“A challenge. You should prove an interesting challenge.”
We have arrived at, arguably, the apex of Star Trek: The Next Generation's pop cultural power: the week it gave birth to a spin-off. I can't recall if “Chain of Command” coincided with, or immediately preceded, the launch of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but it was all hands on deck for this season in Star Trek history. The third Trek series, whose creative and narrative accomplishments are so enormous that they really deserve their own rewatch blog [cough blu-ray, CBS? cough], was proof positive that Next Gen had, in less than six full years, gone from unpopular gamble to franchise-building mainstay. And by running both series simultaneously, Paramount and Rick Berman were in some ways anticipating the birth of the mega-franchise in popular entertainment, some fifteen years later.Read more
“Felis catus, is your taxonomic nomenclature an endothermic quadroped, carnivorous by nature?”
We’re going to be called upon to ask what was in the water at the Star Trek: The Next Generation writers’ offices this month. Last week, the crew got turned into kids, and this week it’s a spaghetti western on the holodeck – where half the characters are incarnations of Data. (Next week, Data will adopt a bunch of robots. Yes he will.)
Fortunately, as with its predecessor “Rascals,” the batshit gamble in “A Fistful of Datas” pays off just fine, more or less. I liked this episode a lot when it first aired. It doesn’t hold up quite as well as it might have – it feels fairly slow now, and it’s the first of Patrick Stewart’s directorial efforts that I’d say is badly directed. Sequences are staged conventionally, split-screen visual effects are unimaginative, and the final gunfight – which should be the showpiece of the whole episode – never entirely clicks. But still, there’s a lot of fun to be had.Read more
“NCC-1701. No bloody A, B, C, or D.”
Ironically, the (arguably) least consequential of the Original Series / Next Gen crossover episodes, “Relics,” is probably the best of the lot. As befits its guest star, it’s a wild and sloppy affair, but wonderfully entertaining and warmhearted. Scotty has, since about the third Star Trek movie, been a largely laughable caricature more than a character; and even as part of Star Trek’s core cadre back in the ‘60s, his role was, for the most part, purely functional. How unexpected, then, that in “Relics” we don’t just get to have a bit more fun with the original chief engineer, but we get some added emotional “oomph” for our money, too. And if you’re not tickled by the fact that Scotty beamed himself into the future, well, you’re reading the wrong rewatch column.Read more
IDW is doing a post-Star Trek: Countdown, post-Star Trek Into Darkness (noodle those, won’t you), alternate-timeline Deep Space Nine crossover mini-series featuring Q. Insert geekosexual orgasmic hyperbole here.
First issue dropped today and it was loooooovely.
“MISTER PICKERD. I’ll be reminding you that it’s one o’clock.”
[Majel Barrett Computer Voice] Last time, on Blogging the Next Generation… I was working my way through the complete Star Trek: The Next Generation on blu-ray when the braintrust at CBS Home Video gummed up the works completely by delaying the release of the series’ sixth season by about half a year. Now, at last, they’ve got on with it (though no sign, yet, of a release date for Season Seven, so who knows when we’ll finally be given the opportunity to complete this trek through the stars) and our rewatch continues as we rejoin our heroes in mid-cliffhanger, lost in the 19th century…[/Majel Barrett Computer Voice]
So – let’s see if I still remember how to do this. What began as a thrilling and nostalgic trip back into just how sharp Star Trek: The Next Generation actually was in its early years, has long since become a process of caretaking a descent into blandness that overcame not just Next Gen, but all of Star Trek following (approximately) the start of TNG’s fifth season.Read more
ICYMI: it’s your Saturday content recap! Because I thought I was impressed with Grace Jones before.
Column: I talked about love and girls and boys and fighting and fucking and Eva Green and 300!
Blogging the Next Generation: I blamed "I Borg" for everything from Seven of Nine to Star Trek Into Darkness (and I felt pretty good about it)!
Watched: Catching up with Veronica Mars, White Squall and Saoirse Ronan’s The Host!
All this and more can be found at tederick.com.
(Gif is from Boomerang.)
“We are Hugh.”
I fucking hate the Hugh the Borg episode. I always have. Everyone else loves it; I absolutely loathe it. As you’ve probably realized by now, a) I was a huge fan of the Borg as they were originally conceived in “Q Who,” and b) I couldn’t stand watching them get thoroughly de-fanged by Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: First Contact, and Star Trek: Voyager.
Fuck, they were such a good idea at the beginning. But the writers chickened out completely on just letting the Borg be the Borg, preferring instead to simultaneously bring them down to our level (an understandable side-effect of needing, pragmatically, to find a way to defeat them every time they showed up) while upping their “cool” factor as one of Star Trek’s signature villain races. They accomplished the latter by massively expanding (and thereby de-mystifying) the Borg’s entire tech-noir backstory. Nanoprobes, assimilation tubules, the Borg Queen, Unimatrix One… all of this explain-the-Borg claptrap was the Midichlorians before there were Midichlorians. Don’t even get me started on Seven of Nine.Read more
“Who she is changes when the next man comes into the room. And I find myself hoping the next man won’t come in.”
Space whore! The Next Generation! The oldest profession comes to Star Trek c/o a deeply skeevy premise wherein an alien empath naturally, willingly turns herself into the perfect woman for whatever male she happens to be in front of. And she happens to be in front of Captain Picard.Read more
“For humans, the sexual act brings a closeness, an intimacy. It can be a very pleasurable experience. Inseminating a husk…”
“The Outcast” is Star Trek: The Next Generation’s LGBTQ episode, and it has aged well by aging badly, if you will. People hate this episode. It is very dated in its conception of the gay struggle; but then, it also earmarks such a specific time and place in the evolution of that struggle that it remains a memorable piece of television. It achieves very little, and makes a few serious mistakes. But Jeri Taylor writes, all in a row, four exceptionally great dialogue scenes between Soren and Riker, and they carry the balance of the episode for me. The rest is historical window-dressing.Read more