These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. It's continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before.
October 1, 2012 4:24 PM   Subscribe

Ronald D Moore talks about Star Trek: The Next Generation at 25
posted by Artw (129 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
I eagerly await the followup article in a few years, "Ronald D. Moore Talks More Shit About Having Worked on the Horrible Star Trek Voyager For a Few Weeks"
posted by palidor at 4:36 PM on October 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


There was also an interesting reaction from a (younger fan) over at Grantland yesterday. I was a little stunned when he mentioned he'd started watching at, I think, the age of six, and I felt old.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:39 PM on October 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Voyager had good episodes. Mainly either not involving the fully biological members of the crew or involving them dying and the ship having big holes blown in it - something that very rarely took, mind.
posted by Artw at 4:43 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wired: Which is another one of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s feats. There aren’t a lot of TV series whose last episodes offer lasting closure. I’m not naming names. [emphasis mine]

Is it just me, or is that a Battlestar Galactica burn?

...if it isn't, it should have been.
posted by vorfeed at 4:51 PM on October 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Pretty sure that was a BSG burn, or that's how I read it.
posted by kendrak at 4:54 PM on October 1, 2012


Ghidorah - great article! That one should be the post really.
posted by Artw at 5:00 PM on October 1, 2012


What are the odds of ever seeing any new Trek that isn't a throwback to one of the existing series?
posted by eugenen at 5:07 PM on October 1, 2012


Twenty five years ago after seeing the pilot episode, I wouldn't have believed that people would be here in 2012 reminiscing about that series. I'll admit that it did get better in later seasons but at least for myself and my friends at the time, that first episode was a worse letdown than The Phantom Menace would be twelve years later. I still hate Q more than anything else in the Star Trek canon.
posted by octothorpe at 5:10 PM on October 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm a big fan of Star Trek: Enterprise.

There, i said it.
posted by Pecinpah at 5:12 PM on October 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Hell, I'm a big fan of Voyager, which I started watching at 12 or 13. My first prolonged exposure to sci-fi (along with The X-Files), plus big-time father-son bonding.
posted by eugenen at 5:13 PM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was a little stunned when he mentioned he'd started watching at, I think, the age of six, and I felt old.

And if you wish to feel like a centenarian, I recommend the experience of having a student respond to a ST:TNG quip by remarking, "I've never seen any version of Star Trek, actually."
posted by thomas j wise at 5:14 PM on October 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


What are the odds of ever seeing any new Trek that isn't a throwback to one of the existing series?

Hard to say - growing up there was always a Big Spaceship show of one kind or another on TV, and now it's as, I dunno, Doctor Who during the 90s? Nobody ever thought that was coming back.
posted by Artw at 5:24 PM on October 1, 2012


There, i said it.

Did Enterprise not eventually find a following? Seemed like a lot of people liked it at the time (I wasn't one of them -- I only ever really cared for ToS, TNG, and DS9).

Also, I'll just leave this here.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:27 PM on October 1, 2012 [12 favorites]


Also, I'll just leave this here.

you win metafilter sir!!!
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:36 PM on October 1, 2012


I liked Enterprise because the ship didn't work flawlessly all the time except when required by PLOT DEVICE. The floors squeaked, elevators got stuck, lights flickered. It was one of the two (DS9 did too, to some extent. Poor Miles) ST shows that actually thought about how difficult it would be to keep such an enormously complex system running continuously over years.
posted by winna at 5:45 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did Enterprise not eventually find a following? Seemed like a lot of people liked it at the time

For certain definitions thereof: Enterprise's ratings dropped year by year; during the fourth and final year they hired Manny Coto as showrunner and there were suddenly a huge number of stories that connected with the rest of the Trek mythos. As if they suddenly became a Star Trek series instead of being Generic Space Show #7 (indeed, it was so far into the weeds that the third season ended with a cliffhanger about time-travelling reptilian space Nazis -- Coto disposed of that nonsense pretty quickly). I have always figured that somewhere along the line they realized that only the diehard fans were still watching, so they may as well make something for them.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:48 PM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Going back over some of the episodes they talked about, I'm wondering why they didn't shitcan the holodeck at some point. I think given the general technological competence of the federation, it seems a little bit crazy that they kept an entertainment device that was so potentially fatal.
posted by empath at 5:48 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


When you've pretty much conquered disease and hunger, you gotta thin the herd somehow.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:50 PM on October 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Dude. No one gives up the Holodeck.

I'd like to second Tapestry as an awesome episode.
posted by BeeDo at 5:59 PM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


What are the odds of ever seeing any new Trek that isn't a throwback to one of the existing series?

God, please no.

I think we're safe for now. I think Bad Robot has clamped down pretty hard on the property and I don't know that CBS will be greenlighting a new trek series simultaneously.

But I don't really want them to, not while the Abrams continuity is extant. The greatest strength of Trek is the huge, sprawling, ongoing universe. Sure, there have been continuity errors and retcons, but it felt as big as the real world until the reboot. Not it just feels like a property that is going to be endlessly rehashed or something, I don't know, instead of growing organically.

I honestly feel pretty similarly about the now-shelved Alien Nation reboot that was going to be based on the original movie but not the TV show. As much as I'm a sucker for character-driven fiction, I like my SF immersive and broad but the whole Hollywood reboot proclivity is sort of fundamentally limiting in terms of alien species building and universe creation. I want TV that necessitates databases and encyclopedias and family trees and translation programs, damn it. Not just the same origin story over and over again.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:03 PM on October 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


I still hate Q more than anything else in the Star Trek canon.

Whoa, really? I kind of love that the framing device for the show is "Cool, we humans created a perfect society and we're all gettin' along just fine and now we gotta go up against GOD HIMSELF"

Also diggin' that there's significant overlap between Ronald Moore's favorites and my own! Not that it's exactly an idiosyncratic choice to pick Tapestry and All Good Things, of course.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:05 PM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


It only got good when Riker grew his beard
posted by rebent at 6:06 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The saddest episode
posted by rebent at 6:11 PM on October 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


Those edits are easily the greatest thing since TNG itself. Aside from Data's ongoing artistic endeavors I'm particularly fond of this one.
posted by palidor at 6:22 PM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just went and watched Yesterday's Enterprise which Moore talks about in the article. Definitely a solid episode but it just makes me wish that the whole series had been more like the darker alternative universe chronicling a long war with the Klingons.
posted by octothorpe at 6:24 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I still hate Q more than anything else in the Star Trek canon.

Things I hate more than Q, although not by a lot:

1. The Temporal Cold War
2. Neelix
3. Wesley Crusher
posted by winna at 6:24 PM on October 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Definitely a solid episode but it just makes me wish that the whole series had been more like the darker alternative universe chronicling a long war with the Klingons.

Perhaps you should check out DS9!
posted by palidor at 6:27 PM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Things I hate more than Q, although not by a lot:
...
2. Neelix


explain further
posted by eugenen at 6:29 PM on October 1, 2012


My wife and I are working our way through the series on DVD. We're about half way through season 4. I've seen the whole series before, as well as DS9, VOY and ENT. My wife has only seen DS9.

Back when TNG was on its first run on TV, I had watched the early episodes and not liked them particularly much. So much so that I gave up on TNG and it was only by accident that one night I, Borg was the only thing worth watching on TV that night, an episode good enough to get me hooked. With no internet to torrent the episodes from, and the VHS (!) release schedule painfully slow, I had to rent (!!) dozens of tapes from my local video store (!!!). I didn't have a lot of money, so I asked my brother where to start watching. He said season 3. I rented the season 3 tapes and became a TNG fan.

Rewatching the series now, I am constantly amazed that the show survived those first two years. Season 1 and 2 are almost painful to watch... season 2 especially so due to the effects the writers strike was having on it. But its clear that not only was the show trying to emulate (badly) the original series instead of finding its own voice, but that the behind the scenes politics Ron Moore talks of in this interview were doing the show a tonne of harm. Perhaps the most obvious example of this is Gates McGadden. Maurice Hurley wanted her out, so she got fired and instead we got the female version of TOS' Bones, right down to the fear of transporters. And then Hurley got fired (or left, depending on who you belive) and McFadden came back, with only the barest of explanations on why she left Starfleet Medical or even left the Enterprise in the first place.

And of course, Wesley Crusher was the stand-in for Gene Roddenberry. And his character was mishandled from the start. If I travelled back in time today and told my late 80s/early 90s self that one day Wil Wheaton would be cool, the earlier version of me would punch me in the face. Repeatedly.

When we started watching TNG I told my wife what to expect. This wasn't the brilliance of DS9, I told her. In fact, I told her to just grin and bear those first two seasons (Fry: "not sure if domestic violence or just good advice") because it starts getting great from season 3. After reaching season 3, she had three observations.

1. She expected the first two seasons to be worse than they were. Either I oversold how bad the first two seasons were or she's very forgiving.
2. The leap in quality from the storytelling from Season 1/2 to Season 3 is unbelievable. I very much concur.
3. This was a hold-over from the pilot episode; she's still convinced Wesley Crusher would turn out to be Picard's son. Of course, by Season 4, that was proven not to be true. But they did play up that angle a little bit, to be fair.

Finally, on Ron Moore, the man is a god to me. He wrote some of the best episodes of TNG, he practically made DS9 the awesome show it was, and helped make Voyager a little less sucky with a couple of good episodes (before Bragga's assholey behavior drove him out). Sure he co-wrote Generations and yeah, I didn't care much for BSG, but DS9 rocked so I'll give him a pass.

Tonight my wife and I watch Season 4's Devil's Due, which I recall to be one of the more average episodes of TNG. But by this season, even the average episodes of TNG were better than most of what was on TV at that time, and is probably better than most of what's on TV now. So...

... engage!
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:34 PM on October 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


eugenen: "explain further"

You want further explanation? Ok. Kes.
posted by radwolf76 at 6:35 PM on October 1, 2012


Things I hate more than Q, although not by a lot:
...
2. Neelix

explain further


That's like explaining air.
posted by Artw at 6:36 PM on October 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


Most boring character: Harry Kim.

So boring he died and nobody noticed.
posted by Artw at 6:37 PM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


harry died?!?
posted by rebent at 6:39 PM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Harry is with Ranger One now.
posted by PapaLobo at 6:42 PM on October 1, 2012


@rebent Harry Kim's death episode. Or were you just being funny? I watched Voyager pretty closely and I didn't notice it. He was so boring...you even miss his death.
posted by hot_monster at 6:45 PM on October 1, 2012


I've been gradually watching this show beginning to end for about a year now, and man is it incredible (I'm in season 5 now, which is amazing.) Count me in as someone absolutely shocked this show made it past the first couple of season. I can't even believe how mind-numbingly bad the first season is.

Things I hate more than Q, although not by a lot:
Am I the only person who hates holodeck episodes? "We're out of ideas for a while, and the critics aren't really watching. Time for another holodeck malfunction!" I've actually come around to Q a bit: he allows the show to explore morality in the most charmingly-hamfisted way possible (which is also the way that a reasonable number of people might get it.)


Finally, I will always and forever be a Voyager apologist. For one, I watched with my dad growing up, so there's the nostalgia factor, but also, I feel like it had potential and occasionally nearly reached it. Plus Kate Mulgrew as a strong, female captain, and the hilarity and occasional poignancy of Seven of Nine.
posted by !Jim at 6:49 PM on October 1, 2012


I'd much rather have Picard as a father than Kirk.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:54 PM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll allow you your Voyager nostalgia, but really, this show:

This episode marks the second of three times that Harry Kim "dies" during Voyager's seven-year trip, the other times being in "Emanations" and "Timeless".

This episode also includes the first of many times that Janeway "dies" during the series.

Additionally, this episode is the second time that Janeway initiates Voyager's self-destruct, and is the only time in the series where she does not cancel it in time, with this episode being the first of many wherein Voyager is destroyed.

I'm pretty sure the reset button was part of the series bible, haha

Ron Moore was a noted critic of Voyager's horrible continuity
posted by palidor at 6:55 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Burhanistan: "I'd much rather have Picard as a father than Kirk."

I'd take Hawk Sisko over either of them any day. Even if that meant I had to be Jake.
posted by radwolf76 at 6:57 PM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Uncle Garak! Uncle Garak!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:58 PM on October 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


In my Picard/Spock/Janeway fanfic I am their child.
posted by hot_monster at 6:59 PM on October 1, 2012


octothorpe: " I still hate Q more than anything else in the Star Trek canon."

I think Q is great, but I think Encounter at Farpoint and Hide and Q were not great episodes. At all. Farpoint was OK, I suppose, but Hide and Q was awful.

My SO would not be pleased at people dissing Harry Kim. Not because she has any clue about Star Trek in general or Voyager specifically, but because she likes Garrett Wang. They were seatmates on an airplane once and apparently he was feeling somewhat chatty, which she enjoys. And patient enough to listen to her usual spiel about spaying and neutering, which she also likes.
posted by wierdo at 7:04 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's certainly an arc to the quality of Next Generation. The early seasons are just awful, there is a period of brilliance, and then it goes back to being awful again before being put out of its misery.

Though I have to admit I'd watch Season 8. They clearly get the majesty that is the A and B story.
TNG Season 8 ‏@TNG_S8
Worf is framed for the murder of a depraved Klingon poet. Data & Geordi panic after trapping a hornet under a cup.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:07 PM on October 1, 2012 [19 favorites]


I couldn't make it through Star Trek - too dated (especially the misogyny) - but I watched all of TNG. The quality of TNG's theme song (especially compared to the themes in Star Trek and DS9) is astonishing - especially after they rerecorded it for the 3rd season.
posted by Red Desk at 7:08 PM on October 1, 2012


This episode also includes the first of many times that Janeway "dies" during the series.

I liked best the episodes where Janeway got depressed and hid in her cabin. Those were hilarious and realistic.

I figure everyone on Voyager would have stopped speaking in anything but text messages after a couple of months.
posted by winna at 7:08 PM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wasn't the TNG theme the same one they had used for the original movies? I always liked that theme.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:10 PM on October 1, 2012


Also, I'll just leave this here.

Glorious. And turnabout's fair play, so here.
In case there's anyone here who hasn't seen it already.
posted by ApathyGirl at 7:14 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I figure everyone on Voyager would have stopped speaking in anything but text messages after a couple of months.

That was my favourite part of Voyager: the presence of two totally opposed factions (Starfleet and Maquis) who were totally at odds, promising ongoing tension and great plotting... then after the first episode they essentially never mentioned that division again. Voyager felt very much like TNG in that regard, in that the crew were all of good cheer and happy to be working together, apart from certain weird little cartoonish rivalries: Tuvok thinks Neelix is over-friendly and undisciplined; Neelix thinks Tuvok is aloof and joyless but as with a sitcom about mismatched roommates, they live, learn and laugh each week. Whatever. All of the series except for DS9 lacked decent characterization in my view.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:23 PM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Patrick Stewart made that show. He was and is brilliant, and Picard is the only compelling and interesting Competent Man I have seen in a visual medium. And he's funny. The show is actually extremely witty, or anyway seems so now.
posted by grobstein at 7:33 PM on October 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ah here, I found it. Ron Moore discusses his time on Voyager and the problems with it, including that exact critique about the Starfleet and Maquis crew members getting along.

When I made that first comment that included "Ron Moore talks more shit about Voyager," it was with that article in mind.

I think I first read it back when I was still trying to convince myself that any Star Trek, even Voyager, was better than most TV, or something; but after reading his perfect criticism of the show I kind of gave up defending it.
posted by palidor at 7:36 PM on October 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Pretty disappointing to read a Ron Moore interview that doesn't even mention DS9, the crown jewel of the Star Trek universe.
posted by kjh at 7:36 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ok, since I am in a room full of geeks, can someone please explain the ending of Attached to me?

Also I had such a huge crush on Wesley it wasn't even funny.
posted by bq at 7:39 PM on October 1, 2012


He was and is brilliant, and Picard is the only compelling and interesting Competent Man I have seen in a visual medium. And he's funny.

Netflix has a show called 'Playing Shakespeare' from the early eighties that is a bunch of RSC actors talking about how to perform Shakespeare and PS is on it. So is Ben Kingsley and David Suchet and Judi Dench and Ian McKellan! It's interesting and there is lots of Patrick Stewart talking about his approach to acting and Shakespeare in it.

I mention it because so many Shakespearean actors seem to wind up on Star Trek. They have a great time, too.
posted by winna at 7:52 PM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ironically, considering how Galaxy Quest was arranged, it was William Shatner who was trained as a Shakesperian actor.
posted by localroger at 8:00 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Q is basically Mr. Mxyzptlk - fun for a while but gets tiresome really quick.

I used to think John DeLancy only played punch able Q like jerks, but he's actually pretty great as a different character in Breaking Bad S2 - So great that I didn't spot it was him until right near the end.
posted by Artw at 8:00 PM on October 1, 2012


This episode marks the second of three times that Harry Kim "dies" during Voyager's seven-year trip, the other times being in "Emanations" and "Timeless".

He doesn't "die", he flat out dies. And they just pick up an alternate timeline duplicate of him and continue on their merry way, never mentioning it again.
posted by Artw at 8:03 PM on October 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


I loved TOS, grudgingly accepted TNG after a few years, DS9 had some good things but never got it together, and the others... are not on any of my lists at all.

There is something I want that I know I will never get from SF shows and films in my lifetime. Not only is it insane economically, but I would be hated more than Lucas is if I had my wish:

No more sequels, remakes, thinly veiled re-concepts, or spinoffs of films made before today - a 25 year moratorium, minimum, until you can go back. Let new works stand on their own, not on the shoulders of established dynasties. Take that $250 million that was going to go to a big name SF sequel, and instead make five $25 million, ten $10 million, and five $5 million dollar SF movies. Screw big special effects and put the focus on story and character.

Sure, there will be a lot of crap movies - it's not like that's a change from the last 75 years. But they will be new - not just in a novelty sense - but a real chance for SF to evolve and take a big leap forward with entirely new ideas about the future and what it can be.

We live in a world where a great deal of SF tech imagined over the past 100 years is already around us. We already have laser rifles, handheld communication and computation machines, scientific probes leaving the edge of the solar system and landing on every planet we can get to, and countless others. What isn't here now is being worked on by real scientists and institutions, who were inspired by these tales to actually see if it can be done - look at the current research into electromagnetically charged 'shields' for orbiting spacecraft to protect against debris that is also orbiting the planet at thousands of miles per hour, legitimate research into distorting space for propulsion, the logistics of terraforming and the planning of self-sustaining colonization of the moon and Mars. All that from just a little over 100 years of SF to help inspire these creations. We're in the damn future already.

I'm talking about encouraging the next ideas of 'the future' is going to be. We're not going to get there very easily rehashing the stories created by people that are only one or two generations away from electricity being a 'new fangled thing'.

I'm not speaking for the broad strokes storylines and plot devices here - we haven't changed that part much in 2500 years. That's not what I'm focusing on - it's all the other stuff - I'm talking about thinning the forest to make it easier for some new trees to thrive, not bulldozing everything.

However, the world is not like that, and I'm just wishing here. Yes, good ideas will come out and break through the old paradigms and create that new idea of SF that I'm speaking of. I only bemoan the pace of that advancement, and the circumstances that hinder it's progress.

Hmm. That rant kinda made me feel like Hari Seldon must have, trying to pitch the whole 'psychohistory' idea to the Galatic Federation. Ok - I just nearly OD'd on geekery with all this, so I think I better lie down for a while.
posted by chambers at 8:05 PM on October 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


The 7 most useless Star Trek main characters - you cannot see that first photo and not understand hating Neelix.

The pretty-much-Neelix they had on Enterprise was just as bad.
posted by Artw at 8:11 PM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh god that picture of Neelix my brain is infected I have no reason to go on livinghgfhg
posted by palidor at 8:15 PM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ha. I thought chef's hat for sure, but I had the general gist.

I actually don't want to watch that clip #6, because it's titled "Tuvok kills Neelix" (really? like... really really?) and given the screen shot, it looks like Neelix must be playing the "I'm not touching you" game and drives Tuvok to murder.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:20 PM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Reading through this thread, it sounds like a consensual regency conversation for whether Sir Patrick Stewart should be unanimously declared prom Emperor. fwiw, he should be.

I certainly do not disagree - but when I was watching first run TNG, I had all the expectations that if I became a scientist that I could live a "middle class" (although in retrospect; officer's family's quarters on a startship isn't "middle class," but more like upper management) life. Hence, "officers" but real life in the 21st century might be a little different.
posted by porpoise at 8:46 PM on October 1, 2012


Thanks for reminding me about @TNG_S8 fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit, of the newer entries I really love this one:

TNG Season 8 ‏@TNG_S8
The crew discovers a planet populated by billions of Riker clones. Picard brokers peace between the bearded majority and non-bearded rebels.
posted by Harpocrates at 8:56 PM on October 1, 2012 [13 favorites]


Oh man. Ok, I watched the clip, and it needed to end about 3 seconds earlier. I was like UH THE FUCK??! I was about to hit up wikipedia to confirm what I had just seen.

Also, holy shit:

remember that even the show's producers thought so little of it that they made the series' finale into a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:12 PM on October 1, 2012


Poor Chief O'Brien. They really seemed to hate him.
posted by boo_radley at 9:27 PM on October 1, 2012


I tried to watch The Next Generation, but was stymied by the fact that every episode that had Tasha Yar in it had her talking about having been raped as a traumatic backstory (only to be saved by the Federation!), avoiding being raped as a plot point (only to be saved by Picard!), or being date raped for laughs (that one doesn't need saving because it's funny to rape a rape victim if a robot's involved).

Seriously, it was like TNG was saying 'look how progressive we are! We're not actively trying to rape our security officer, like everyone else in the universe!'

I think I quit after the first Ferengi episode. It felt way too self-congratulatory about how progressive a show it was, when there were still so many problems with it.

What really surprised me is that nobody warned me it'd be like that. When I brought this up to other TNG fans, they could only tell me that she gets written out pretty quickly, which does not make me feel any better about the treatment of that character. I was prepared for some simplistic writing. I was prepared for Wesley Crusher. I wasn't quite prepared for that grossness.

Maybe I should just start watching from season three and pick up from there. I do trust that it gets better! It was just a lot to stomach at first.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:30 PM on October 1, 2012


I love TNG! And Voyager was great too. Hate DS9 and Enterprise. TNG was the Star Trek I grew up on and I like it even more than TOS. Favorite episodes are the one where they all get addicted to a virtual game that consists of throwing discs into tornadoes, and The Ensigns of Command where Data has to convince a colony to leave a planet or suffer genocide.

I also hate Q with the fire of a thousand suns. More than Wesley and Neelix (neither of whom ever really annoyed me). Almost can't stand John DeLancie because of Q.

I didn't like Tasha Yar, nor did I like the doctor that took over for Crusher for a season.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:34 PM on October 1, 2012


Is this where I can freely admit that I gleefully call Voyager characters Tupac and Chipotle? I hope so.

Also, Voyager took the cake when it came to embarrassing Holodeck episodes, which...is saying a lot.

*skulks back into secret Voyager-loving hole*
posted by mynameisluka at 9:36 PM on October 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


Oh fuck... Janeway falling in love with a hologram Irish stereotype.
posted by Artw at 9:42 PM on October 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


Or cavorting with her ultimate crush, Leonardo da Vinci. Cringe.
posted by mynameisluka at 9:42 PM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


dinty_moore: Yar was written out two thirds into Season One, and you hit the nail on the head. I guess Syndicated Television in the Eighties was just a little too far in our past to really get a passing grade on progressive gender politics when you look at the principle roles they gave women. There was Crusher (motherly healer), Troi (motherly healer) and Yar (big ol' rape cliché).

Season One as a whole is a disaster, but it's so much of a disaster, to me, it wraps all the way around into being fascinating again. (Or so I told myself after buying the first season on blu-ray purely on the merit of the jawdroppingly great film restoration job they did on it.)

Season Two isn't all that much better but the key difference is that Season One is generally awful with its highlights being episodes that aren't making me cringe all the time.. Whereas the second season is generally not great with a couple of unambiguously great episodes ('Q Who', anyone?).

(One of my favourite Ron Moore quips was on the commentary track for Generations where he says "You can tell this series was created in the Eighties because the therapist had a bridge seat.)
posted by whittaker at 10:05 PM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


There was Crusher (motherly healer), Troi (motherly healer) and Yar (big ol' rape cliché)

And for those who may go back and try watching TNG again, be prepared for this to never stop hurting. Troi and Crusher are just terrible. They both have the potential to be excellent characters, but the writers clearly had no idea how to A) write for women or B) have women central to a plot.

If you want some commiseration while going through, I suggest checking out the AV Club's TNG reviews. They're great, and they often tackle the painful representations of women on the show.
posted by meese at 10:22 PM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


whitaker, since you have the season one Blu-ray (which I am not willing to buy because I don't have hundreds of dollars of spare cash) can you please tell me whether or not this spectacular film restoration of which you speak has improved this shot in Encounter at Farpoint? Note the weird around shadows around the age of the screen. I'm curious as to whether this was intentional or mistake on the directors part because it always seemed weird.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:25 PM on October 1, 2012


Q is awesome. I don't even... What... There are people who don't like Q?
posted by BeeDo at 10:31 PM on October 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


I kind of love that the framing device for the show is "Cool, we humans created a perfect society and we're all gettin' along just fine and now we gotta go up against GOD HIMSELF"

On the original series they encountered a malevolent god every second Tuesday. It was no big thing.

"I am the god Apollo!"
"And I am Czar of all the Russias."
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:26 PM on October 1, 2012


There are people who don't like Q?

John Crichton can't stand him.
posted by mek at 11:35 PM on October 1, 2012


I've just started rewatching. This may have been the first time I've seen Encounter at Farpoint since the original broadcast, and I know that all by itself it almost made me stop watching. Yes, I hated Q -- all the preachy defending of humanity was really sort of the inverse of humanism (we should not need defending) -- and can you say plot device in a silly hat? (To find out, as I did eventually, that Q and his trial were a late addition to the pilot when they asked for a two-hour show instead of just a one-hour, mitigates the damage somewhat.) I did, however, warm up to the mellower Q of later years, and in particular he was responsible for bringing the Borg into the TNG universe (sort of literally), which was a superb advance. I have always felt the Borg represent a sort of neo-colonialist critique of the Federation's values (i.e. expand and assimilate), something that became especially sweet (and also incidentally saved Voyager) when Seven of Nine began debating with Janeway as a regular thing. Also, All Good Things.... was absolutely superb in redeeming any misgivings I'd had about the somewhat mawkish pilot.

So I enjoyed EaF more (and cringed less) than I thought I would, and somehow even misfires like Justice are bearable knowing what comes later.

Take on some actors:
* John de Lancie often gets cast as a prig -- something to do with his nasally voice, I suppose. His bits in Breaking Bad were terrific, something outside the "Q continuum" so to speak.
* Diana Muldaur, of course, is a two-time classic Trek guest star, so deserves more respect for taking over a thankless replacement role. I think you were supposed to hate her at least a little bit, much like the part she played on L.A. Law where they eventually "[elevator] shafted" her.
* Never blamed Wil Wheaton for the role he played. I actually sympathized for what it must have been like at his age to have so much hate directed your way. I think the character just didn't fit into a larger ensemble, but might have worked in a smaller group of characters. Jonny Quest, Steve Canyon, etc.
* Crosby also got saddled with a problematic role, and a double-whammy as she and Sirtis were switched at the last minute (without their input even), and then with the late addition of Worf, who obviously competed with her for security/tactical sorts of responses, not to mention the limited seat-free space in the back of the bridge.
* Frakes, beardless, resembles Ed Helms more than I would have supposed.

Not just the same origin story over and over again.

This is my complaint about {super|costumed}-hero movies. They all involve the same broad tropes, which is extremely limiting. That said, I did enjoy Abrams's take on the franchise -- maybe precisely because of the deviations -- and I'm jonesing like a teenage fanboy for the second movie and Benedict Cumberbatch's appearance.
posted by dhartung at 12:46 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, last TNG note. I have no idea why they didn't just cast a Chief Engineer right away. It was almost like not recognizing that the Enterprise is a character in its own right. Clearly they corrected that error and were able to reconnect the cast with the ship, in a sense. But it's something like Neil Gaiman's The Doctor's Wife, where the Doctor and the TARDIS get to talk for the first time. The Chief Engineer is, in effect, the voice of the ship.
posted by dhartung at 1:03 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh my. This is a tasty bit from the LCARSonline interview:
That [the Maquis/Starfleet conflict vanishing] to me is appalling, because if anything, Voyager—coming home, over this journey, with that crew—by the time they got back to Earth, they should be their own subculture. They should be so different from the people who left, that Starfleet won’t even recognize them any more. What are the things that would truly come up on a ship lost like that? Wouldn’t they have to start not only bending Starfleet protocols, but throwing some of them right out the window? If you think about it in somewhat realistic terms: you’re on Voyager; you are on the other side of the galaxy; for all you know, it is really going to take another century to get home, and there is every chance that you are not going to make it, but maybe your children or grandchildren will. Are you really going let Captain Janeway [Kate Mulgrew] rule the ship for the next century. It seems like, in that kind of situation, the ship would eventually evolve its own sort of society. It would have to function in some way, other than just this military protocol that we repeat over and over again because it’s the only thing we know.

It's not clear to me when this interview took place, but it seems easy to speculate he is already incorporating those ideas into his thinking about a certain other series.
posted by dhartung at 1:11 AM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Thanks you people now I have Dr. Crusher in that dorky leotard teaching Data to dance stuck in my head. Urrrregh
posted by winna at 4:25 AM on October 2, 2012


Oh, last TNG note. I have no idea why they didn't just cast a Chief Engineer right away.

Lieutenant Commander Argyle never gets any love. Most episodes as Chief Engineer in the first season, and his character's even mentioned as such in the novelization for Encounter at Farpoint. Just because they had cast him as a reoccurring guest star and not an opening credits regular doesn't mean they hadn't settled on an actor to play the role.

Would have been a good gig for him too. Probably would have been in episodes about as frequently as Ro Laren was during her run. However, he went and spammed a bunch of trek mailing lists to try to get a letter writing campaign to get him listed as a main character. The executive backlash to that is what lead to the revolving door in Engineering for the first season, though I'm sure they were also looking at the number of credited main characters their budget could support.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:16 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


BeeDo: "Q is awesome. I don't even... What... There are people who don't like Q?"

I rather like the actor and his portrayal but the whole idea of having some god-like character who can come in and change or fix anything undermines any dramatic tension in the show.
posted by octothorpe at 5:18 AM on October 2, 2012


I just find his episodes conceptually silly. He feels like something out of TOS, not later-era Trek. Even Guinan has some gravitas about her which is much more appropriate.

And this is coming from someone who liked the Ferengi eps on DS9.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:43 AM on October 2, 2012


Oh, last TNG note. I have no idea why they didn't just cast a Chief Engineer right away.

They were working from the model of TOS, which had also glossed over a department head (security), leading to the concept of the interchangeable, replaceable redshirt. Of course, outside of the main cast, there was a notable fluidity of roles: Eddie Paskey played Mr. Leslie, and appeared variously as a security guard, an engineer, a transporter operator, a navigator, a medical dude, a scientist on landing parties and even had the conn now and again. Leslie even died and then got better, the true mark of a Trek character of note. Between his roles as Leslie, other crew who we like to assume were Leslie, and a few other minor characters who were definitely not Leslie -- he drove the truck that hit Edith Keeler, for example -- Paskey appeared in more episodes than Takei or Koenig.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:50 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just find his episodes conceptually silly. He feels like something out of TOS, not later-era Trek.

Indeed. It has been said that Roddenberry had really only one story that captivated him: the Enterprise meets God, who turns out to be either a child or a machine.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:52 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


This may have been the first time I've seen Encounter at Farpoint since the original broadcast, and I know that all by itself it almost made me stop watching. Yes, I hated Q -- all the preachy defending of humanity was really sort of the inverse of humanism (we should not need defending) -- and can you say plot device in a silly hat? (To find out, as I did eventually, that Q and his trial were a late addition to the pilot when they asked for a two-hour show instead of just a one-hour, mitigates the damage somewhat.) I did, however, warm up to the mellower Q of later years, and in particular he was responsible for bringing the Borg into the TNG universe (sort of literally), which was a superb advance.

Yeah, I feel like Q is fairly bad, but that first episode is just execrable. Just really terrible. It is amazing that they chose it as the first showcase of their new series. Pilots today are so carefully and well made by comparison.

Q later on becomes more tolerable, to me anyway, although he remains an emblem of a very Star Trek silliness. Here is a creature who can arbitrarily create matter and energy and bend space and time. He should be, and supposedly is, superintelligent. Yet he tangles with Picard, and seems to be surprised and even outsmarted by him. Q should be able to simulate a million Picards and manipulate him perfectly. I know this sort of science fiction of computational super-intelligence didn't become mainstream for a decade or two after this, but it feels like they didn't even try to think about it.

Most of the conceptual premises of the series seem similarly threadbare, even (or perhaps especially???) the good ones. The premise of Darmok, widely acknowledged as a great episode, doesn't I think really seem possible. But there it is.
posted by grobstein at 7:20 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, Q could "create matter and energy and bend space and time" but I don't think he was supposed to be superintelligent. I think that was the gag - this God-like being with all this power was in the end just a self-important twit who liked to bully lesser beings because he could. Remember, every science fiction premise on Star Trek is pretty bald-facedly an allegory for something humans do to each other.
posted by fungible at 7:36 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I mean, I don't want to be too hard on them, and I agree that the sci-fi premises of the show should be read allegorically or at least very broadly.

I guess I don't remember if Q is established as super-intelligent in the show, but it seems to me self-evident that a character who can do what he does must be super-intelligent (again, perhaps a product of a different sci-fi age). I think that's perfectly compatible with him being a self-important twit and a bully! Just jarring that he isn't a more competent self-important twit and bully.
posted by grobstein at 7:46 AM on October 2, 2012


Q should be able to simulate a million Picards and manipulate him perfectly.

I can play as many Hentai Dating Sims as I want, and it's not going to make me any better of a lover. Of course, I'm not omnipotent either. But even if omnipotence lets Q manipulate Picard perfectly, where's the fun in that?

And "But he can manipulate Picard perfectly" only becomes a problem if "not letting Picard outsmart me this time" is ever Q's real goal.
posted by radwolf76 at 7:46 AM on October 2, 2012


World According to Worf: Earth Could Use More Star Trek Right Now
posted by Artw at 8:05 AM on October 2, 2012


I would advise all of the people here hating on Q to never ever read any of Ian M. Banks' "Culture" novels.
posted by digitalprimate at 8:42 AM on October 2, 2012


Actually, for that matter I'd advise them to never read the Book of Job.
posted by digitalprimate at 8:44 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would advise all of the people here hating on Q to never ever read any of Ian M. Banks' "Culture" novels.

What does Q have to do with the Culture? Maybe if Q was beheaded or exploded or slaughtered by the crew in a weird cannabalistic ritual at the end of each episode.

I would watch that with grave delight.
posted by winna at 9:06 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


boo_radley: "Poor Chief O'Brien. They really seemed to hate him."

The DS9 writing staff had a running joke with a semi-annual "O'Brien Must Suffer" episode. Among these were "Whispers," "Tribunal," "Visionary," "Hard Time," "Honor Among Thieves" and "Prodigal Daughter."

According to Ira Behr (Crew Dossier: Miles O'Brien, DS9 Season 5 DVD, Special Features), "Every year in one or two shows we try to make his life miserable, because you empathize with him." And from Robert Hewitt Wolfe: "If O'Brien went through something torturous and horrible, the audience was going to feel that, in a way they wouldn't feel it with any of the other characters. Because all the other characters were sort of... nobler than life, but O'Brien was just a guy, trying to live his life and so if you tortured him that was a story."

Taken from Miles O'Brien on Memory Alpha.
posted by subbes at 9:09 AM on October 2, 2012


ricochet biscuit: It has been said that Roddenberry had really only one story that captivated him: the Enterprise meets God, who turns out to be either a child or a machine.

The original version of that is a quote from Harlan Ellison (reported by Stephen King in Danse Macabre) in which Ellison (who of course had his own issues with Roddenberry) said that Gene only really ever wrote one story for Star Trek, in which the Enterprise goes out in space and finds God, and God is insane, a child, or both. (I'd add that sometimes "God" is a machine that inevitably goes insane and thinks it's God, or that Kirk is its creator.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:19 AM on October 2, 2012


being date raped for laughs (that one doesn't need saving because it's funny to rape a rape victim if a robot's involved).

That's... not what happens? You're kind of taking away all agency from her in your reading of this episode.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:29 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, that's an icky storyline, but Yar willingly hooks up with Data.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:38 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


/does not mention whole Romulan clone Yar mess.
posted by Artw at 9:40 AM on October 2, 2012


"Every year in one or two shows we try to make his life miserable, because you empathize with him."

Yeah, O'Brien is in some ways the outlier in the dozens of principal cast the various shows have had over the years. It was common to the point of cliché that every Starfleet officer seemed to have had a major falling-out with his family: consider Kirk's brother and later his alienated son, Spock's father and quasi-canonical half-brother, Picard's brother, Riker's father, Data's "twin," Sisko's father, etc, etc, etc. There were a few minor exceptions -- Worf was adopted by a benevolent family of legends of the Yiddish theatre, Troi's mother was more irritating than antagonistic -- but by and large, every main character had dismal family relations.

Except O'Brien. Miles and Keiko were the only long-term stable marriage we ever saw in an aggregate twenty-eight seasons of the shows. And unlike almost everyone else, he came from a kind of mundane background (not the youngest captain in the fleet, not a child prodigy, not genetically engineered, not an android found abandoned on a dead world, not a half-anything) and was an NCO who did the grunt work of keeping things working. And for his pains, he suffered greatly.

One thing I wanted to add to an earlier comment I made:

I have always figured that somewhere along the line [in season 4] they realized that only the diehard fans were still watching, so they may as well make something for them.

I would note that despite being a fan of the show since childhood (I literally cannot remember a time as being before I watched Star Trek) and having seen every one of the 726 episodes (although The Outrageous Okona was a mistake: the only TNG episode I missed in the original run; I saw it years later, to my chagrin), AND having dozens of boxed sets of various TV seasons, the only Star Trek I own on DVD is season 4 of Enterprise. In A Mirror Darkly alone made it worthwhile.

It is a great story as well as top-notch fan service: there is a shot of the Mirror-T'Pol setting forth to retake the ship -- you may know the one -- that actually made me gasp, "Oh, my." So... fit.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:42 AM on October 2, 2012


Also, too: Star Trek has generally never portrayed its various omnipotent or near-omnipotent characters as omniscient. The beings that gave Charles Evans his powers take a little while to catch up to him after he escapes them; ditto for Trelane's parents; the Prophets in DS9, which have formidable powers of time/space manipulation, have a hard time understanding beings that move through time linearly and in one direction; etc. The closest that any of them have come to being superintelligent is Gary Mitchell, from the second pilot, who despite becoming a super-genius still doesn't see that Elizabeth Dehner won't let him kill Kirk, and after getting mind-blasted by her, Kirk gets in the kill-shot. The Organians may have been omniscient, but they simply disappeared after the events of "Errand of Mercy" (there was later an episode of Enterprise that featured them); in Banks' Culture terms, they may have Sublimed from this plane of existence completely. (There is an episode of Voyager in which the society of the Q Continuum is seen as being rather inscrutable to outsiders, but that isn't necessarily a function of their being super-smart. It wasn't a bad episode, but it led to "The Q and the Grey" and "Q2", which are.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:47 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


being date raped for laughs (that one doesn't need saving because it's funny to rape a rape victim if a robot's involved).

That's... not what happens? You're kind of taking away all agency from her in your reading of this episode.

Yes, that's an icky storyline, but Yar willingly hooks up with Data.


I agree, but I assume the "date rape" reading comes from the fact that Yar is (in fact they both are) on space drugs at the time of their congress.
posted by grobstein at 9:48 AM on October 2, 2012


Enterprise is for the most part awful but that Mirror Universe two parter is one of the best things ever.
posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Effigy2000
whitaker, since you have the season one Blu-ray [...] can you please tell me whether or not this spectacular film restoration of which you speak has improved this shot in Encounter at Farpoint? Note the weird around shadows around the age of the screen. I'm curious as to whether this was intentional or mistake on the directors part because it always seemed weird.
That's definitely still there (although the colour and clarity of Picard within the shot is vastly improved) and seems to be part of the original camera negative. I'm not sure if director Corey Allen wanted to do a vignette effect 'in-camera' or the lens hood slipped down too far and they didn't have the money to reshoot those angles.

Allow me to wax lyrical on the new restoration, though.

Essentially it's exactly the video project I would have greenlighted: They don't treat it as a special edition, they're treating it as a bona fide restoration rather than a Special Edition. This means that, although they have to recreate all the optical effects from scratch again (because they were originally recorded on videotape) they don't create wizzbang state of the art visuals, they use contemporary computers to match, frame-by-frame, the original eighties work except in HD (the cheesy animation-stand-esque 'electrocution' effects in "Lonely Among Us" are a good example).

In one area, this new HD restoration initiative is specifically fascinating: it might actually be the very last science fiction release that works with almost exclusively with physical models. A model photography workflow generally goes like this:

Multiple film camera passes of the same shot [Global Illumination, Key Light illumination, Stencil, internal ship lights, etc]    ---------->     Composited [either photochemically or digitally together with the right exposure balance so the ship doesn't look too washed out or the window and drive lighting isn't too dim.]

What's fascinating about the workflow for this project it it's exactly the same except now instead of a normal workflow arrow between these two things there's this:

----[Delorean going 88MPH]---->

There's a twenty five year span where the arrow used to be. That is to say, they're still blending together the multiple film takes created in 1987 but now they're doing it with state of the art computer technology in 2012--it's like peeking into an alternate universe where 3D CGI never really took off in filmmaking and we really got to see what would have happened if a classic craftsmen discipline was married with the best technology we have available.

The results are pretty cool (mouseover for the difference)

That's not a new shot, it's not 3D CGI, it's the original model photography elements blended together in a much more effective way (with the benefits of modern technology and a less breakneck production schedule in 1987 somebody could finally layer in the shot of just the ship's lighting to properly show off how it would have reflected against the material of the hull).

Actually, because they're so neat, I'm going to include some more mouseover comparisons:

Here
Here
and Here

And here's some neat non-model shots too:

Bridge Shot
"Inner Light"
Spray on Christmas Tree Snow
Ol' Bonesy himself.

(One odd side effect of the blu-rays is that I actually now appreciate the muted colour tones William Ware Theiss designed for the show's costumes (even in their collar-less jumpsuit days) which looked pretty awful when viewed through the beige-y, smeary visuals of the show back when it was edited and mastered on videotape.)
posted by whittaker at 9:54 AM on October 2, 2012 [16 favorites]


The Hard Time episode for O'Brien always bothered me. The poor man is injected with the equivalent of 20 years of hard confinement leading to the death of his cellmate...and all the emotional and psychological issues that would otherwise haunt people for years is taken care of in one episode. I would have loved to have seen him reflect this experience later on.

It's a general problem throughout most of the Star Trek series, the adventures are an hour long and typically, all the things that happen to the characters are limited to that hour. Granted, every now and then there will be a blip of continuity, but on the whole, the effects aren't nearly as long lasting.

As a result, I get giddy when I see tv characters carry over injuries or other issues into following episodes. "He still has a cast on! Awesome!"

I think Enterprise at least carried injuries over a bit better than most, tho.
posted by Atreides at 9:56 AM on October 2, 2012


Holy crap, whittaker, the difference in the shot of Admiral McCoy is stunning. It reminds me of when I first got my XBox and plugged it into my CRT television, then got an HDTV...
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:01 AM on October 2, 2012


dinty_moore: I don't think Yar was date raped. Looking at both the agency and the intention of the people involved. I'd say, however--depending on how you read Data as a person and how you assess his emotional maturity, you could make a case that Yar took advantage of a person who could not give meaningfully informed consent (being intoxicated is not a complete legal defence!)

That's something "The Measure of a Man" never dealt with. Sure Data is sentient life, but is he legally allowed to vote yet?
posted by whittaker at 10:10 AM on October 2, 2012


The Hard Time episode for O'Brien always bothered me. The poor man is injected with the equivalent of 20 years of hard confinement leading to the death of his cellmate...and all the emotional and psychological issues that would otherwise haunt people for years is taken care of in one episode. I would have loved to have seen him reflect this experience later on.

That's my favorite thing about The Inner Light; pretty much the same thing happens with Picard, but he just clams up about it, because IT'S PICARD, THAT'S JUST WHAT HE DOES

And then seasons later, he FINALLY mentions it in this vague stilted way to the woman he's just started dating, and it's this massive moment of relief, like "THANK YOU, MAN, YOU CAN TALK ABOUT IT, THIS IS A SAFE SPACE"
posted by Greg Nog at 10:17 AM on October 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's a general problem throughout most of the Star Trek series, the adventures are an hour long and typically, all the things that happen to the characters are limited to that hour.

It is a general problem of essentially all TV series before about the last ten to fifteen years or so. Even the ones that set out to deal with such issues as resource management, (ahem, Voyager) tended to discard these notions before long. Glory be, with the rise of HBO and others, we can now have actual serial drama.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:19 AM on October 2, 2012


I agree, but I assume the "date rape" reading comes from the fact that Yar is (in fact they both are) on space drugs at the time of their congress.

Yeah, this. If you have sex due to the influence of drugs that you did not willingly consume and seem to have diminished capacity to make informed decisions, it's rape. She had space roofies. I'm not saying that Data raped her, since he's not the one who set out to diminish her ability to make decisions, but it's still something she underwent.

And, whatever you're thinking: think of it this way. She's spent her childhood and teenage years before starfleet literally fighting off rapists. Whatever your definition of rape is, don't you think that the loss of control over her person in a sexual manner would be somewhat connected to that? I'm not saying she had to burst into tears or rend garments in the episode, but the complete lack of regard for that seemed like it lacked any sort of thought as to what living through that would be like. I mean, I can't believe they forgot about it, they mentioned that part of her backstory every other episode.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:25 AM on October 2, 2012


I disagree!
posted by Greg Nog at 10:30 AM on October 2, 2012


dinty_moore: That's something I agree with. Whether or not you'd use the word 'rape' I think it's pretty obvious that it was not something that should have been played for laughs.

A more thoughtful series might have had the same thing happen but had it be a catalyzing incident that forces Yar to work through some severely repressed emotional distress for the rest of the season.

Unfortunately, this is Star Trek Season One--where they weren't sure if they were going to make a show for kids (most of season one) or for grown up SF fans only ("Conspiracy"). Also, unfortunately it's Star Trek in general so serialization is a no-no as others have noted.
posted by whittaker at 10:35 AM on October 2, 2012


There is one moment in DS9 that, every time I see the episode, I think is a huge missed opportunity. I think it is the one where Dax, Worf, and Kor are searching for the Sword of Kahless. The actual scene goes like this:

(Dax is scanning a force field with a tricorder)
Worf: Try reversing the polarity.
Dax: That fixed it.

What they should have done:

(Dax is scanning a force field with a tricorder)
Worf: Try reversing the polarity.
Dax: If you are just going to make jokes, wait outside.

or:

Dax: First I have to reconfoggle the humdurbadur.
Worf: That's just gibberish.
Dax: You think?

or:

Dax: It doesn't have a polarity.
Worf: That always worked on the Enterprise.

It would have just fit in so well with the general DS9 greatness. I love the bit where Odo is calling out Worf on all the ridiculous stuff that happened while Worf was chief of security in TNG.
posted by BeeDo at 10:45 AM on October 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


It's a general problem throughout most of the Star Trek series, the adventures are an hour long and typically, all the things that happen to the characters are limited to that hour. Granted, every now and then there will be a blip of continuity, but on the whole, the effects aren't nearly as long lasting.

My favorite is when they learn that their warp-drives can't be used to go faster than Warp 3-4 without rupturing space-time. They mention it like once or twice in the next few episodes, then it just disappears.
posted by rosswald at 10:47 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Organians are mentioned briefly during "The Trouble With Tribbles" -- it's under the terms of the treaty that Sherman's Planet will go to whoever can prove they can develop it best. Hence the quadrotritcale and the poison and iconic image of off-screen people chucking tribbles right at Shatner's head.

Such a great episode they had to revisit it on DS9.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:21 AM on October 2, 2012


Ah yes.

"Who put the tribbles in the quadrotriticale?"

Trials and Tribbleations was just brilliant.
posted by BeeDo at 11:26 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


dinty_moore: I don't think Yar was date raped. Looking at both the agency and the intention of the people involved. I'd say, however--depending on how you read Data as a person and how you assess his emotional maturity, you could make a case that Yar took advantage of a person who could not give meaningfully informed consent (being intoxicated is not a complete legal defence!)

This was always an issue for me, the Data and Yar relationship. It happened early on, but I couldn't shake the feeling that there was any sufficient emotional foundation for either party to really have "something special" thereafter. Data, for all his computational genius, was at a point where he was still trying to figure out what humor/joke was, much less human romantic love.

It's alluded to later on, but I either think it's poor writing or something that Data opted to treat "special" because he was told or learned he should.

I know later on, Data discusses what friendship means to him, and to a degree, it's something that evolved from long term exposure to his colleagues; a sense of familiarity, since he does not experience emotional attachment. Is Data's feelings about Yar based on the intimate familiarity of a sexual experience? Is that the out? Like I said, it's the issue that follows me whenever I think of that episode and later reflections on Yar and Data.
posted by Atreides at 11:37 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Durn Bronzefis:
Wasn't the TNG theme the same one they had used for the original movies? I always liked that theme.
It is indeed the theme of 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture and that entire score is probably one of Jerry Goldsmith's best works. In fact, the best strategy to sit through the entirety of that film is to treat it like the most expensive orchestral music video ever made.

grobstein:
[...] be prepared for this to never stop hurting. Troi and Crusher are just terrible. They both have the potential to be excellent characters, but the writers clearly had no idea how to A) write for women or B) have women central to a plot.
I would argue that Crusher was handled better than Troi. At least she was depicted as being necessary for the running of the ship and even handled a couple of decent episodes as the lead ("Remember Me", as an example).

Troi, on the other hand, sort of faded into the background. Her skill set essentially boiled down to telling the crew and audience what they'd already figured out for themselves. Attempts at Troi specific episodes either come off as weird, pro-life episodes ("The Child), 'somebody's got a booooyfrieeeend' episodes ("The Price"/"The Masterpiece Society"), rape/"Bitch done stoled my man" episodes ("Man of the People"), or overwrought melodramas ("The Dark Page"/"The Loss"). I do think that the episode "Face of the Enemy" was a bona fide good Troi-centered episode and I liked the B-story of "Thine Own Self" where she takes the bridge officer's exam, but it's an awfully poor signal to noise ratio.

(not that Crusher didn't have a few stinkers. ("Sub Rosa"...yeesh))
posted by whittaker at 3:55 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Troi's redeeming feature was having a mother.

Lwaxana was great.
posted by Zalzidrax at 4:17 PM on October 2, 2012


All this made me a little misty for DS9 so I thought I'd stroll over to Amazon and see how much the box is....HOLY FUCK ON A STICK, $280! This, this is the kind of nonsense that causes piracy. No way in hell is a series that old worth $40 a season.
posted by Ber at 5:46 PM on October 2, 2012


Last time I looked the entirety of it was stream able for free if you have Amazon Prime.

(All of Farscape too.)
posted by Artw at 6:06 PM on October 2, 2012


All of the Treks are on Netflix, as well.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:11 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


whittaker, the blu-ray shots generally look much more detailed—but is it really as grainy and artifacty as those stills make it look? For instance, the DCT compression artifacts in the stars in this space shot are just screaming at me, and the bridge scene have both what look a bit like film grain but also DCT compression artifacts (blocking) in the bulkhead behind Worf and Yar.
posted by jepler at 6:31 PM on October 2, 2012


Glory be, with the rise of HBO and others, we can now have actual serial drama.

Now I'm trying to imagine a Star Trek series on HBO. Maybe produced by Martin Scorsese.
posted by octothorpe at 6:43 PM on October 2, 2012


The results are pretty cool (mouseover for the difference)

Pretty striking.

Looking at the original (looking just as I remember it), I can only think: "It's like, how much more beige could this be? And the answer is none. None more beige."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:34 PM on October 2, 2012


Also, I'll just leave this yt here.

Needs more Wookiee.

posted by homunculus at 12:18 AM on October 3, 2012


jepler: TNG appears to be a grainy, grainy show. In fact I'd say this still from "The Inner Light" illustrates this best. This would appear to be a product of the stocks purchased at the time (which may have been cost effective because its grainy profile would have been negated by the low res post-production process).

Based on the three-episode Sampler disc it appears that Season 3 is much less grainy than Seasons 5 and 1.

I've never minded film grain if the image came by it honestly, and I'd rather have noticeable grain than a DNR-scrubbed image where everybody has wax skin.

As for the macroblocking: I didn't see that as an issue on my reasonably calibrated television. In fact, on my flat panel monitor I had to significantly increase the gamma before the artifacting on the starfield became visible to me. I don't know if you could use those stills to judge the disc's compression because they're all h.264 stills compressed again with JPEG.

In any case, I can't speak to your viewing environment or display but in my viewing experience the grain is noticeable but the compression artifacting is not.
posted by whittaker at 8:17 AM on October 3, 2012


I've been watching a lot of TNG lately. I started watching it in high school, because it was syndicated on FOX, which was the only channel we got (pre-cable), and it was on every night at 10. I'm not a trekkie by any means, and haven't watched more than a couple episodes of TOS or DS9, and nothing of the others.

However, I am working on a short radio-play called "Jonathan Frakes Giant Soap Opera Head".

It fights communism during the cold war.

Its enlightening to read the comments, I've been skipping around on Netflix, and I know I'm not a Yar fan, and that Riker without a beard is probably not going to be a good episode. I've been perpetually confused at the two doctors, especially when Wes and Pulawski are interacting. I don't dislike the character, mostly indifferent between her and Bev Crusher, but her weird condescention and manipulation of Data always seemed out of place. Like they were trying to bring in some of Ripley's synthetic prejudice from Aliens.

I never got into BSG, it always felt like too much of a Soap Opera, and I always referred to it as "Conference Rooms in SPAAAAACE!" when my gf was watching it. Its funny that I actually like TNG for the same reason, but the show always felt more fun and hammy, rather than trying to turn it into some sci-fi serial schlock and drag continuity through it.

Surprised its been 25 years, I was certainly not following the first couple seasons, since I was pretty young, moving around, and my dad is an old-school TOS hater, so he wouldn't have been watching it either.

Red Letter Media's Star Trek Movie Reviews are pretty good too. Mostly just him complaining about how bad the TNG movies are compared to the actual show. Until that, I had never considered that it was actually an inoffensive family show.

Also, the loving absurd nostalgia edits of that show seem to make a perfect perpetual nostalgia vehicle.

I'm surprised no one has linked "Happy in Paraguay" yet.
posted by lkc at 12:26 PM on October 3, 2012


I just want to out myself as an Enterprise fan.
I hated, hated Broken Arrow when it came out (though I was assuredly burnt out by the dross that was Voyager by that stages, so much so that I only saw the final confounding episode last year -- because Voyager started out, badly. I thought Year Of Hell had the potential to really turn things around and... they didn't), and I really wasn't into Enterprise when I saw it on TV later on.

I burned through all four seasons last year and, as soon as they ditched the Temporal Cold War, it picked up speed. Sure, season 3 was a bit silly in concept, but I enjoyed it, and S4 was just amazing.
There WERE THOLIANS!

Sure, it was no Farscape, but it was no Voyager either. Mostly.
posted by Mezentian at 10:41 PM on October 6, 2012


Sound of Cylons
posted by homunculus at 3:46 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


That clip reminded me how messy Battlestar was at times. It wasn't just the end that didn't make sense.
posted by Mezentian at 2:11 AM on October 16, 2012


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