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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Dark Mirror by Diane Duane (Review)

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

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

Dark Mirror was released a few mere months before Crossover was broadcast – one of those moments of pop culture synergy where it turns out that two different individuals can have the same idea, but with infinitely different nuance or emphasis. Indeed, the timing syncs up so well that Crossover actually aired between the hardcover and soft cover printings of Dark Mirror, suggesting that a return to the mirror universe was something of an inevitability for Star Trek, in one form or another.

Duane’s approach to the mirror universe is markedly different to that of writers Michael Piller and Peter Allan Fields, with both Dark Mirror and Crossover taking the ending of Mirror, Mirror and running with it in opposite directions. Piller and Fields used the aftermath of Kirk’s meddling as a means to explore the consequences of interference in a culture that Kirk didn’t quite understand – a mechanism to explore the way that the original Star Trek didn’t seem to grasp moral relativity, and to explore political complexities outside Kirk’s value system.

In contrast, Dark Mirror is a more philosophical meditation on the nature of good and evil, a more metaphysical exploration of a fictional world built around the concept of selfishness and strength, and how such a universe would have to work on different physical laws than that of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

tng-darkmirror

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Star Trek: Mirror, Mirror #1 – Fragile Glass (Review)

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

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

One of the benefits and the curses of tie-in material is the ability to connect the dots – to tie together two parts of continuity separated by time and space, filling in the blanks in some character or plot arc. Often, this feels extraneous at best. In order for the televised stories to work, there must be enough information conveyed effectively to the audience so they can make their own leaps. Trying to plug imaginary and unnecessary holes is seldom satisfying.

On the other hand, there are occasionally gaps that are worth exploring. These are gaps that have been explained on the show, but which are still large enough that creators can fit their own interesting stories between them. The divide between Mirror, Mirror and Crossover is one such gap, as we go from the original Star Trek‘s version of the mirror universe to the very different iteration seen on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Tom DeFalco’s Fragile Glass attempts to sketch in some of the details around this gap. While it’s not entirely satisfying as either a missing link or a story in its own right, it does offer some nice pulpy fun and gets considerable mileage out of the “Spock vs. Kirk” premise.

I am not Spock...

I am not Spock…

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Star Trek: Mirror Universe – Shards & Shadows: The Greater Good by Margaret Wander Bonanno

This August, to celebrate the upcoming release of Star Trek: Into Darkness on DVD and blu ray, we’re taking a look at the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast. Movie reviews are every Tuesday and Thursday.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the movies with tie-ins around (and related to) the films. We’ll be doing one of these every week day. This is one such article.

If Star Trek and Star Trek: Into Darkness proved one thing, it’s that it sucks to be Christopher Pike, in any universe. The first captain of the USS Enterprise not only had to wait until 1988 to see his pilot (The Cage) finally broadcast on television, he also got shuffled off-screen unceremoniously in the franchise’s first two-parter (The Menagerie) and was never really mentioned again. When JJ Abrams’ Star Trek introduced us to a rebooted Christopher Pike played wonderfully by Bruce Greenwood, he observed of George Kirk was captain of a starship for eight minutes. It seemed like Pike ended up in command of the Enterprise for only slightly longer than that.

It seems that even mirror!Pike can’t catch a break, as Margaret Wander Bonanno demonstrates in her short little glimpse into how exactly mirror!James Tiberius Kirk took control of the ISS Enterprise.

st-shardsandshadows

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Non-Review Review: Mirror, Mirror

With Mirror, Mirror, director Tarsem Singh’s record remains unbroken. He’s still a director with a unique and appealing visual style that is struggling to find a proper output. Here, Singh’s stylish direction struggles against a somewhat tired premise and lazy script, managing to create a feast for the eyes that feels strangely lacking in substance. It’s a bit disappointing, if only because there are some interesting and fascinating ingredients, but they’re overwhelmed by tired cliché, a weak central performance, and a script that feels like it was filmed on the first draft.

Belle Swan...

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Jack and Tony: Brothers in Arms?

I had the pleasure of rewatching bits and pieces of the seventh season of 24 with my parents (as they are equally avid fans of the show). We recently completed the final double episode and I have to admit that it only really occurred to me how well the writers had constructed Tony as a shadowy counterpart to their lead. I’ve already expressed my thoughts on the season as a whole, but I just thought I’d make a quick note of some of the more interesting parallels and ponder whether Jack is really so much better than Tony.

jacktony

Clothes colour coded for your convenience... white=good, black=bad....

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