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Star Trek: Voyager – Barge of the Dead (Review)

There is some small symmetry in Barge of the Dead.

When Bryan Fuller first pitched to Star Trek, he pitched to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The first idea that he sold was The Darkness and the Light, which felt like something approaching a gothic serial killer horror about a deformed killer stalking his victims using the franchise’s hyper-advanced technology. That original idea was heavily re-written by franchise veteran Ronald D. Moore, who also brought a more substantial thematic weight to the story by focusing on themes of violence and retribution.

Barging in.

In contrast, Barge of the Dead is the last television story that Ronald D. Moore would pitch for the franchise, coming at the very end of his time on Star Trek: Voyager. The episode has its roots in an earlier pitch by the writer, the original idea for Soldiers of the Empire. However, Moore would depart the franchise before he could finish work on Barge of the Dead, and so the writing of the script fell to Bryan Fuller. Much like Moore had subtly shifted the emphasis of The Darkness and the Light to his own thematic interests, Fuller embraces his own sensibilities in reworking Barge of the Dead.

Moore had re-written Fuller’s last story, and Fuller would re-write Moore’s last story. There is some sense of poetry in this.

Tom’s idea of a romantic evening certainly needed some work.

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Star Trek: Voyager – Emanations (Review)

This September and October, we’re taking a look at the jam-packed 1994 to 1995 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

Emanations has a pretty effective set-up and solid premise. It is very clearly one of Star Trek: Voyager‘s “planet of the week” stories – like the show directly before it and the show directly following it – but it’s build around some vaguely interesting ideas. It’s very clearly an episode designed to function as social commentary in the grand Star Trek tradition, hitting on big ideas and bold concepts.

Unfortunately, it’s not the type of script that Brannon Braga is best suited to handle. It doesn’t feel so much an exploration of an important issue as a social treatise. It’s simplistic and heavy-handed while dealing with ideas that require a bit of nuance and sophistication. It feels under-developed, contrived and a little shallow. Despite an attempt at ambiguity in its closing scene, it feels like an episode driven primarily by an agenda rather than a strong story.

Emanations is a misfire, another example of the weird tendency in the first season of Voyager to assign the wrong writers to the wrong scripts.

Harry really got wrapped up in local culture...

Harry really got wrapped up in local culture…

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Gotta Have Faith: It’s a Wonderful Afterlife…

Well I guess it would be nice…

Battlestar Galactica has a lot to answer for. It seems that religious-themed endings are now in vogue again, at least for mindbending television shows of choice. Both Ashes to Ashes and Lost came to an end within days of each other last week, and both included some fairly noticeable religious themes in their finales. Has religion somehow become a non-taboo subject on mainstream television?

Go in peace...

Note: As the introduction suggests, this article will contain spoilers for the finales of Ashes to Ashes and Lost. I’m posting it about now because I figure that anybody who wanted to watch them has had the chance.
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