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Star Trek – Operation — Annihilate!

To celebrate the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness this month, we’ll be running through the first season of the classic Star Trek all this month. Check back daily to get ready to boldly go. It’s only logical.

How do you follow The City on the Edge of Forever? The previous episode is one of the best-loved episodes of Star Trek ever produced, one of the great science-fiction television episodes of the sixties, and one of the best science-fiction romances ever written. It’s a gigantic and massively influential piece of television, one of the cornerstones of Star Trek and perhaps the best indicator of just how thoughtful and how genuine the franchise can be when it tries. So, what’s next? Where do we go from here? What is the next shot after that last scene of Kirk abandoning the Guardian of Forever on a desolate rock?

It’s always interesting to compare the first season of Star Trek to the first year of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The former can be counted among the very best of the show’s thirty televised seasons, while the latter can be counted among the worst. However, they do have something in common. They both probably should have ended an episode early, with The City on the Edge of Forever and Conspiracy serving as effective caps on each show’s first season, leaving the audience a chance to digest what they had seen.

Unfortunately, neither show ended on anything that could be measured among the strongest show of a given year. The Neutral Zone ended the first season of The Next Generation with a moralising whimper. While Operation — Annihilate! is quite entertaining on its own terms, it doesn’t rank among the best of the season. Still, it’s a solid pulpy science-fiction tale, which might not be the worst thing.

Man of action!

Man of action!

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Star Trek: The Next Generation – When the Bough Breaks (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.

When the Bough Breaks and Home Soil are an interesting two episodes of the first season of The Next Generation, if only because they seem to contrast each other so well. I’ve complained before about how the first season of The Next Generation had a great deal of trouble finding its own identity, and When The Bough Breaks feels like a conscious attempt to do a story in the style of the original Star Trek, even if most of the elements are fairly original.

In contrast, Home Soil starts with a premise that owes a considerable debt to a very specific episode of Star Trek, Devil in the Dark, but finds a way to approach it that emphasises the differences between the two shows. You can probably guess which one of the two episodes I preferred, and while When the Bough Breaks is never as bad as it could be (a story focusing on Wesley and other child actors?) it’s not necessarily good, either.

The lost world...

The lost world…

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X-Men: The Age of Apocalypse Omnibus (Review/Retrospective)

With our month looking at Avengers comics officially over, we thought it might be fun to dig into that other iconic Marvel property, the X-Men. Join us for a month of X-Men related reviews and discussion.

The nineties represent a contentious time for fans of the X-Men franchise. The decade saw comic books explode into a huge market, with ridiculous sales and publicity, and the entire X-Men franchise rode that wave perfectly. Chris Claremont and Jim Lee’s adjectiveless X-Men #1 remains the biggest-selling comic book of all time, after all, and the franchise quickly secured itself as Marvel’s premiere comic book franchise. On the other hand, the line had been thrown into disarray by the departure of long-term steward Chris Claremont and its era-defining artist Jim Lee. The family of titles had struggled to find a footing through some uneven crossovers and events like X-Cutioner’s Song and Fatal Attractions. However, I think the decade produced one gem that can be considered as a true classic, along with the best of Claremont’s tenure and the work of Grant Morrison. The Age of Apocalypse might seem an odd choice to identify as one of the highlights of the X-Men saga, but I think it deserves very serious consideration.

Apocalypse now…

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