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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Booby Trap (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.

Booby Trap is a bit of a mess. The writing credits for the episode, featuring four different writers credited with getting the idea from basic story to finished script. This wasn’t at all unusual in the show’s third season – consider the writing credits for Yesterday’s Enterprise – but it gives an indication of the chaos unfolding behind the scenes on the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

It’s Michael Piller’s second credited script, and his first writing credit since he took over the writers’ room. (Although he did, along with Melinda Snodgrass, do a pass on Ronald D. Moore’s script for The Bonding.) As such, it is written with a very clear idea of where Piller wants to take the show, one that shines through a somewhat uneven and all-over-the-place plot, which often feels like several different scripts blended into one.

Building on what came before...

Building on what came before…

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Star Trek: The Next Generation – 11001001 (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.

Maybe it’s just because I’m delirious coming out of Angel One, an episode that managed to make Datalore look almost reasonable by comparison, but I quite like 11001001. Part of that comes down to the fact that it’s one of the few episodes in this troubled first season that manages to take the restrictions imposed on the show by Roddenberry and make them work. It helps that the aliens of the week – the Bynars – are among the more interesting creatures to appear on the show so far. And it finally makes for a nice Riker episode, finding a way to team up Riker and Picard, a duo that haven’t spent enough time together at this point in the series.

Base, the final frontier...

Base, the final frontier…

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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Datalore (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.

If you absolutely, positively, positronically have to do an evil twin story, then I guess that Data is the best character to use. Datalore is hardly the finest or strongest episode of the first season. It’s riddled with plot holes, it feels overly contrived, it punishes the viewer for actually paying attention to the set-ups and plot devices, and it is awkwardly paced and sluggishly delivered. That said, it does offer some real stakes and an opportunity for Brent Spiner to ham it up a notch. So, while we’re not in “classic” (or even “good”) territory here, it’s certainly more watchable than a lot of the episodes around it.

That is not saying much.

The threat is crystal clear...

The threat is crystal clear…

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Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Naked Now (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 stand by my original observation that it was a smart idea to set Star Trek: The Next Generation a century after Star Trek. After all, Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek was over two decades old by the time that Encounter at Farpoint aired. Twenty years is a long time in entertainment – it can feel like a century. The world had changed since Star Trek appeared, and setting the story in a brand new world with strong (yet not strangling) ties to the beloved original series allowed the best of both worlds.

However, the problem with the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation is that it doesn’t quite realise this yet. It’s busy trying to do “Star Trek”, even though times have changed. The Naked Now, the second episode of the series, is the perfect embodiment of this problem. Star Trek: The Next Generation should have been establishing its own identity, rather than trying to simply emulate its predecessor.

Flying off into the sunset…

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