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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Symbiosis (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.

After Arsenal of Freedom, I was wary of Symbiosis. Star Trek has always liked exploring socially and morally relevant ideas through the vehicle of science-fiction. I can understand the appeal of it – science-fiction allows us to divorce basic arguments for all manner of clouding context and to address them in the purest or terms. I think Star Trek is at its most powerful exploring these themes (as The Next Generation would do in episodes like The Outcast), but there’s a risk involved. Nobody wants to be lectured about a simplistic moral principle for forty-minutes, and nobody wants to see a complex issue boiled down past all recognition.

So it’s pretty nice that Symbiosis works quite well. The show is a bit bumpy in places, but it does a lot of things well enough that it’s an entertaining watch. Indeed, it feels like the kind of episode we should have seen a lot earlier in the year.

Star gazing...

Star gazing…

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Non-Review Review: Sunshine

Sunshine is a science-fiction movie. Well, duh, you proclaim, looking at the screenshots or having read the plot synopsis, it’s about a bunch of people in space flying to the sun. Of course it’s science-fiction! It’s hardly a comedy or musical! However, I’m talking about something more essential than its setting or its superficial elements. Although the story of a bunch of astronauts planning to reignite the dying star at the centre of our solar system may distract you, Sunshine works so well because it grabs the sorts of philosophical ideas at the heart of the best science-fiction: it’s an exploration of the conflict between the rational and the irrational, the logical and the emotional and the place of man and his understanding of the world around him. It’s movie that is far smarter than it pretends to be.

Going for gold...

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