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May 20, 2011 1:18 PM   Subscribe

Following on from an epic Star Trek: The Original Series rewatch (previously) and their Star Trek movie marathon, tor.com are now watching each episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in turn. So far they have reached The Last Outpost, in which a terrifying new adversary was introduced as a replacement for Klingons as Star Trek universe bad guys: The Ferengi.
posted by Artw (58 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I clicked through a couple of the links, but I'm not sure I'm clear. Is this similar to somebody blogging their way through a complete cookbook? Like, somebody who writes for Tor watches an episode and posts a recap, and then Tor members comment on the post? Or is it more like a book club—are members supposed to be watching along-with?
posted by cribcage at 1:27 PM on May 20, 2011


OH MAN THESE 'FERENGI' ARE GOING TO BE SUCH FORMIDABLE STAR TREK VILLAINS
posted by brownpau at 1:28 PM on May 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


Zack Handlen at The Onion's TV Club is watching ST:TNG, too (the beginning, the latest). Might make a nice companion piece.
posted by Anephim at 1:30 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


OH MAN THESE 'FERENGI' ARE GOING TO BE SUCH FORMIDABLE STAR TREK VILLAINS

They have WHIPS!
posted by Artw at 1:31 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, cool. Re-watching every episode of TNG in order? That's cool, that's cool. Otherwise known as EVERY NIGHT OF MY LIFE FROM 1987 THROUGH PRESENT

U THINK YOU'RE HARD, TOR.COM? U ARE NOT HARD. I CAN MAKE THIS GO.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:31 PM on May 20, 2011 [23 favorites]


SheMulp AKA Plus 1 and I have been planning on going back through ST:TNG chronologically again (we tend to watch somewhere between one and three episodes a day). She wants to map out their voyages, and I want to write a series of reviews from the point of view of Starfleet receiving Picard's reports on each adventure. Such as: Captain Picard was late in his arrival at Farpoint, claiming to have run into an omnipotent being who is "definitely not God" because he's "a complete dick." This being his first mission commanding the Enterprise, I can honestly say that I am not impressed. That sort of thing.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:31 PM on May 20, 2011 [27 favorites]


I've been watching old Star Trek with my two older kids (12 and 10 now). They really like TOS. Last week for technical reasons we were forced to watch a NG. It was terrible. One kid said "it was OK" the other said "I didn't really get it but don't bother explaining".
posted by DU at 1:32 PM on May 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


The reviewer (Keith DeCandido) apparently writes officially licensed Star Trek tie-in novels for a living (among other things), which must give him a somewhat different perspective on the show than most people watching it.
posted by cjelli at 1:37 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did the Ferengi ever have those laser whips outside that episode?
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:38 PM on May 20, 2011


That sort of thing.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:31 PM on May 20 [+] [!]


I've often imagined the very same thing: Capt. Picard says the Enterprise was stuck in a temporal loop for several months, but everything is OK now. This is just like the time his personal logs indicate he lived an ENTIRE LIFETIME after being knocked unconscious by an alien probe. Gotta roll one out of his bag. Whatever he has is the Romulan ale of hallucinogens.
posted by Anephim at 1:40 PM on May 20, 2011 [14 favorites]


I want to write a series of reviews from the point of view of Starfleet receiving Picard's reports on each adventure.

I would read the shit out of this!

Did the Ferengi ever have those laser whips outside that episode?

Not that I can recall. I always wanted Quark to pull one out from under the bar in DS9.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:42 PM on May 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


Or is it more like a book club—are members supposed to be watching along-with?

I would excercise caution - the early ones are really uneven. By which I mean beige. Basically they sought to differentiate themselves from the Star Trek that had gone before by eliminating all primary colours and any kind of action that hadn't been debated to death.
posted by Artw at 1:44 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


This thread needs to be about Capt. Picard starfleet reports. Get on it mefi.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:44 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did the Ferengi ever have those laser whips outside that episode?

Not that I can recall.


Sort of like the saucer section... or as the one on Encounter at Farpoint puts it: In a lengthy bit of exposition, we see the ship separate the saucer, an effect so awesome and practical that it would only be seen two more times in the show’s run.
posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


After receiving yet another report on your chief engineer's sexual frustrations, we ask you to encourage him to enroll in Starfleet Initiative 3117b: Masturbate -- That's What the Holodeck Is For.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:46 PM on May 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


Meh. The original reviewers from tor.com have moved on to theviewscreen.com (rights issues) and they're ramping up to review TAS.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:53 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Ferengi perform a very important function in TNG: in a universe in which all the species are perfectly something (perfectly just, perfectly logical, perfectly empathic, perfectly aggressive, perfectly evil, perfectly collective), the Ferengi are imperfect. They're poorly suited to planning, they have no group cohesion, they look out for themselves, and they screw up their own plans most of the time. To that extent, they're both funny and kinda interesting.
posted by Apropos of Something at 1:53 PM on May 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


I was excited to receive the latest report from Captain Picard, but ceased reading when I saw that it chiefly discussed the presence on board of Counselor Troi's mother.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:55 PM on May 20, 2011 [16 favorites]


Apropos of Something - the Ferangi represent the Platonic ideal of unregulated capitalism.

Previous discussion of visual cues for knowing if you're watching a good episode.
posted by djb at 1:58 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Didn't the Ferengi have weird ways of posing in that first episode they were in, kinda like that one Law and Order detective?
posted by Ironmouth at 2:02 PM on May 20, 2011


They're poorly suited to planning, they have no group cohesion, they look out for themselves, and they screw up their own plans most of the time.

Ferengi: Smarter, though not necessarily better at anything, than the Pakled.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 2:06 PM on May 20, 2011


TO: STARFLEET COMMAND
FROM: Picard, Jean-Luc, CPT. USS Enterprise
STARDATE: 41602.2
SUBJECT: Request replacement shuttle, new Chief of Security (totally not my fault!!!)

posted by steef at 2:06 PM on May 20, 2011 [17 favorites]


Stardate 143503.5.123. Our exploration of the beta gamma sector this week was delayed as Lt. Data had to again assume the role of Sherlock Holmes to combat certain holodeck villians. The Crusher boy also seems to be developing an unhealthy fascination with certain portions of the computers medical encyclopedia.
posted by Chekhovian at 2:06 PM on May 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


"the ugliness of the U-man was not an exaggeration"
"They clothe their women... so that others may unclothe them, the very depth of perversion"
"Biped. Excellent!"

so much Hope, dashed.
(luckily, the series found it's footing and recovered...)
posted by djrock3k at 2:12 PM on May 20, 2011


This is a comment on a discussion about some people's thoughts on star trek episodes.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:40 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Ferengi always made me a bit uncomfortable. They pretty much personified all antisemitic stereotypes.
posted by pjdoland at 2:42 PM on May 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


I have a friend who meets with other of his friends one night a week to watch Doctor Who. They started around four years ago. From the beginning.

There are, as of today, 774 episodes. At one a week, that's around 14 years of their lives.

(I don't know how many episodes are extant - do I look like a Whovian? - so it's not quite that bad. But they do listen to the ones that exist only on audio. And the BBC does keep making new ones.)

So, yeah. Bring it on, Tor. Old World's gonna skool ya.

Oh, did I mention that my friend takes his son? I think that's legal, but I did wonder about intervention. Said son seems very happy, though.
posted by Devonian at 2:50 PM on May 20, 2011


This just makes me more excited about Netflix getting all of the Trek this summer. My wife, I'm sure, will love going through TNG and DS9 episode by episode. Because, of course, you can't just skip one! How will you know the joy of Best of Both Worlds without understanding the horror of Shades of Grey?
posted by SNWidget at 3:18 PM on May 20, 2011


Request replacement shuttle, new Chief of Security

oh god, I've just remembered that after being eaten by snot Tasha Yar turns out to have, like, a romulan clone and a time twin and shit like that to the point where it's just ridiculous.
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


I completely stopped watching TNG after the episode where Riker and Troi turned into giant slugs squirming in the muck of some planet or other, mated, and then were miraculously and (so far as I can recall) inexplicably restored to their normal selves back on the ship just in time for the final credits. What the hell was that supposed to be?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:01 PM on May 20, 2011


There are, as of today, 774 episodes. At one a week, that's around 14 years of their lives.

Do they really only watch one 1/2 hour episode a week, or a multi-episode story? That seems likelier and more manageable.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:02 PM on May 20, 2011


They're poorly suited to planning, they have no group cohesion, they look out for themselves, and they screw up their own plans most of the time.

Ron Paul supporters?
posted by Thorzdad at 4:18 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I completely stopped watching TNG after the episode where Riker and Troi turned into giant slugs squirming in the muck of some planet or other, mated, and then were miraculously and (so far as I can recall) inexplicably restored to their normal selves back on the ship just in time for the final credits. What the hell was that supposed to be?

Are you thinking of "Threshold"? That was a Voyager episode and generally considered the worst of the series, to the point where the writers even basically had to agree.

The Ferengi always made me a bit uncomfortable. They pretty much personified all antisemitic stereotypes.

Yeah. It was so odd when Data compares them "Yankee traders" because the Ferengi were so obviously modeled on the greedy Jewish caricature with big ears instead of big noses. The species was handled much, much better in DS9, but don't try to pretend you guys were basing those aliens of Americans salesman from the 19th century.
posted by riruro at 4:24 PM on May 20, 2011


I know I'm completely out of line, but isn't this the kind of thing our barely-human (in a good way!) descendants will discover 3,048 years from now and with much scratching of the old bonce, decide that archeology wasn't a good fit as a career choice. Then they'll fill the holes back in and go looking for a plant instead.
posted by sneebler at 4:26 PM on May 20, 2011


They're poorly suited to planning, they have no group cohesion, they look out for themselves, and they screw up their own plans most of the time.

Ron Paul supporters?

As a Ron Paul supporter, I wholly approve this comment!
posted by Redhush at 4:36 PM on May 20, 2011


I know I'm completely out of line, but isn't this the kind of thing our barely-human (in a good way!) descendants will discover 3,048 years from now and with much scratching of the old bonce, decide that archeology wasn't a good fit as a career choice. Then they'll fill the holes back in and go looking for a plant instead.

Well, I (and I presume they) had hoped to celebrate the good bits of TNG too, but there's some problems with that if you start at the beginning.
posted by Artw at 4:39 PM on May 20, 2011


The Ferengi worshiped naked capitalism and made their woman stay at home.

So they were the Republicans of the Star Trek universe then?
posted by dibblda at 4:55 PM on May 20, 2011


I've been inspired to finally start working on this. Thanks, MetaFilter!

I promise I won't steal anything from anyone in this thread.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:57 PM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Like most pulp SF, TNG was 90% mundane punctuated with 10% raw brilliance. For me, it was worth the wait.
posted by digitalprimate at 5:00 PM on May 20, 2011


Netflix getting all of the Trek this summer

Really? I just put on my queue all the episodes of ST Voyager.
posted by francesca too at 5:05 PM on May 20, 2011


Really? I just put on my queue all the episodes of ST Voyager.

Apparently everything but DS9 is starting July 1; DS9 will be October 1.
posted by SNWidget at 5:07 PM on May 20, 2011


I always thought of myself as a Tom Paris kind of feller.

Kirk-showboat
Picard-place/ right time
Sisko-Biased/religion thing
Janeway- A real TV captain
Archer- Golly gee me straight to bad ratings.
posted by clavdivs at 5:10 PM on May 20, 2011


Oh man; I feel such glee and trepidation at seeing all of DS9 again. Loved it so much then, know that it might not hold up now.
posted by emjaybee at 5:32 PM on May 20, 2011


They're poorly suited to planning, they have no group cohesion, they look out for themselves, and they screw up their own plans most of the time.

Ron Paul supporters?


COMPUTER, GOOGLE RON PAUL
posted by armage at 5:35 PM on May 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


(Computer:)
Ron Paul, 21st century American politican. Became president in 2012. sighned compact with Singh Corp. 2016. Proposes skynet systems and motels 2020. Formulates first plan to mine ore from asteriod belt 2022. The days of rotation, 2026 occurs when asteriod is brought back to earth for refining and interfers with gravitational fields rendering the earths population semi-lucid for 12 hours a day. 2028, disapperas on the craft Virginwhich intended for solar system research. His last know signal was received near uranus.
End summary.
posted by clavdivs at 6:09 PM on May 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


400 QUATLOOS ON THE NEXT GENERATION
posted by DU at 6:26 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


emjaybee: Just watched the entire series run. Worry not, it totally holds up.
posted by hector horace at 7:23 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The original series of Star Trek (ok, the first two seasons anyway) is great. Actual men on the edge of known space thrown into tough situations and taking action to make things right as best they can. Every episode of Next Generation I've seen has been utter dreck. A kid on the flight deck? Everyone sitting around and talking about their feelings? Nothing actually happening at all? Spock-lite Data is about as interesting as a damp puddle and whoever thought the holodeck was a good idea should go sleep next to Colonel Gaddafi for the next couple of nights. Give me Captain Kirk taking his shirt off, flirting with green skinned women and throwing plastic rocks at alien warriors any day of the week ahead of Mr Earl Grey tea and "make it so". The flat CGI isn't half as good as proper models either.
posted by joannemullen at 7:40 PM on May 20, 2011


emjaybee: I re-watched DS9 last year, and it's still superb. Though you kinda feel bad for O'Brien after a while, as he does end up in an inordinate number of traumatizing situations.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 7:54 PM on May 20, 2011


I love the Ferengi. They're one of those Trekkie alien species that I can't really view objectively.

Mostly because, as a teenager, I was fascinated by the presence of horny aliens on Star Trek.

(Same reason I wore out my tape of Amok Time.)

I used to have some Ferengi fanfic that was still floating around online, written around age 13. Wonder if I can still find it. It's not nearly as pervy as the above implies.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:20 PM on May 20, 2011


Though you kinda feel bad for O'Brien after a while, as he does end up in an inordinate number of traumatizing situations.

That and his horrible wife.
posted by Artw at 9:22 PM on May 20, 2011


Ah ha! Found it!
"B-but brother!" The young Ferengi man ran after his even younger sibling. "Be reasonable." It was a useless request, he knew that as soon as Jin spun around, eyes red and angry.

"No, Morg, I won't be reasonable! I've taken enough of this abuse! I've got my fifty percent, now I'm leaving!" Morg's gaze fell on Jin's suitcases.

"You took half the latinum?" he sounded near tears. Jin growled at him in disgust.

"Yes, I took the latinum. Latinum, latinum, that's all you care about!"

Morg shrugged his thin shoulders, "Well I am a Ferengi," he said, as if that explained it all. And it did. Jin ignored him, reaching for the door to his shuttlecraft. His brother rushed to intercept him.

"I need you! The Mor-jih Consortium can't exist without the `jih' half....Please, brother? I'll- I'll give you fifty two percent of all profits..." Jin sighed.

"You'll never change. No way." He stepped into his shuttle. "See you," he said, as the door closed. Morg scowled.

"Unfortunately, I'm sure you will."
Dun dun dun!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:26 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I agree - I watched DS9 on Spike reruns a couple of years back and I thought it was great, and I usually tend to burn out on Trek after a few seasons. I suspect having a new episode or two every day helped a bit.

And Nana Visitor. Rawr.
posted by Kyol at 9:40 PM on May 20, 2011


I adored Trek until I got around to checking out Battlestar Galactica. In comparison, TNG seems corny and silly and the Enterprise-D bridge looks like a Howard Johnson lobby. For me, the question is no longer "Kirk or Picard?' - it's "Adama in year one, two, three or four?"

That said, I still remember fondly watching every new episode of TNG when it came out (there was no point in trying to be very social in shitty little town I grew up in) and wondering what it would be like to serve in Starfleet under Picard's command. I never felt like Worf was dealt with all that fairly - he got his ass kicked way, way, way too often. I didn't hate on Wesley so much as wonder why the show insisted on spending so much time with him. Felt the same way about Dr. Pulasky. And I'll never forget the episode of Reading Rainbow where Levar Burton took the show to the TNG set and told us kids that "Yeah, I'm doing this now."

I liked this TOR review, but I prefer Wil Wheaton's - if for no reason than the special attention he gives to reviewing the sweaters he was made to wear.

Oh, and: this thread seems like a fine place to share this stoopid awesome song.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:57 PM on May 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


I've seen this sort of thing before, and although DeCandido is a good writer, the entries seem to be missing what I would think that he, as someone who's done some Trek novels and probably knows a few of the people involved in the production could bring: more inside baseball. There was quite a bit of backstage drama the first few seasons, when Roddenberry was in charge and people were constantly quitting out of frustration at trying to write a script that he'd accept. One of the neat things about Deep Space Nine, aside from the general high quality of the series, is that a writer named Terry J. Erdman was given access to the show to write the Deep Space Nine Companion, and some of the people involved can be incredibly, even brutally honest about what episodes and characters did and didn't work and even about problems with specific people. For example, there's a recurring bit about how Marc Alaimo, the actor who played Gul Dukat, really thought that Dukat was a good guy at heart, even though the writers, producers, and even Nana Visitor (Major Kira) thought that he was evil; the writers ended up making that part of the character. The TNG and Voyager Companion books didn't have nearly as much of that.

Then again, maybe DeCandido doesn't want to dish, even if he knows stuff, because it might mean the end of Trek book contracts.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:11 AM on May 21, 2011


ahhh...TNG...IIRC, when you see the Mysterious Tubes of Red and Blue Goo...DRINK!
(hint: they mostly live in sickbay...mostly...)
posted by sexyrobot at 9:55 AM on May 21, 2011


"Gilgamesh and Enkidu at Uruk."
"I really did think I saw five lights."
"Sleep, Data."
"Now we live in you. Tell them of us... my darling."

If you watch every episode sequentially, DS9 is reportedly the best (I wish I hadn't given up on it in the early seasons when I was younger). If you're going to watch one random episode, nothing can touch the glorious insanity of TOS. However, in it's best episodes TNG is the best of Trek. Haunting. The problem with TNG is that it's also the most inconsistent Trek. Half of it is Voyager caliber drek.

It's worth noting that most of my favorite TNG episodes are ones which focus on Picard to the exclusion of all other cast members. A weak cast overall?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:50 PM on May 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, it was a weak cast with the exception of Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Data, played by Brent Spiner, who did an incredible job of realizing the character. I'm guessing that they cast by committee and therefore ended up with safe choices. Oh and Worf was very good considering he was acting through all that makeup.

But during it's original airing, ST:TNG was often a bright spot in an otherwise dismal TV lineup. Rewatching the series on BBC America, it also strikes me as more comfortably paced, less frantic (see the current series of Dr. Who), and more invested in storytelling than in the technology (although gizmos do play a role in the plots).

(Another revelation upon rewatching the series: there were quite a few hammy moments for the actors, especially the singing scenes.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 1:13 PM on May 21, 2011


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