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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Hard Time (Review)

This February and March, we’re taking a look at the 1995 to 1996 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily Tuesday through Friday for the latest review.

Hard Time is a fantastic (and vastly underrated) episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

The episode tends to get overlooked in discussions about the fourth season of Deep Space Nine, perhaps owing to the high average quality of the season or the fact that it arrives in the middle of what is admittedly the season’s weakest run of episodes. However, in spite of all that, Hard Time is an exemplary piece of Deep Space Nine. It is certainly the best of the series’ “O’Brien must suffer” episodes, and a showcase for Star Trek veteran Colm Meaney. In its exploration of trauma and recovery, and cycles of violence, it taps into the heart of the show.

Not phased in the slightest...

Not phased in the slightest…

That said, Hard Time arrives at a point where Deep Space Nine is nudging closer and closer to serialisation. The show has begun to embrace long-form storytelling, as evidenced by the ripple effect of the changes to the status quo in The Way of the Warrior and the way that little plot threads weave through the season. The show has not yet reached the point at which it can structure six- or ten-episode arcs, but it is getting close. Deep Space Nine is clearly moving towards what is (for Star Trek at least) a fairly novel style of television storytelling.

As such, Hard Time is particularly striking for the fact that it is a purely episodic adventure. The episode puts Miles O’Brien through hell, having him struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder while trying to reintegrate into society. This is the kind of plot that feels more suited to a long-running mini-arc than Worf and Dax’s arguments about the relative merits of bladed weapons or Worf’s decision to move to the Defiant. Instead, O’Brien’s trauma is dealt with over the course of a single episode. Hard Time plays as a defence of the tradition television episode structure.

Growing the beard...

Growing the beard…

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – If Wishes Were Horses… (Review)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is twenty years old this year. To celebrate, I’m taking a look at the first season. Check back daily for the latest review or retrospective.

And after Progress gives us the most Deep-Space-Nine-y” episode yet, If Wishes Were Horses… offers the most generic Star Trek episode this side of The Passenger. The plot here should be very familiar. Like in Imaginary Friend or Shore Leave, the characters find their imaginations seem to be bringing things to life. Of course, it turns out to be an advanced alien intelligence that really just wants to study our crew, like in The Observer Effect or Scientific Method or even Schism. What I’m getting at here is that there’s really very little in this premise which hasn’t been done before or since on Star Trek, and nothing which wouldn’t feel more at home on Star Trek: The Next Generation or Star Trek: Voyager.

While it’s not as bad as The Passenger or Move Along Home, it is terribly generic and it feels like a waste of an episode in an already truncated season.

If wishes were emus...

If wishes were emus…

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Captive Pursuit (Review)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is twenty years old this year. To celebrate, I’m taking a look at the first season. Check back daily for the latest review or retrospective.

Much like Babel, it’s not too difficult to reimagine Captive Pursuit as an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s notable for being one of the few episodes of Deep Space Nine to really feature the famous “Prime Directive”, something of a staple of the original Star Trek, The Next Generation and even Voyager. Like a lot of episodes from the middle of Deep Space Nine‘s first season, this seems almost like an attempt to port on episode concept directly over from The Next Generation. In particular, the notion of the crew dealing with a fugitive while wrestling with the Prime Directive feels like a retread of The Hunted.

That said, Captive Pursuit does work quite well, taking a familiar concept and putting a twist on it unique to the show. Despite the fact the episode’s premise feels like it has been carried over, the execution is careful enough to distinguish Deep Space Nine from its older sibling.

The hunted...

The hunted…

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Watch! A Belfast Story Trailer!

We have a trailer for the new Irish film A Belfast Story, releasing in Irish cinemas on September 20th. Starring Colm Meaney, it’s an exploration of the Troubles which plagued Northern Ireland, and one man dealing with the consequences of that horrific violence. I’m always glad to support Irish film, so check out the trailer below and let me know what you make of it. I’m a big Colm Meaney fan, so I am very much looking forward to it.

I also got some interesting viral stuff in the mail, which I’ll try to share early next week. I think it’s great to see an Irish movie being so aggressive in terms of marketing, and so forthright and assertive.

Non-Review Review: interMission

interMission is a fantastic piece of Irish cinema, a broadly accessible exploration of intersecting and overlapping life in Dublin with a witty script lending the film some distinctly Irish flavour. The structure owes a little bit of a debt to Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction or even Altman’s Short Cuts, capturing a variety of perspectives on life from a reasonably-sized ensemble who only occasionally overlap with one another. It’s a funny, clever, well-acted and well-directed slice of life.

Drive of your life...

Drive of your life…

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Non-Review Review: Bel Ami

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012.

I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised by Bel Ami, the first film from theatrical veterans Declan Donnellan & Nick Ormerod. It’s a classy little period drama that doesn’t necessarily redefine the genre, but instead stands as a worth addition to the canon. In a way, it seems like a more lavish BBC adaptation, which is quite a compliment when it comes to period drama. I don’t know if actor Robert Pattinson will necessarily find life after Twilight, but I imagine he will find a niché if he choses his next couple of roles as carefully as he chose this one.

Hm... This guy rings a Bel...

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Non-Review Review: Get Him to the Greek

I quite enjoyed Get Him to the Greek. It wasn’t quite as wonderfully put together as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but it’s a pleasant little comedy that treads familiar ground, but in a witty and confident manner. The movie isn’t exactly a laugh-a-minute, it is one of the better major releases so far this summer.

Aldous is about to have his world rocked...

Note: My brother and correspondent, Ciaran, reviewed the film earlier in the week. My thoughts aren’t too different than his – save a few details here or there (I maybe liked it a tiny bit more). It’s well worth a read.

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