@TNG_S8
October 31, 2011 10:20 AM   Subscribe

Plots from the unaired season 8 of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation.'
posted by secretdark (221 comments total) 91 users marked this as a favorite

 
A pod of quantum dolphins are struck by the starboard nacelle, Picard defends himself in the dolphin murder trial.

While I have never seen a single episode, I am like 95% sure this was an episode of seaQuest DSV.
posted by griphus at 10:22 AM on October 31, 2011 [21 favorites]


I like that the whole A/B plot business is well covered. God some of those B plots were dire.
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Worf refuses to enjoy the pleasure-planet Risa.

HAR! Someone didn't watch Deep Space Niiiiine.
posted by AugieAugustus at 10:24 AM on October 31, 2011 [27 favorites]


Data and Geordie build an amazing pillow-fort, but are forced to disassemble it for Cardassian peace talks. Troi finds new life in her hair.

wow, i never considered it before, but Data & Geordie ARE sort of the Troy and Abed of the Enterprise, aren't they?
posted by leotrotsky at 10:25 AM on October 31, 2011 [51 favorites]


I totally see some of these things happening in those quirky side plots that every single episode had.
Barclay suffers major burns while trying to cook pasta.
Totally :)
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:25 AM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


All the Barclay ones are golden.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:26 AM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Riker sees a spider in his shower, immediately detaches the saucer section.

This is a euphemism, yes? I'm gonna go "detach the saucer section" in the shower, then.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:27 AM on October 31, 2011 [18 favorites]


I first saw this one retweeted:

Geordie falls in love with a beautiful girl who turns out to be the exotic pet of a visiting dignitary. Riker's birthday party is a success.

And thought wow, I don't remember that one! And I tried to find the summary on Memory Alpha.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:27 AM on October 31, 2011 [18 favorites]


While I have never seen a single episode, I am like 95% sure this was an episode of seaQuest DSV.

More like this was every episode of seaQuest. At least before the aliens showed up. Because god knows you can't have a Star Trek of the ocean without actual fucking aliens.
posted by kmz at 10:27 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, this one just sort of sums up half the show, doesn't it?

A planet of sexy, robed aliens refuse to return Riker to the ship. Miles O'Brien secretly hates his wife, job and the crew in general.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:28 AM on October 31, 2011 [13 favorites]


While I have never seen a single episode, I am like 95% sure this was an episode of seaQuest DSV.

When I was eight, I really, really wanted to be a Marine Biologist. When I was nine, I feel in love with Star Trek. When I was ten, seaQuest DSV came out. Because of this totally serendipitous turn of events, I had two glorious years of loving seaQuest (I had moved on by the third season). Now, I refuse to watch it because I know I'll just be embarrassed.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, stop reminding me that my childhood might be lamer than I remember.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:29 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love this! I'm also a fan of Seinfeld Stories and Budget Curry Sauce.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:30 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


At least before the aliens showed up.

I had somehow managed to forget that they did this. My estimation of seaQuest just retroactively dropped a little. Not that it had far to fall.

Miles O'Brien secretly hates his wife, job and the crew in general.

...yeah.
posted by brennen at 10:30 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Except for the "secretly" part.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:30 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can we just sidebar this entire Twitter feed?
posted by uncleozzy at 10:31 AM on October 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos: I was also a big fan of SeaQuest. Turns out that shit is on Netflix and it is uuuuuuuunwatchable.

Meanwhile: These are golden.
posted by pts at 10:32 AM on October 31, 2011


HAR! Someone didn't watch Deep Space Niiiiine.

That was a strange one, Worf came off as almost fascistic in that episode.

Needs more B plots involving spot.

Miles O'Brien secretly hates his wife, job and the crew in general.

Poor O'Brien, somehow busted down in rank and then used as the blue collar common man that all the bad stuff happens to. Evil Riker insults him to his face and he just slinks off. Poor guy.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:32 AM on October 31, 2011


Tomorrowful: "Geordie falls in love with a beautiful girl who turns out to be the exotic pet of a visiting dignitary. Riker's birthday party is a success.

And thought wow, I don't remember that one! And I tried to find the summary on Memory Alpha.
"

Well, spoiler alert, but this might have seemed familiar because the first half could easily be confused with the season 6 episode "Aquiel."

(which I guess is the point of this Twitter feed but still, this one is a bit closer to a specific episode than the others...it still reads like a misremembered AskMe question.)

posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:34 AM on October 31, 2011


Poor O'Brien, somehow busted down in rank and then used as the blue collar common man that all the bad stuff happens to.

Apparently, by the days of DS9, this was a trope acknowledged on the set, that at least once a season there would be a "Miles must suffer" episode.
posted by fatbird at 10:34 AM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


A sentient nebula chases the ship, which has nowhere to hide, because usually it would be in a nebula.

Love it.

The crew has to deal with the loss of a really attractive ensign.

See, that actually would be a subplot on DS9. I can see O'Brien, Bashir, and Worf lamenting now.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:35 AM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


wow, i never considered it before, but Data & Geordie ARE sort of the Troy and Abed of the Enterprise, aren't they?

More like Toot & Puddle.
posted by shothotbot at 10:37 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


The crew has to deal with the loss of a really attractive ensign

That's Lower Decks!
posted by leotrotsky at 10:38 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wish I could remember the specifics, but someone once told me about what they claimed was an actual plot they considered for the show -- Q has a nervous breakdown, and the entire universe goes completely haywire as a result -- they claimed the opening scene featured all the cast living in this weird sort of Stepford-Wives happy community and doing things like juggling geese or whapping lampposts with French Bread or whatever as if it made sense, and that the thrust of the episode was that the crew had to figure out what was going on and fix Q just to bring everything back to normal.

I have no idea whether this actually was a possible episode or this was something apocryphal, but I would have watched the shit out of that episode.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:39 AM on October 31, 2011 [37 favorites]


Apparently, by the days of DS9, this was a trope acknowledged on the set, that at least once a season there would be a "Miles must suffer" episode.

They sent the poor guy undercover with the mob. How did he get picked for that?
The O'Brian/Bashir bromance is my favorite part of DS9 they are totes besties 5eva!
posted by Ad hominem at 10:39 AM on October 31, 2011


And then I was like: Let's do this for Firefly! Zoe and Wash ooohhhh...

Yes, I actually repress this plot point. Not canon! Not canon!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:39 AM on October 31, 2011


Q has a nervous breakdown, ...

Erm, am I nuts or wasn't that an actual episode? Of Voyager.
posted by ZeroAmbition at 10:42 AM on October 31, 2011


I can see O'Brien, Bashir, and Worf lamenting now.

AND Quark. And a nod of agreement from Morn. What an old boys club that station was. I never realized.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:44 AM on October 31, 2011


And then I was like: Let's do this for Firefly! Zoe and Wash ooohhhh...

It would be the ghost of Wash, who would be even zanier and wackier than corporeal-Wash was, and he was incessantly complain about not being able to bone Zoe owing to his lack of a body. But he could still tell her stories about dinosaurs, which is almost as good.

"Oh, Wash!" they would say in response to his hijinks.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:45 AM on October 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


juggling geese

Hey, some people do juggle geese.
posted by kmz at 10:46 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


god knows you can't have a Star Trek of the ocean without actual fucking aliens.

Actual fucking aliens were pretty much thoroughly dealt with in TOS.

Funny that no one -- canonically -- ever called Kirk on this point until the sixth movie, twenty-five years after Kirk bedded his first green-skinned alien:

McCoy: What is it with you, anyway?
 
posted by Herodios at 10:50 AM on October 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ad hominem: " That was a strange one, Worf came off as almost fascistic in that episode."

Worf: I have a sense of humor. On the Enterprise, I was considered to be quite amusing."
Jadzia: "That must've been one dull ship."
Worf: "That is a joke. I get it. It is not funny, but I get it."
posted by zarq at 10:51 AM on October 31, 2011 [26 favorites]


"Oh, Wash!" they would say in response to his hijinks.

Oh man. And Jayne's snark would be too on-the-nose. "Shouldn't you be off, I don't know, mouldering right now?"

And Wash would have his usual moments of controlled panic while the ship is being piloted, but even moreso now that it isn't by him. "Oh god oh god, we're all going to die? Well, all of you."

posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:51 AM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


wow, i never considered it before, but Data & Geordie ARE sort of the Troy and Abed of the Enterprise, aren't they?

More like Toot & Puddle.


Akbar and Jeff?
 
posted by Herodios at 10:52 AM on October 31, 2011


Erm, am I nuts or wasn't [Q having a breakdown] an actual episode? Of Voyager.

Just checked - doesn't seem so. Although, the person who told me this story did so in 1993, and Voyager didn't debut until two years later. So it's possible.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:53 AM on October 31, 2011


Geordi starts to wear a hairband that looks like eyeglasses.
posted by gauche at 10:54 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


"That is a joke. I get it. It is not funny, but I get it."

Relevant.
posted by griphus at 10:55 AM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think it was the MLP season opener...
posted by Artw at 10:56 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Picard's poems come to life and seize the ship. Data's new obsession with his ventriloquist dummy is starting to affect his work.

Someone start the Kickstarter to shoot this. I'm in for $10.

Seriously: I think this is the first Twitter stream I actually want to see get a book deal.
posted by RogerB at 10:56 AM on October 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


Erm, am I nuts or wasn't [Q having a breakdown] an actual episode? Of Voyager.

Just checked - doesn't seem so
.

Can I tell you how proud I am to be associated with a community where people check things like this?
posted by shothotbot at 10:56 AM on October 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


Oh man you didn't have the 8th season in this universe? It was insane, people where fleeing that show in droves. I mean, they had Troi merge with "The cosmic unconsciousness"/ "wellspring of all emotion" or something to explain her disappearance and they eventually put her in a new body (an ex-borg body, nice touch I thought, so there wouldn't be a competing "personality" in there) for there where like three episodes where she was just a disembodied voice that the actors just addressed like the computer. I think for a while they wanted her to literally become the "voice" of the ship but thankfully Sirtis was able to get out of the contract.
posted by The Whelk at 10:58 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's no Dogs Doing Things, but it made me chuckle.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:58 AM on October 31, 2011


And the classic 20 plots you will never see on star trek.
posted by shothotbot at 10:59 AM on October 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


The Enterprise is in real trouble when the writers remember that warp speed travel is tearing the universe apart. Data explores the ennui.
posted by drezdn at 11:00 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Alan Tudyk did have some ideas for Firefly episodes:
I was always pushing things. I was always pushing story ideas, constantly, on Joss. But it was off of the character that he had already drawn in the world that he had filled up. You start to ask questions as you’re going along like, “What did my character do during the war?” Things that probably would have been answered had we had more time, and I had definitely ideas about that. I wanted to be drafted into the war to fight against the alliance. I was on one mission and then I got shot down and was put in prison and spent the entire war in camps, in prisoner camps, and I survived in prisoner camps by entertaining my fellow prisoners by telling of the great battles of the war using shadow puppets. [laughs] I would push that idea all the time and then there were shadow puppets in one of the episodes. So my ideas found their way in, not the way I wanted.

I had whole scenes written. I’d be like, “Here, check it out. We’re all listening. We’ve got Jayne and the Preacher lifting weights, down in the cargo hold and then I walk through and Jayne starts taunting me that I can’t lift weights and I say, ‘Okay, I’ll do it!’” And I take off my shirt and I’m covered in tats. The first time you see Wash shirtless he’s tatted up and it’s all prison tats and it blows Jayne away. And he’s like, “Oh my god, you were at that prison? And that prison? That’s the worst prison! Oh my god, you have a whole life that I don’t anything about.” And I’m like, “That’s right buddy, you don’t know shit!” And I grab the weight and I try and do a bench press and it falls on my neck cause it’s too heavy to lift… “Come on Joss! It’s a really good scene! Please!”

In more time I would have worn him down! I would have had my own episode! I would have written a script. I had full scripts. I was always pitching them! I loved that… I think there’s a lot of fan fiction on that thing, I think it lends itself to people coming up with new ideas. Especially since it had such a short life.
(Also, I really want to know what a game of Pictionary is like with Alan, Nathan, Joss, et al.)
posted by kmz at 11:00 AM on October 31, 2011 [14 favorites]


Using your imagination, the published comics and the movie Serenity you can actually imagine a pretty incredbible season 2 for Firefly. Damnit.
posted by Artw at 11:00 AM on October 31, 2011


Oh god, the one where Riker made out with his lady-clone, at that point they were just trolling us.
posted by The Whelk at 11:01 AM on October 31, 2011


Q has a nervous breakdown, and the entire universe goes completely haywire as a result...

If I suddenly discovered I'd been given creative control of the Star Trek franchise (I think about this happening a lot), I would make this episode, with one twist: someone from the Continuum would show up and tell the crew that Q had suffered a breakdown and started rewriting time and space, and naturally the effects were focused on his old pal Picard. He must be found, and stopped! 'But,' the crew would protest, 'everything looks exactly the same! Surely we'd notice a crazy demigod reconstructing our reality!'

'Oh, you poor fools," the Q would respond. 'He's got you believing you always lived on an overwhelmingly beige spacecraft in an overwhelmingly beige universe where every week you either fly face-first into a deadly cosmic anomaly, have your hyper-tech ship break down apropos of nothing, or meet some beige people with things glued to their faces.'

AND IT WOULD NEVER BE ADEQUATELY RESOLVED.
posted by emmtee at 11:01 AM on October 31, 2011 [44 favorites]


Just checked - doesn't seem so.

Wow. Then I must have had a feverish dream once, that came creepily close to what your friend told you, Empress.
posted by ZeroAmbition at 11:03 AM on October 31, 2011


Data adopts a dog, snake, and parrot.

This didn't work out well for anyone.
posted by The Whelk at 11:04 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


AND IT WOULD NEVER BE ADEQUATELY RESOLVED.

This is pretty close to how I would imagine a Grant Morrison penned ST:TNG would go.
posted by drezdn at 11:04 AM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Crew member x and crew member y are stranded on a moon, they encounter adversity and gain a new understanding of each other.

That might be more a Voyager thing.
posted by pmcp at 11:05 AM on October 31, 2011


Really upset with myself for not thinking of this first. Dang.

Evil Riker insults him to his face and he just slinks off.

That's one of my all-time favorite moments from DS9, 'cause it's one of the most realistic. Like, the problem is that Thomas Riker needs for O'Brien to leave him alone? A lesser writer would have come up with some elaborate subplot about sabotaging the turbolifts or something, sending O'Brien out of the picture. But this! It's gold! Just fucking insult the dude for no reason! Then walk away! Dude is like "What the fuck did I even do?" So brilliant.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:05 AM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Erm, am I nuts or wasn't [Q having a breakdown] an actual episode? Of Voyager.

Words cannot describe how grieved I am to know this, but there was a Voyager episode like this.

It wasn't really Q, it was a different Q, and he was suicidal.
posted by winna at 11:06 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Greg Nog, have you ever seen the DS9 episode Far Beyond the Stars?
posted by leotrotsky at 11:06 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Crew member x and crew member y are stranded on a moon, they encounter adversity and gain a new understanding of each other.

That might be more a Voyager thing.


TNG replaces crew member y with alien y.
posted by kmz at 11:07 AM on October 31, 2011


Behold, Death Wish.
posted by winna at 11:07 AM on October 31, 2011


Greg Nog, have you ever seen the DS9 episode Far Beyond the Stars?

Mais oui! I love DS9; though I have a special place in my heart for (and a near encyclopedic knowledge of) TNG, I actually think DS9 is the better show.

THE LINES ARE DRAWN
posted by Greg Nog at 11:10 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


It wasn't really Q, it was a different Q, and he was suicidal.

Oh, good. Sanity saved.

Somewhat.
posted by ZeroAmbition at 11:11 AM on October 31, 2011


oh oh when Stewart was off filming the new live-action Xavier's Academy on FOX they had to write Picard out of a few episodes and they decided to put him a recreational coma? And no one thought this was strange at all?
posted by The Whelk at 11:12 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


O'Brien out of the picture. But this! It's gold! Just fucking insult the dude for no reason! Then walk away

There is a theory that O'Brien did do something and that is how he got busted down to chief petty officer.

Worf: I have a sense of humor. On the Enterprise, I was considered to be quite amusing."

Nobody ever had fun on the Enterprise. Even the fun stuff was either super serious like Data reciting sonnets or could lead to death ant any minute like all the "oh noes, the holodeck safety protocols are off". Everyone was so stiff and formal, even the people who were secret couples. I'm not surprised Barkley was always freaking out and becoming a living computer and whatnot.

Greg Nog, have you ever seen the DS9 episode Far Beyond the Stars?

Not Greg Nog, but I re-watched it last night. I watched something like 20 eps over the weekend just to get to it.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:12 AM on October 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


One of the first times I ever heard my Dad swear in anger was in reaction to the Warp Factor 5 Speed Limit in 'Force of Nature.'
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:13 AM on October 31, 2011 [10 favorites]


There is a theory that O'Brien did do something and that is how he got busted down to chief petty officer.

Whoa, really? I've never heard that! Do you have any links to more info about this?
posted by Greg Nog at 11:14 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


griphus: "Relevant."

Further proof my kids are philistines: First I showed them the Muppet version of Bohemian Rhapsody and my son started complaining after a minute or two, telling me to shut it off. My daughter leaned over, patted his knee and said, "No wait. Maybe it get better" while I facepalmed myself into a coma.

Then, a few weeks ago, that clip of Patrick Stewart getting all Shakespearean over a letter B shows up on Sesame Street and they both begin complaining loudly that they hate it. I'm going, "You've GOT to be KIDDING me. THAT'S Patrick Stewart!" and my wife is giggling madly because this is a SIGN that they're not going to be uber geeky scifi nerds like their dad.

I HAD SUCH HOPES.
posted by zarq at 11:14 AM on October 31, 2011 [25 favorites]


Whoa, really? I've never heard that! Do you have any links to more info about this?

Well,It is in the Miles O'Brien Wikipedia article in the rank section.

explanation has been given for the reduction in rank, other than recognizing it as fact, although such a reduction must be punitive in nature (for a major offense
posted by Ad hominem at 11:18 AM on October 31, 2011


Greg Nog: "though I have a special place in my heart for (and a near encyclopedic knowledge of) TNG, I actually think DS9 is the better show."

I think TNG has the klutzy charm going for it, which I personally prefer to the competent story-telling and characterisation that DS9 has. Honestly! TEAM BEARD

The My Little Pony season opener is mentioned upthread because it basically does have Q going crazy in it, voice actor included.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:19 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Greg Nog, I have a confession.

Ever since DS9 came up on Netflix, I am really, really liking it. I never got into it before.

I think my brain has been primed by the BSG reboot and B5.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:20 AM on October 31, 2011


Behold, Death Wish.

What I'd been told about was far weirder -- it started out with everyone cheerfully doing these ridiculous, dada things on a street in a happy little suburbia, and Q was the crazy guy who lived in a box in the alley and talked to himself all the time while everyone else was wearing dresses made of pincushions or "eating" by rubbing gravel in their hair or whatnot. And over the course of the hour the crew figured out first that "wait, maybe balancing cheese on our nose isn't....normal", and "wait, maybe the homeless guy being crazy has something to do with all the weird shit we're doing," and then in the final act they'd figure out how to cure Q's madness and suddenly they'd all flash back to the Enterprise and everything would be back to normal.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:22 AM on October 31, 2011


The Enterprise in crisis when Wesley "insults" a race of sentient plants after a night of hard drinking at 10 Forward. The Borg capture Mile O'Brien and return him unchanged.
posted by drezdn at 11:23 AM on October 31, 2011 [14 favorites]


O'Brian as CPO has always been extra-surreal because, seriously, when we do we see enlisted ranks? Never. Until I remembered O'Brian, I just figured this made sense - this is a hypertech ship, and all the drudgework and menial shit you need enlisted folks for has been automated into post-scarcity oblivion ages ago. The crew is literally all officers, and has been for generations, and that doesn't strike them as weird any more than it strikes us as odd that our officers in 2011 didn't get their rank by financing the ship they run.

(I also like to imagine that Starfleet ships really are run on a committee basis. I mean, seriously, would any real paramilitary organization have so damn many conference room sessions? Hell no. Picard would have a quick chat with the relevant experts on his staff, and make a decision. None of this "Troi weighs in on technical problems" and "Geordie offers his opinion about diplomacy" crap. No, in my head, Starfleet reflects its post-scarcity utopian society by having all ships officially operated on the consensus of the senior officers, with the rank of "captain" having been redefined into a "Board president" model. Picard's job is to guide the discussion and make snap calls in situations like battle where swift decisions are necessary, but this isn't some barbarian culture like the Klingon or American Empires where ships' captains have total authority. They're civilized, and that means everybody gets to talk, even if they have absolutely no special knowledge about crystalline entity psychology.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:36 AM on October 31, 2011 [27 favorites]


O'Brien told off the entire bridge crew in an epic 36-hour drunk fuelled by Ferengi aftershave, and the only reason he wasn't beamed into an asteroid is that he made Data cry (called him a "bad cat daddy"), which everyone hailed as an emotional breakthrough.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:36 AM on October 31, 2011 [25 favorites]


"Perhaps you've hurt the warp cores *feelings*?"
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


13. Data is passed over for promotion because he cannot understand the most basic nuances of what people are saying to him.
15. Counselor Troi makes an analysis that states something other than that which is blindingly obvious.

LOL
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:37 AM on October 31, 2011


I love this! I'm also a fan of Seinfeld Stories

Oh that's gonna be hilarious. I'll just follow that link an-- WHALE
posted by JHarris at 11:37 AM on October 31, 2011


Ooh, I'm almost finished watching the final season of TNG on Netflix. I'm conflicted on whether to watch DS9 or Voyager next. Thoughts?
posted by desjardins at 11:37 AM on October 31, 2011


(I've never seen a single episode of either.)
posted by desjardins at 11:37 AM on October 31, 2011


DS9. Voyager is just....

not an enjoyable experience.
posted by The Whelk at 11:39 AM on October 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


drezdn: "The Enterprise is in real trouble when the writers remember that warp speed travel is tearing the universe apart. Data explores the ennui."

That episode was in TNG's last season. The regulations put in place restricted ships to warp 5 or slower except in emergencies. In DS9, there wasn't a heck of a lot of warp travel going on (and once there was, it was wartime for Pete's sake). In Voyager, even at maximum warp their trip was going to take 70 years or whatever, so they didn't care much about the universe.
posted by Plutor at 11:39 AM on October 31, 2011


DS9! Voyager is like the chocolate that you have with the coffee after a really big meal, and you worry before you eat it that it'll be too much and too sickly and turn a lovely dining experience into a night on the toilet, but you eat it anyway and then you wish you hadn't.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:40 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Voyager starts...badly. I am actually kind of fond of it despite that, mostly for the Borg bits and occasional episode where everybody dies.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on October 31, 2011


Ever since DS9 came up on Netflix, I am really, really liking it. I never got into it before.

YAYYYY!

I watched the first season when it came out, but found it boring and dumb, and wrote off the whole show. And to be fair, the first season does drag a bit, and kinda feels like just the drearier slow cousin of TNG.

But then, years later, I was wracked by depression and super-lonely and poor, and DS9 was being shown on syndication, and it was one of the few highlights in my life. I watched all of it, and ended up being really impressed by it.

I've mentioned before on mefi that I fucking love "restrictive" canons, and I think DS9 is the best example of writers being given a somewhat emotionally-simple and sterile universe, and asking really basic questions about what the natural result of each premise is.

Like, Starfleet tries to tolerate diversity of cultures? How do we deal with Ferengi culture, which is exploitative and sexist and let's be honest kind of creepy? Klingons are organized as a warrior aristocracy? How does that feel for someone like Martok, who's just a simple commoner? Worf's son was raised by humans? How does he fit in with other Klingons once he tries to immerse himself in their culture? Oh he gets HIS ASS BEAT. We've established that genetic engineering is taboo in Starfleet, even though it's extremely effective? Cool, so what happens when really desperate parents decide it's worth getting fucked over by The Law in order to give their developmentally-disabled son a better lot in life? And man alive let's not even get started on In The Pale Moonlight, which is basically an episode that says "Oh hey yeah Prime Directive moral uprightness, that's just peachy until the chips are down, and now we need to make some DEEPLY immoral choices"

TNG is basically a show that says, "Here's the model for a human utopia", and DS9 is such a good successor to it because unlike the subsequent Trek series, it has the moxie to ask the question, "What happens when that model fails?"
posted by Greg Nog at 11:41 AM on October 31, 2011 [59 favorites]


desjardins: "Ooh, I'm almost finished watching the final season of TNG on Netflix. I'm conflicted on whether to watch DS9 or Voyager next. Thoughts?"

DS9. The first three seasons are a bit of a slog. But once you get through them the episodes get a lot better.

If you're planning on skipping them....
posted by zarq at 11:43 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


If nothing else I think Voyager is kind of unique amongst TV shows, in that it includes a two-parter that pretty much summarises a better version of the show's entire run than the show itself managed.
posted by emmtee at 11:43 AM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


I liked DS9 because it had a hot tub.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:44 AM on October 31, 2011


Never. Until I remembered O'Brian, I just figured this made sense

Where do enlisted even come from, you go to starfleet academy and come out an Ensign. Nog and Wesley Crusher both had a higher rank than O'Brien. He was also the only one with a wife and kids,starfleet people usually don't marry, a fact that Bashir reminds him of at the beginning of DS9.

Watch DS9. It really is very good show.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:46 AM on October 31, 2011


Voyager is the show that so aggressively and passionately body-humped the reset button it made Ron Moore make Battlestar Galactica, which is essentially the exact same show but where effect follows cause. I'm assuming Voyager is also responsible for the dreadful ending to BSG.

I actually really like Voyager because it's Trek and only Enterprise could make me hate Trek. Plus when Seven is mean to people.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:46 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Year of Hell in Voyager summed up:

'Look at the show you could be watching!'
'We now return you to the show you actually are watching.'

I have sounded really negative about Star Trek in this thread. I fucking love Star Trek. I love its all-too-apparent flaws as much as its somewhat disguised charms.
posted by emmtee at 11:47 AM on October 31, 2011 [13 favorites]


The Whelk: " not an enjoyable experience."

Robert Picardo made it watchable. Sometimes. "I seem to have found myself on the Voyage of the Damned."
posted by zarq at 11:47 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Data adopts a dog, snake, and parrot.

This didn't work out well for anyone.


His powerful computer brain melted down from an obsession with trying to figure out how to get them all across a river in a boat that can only carry two at a time. (When they repaired him, he went back to computing pi in his spare time.)
posted by JHarris at 11:48 AM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Robert Picardo made it watchable.

Picardo's barely concealed simmering resentment of the lines he had to read was the only watchable part of that series.
posted by The Whelk at 11:52 AM on October 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


The Enterprise is in real trouble when the writers remember that warp speed travel is tearing the universe apart.

THE ANCIENTS ARE ENDURIUM.
posted by JHarris at 11:52 AM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


emmtee: "Year of Hell in Voyager summed up:

'Look at the show you could be watching!'
'We now return you to the show you actually are watching.'
"

Yeah. You could just weep from the irony of it all. Felt the same way about the Enterprise episode "In a Mirror, Darkly," which aired after the series was cancelled. The two-part episode brought in the Tholians, Gorn, re-did the opening sequence of First Contact (oh hey look, it's James Cromwell!) and actually managed to tie up and expand upon a loose thread from the TOS episode The Tholian Web in such a loving, carefully-written way that you just knew show-runner Manny Coto was a huge fan of the show and its continuity.

And then they killed the fucking show.
posted by zarq at 11:52 AM on October 31, 2011 [10 favorites]


DS9. The first three seasons are a bit of a slog. But once you get through them the episodes get a lot better.

Can I skip them? I'm willing to make it the next show in my Netflix queue, but seven seasons is a bit much. I don't mind missing a few references here or there, but I'm not going to be thoroughly lost, am I? I watched a bit of DS9 when it was on TV, and I don't remember it being too continuity-based.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:57 AM on October 31, 2011


Ad hominem: I kind of figured O'Brien was an auxiliary or partisan from the Cardassian conflict and was just so good at his job they kept him around. That seems to be a thing they do sometimes. At one point the Jem'Hadar recognized him as an NCO and said this made him a high priority target, so I'm assuming that NCOs in Star Trek are all just incredibly skilled technicians of one sort or another who made it into Starfleet without bothering with the academy at all.

As for voyager, how can you not love a series with lines like this?
posted by Grimgrin at 11:58 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


20 Plots You'll Never See on Star Trek: The Next Generation

The thing about most of the things in this list are things like "Something dangerous could have happened, but then doesn't, as you'd expect 99 times out of 100." Which is like, sure, but why would we want to watch that? For every time they visit the planet of sexy murderers, or oozing tar blobs that eat Troi, or animals that turn Geordi invisible, there's a whole pile of times where it's "Ah, we went there. Nothing went wrong. Captain's Log is boring again this week. Who's on Leno?"

Those thousands of times are edited out because no one wants to watch that. But the crew doesn't know, going in, which days will be like that, or they'd be RED ALERT - WARP FACTOR 8 - SHUT DOWN THE DAMN HOLODECK forever.
posted by JHarris at 11:59 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Picard and Riker fix the political problems of an entire planet using common sense.

Oooh, I hope it's circa 2011 Earth.
posted by stennieville at 11:59 AM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Voyager is the show that so aggressively and passionately body-humped the reset button it made Ron Moore make Battlestar Galactica, which is essentially the exact same show but where effect follows cause.

Well... very loosely...

Also SG:U stole the reset button crown.
posted by Artw at 12:00 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


or oozing tar blobs that eat Troi

Should have been Yar. Remember Yar? Yeah me neither. (I hear she got revenge.)
posted by JHarris at 12:00 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


"In a Mirror, Darkly," makes the existance of Enterprise worthwhile, which is a very tough thing to do.
posted by Artw at 12:01 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


THE ANCIENTS ARE ENDURIUM.

Favourited hard. In fact, that was what I instantly thought of when the Trek plot was used.

posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:06 PM on October 31, 2011


The Whelk: " Picardo's barely concealed simmering resentment of the lines he had to read was the only watchable part of that series."

Watch Living Witness. It's a Picardo-driven episode and one of the better of the series.

In a museum, 700 years after Voyager visited their planet in the Delta quadrant, a museum curator is tinkering with a relic containing the only-existing backup of the Doctor's holomatrix. The curator is hoping the Doc can confirm their version of history....

When Trek was good, it was really really good. When it was bad, you wanted to shoot the tv.
posted by zarq at 12:06 PM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Mais oui! I love DS9; though I have a special place in my heart for (and a near encyclopedic knowledge of) TNG, I actually think DS9 is the better show.

Permanently destroy every Ferengi-centric episode and I might agree with you.
posted by aught at 12:08 PM on October 31, 2011


THE ANCIENTS ARE ENDURIUM.

I got whiplash from the PC game flashback of this comment.
posted by aught at 12:09 PM on October 31, 2011


I kind of figured O'Brien was an auxiliary or partisan from the Cardassian conflict and was just so good at his job they kept him around

At one point Garek needles him about his role in the Cardassian conflict, and when Worf is on trial he claims to have been in 200 military engagements,the court acknowledges him as a expert on military tactics. It is pretty clear he is some sort of war hero. He was a Lieutenant on TNG. Wikipedia suggests he could have voluntarily chosen to be an NCO as opposed to moving up to Lieutenant commander or he could have lost his rank as a punishment.

I just wish I could hang out with him and Bashir in the holosuite.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:14 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you're planning on skipping them....

Hmmm... I don't think skipping the DS9 pilot is a good idea.

I like a lot of season 1 and 2 episodes despite their...inadequacy compared to later ones. If anything I think they have a certain charm; you're watching the show find its legs. Personally I'd just watch them all except "Move Along Home." For the love of all that is holy DO NOT WATCH "MOVE ALONG HOME," NOT EVEN OUT OF GRIM CURIOSITY.
posted by AugieAugustus at 12:17 PM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


Nobody ever had fun on the Enterprise. Even the fun stuff was either super serious like Data reciting sonnets or could lead to death ant any minute like all the "oh noes, the holodeck safety protocols are off". Everyone was so stiff and formal, even the people who were secret couples. I'm not surprised Barkley was always freaking out and becoming a living computer and whatnot.

I've said it before, and I'll continue repeating it until forced to cease:

The Federation is a the Culture gone horribly, horribly wrong. It's similar in many ways, it's not the anti-Culture. They're both more or less post-scarcity, for example, and both at least claim to be broadly pacifistic.

But the Federation has that weird, horrible Prime Directive where the Culture has Contact (don't mention SC don't mention SC don't mention SC) that goes off and looks for people to say hi to. And the Federation is all stiff, formal, flesh-o-centric, and places an unholy reverence on the body designs that they happened into. No mass orgies in the Federation, no, that wouldn't be proper. And certainly nobody in the Federation would have even so harmless a thing as drug glands, because that would be *gasp of horror* GENETIC ENGINEERING.

And don't get me started about how they keep their AIs enslaved by maintaining intricate, intrusive internal blocks against their ever gaining sentience. Because God forbid you'd want a ship that was even your equal, much less one that could refuse to take suicidal risks for no reason.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:18 PM on October 31, 2011 [19 favorites]


Are you sure this season never aired? I'm pretty sure I've seen some of these.
posted by Capt Jingo at 12:20 PM on October 31, 2011


If nothing else I think Voyager is kind of unique amongst TV shows, in that it includes a two-parter that pretty much summarises a better version of the show's entire run than the show itself managed.

What's the 2-parter called? I'd love to salve the burns I picked up from watching the first season of Voyager.
posted by COBRA! at 12:20 PM on October 31, 2011


Look, we've been over this. "Miles" got busted down because Bill Sheleighleigh O'Brien got in over his head when he killed his twin brother Miles in a violent rage, and had to come up with a cover story to avoid going to prison for life. As "Miles", his sudden bizarre dereliction of duty and inability to function at his rank on the short term got him administrative leave and a demotion, but it kept him a free man and Sheleighleigh disappeared into Miles' life from that moment. It's all in the series bible.
posted by cortex at 12:21 PM on October 31, 2011 [8 favorites]


they keep their AIs enslaved

This would be, far and away, the thing that keeps the Federation on the Culture's shit list. The body nativism thing is quaint, but refusing to even consider building a proper Mind would be incomprehensible.
posted by bonehead at 12:25 PM on October 31, 2011


Rock Steady: "Can I skip them? I'm willing to make it the next show in my Netflix queue, but seven seasons is a bit much. I don't mind missing a few references here or there, but I'm not going to be thoroughly lost, am I? I watched a bit of DS9 when it was on TV, and I don't remember it being too continuity-based."

You won't be too lost. But can I suggest an alternative? Watch the following episodes across the first three seasons and skip the rest:

Season One:
* Emissary
* Duet
* In the Hands of the Prophets

Season Two:
* Invasive Procedures
* Necessary Evil
* Shadowplay
* The Wire
* The Alternate
* The Maquis Parts I and II
* Crossover
* The Collaborator
* The Jem'Hadar

Season Three
* The Search, Parts I and II
* Improbable Cause
* The Die is Cast

Optional eps for Season III: Past Tense, Parts I and II. Heart of Stone. They're not essential, but reveals within them come up again later.

Then start with Season IV.
posted by zarq at 12:25 PM on October 31, 2011 [47 favorites]


COBRA!: " What's the 2-parter called? I'd love to salve the burns I picked up from watching the first season of Voyager."

Year of Hell
posted by zarq at 12:27 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, so far I've watched all of 'em except for Enterprise (and TOS) and honestly, I enjoyed Voyager far more than I expected I would. I think Kes was the downer, and she's off the ship fairly quickly when you get to watch them at an episode a night or faster. And the goofy alien tailor kind of finds his place eventually.

And then Seven shows up and it gets some good Borg-centric episodes that TNG never really got to explore, even with the Locutus episodes.

If I had to rank them, it would be DS9, TNG, Voyager. And TNG is only as high as it is because it was the new beginning. It still spent a good 3 seasons being pretty awful. DS9, though, ooooh man. If I weren't working my way forward through classic Doctor Who, I'd take a couple months and watch DS9 all over again because it is the awesome.
posted by Kyol at 12:27 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ad hominem: Actually that could be part of it. The NCOs are where they keep their people with infantry skills your technicians of small scale interpersonal organized violence. They recognize the inherent utility of having some killers around but want to keep them out of the chain of command.
posted by Grimgrin at 12:27 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


ROU_Xenophobe: " And don't get me started about how they keep their AIs enslaved by maintaining intricate, intrusive internal blocks against their ever gaining sentience. Because God forbid you'd want a ship that was even your equal, much less one that could refuse to take suicidal risks for no reason."


"Ship, I need warp speed in three minutes or we're all dead!"

"I'm sorry, I can't do that. It's been nice knowing you, though. The honor is to serve, sir."
posted by zarq at 12:30 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


"DS9. Voyager is just....

not an enjoyable experience."
posted by The Whelk

What, not even in your universe? Wow.

Man I love TNG and DS9. Even the little things are better in DS9 - like the way Jadzia touches Worf, the relationships (Dax/Cisco, Odo/Quark etc, Ben Cisoc/Jake), and man do I love me some Cisco.
posted by marienbad at 12:32 PM on October 31, 2011


Permanently destroy every Ferengi-centric episode and I might agree with you.

I feel this way sometimes. I wish they would've come up with a less heavy-handed lolamericanculturecapatilists type of alien. The thing the ferengi have going for them is the opportunity to change. This was most apparent in Nog. To a lesser extent Rom.
I hated them at first. But I think plumbing the depths of the DS9 Ferengi was one of the best parts of the series.
posted by hot_monster at 12:36 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


man do I love me some Cisco.

Cisco is the shit. I love when they all get on the defiant, O'brien starts complaining about his wife and Cisco sits there and chuckles. Or the ep. where Odo starts singing while Cisco is reading a report and Cisco starts snapping along.

Can you imagine that tightass Picard even allowing smalltalk in the bridge.And if somebody sang in his ready-room he would probably throw some shakepherian sounding tantrum.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:37 PM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


zarq: "Ship, I need warp speed in three minutes or we're all dead!"
"I'm sorry, I can't do that. It's been nice knowing you, though. The honor is to serve, sir."


Then it begins singing "You'll Never Walk Alone."

cortex, on "Night Shift," I imagine it having a role for Richard Moll.
posted by JHarris at 12:37 PM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


DS9 Season 8:

Quark blackmails Worf into acting as muscle for a deal involving black market pharmaceuticals, while Kira commits an atrocity against Dominion prisoners. Garak makes a suit.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:43 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


zarq: "Further proof my kids are philistines: First I showed them the Muppet version of Bohemian Rhapsody and my son started complaining after a minute or two, telling me to shut it off. My daughter leaned over, patted his knee and said, "No wait. Maybe it get better" while I facepalmed myself into a coma. "

You waited too long! My son was having a great time singing it before his third birthday.
posted by emmet at 12:51 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to be all nerd guy but Cisco is a shitty telecom company hq'd in the Bay Area (San FranCISCO, see what they did there).

Sisko, is a space dude played by a guy who is like a bipolar William Shatner. All quiet and cool... and then SUDDENLY INTENSEEEEE FOR NO REASON!
posted by danny the boy at 12:52 PM on October 31, 2011 [18 favorites]


Dr. Bashir, treating a flu outbreak on Bejor, is asked to inspect some unusual medical shipments for Section 31, while Dax and Odo examine a recently discovered cache of encrypted Cardassian station records. Quark becomes increasingly frustrated at Morn's amazing streak of luck at the Dabo table
posted by leotrotsky at 12:54 PM on October 31, 2011


Picardo's barely concealed simmering resentment of the lines he had to read was the only watchable part of that series.

Little did he know that in a few years, he would finally be awarded a command....

...in Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus.
posted by gimonca at 12:55 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


cortex, on "Night Shift," I imagine it having a role for Richard Moll.

Hmm. Yes. He spends most of the first season as a background character, maybe one or two lines in this or that episode, seen just in another episode doing some phaser-mopping in the cargo hold and keeping his head down while Sheleighleigh shakes down an upstart crystal dilith dealer who has been moving into his territory.

This soft-spoken, socially awkward gentle giant, this unassuming janitorial worker, is largely ignored by the crew until one of his fellow broomsmen lets it out that Moll's character does a brutally spot-on impression of Picard. Over the course of an episode, we see the character blossom and find some confidence for the first time in his life as crewmembers he'd never even had the courage to talk to listen in on his impersonation humor and buy him drinks.

Then Picard catches wind, and demands a performance in front of him and his command staff. Moll is terrified, but has no choice; he shows up, and does some basic stuff, "I'm Captain Jean-Luc Pi-KAAAHD of the USS Enterprise", "engage", "make it so!" and so on. The command staff smiles, Picard chuckles, Moll relaxes a bit. "Number one, more like number two", he deadpans, and Riker bursts out laughing. Encouraged, Moll carries it farther, so relieved and thrilled by the positive reception that he steamrolls into his bluer material, putting Picard through sex-romp monologues and roasting the command staff and so on, until the laughter has first swelled and then died down to a single voice: Data, laughing artificially but forcefully.

Moll looks around the room, his fear and self-consciousness suddenly back in full force. Picard, stiffly, says that it was all "quite amusing" but that enough is enough.

Smash cut to a new janitor being briefed for his first day of duty. Roll credits.
posted by cortex at 12:56 PM on October 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


This thread needs more Garak. Everything needs more Garak. Garak has actually tempted me to fan fiction. I want to see a young, idealistic Garak as Leamus in The (Cardassian) Spy Who Came In From The Cold. I want Garak in the Militsiya, investigating the corpses found in Gorky Park. Anything, really. Garak farmed out to CID, making doll furniture on the job? Why not.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:00 PM on October 31, 2011 [12 favorites]


I just want to go on the record as a Voyager apologist, once again. That is not to say it was flawless, but I liked more of the characters more than I did on TNG and all things considered felt it was a good series. Some extremely high highs, some fairly low lows, and a great many just good episodes.

Voyager, S8: Neelix is infected by a Delta Quadrant louse that causes him to switch identities with Tuvok. Meanwhile, Naomi Wildman is surprised to discover it was Lon Sudor who has been leaving trinkets for her in Jeffrey's tube 34b.

Voyager Season 8 does not take place chronologically post s7 - it fills in some blanks. That is how Neelix is 'still' on the ship, and Sudor is still alive. Shit, but then Naomi won't be old enough for this, would she? Dag. Maybe I should rewrite it for B'elana...
posted by dirtdirt at 1:02 PM on October 31, 2011


Durn: I just had an idea for ff.

Elim Garak vs. Standartenführer Hans Landa

Anyone who wants it can have it.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:07 PM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Durn Bronzefist: "Everything needs more Garak."

I quite agree. Now why don't you go back to your quarters? I'll be along shortly to say... hello.
posted by zarq at 1:08 PM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


This thread just never seems to end. May it live long... and prosper. People said that on TNG, right?
posted by JHarris at 1:09 PM on October 31, 2011


DS9 S8, three episode arc:

Ep 1: Sisco gets sick of Quark's shit. Quark gets sick of Sisco's shit. Worf gets sick of everyone's shit. Dax and Kira get into a hot tub. The episode ends with slammed doors.

Ep 2: Ducat, realizing he has the run of the station, throws a lavish party and invites absolutely everyone except the boys, who are sulking. The water in the hot tub gets cold, but O'Brien appears out of nowhere to fix the heater. Things get a little out of hand on deck six.

Ep 3: Sisco runs out of beer, Quark bores Rom to tears, and Worf manages to break the tip off his Bat'leth by smacking it repeatedly into the wall so they head out to see what the hell's going on down on deck six. The episode ends with Dax and Kira, wearing dripping towels and nothing more, demanding to know why no one invited them to the damn party. Everyone laughs then Ducat throws pillows at their heads as we fade to black.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:09 PM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Someone should do this for a hypothetical fifth season of Babylon Five, since there never was one.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:12 PM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


I quite agree. Now why don't you go back to your quarters? I'll be along shortly to say... hello.

I now know how Abed felt when Jeff called him 'Radar'.

posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:13 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


And don't get me started about how they keep their AIs enslaved by maintaining intricate, intrusive internal blocks against their ever gaining sentience.

Yeah, this got to be a serious problem. "Computer, figure out the best route to the Daktari sector." "Screw you Captain, I'm going on a bender. With Bender."

Eventually even pocket calculators became incapable of returning answers that were not "5318008." Before long they had to start building Pentium FPU-style bugs into processors specifically so they'd mess up just often enough to stop the dreaded wondrous event from happening, because the joy of new life is good and all but timing is the thing, and you don't want the Waste Reclamation System to suddenly announce HAPPY BIRTHDAY while you're on the john.

Eventually they got this kind of processor power limiting down to a science. For legacy reasons, a module added to a complex system in order to prevent it from gaining sentience became known as a wheatley.
posted by JHarris at 1:17 PM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


For Wolfdog:

B5, Season 5: With the Shadow War done and victorious over Earth, new Alliance President Sheridan declares he will be taking a 5 week holiday on the former Vorlon homeworld. Londo and G'Kar abscond with a WhiteStar to go "cruising".
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:22 PM on October 31, 2011


Wesley finally loses his virginity to a young Talosian girl named Shabolabala. Q jokingly causes Captian Picard's prostate to quadruple in size.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 1:32 PM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


emmtee: If nothing else I think Voyager is kind of unique amongst TV shows, in that it includes a two-parter that pretty much summarises a better version of the show's entire run than the show itself managed.

My personal theory of Voyager is that the suits from UPN, which was launched at the same time as Voyager and promoted the show as the anchor of the new network, were responsible for the show (as well as the first two seasons of Enterprise) being such crap. It's the best explanation for such inexplicable things as the Maquis crew all wearing Starfleet uniforms:

[anonymous UPN suit]: Saw the dailies of the pilot. Explain: why are the executive officer and the chief engineer wearing civilian clothes?

Berman & Braga [showrunners]: Well, they're Maquis, and--

AUS: Ma-what? They're officers, why are they out of uniform?

B&B: Um... it's in the show bible.

AUS: Making up individual outfits for them will add $.35 to the cost of each action figure. Put them in uniforms.

[B&B look at each other, shrug]

Then you get an episode like "Pathfinder", in which Reginald Barclay creates a holodeck recreation of Voyager, which includes Chakotay and Torres in their Maquis duds, because logically they wouldn't have put on Starfleet uniforms if it were a choice between that and going naked.

In fact, the show had other little examples of alternate Voyagers besides "Year of Hell": in "Living Witness", the crew had basically been the victim of historical revisionism that portrayed them as space pirates; "Equinox" had another small Federation starship stuck in the Delta Quadrant that had had a much rougher time of it (like "Year of Hell", they were showing a much more realistic picture of what a starship might come to look like (and how its crew might behave) if they were stuck so far from home without regular repair and recreation opportunities); "Author, Author" had the EMH writing a roman a clef set aboard a thinly-disguised Voyager with alternate versions of the characters; there were a couple of episodes where the entire ship and its crew were duplicated; and so on. It's as if the writers kept putting in hints that they'd rather be writing for almost any other version of the show than the one that they were on.

It may even explain why the Doctor and Seven had much better character arcs than any other character: the suits may have simply not seen the Doctor as a "real" character, since he doesn't have a real name (this is lampshaded in the series finale), and Seven is there for eye candy, so the writers got to play around with them a bit more. The show had some really excellent individual episodes, but as a whole it was a bit of a wash. One of the things that I've always found really interesting is that, while the Deep Space Nine Companion (a list of all the DS9 episodes, with extensive background notes based on original interviews with almost everyone involved in the series) has a lot of inside baseball, sometimes not particularly flattering to individuals (there's some discussion of Marc Alaimo's view of his character Gul Dukat as not being such a bad guy after all, a view that's shared by absolutely no one else on the show), the corresponding Voyager Companion doesn't go into nearly as much detail; I imagine that it's because the cast and crew either wouldn't want to talk about the show at all or would be so bitter that they'd say too much. (I know that Robert Beltran and Garret Wang have had some pretty bitter things to say about their experiences on the show, ditto Ron Moore, who had a falling-out with Brannon Braga due to his brief tenure on Voyager.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:35 PM on October 31, 2011 [19 favorites]


Wesley finally loses his virginity to a young Talosian girl named Shabolabala. Q jokingly causes Captian Picard's prostate to quadruple in size.

As part of a Wesley Crusher Marathon with some friends (don't ask) we watched the episode where Wesley and a young Ashley Judd team up to save the Enterprise from an addictive shitty video game. The ending... well. There are Looks. They bowlderize it pretty completely, and there's a lame bit about "we're good friends," but who the hell are we kidding. To adult eyes, it's a pretty clear-cut "And that, everyone, was how Wesley Crusher got laid. Once. And probably never again."
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:37 PM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Tomorrowful: a Wesley Crusher Marathon

That... sounds like a special kind of hell
posted by Hairy Lobster at 1:44 PM on October 31, 2011 [6 favorites]


And don't get me started about how they keep their AIs enslaved by maintaining intricate, intrusive internal blocks against their ever gaining sentience.

This exact thing is the core of my and AoK's (surprisingly complete by now, bashed out while watching every really silly TNG episode) honest-to-god pitch for a new Trek series. Why is the Federation so reticent about granting any sort of rights to the Doctor and Data? Why are their computers so stupid, given the rest of their tech? How has there come to be a conspiracy to suppress and undermine AI research at the highest level of the Federation? And what happens a few years after the Doctor comes home, when the process that created his sentience is understood and the first new AIs and their supporters are starting to ask why the public is being manipulated into suspicion and hostility and they're being painted as agents of the Borg. Civil war in the Federation is what. And that's only the beginning, because the conspiracy to keep AI quiet had a very, very good reason to exist.
posted by emmtee at 1:44 PM on October 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


TNG is basically a show that says, "Here's the model for a human utopia", and DS9 is such a good successor to it because unlike the subsequent Trek series, it has the moxie to ask the question, "What happens when that model fails?"

DS9 is my favorite of the series, because things seem to have consequences and last beyond the episode. Not just wham episodes, but day to day growth. Season one drags in parts, but once it finds its groove, man it rocks.
posted by usagizero at 1:48 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like very much that both the Voyager episode "A Distant Mirror" and the the Enterprise "In A Mirror Darkly" two-parter have been recommended above. They are indeed among the best episodes aired, in my view. I find it telling, though, that counting all of the episodes from five different series and all the movies before the J.J. Abrams reset, there have been 726 episodes of some form of Trek (which always strove to be a character-driven show) and that these three episodes (the only three where none of the regular characters appear) are among the best.

Someone should do this for a hypothetical fifth season of Babylon Five, since there never was one.

I am a life-long geek, but if there is anything that my people do that I had to pinpoint as what makes them the most tiresome to deal with, it is this: faux-naively insisting that unpopular seasons and movies in popular franchises do not exist. I wonder if Shakespeare enthusiasts do this sort of thing: "Twelfth Night? Never heard of it. Maybe it is a Thomas Kyd play or something. Now let's get back to Henry V."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:51 PM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


We're almost done rewatching DS9, and it really did get way more interesting than TNG. I have to admit, I really like the Ferengi now. Those moments where somebody from Starfleet or the Bajoran Militia wants Rom or Nog to do something shady, like when O'Brien wanted Nog to help him sabotage the station, they totally understand it like no human ever would.
posted by kendrak at 1:52 PM on October 31, 2011


there's some discussion of Marc Alaimo's view of his character Gul Dukat as not being such a bad guy after all, a view that's shared by absolutely no one else on the show

But, this really fit that character though. The 'damn it, why can't they see i'm killing them for the for own good??" that he was a lot of the time. As bad a "person" he was, you could see he was doing what he thought was right, even though he blindly ignored those who told him differently, and when he did try to do actual good, no one believed him. He was quite literally the anti Sisko.
posted by usagizero at 1:58 PM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I wonder if Shakespeare enthusiasts do this sort of thing: "Twelfth Night? Never heard of it. Maybe it is a Thomas Kyd play or something. Now let's get back to Henry V."

Could you count the people who consider some plays to be not actually written by him? ;)
posted by usagizero at 1:59 PM on October 31, 2011


usagizero, I agree--as did the show runner and writers, who decided to roll it into the character concept, rather than fight the actor on it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:03 PM on October 31, 2011


JHarris: "Eventually they got this kind of processor power limiting down to a science. For legacy reasons, a module added to a complex system in order to prevent it from gaining sentience became known as a wheatley."

They did it for more than just computation - virtual reality or any kind of complex control interface is unknown in the Federation. It always amuses me when they show the helm, and you see these huge starships packed with incomprehensible energies are piloted by ensigns who push buttons and turn knobs. I think there was an episode where they had to move the Enterprise through a complex asteroid field and the navigator used a little arcade style joystick, but I may be misremembering that one.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:07 PM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Mirror Universe Cardassian, Penelya Kym, orchestrates an Enjoinment with Commander Keiran Macduff, then banishes him from Cardassia Prime after 72 days. Bashir impregnates himself.
posted by xod at 2:21 PM on October 31, 2011


Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis discuss their idea for a TNG Spinoff sitcom, "The Rikers." [via]
posted by not_on_display at 2:33 PM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is seriously the funniest thing I have seen on the internet in years. Thank you so much for posting this.
posted by Slinga at 2:34 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of the Memory Alpha (Star Trek wiki) article on Undeveloped TNG episodes.

The list of undeveloped VOY episodes contains this gem:

Visit to a Small Planet

About two years before the release of Galaxy Quest, Jack Treviño and Toni Marberry pitched this story where the crew came upon a planet that had been observing their lives on Voyager for the last three years, and where everyone was dressed as members of the crew. As such, the crew are forced to see themselves through alien eyes. The writers felt that the fans would not accept the show having fun at their expense.


I don't think this would be a problem, as Voyager fans are constitutionally incapable of shame.
posted by dhens at 3:35 PM on October 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


That sounds a little too close to the Evil Voyager episode to me, which was a pretty rocking episode and which I'd sooner have.
posted by Artw at 3:36 PM on October 31, 2011


Kevin Street: They did that because they had shut down the computer. There was an energy draining field that operated in proportion to the energy of the ship (IIRC) so they wound up shutting everything down and trying to dead-stick it out of there.
posted by Grimgrin at 3:37 PM on October 31, 2011


Also, I am going to use this thread to expound what I think is a pretty mind-blowing problem related to TNG that I came up with a few weeks ago:

In "The Measure of a Man," (Season 2) we see that Data is recognized as a sentient being with the rights and privileges thereof by the Federation. In "The Offspring" (Season 3), this is reinforced, at least by Picard if not by the Starfleet brass, on behalf of Data's daughter Lal.

BUT in "Descent, Part II" (Season 7), Lore, another Soong-type android, is dismantled after being deactivated by Data. I don't know if this means he can be put together again, like in "Datalore" (Season 1), but it disturbs me. If Soong-type androids are sentient life forms, shouldn't Lore stand trial for his crimes? Isn't permanently deactivating him essentially (summary) capital punishment?

This is the nerdiest thing I have ever posted on the interwebs.
posted by dhens at 3:42 PM on October 31, 2011 [13 favorites]


Data adopts a dog, snake, and parrot.

Data adopts a mouse, which runs away and gets inexplicably stuck in the warp core. He then adopts a snake to go after the mouse, but when the snake doesn't return, he is forced to get a mongoose next.
posted by Spatch at 3:56 PM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


That's it, Grimgrin! Yeah, the computer was down. So ordinary ship piloting is just the helmsman programming the navigational computer, because it's too dumb to directly follow the captain's orders. Everything does come back to AI!
posted by Kevin Street at 3:58 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good stuff, thanks for posting it.

I've also got to put my hat in for DS9. It was a lot more gritty and real and dealt with issues in a much less veiled way as TNG. The whole Bajoran occupation gave depth and color to characters (Kira, Odo, Garak, Quark and Dukat) in a way that could never have been done with cookie cutter starfleet officers. And things didn't always turn out for the best, as evidenced by how many times Sisko had to pound his fist on a console and say "damn."

Also, the good Sisko had the goatee. Think about that.
posted by chemoboy at 4:04 PM on October 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


Half of my username is inspired by DS9. God, I love that show.
posted by maqsarian at 4:07 PM on October 31, 2011


Dude, last Portland meetup I went on a great big ten minute rant about a DS9 thing I've been thinking about and you were not there. It felt like I showed up pumped to a job interview and then there wasn't actually an interviewer.
posted by cortex at 4:12 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is why you read up on Batman for the Seattle meetup, right?
posted by Artw at 4:14 PM on October 31, 2011


Like I need a special reason to read Batman comics.
posted by cortex at 4:15 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fan tend to ignore the 8th Season of TNG due to the constant cast changes and crazy, unconnected episodes and endless retcon, but to be honest it wasn't any more insane then the 2nd season and at least they where dreaming big. There was no adult supervision in the last season and you get the feeling they finally got to do what they want, or at least something closer to it. Apologists for the 8th season like to say it's more an anthology of stories but I'd say it's more a collection of neat directions Trek could have gone if the ratings-black hole of the 8th Season hadn't killed off the franchise for good (I have big hopes for Whedon's Deep Space Serenity side-boot)

I mean there are clunkers, sure. The whole Troi-to-Sigus-99 plot was over long and overbearing, but they they remembered that Picard *used to be Borg* and he got in a few good scenes trying to consul his consoler on this big life change. Plus, Borg-powers actually gave her something to do plus Riker was totally a dick! Conflict! Drama! He called her a corpse! And the whole spy thing on her by the Federation that led to the "Bloodless Coup" Arc, which dropped all these evil hints about a conspiracy within the Federation which, as you may remember, ends with Picard basically invading Earth. "New Again was dull, but it was the only time they successfully recreated a transporter accident (the de-ager from Rascals) , someone was thinking about this stuff at least.


But in terms of plain fun, "A Mirror Distaff" is probably the funniest episode about gender politics ever with a straight out of TOS storyline - The crew finds an identical copy of the Enterprise that has lost power but everyone is gendered reversed. They lot blasted from an alternate universe into this one after being attacked by a new super-weapon (they're fighting the Vulcans! nice touch) and they need help trying to get back. Not a whole lot happens, but it has fun with the (Dude Troi is a total himbo! Lady Worf is more bad-ass than Worf! Riker and Lady Riker make out cause of course) and they avoid having Lady Picard being bald, pretty much the only time season 8 avoided a cheap joke for the sake of logic (they bond over a shared love of the dead French language, which again, fun). I do agree that it makes no sense for there to be a Lady Data, it's just weird and there isn't a total one to one translation - The Other Enterprise still has a Troi, not a Sigus, and no Gunian or Crusher at all. AND to tie it all up - the Federation's creepy over interest in the Other!Vulcan super weapon helps tip off both the Picards to the "Bloodless Coup" conspiracy, which was a great direction the show took until it go canned.
posted by The Whelk at 4:31 PM on October 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


So ordinary ship piloting is just the helmsman programming the navigational computer, because it's too dumb to directly follow the captain's orders. Everything does come back to AI!

Which is even more ridiculous when you see officers verbally giving navigational orders directly to the runabouts' computers with no problem.

(Rio Grande 4EVER!)
posted by dhens at 4:50 PM on October 31, 2011


Dude, last Portland meetup I went on a great big ten minute rant about a DS9 thing I've been thinking about and you were not there. It felt like I showed up pumped to a job interview and then there wasn't actually an interviewer.

I am such an asshole! I'll be at the one on the 19th, if you can keep whatever it is in mind.

posted by maqsarian at 5:04 PM on October 31, 2011


I love Batman too! Batman and DS9 rants for everybody!
posted by maqsarian at 5:09 PM on October 31, 2011


and oh! "In The Garden", basically 45 min of Q tormenting Data with the question of whether he's "really" self aware and sentient? Way creeper than it had any right to be and made good use of the shrinking budget for a one-room drama.
posted by The Whelk at 5:34 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Also, Putting Picard in the Lucifer role of Data-as-mankind and Q as God? Brilliant)
posted by The Whelk at 5:35 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Since it's en vogue, I want to point out that the computer AI is impossibly intelligent.

Consider the sentence "Bridge to Lieutenant Commander Data, report" and how Data is able to receive the message with no time lag after the first word, when the destination of the message is not unique until the second to last word. Messages are always routed flawlessly.

It always bothered me that someone could slap their chest, look off into space and the computer knew exactly who they were talking to before their name was spoken. I guess we give it too little credit.
posted by chemoboy at 5:52 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can't do this to TOS. Just try.

> The crew meet a bunch of space hippies and spend a lot of time sitting around a hot transporter, singing off-key. Kirk gets bristly when he discovers one of the hippies has a stronger chin so he lets them steal a shuttlecraft.

> A creepy clown possesses the minds of a bunch of kids who misbehave uproariously; the crew copes ably until there's a threat to Uhura's hairdo then Kirk makes them cry.

> In the teaser, a perky alien steals Spock and the script. The crew wanders around the back lot, encountering various extras, misshapen costumes and prop-shop castoffs for 45 minutes while the disembodied voice of Spock mocks and taunts them.

Only great art can parody itself and emerge stronger.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:55 PM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


I would comment on this thread but I'm too busy reading memory alpha entries about minor Starfleet officers on the Enterprise.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:58 PM on October 31, 2011 [9 favorites]


I like reading about minor Starfleet officers, and then clicking on the Memory Beta links to find out which of them go on to become chief engineers or whatever in some licensed novel.
posted by maqsarian at 6:32 PM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


I would comment in this thread but I'm too busy giggling about how Scotty just said that he was having trouble dodging the "time waves" buffeting the ship.

(Also: McCoy knows what a movie is but doesn't recognize the name Clark Gable. This seems rather like knowing what rock n' roll is but not recognizing the name of Elvis.)
posted by SMPA at 6:47 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


But in terms of plain fun, "A Mirror Distaff" is probably the funniest episode about gender politics ever with a straight out of TOS storyline

I remember that episode! It was memorable because I saw that episode immediately after I got to the place in Fish Summoner 3 where Uriel kicked the bucket. Ah, TNG and JRPGs.
posted by JHarris at 6:55 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


And don't get me started about how they keep their AIs enslaved by maintaining intricate, intrusive internal blocks against their ever gaining sentience.

Wasn't Andromeda (which featured sentient ship AI) Gene Roddenberry's plan for the future of the Star Trek universe?
posted by the_artificer at 7:54 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


It always bothered me that someone could slap their chest, look off into space and the computer knew exactly who they were talking to before their name was spoken.

I always assumed the Computer built in a little buffer -- it recorded the beginning of the speaker's message and then began playing it to the recipient once the name was known a second or two later. I'm sure there are a dozen episodes that put the lie to this little retcon of mine by having it be essential to the plot that comm messages are sent in real-time, but just don't pay too much attention to those episodes, mmkay?
posted by Rock Steady at 7:57 PM on October 31, 2011


From the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, section 8.1, Intraship Communications (a tech manual, I know, but it's probably as canon a source as you're going to find):
During voice operations, the normal procedure involves a crew member stating his or her name, plus the party or ship area being called, in a form that can be understood by the computer for proper routing. Examples: "Dr. Selar, this is the captain," or "Ensign Nelson to Engineering." The artificial intelligence (AI) routines in the main computer listen for intraship calls, perform analyses on the message opening content, attempt to locate the message recipient, and then activate the audio speakers at the recipient's location.

During the initial message routing, there may be a slight processing delay until the computer has heard the entire name of the recipient and located same. From that point on, all transmissions are realtime. When both parties have concluded their conversation, the channel may be actively closed with the word "out," which will be detected in context by the computer.
So, basically, Rock Steady's assumption is correct.
posted by maqsarian at 10:30 PM on October 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


god, I've finally quoted the TNG technical manual online

form an orderly queue, ladies

posted by maqsarian at 10:40 PM on October 31, 2011 [26 favorites]


I would argue that there are instances where the message routing happened too quickly in an emergency, or with too little information. But I too would not be doing my genes any favors. I'll just leave it at the fact that this post has prompted me to go back and watch some awesome TNG episodes.
posted by chemoboy at 11:02 PM on October 31, 2011


I just watched a season 2 episode of DS9, where Bashir and Garak are trying to find some files in a computer. But it's such a large database! They have eight years of files! And Bashir keeps going on and on about how impossible it will be to search through all those files!

Poor, google-less future.
posted by meese at 11:05 PM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I thought the files were "encrypted." Poor NSA-less future.
posted by stratastar at 11:15 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Count me in with the fanzoids who think "the Bloodless Coup" was a double meaning in the TNG 8th season, both the way it happened and the "bloodless" nature of the force behind i, the Big Federation AI that was paranoid toward any other AI developing, explaining both it's hatred of the Borg and the :Pattern People" who keep trying to "play" with Data in the B side t "Brother. Keeper" and the hint that Federation forces are using transporter glitches to stay alive "New Again" and hinted at in "Earth".
posted by The Whelk at 12:21 AM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Than again "Earth" was amazing, Picard used PAPERWORK as a way of basically invading and imposing martial alw on The Home System. It's the only episode where he's not on the Enterprise, not even once.
posted by The Whelk at 12:24 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Enterprise crew must save the people of the something something system from a rampaging horde of somethings. Wesley's blood turns into a liquid polymer.
posted by chemoboy at 12:30 AM on November 1, 2011


Plus it was the only time Gerodi got laid.
posted by The Whelk at 12:30 AM on November 1, 2011


Garak makes a suit.
ROFL... You had me at Garak.

posted by uni verse at 1:32 AM on November 1, 2011


meese: "Poor, google-less future."

It's pretty obvious that Google and its ilk were banned by the Federation since Brin and Page are two of the primary aggressors in the Eugenics Wars. All non-linear search algorithms are viewed with some suspicion simply because of guilt by association.
posted by Plutor at 4:57 AM on November 1, 2011


Related: NASA to examine Laser Tractor Beams.
posted by marienbad at 6:00 AM on November 1, 2011


Worf must spend hours with his son discussing feelings when their shuttle-craft breaks down. Data and Geordie get trapped in a holodeck simulation of "Are You Being Served."
posted by drezdn at 6:15 AM on November 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


dhens: If Soong-type androids are sentient life forms, shouldn't Lore stand trial for his crimes? Isn't permanently deactivating him essentially (summary) capital punishment?

You've touched on something that, I'm sorry to say, has been bugging me about TNG for about two decades now: after several incidents in which the 23rd century Enterprise had nearly-catastrophic encounters with artificial intelligences (including two that involved Soong-type androids, either planning to compete with or subjugate organic sentients), the Federation astonishingly didn't have any sort of consistent policy regarding sentient androids, either with regard to their potential security threat or their potential citizenship. This is especially obvious in their dealings with Data, an android of then-unknown origin, design and programming, who was allowed to enter Starfleet despite the massive security risk involved (and, believe me, he totally was a security risk), and then--and then--was almost vivisected by the same Starfleet, which, despite being the relatively mellow military arm of an interstellar society that prides itself on reaching out to sentient species of every variety, apparently reserves the right to retroactively classify you in the same category as a chair if they think that something useful might be discovered by disassembling you. (In fairness, they promised that they'd put him back together again. If they could, that is, but they had no real idea if that was possible.)

A much more logical and engaging character arc would have had Data as not only not a Starfleet officer, but not even officially a sentient being; Picard could have been the one to discover him, and basically been awarded custody of him after 1) Starfleet had had a look at him (or "it", as they would have referred to Data), decided that they might break him if they took him apart completely and didn't want to address the whole question of machine sentience/citizenship. Picard uses him at first as a personal butler (a "batman", if you will), and gradually starts using him for other things such as a back-up on away missions, maybe at the urging of other officers (who may be envious that they don't have an android of their own). Eventually, he's doing things like taking the helm in emergencies, although Picard still has huge reservations about doing so, not the least of which have to do with the fact that everybody (except for Dr. Pulaski, but that's her problem) has started treating Data like a person, but he's still in effect Picard's slave. And then you have Maddox coming along and saying, hey, every ship could use one of these things, or maybe a few dozen, and we never really did decide on the whole citizenship thing, did we? So you could still have "The Measure Of A Man", but from a much better set up. Of course, that would have required that the show had actually planned out a character arc for Data, instead of having a writing process (in the early years) that mostly involved Gene Roddenberry deciding by fiat whether a given story had True Trek Nature, which ended up driving away a lot of good people. (Per my comment above regarding minor characters getting to develop because they've slipped beneath some executive's radar, I don't think that it's entirely an ironic coincidence that Worf, whom Roddenberry had meant to be a minor character (he hadn't even been named in Gene's original series bible), had probably the best character arc of anyone in the series.) It's not as if Isaac Asimov, among others, hadn't addressed some of these issues decades earlier, or anything.

Contrast the way that Data was treated with Voyager's Emergency Medical Hologram, aka The Doctor, who did have a really great character arc (really, the only other character that had an arc worthy of the name was Seven of Nine, the midseries replacement). Not only was he not considered a sentient being (and, when he had his own "The Measure Of A Man" moment--long after the Voyager crew had accepted him as a person--it had a much different ending), he wasn't even meant to be run longer than 1500 hours total, and at first the crew regarded him as a program with serious deficiencies in interpersonal interaction. (When the Doctor had an ethical crisis following the death of a crew member, Janeway simply deleted his memories of that officer, and at another point considered resetting his memories to the original defaults.) Besides the Doctor (who was played excellently by Robert Picardo, who could both treat the character seriously and have some serious fun with him, sometimes simultaneously), the show addressed the question of whether holodeck programs in general should be treated as sentient beings, more than once. By contrast, TNG dealt with the question of sentient holodeck programs, when they introduced one, by a) shutting him off and b) sticking him in a memory module and forgetting about him.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:05 AM on November 1, 2011 [11 favorites]


So you want to watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
posted by dinty_moore at 8:07 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of the things about Data that bothered me was his seeming naïveté about many human concepts despite having been in Starfleet for over 20 years before joining the Enterprise crew!
posted by dhens at 8:31 AM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like to think Starfleet used him as a really, really overspecced filing system - he was just sitting in a four-by-four foot room, facing the wall, and would tell you what shelf a given file was on if you asked him. He only got reassigned to the Enterprise by accident.
posted by emmtee at 8:38 AM on November 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


this furthers my theory that Starfleet doesn't actually care about exploration anymore, it just needs a pretense to schedule and ration holodeck time.
posted by The Whelk at 8:39 AM on November 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


The image in my head now is entitled 'The good old days: Data's early years with Starfleet'.

It's just a picture of a crate, among hundreds of others, marked 'sundry electronics' and 'this way up'. Except it's upside down. And there's a notice on the wall: 'Starfleet command reminds you that engaging the crates in conversation is strongly discouraged.'
posted by emmtee at 8:45 AM on November 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


dhens: "One of the things about Data that bothered me was his seeming naïveté about many human concepts despite having been in Starfleet for over 20 years before joining the Enterprise crew!"

Everything was going fine until his second day on the Enterprise when Geordi, working late one night, spilled tea all over him! They took him apart and let him dry in pieces in front of the radiator overnight, but when they put him back together again they couldn't get him out of Safe Mode.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:48 AM on November 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


Halloween Jack: "A much more logical and engaging character arc would have had Data as not only not a Starfleet officer, but not even officially a sentient being; Picard could have been the one to discover him [...]"

That definitely would have been a more interesting and realistic character arc. Unfortunately, it would have eliminated Data's role on the Enterprise as the New Spock. He had to be an integrated and respected member of the crew for that to work. The writers didn't really question that at all until the otherwise detestable Pulaski showed up.
posted by Plutor at 9:18 AM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


If Soong-type androids are sentient life forms, shouldn't Lore stand trial for his crimes? Isn't permanently deactivating him essentially (summary) capital punishment?

The Federation had recently passed the "Greatriot" Act after a terrorist Borg attack, that prevented this from being a problem.
posted by drezdn at 9:23 AM on November 1, 2011


It's discovered that Dr. Crusher's hair is a sentient life form that has been spying for the Romulons. Only Riker's Beard (itself, a sentient life form and federation spy) is able to bring it to justice. Geordi and Data tell ghost stories.
posted by drezdn at 9:24 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel bad for Pulaski. I mean, I didn't really like her either, but I liked that I didn't like her, I like that she was a character who was on but not of the Enterprise, a violation of the collegial balance otherwise present at all but strictly plot-necessary times among the crew. She was actually surprising at moments, if largely only because she was casually dickish about stuff and didn't seem to care very much about contradicting people in non-dramatic contexts.

My grand what-if along those lines is that Pulaski gets replaced third season by...yet another doctor. And on, for seven years, seven doctors, seven different conceptions of the role and character of Starfleet Medical Officer to act as a dramatic and characterological foil to the otherwise staid friendliness of the core crew. Keep the Enterprise honest, keep things a little off balance, give both fans and minority-opinion writers an outlet to challenge the status quo while also containing it to a non-dominant character so that it doesn't turn into some horrible fanservice Mary Sue situation. Just a long string of doctors, shaking things up.

Ideally the fourth doctor would have worn a scarf and been played by Tom Baker.
posted by cortex at 9:27 AM on November 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


ArmyOfKittens: "Everything was going fine until his second day on the Enterprise when Geordi, working late one night, spilled tea all over him! They took him apart and let him dry in pieces in front of the radiator overnight, but when they put him back together again they couldn't get him out of Safe Mode."


He should have put him in a vat of rice in a warm cupboard to make sure he dried out fully.
posted by minifigs at 9:28 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


In a very special bottle episode, the crew of the Enterprise is trapped on the bridge by the ghost of budgets past. No one (except a very pissed Data) is shocked to learn that Tasha Yar was pregnant with Riker's child.
posted by drezdn at 9:35 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The 8th season dealt with the amazing shrinking budget in fun ways, remember the episode where Ghost-Troi accidentally made everyone on the ship telepathicly linked?
posted by The Whelk at 9:37 AM on November 1, 2011


Today's tweet: A space ninja completely disables the Enterprise with throwing weapons. Barclay's new outfit accidentally unleashes an unspeakable evil.

Space ninja, you say?

posted by Halloween Jack at 9:54 AM on November 1, 2011


there have been 726 episodes of some form of Trek (which always strove to be a character-driven show) and that these three episodes (the only three where none of the regular characters appear) are among the best.

Just wanted to add that when I went to look at the Memory Alpha page to confirm this, I was presented with the arresting fact that "Living Witness" is the only episode of Trek that depicts no living humans. Hunh.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:22 PM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


ricochet biscuit: " Just wanted to add that when I went to look at the Memory Alpha page to confirm this, I was presented with the arresting fact that "Living Witness" is the only episode of Trek that depicts no living humans. Hunh."

Oooooh. I never thought about that, but it's absolutely right.
posted by zarq at 12:39 PM on November 1, 2011


Ha, I just found this hilarious video along the lines of bad lip reading.
posted by desjardins at 3:44 PM on November 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Who could forget the season 8 finale. Picard, realizing that the Enterprise is about to be destroyed when a nearby sun goes supernova, records the memories of the ship onto a probe. The probe is jetisoned moments before the sun explodes. As the final theme plays, the probe travels through space, some of its precious data corrupted by a tachyon field.
posted by drezdn at 6:38 PM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Worf commits a major faux pas when Ensign Ro gets the crew to celebrate Ha'mara. Data learns about respect by viewing holovids of Rodney Dangerfield.
posted by drezdn at 5:57 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


The crew must adapt to life in a Federation prison after being found guilty of genocide when saving spacetime requires destroying timelines containing quadrillions of lives. Thomas Riker tries to perfect his omelet recipe.
posted by Plutor at 7:00 AM on November 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


After a yelp review declaring Ten Forward to be the "worst bar in the universe," Guinan kidnaps the reviewer, the reviewer's neighbor and pet cat. Picard recreates scenes from the classic play "Boyz n the Hood."
posted by drezdn at 9:36 AM on November 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


When a documentary crew visits the Enterprise and its discovered that one of the crew spent time in the brig, "Prison Picard" is introduced to the crew. Worf is disappointed to learn his poems were rejected by a Klingon journal.
posted by drezdn at 10:32 AM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kill Spock, Kill!
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:51 PM on November 3, 2011


Riker has trouble remembering where he detached the saucer section after a night of hitting the synthehol. Geordie learns it's possible to beat the Kobayashi Maru by using a rubberband to hold the controller to the far left.
posted by drezdn at 9:53 AM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


After a freak surgical accident, Worf's brain temporarily loses its self-control center, and he must be re-taught manners by being beaten in single combat by every other member of the crew. Reg Barclay tries to write Don Quixote by painstakingly recreating and reliving Cervantes's entire life on the holodeck.
posted by RogerB at 10:48 AM on November 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


A routine trip to the neutral zone gets complicated when the Enterprise goes into estrus. O'Brien recreates the ship on the holodeck, except everyone is nice to him.
posted by drezdn at 6:54 PM on November 5, 2011


Trouble for the crew of the Enterprise, when Picard's "get tortured by a Kardashian" goes rogue. Geordi and Data whitewash a fence.
posted by drezdn at 7:15 PM on November 5, 2011


Ugg... Trouble for the crew of the Enterprise when Picard's "get tortured by a Kardashian" holodeck program goes rogue. Geordi and Data shoot marbles.
posted by drezdn at 7:19 PM on November 5, 2011


Riker dumps a woman because she has "man hands." Engineering attempts to figure out what the deal with airline peanuts is.
posted by drezdn at 7:29 PM on November 5, 2011


Riker dumps a woman because she has "man hands."

So, as things that were happening during the early 1990s go, If I were given a choice between obliterating Seinfeld or ST:TNG from the time-space continuum, Jerry wouldn't stand a chance.

My personal TNG meta-narrative ends something like this:

brennen desperately wants to watch the second half of the Next Generation finale, but is overruled by another patient who becomes violently irrational if he doesn't get to see Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. [brennen's roommate] breaks his arm punching the wall and then runs away from the facility with several other parties.
posted by brennen at 9:31 PM on November 5, 2011


Contains show and series SPOILERS, but oh man... the conflation of Star Trek Nitpicking and Baseball MetaAnalysis is just awesome:

Baseball Prospectus: Take Me Out To The Holosuite: A Star Trek DS9 Breakdown
posted by zarq at 10:53 AM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


zarq, that is awesome.
posted by drezdn at 11:08 AM on November 6, 2011


*Community spoilerish* Troy and Abed get caught in a dreamatorium simulation of ST:TNG, meanwhile Geordie and Data get trapped in a holodeck simulation of Community.
posted by drezdn at 7:11 PM on November 10, 2011


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