Friday, August 2, 2013

Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) [10-17]

"Hide and Q" (5/10)
Q, appearing like a natural disaster in SimCity, prevents progress for awhile to indulge in a game of "The Squire of Gothos." I mean "Spectre of the Gun." I mean Risk. How do you write female characters again?
-- It's a long, circuitous, poorly-paced route to get to two elements crowding the frame in the climax: Riker struggling with newfound powers and humanity's desire for happiness. The former takes center stage for much of the episode, while the latter is far more compelling. Q then chides the Enterprise for not seizing an opportunity to use such powers for Good but what does he do with his own power other than play pranks on everybody? Fucking asswipe.

"Too Short a Season" (5/10)
A young guy in old man makeup? Uh oh, some Fountain of Youth plot is on the horizon. Fused with Die Hard.
-- Well, on the horizon behind us, really. This is more about dealing with the aftermath of a foolish Admiral reversing his age to... properly leverage a hostage situation I guess. Because it's something he dealt with 45 years in the past and being young again would make dealing with it much easier? Yeah, it's a mess by the end of it all, a vestigial symptom of being a sequel to "A Private Little War." At the very least it's an apology for it, and it showcases Picard's preferred method for conflict resolution: synthesizing pity!

"The Big Goodbye" (5/10)
Holodeckisode. They miss an opportunity to go into black & white. Lawrence Tierney!
-- And again that problem with burying the lead, showing us the Enterprise crew reacting to the problem before Picard and others know there's an issue, and we wait as they catch up. How new is the Holodeck, by the way? Perhaps what we saw in "Encounter at Farpoint" is the Holodeck in limitation, ie it can only generate lush settings and not other characters or interactive storylines. I'm guessing Picard's reaction to it is more for our benefit than an accurate reflection of its use. There's a lot of that going on. Wait- Picard walks back onto the ship with lipstick smeared on his face. Does that mean he could leave with lung cancer too? And did he accidentally leave the program running? Perhaps he shouldn't have started with something so advanced if this narrative shit is new. The bad guys sure survive for a long time in the hallway, with no holo-emitters. SHOULD I IGNORE THIS FUCKING SHIT ARGH

"Datalore" (5/10)
An extinct civilization teaches the Enterprise how to properly bury stuff. Like the goddamned Lead. Some Dead Ringers shit ensues. A glimpse of what the hell Data is, finally.
-- Why teach the sketchy, overconfident copy of Data to pilot the starship? You know that's going to go south at some point. Face mutilation! Quickly! Before the serial killer takes your identity! Oh shit, he thought of that first. Good thing for the Enterprise that Lore chooses to become incompetent and slow down his horrifying plan at just the right moment. And we're still not listening to Wesley even though he's allowed on the bridge? I wish I liked this one more, but man that stuff in the second half really annoyed me.

"Angel One" (5/10)
Oof, bad composite work and bad eighties hair. Women in charge of things... pfft, please. What is this? Malaysia? Picard sure gets taken down a lot, already. 
-- They almost hit the mark with this one in spite of the heavy-handed sexual subjugation talk and another violation of the Prime Directive as they prevent a civilization from carrying out its own laws. The virus aboard the Enterprise subplot justifies itself by confining the away team to Angel One and leaving them to deal with the situation using time-tested speeches about equality and blahblahblah. I'd take this one in place of a couple of previous episodes where they failed using this exact formula. Still the show is getting in its own way with its nonsense.

"11001001" (6/10)
Ooo, GOOD composite work and some Holodeck questions mercifully answered. Did the ship's computer just take a BREATH?! That half-sentence tradeoff shit seems wildly inefficient.
-- Riker The Rapist Asshole returns and helps demonstrate the Holodeck's ability to discern highly subjective phrases and colloquialisms and generate some bad acting. And then there's a neat little plot about a planet in peril and in need of the ship's memory banks. It's not bad, very reminiscent of 80's science fiction somehow, and for all the hullabaloo it works as a fun diversionary episode. Get past the awkward direction in the beginning and it's clear sailing ahead.

"Home Soil" (6/10)
The Enterprise uses a terraforming station as their own personal tourist trap and annoy people trying to do their job. Suddenly MURDER and then FORGIVENESS FOR THE MURDER JESUS A MAN HAS DIED, DID WE FORGET THAT?
-- Really more of an excuse for the supernerd who wrote this to show off his knowledge of terraforming, and how much thought he put into the Federation's method for contracting it out, as well as how first contact with a new flavor of life is handled when warfare seems inevitable. A well-directed and suspenseful trip to the same ol' conclusion in the same ol' "The Devil in the Dark" territory. Ah well.

"When the Bough Breaks" (5/10)
Ahh that age-old dilemma of 'do I sell my children for vital scientific information?' Who hasn't been in that pickle. Holy shit it's Deep Throat from the X-Files!
-- It is initially impressive that this episode does in ten minutes what the Original Series would have taken twenty-seven to do, leaving plenty of room for everyone to worry over solving this issue. It doesn't quite keep up the pace and it's pretty easy to see where they're going with it after awhile. Aint no tragedy beyond that, and Picard's Captaining methodology is finally well-suited to the situation when Enterprise children are kidnapped. Thaaaaaat's when you say 'fuck off to yer ways.'