feels like an adventure worth taking Trek to the movies for. It's big. TSFS/TVH/TFF lack that for me. This movie feels like a movie.

A lot of people dislike the lack of "feel-good" camaraderie in the crew in this movie -- but I like it. There's a real dramatic tension between crewmembers in Star Trek for the first time and it makes you unsure of everyone's motivations -- Decker and Kirk competing for command, and Spock no longer the Vulcan we remember.

I particularly like Spock's arc in the film -- returning from the Kolinahr cold but unfulfilled, we are don't know if he's fully loyal to the ship; and going from that to Spock realizing that where he belongs is with the Enterprise crew.


That's why this scene is so important to me. It's the emotional fulcrum of the piece.

The Spock spacewalk is a fantastic moment. These guys were really out to give 2001 a run for its money and in some places they succeed.

I also really like the opening with the Klingons, the design of V'Ger, the Illia probe and Decker subplots. And the transporter accident that kills Sonak -- that's a chilling moment you don't soon forget. All in all it's a strong picture.

So what are the weaknesses? Well it's a very passive film. Our heroes spend a lot of time looking at viewscreens and discussing things and very little time actually doing anything. Also while the uniforms look good on their own, they don't work well with the production design. I think the only problem I have with the uniforms is the slacks being the same colour as the tops -- I think that's what gives them the "pajama" feel. Except for the Epsilon IX uniforms -- they're terrible. A big problem is the lighting. This movie is terribly lit. Just awful. It's hard to believe it's the same bridge set as TWOK and it's so interesting how much of a difference lighting makes.

That being said, you know, and I know, and the film knows, that the TMP Enterprise model looks great.

However, I like the mystery of the movie a lot. What is V'Ger? What's Spock's motivations? What's Kirk's? Etc etc. I like that the movie encourages its audience to think and that we defeat the "villain" by helping it and solving its problem and communicating with it rather than blowing it up.

Despite all its problems this is Star Trek in fine form. A movie like this could never be made today.

7/10

1. STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE
2. STAR TREK

Next Up -- KHAAAAAAN!