• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Transfigurations (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.

In way, what is so interesting about Transfigurations is how incredibly generic the story is. It’s a cookie-cutter Star Trek story, a collection of the narrative elements one associates with the franchise – mysterious aliens, energy beings, metaphors about tolerance and fear of the unknown – all loosely sorted into something resembling a linear story.

There’s none of the cheeky subversive charm from early in the third season. This isn’t a deconstruction of “energy being” stories in the way that The Bonding was a deconstruction of “red shirt” deaths. This is just a straight-up story about an alien species learning an important lesson about tolerance, dressed up in a science-fiction mystery, with a romantic subplot thrown in for Beverly because the show hasn’t really done much with Gates McFadden since she returned.

The result is as bland as you might expect, with a sense that everybody involved was just exhausted by the production difficulties that had haunted the third season, and desperately trying to make it to the hiatus. Transfigurations is nowhere near as bad as The Price or Ménage à Troi. It’s just forgettable and average.

Mellow yellow...

Mellow yellow…

Continue reading

Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Offspring (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 Offspring is an absolutely wonderful piece of Star Trek. In many ways, it is a spiritual successor to The Measure of a Man, the breakout show of the second season. (This similarity was one of the factors that led writer and script editor Melinda Snodgrass to harshly dismiss it as “fairly obvious and tired and stupid” in Captains’ Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages.) Sitting between two of the more epic and sweeping stories in the third season, The Offspring is a touching little story about parenting and childhood, and a nice character episode for Data.

It remains one of the most touching episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation ever produced, and a fitting debut for both future staff writer René Echevarria and soon-to-be-prolific Star Trek director Jonathan Frakes.

Building a loving family...

Building a loving family…

Continue reading

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Dramatis Personae (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.

Dramatis Personae tends to get lost in the shuffle at the end of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s first season. Sitting between two of the season’s most generic Star Trek stories (If Wishes Were Horses… and The Forsaken) and two distinctly Deep Space Nine classics (Duet and In the Hands of the Prophets), it’s easy to see why Joe Menosky’s tale of repeated history tends to get overlooked. It manages to sit quite neatly in both camps, as a generic Star Trek tale and as something more specific to Deep Space Nine.

After all, possession stories are scattered throughout the Star Trek mythos. Star Trek: The Next Generation was quite fond of have various members of the crew impersonated or doubled or controlled by a variety of alien influences. Dramatis Personae also feels like a very Joe Menosky script, linked by various thematic connections to the writer’s work on both The Next Generation and later on Star Trek: Voyager.

And yet, despite all those links, Dramatis Personae feels quite anchored to Deep Space Nine. It’s hard to imagine the dynamic working with any other Star Trek cast, even Voyager‘s Maquis and Starfleet ensemble. There’s also the sense that the episode’s pattern of repeated history feels more in keeping with Deep Space Nine‘s perception of history than any other Star Trek show’s.

The man with the plan...

The man with the plan…

Continue reading