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Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Hunted (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 Hunted is a piece of allegorical Star Trek. Like The Defector before it, there’s a sense that the show is a little behind the curve – that it’s really dealing with issues that aren’t at the peak of their relevance. The Cold War with the Romulans felt like a bit of a throwback in the era of glasnost, and the ghosts of Vietnam raised by The Hunted feel like echoes of a national debate that had already taken place in the mid- to late-eighties.

And yet, despite that, it works. Like The Defector, there’s a sense that The Next Generation is distant enough from the issue that it can engage objectively. The treatment of Jarok in The Defector or Roga Danar in The Hunted feels infinitely more nuanced and sophisticated than the portrayal of Finn in The High Ground, when The Next Generation was rather consciously trying to engage with a more relevant and topical issue.

Effectively The Next Generation‘s Vietnam story, The Hunted serves as a startlingly effective piece of television. It might be the best action-driven episode of the show to date.

Keep soldiering on...

Keep soldiering on…

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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Who Watches the Watchers? (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.

Who Watches the Watchers? continues a strong start to the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It is the last episode of the third season produced by Michael Wagner. He would depart the show and leave Michael Piller in charge of the scripts for the rest of the season. It’s also the third-to-last credit for writers Hans Beimler and Richard Manning, who had both been around from the first season.

The writing duo would work on Yesterday’s Enterprise with Ira Steven Behr and Ronald D. Moore, but also finish Allegiance before departing the show at the end of the third season. (They were rather enraged by Piller’s tactless “writing 101” memo, sent later in the season.) Manning and Beimler would go on to write Paradise for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Behr would convince Beimler to return to the franchise for the fourth season of Deep Space Nine. Beimler would be Behr’s most faithful writing partner on that spin-off, teaming with Behr throughout the sixth and seventh seasons in particular.

In many ways, Who Watches the Watchers? returns to some of the themes that the duo had touched upon in their strongest script of the first season, Symbiosis. It’s a complicated morality tale about the ethics of Starfleet and the burden of the Prime Directive.

The answer, apparently, is Liko.

The answer, apparently, is Liko.

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