“I was always proud of you.”
Wil Wheaton’s proper swan song with the franchise (complicated by the fact that he returned later for a couple of really good episodes, and a couple of really poor episodes) finds the young ensign on his way to Starfleet Academy at last – but not before he’s given one last opportunity to save the universe with his pluck and his tricorder. Well, not the universe this time, or even the ship; but as a fitting apotheosis for the character, Wesley saves Captain Picard.Read more
“They all do. They deserve so much more.”
The best Beverly episode and therefore one of my five or six favourite episodes of all time, “Remember Me” is spooky and unsettling in turns, and genuinely thrilling as it races to its climax. It has a strange, Twilight Zone-ish premise that is credibly executed thanks almost entirely to the commitment of the cast. The episode has a fiendishly complicated scenario to describe, yet Gates McFadden plays it as adeptly as if people get stuck in static warp bubbles every time they go to the grocery store. Which, on reflection, they just might.Read more
“As captain of the starship Enterprise, I ask you not to make that sound.”
The fever of five-Enterprise episodes of Next Gen breaks with “Suddenly Human,” which feels altogether like a holdover from the first season – and not in a good way. Teen heartthrob Chad Allen, with his perfect shampoo hair, plays a human boy named Jono who was raised by the villainous Talarians, who gets rescued by the Enterprise after a training accident, and opts to spend a little quality time with Captain Picard.Read more
"Yes… but let him dream."
The third part of an unofficial triptych, bringing emotional closure to the two “Best of Both Worlds” episodes, “Family” is very nearly better than both of the Borg shows, and is in many ways one of the finest episodes that Star Trek: The Next Generation ever put together. It is a marvelous example of experimentation with form, doing away with all of the presumptive expectations of an episode of this series. There is no alien menace-of-the-week or holodeck malfunction. There is no science fiction concept to unravel or message about the human race to allegorize. There isn’t even the usual A-plot / B-plot structure, but rather an A-plot / B-plot / C-plot triad, playing like Mozart variations on the episode’s basic theme of - that’s right - “family.” And by laying bare an unusually poignant vulnerability for three of the male members of the principal cast, it’s a beautiful piece of work.Read more
ICYMI: It’s your Saturday content recap! Cuz blue.
Podcast: Mamo got esoteric for show 316, talking TV, porn, and fan advocacy.
Column: World War C, looking at the relevance of film critics (again)
Watched: Only God Forgives The Bling Ring, no truer statement ever stated
All this and more at tederick.com!
“Females do not deserve the honour of clothing.”
Let me begin by thanking “Ménage à Troi” for forcing me to look up the meaning of its title when I was thirteen, thereby introducing a whole new video game level to my masturbation fantasies as a teenager. Let me continue by averring that I flat-out fuckin’ love this episode. There are a few episodes in Star Trek: The Next Generation’s third season that are unabashedly unafraid to have a bunch of foolish fun (“Deja Q,” “Hollow Pursuits”), and this one’s my favourite, even though on its merits alone it’s probably the thinnest (and most troublesome). I don’t care. It has the fizzy glee of a Shakespearean comedy performed in the park on a warm summer’s night. It’s my favourite Lwaxana episode of the whole run of the character. It’s also the best Will+Deanna=4EVR episode, like, ever. And if you don’t spend the last ten minutes of the show – from Picard spouting love poetry to snatch Lwaxana back from the grips of the Ferengi, to Wesley stepping onto the bridge in Starfleet red – grinning from ear to ear, you and I are not the same kind of fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation.Read more
“Go on. You’ve wanted to tell him for a long time.”
I really hated this episode back when it first aired. It’s better than I remember, but still skeeves me out – something in the execution is way, way off. There’s too much going on at an emotional level, for one thing – three major characters (Worf, Wesley and Beverly) and one guest star (Jeremy Aster) processing variations on the grief of losing a family member on a Starfleet mission; the de rigueur alien-menace-of-the-week driving the back half of the plot; and Counselor Troi flitting about, acting as Greek chorus to the entire affair, describing aloud (often to the captain) what each of the characters is going through.Read more
“I run a clean place.”
“BACK BECAUSE YOU DEMANDED IT!” screamed the cover of Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine’s issue #9, proudly trumpeting the return of Dr. Beverly Crusher to the series as though it were the modern equivalent of the letter-writing campaign that had saved the original Star Trek. I don’t know the real reasons behind Gates McFadden’s return, though I doubt it was anything so dramatic; nonetheless, no single piece of entertainment news probably made me happier in the entirety of the 1980s. Dr. Crusher easily cemented herself as my favourite character throughout Season One of Next Gen – and the Dr. Crusher who returns to the ship after a year at Starfleet Medical in Next Gen’s third-season premiere, “Evolution,” is even more my favourite. Call her Dr. Crusher 2.0.Read more
“Don’t confuse style with intent.”
“Peak Performance” is one of the rare episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation that I didn’t see at all in the original run, waiting five years till the series was stripped for second-run syndication during Season Six before I finally caught up with it. It’s a shame – it’s hard to imagine a more perfectly balanced, beautifully executed Season Two episode than this. It’s not trying for anything particularly heavy – even the “make the threat real!” plot twist at the end, where the Ferengi show up during the battle exercise, seems like a perfunctory concession to needless dramatics. But who cares? It’s Picard vs. Riker in a space battle, the matchup of fanboy wet dreams.Read more
“I’m just not overly thrilled at the prospect of my innards being made the subject of Starfleet gossip.”
“Samaritan Snare” is one of those rare instances of a premise so oddball it actually works, or at least, is really memorable: it’s the one where Geordi gets kidnapped by the race of… really dumb guys. The Pakleds, who are one makeup flourish shy of being a full-on hate crime against differently-abled people, are sold with commitment enough to overcome the general implausibility of the idea. I think this is largely down to Christopher Collins (returning after his appearance as a Klingon in “A Matter of Honor”) as Grebnedlog, and Leslie Morris as Reginod, both of whom give solid Pakled performances and basically tell you everything you need to know about the species with line delivery and body language. I doubt there’s much more gas in the tank on the Pakled concept after “Samaritan Snare” (and the series never returned to them as a featured species), but it was still fun to see them referred to occasionally for the rest of the series, or turn up in the back of Quark’s bar on Deep Space Nine. They made an impression.Read more