Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch (oh god no)

Started by Lemming, May 11, 2021, 02:05:41 PM

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Lemming

May 16, 2021, 11:20:00 PM #90 Last Edit: May 16, 2021, 11:33:24 PM by Lemming
S01E06 - Lonely Among Us

As the Enterprise escorts delegates from warring worlds to peace talks, a weird bastard energy entity thing comes aboard.

- Ahahaha, nice formal uniforms. Literally just dresses.

- Great alien design on the Selay and Anticans.

- Riker and Picard suck each other off about how performatively confused they are by the Selay-Antican conflict. Picard balks that they fight over stupid things like "even, strangely enough, economic systems". Yeah, baffling, right, imagine people caring about the systems that govern their entire lives. Seriously though, I get the intention - that Earth society is so different in the future that Riker and Picard literally can't comprehend the idea of violence, division and inequality, and I think it's a cool thing to put in, even if the end result is that you just want to kick Picard in the nuts. Later, we get another look into the different morals of the future - there's no meat aboard the Enterprise, because, as Riker says, "we no longer enslave animals for food purposes". The replicators make meat substitutes instead. Really like this, it's a shame they torpedoed it in later series by having O'Brien eat an entire dead cow or whatever.

- Great unintentional comedy as nobody even notices that Bev's been brainfucked by the alien. Wes, Troi, Geordi, Picard, Data - all of them give her slightly weird looks and ask if she's okay, but don't have their suspicions raised too much. Probably because Bev is so weird and dazed normally that the alien presence barely changes her behaviour at all.

- Chief Engineer Argyle is mentioned in dialogue, but is mysteriously nowhere to be seen. Some guy called Mr Singh represents the entire Engineering crew in a briefing, and is also the one given the impossible task of fixing everything. He's literally just some guy and Picard demands that he do everything. Hilarious.

- Tasha interviews the delegates to find out if one of them has fucked about with the ship's computers. She suspects that they're lying. Hmm, if only there was some way to tell? If only there was someone aboard who's entire job it is to read people? If only there was some kind of empathic officer aboard the ship who could have been brought along to the interviews to check out the delegates?

- Data Sherlock Holmes. Aaaa. Not a fan, but I do appreciate how utterly odd it is in the context of the episode. It's a sort of vaguely horror-y episode, but we get a bunch of Data-being-silly jokes peppered through it, the first one coming about a minute after Singh gets violently killed.

- O'Brien is escorting the delegates back to their rooms. He's not even in security! Why's he doing this? Understaffing?

- Picard gets zapped by the alien and merges with it. Everyone detects this within about 30 seconds of it happening, but they can't do shit because it'd be MUTINY. There's quite a good scene where the bridge crew get together and panic about whether or not they should take command of the ship. It's fairly effective, entertaining drama, but the rules seem hilariously tight. I love how Bev and Riker follow orders to go and run psychiatric tests on themselves and waste an hour or so while leaving Alien-Picard with run of the ship.

- "WHAT'S HAPPENED TO YOUR MIND, DOCTOR?" Brilliant line, just the right combination of campy fun and genuine dread.

- Alien-Picard zaps the bridge. "WHERE IS HE?", screams Tasha, who is looking right at him. Terrible, terrible acting from Frakes in this scene. Don't know what the director was doing. Everyone seems to have a completely different reaction to the electricity, but at least all the other actors do something. Frakes just stands there looking gormless. "RESTRAIN THE CAPTAIN!"

- Picard gets stuck as pure energy because he got scammed by the alien. Data and Troi give Riker an extensive speech about how Picard will likely attempt to re-enter the ship through the computer. Soon, Data points out that Picard is now inside the computer. The letter P appears on Geordi's panel. "P... for Picard?", Riker deduces. Brilliant. Absolutely forensic. Well done. Fantastic. Good stuff. Congratulations, Will.

- What the hell is going on with the ending joke. Tee hee hee, someone's been murdered aboard the ship! Comedy music playing, Troi smirking. Insanely misjudged tone. You also have to laugh at Riker's response to Tasha rushing in to tell him of the murder. "Couldn't this have waited a moment?" he asks, nodding towards Picard, forcing Tasha to acknowledge Picard's rank before continuing. What an obsequious little TURD

Not a great episode, but not unwatchable or anything. There's a strong unnerving tone to the whole thing, and I like how the script suggests that Picard merged with the alien mostly willingly, and that his decision to leave and become energy was made at least partly of his own will. If this was the original Star Trek, no doubt Kirk would have heroically broken free of the alien's influence, spurred on by his feelings towards DUTY and SPOCK, but Picard gets fully enticed by promises of exploration and adventure the kind of which he'd never be able to have in a human body, and allows himself to become a merged entity with the alien as a result. It's cool and it doesn't feel out of character, especially since the alien is never suggested to be malicious, and Stewart gives a good performance in the final bridge scene, pretty convincingly portraying a character that's half-Picard, half-alien. 4/10.



(EDIT: Initially put 5/10, after about 20 seconds of reflection I think 4 is fairer)

daf

006 | "Lonely Among Us"



Great Big Puff!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Highlights :
• Comedy Sherlock Pipe
• Dogs in Spaaaaaaaaaaace!
• O'Brien!!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Other Bits :
• Plastic Lizard bonce
• Laptops in Spaaaaaaaaaaace!
• Mr Sing = 'Redshirt' death #1?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Score :

Blumf

It's an episode that's left a minimal impression on me. I think I just remember the 'P' bit and that's it.



Don't know why, the story is okay, the bickering diplomats, the idea of being tempted to explore this other form of existence. But in the end, <shrug>.

JamesTC

I often think about Chief Engineer Argyle. Especially because I have a canvas print of him hung up in my hallway.


Chairman Yang

hahaha that's ace. i assume he's hung at the character's real life height

Deanjam

Quote from: JamesTC on May 17, 2021, 08:59:37 PM
I often think about Chief Engineer Argyle. Especially because I have a canvas print of him hung up in my hallway.



The story was this actor was apparently considered for a regular role as chief engineer when the office started to receive large amounts of fan mail for him. However they noticed that the mail contained plot points for episodes not yet aired. Turned out the letters were fake ones organised by the actor, so he was canned.

I don't know how true that is, but I like the story so will keep repeating it.

JamesTC

Quote from: Deanjam on May 17, 2021, 09:41:27 PM
The story was this actor was apparently considered for a regular role as chief engineer when the office started to receive large amounts of fan mail for him. However they noticed that the mail contained plot points for episodes not yet aired. Turned out the letters were fake ones organised by the actor, so he was canned.

I don't know how true that is, but I like the story so will keep repeating it.

Exactly the reason why me and a couple of friends loved the guy so much. So much so that I got three canvas prints made up of him.

The story just can't not be true. Writing your own fan letters in and referencing episodes that haven't aired yet is just gold.

earl_sleek

Quote from: Lemming on May 16, 2021, 11:20:00 PM
- Great unintentional comedy as nobody even notices that Bev's been brainfucked by the alien. Wes, Troi, Geordi, Picard, Data - all of them give her slightly weird looks and ask if she's okay, but don't have their suspicions raised too much. Probably because Bev is so weird and dazed normally that the alien presence barely changes her behaviour at all.


Ambient Sheep

Quote from: daf on May 16, 2021, 09:43:28 PM

Hah, that reminds me, the "I just got out of bed wearing my space pyjamas" look really doesn't help to dispel the nonce hypothesis.

Quote from: mothman on May 16, 2021, 02:00:56 AM

"It's a very comfy bed, Wes.  King Size and adjustable.  I have a spare pair of pyjamas for you just like mine.  I can help you change into them if you like."

mothman

I had a look at Eric Menyuk's filmography. It's... not what you'd call stellar. 28 roles in 31 years (1987-2018). Lots of single guest roles. About three roles in biggish movies (Fearless with Jeff Bridges, The Babysitter with Alicia Silverstone, and... oh, no... Ghost Dad with Bill Cosby). Also, I didn't know they were still making Hill Street Blues in 1987?!

It always fascinates me, the career trajectories of those lower down the totem pole. Sure he's likely done better overall than many who tried their luck in Tinseltown, but do they feel looking back it was worth it? And how does anyone earn a living? Are we looking at a scenario where he has to have a proper job despite having played a relatively significant guest character in one of the most popular TV shows of all time..?

EDIT: Oh.

QuoteEric Menyuk (born November 5, 1959) is an American attorney and former actor. He is best known for his brief appearances in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation as the Traveler. He was originally considered for the role of the android Data, which was eventually given to Brent Spiner. After retiring from his acting career, he retrained to become an attorney and represents children with disabilities and specializes in children's education rights.

I'd make the obvious joke but he's a lawyer so best not.

Ambient Sheep

Indeed not, as I'm sure he's a lovely guy (no sarcasm).  Just unintentionally made to seem creepy.

And yeah, I often wonder the same about those less-famous actors.  If I were in his position I'd be feeling tortured every night before sleep: "If only I'd passed that audition for Data..."

Ambient Sheep

Meanwhile I'm loving these reviews, btw.  Great stuff.  Although at this rate you'll have overtaken me in 2-3 months so I'll have to defer reading the thread then. :)

Quote from: Lemming on May 16, 2021, 11:20:00 PM
S01E06 - Lonely Among Us
[...]
Tasha interviews the delegates to find out if one of them has fucked about with the ship's computers. She suspects that they're lying. Hmm, if only there was some way to tell? If only there was someone aboard who's entire job it is to read people? If only there was some kind of empathic officer aboard the ship who could have been brought along to the interviews to check out the delegates?

Hah yes, that totally struck me at the time.

Same with nobody spotting Bev being got at.

There's a Season 3 episode I saw recently where much the same thing happens.  Sensors detect a burst of strange energy in a senior crew member's cabin, said crew member then starts acting strangely, and it takes the rest of them about 20 minutes of screen time to put two and two together.  ("Ohhhh yeahhhh, there WAS that strange energy burst that we forgot to investigate, wasn't there?" *facepalm*)

mothman

Quote from: Ambient Sheep on May 18, 2021, 01:18:46 AM
Indeed not, as I'm sure he's a lovely guy (no sarcasm).  Just unintentionally made to seem creepy.

And yeah, I often wonder the same about those less-famous actors.  If I were in his position I'd be feeling tortured every night before sleep: "If only I'd passed that audition for Data..."

Yeah, I feel really bad about going down the "Traveller is a creepy paedo" route now.

Frankly, I don't know how close he came to getting the role of Data. From seeing the copious notes & memos from the whole TNG casting process[nb]@TrekDocs is a must-follow account on Twitter for this kind of thing.[/nb], it looks like they considered all sorts of avenues as they weren't sure what they wanted for ANY of the cast. Certainly for some of the roles it was the making or breaking of the actor (e.g. LaForge; another actor of then-similar stature and experience hasn't had anything remotely like the career Levar Burton has had since). Menyuk had had ONE previous credit as of mid-1987: the aforementioned Hill Street Blues role. That's a hell of a leap to then going on to be Star Trek's next Spock.

MojoJojo

I think Levar had a fair bit more stature than Eric Menyuk. He was the star of Roots, which won lots of awards and was a big enough deal to have a 25 year anniversary release.

(edit - actually LeVar was only in the first two (of eight) episodes. Still a bit more the Menyuk).

Mr Trumpet

Wasn't Wesley Snipes in contention for the role of LaForge? Glad things turned out the way they did tbh, LeVar Burton would have been a terrible Blade.

JamesTC

Quote from: mothman on May 18, 2021, 01:10:43 PM

Frankly, I don't know how close he came to getting the role of Data. From seeing the copious notes & memos from the whole TNG casting process

Patrick Stewart in a wig was my favourite potential casting choice that never happened.

Chairman Yang

I loved learning that Jeffrey Combs originally auditioned for Riker. It's so completely wrong and yet if he hadn't tried we wouldn't have had all his wonderful roles in Deep Space 9.

Then again maybe if they'd cast him we'd have gotten an intense, driven Riker and not a useless sex pervert.

greenman

At the time you could argue there was potential for the Traveler to be a larger role than it turned out to be and Data a smaller one. The latter was obviously on the main cast but really I think Spiner sucess with the character is really what made him the #2 character after Picard as the series progressed. The Traveler on the other hand could potentially have ended up more like Q is Weasley had stayed as significant a character rather than just a couple of short return appearances.

I'm surprised Combs didnt go for Data, that seems a much more obvious potential casting.

The Culture Bunker

Quote from: MojoJojo on May 18, 2021, 01:57:23 PM
I think Levar had a fair bit more stature than Eric Menyuk. He was the star of Roots, which won lots of awards and was a big enough deal to have a 25 year anniversary release.

(edit - actually LeVar was only in the first two (of eight) episodes. Still a bit more the Menyuk).
Even more important than that, he was in the video to 'Word Up' by Cameo!

Lemming

S01E07 - Justice

While visiting the worst fucking planet in the galaxy, the Enterprise crew get caught up in a bizarre legal system.

Like other Season 1 episodes, it's sort of a game of two halves. The first half is abominable shit, the second half picks up a little bit, but only a little bit.

- The worst planet in the galaxy, for real. The arrival party instantly get molested by the welcoming committee, whether they want to or not. Apparently, the custom on the planet is just to have sex constantly (hetero only, of course). One of the welcoming committee is about to go for Wesley, then notices he's underage, so gives him a little hug instead of a full-on grope. Horrifying. Wesley does the first useful thing he's done in the entire series, by saying he wants to leave and mercifully getting the viewer fuck away from this scene.

- "No one does anything uncomfortable to them" is the law here, despite all evidence to the contrary. The guy says this right after a grope-a-thon.

- Exquisite jogging scene. Away team prancing about the place with Disney music playing. Christ.

- An orb arrives and starts bullying the Enterprise bridge crew, and then merges with Data. Meanwhile, the away team waste time in The Sex Room. Riker strides over to Worf and asks him if he's interested in some "plain old sex". Uh.

- No one could have seen this coming - this "idyllic" planet is not as it seems!!! They have an insanely strict legal system, enforced by a PUNISHMENT ZONE, and breaking a rule within the randomly-selected PUNISHMENT ZONE results in automatic DEATH. Might have been a good idea to inform the away team of this as soon as they arrived, but sadly, the planetary representatives who welcomed our heroes were too busy groping them.

- Coincidentially, about five seconds after the rest of the away team learn about the planet's batshit rules, Wesley bodyslams some flowers. He is marked for death by the MEDIATORS, two men with their nipples exposed.

- Why is Bev examining Data? He's a robot, and yet she uses a regular medical scanner on him. A job for CHIEF ENGINEER ARGYLE, surely.

- Now the episode gets to the slightly better second half. Basically, the gist of the whole thing is that Wesley's being held and will be executed at sundown, but the crew can't save him because the Prime Directive won't allow them to fuck around with the planet's legal system.

First things first, I think this is a much better version of the Prime Directive than what it would evolve into later. Here, it's the TOS-style "you can go and talk to people, just don't try to reform their entire government in 45 minutes" rule. Far more reasonable and makes for far more entertaining episodes than the fucking crazy version we get later on, which says you literally can't go down to planets or talk to anyone ever because pre-warp people are too stupid and fragile to even be allowed to speak to you, which results in some episodes in later series that are both very boring and very morally questionable (of the "we'd better just let an entire planetary population die painfully, so that we don't 'contaminate' their culture by helping them" variety).

The cool thing about this episode is that Picard's ready to break the Prime Directive to just teleport Wesley out (the planetary representatives even say this would work as a solution), but there's an alien ship who have set themselves up as gods of the planet, and have the power to destroy the Enterprise. They've also scanned Data, meaning that they have a full understanding of how the Prime Directive is meant to work, and they'll be judging Picard by the Federation's own rules.

This could have been a really good plot, but it only sort of vaguely flirts with the ideas it brings up. Picard convinces the "gods" to let them go with a three-sentence speech at the end, where he just says "laws shouldn't be absolute", and then they're allowed to leave without incident.

- The "gods" are scary - they appear to have imposed an insane legal code on the people of the planet (though I'm not sure about this - maybe the people came up with it themselves), they encourage themselves to be worshipped as gods, they keep appearing to the people and telling them what to do (apparently with punishments for disobedience), react with the threat of violence when challenged, and they're essentially holding the native people captive, as demonstrated when Picard brings one of them up to the Enterprise and "god" immediately threatens the ship unless she's returned to the surface. Nobody in the Enterprise crew seems hugely concerned for the people of the planet or in what the "gods" are doing, though I suppose there's not really anything they can do about it.

First half is some of the all-time worst stuff TNG has ever made, second half scrapes the episode up a little. 2/10 because the first half really is so dull and awkward.


Malcy

Quote from: The Culture Bunker on May 18, 2021, 03:31:35 PM
Even more important than that, he was in the video to 'Word Up' by Cameo!

Ha I forgot about that! Isn't he a cop in a big trench coat?

Deanjam


Blumf


Malcy

Quote from: Deanjam on May 18, 2021, 04:39:30 PM


I remember being pointed out to him in something when I was really young and thought he looked strange without the VISOR. Met Michael Dorn a few years later and did the same. Could have been anyone until he spoke to me! Lovely bloke.

Deanjam

Quote from: Malcy on May 18, 2021, 05:24:22 PM
I remember being pointed out to him in something when I was really young and thought he looked strange without the VISOR. Met Michael Dorn a few years later and did the same. Could have been anyone until he spoke to me! Lovely bloke.

Most of the modern Trek actors do seem nice, don't they. Are there any that have reputations for being assholes? Avery Brooks seems a little cold, but I don't think I've heard any stories of him being unpleasant. The Voyager crew seem the loveliest people around. I saw Mara Wilson on Twitter say Marina Sirtis said some racist things to her at a convention once.

earl_sleek

Quote from: Deanjam on May 18, 2021, 05:28:26 PM
Most of the modern Trek actors do seem nice, don't they. Are there any that have reputations for being assholes? Avery Brooks seems a little cold, but I don't think I've heard any stories of him being unpleasant. The Voyager crew seem the loveliest people around. I saw Mara Wilson on Twitter say Marina Sirtis said some racist things to her at a convention once.

Roxann Dawson and Robert Beltran are apparently unpleasantly right wing.

Malcy

Quote from: Deanjam on May 18, 2021, 05:28:26 PM
Most of the modern Trek actors do seem nice, don't they. Are there any that have reputations for being assholes? Avery Brooks seems a little cold, but I don't think I've heard any stories of him being unpleasant. The Voyager crew seem the loveliest people around. I saw Mara Wilson on Twitter say Marina Sirtis said some racist things to her at a convention once.

Matilda? Wouldn't have expected that from Sirtis. Destination Star Trek has the go ahead in London this November. I have a massive canvas cinema banner from First Contact that someone gave me a few years back. It's sat rolled up for the past few years so was considering going down to get a few signatures on it as ideally I'd love to have it dominate a wall. Looked at the guest list and only VOY cast confirmed so far. Tickets are quite cheap. Think it was £54 for the 3 days basic ticket. £3/4K for the Admiral tickets!

I really wanted to go a few years ago as there was a photo shoot opportunity in the Quarks bar set with Quark, Rom & Nog in full make up but was laid off. Will sadly never get that chance again.

Deanjam

Quote from: Malcy on May 18, 2021, 05:57:55 PM
Matilda? Wouldn't have expected that from Sirtis.

To be clear, it wasn't something directed at Wilson, but comments Sirtis made about US history that Wilson took as a slight against the Native peoples. I forget what specifically, but it was a minor to-do on Twitter at the time.

Ambient Sheep

This intrigued me, as I follow Sirtis on Twitter and she's always seemed lovely.  Googling Mara Wilson Marina Sirtis gave me this article which led to this tweet:

QuoteMara "Get Rid of the Nazis" Wilson
@MaraWilson

Hi Marina! Remember when we did a Con together and you said that America had no history, and when I said Native Americans did, you said "the Native Americans never built anything"? Because I do!

8:42 PM · Jun 4, 2020

Ouch!

daf

007 | "Justice"



Knickerless Persons!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Highlights :
• Planet of the Swedish Sex Joggers
• Floaty God Ball
• What is this Earth thing you call . . . "a stick"?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Other Bits :
• Hug 18-30
• The Greenhouse of DEATH!!!
• Wesley's Baggy Jumper watch : Mushroom Dust
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Score :