• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Survivors by Jean Lorrah (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. This is actually supplementary to the first season of the Next Generation, specifically the episode Skin of Evil.

Writing tie-in fiction is tougher than a lot of people seem to think it is. There’s a notion that you’re playing in somebody else’s sandbox, and that you’re confined and restricted by what has and what has not appeared on screen, knowing that your work will always be secondary. As such, I can’t imagine how tough it must have been for Jean Lorrah to write Survivors. Only the fourth tie-in novel for Star Trek: The Next Generation, it was released in January 1989, around a quarter of the way through the show’s second season. Given the time it would take to edit and publish a paperback, it seems that Lorrah likely had to have the novel ready quite early in the life of The Next Generation.

It’s one thing to try to accurately capture the voice of well-defined characters on a long-running show, but it must be infinitely more difficult when writing based off sketchy early episodes that aren’t always consistent in their own characterisation.

tng-survivors

Continue reading

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Babel (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.

With Babel, we hit the most significant flaw in the first season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Put frankly, Babel is the first story that could easily have worked as an episode of the original Star Trek or of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Indeed, Michael Piller concedes in Captains’ Logs Supplemental – The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages that Babel had a history longer than that of Deep Space Nine itself:

We had this premise for over five years at Next Generation. It was written by the same person who wrote “Hollow Pursuits” for us, and we had always been attracted to the idea that you could suddenly lose the ability to use language and communicate, and how people are able to communicate with each other.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s worth noting that the first season of Deep Space Nine was airing concurrently with the sixth season of The Next Generation. If people wanted to see stories that could work on The Next Generation, it made more sense to see them executed on that show by a production team with experience in these sorts of plots.

While Babel isn’t a bad episode by any means, there’s a sense that it has been cobbled together from leftovers at another table, and the result isn’t nearly as satisfying as it should be.

Chief concerns...

Chief concerns…

Continue reading

Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Outrageous Okona (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 (and a tiny bit of the second), episode-by-episode. Check back daily for the latest review.

Well, I’m not sure if you can call two solid episodes in succession a “streak” or a “roll”, but Where Silence Has Lease and Elementary, Dear Data were two hours of television that demonstrated how far the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation had come since its rocky first season. However, it appears that the two very good episodes in a row did not represent a sudden change in direction and did not assure consistency. The Outrageous Okona is a bad episode, by just about any measure. It’s not necessarily as offensive as Angel One or Code of Honour, but it is quite painful to watch.

Unlike a lot of the bungled “message” shows in the first season that contained misjudged ideas or offensive elements, The Outrageous Okona is merely a terribly written and unfunny mess of an episode that simply gnaws at the viewer.

He works best Solo...

He works best Solo…

Continue reading

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 1 (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.

Well, the video and sound quality on the blu ray are excellent. I feel the need to state that here, first, before I delve into the season as a whole. I jumped on board the recent high-definition re-release of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the work done here by the production team is astounding. As I trawled through every episode from Encounter at Farpoint to The Neutral Zone, I was amazed and impressed at how much care had gone into restoring and renewing the show for high-definition. I can’t imagine how painstaking the work was – re-editing the original film stock, remastering old effects, remixing the sound. The team have made a believer out of me, and I am on board for pretty much any restored Star Trek boxset that CBS sees fit to release. (I can’t wait to see Deep Space Nine updated.)

I think it’s important to acknowledge the work that went into producing a set that looks and sounds fantastic. It made returning to the show a joy, even when I was (frequently) reminded of just how rocky that first season was.

tng-arsenaloffreedom4

Continue reading

Star Trek: The Next Generation – We’ll Always Have Paris (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.

It’s hard to believe that we got this far into the show without a Picard-centred episode. Sure, the original Star Trek was reluctant to probe too deeply into Kirk’s background, but Star Trek: The Next Generation had already demonstrated that it was more willing to probe the histories of characters like Data (Datalore), Worf (Heart of Glory), Yar (Code of Honour and The Naked Now) and Troi (Haven). Star Trek shows, by they nature, tend to gravitate around their leading actor, and Patrick Stewart has been shown to hold the show together through sheer force of will at certain points. However, We’ll Always Have Paris marks the first time we’ve really delved that deeply into the character of Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

While we don’t peer nearly deeply enough, it’s fun to base an episode around Patrick Stewart, and time-travel was always a fun story-telling device on The Next Generation.

Picard's love life is solid as a rock...

Love on the rock…

Continue reading

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Hide & Q (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 have a confession to make. I quite like the first half of Hide & Q. Don’t get me wrong, the ending of the episode ruins any goodwill that sequence built up, and the opening section of the story isn’t exactly amazing – it’s just crafted more competently than any episode since Where No One Has Gone Before. I think part of the reason I enjoyed that first half of Hide & Q so much more than most of the recent episodes is because it accomplishes something that Star Trek: The Next Generation has been trying to do since The Naked Now, and with much more success. It manages to channel the original Star Trek.

Okay, the first half wouldn’t make an exceptional episode of the original Star Trek. It wouldn’t even make a great episode of the original Star Trek. It would, however, make a somewhat passable episode of the original Star Trek. Which is, sadly, more than enough to put it quite ahead of most of the other episodes in this first season so far.

Caught in the net…

Continue reading

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Where No One Has Gone Before (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 remember that I never really like Where No One Has Gone Before when I was younger. Even now, I have a bit of a tough time counting it among the best episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. However, despite that, I’ve actually warmed to it quite a bit on this rewatch. It’s not brilliantly constructed as an hour of television, and I wouldn’t even count it as the best produced in this first season of the second Star Trek series. However, it does something that a lot of other episodes in this run try to do, and fail to accomplish.

It manages to evoke the spirit of Star Trek.

Into the wild purple yonder…

Continue reading