• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Most Toys (Review)

This January and February, we’ll be finishing up our look at the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and moving on to the third year of the show, both recently and lovingly remastered for high definition. Check back daily for the latest review.

In a way, The Most Toys feels like the other side of the coin to Hollow Pursuits. One of the more interesting aspects of Hollow Pursuits is the way that it casts guest character Reginald Barclay as something of a Star Trek fan. He escapes from his mundane existence into a fantasy world where he tells his own stories about the crew, succumbing to various fan fiction clichés. The Most Toys is also built around a guest character who seems to have been written as a Star Trek fan, albeit a lot less pleasant sort of type than Barclay.

Fajo is a collector, you see.

An honest trader? Fajo chance!

An honest trader? Fajo chance!

Continue reading

Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Ensigns of Command (Review)

This January and February, we’ll be finishing up our look at the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and moving on to the third year of the show, both recently and lovingly remastered for high definition. Check back daily for the latest review.

The Ensigns of Command is a Data-centric script from Melinda Snodgrass, the writer responsible for The Measure of a Man. It was the first episode produced in the show’s third season, even if it was the second to air. As with so many third season episodes, The Ensigns of Command was beset by behind-the-scenes difficulties. These issues plagued the episode through all stages of production – from the script through to post-production.

It is a wonder that The Ensigns of Command turned out watchable. While it certainly can’t measure up to Snodgrass’ earlier Data-centric story, it is an intriguing character study that benefits from a focus on character and an understanding of Star Trek: The Next Generation works. While far from an exceptional or defining episode of The Next Generation, it’s a demonstration of how far the show has come that even an episode as troubled as this could look so professional and feel so satisfying.

A fun shoot...

A fun shoot…

Continue reading

Star Trek: Myriad Universes – Echoes and Refractions: Brave New World by Chris Roberson (Review)

This January and February, we’ll be finishing up our look at the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and moving on to the third year of the show, both recently and lovingly remastered for high definition. Check back daily for the latest review.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the episodes with some additional materials – mainly novels and comics and films. This is one such entry.

Quite a few of the Myriad Universe stories feel like “for want of a nail” stories. Changing one little detail of Star Trek history and the entire universe comes apart at the seams. In the Echoes and Refractions collection alone, The Chimes at Midnight offers a nightmare glimpse of a universe where Spock died in childhood, while A Gutted World explores what might have happened if the Cardassians had never left Bajor. Neither alternate universe represented a sustainable alternative to the Star Trek we know and love. The subtitles might as well have been “… and then things got worse.”

With the final story in the collection, Chris Roberson takes another tack. Brave New World isn’t a story about how removing one vital thread of the Star Trek tapestry causes the whole thing to unravel. Instead, it’s something quite a bit bolder. It’s a genuine alternate universe, one boldly different – not inherently better or worse, but just an example how things might have unfolded if just one little thing had been different.

st-myriaduniverses

Continue reading

Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Schizoid Man (Review)

This January and February, we’ll be finishing up our look at the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and moving on to the third year of the show, both recently and lovingly remastered for high definition. Check back daily for the latest review.

I should probably hate The Schizoid Man. It is certainly a very, very flawed piece of television. It would be a lot more forgivable had it aired during the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, when the show was still trying to find its feet – including it early in the second season feels like the show is pushing it a little. In many respects, The Schizoid Man embodies a lot of the (legitimate) complaints about the weaknesses of The Next Generation as a television show: the performances from the peripheral members of the main cast are a bit ropey, there’s an incredibly false sense of urgency generated by techno-babble and the dialogue is just terrible.

And yet, despite that, there’s quite a lot here to like. Stripping away the terrible dialogue and the unnecessary convolutions, The Schizoid Man is a very basic morality play, one touching on themes the show will handle a lot better a few episodes down the line. Brent Spiner is surprisingly creepy as Graves-as-Data, and W. Morgan Sheppard is pretty great in an admittedly thankless part as the misogynistic and creepy Ira Graves.

23rd century Schizoid Man...

23rd century Schizoid Man…

Continue reading

Star Trek 102: The Best of The Next Generation

To celebrate the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness, we’re holding a month full of Star Trek  related fun. We’re reviewing every episode of the show’s first season, from The Cage through to Operation — Annihilate!, one-per-day for all of May. We’re also looking at some of the various spin-offs, tie-ins and pop culture intersections, so there’s always something going on to do with Star Trek. Anyway, with the release of the new film, we thought it might be interesting to make some recommendations for fans of the new films who wanted to “dip their toes in the water” so to speak. Today, we’re making recommendations from the first of the 24th century spin-offs, Star Trek: The Next Generation.

tng-encounteratfarpoint1

Continue reading

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Home Soil (Review)

To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and also next year’s release of Star Trek: Into Darkness, I’m taking a look at the recent blu ray release of the first season, episode-by-episode. Check back daily for the latest review.

I’ve been complaining pretty consistently throughout this rocky first year of Star Trek: The Next Generation that the show is trying too hard to be a carbon copy of the classic Star Trek, rather than trying to define its own distinct identity. By that logic, I concede that I should detest Home Soil. Much like the less-than-classic The Naked Now, it is pretty much an attempt to update an episode from the original show.

In this case, the story of a bunch of terraformers provoking an unconventional native lifeform recalls The Devil in the Dark, one of the best-loved episodes of Star Trek‘s pretty stellar first year. While Home Soil doesn’t quite measure up to its rather wonderful progenitor, it does manage to put its own slant on the story, to the point where Home Soil doesn’t feel like a recycled Star Trek script; rather, it feels like a story told from the perspective of The Next Generation.

Spark of life...

Spark of life…

Continue reading

Star Trek: The Next Generation – When the Bough Breaks (Review)

To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and also next year’s release of Star Trek: Into Darkness, I’m taking a look at the recent blu ray release of the first season, episode-by-episode. Check back daily for the latest review.

When the Bough Breaks and Home Soil are an interesting two episodes of the first season of The Next Generation, if only because they seem to contrast each other so well. I’ve complained before about how the first season of The Next Generation had a great deal of trouble finding its own identity, and When The Bough Breaks feels like a conscious attempt to do a story in the style of the original Star Trek, even if most of the elements are fairly original.

In contrast, Home Soil starts with a premise that owes a considerable debt to a very specific episode of Star Trek, Devil in the Dark, but finds a way to approach it that emphasises the differences between the two shows. You can probably guess which one of the two episodes I preferred, and while When the Bough Breaks is never as bad as it could be (a story focusing on Wesley and other child actors?) it’s not necessarily good, either.

The lost world...

The lost world…

Continue reading