News:

Please let me know of any new bugs or issues in GB, thanks for your patience


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

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

Previous topic - Next topic

Malcy

Quote from: Lemming on May 13, 2021, 06:05:30 PM
11: M'Ress

Surely we are at a technological stage were a Catian can appear in live action by now. To be fair I'm sure they could have managed it in the 90's and even think The Voyage Home had a couple that looked alright in the 80's. I'd say make it happen Kurtzman but we don't want that!


Wonderful Butternut

Quote from: Malcy on May 13, 2021, 06:16:55 PM
Surely we are at a technological stage were a Catian can appear in live action by now. To be fair I'm sure they could have managed it in the 90's and even think The Voyage Home had a couple that looked alright in the 80's. I'd say make it happen Kurtzman but we don't want that!

BeJaysus (or whatever her name was) that Seven vapourised for killing Icheb was originally intended to be a Caitian, but they dropped the idea somewhere along the line.

Malcy

Quote from: Wonderful Butternut on May 13, 2021, 06:26:18 PM
BeJaysus (or whatever her name was) that Seven vapourised for killing Icheb was originally intended to be a Caitian, but they dropped the idea somewhere along the line.

I've struggled with an unnecessarily Irish Romulan. I think a Caitian called BeJaysus would have been too far. No doubt the henchmen would have been called Begorrah & Dub'lin! Didn't know that so cheers.

Blumf

Quote from: daf on May 13, 2021, 05:57:43 PM
Just occurred to me - is Troi meant to be Russian? . . .

That's Worf.

Why doesn't Worf have a Russian accent, like his adoptive parents?

petril

yeh Worf grew up in Belarus. Riker is ofc from Alaska, because there's that episode with the nervy new Canadian fella

greenman

Quote from: bgmnts on May 13, 2021, 06:06:14 PM
I like Picard but its weird in the first season that he says to the businessman something like "we as a society have grown beyond the need for the accumulation things" yet I'm fairly certain he is a collector of historical items, has an episode where he is trying to steal some sort of gem or some shit on holiday AND owns a huge vineyard.

Maybe that's more an inconsistency in the setting and lore rather than characterisation but it still is a bit off.

You could argue the real intension of that speech seems to be more claiming that accumulating excessive wealth isn't viewed as important although I think he does also say something about not having "possessions" so there is I think a shift in intension there.

I think you could argue the show almost takes the opposite view and makes attachment to historical objects/buildings/etc a trait that's associated with humans moreso than a lot of other major races.

I do think Stewart is left to carry the show much of the time in the first season but still the character isn't fully there, definitely less likeble than he became.

Zetetic

People in the Federation have personal property but not private capital.

(Except for the trillions of Federation farmers that exist, for some reason.)

Lemming

May 14, 2021, 12:39:02 AM #67 Last Edit: May 14, 2021, 12:55:16 AM by Lemming
S01E03 - Code of Honor

The planet Ligon II, inhabited by a culture that's (apparently) similar to 13th-century China, produces a vaccine that the Federation needs to avoid a MEGA-OUTBREAK of something or other. Picard and the gang have to negotiate for it, but the planet's representative, Lutan, starts to manipulate the situation when he sees the opportunity for personal gain.

This is an episode of two halves, in my view. First half is pretty good, second half is mostly a total disaster which sadly scuttles the whole thing. Makes sense to talk about the halves individually, so:

FIRST HALF

- Picard hilariously overreacts to Yar's kidnapping. Red Alert, sure, but firing a bunch of torpedoes into the air around the planet (fairly indiscriminately) as a first resort is a bit much. Made even funnier by the fact that, immediately after this, he's informed by Data that patience is considered a great virtue in Ligonian culture, and that this was "highly emphasised" in the briefing. Good job crew. Maybe someone should have brought that up before we made visceral threats of violence a mere thirty seconds after Lutan pissed us off.

- "An obscure language known as French". Got a laugh.

- Riker whines when Troi suggests that Picard lead the away mission personally. This is cool, a reminder of the very reason Picard chose Riker as his First Officer in the first place.

- What makes this episode work to a certain extent for me is Lutan, who I think is a solidly-written character, elevated by a brilliant performance from the actor. The whole sequence where he forces Picard to make the grovelling request to see Yar is great, with a superb performance by both actors. You can feel how much Picard and Lutan hate each other, but both of them stick to a thin veneer of civility, as each of their cultures demand. Picard's disgust at Lutan's conduct is barely disguised, and Lutan's contempt for the Federation is equally tangible. Lutan also plays the Federation's cultural relativism against Picard, which - combined with the urgent need for the vaccine - basically lets Lutan get Picard wherever he wants him. He's a really enjoyable and effective antagonist and he's easily the best thing about the episode.

- Additionally, Ligonian culture is portrayed as a bit more complicated than the usual one-dimensional planets you get in Star Trek. Lutan appears to be an archetypal boring "honour!" arsehole at first, like almost every Klingon in TNG, but it soon becomes clear he's basically just playing the system to get himself as many material advantages as he can - he even admits himself that the code of honor is a "cloak" through which to steal Yareena's land (only women can own land on Ligon II). It feels like the writer really did try to make a vaguely consistent set of rules by which Ligonian society operates, and then figure out how an amoral, over-ambitious person like Lutan could manipulate them. The scene where the bridge crew try to figure out how they're supposed to play along with Ligonian customs in order to get Tasha back is interesting too. Not to oversell it or anything, it's still a very broad, thinly-sketched idea of a society which you could summarise in about three sentences, but more thought has gone into it than some other Star Trek societies (including a few coming up soon in the next episodes...).

SECOND HALF

- Here's where the wheels come off, right after the banquet scene. Yareena, "First One" of Lutan, challenges Yar to a fight to the death. I thought Yareena's motivations and goals were hard to follow and seemed to suddenly shift at the end, which is really bad for the episode given that this character is the key player in the plot's resolution. The ending with Lutan's schemes backfiring on him massively and forcing him to eat shit as he ends up as Yareena's lapdog could have been fun, but I genuinely could not tell you how the fuck any of that happened. The idea is that the traditions and customs Lutan used to further his own goals have ended up weaponised against him by Yareena, giving him his just desserts, but I don't have a clue how any of that worked, and there was no indication that Yareena had planned any of this in advance (her masterplan was to just go into the laser arena and get killed by Tasha, apparently?). The last thing she says before the fight is that she loves Lutan and will fight to the death for him, then immediately afterwards, she tells Lutan he's a piece of shit, refuses to marry him, and makes him into a servant. What?

- Yar acts insane throughout the whole second half. This is because of the introduction of a crazy subplot in which Troi decides that Tasha is actually supremely hot for Lutan, because he exudes alpha male energy or some stupid shit. Yareena shows up and agrees, and says that it's impossible not to be wildly attracted to Lutan, despite the fact that he's a complete prat who's trying to indirectly kill one or both of them for material gain. Even in the ending, Tasha is interested in staying with Lutan, and reluctantly refuses because "there would be... complications". This is ridiculous given the abysmal treatment she's received from Lutan. Huge weak-point for the episode, given that it's presumably meant to be a Yar-centric story, but all she does is: get kidnapped, sit in a room where she talks about how hot her kidnapper is, meets Yareena to yell at each other about how hot Lutan is, and then get into a fight. No idea what the point of this subplot was, but in addition to being potentially offensive/sexist, it also takes up quite a bit of the very disappointing and wonky second half. Especially bewildering given the horrific details we learn of Tasha's past in the previous episode.

- We learn that Lutan has planned for the fight all along - he was enamoured with Tasha's physical strength when they first met not because he found it attractive, as was earlier suggested, but rather because it meant that she'd have a chance at killing Yareena in combat, thus transferring all her land to him. Everything Lutan has done has been part of a plan to trap Tasha on the planet and coax Yareena into challenging her to combat. This is a nice twist and another "Lutan successfully fucks everyone over" moment, but it makes the way Tasha is written look even more ridiculous.

- There's a scene near the end where Troi reminds Picard that she's available to give advice. Massive unintentional laugh-out-loud moment, because the conversation essentially goes like this:
TROI: "I'm here to help and to advise you. I'm your Counsellor, use my skills."
PICARD: "Yes, please advise me. Is there a way out of this somehow? Can we stop the fight?"
TROI: "No."
(SCENE CHANGE)

- The cast and crew reportedly consider this one to be the worst episode of TNG ever, and unequivocally racist. The script calls for the Ligonians to be reptilian, with a strong cultural resemblance to samurai, but the casting director made the decision to cast black actors. Combined with the fact that Ligonian culture is a hodgepodge of a lot of different (mostly/entirely non-Western) historic cultures intended to create a generally "alien" society, you can see how it comes across the wrong way. But at the same time, the episode does try to drive home that there's no historical Earth equivalent for Ligonian culture - the closest match, according to Data, is 13th-century China (though interestingly, they also have transporter tech to match the Federation's, and are apparently capable of producing a uniquely effective vaccine). I don't know what logic the casting director was working with, though. Should have gone with the lizard-samurai like the script said!

Overall, the first half does a good job in setting up a culture that's a bit more tricky than the usual stuff you get in Star Trek, and begins to construct a very engaging and threatening antagonist in Lutan. The second half is a massive waste of time which absolutely squanders all the work the first half did in setting up something that could have been interesting. Seriously, everything after the banquet is a total letdown. There's possibly some campy fun to be had in the deathmatch at the end, but it's honestly more boring than funny.

A single rewrite could have saved this one - just make the latter half of the episode focus on Yareena and her plan to turn the tables on Lutan, maybe have her cooperate with the Enterprise crew behind the scenes to make it happen (presumably while Picard stands in the corner stressing out over the Prime Directive). Also completely scrap the "Lutan is so hot that it's ok if he holds me captive" stuff, obviously. Explain earlier in the episode how Ligonian law offers Yareena some loopholes and avenues to flip the script and get ahead of Lutan, so that it doesn't just come out of nowhere at the end. Could have been decent, but as it stands, the episode is a mess.

3/10 for a good first half.



(EDIT: I put 4/10 initially, but 3/10 is more accurate considering how systematically the episode shits itself in the latter half.)

bgmnts

Quote from: Zetetic on May 13, 2021, 11:55:31 PM
People in the Federation have personal property but not private capital.

That is fair and was my original thoughts but you'd assume in the utopian federation that all the historical artifacts would be in a museum and not a private collection.

And of course him owning a huge vineyard seems closer to private property than personal property.

Anyway season 1 of TNG is ropey as fuck.

JamesTC

I give Code of Honor 10 Jim Davidsons out of 10.

daf

"Code of Honor"



Lutan Death-sport ~ Ooh-wee-ooh ~ Lutan Death-sport

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Highlights :
• Africa in Spaaaaaaaaaaace!
• Exotic chopstick applause
• Gold Hedgehog Fight
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Other Bits :
• Wesley's baggy jumpers
• French is extinct now?
• Data's Kidleys
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Score :

mothman


Lemming

S01E04 - The Last Outpost

The Enterprise is chasing a Ferengi ship, a people still uncontacted at this point. First contact goes even more tits-up than expected when an ancient planet captures both ships in its forcefield.

- The first half is actually pretty effective. It's sort of a more relaxed Balance of Terror, where everyone frets over what's going to happen next while we get frequent shots of the Ferengi ship looming ominously.

- The episode becomes a chore as soon as they head down to the planet. There's an extended scene of Riker being shit as usual, wandering around lost and screaming for help, before the Ferengi show up with electric whips (?!) and start beating the shit out of the away team for no reason. After absolutely ages of this, interspersed with scenes aboard the Enterprise where everyone just complains that it's getting cold, the away team stumble upon a sentient portal that's been asleep for about 600,000 years. A machine left behind by a long-gone civilization isn't an original idea at all, it's been done before in TOS, and it's presented in a very boring way here.

- Again, some oddly-placed comedy, the kind of which I don't remember latter-era TNG having any of at all. The fight scene with the Ferengi is genuinely really funny. Particularly Riker's "I'VE GOT THIS ONE!!!" while getting his ass beat, complete with Loony Tunes sound effect as he gets smacked to the ground. Plus, Worf screaming "PYGMY CRETINS" while two Ferengi clamber onto him.

- Geordi gets fucked by a transporter mishap and materialises upside down with his foot stuck inside solid rock. He's unharmed and it's played for laughs, but I've always been absolutely terrified of the transporters in Star Trek and this scared the shit out of me.

- Riker says that the Ferengi remind him of humans "hundreds of years ago," and "it's hard to hate what we once were". Terrible attitude, Picard did the same thing with the Ligonians in Code of Honor - assuming that everyone they meet is on some kind of pre-set track towards societal "progress", which will inevitably lead to them one day having the same exact morals and beliefs as the Federation. Patronising in at least two obvious ways - from a cultural supremacist "we're the best and everyone else just needs to catch up with us" perspective, and also an infantilising "it's ok for these people to carry out all kinds of violence and oppression, because they're simply not our equals, they're less than us, and they can't possibly know any better! Let's all go to the 'conference room' to masturbate over ourselves!" AWFUL

- Armin Shimerman!

Tense first half which sadly devolves into a really really boring slog from the moment they set foot on the planet, and it all leads up to nothing - just a sentient portal that gives Riker a chance to jerk off about how good humanity supposedly is these days. The actors playing the Ferengi do a great job of establishing this new race, but there's nothing they can do to save the script. It's also got a lot of pacing issues, virtually nothing actually happens after they reach the planet and yet it drags on for over 20 minutes. The "portal" character is bizarre and doesn't feel like it belongs in Star Trek, it'd be out of place even in TOS. 2/10.


Blumf

I think that one must rate amongst the most boring episodes of the show, maybe not the dullest, but pretty close.

daf

"The Last Outpost"



Ferengi or Foe?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Highlights :
• Jews in Spaaaaaaaaaaace! *
• "Merde!" (Picard)
• "Uncle Whoooo?" (Worf)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Other Bits :
• Monty Python Bridge Guardian
• Data's Chinese finger-tube
• Troi costume watch : Grey with green 'bum-band'

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Score :

*
QuoteArmin Shimerman  : "In America, people ask 'Do the Ferengi represent Jews?' In England, they ask 'Do the Ferengi represent the Irish?' In Australia, they ask if the Ferengi represent the Chinese.The Ferengi represent the outcast, it's the person who lives among us that we don't fully understand."

Chairman Yang

God bless Armin Shimerman. You stick to it lad, things will pick up.

I didn't realise how early on the Ferengi hat of 'free traders' was written in. You'd think a mercantile empire that doesn't share Federation ideals would be a great villain. They'd bribe pre-warp species up front with technology, appoint a 'franchise overseer' and then gut the planet for all its riches. The crew would have to balance their non-intervention code with the obvious harm being done, all while avoiding a shooting war.

... probably better to make them leaping goblins, though.

Ambient Sheep

Quote from: daf on May 15, 2021, 01:42:05 PM
QuoteArmin Shimerman  : "In England, they ask 'Do the Ferengi represent the Irish?'"

We do?  Never heard that one.

greenman

Quote from: Chairman Yang on May 15, 2021, 05:40:27 PM
God bless Armin Shimerman. You stick to it lad, things will pick up.

I didn't realise how early on the Ferengi hat of 'free traders' was written in. You'd think a mercantile empire that doesn't share Federation ideals would be a great villain. They'd bribe pre-warp species up front with technology, appoint a 'franchise overseer' and then gut the planet for all its riches. The crew would have to balance their non-intervention code with the obvious harm being done, all while avoiding a shooting war.

... probably better to make them leaping goblins, though.

It does seem that even during the course of the first season there were repeated shifts as to who the main antagonists/plots might be, started with the Ferengi and maybe Tkon tech then the story with the parasitic aliens that ends resolved early and finally the Romulans and early hints at the Borg.

I'm guessing a big issue was probably how obviously the Ferengi played into antisemtic cliches although I spose more overt anti capatialism as the main plot of the series might also have been considered too much of the era. Really after the 1st series I would say TNG era Trek tends to mostly side step economics, the Federation as a socialist utopia focused on a lot less than as US style bringers of order and justice on the wider stage.

mothman

Quote from: daf on May 15, 2021, 01:42:05 PM
QuoteArmin Shimerman  : "In America, people ask 'Do the Ferengi represent Jews?' In England, they ask 'Do the Ferengi represent the Irish?' In Australia, they ask if the Ferengi represent the Chinese.The Ferengi represent the outcast, it's the person who lives among us that we don't fully understand."

Just think, when Liquidator Brunt got fired from the Ferengi Commerce Authority, he could have claimed to instead be with the Continuity FCA.


Lemming

S01E05 - Where No One Has Gone Before

The Enterprise is thrown millions of light-years outside the galaxy, to a world of CGI special effects where thoughts become reality.

- Riker: "I'll ask Counsellor Troi to look these visitors over." Should be standard procedure for when basically anyone comes on the ship ever. Sad that the writers didn't take long to forget Troi exists, and this rarely happens in later episodes.

- New Chief Engineer: Argyle! What the fuck has happened to MacDougal? Who knows.

- Why is there a triforce from Zelda on the warp engine?

- I love the scene where Picard hallucinates his late mother in the corridor. I don't know if the writer was writing from experience, but I still dream about my mum sometimes, and even when I realise I'm dreaming and essentially just talking to myself, I do the same thing Picard does here - ask her for advice. Really cool scene that rings true.

- There's two big problems with the episode. One is that thought-space barely even does anything. There's plenty of fretting about it in dialogue: Picard says that "we may lose the ability to distinguish between thoughts and reality" if we stay in this place too long. And yet, we barely see anything happen. One officer sits in his room playing music, another officer hallucinates that she's a ballerina, Worf and Tasha think about their childhood pets, Picard sees his mother and has a bad turbolift experience, and another crewmember summons a wall of flame. That's it. That's a complete, comprehensive list. Thought-space isn't sufficiently spooky or threatening because it barely does anything, and every time something does happen, people successfully snap out of it after about five seconds. Absolutely no hint of the terrifying prospect of becoming lost in dreams and unreality forever, which Picard seems to think will happen despite all evidence to the contrary - that thought-space is just ineffectual and boring.

Particularly lame is the very long scene where they try to revive the Traveller. Picard and the Traveller both agree that the dangers of staying here are immense, as "everything we think becomes real", and yet this entire minutes-long conversation goes off without a hitch, despite five or more people being stood in the room. Nobody thought of anything during this whole scene? Riker or Bev didn't have any wandering thoughts while Picard was droning on? None of the other 1000+ people on the ship did anything interesting, like think about the warp drive exploding or something? None of the kids on board (remember them?) had a nightmare that came to life? Nobody thought about the ship snapping in half or anything like that? Nothing.

- The other big problem is that it's another Wesley Saves Everyone episode. Quite a good deal of the screen-time is dedicated to the Traveller talking about how Wesley is a genius who's better than everyone and will be able to ascend reality through his sheer brilliance one day. Really tedious. If you haven't seen the episode, that last bit wasn't me being sarcastic - the Traveller quite literally says that Wesley's abilities are far beyond anyone else's and that he will be able to control reality with his thoughts one day. And, of course, it's Wesley's intervention right at the end that appears to give the Traveller the strength necessary to bring the Enterprise home.

- I like the episode's treatment of Kosinski. It would have been very easy and lazy to demonise him, but that's not the case here. He's treated reasonably sympathetically after his theories are discredited, and his friendship with the Traveller turns out to be a crucial factor in allowing everyone to escape thought-space. The Traveller also says that Kosinski has begun to achieve a minor level of understanding as to how thoughts/space/time work, which apparently nobody else is capable of, bar Wesley of course.

- Another male crewmember in the miniskirt uniform! Sadly, I think this is the last time we'll see that.

For the most part, the episode is a slow-paced slog. Nothing interesting happens with thought-space, and - despite the concept being basically an open goal for this kind of thing - the episode lacks the atmosphere of creeping, chilling dread that other episodes of the first two series manage to convey so well. The Wesley subplot is completely annoying. 3/10.


Lungpuddle

The way Stewart delivers the opening Captain's Log sounds like it's the first time he's come across the word "beam" in this sort of context, and it's an amusing surprise for him. It's my favourite part of the episode.

mothman

Find yourself someone who looks at you the way the Traveller looks at Wesley - and get them on the sex offenders' register, pronto.

Chairman Yang

Quote from: mothman on May 16, 2021, 02:00:56 AM
Find yourself someone who looks at you the way the Traveller looks at Wesley - and get them on the sex offenders%u2019 register, pronto.

I know it's been said a million times but he really is grooming Wesley. The fact he's travelling far from his home (the authorities), pulls Picard aside to have a special talk out of Dr. Crusher's earshot, that the episode ends with the ship having to pull together and wish him back to health with feelings of affection specifically directed at the Traveller. IT'S SO CREEPY

[Fun fact: The guy who plays the Traveller auditioned for Data, which I could actually see working.]

daf

005 | "Where No One Has Gone Before"



I've got a Crusher on you

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Highlights :
• Pyjamas O' Boneface's pig's trotters
• Miniskirt bloke
• In-vision Captain's Log
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Other Bits :
• Argyle = Scotty?
• Rape Gang flashback
• Wesley's Baggy Jumper watch : Orange
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Score :

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Continuity Error : Troi's 'Bum-band' turns from red in the first shot (below), to green for rest of the show!


Mr Trumpet

The Traveller's an absolutely rubbish-looking alien. He's just got a big forehead. Still I remember watching this episode as a kid and being surprised when I was told a bunch of travellers had pitched up on the YMCA grounds nearby. I still wasn't sure which things on TV were real.

mothman

They did try harder with aliens back in the early TNG era. Only later (by VOY especially) did it become the Forehead Of The Week Show.

Ambient Sheep

I actually like his look (no, not the one he gives Wesley :-)).  Understated yet distinctly alien.

Mr Trumpet

The fact that the actor's quite unusual looking anyway does half the work here. Does he have weird alien hands? I remember he might, and he gets points for that I suppose.

daf