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Episode Guest Reviews

Reviewer : Guybrush
Ave Rating : 2.9286 for 14 reviews
Title : Half a Life Rating : 5
Writers : Peter Allan Fields, Ted Roberts Year : 2367
Review : Perhaps not the most enthusiastic five stars I could give out, but this episode is still a strong stand-out of season four for me. It achieves a strong discussion of its moral dilemma as well as very powerful emotional weight (a stated goal of the season for the writers). That's an achievement for any episode, but an especially impressive one in this case considering the story centers on two non-main characters with whom we have not established a long emotional connection. All in all, this makes for an episode that is easy to remember even if you've seen many other episodes since.
Title : Remember Me Rating : 3
Writers : Lee Sheldon Year : 2367
Review : Although I have to agree that it is nice to see Gates McFadden get a rare spotlight, this episode is weighed down a little to heavily with thin sci-fi concepts and remarkable coincidence (i.e. the traveler showing up to help save the day) to really pull off the unbelievability. Taking time to wrestle with that mentally gets in the way of the dramatic value meant to carry the episode, namely watching Dr. Crusher deal with her friends and family disappearing. Fans of the show such as myself will enjoy that drama, which is really quite good, but try showing this episode to someone relatively new to the series and their reaction will show you its equal weaknesses.
Title : Brothers Rating : 3
Writers : Rick Berman Year : 2367
Review : The impressive technological and acting achievements of having Brent Spiner play three roles alone gives this episode some merit. But apart from that, "Brothers" is an episode with lots of potential that is only half realized. Among other things, the ending feels a bit rushed, as if the writers could have used an extra 10 minutes on this one.
Title : Code of Honor Rating : 0
Writers : Kathryn Powers, Michael Barren Year : 2364
Review : Put simply, this episode is shockingly racist. Especially surprising given the typically progressive nature of the writing on Star Trek.
Title : The Arsenal of Freedom Rating : 2
Writers : Maurice Hurley, Robert Lewin Year : 2364
Review : A decent idea gets weighed down (perhaps more heavily than in any other first season episode) by campy and unbelievable 80's set designs and special effects. Typically this wouldn't be as large of an issue, but considering that so much of this episode is spent on the unrealistic jungle planet surface set in question, it gets in the way a lot for me. The automated weapons that continuously menace the away team are equally as comical in appearance, looking like a model rushed through the design phase and hung on fishing wire. This disarms much of the tension they are meant to create in the story, and in effect eliminates a lot of the entertainment.
Title : Insurrection Rating : 3
Writers : Michael Piller, Rick Berman Year : 2375
Review : The powers of Star Trek at this time of "Insurrection" seemed to be shooting for the "Star Trek IV" of the Next Generation movie era with a lighter tone and more comic relief, but wound up with a "Star Trek V" instead. The plot is just too underwhelming for the 'bigger, better, stronger' feel one expects from big screen adaptations. And I think the other guest reviewers touch on a very good point in relation to the inversely big, dramatic, and action filled Dominion War that is supposed to be taking place at the same time as this film: the current television series at the time (Deep Space Nine) was doing a better job of being cinematic than this movie was! I can understand the reasons for not making this a movie about the Dominion War, including apparent rivalry between the films and TV at the time and the desire to not be redundant. But even withholding a script about said war, a more cinematic-scale story could have been written. Perhaps it's because Picard, the prim and proper "polar opposite" of Kirk as Trek captains go, seems out of place pulling a Kirk ala "Star Trek III" type mutiny. Perhaps it's because said insurrection takes place over an uninteresting 'backwoods' issue of the federation, (much less compelling than insurrection over the saving of a popular character as in Star Trek III). Perhaps it's the writers, trying as they have admitted to doing on many Trek films (*cough* "Nemesis), to emulate "Wrath of Khan" with their villain rather than creating something truly original. More likely it is all of these issue expressed in one criticism, and its something the latter Next Generation films both suffered from: greater interest in trying to re-creating the successful early Trek films rather than making something original. But I digress, I did give this film three stars, right? Ultimately, this movie isn't particularly 'bad,' it just could have been much better and came at a time when its rivals on TV were easily proving it with a smaller budget and shorter shooting schedules to boot. "Insurrection" would have made one of the finest two part episodes ever if it had been included in the television run on Next Generation, but as a feature it's not surprising that it underwhelms.
Title : The Final Frontier Rating : 2
Writers : David Loughery, Harve Bennet, William Shatner Year : 2285
Review : Some of the best scenes ever witter for the Kirk, Spock, McCoy triad save an otherwise completely worthless installment in the Trek film franchise. Also running against this film is the knowledge that its failure could be in part responsible for the nixing of the original cast one film later.
Title : Star Trek Rating : 2
Writers : Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci Year : 2258
Review : Star Trek XI is just an action movie. Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek to be about ideas and issues, the action was just its vehicle. But disregarding typical Trek form, I didn't even find Star Trek to be the good action film I thought I would get. The movie was full of cliches and plot holes including (yet another) shallow villain and silly, trendy set designs that resemble an Apple store (the bridge) and a brewery (engineering) more than a realistic space vehicle. Perhaps the most difficult cliche to stomach was Scotty getting trapped in a system of unnecessarily long windy tubes with blades in them (gotta cut up your liquids, after all). Galaxy Quest made fun of this exact cliche some 10 years ago, but it must have fallen on deaf ears. I also didn't care for the new presence of product placements. No Nokia, your ring tone is still annoying in the 23rd century. To the movie's credit the cast is great, especially Karl Urban recapturing Deforest Kelly's Dr. McCoy as I thought no one could. The humor was also well placed, but Star Trek can be and has been so much more. I never thought I'd miss Brannon Braga...Gene Roddenberry is truly dead. Additionally, as a fan I resented the "erasure" of all Trek history (save Enterprise) made before this point. Far outreaching the bounds of the "alternate time line" I expected, this erasure felt like a defiant insult directed at preceding Trek installments and at me for having liked them. They could fix all of these issues in the next film, but I find myself doubting that any of them will be addressed. Prove me wrong JJ Abrams, please.
Title : The Cage Rating : 5
Writers : Gene Roddenberry Year : 2259
Review : This episode strikes me as one of the finest in all Star Trek, a level I place few TOS episodes on. For one thing, this episode feels more cinematic than any other original series episode. Perhaps because its longer run time affords it a lengthier three-act structure, but also because as a stand alone episode without others in production at the same time, The Cage its crew's full attention and care. The concepts represent strong science fiction that additionally is pure Gene Roddenberry in regards to an inspiring view of mankind of the future.
Title : The Corbomite Maneuver Rating : 2
Writers : Jerry Sohl Year : 2266
Review : A lot of staring at stuff happening on the screen and chewing the scenery (not to mention the over-dramatic score) stretches what should be a thirty minute story into fifty. The late appearance of Balok, a lush with an apparent pentiont for very bad pranks, and his infinantly quotable "Come, have some Tranya" voice make up for a lot of the lacking entertainment value earlier in the episode.
Title : The Naked Time Rating : 3
Writers : John D. F. Black Year : 2266
Review : A stupid concept for an episode, delievered in even more ridiculous fashion. But, a good showcase for the characters. That's an important positive for an early episode. Plus the script finds room for supporting cast to actually participate, a somehwhat rare occurance before TOS.
Title : Miri Rating : 3
Writers : Robert Bloch Year : 2266
Review : An exact replica of Earth? What? This is a major concern of the crew at the opening of the episode and then it is careless tossed aside, never to be mentioned again. That creates a major shortfall in what I see as an otherwise decent episode. The whole race against time to cure en epidemic concept may be a bit absurd, but I find it fairly effective in creating suspense.
Title : Where No Man Has Gone Before Rating : 4
Writers : Samuel A. Peeples Year : 2265
Review : Not as strong a script as "The Cage", but I enjoy this episode quite a bit. One highlight this episode features which the remainder of the series generally lacks is a stronger sense of ensemble relevance within the cast. This is particularly noticeable in a roundtable conference room scene in which ever crew member has valuable analysis to offer. The original series quickly fell into a formula where most such scenes contained valuable input from only Spock and occasionally Scotty or McCoy. But in this episode the crew is seen acting far more as equals, reminiscent of one of the strongest qualities developed for "The Next Generation" cast. Note how here even Sulu, who typically contributes a mere "Warp one, sir", offers mathematical analysis of a situation. Also of note, this episode marks the first of many times Kirk would almost literally defeat a god.
Title : Apocalypse Rising Rating : 4
Writers : Ira Steven Behr, Robert Hewitt Wolfe Year : 2373
Review : Although slightly far fetched at times, this episode is a solid one with most everything you would expect of a season premiere. It features a high-stakes storyline and a higher production value with a large cast (most of whom are in makeup no less) that includes several cameo reoccurring characters, one being I believe the premiere of the soon-to-be-prominent Martok. The crew and cast of this one certainly pull off the high-stakes episode well at that. The suspense and tension at points in this episode are among some of Deep Space Nine's finest. The only thing holding this episode back to me is believing that Sisko and friends could actually pull off this mission for as long as they did as convincing Klingons or without being recognized (particularly in Worf's case). But, as the suspense and Klingon surroundings are so drawing of one's attention in this episode, I find this easy to forgive or at least forget. Just short of five stars.

Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 4,867 Last updated : 1 Jan 1970