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Episode Guest Reviews

Reviewer : Indefatigable
Ave Rating : 2.5952 for 378 reviews
Title : Nemesis Rating : 2
Writers : John Logan Year : 2379
Review : I'll be charitable and give Nemesis two stars for effort. For me, it just didn't click. I have only ever seen it on the small screen, but it simply does not work. Some things are fine, and I liked some of the interplay between the regular characters, especially in the wedding scene. Other things are just plain silly. The Argo, yes, it looked cool enough, but it was about as practical as a modern warship carrying a coach and horses. Keep these things for the holodeck. 'Thalaron radiation'. What's a 'thalaron' when it's at home? It strikes me as a pointless piece of technobabble, when you could choose any one of half a dozen particles already used in Trek. Blasting a planet with gamma rays will kill just about all life on it, and gamma rays are real. Then there's the business of a small group of Remens and renegade Romulans taking over with the help of one Human. Surely, there could at least seem to be a Romulan civil war going on, and this side is the side that came from nowhere to take over. Still, we finally got to see that, yes, the Enterprise-E is a true battlewagon. She was up against an opponent twice her size with twice her firepower, invisible to boot. Yet she was still afloat at the end, even after coming down to ram. So at least they were trying. It was also good to see Patrick Stewart trying to act his way out of trouble. Whatever the shortcomings of the film, he did the best he could to help us forget them. Maybe I needed to see it on the big screen, but Nemesis just wdidn't seem up to it in my opinion.
Title : The Game Rating : 1
Writers : Brannon Braga, Fred Bronson, Susan Sackett Year : 2368
Review : 'Not brilliant' would just about sum it up. The premise of everyone on board being hypnotised by a computer game then handing the ship over to a bunch of aliens just seems plain silly. I presume it was supposed to be some sort of comment on the way computer games were supposed to be taking over the world, but it seemed wrong. The plot twist at the end, with Data walking in and de-programming everyone with a flashing light seemed a little too obvious. I'm trying to ignore my anti-Wesley bias here, but I was hoping that we were rid of him for good. Not brilliant.
Title : Threshold Rating : 0
Writers : Michael De Luca Year : 2372
Review : The whole thing is best described as nonsense. I believe there is a spoof 'Threshold Award' somewhere for bad Trek science. The whole thing may have been influenced by certain tales of 'The Sound Barrier' pre-Chuck Yeager, but it is just about the daftest idea in Trek. After the business with the transwarp engine (by the way, bad news Mr Paris, the 1,000-plus people aboard the E-D went transwarp in 'Descent' thanks to a Borg conduit) comes the 'evolution' problem. Now, the giant newt is probably an example of 'reverse-evolution' (it looks rather like an Icthyostega from the Devonian Period) but how sensible does it seem that someone would evolve then devolve. Still, if you go infinitely fast then I guess anything might happen . . .
Title : Unification, Part 1 Rating : 4
Writers : Michael Piller, Rick Berman Year : 2368
Review : After the last episode (The Game), it's good to see TNG back on track with Unification. Everything seems to hang together well, the acting is good, and the writing makes sense for once. The subplot with Riker going off to investigate parts being stolen from a scrapyard seems to be mostly time-filling, but I am sure that it will be important in the second part. There were some nice touches. Sarek forgetting what he had said a minute ago in the middle of a conversation really rang true, especially when he remembered things from the previous century so clearly. Calling the Vulcan ship the T'pau is a nice bit of continuity (she was of course named after the character in Amok Time, who will crop up again in Enterprise series 4). Then the moment when Spock walks in is great. My, he's hardly changed since The Undiscovered Country!
Title : Unification, Part 2 Rating : 4
Writers : Michael Piller, Rick Berman Year : 2368
Review : A second-parter which maintains the excellent standards of the first. The plot holds together very well, and the apparently time-filling subplot from the first part turns out to be crucial. Leonard Nimoy did very well with Spock's big comeback, living up to expectations perfectly, and it was good to see the contrast between Spock and Picard. While the twist with the Romulan Senator turning out to be a mole was obvious in hindsight, I was half-expecting Sela to shoot him in the back as he left. Well done the writers for avoiding the cliché. Some things are worth mentioning, firstly, I wish that the makers of another Star Trek series had remembered those Vulcan ships, they would have looked right at home in the 22nd Century. Secondly, Patrick Stewart's make-up, it was sometimes hard to tell that it was really him under there. Thirdly, all those shoulder pads (or were they curtain rails). Anyway, oddities aside, it was a very good episode.
Title : Violations Rating : 1
Writers : Pamela Gray, Shari Goodhartz, T. Michael Year : 2368
Review : Not the greatest episode ever written. Not a real stinker, just not great. It was almost as though they could not decide where to go with the script. Seemed to be a 'Howcatchum?' detective story, but it did not really work as that. About half-way through, I thought that it would only be the three aliens and Data still standing in the last 5 minutes. That did not happen, and that is about all I can say. Still, I can't believe that the Federation, with Vulcans, Betazoids and so many other telepathic races doesn't have a law against mind-invasion, so a possible YATI there. Finally, Picard with hair, great moment, but where did the Borg implant come from?
Title : The Masterpiece Society Rating : 4
Writers : Adam Belanoff, James Kahn Year : 2368
Review : I really liked this episode. The stellar core fragment (real science note, one of those things going through a dust cloud may have sparked off the Terran solar system) was almost a sideshow, and it placed an interesting twist. There was a deliberate moral ambiguity in some places, and it really gave the viewer a chance to think. Whatever Picard said, I kept finding myself sympathising with the Governor. Yes, these people had a right to self-determination, but they had responsibilities too. How would Picard like it if some super-aliens had come along and given Riker, Geordi and Worf the chance to go off and become something else. Remember when he and the others helped persuade Riker not to take up Q's offer of superpowers. Boot on the other foot this time. That was the great thing about this one, there was no 'right' or 'wrong' side, and it left the audience free to make up their minds. Still, did the Enterprise being there save the colony or kill it? I wish we could go back and find out.
Title : Hatchery Rating : 1
Writers : Andre Bormanis, Mike Sussman Year : 2154
Review : Once again, this was one of those episodes that just did not fit together. All the senior officers seem to go way over the top in disagreeing with each other. Now, that is quite common in Trek, and I usually put it down to sloppy writing and try to ignore it. This time, however, it just got silly, with Archer locking up various people, mutinies going on and so on. The strangest thing was Hayes siding with Archer, when he of all people should be the one with the most focus on the mission in hand. (By the way, does Hayes have a deputy? We never see a MACO captain, a MACO lieutenant or even a MACO sergeant.) The twist at the end with 'reverse imprinting' seemed to be far too convenient as an excuse for Archer's behaviour. Surely there must be more to it than that. Sure, reverse imprinting happens in real life, but Human conscience must come into it somewhere. All-in-all, it just seemed wrong, and what could have been a solid 3-star fell to a 1-star. Finally, I love the fact that the most dangerous substance known to science can be carried around in a drum marked "ANTIMATTER".
Title : Power Play Rating : 4
Writers : Maurice Hurley, Paul Reuben Year : 2368
Review : An all-round good episode. They really kept the tension running all the way through. You really did not know why everything was happening for much of it, then you thought you knew, then you had your doubts, then you didn't again. It's always odd to see regular characters suddenly switch to being someone else, but the three actors carried it off quite well. If I was being hypercritical, I'd have had Geordi say "A few minutes" instead of "45 minutes to an hour" when drilling through the deck. That way, much of the episode would have been real-time. Still, it felt real-time.
Title : The Outcast Rating : 3
Writers : Jeri Taylor Year : 2368
Review : The writers get a lot of credit for this episode. To me, the great moment was Soren's speech to the court, which really reminded me of Shylock's "prick us, and do we not bleed". I also liked Captain Picard's actions at the end in reserving judgement, since it kept me guessing as to what he was really thinking. He obviously knew what Riker and Worf had been up to (the J'Naii authorities would have gone straight to the Federation ambassador, who would have been on the comm to Picard like a shot) but he handled the situation very carefully. I half-expected him to tear a strip off Will, but he did not. Was this implicit approval, or disapproval and a reluctance to act? Who is to say? The devil is in the detail, and for once they got the units for energy and power *correct*. The "phadar" system for mapping the anomaly was good as well, I'm surprised they do not use it more often. My one criticism is that it was a little slow in places, and I'm a harsh marker. As for the morals, to say anything would be to lift the lid off a very large can marked "worms". Like Picard, I reserve judgement.
Title : Cause and Effect Rating : 3
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2368
Review : The ship gets blown up...and again...and again...and again... Interesting episode in some ways this. Sounds like a half-decent premise, and the way they changed things slightly each time they go round the loop is fascinating, at least for me. Even when they re-used the same take (which they must have done once or twice) they used different camera angles, and it kept things fresh. All in all, it worked well enough. However, there was one big thing I missed, the looks on the faces of the Bozeman's bridge crew when they emerged from the anomaly. "It looks like a Starship, but it's *huge*!"
Title : Azati Prime Rating : 3
Writers : Brannon Braga, Manny Coto, Rick Berman Year : 2154
Review : And here we go! Archer and crew arrive at the enemy fortress, ready to blow up the superweapon. That first sight of the weapon put me in mind of one thing, the Death Star. Archer pulls out his plan to fly in and blow it up, just like that (I presume that he doesn't plan to use an exhaust vent), and Daniels pops up again and tells him not to do it. They must wonder why he does not turn up with an armada from the future to sort it all out... Anyway, some way in, I was not sure what to expect at all, possibly some Trek-like peaceful solution. It all goes wrong because of the "evil" Reptilians (I did like the bit where Archer starts winding them up) who *have* to be the baddies because they're scaly and ugly. Then the ending, the ship about to go down in flames, whoa! By the way, why is T'Pol acting like a Romulan again?
Title : These Are The Voyages... Rating : 0
Writers : Brannon Braga, Rick Berman Year : 2155
Review : Went down like a lead balloon. I'm reviewing this episode out of order (usually I wait until it rolls round on the repeat cycle) because I never want to watch it again. Enterprise was finally coming good, and I was looking forward to a fifth series with Manny Coto in charge when they pulled the plug. Enterprise went on for a whole year longer than TOS, and I would like to have seen it as a 'five-year mission'. In come Berman and Braga and produce an utter pig's ear of an episode. I hope this isn't the end for Star Trek, because it's not an end I'd like to see. The last half-minute or so could have been very moving, the three captains, that most famous of lines, and the brief view of *the* Starship Enterprise, NCC-1701. With what went before it, I had given up by then.
Title : The First Duty Rating : 3
Writers : Naren Shankar, Ronald D. Moore Year : 2368
Review : A decent story with Wesley in it, never thought I'd see the day. For once, Wil Whearton put in a half-decent performance. I'd have made a very minor tweak, and shown Picard begin to stand up just before Wesley made his big announcement (and grassed up his mates) at the end, but it's probably not important. After seven years of Voyager, it was decidedly odd seeing someone who bears a striking similarity to Tom Paris, and acts rather like Tom Paris as well. Does he have a long-lost twin brother? It's a pity that there were issues with royalties, because I can well imagine Cadet Locarno ending up running off to join the Marquis after this. I also find it slightly strange that Cadet Sito ends up on the Enterprise after she was involved in all this. Maybe Picard took pity on her or something (or perhaps the royalties issue was less important for secondary characters). Still, back to the episode, I actually ended up feeling sorry for Wesley at the end. Apart from the various sanctions, I am sure that Locarno is aching to beat him to a pulp.
Title : Cost of Living Rating : 1
Writers : Peter Allan Fields Year : 2368
Review : I find it very hard to find any good points in this episode. We have something eating the ship, but it's easy to get rid of, and there was no real tension at all. If only it was that easy to shift Shipworm... Then the insufferable Lwaxana Troi turns up and I almost switched to another channel at that point. I know she's supposed to be insufferable, but that still doesn't mean I want to sit through fifty minutes of her on screen. Basically, it was pointless. Oh well, let's hope the next one's better.
Title : I, Borg Rating : 4
Writers : Rene Echevarria Year : 2368
Review : A very well-made episode, but actually quite hard to review. It's interesting to see a different side to the Borg this time. Guinan's change of heart made sense somehow, acting as a foil for Picard (no pun intended). I also liked the way that people didn't simply switch positions just like that, and continued to do their duty even though they disagreed with it. That showed Starfleet officers acting like professionals, something the writers should let them do a lot more. The scene where Picard meets Hugh in the ready room and acts as though he is still Locutus was very well done. You can see how it tipped the balance, and it gave his decision a real justification. It all made sense.
Title : Trials and Tribble-ations Rating : 5
Writers : Hans Beimler, Ira Steven Behr, Robert Hewitt Wolfe Year : 2373
Review : This episode was great fun, as it was supposed to be. It was strange to see the DS9 cast interacting and not interacting with the TOS cast, and all the best bits from the original episode going on in the background, or even the foreground. Did they put the DS9 characters into the background in the remastered TOS episode? I wish they would broadcast it one day so that we could find out. We got to see a view of, in my opinion, the loveliest Trek ship ever built, the original Enterprise. Then there was the strange sight of Klingons with smooth foreheads alongside Worf, which was very curious. My one minor niggle is that Teri Farrell seemed to pick up a little too much of the TOS spirit, and went into the odd burst of overacting. Still, she did wear that miniskirt. I wonder if there's some way to get her into the 23rd Century Mirror Universe...or is that going too far? I should also mention Sisko's scene at the end with Kirk, very cleverly done. There are one question that I would really like to answer. What did they do with all those Tribbles at the end?
Title : Time's Arrow, Part 2 Rating : 2
Writers : Joe Menosky Year : 2369
Review : I managed to miss the first part of this one, but I think I remember it from the last repeat cycle. Still, I'll try to ignore that and just review this episode. It was a curious premise, but got a bit tied down in paradoxes and I found bits of it quite hard to follow. That suppressed the tension, and I lost interest. I was slightly puzzled by the behaviour of the photon torps at the end. They seemed to take an inordinately long time to get ready (reloading a submarine's torpedo tube using block and tackle takes only about fifteen minutes). Then, I'm not sure how the explosion was redirected, but I assume that it was some sort of 'shaped charge' effect. Still, there were some very nice touches. The characters rehearsing "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was good. Clemens came off as barking mad, but somehow believable for who he was. The nicest touch was when he deliberately left his watch in the cave, just so that it could be found in the future. It almost made a 3, but not quite.
Title : Realm of Fear Rating : 2
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2369
Review : Poor old Mr Broccoli. Whenever the writers need some poor devil of a nervous wreck, they wheel out old Reg. He really is a man in a wrong job. The story itself makes some sense, but anything involving the transporter seems to contain too much technobabble. At least it's consistent. The 'it's alive' plot twist seems a bit tired, but that's just my opinion. I really liked the point-of-view shot of the transporter, and the shapeless beings moving about in the matter stream really were creepy. Them turning out to be people was no surprise in hindsight, but it certainly was on first viewing. All in all, O.K., but not brilliant.
Title : The Forgotten Rating : 1
Writers : Chris Black Year : 2154
Review : Well, we've pushed the story arc along a bit, but not done much else. Degra is turning into an interesting character (remember Annorax and Jetral from VOY). He is someone trying to do the right thing for his people, yet having to do something terrible to do it. His relief at Reed's survival and Trip's reaction to it (almost "one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic") are another indication of something underneath. He is on the horns of a dilemma, and it shows. Connor Trinneer does a very good job as Trip, trying to hold the ship and himself together at the same time whilst also facing up to his sister's death. Still, all the character development aside, this episode just filled a gap in the series. They could have cleared up the whole Xindi arc in a few weeks (they could also have used the Romulans, but that's beside the point). Let's hope they get to the end soon.
Title : Relics Rating : 5
Writers : Ronald D. Moore Year : 2369
Review : Great episode from stem to stern. James Doohan and LeVar Burton give brilliant performances, showing the contrasts and similarities between the two engineers very well. Scotty's reaction to all the new technology was exactly what you would expect, and the bit where he was in engineering and in the way when he only wanted to do something to help, that was bang on, and I really felt for him. In a way, the Dyson Sphere - remarkable structure that it is - becomes a side issue. It's always the little things that make the biggest difference, and they got them right all the way through. Scotty materializes with a TOS transporter effect - looks like the Jenolin had old transporters even when she was flying. The recreation of the original bridge set was perfect - I stood on that set in the London Science Museum a few weeks after first seeing the episode - you could feel the history. Not only was it there for nostalgia, but it set up the key scene between Scotty and Picard. They're both old men (supposedly only ten years or so apart) and I'm sure they had a lot to talk about at some point. It makes me wonder what the chief engineer of HMS Dreadnought would do if he materialized on the Ark Royal...
Title : Schisms Rating : 4
Writers : Jean Louise Matthias, Ronald Wilkerson Year : 2369
Review : This episode really was creepy. The sense that something strange was happening just crept up on you. The scene on the Holodeck sends shivers down my spine every time I see it. It's a pity these aliens were never used again, or at least the concept of something attacking from 'below' space. How could Starfleet fight them off? We'll never know.
Title : True-Q Rating : 1
Writers : Rene Echevarria Year : 2369
Review : I have to admit that I really don't like Q. Even trying to ignore that, then I think there is something wrong with this episode. It has a few good points, the odd bit of snappy dialogue, and of course Patrick Stewart trying to act it out of the doldrums. Still, the script just seemed wrong, the dialogue seemed forced and it just looked wrong. The Amanda Rogers character (I'd have called her Amanda Quinn or something) seemed rather badly drawn as well. Nothing specific, just badly drawn. Then I am slightly puzzled as to why Data didn't notice that Picard had just come out of a room when he had not gone in, let alone that he knew that Q was on board when he had not been told. It just didn't work.
Title : Regeneration Rating : 1
Writers : Michael Sussman, Phyllis Strong Year : 2153
Review : This episode was one of the best Enterprise produced up to this point, and that was the most tragic thing about it. They kept up the tension all the way through, the script was excellent, the acting good and it all fitted together. Normally, three solid stars. However, it had the Borg in it. I usually add a star for well-made Borg episodes, they are genuinely the scariest thing in Trek. Watching Phlox being assimilated bit by bit was very unsettling. But they shouldn't be there, or should they? There was a perfectly reasonable excuse for them to be there, and they did exactly what they should do, try to rejoin the Collective and assimilate all they can. They even created a reason for them to turn up in the 24th Century. O.K., that leaves me with the question of whether I should judge this on its merits, or fitting into the whole. I'll go with the latter, but it at least deserves a star for effort.
Title : Star Trek Rating : 0
Writers : Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci Year : 2258
Review : Wow! That's really the only way to describe it. This was some film, an absolute spectacular. OK, so why have I given it no stars? The answer is simple, it just isn't Star Trek. I don't like the concept of rebooting a great franchise like this. I loved the film on its own merits (my vote in the poll was "It ROCKS!") but it isn't Star Trek any more. There seems to be too much borrowed from other sci-fi. They laid on a spectacular and they got it. Unfortunately, they lost something key to the whole franchise. Star Trek is just about the only imagined future that I think real people might live in, people who have families, work 9-5, go to football matches and go to the Moon to see the museum where Humans first landed. We lost that universe when they made this film. Sure, there were some good points. Simon Pegg actually sounds Scottish (I've lived there, and he does). Zachary Quinto was excellent as Spock, and it is perfectly believable that he could become the Spock we know. They brought Captain Pike in. We had the sounds of the ship and the original transporter sound effect. Best of all, the music at the end. But the failed points, the Uberships, the needless overcomplication of designs to make them look "cool", the character changes, especially to Kirk, were just wrong. Red matter was bad - I presume it was very very dense to create the black hole, but I just don't know. The worst, though, was the new Enterprise. To me, Matt Jefferies' design is *the* Enterprise, and the revamp just looked wrong. Sure, a great design, but just wrong for what she was. OK, that was a five-star film, but a zero-star Trek film. It's official, Star Trek has jumped the shark. Why didn't they give us a TNG film (Picard's last mission before he retires to become an ambassador - a Star Trek VI for TNG), a DS9 film (the Dominion return through the wormhole, Prophet Sisko has to stop them), a Voyager film (Starfleet develop quantum slipstream drive, Janeway uses it to return to the Delta Quadrant), a crossover film (I'll leave it to your imagination), or even *heaven forbid* an Enterprise film (Archer and the Romulan War). Instead, we got this. One thing alone could have saved the film. A spatial vortex opens up, and out pops a sleek ship of apparent Federation design. It hails. "This is Captain A.N. Other of the Federation Timeship Enterprise-Q. I'm from the 29th Centuary, and I'm here to fix history."
Title : Dark Frontier, Part 2 Rating : 4
Writers : Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky Year : 2375
Review : I am trying to review this without having seen the first part. While that caused some confusion, it was a genuinely good episode. My biggest complaint is that the Borg Queen seems out of character for the Borg (if they have a character). Yes, she's a good villain, but the Borg are not supposed to be villains, just a bizarre form of expansionist. Still, the episode gave a wild ride. Jeri Ryan showed the strain on Seven of Nine's character very well, and you got the sense that she was being beaten down, but still holding off an overwhelming force. Janeway was as reckless as ever, and her usual infernal luck held. You sometimes get the sense that she's going to try it once too often. Other than the pat ending (once again everyone's OK and the ship's a lot closer to home) a very good episode.
Title : Q Who Rating : 5
Writers : Maurice Hurley Year : 2365
Review : Our first sight of the Borg, now that has to be something. It seems as though the writers had not quite decided where to go with them yet - where's "you will be assimilated, resistance is futile"? Still, they are a great concept, and it provided us with something genuinely scary. That great, menacing cube hanging over the Enterprise will stay with me for a long time. Guinan comes accross very well here, from her dislike of Q to her looking in horror out of the window at the cube. Picard's attitude seems a bit strange, a bit too arrogant, and Q (who I usually don't like) highlighted that very well, right up to the point where Picard had to swallow his pride and ask Q for help. A minor point, they mentioned that photon torpedoes were dangerous to the launch platform if they detonated too close, surely accurate if 'isoton' really does mean 'megaton'. Perhaps not the very best, but certainly the best TNG episode up to this point.
Title : Yesterday's Enterprise Rating : 5
Writers : Eric A. Stillwell, Trent Christopher Ganino Year : 2366
Review : A truly excellent offering. The smooth change into a different timeline was very neat. Everything was the same, yet it was different, and that went for the characters as well. Picard was still the same Picard, yet in a much darker world. However, I am sure that 'our' Picard would have made exactly the same decision, even if based on such shaky evidence. Tasha Yar comes back from the dead, and yet she is just the same as before. Bringing her back was exactly the right thing to do. Obviously, Worf had to disappear (although I would not be surprised if he was on one of the Birds of Prey) and so it makes sense to bring Tasha in. Guinan, as always, was excellent, and I am glad that they did not overuse her throughout the series. Finally, watching the E-D going down in flames was quite a sight. History should never forget the name - Enterprise.
Title : The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1 Rating : 5
Writers : Michael Piller Year : 2366
Review : Quite simply the best that TNG ever produced. The Borg are coming, then they're here, then they're going for Earth. We don't even see them for half-an-hour, which helps build up the tension very well. There's something unworldly about the Borg: they don't threaten, they just announce their intentions; they don't shoot, they just grab; they don't kill, they assimilate. Lt-Cdr Shelby is a very good introduction. I'm not sure if the writers did this as a double-bluff or not. Is she here to replace Riker? Is Riker leaving to take up a new command? Then when Picard disappears, that adds a series of new questions. Can they save him? Is Riker going to be the new captain? Is Shelby the new XO? It's only a sub-plot, but it adds a lot to the main one. You can tell it's all winding up to something big. The main plot runs faster and faster, with the first clash half-way through, depth-charging the nebula, kidnapping Picard and the sequence inside the cube itself (always very a disturbing sight). As for the end, the assimilated Picard standing there, announcing the Borg's intentions, perfect. Then there is the best cliffhanger I have ever seen. "Mister Worf, fire..."
Title : Ship in a Bottle Rating : 3
Writers : Rene Echevarria Year : 2369
Review : All in all, not bad, but not brilliant either. Holodeck episodes require a certain suspension of disbelief (recreating a 2,000ft+ ship in a holodeck barely 30ft accross must be a bit tricky) but I think we can allow them that. It's good that they revived a guest character as well. I never liked the original Moriarty (the Conan-Doyle version - created as a desperate attempt to kill off Sherlock Holmes) but this Moriarty gets to put his mind to use. Still, I have to wonder how he could possibly know what he claims to know, or have done what he claims to have done. Still, if we ignore that and let the story flow, then it was a good story. Barclay's little moment at the end was a really nice touch. "Computer, end programme."
Title : The Council Rating : 3
Writers : Manny Coto Year : 2154
Review : Well, the Xindi arc is winding up nicely. It's picking up speed at last. Honestly, I wish there had been some way to compress the whole lot into three episodes, then just get on with it. Still, this was a decent, solid episode on its own merits. Archer seemed to do OK at the council, but not much more than that. Degra seemed to be doing just the right thing until they killed him off, which was a pity because he was an interesting character. Still, I suppose it made sense in the end. The battle in the last ten minutes was very well done However, I really should mention the entry to the sphere through the 'exhaust port'. Considering the appearance of the 'Death Star' (a.k.a. Xindi superweapon), I do have to wonder whether this was a reference, or plagiarism.
Title : Face of the Enemy Rating : 4
Writers : Rene Echevarria Year : 2369
Review : OK, I really enjoyed this one. Cold War spy thriller meets submarine film in space. The beginning really confused me. I didn't recognize Marina Sirtis under all that make-up until one of the other characters pointed out who she was. It seems like a very strange way to go about recruiting someone, but it seemed to work by some miracle. It also seems rather strange to recruit a half-Human-half-Betazoid when there must be plenty of Vulcans who would pass for Romulans much better. Well, maybe N'Vek was in a hurry and had to grab someone quickly, or someone who knew Picard. Still, it's a bit odd. Commander Toreth came off as a very good character as well. A captain full of contradictions, very Russian in some ways. She *really* did not like having a spy/political officer on board, and held a grudge. Then she got into a state about the transport, but was fully-prepared to take on the Enterprise with 56 times the number of people aboard. Maybe the fact that she didn't like having her authority usurped by a chekist was more important than anything else. There was a nice double-bluff in the middle when N'Vek asked Troi for the access codes, which sounded like a set-up. The submarine elements came later, "run silent, run deep" to escape the enemy ship (although what they really should have done is stayed put and turned up the passive sensors), Troi and N'Vek deliberately giving away their position, Toreth's "Crazy Ivan"-style manoeuvre to check whether she had been detected, good stuff. I've also got to mention the slightly wierd de Seve character. His Romulanesque hair, and the fact that it sounded as though he hadn't spoken English for a while made some sense. Still, it does seem a bit of an odd way to do things. Best of all, Marina Sirtis got to do something other than point things out for slower viewers. She fell into the role very well, and I hope that she gets more chances to stretch her wings in the future.
Title : Tapestry Rating : 4
Writers : Ronald D. Moore Year : 2369
Review : Another good episode. It's great to get a real insight into a character's background for time to time. I'll forgive them for using Q, who I really don't like, because he spends most of his time downstage, and just allows the story to run. Patrick Stewart is, of course, excellent as Picard trying to be the young Picard. And please, nobody say of the young actor we saw briefly "he shouldn't have had hair". We only say him for a minute, and he should certainly have had a full head of hair. Even the ending made sense. It makes me wonder who became Locutus of Borg in the brief alternate timeline . . . if any of it happened at all.
Title : Birthright, Part 1 Rating : 2
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2369
Review : Not brilliant, but a watchable episode nonetheless. It was effectively two parallel stories, but knitted together by a scene between Data and Worf. It worked OK, I suppose. Bringing in DS9, which was just getting going at the time, was obviously intended as a "handover". Now, I had always assumed that the Enterprise operated on the other side of the Federation, maybe I was wrong, but who knows? Still, Data's dream scene was interesting, since we got to see Dr Soong as a young man. The Worf side of the story was a bit slow, but that may pick up later. By the way, has DS9 grown or has the Enterprise shrunk?
Title : Birthright, Part 2 Rating : 1
Writers : Rene Echevarria Year : 2369
Review : Frankly, it did not have much to live up to, and did not live up to it. It lost me somewhere, and that is all I can say, really. It wasn't really awful, just dull.
Title : Countdown Rating : 3
Writers : André Bormanis, Chris Black Year : 2154
Review : The Xindi arc is really ramping up. A decent action episode, placed pretty much perfectly. I still think that the whole thing could have been covered in much less time. This would have made a perfect first half to the last of three, although it would need a few cuts. We lose the redoubtable Hayes in this episode. Hayes never really had enough character development, and the MACOs seem to be the Redshirts of the 22nd Century. Still, I was hoping that he would see it through, and perhaps emerge as something more than a 1-dimensional Space Marine. That way, his death might have had more resonance. On the usual minor points, I notice that the crucial structure is Sphere 41 not Sphere 47. Also, if the Sphere Builders had all that power at their disposal, why did they not use it before? Still, the 'Death Star' (or whatever it's called) is on its way, and somehow I can't imagine Mayweather taking a shuttle down a canyon on its surface... It's all building up for a great climax.
Title : Lessons Rating : 3
Writers : Jean Louise Matthias, Ronald Wilkerson Year : 2369
Review : OK, for some reason, I liked this episode. It always makes a nice change to see an episode that's not based around lots of things blowing up and has a bit of decent character development in it. Nella Daren was interesting because she was a character who could handle Picard. One moment, he goes into Stellar Cartography for an explanation, the next, she's in control of the situation. Lots of nice carryovers from "The Inner Light" as well, especially the flute and the music. I spent half the time trying to work out whether any of the actors were actually playing their instruments or not. I'm sure a real music buff could pick out a few holes in it, but it did not detract from the story, the whole thing is perfectly convincing. It didn't suffer the usual fate of episodes like this and begin to drag. Definitely worth watching.
Title : The Chase Rating : 4
Writers : Joe Menosky, Ronald D. Moore Year : 2369
Review : Great ride this episode. As with all the good plots, it got faster and faster as it went on. Nice message as well, 'under the skin, we're all alike'. I also liked the way the Romulans turned out to be the most reasonable people at the end. It's certainly a brilliant idea to have an explanation as to why so many alien species look Human. At last, 'Humanoids with bumpy heads' make sense. Trek has often been a bit short on 'real aliens'. The Silicon creatures from "The Devil in the Dark" and Odo's people are probably the best examples so far. Perhaps this idea also explains Theropod dinosaurs (presumably including the Voth), Birds, Kangaroos . . .
Title : Zero Hour Rating : 4
Writers : Brannon Braga, Rick Berman Year : 2154
Review : A brilliant action episode. The plot ran at warp speed throughout. Not much thinking required, but gripping for all but the last five minutes, then it gets weird. There did seem to be a lot of 'happy coincidences' all the way through, like the Cavalry (in the shape of Shran and the Kumari) coming over the hill in the nick of time. Still, as I suspected might happen, the 'Death Star' blew itself to pieces just before it approached firing position. Why doesn't Starfleet have a home-defence fleet, or at least a few squadrons of interceptors? Maybe the weapon was already in the past, although Shran's appearance would be a bit strange. On that subject, that was the big let-down. Americans always seem to use the Nazis and WW2 in an almost comic-book manner, and I hope that the follow-up avoids this trend. Incidentally, the Mustangs that we saw could not exist. They have British-designed Merlin engines (the early versions didn't, and they were rubbish at altitude) and the Germans would have to defeat Britain before they could cross the Atlantic. Still, if we pretend that the last five minutes didn't happen, it wraps up the Xindi arc in a blaze of glory. Will we see them again?
Title : Gravity Rating : 3
Writers : Brian Fuller, Jimmy Diggs, Nick Sagan Year : 2375
Review : They've written off YET ANOTHER shuttlecraft, but we can't really blame Paris for that, because of the subspace effects. The anomaly idea does partly make sense, although I always thought it worked the other way, time running slower in high gravity, not faster. Still, this is a subspace anomaly, so they can do as they wish with it. Really, they did two things right here. Firstly, a bit of genuine character development for Tuvok. You got a bit more of a sense of the man behind the mask here than in most episodes. Secondly, the relationship between Tuvok and Noss, reminiscent of Spock and Christine Chapel in some ways. Their farewell in the transporter room was done very well. The parallels with the young Tuvok did make sense. Also note the 'no need to insult me' remark, just like Spock. Overall, not a bad attempt. One thing worth remembering is that Noss has been absent from her homeworld for about a month, but is fourteen years older. Anyone who knows her will be very confused.
Title : Second Chances Rating : 4
Writers : Michael A. Medlock Year : 2369
Review : An interesting episode, this. Firstly, it's a good chance for Jonathan Frakes to show off his acting talents, in the contrasts between the two Rikers. He handles it very well, especially their reaction, the way they take an instant dislike to one another. You know that they're really having a go at themselves. The differences are fairly subtle, which points to good writing as well as good acting. All through the episode, it seemed as though they were going to kill off one of the two, but they did not, and that was definitely the right decision. Bringing Tom Riker back later in DS9 was a good move as well, and it is a pity we did not see him again afterwards.
Title : Timescape Rating : 2
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2369
Review : This was a decidedly weird situation, but resolved without too much trouble. Anything to do with temporal anomalies requires us to lower our disbelief threshold to some extent. Still, sometimes it goes a bit too far. For instance, when Picard, Data, Troi and Geordi were enclosed in forcefields, how could they breathe? They should have worn spacesuits, or at least carried air tanks. The way that we were led to believe that the Romulans were trying to destroy the ship, then it turned out that they weren't and it was all a misunderstanding seemed a bit odd as well. Anyway, there were some decent bits to it. Firstly, the fact that we saw the aft compartment of a Runabout. I want one of those things as a yacht! I also had a lot of fun spotting people moving, which was probably a bit cruel of me. Some of them might have been mannequins, but most were real people standing very still, which is very hard to do.
Title : Descent, Part 1 Rating : 2
Writers : Jeri Taylor Year : 2369
Review : Considering how often I've heard that this is not brilliant, it's not really all that bad either. The Borg were behaving very strangely (I think it's the only time I've ever seen drones shooting at people). That takes some time to get used to, and removes one of the great menaces of the Borg, their silent advance towards their victims. Still, we get some good moments from Data right from the beginning, where the three greatest physicists of history were playing poker. I wonder what the holo-Einstein would have made of General Relativity being out by a long way... Anyway, the other good moments were when Data began to experience emotions, from breaking the Borg's neck and recreating it on the Holodeck, to realizing that he actually enjoyed killing. I do have to complain about Picard suddenly deciding to risk half his crew to rescue one officer, and Riker agreeing with him. Does that sound like a remotely sensible decision? And why not separate the ship and send the saucer back through the conduit to Federation space? Still, at least it's well paced and well set-out, even though a lot of it is plain silly.
Title : Descent, Part 2 Rating : 2
Writers : Rene Echevarria Year : 2370
Review : Once again, wasn't too bad. Many things could have been a lot better, Dr Crusher sending a SLOT-buoy through the conduit instead of the entire saucer section made no sense. Still, I liked the re-use of the metaphasic shield. What happened to it? It might have been very useful in a few DS9 episodes. Also, good marks to the people who remembered that you can't beam up through the shields. Still, as far as the main story is concerned, Data's behaviour when his ethical programme shut down doesn't make much sense. Data shouldn't become 'evil' just like that, although he was living almost like an addict at several points. Still, it just seems to be very hard to take the Borg seriously in this episode. Anyway, we've seen the last of Lore. He could have been written much better, although Brent Spiner played the part fairly well. Overall, could do better.
Title : Future's End, Part 1 Rating : 4
Writers : Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky Year : 2373
Review : I've just watched both parts back-to-back, and it's hard to seperate them, so I won't. A lot of things seemed awfully convenient in some cases. Firstly, how long does it take to get from L.A. to Arizona? Secondly, the Cavalry coming over the hill at the end, when the repaired shuttle blows up the lorry. Thirdly, Janeway fixing the torpedo tube at the last minute. Still, there were some really good touches, mainly Paris not quite getting things right and Rain Robinson's reactions to it. It's always nice to see them add little bits like that. Braxton appears for the first time here. I wonder where he was when Kirk was jumping about the timeline... Starling and Rain Robinson (I wish I knew an astronomer who looked like her) made an interesting contrast, polar opposites. The businessman with the attitude of a Ferengi who was ultimately an idiot, and the scientist who was a lot cleverer than she first seemed. The Rednecks (or whoever they were) in the desert seemed very strange, but then that's probably an American dramatic convention that I don't get. Still, now we come to the big one. Why did nobody think of doing a stellar slingshot to go home? I thought of it the second I saw Earth, and the Voyager is more than agile enough to do it. If we saw that Braxton intervened before they could carry it out, then it would have added to the drama because they had a real hope of getting home easily. Even if it was rejected for some reason it would make sense, but it's never even mentioned. Did nobody aboard pay attention in their temporal mechanics classes?
Title : Future's End, Part 2 Rating : 4
Writers : Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky Year : 2373
Review : I find it hard to decide if the quality change. For the full review, please see the first part.
Title : Attached Rating : 2
Writers : Nick Sagan Year : 2370
Review : I get the feeling I ought to like this episode, only I don't. The reason is probably that the story doesn't make sense. The 'redirected transport' thing has happened several times, so I'll let them have that, but I'm not sure about anything afterwards. Firstly, it seems far too easy for the captain and the doctor to escape and then walk to the border, especially when they are supposed to be in 'The Capital'. Secondly, the Kes and the Prit (who are obviously supposed to be the same people, just different nationalities) were far too paranoid to be believable. It seemed like a caricature of something, but I'm not sure what. They also missed a trick with the planet's name: 'Kes-prit' or 'Prit-kes'. Still, I did like the idea of the telepathic link. It helped bring a lot of things to the fore, and had to be artificial to do so. I'm not sure if Picard was lying to himself when he said he had lost his feelings for Beverley, but it seems so judging by the ending. That's the only way the ending can make sense. It would have been interesting to recycle the link idea with two people who really dislike each other to compare with this.
Title : Force of Nature Rating : 0
Writers : Naren Shankar Year : 2370
Review : This might have been an interesting premise, but it disappeared under the weight of all the technobabble. Basically, warp drive is tearing up the galaxy. Now, that's actually a very big thing bring up. There's a bit at the end where people are basically saying 'this changes everything', but what's the betting that everyone will be racing around at warp 9 next episode. They should have made sure that people knew that it was a local phenomenon (if it was), so would not have affected other areas. Anyway, the scientists here have some very novel methods. Can't they do a laboratory model? If they really want to trigger a rift, why not use an unmanned ship? Wasn't it very dangerous to trigger a rift anyway? I'm a scientist myself, and I'm glad I never had to work with someone that reckless or selfish, so I lost all sympathy for the character. It's a pity my 47th review is going on this.
Title : Inheritance Rating : 3
Writers : Dan Koeppel Year : 2370
Review : There's something quite effective about this episode. Delving into people's pasts can get a bit tedious sometimes unless it's handled well. A lot of the first half-hour was, but the twist saved it. So, Data's 'mother' turns out to be an android. On first viewing, that caught me completely on the hop. Forearmed, I was able to spot the clues in advance, and I'm astonished that I missed them first time around. It's a real credibility stretch to suggest that she never knew her own nature, but I'll suspend my disbelief here. I'm curious about how Dr Soong updated the message chip. Did he deactivate his 'wife' and add to the programme every now and then? It's a pity that Data didn't add his own message, just in case anybody else found out.
Title : Parallels Rating : 4
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2370
Review : An interesting, and slightly confusing, episode. You began to get the sense that something was wrong early on, and the changes became greater and greater, until it was a long way from what you remembered. Then, once all the Enterprises begin appearing, you know it's got really strange. For me, the great moment was the unsettling scene where Riker from the Borg-dominated timeline tries to stop Worf from closing the rift. I'm not sure why.
Title : Year of Hell, Part 1 Rating : 5
Writers : Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky Year : 2374
Review : Once again, I've just watched both parts, so I'll do them as one. A piece of brilliance in many ways, and perhaps the best Voyager has ever produced. It took me a while to get over the 'anoraks' pun, if pun it was. Judging by the later mention of 'Captain Nemo' and some of the similarities to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, it may have been a coincidence through a reference to Jules Verne's Aronnax. Anyway, as with many of the best stories, the plot accelerated throughout, at about the same rate that the Voyager falls apart. I liked the way the Krenim looked more human than the Zahl, yet the Zahl were the friendly ones. Annorax is portrayed very well as a tragic character, prepared to wipe out trillions of lives just to bring back his wife. Yes, he's mad, but he's not really evil, even though he does evil things, and that is a good choice for a character. Janeway's usual determination to head straight through dangerous territory was hardly ever more reckless, one must think. The writers often go too far with that sometimes. O.K., she can become a lot more reckless as time goes on and pieces fall off her ship, but I would like to know why she didn't go around Krenim space in the timeline when she could have done. Still, that's my only minor criticism. As for the ending, I would like to think that it showed the moment that Annorax abandoned the project, or maybe the moment when he failed to make a crucial breakthrough. Still, I'm glad they left it open. A good episode for my 50th review.
Title : Year of Hell, Part 2 Rating : 5
Writers : Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky Year : 2374
Review : Once again, standards maintained throughout. For the full review, please see the first part.
Title : The Pegasus Rating : 3
Writers : Ronald D. Moore Year : 2370
Review : I find it quite hard to watch this episode now without thinking of the debacle of "These Are The Voyages...", but I really shouldn't hold that against it. Ron Moore could never have imagined that anyone would hijack his script like that, and it is a very good script. I'm always astonished by the number of rogue admirals that Starfleet has had. Do they all lose their sense of duty when they hoist their flags? Nobody had thought of Section 31 when this was written, but the Pegasus project seems to have their grubby fingermarks all over it. I could see where the trend was going, and I really didn't like it. Starfleet was never supposed to stoop to lies, deceit and treaty-breaking. On the plus side, the idea of the hunt for this mysterious military secret, to stop it falling into the wrong hands, quite caught my attention. I liked the balance between Picard, Riker and the overbearing Pressman. I suppose you can understand Riker's dilemma, but you knew full well that he would do the right thing eventually, it was just a question of why. It was a little awkward that he was forced into it, but most likely he would have tried to find a way to prevent the device from ever leaving the Pegasus if he could. Picard's decision to reveal the device to the Romulans was interesting as well. Still, I think I know what he would have done if they had tried to arrest him. "Engage the cloak..."
Title : 11:59 Rating : 0
Writers : Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky Year : 2375
Review : Frankly, this was one of the most pointless episodes ever made, "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" being the other. Still, at least that had the main characters in it, this didn't for much of the time. When it did, since when have they all been obsessed with genealogy? I completely lost interest, and switched over after a while.
Title : Homeward Rating : 0
Writers : Spike Steingasser, William N. Stape Year : 2370
Review : I really don't like this episode, for many different reasons. Firstly, it makes the regular characters, especially Picard, look like hypocrites. I cannot believe they ever gave him that line about 'honouring' the people he had just condemned to death. Apart from anything else, it was entirely out of character. Even if he had taken the 'just following orders' stance (which he did not, he actually seemed to agree with this inhumane law) Riker should have objected strenuously. At least Dr Crusher dissented. Nikolai, who does have some personal interests, comes accross as a positive and humane character. As far as I am concerned, he was doing the right thing. Still, did he save his new people? This resembles the 'Montserrat Oriole Problem', where a species of bird was saved by conservationists when its island home was devastated by a volcano. It was a natural disaster, and people still stepped in to save the species, but some criticised them for 'playing God'. Even so, they only saved a few hundred, and now the species suffers from inbreeding depression, because there were not enough to maintain genetic diversity. Still, these were people, not animals. I won't even discuss the twist where one person escapes from the holodeck.
Title : Sub Rosa Rating : 0
Writers : Jeanna F. Gallo, Jeri Taylor Year : 2370
Review : I couldn't watch it! Apologies for the run of bad reviews, but this was rubbish. The accents were terribly phoney and nobody in this seemed the least bit Scottish. It might have been OK if they had just not bothered (Picard sounds terribly English, but you hardly ever believe he's anything other than French). Then, if it's meant to look Scottish, either film it in Scotland or build a decent set, don't bother trying to make California look Scottish. OK, that's the production, a good story can make up for that. I'm sorry, but this was not a good story.
Title : Lower Decks Rating : 4
Writers : Jean Louise Matthias, Ronald Wilkerson Year : 2370
Review : Certainly and interesting episode, mostly because it's different. I liked the look at the life of the junior officers, and good for the people who remembered to maintain the distinction (something that many people who made later series forgot about). I'm not entirely sure, but I think we've seen all of them before. Ensign Sito goes through quite a time of it, and it's unfortunate that we lose her at the end. Or do we? We know that the Cardassians are sometimes less than truthful, so we might see her again one day. The other three officers and the waiter seemed a bit soapish, but I'll forgive that for one episode, especially when it gives us a different perspetive. One last thing, it was rather surreal to see Shannon Fill taking on Michael Dorn (who is twice her size) at those Klingon martial arts.
Title : Thine Own Self Rating : 4
Writers : Christopher Hatton Year : 2370
Review : Overall, quite interesting. The main story, Data bringing radioactive material into a village, was obviously based on the Goiânia Accident, which is the main reason why it rang true. After all the abuses of radiation in the past, they got the symptoms of moderate radiation poisoning just about right, so somebody finally looked it up in a textbook. Luckily, Data's cure worked before anyone's hair fell out! The reaction of the villagers to Data, and their overall attitudes, actually made a lot more sense than normal. I did like the way that they were teaching their children the Aristotlean Four Element theory, despite the fact that it is nonsense. Troi taking the Bridge Officer's Test gave us another insight into Starfleet proceedures after the last episode "Lower Decks". We seem to be getting the entire Starfleet experience at the moment, although I don't think they ever gave us an episode about the life of an Ordinary Crewman or Engineer's Mate, which was a pity. The test itself made me think of the Kobayashi Maru scenario (I suppose that was the idea) and the solution was interesting, to force someone to realize that they might have to order a friend to their death. Yes, it makes sense.
Title : Masks Rating : 0
Writers : Joe Menosky Year : 2370
Review : What a load of rubbish! I honestly cannot understand how the cast kept their faces straight whenever anyone used the name 'Moussaka'. I'm not sure it contributed much to anything, except an excuse for Brent Spiner to overact a load of different characters. Still, everything sorted itself out in the end, and we can get on with something a bit less daft.
Title : Eye of the Beholder Rating : 2
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2370
Review : So, apparently the E-D is haunted! That's nothing new, the Queen Mary is supposed to be haunted as well. Well, if we forgive them that (and I'm not very forgiving with Mr Braga), it made sense in some ways. Still, the idea that it was 'all a dream' (or something like that) did not really wash with me. Showing something like that might be an insight into a character's imagination, but we didn't learn much because it was a rehash of someone else's memories. We couldn't really tell that it was a dream sequence either. We did follow Troi for most of the time, but we had a brief interaction without her being present. Cliff Bole must have been having an off day! I also didn't like being spoon-fed all sorts of information about the ship ('That's where she was built', 'Seven years ago', etc). The view of the nacelle was interesting, something like 'shaft alley' on a big steamship, which was probably the affect they were after. Still, if you don't think too much about it, it was a watchable enough episode. Perhaps they were saving the best for the end of the series.
Title : Genesis Rating : 3
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2370
Review : Now for one that's really weird. I have a feeling that's what they said when they first thought of writing this one. It seems to borrow heavily from Alien in some ways, the acid eating through the deck plates, Picard being chased through the jefferies tubes by a venom-spitting Worf and so on. It's also notable how the first episode directed by Gates McFadden involves a medical story. There are a few things that we had best not think about. Firstly, it would take months or even years for changes in your DNA to affect your appearance, but it is a dramatic convention that it happens immediately, so I'll let them off that. Secondly, switching on introns usually gives you cancer and eventually kills you, although this 'devolution' idea did make for a decent story. Perhaps it's best not to think about it and just watch. There were some great moments in it, Barclay as a half-spider jumping out in Engineering, Worf chasing Picard, Riker the Cro-Magnon and even the first sight of the ship drifting without attitude control. We also got the sounds, which we heard much more than normal. Then, we got to see the character changes, that became more and more noticeable. At first, I just though Worf was acting like a Klingon for once, then Riker's mind slowing down and Barclay dashing all over the place made it feel stranger and stranger. Picard's growing nervousness after coming back to the ship was done very well too. All in all, not bad, despite being biological nonsense. The only thing that really annoyed me was the fact that they got the naming convention wrong. Diseases are named after the first person to discover it or describe it to science. It should be 'Data's Syndrome' or 'Crusher's Syndrome', depending on who publishes the paper in the Lancet (if it's still going).
Title : Journey's End Rating : 2
Writers : Ronald D. Moore Year : 2370
Review : OK, we all know what the highlight is here, but I'll do the rest of the story first. This peace treaty stinks! I've never liked the idea of trading territory for the sake of peace and drawing arbitrary 'lines in the sand'. Look at where the treaty of Versailles got us! Besides, space is three-dimensional, and it must be possible to accommodate a complicated border. I'm glad that both Picard and Admiral Nechayev objected to it, and to forcibly removing the colonists. It shows Starfleet in a much more positive light, and contrasts strongly with Picard's actions in "Homeward". Still, no matter how much he dislikes it, he does his duty. Incidentally, I really think Nechayev should have been portrayed as a Russian (she would have to be called "Nechayeva") because that would answer the "U.S. Space Navy" criticism I have often heard. It's interesting that the colonists are referred to as Indians and not Native Americans, and I'm not sure why that choice was made. Many other groups could have been substituted, and they don't really need to be Human at all, but it does make a good point. Still, now on to the really good bit. Bye bye Wesley! You won't be missed!
Title : The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2 Rating : 5
Writers : Michael Piller Year : 2367
Review : A piece of brilliance. I had to wait some considerable time to see the second part, and of course they screened the first before it. This may have influenced my opinion, but I cannot say that there was any loss of quality. After the great cliffhanger, it was somehow not a disappointment to see that the weapon had not worked. It seemed more and more useless to fight back, until we saw how it happened, and it was very cleverly done. Data hacking in and activating the 'sleep' command was much better than finding some way to produce a terrible weapon to destroy them. Patrick Stewart as Locutus did not really have to do much, but Jonathan Frakes really held the episode together, although he had some slightly dodge dialogue at some points. The scene between Riker and Guinan in the ready room was really the highlight of the script, where we saw the new captain begin to accept his new role. I also liked Shelby, and it is a real pity that we never saw her again, maybe as a visiting captain in DS9. Perhaps she gave the makers of Voyager a few ideas... On other points, they finally had the sense to separate the saucer section, but did not do the other sensible thing and leave it behind. I also think it was a bit strange to see the Borg cube and the Enterprise rumbling into the solar system at impulse. It added to the drama, but seems very strange with hindsight, almost as though they were stacking up to land at an airport. The last few minutes were interesting, showing Picard returning to his old life. I found it a bit hard to believe that Riker would want to stay put, but he did, and I suppose it was the right decision for the sake of the series. To sum up, as good as it gets.
Title : First Contact Rating : 5
Writers : Brannon Braga, Rick Berman, Ronald D. Moore Year : 2373
Review : Absolutely amazing! That's all I can say about this film. It was the first Trek film I saw at the cinema, and surely the best one to start with. There were great moments from the beginning. Picard's nightmare about the Borg, then waking up to see an implant bursting through his cheek, I nearly jumped out of my seat. Then the sheer scale of the Cube on the big screen as it approaches Earth. Whoa! After that, the spacewalk scene was good, although I would have done it in without the sound effects to suggest the silence of space (I always turn the sound off when watching it). Picard and Lily's scene in the Ready Room was really the key to the film, and is truly a great scene. Finally, I loved the moment when the Titan booster separated and the Phoenix flew clear. If it ever really happened, it would be as great a moment as the Wright Flyer leaving the ground. It was quite clever of them not to show us the Borg for thirty minutes, although you know they were there. I also notice some very neat redresses of Voyager sets, and the EMH's cameo was very neat. Still, it's never perfect. I'm really not sure about quite a few things. Firstly, the new Enterprise seems far too dark. She's sleek enough on the outside, but far too dark inside. Secondly, the hard-drinking, rock'n'rolling Cochrane. I just can't take him seriously as the pioneer of warp drive. Finally, the Vulcan ship. It looks alien enough, but it doesn't look Vulcan. Where's the logical philosophy of a design like that? Still, I can excuse them all these things. This is by far the best TNG film, and perhaps the best of them all.
Title : Emergence Rating : 0
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2370
Review : OK, after learning that the Enterprise is haunted a few weeks ago, now we discover that she's alive. There have been plenty of stories about ships that act as though they are alive, but this was just plain daft. Still, it was a Braga script, and I don't really expect anything else. Despite the silly premise, the cast did their best with it. Some of them had some very silly lines, and clearly did their best to deal with it. Despite this, you can tell that some of these episodes were put in to pad things out until the end of the series.
Title : All Good Things Rating : 5
Writers : Brannon Braga, Ronald D. Moore Year : 2370
Review : A truly excellent episode to finish with. I especially like the way that they brought everything full-circle by bringing back Q and reprising the trial. Normally, I don't like Q, but he makes an excellent plot-driver, pushing the story on a little each time. The version I have just watched was split in half and had some major cuts, which was to the detriment of the story, it was paced at feature-length, with the speed winding up throughout the first part and running fast in the second. A few minor criticisms, as ever. I'm not sure about the suped-up three-nacelle Enterprise at the end, and why would they consider retiring her? Kirk's Enterprise was older than some of the crew even in TOS, and she was still the best. It was a needless remark to make things seem 'older'. Then, during discussions of the spatial anomaly, I sometimes found myself overwhelmed by the Power of Technobabble. And who ruined Cambridge? I live nearby, and it looked horrible. Still, now for the good bits. The cast were perfectly believable as their older and younger selves. The version from the past (no Wesley, thank God) made me think that this ship that I had grown up with, from when I saw TNG the first time, had changed almost as much as I had. As ever, it was good to see Tasha Yar back. When she was there, we had a woman in the 'tough guy' role of Chief of Security, and a good contrast with Dr Crusher and Counsellor Troi, both in caring roles. As for the future, where everyone had changed and drifted apart, it was perfectly believable from the time it was made. Picard as the daft old man, only not that daft, you could see his frustration from his point of view, knowing that he was right, yet nobody was listening to him. The proof only came at the very end. To me, this was a far better farewell to the E-D than Generations ever was.
Title : Redemption, Part 1 Rating : 4
Writers : Ronald D. Moore Year : 2367
Review : An interesting episode, especially if you're a fan of Klingons. While I'm neutral on that subject, it is a lot easier to seperate the two parts here. The first part was setting the scene for the war, and about Worf's acceptance back with his people. His eventual decision to throw his lot in with them was done very well, and I liked the sendoff the crew gave him. If Starfleet did them, I'm sure he would have got a five-gun salute. The Duras sisters are certainly an interesting pair, although I'm not quite sure why anyone would want to follow them. There does not seem to be any advantage in it, let alone honour, yet I suppose it was necessary for the story. OK, we have everything set up for something, and then we introduce someone who will soon be known as Sela. That was intriguing.
Title : Redemption, Part 2 Rating : 4
Writers : Ronald D. Moore Year : 2368
Review : Right, following on from where I have just left off, this part was about Worf's time with his people as much as the hunt for the Romulan gun-runners. Worf really did not seem at home as a Klingon and I don't blame him. He still seems to have quite a time of it. On the Starfleet side, it was all about confrontations of one sort or another. Data as acting-captain of the Sutherland with his first officer, and Picard with Sela. With the first, you almost saw Data lose his temper at one point, but that could simply be emphasis. In the end, he made the right call at the right moment. Incidentally, it's odd that the Sutherland's bridge seems to be in the main computer core. As for Sela, I liked her as soon as she appeared. There are issues there with her, her mother, Humanity in general and Picard in particular. She kept coming back, only to be frustrated by the man she blames for putting her mother there in the first place. It's only a pity she wasn't in command of the Valdore in "Nemesis", that would have been a great resolution to the story. Overall, the plot knitted together well, and the tension kept going throughout. At one point, I really believed that it might go the wrong way after all. They maintained the quality through both episodes, and it worked.
Title : Equinox, Part 2 Rating : 3
Writers : Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky, Rick Berman Year : 2376
Review : It's been a while since I watched the first part, so my memories of it are a little hazy. Still, as far as I can remember, it was OK. There were a few points in this episode. Firstly, Janeway seems to be exhibiting very obsessive behaviour (Again!) which becomes downright criminal on one occasion. I know she's reckless and incisive on many occasions, but the writers really should not let her cross the line *that* far. At least Chakotay and Tuvok were prepared to disagree, and Chakotay stopped her from killing a helpless prisoner. Had they been nearer home, she would probably have been relieved of command for it. In some ways, Ransom's position made more sense, as one taken from desperation as opposed to obsession, and they at least had the sense to give him some qualms about it. As for what happened to the Doctor, well, I should think that after five years of experiences, he might have developed more of a conscience than his ethical subroutines. It's actually very disturbing to think that this might happen at any time if he develops a fault, and it would have been a good opportunity to develop his character by showing him having some qualms despite his subroutines being off-line. Finally, how is it that a science vessel can fight a frigate like the Voyager? Being able to penetrate the shields seemed only to make a minor difference, when in reality it should be the only thing that stopped the Equinox being blown to pieces in less than a minute. Still, it gave Ransom the chance to redeem himself a little. I have to admit that my first thought when the Equinox blew up was, "There goes ten year's worth of spare parts!". Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh in places, because it was still an exciting episode to watch, but it didn't seem right. Finally, the Voyager picked up some big scars on her hull once again. I've often wondered why they never re-shot the stock footage every couple of years with scars attached. It would have added an air of realism as the battered old ship headed home.
Title : Survival Instinct Rating : 4
Writers : Ronald D. Moore Year : 2376
Review : It's nice to have the odd episode where you have to think a little bit. I wasn't quite sure what to make of this, but the Voyager docking at a friendly space station usually means Trouble. This time, they managed to get that sense without putting anyone's life seriously in danger. Although they initially seemed as though they might be a threat, the three former drones were only after peace of mind, and that was far better, because you could sympathize with them. They were actually very different characters, the scene at the end proved that, but they were stuck together as one. The scene with the ex-drones in sickbay talking in sequence was very well done, and gave you a real feel for their problem. I'm not entirely sure I agree with the solution at the end, especially because nobody asked the three patients what they wanted as far as I could see. The little side-plots were handled well, showing you just how much you could get into a three-minute scene. The one thing I don't understand is how nobody can have noticed that there was a Bajoran on board. Imagine going to Timbuktu and seeing someone who lives just down the road from you, you would notice.
Title : Barge of the Dead Rating : 0
Writers : Bryan Fuller, Ronald D. Moore Year : 2376
Review : What a load of chatlh! (I think that's the Klingon for balderdash) OK, the idea of an episode about the Klingon afterlife makes sense in some way and fits in with Voyager's ideas about bringing in elements of spirituality, but it was done really badly. Firstly, I got the sense that B'Elanna was hallucinating almost straight away, and that makes sense. She came back, and that's where it all went wrong. The idea that she might come up with some sort of insane plan to try and save her mother's soul is in character, but the notion that Janeway might actually sanction it is ridiculous. It would have been much better if she had turned it down flat, then B'Elanna had gone to the holodeck and tried it anyway, and the others had rescued her just in time. Then there was the whole 'Voyager as hell' thing, which did not really make much sense. Personally, I think it would have been far better if we had had more time in the real world, with B'Elanna trying to deal with the situation before deciding on her insane plan. There could have been much more character development that way. Chatlh from stem to stern.
Title : Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy Rating : 4
Writers : Bill Vallely Year : 2376
Review : This episode should really have been called "The Secret Life of Doctor Mitty". Robert Picardo is a great actor, and he put in a very good performance here. There were several tremendously funny moments, I especially loved the opening sequence, and it took a while to work out what was going on. The Hierarchy people, whoever they are, almost ended up as a side plot. Still it's odd to know that they can hack into the Doctor's programme. The ending seemed like a re-use of Kirk's 'Corbomite Manoeuvre', which worked properly this time. Verdict: unusual, but eminently watchable.
Title : Alice Rating : 2
Writers : Juliann deLayne Year : 2376
Review : This was interesting in some ways, but I'm not quite sure about it. I don't understand Alice. Is the shuttle sentient? If so, why does she seem so keen on committing suicide? Even if she is, should Janeway allow a sentient shuttle to die in order to get a crew member back? They completely missed the last one. It would make sense if Alice really was trying to get home, and the 'particle fountain' (whatever that is) had been a form of wormhole or something similar. Perhaps she might accidentally lead Voyager closer to home, who knows? Still, it's handled well and acted well, despite avoiding the main question. Incidentally, I always thought a particle fountain was a sort of space elevator.
Title : Dragon's Teeth Rating : 3
Writers : Michael Taylor Year : 2376
Review : This was interesting. Ignoring the confusing first few minutes, the run through the corridor and the clash with the Turei made me think we were in a 'drive-of-the-week' episode. The initial discovery of the Vaadwaur made me think of "Return To Tomorrow", but that was probably just a superficial resemblance. The Vaadwaur themselves were interesting, and the sense that something about them was not quite right grew on you without too many lines from them. The thing I really liked about them was that they seemed much more believable than certain other species. They had qualms about wiping out Voyager's crew, they disagreed over courses of action, and they are consistent in what they do. There's also some nice background on the Borg, and a mention of the Devore, which gives us some in-series consistency. I loved the escape at the end, the running battle was almost like watching an eagle being mobbed by terns. Still, I do have to complain about the 'radiogenic' atmosphere. Why couldn't they have said 'radioactive'? They could still use the isotopes involved to give the impulse boost, and not rely on made-up words. It's also a bit odd that the Turei weapons haven't moved on much in nine-hundred years. Anyway, it was fast-paced and exciting to watch. It might have made a decent feature-length episode. What's the betting that the escaping ships (which might carry several hundred Vaadwaur) run as far as the nearest stone-age planet, conquer it, and set the population to work building warships? Events in the Delta Quadrant might get interesting in a decade or so...
Title : One Small Step Rating : 4
Writers : Jessica Scott, Mike Wollaeger Year : 2376
Review : An episode I genuinely liked. For a start, it was interesting to see the combination of real science and Trek science blending almost seamlessly (if you ignore the 'gravimetric radiation' - they should have called it graviton radiation, which is harmless but creates gravity). I don't know if dark matter forms into asteroids, but it must form into something. Still, it was not just about that, it was about the pioneering spirit of real-life exploration. It's also curious to see how much Chakotay has changed in the last five years. Back then, he was determined to get home as fast as possible; now, he is a keener explorer than Janeway. He also managed to bring the Delta Flyer back almost in one piece! The scenes with Kelly in the Aries IV were nice as well (although the misspelling of Ares IV was obviously wrong). I especially liked the moment he saw debris from another ship, and realized that Humanity is not alone. It might have been a fold in the metal, but I think I could make out the Vulcan IDIC symbol on the debris, which would be a nice touch if it was there. Seven's change of heart in bringing back Kelly's body and the data made sense as well, showing how something like this can affect anybody. Kelly's funeral was a moving scene, although it was slightly ironic that they brought him back only to fire him out into space again. This should go down as a tribute to the real explorers of space.
Title : The Voyager Conspiracy Rating : 4
Writers : Joe Menosky Year : 2376
Review : Nicely done. This shows you just how compelling a good conspiracy theory can be. In some ways, that serves to undermine some of the current ones today (I name no names). The fatal flaw in all of them is that nobody could guess that the Voyager could cover nearly 45,000ly in five years (almost half of them in one giant leap in 'Dark Frontier'). Still, it was compelling enough that it almost had me believing that something was going on at one point. This all points to a good performance by Jeri Ryan, which is exactly what we got. On other issues, I liked Tash and his catapult, which might have been a much better way to get home than just flying in the general direction. Once again, Chakotay seems to be the real explorer now, with Janeway the one concerned about deviating from course. That's consistent with the last few episodes, which I suppose is good. It's also interesting how he closed ranks with Torres, and perhaps the other Marquis as well. Still, it all smoothed itself out in the end. Although, I do wonder where that reactor came from . . .
Title : The Search, Part 1 Rating : 3
Writers : Ira Steven Behr, Robert Hewitt Wolfe Year : 2371
Review : I came to this episode having not seen "The Jem'Hadar", but it was the start of Series 3, so it did not take too long to catch up. The Defiant came in straight away, and I think she was the best thing to happen to the show. Admittedly, she's not perfect, but she gets the main characters away from the station and out into open space. She strikes me as essentially a big gunboat rather than a ship, and the 'submarine' element of the cloaking device is a nice addition. It's unfortunate that her first outing went so badly for her. We also meet both Eddington and Subcommander T'Rul as well. T'Rul might have made an interesting character, but she disappeared after this. Perhaps they should not have given her the brow-ridge look, because it froze her face into an expressionless glare, which would have made some aspects of character development tricky. Still, she had the sense to suggest that Sisko carried on with the mission rather than risk his ship to rescue two people. I picked up on Odo's homing instinct almost straight away, and the shape-shifters rising out of what appeared to be a lake was no surprise. Still, worth watching.
Title : The Search, Part 2 Rating : 3
Writers : Ira Steven Behr, Robert Hewitt Wolfe Year : 2371
Review : OK, now it gets interesting. Firstly, we learn a lot more about Odo. For most of the episode we see him discovering his identity as a Changeling, then we see him at odds with his people and once again an outsider, even with his own kind. Everyone else was in the B-story, which turned out not to be real anyway. Still, it had me convinced the first time I saw it. The Federation has done some daft things in the past (trading colonies with the Cardassians for one thing) so I would not have put it past them. The reaction to it, particularly Sisko's seemed about right, there did not really seem to be anything they could do about it other than collapse the wormhole. I wonder if they ran the simulation several times to compare results. However, it seems a bit silly to have the Defiant in orbit all the time and ready to beam them all up. The Dominion really ought to take her to pieces, put her back together again and run a testing programme (just like the U.S. did on captured Soviet aircraft). Still, the concept that Odo's people oppress 'Solids' and use self-defence as an excuse is an intriguing one. I think it was a mistake to make DS9 as negative as they made it, but if you can blame that on a military threat it makes more sense. This was where DS9 got interesting.
Title : Fair Haven Rating : 1
Writers : Robin Burger Year : 2376
Review : I found much of this episode plain annoying. Perhaps it was the phoney accents or the American idealisation of Ireland, but I could not put up with it. The neutron star collision was an interesting idea. Not being an astronomer, I don't know whether it would create a 'neutronic wavefront', although it's bound to do something, and the result would probably collapse into a black hole. Still, the ship's hull and shields should protect the crew up to a point, although neutron radiation is very dangerous and I wish they would stop this 'inoculation' rubbish. Something like this with a reason that the ship could not outrun it was a credible threat, so the background story was OK. However, I really don't like what Janeway did with Michael Sullivan. Creating the perfect holo-boyfriend is not very far from Quark's holo-brothel, and I'm always astonished that got onto American television at all. There is something repugnant about the whole idea, and I really do not think we should allow anyone to go down that road. What if Sullivan accidentally achieves sentience, like Moriarty did? Surely that result in a form of sexual slavery. Still, at least Janeway had qualms about it, and that redeemed the episode a little. It wasn't a total disaster, but please don't give us any more Fairhaven.
Title : Blink of an Eye Rating : 4
Writers : Michael Taylor Year : 2376
Review : A genuinely interesting episode. I liked the concept, despite the odd flaw, and I found the situation interesting. It also brings up a point which is not addressed very often, why don't the locals notice when a starship is visible in orbit? Here, she was not only visible, she became a long-term fixture in the sky. I'm sure that physicists could pick holes in the science, but not the story itself. The locals' attitudes to the ship changed fast, but I suppose everything was fast. One minute, there was a space race to get there (and we never saw any of the other racers or any unmanned probes), the next, the ship was under attack. Still, the locals came through in the end. I would like to have seen something of the Doctor's time on the planet, and perhaps have the alien pilot deliver the message about his 'son' (if son he was) at the end. Still, Robert Picardo did very well in conveying the feel of those three years on the planet in a few minutes, neatly done. I also liked the little song to the 'Skyship', a very nice touch.
Title : Virtuoso Rating : 4
Writers : Kenneth Biller, Raf Green Year : 2376
Review : Another tour de force by Robert Picardo, by far the best actor of the Voyager cast. He had plenty of great moments all the way through. I especially liked the Doctor's farewell performance, in particular the moment when we realize that the new composition sounded *atrocious*. As for the idea; call me a Philistine, but the thought that there might be a whole planet where nobody knew what music was is quite refreshing (especially after a few hours regaled by muzak!). Still, does this not mean that the Prime Directive is lying on the deck of Sickbay in a million pieces? The culture of a planet has been changed forever, all because a few people heard a singing hologram.
Title : Memorial Rating : 3
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2376
Review : I'm not sure if this episode is supposed to be a reference to the My Lai Massacre, but some of the resemblances are striking, especially the 'just following orders' stance, or the claims that 'it was their fault'. Somehow, I'm not sure whether it was the fact that I could not believe that the writers would ever have main characters involved in something like this, or the fact that they weren't using Starfleet phasers, or whatever; but it never had me convinced. Still, I suppose it shows you just what can go wrong when military operations get mixed up with desperate civilians. On other matters, it was a convincing performance and I hardly remember any blips. Even though I knew all along that the crew must be blameless, they made very convincing PTSD cases. I liked some of the minor touches, especially Paris' television at the beginning (and they did have remote controls in 1956 by the way). It provided a nice way to introduce the main story, and I hope it shows up again at some point.
Title : Tsunkatse Rating : 1
Writers : Gannon Kenney Year : 2376
Review : I didn't like the premise of this. Remember that TOS had "Arena" (handled very well) and "The Gamesters of Triskelion" (not handled so well), so the idea of somebody forcing people to fight is not new. It was almost as though someone said 'Let's get Seven in a cage fight, oh what a good idea'. Still, Jeri Ryan managed to do her best with it in the end. I find it hard to believe that anybody was surprised when Seven walked out into the arena. Don't these people advertise their fights? Yet another that's not brilliant, but just about watchable.
Title : The Way of the Warrior Rating : 4
Writers : Ira Steven Behr, Robert Hewitt Wolfe Year : 2372
Review : This was a good episode. Bringing Worf in did not seem like a good idea at the time, just a way to attract more TNG fans. On reflection I was wrong, it was a brilliant move. With future events in mind, I kept an eye open for his first meeting with Jadzia. Back to the point, I am not sure if Martok was had already been replaced by a Changeling, but it looks like it (although I don't know how he pulled off that trick with the blood). You could see exactly how he was setting up the conflict by carrying out those inspections so blatantly. Garak gets some great moments all the way through, and Sisko's solution of leaking the news about the invasion to him was brilliant. Getting to the rescue itself, the Klingons fired first. The battle was done very well, and we get to see the station's new teeth. Finally, I liked the new title sequence, which gave much more of a sense of the bustling starbase which is DS9.
Title : Carbon Creek Rating : 3
Writers : Brannon Braga, Chris Black, Dan O'Shannon, Rick Berman Year : 2152
Review : Interesting premise, but let down somewhat by the details. As usual, the ships look too advanced and so does a lot of the Vulcan's technology. While this is in keeping with the rest of the show, it put me off a little bit. However, I liked some of the contrasts between the attitudes of the three Vulcans on Earth. I'm not sure about a few things. I expected them to be discovered at some point, especially when Maggie asked what her boyfriend kept under his hat. The accident in the mine might have produced some green blood as well. However, they weren't found out, and that is the right decision for continuity purposes. I was also expecting young Jack to turn out to be a future astronaut, which would have been a really nice touch, and they missed a trick there. Still, this was an example of one of Enterprise's better stories. Nowhere near as good as an average TOS or TNG story, but good enough.
Title : Spirit Folk Rating : 1
Writers : Bryan Fuller Year : 2376
Review : More Fairhaven silliness. Frankly, I agree with B'Elanna on this one, and she was dead right about pulling the plug on the whole thing. Apart from anything, at the time Ireland was a political hotbed a decade away from revolution, not the rural idyll we see here (a wholly American view). That brings to mind the notion of a modified programme, a sort of Irish "Allo Allo", with Michael Sullivan as the leader of the local Republican cell... Anyway, the whole episode hinges on a group of fictional characters who exist only in a holodeck programme becoming partly self-aware. Not very original, Moriarty did the same thing. The solution differs somewhat, because of Janeway's strange attraction to Sullivan and Paris' reluctance to stop the programme. The solution was quite neat in the end, but there was nothing outstanding about it. It was supposed to be a fairly silly episode anyway, but it just got plain annoying. Honestly, I hope that it turns out that the programme is irrecoverable, because I really don't want to see it again.
Title : Fury Rating : 2
Writers : Brannon Braga, Rick Berman Year : 2376
Review : In some ways, this was a decent episode. I never really liked Kes as a character, she always seemed rather incomplete, but this helped a little in rounding her off, showing the darker side that appeared occasionally finally taking her over. It was also interesting to flash back to a time when the crew were still pulling together and things hadn't settled down yet. The plot sort-of worked, and was handled very well. So it was an entertaining hour of television, but the devil is always in the detail. "Faster than light, there's no left and right," what utter claptrap! Kirk and Picard were doing 180-degree turns at maximum warp, and the Little V is supposed to be one of the most agile ships in the fleet. Then, if Kes could jump 45,000LY back to Ocampa, why didn't Janeway ask her to send Voyager 30,000LY in the opposite direction? They seemed to be getting on OK at the end. Finally, we have a classic grandfather paradox. If Kes never went back in time, Janeway could never persuade her past self to make the recording, therefore she would go back in time, therefore her past self would make the recording, therefore she wouldn't go back in time... and so on ad infinitum. Confusing, isn't it?
Title : Life Line Rating : 3
Writers : John Bruno, Robert Picardo Year : 2376
Review : At least half this episode was Robert Picardo talking to himself. Now, considering that fact, he pulled it off very well, and it was virtually impossible to tell that he was not in two places at once. He was basically playing the same character twice, since Dr Zimmerman was so similar to our own Doc. As ever, he does it very well. Old Broccoli finally seems to have found his vocation as well. Then, I think this was one of the few times we have seen Deanna Troi completely lose it with a patient. Nice to see her back again, but what was the Enterprise doing only 7LY from home? Back for a refit after Insurrection perhaps, but I wish they had explained it a bit better. Incidentally, at some point Janeway is going to learn that no sometimes really means no, and not "no, but I might just change my mind and let you risk your neck after all". Surely, she could at least have asked the Doctor to memorise a few key facts and report them to Starfleet, which I think she did the last time they e-mailed him home. Overall, a few flaws, but a decent episode nonetheless.
Title : Favor the Bold Rating : 4
Writers : Hans Beimler, Ira Steven Behr Year : 2374
Review : Once again, I've only seen this episode in isolation, and it took me a while to catch up with the story. Still, I have to say it caught my imagination right from the outset, with Dax's classical decoy/trap trick. Then we plunge into an exploration of the dark days of the war, as I'm sure people will call it one day. I liked Sisko's idea and he stated his plan well, but I'm astonished that they gave a mere captain command of the fleet. As a vice-admiral, Ross really ought to have taken command himself (perhaps to receive a convenient wound, so that Sisko can stand in for him). By the way, has Sisko ever thought of joining the Bajoran Tourist Board? Back on DS9, everything that could go wrong seems to be doing so. Still, you get a sense that things will get worse before they get better. It all looks like a perfect set-up to me, and that is what we got.
Title : Sacrifice of Angels Rating : 5
Writers : Hans Beimler, Ira Steven Behr Year : 2374
Review : Here we are, an absolutely top notch action episode from stem to stern. We saw plenty of the battle, from the Jutland-style stand-off bombardment to the absolute furball at the end. I loved the moment when the Klingons came out of the sun (that's how it looked) and headed straight for the thickest of the fighting. That's Klingons for you! On DS9, we had Dukat at his evil best, explaining to Weyoun how to enjoy a victory, to leave your enemies alive so that you can gloat. Quark came through at the end, and Odo finally came to his senses. Still, it was not quite in time to prevent the spectacular fireworks show. The events in the wormhole were a genuine deus ex machina, but not a cheat. The Prophets are bound to have some interest in Bajor, so it makes sense that they would do something in the end. After all, it's their wormhole. Finally, here we all are, back where we belong.
Title : The Haunting of Deck Twelve Rating : 2
Writers : Michael Sussman Year : 2376
Review : Right, I'm not sure if any of this ever happened, but it makes a half-decent ghost story. There's been more than one plot where the ship turns on the crew, and I suppose that this one is a fairly decent example. Neelix held us all in suspense, which is not bad, considering I usually find him plain annoying. Janeway standing up to the creature as it talked to her in the voice of the computer was a decent and effective scene. The Borg children certainly have some odd turns of phrase, and I especially like the moment where Icheb corrects Neelix on a piece of technobabble. That seems like a nod to all those fans who yell at the screen whenever a YATI pops up. I guess the moral of the story is 'always check nebulae before you harvest them, you never know who might be living there'.
Title : Unimatrix Zero, Part 1 Rating : 2
Writers : Michael Sussman Year : 2376
Review : OK, Captain Janeway has officially gone insane. Doctor, confine her to quarters and don't let her have any coffee until she's talking sense. As if launching a raid on a Tactical Cube wasn't mad enough, deliberately allowing yourself to be assimilated is a heck of a Plan B. She's lucky she didn't have an eye or an arm removed. How did that woman ever become a starship captain? Perhaps if she had gone for the old method, sneak up and rely on the Borg ignoring you unless they consider you a threat, it might have made a bit more sense. They could even use the bio-dampeners from "Dark Frontier". To deal with the rest of the story, I'm not sure about the Borg Queen. Why does she speak to Drones when she can surely hear their thoughts? There was no need to interrogate the unfortunate Drone at the beginning of the episode, she would have been certain that he knew nothing. Acting like the Evil Empress is out of character for the Borg and detracts from the story. Unimatrix Zero itself is an interesting concept. Sometimes, computer networks do some very strange things, so why shouldn't the Hive Mind do something unusual occasionally. Building in a love story for Seven was a good idea in some ways, as it adds a lot to the character to see that she has a lot more to her history than first thought. I suppose that redeems it partly. Overall verdict, flawed, but watchable. This was supposed to be a review, not a rant, and I'm sorry if it sounds that way. By the way, I notice that Tom got his pip back, but poor old Harry didn't get one at all. I also notice that one of the Borg heads looked awfully familiar, rather like a certain android we all know.
Title : Improbable Cause Rating : 4
Writers : David R. Long, Robert Lederman Year : 2371
Review : Now, this one was interesting. Garak and Odo, possibly the two most interesting DS9 characters, get plenty of screen time, which is excellent. As ever, Garak gets some very good lines. I initially thought he was being serious about eating the isolinear rod, and he manages to get very close to the truth about Odo's feelings for Kira. We get some idea about Garak's shady past as well, although we still can't be sure how much of it is true. I've never been keen on DS9, but this is one of those episodes I can watch again and again. If I get the chance to watch the next episode, I certainly will.
Title : Unimatrix Zero, Part 2 Rating : 1
Writers : Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky, Michael Sussman Year : 2377
Review : Yet more of Janeway's insane plan. Apart from risking the ship and the entire crew, she's taking the chance that the Borg will gain access to all the tactical data in her head. Amazingly, it works, although mostly through the blockheaded actions of the Borg Queen. If she planned to kill off the inhabitants of Unimatrix Zero using a modified virus, why not just get on with it? On the other hand, if she wants to negotiate, why not just go into Unimatrix Zero and do it? After all, the Collective is timeless. She has all the time in the world to reassimilate the rogue drones one by one, so that should not bother her in the slightest. And why not just assimilate Voyager? Instead, she takes the stupidest possible actions and tries to negotiate via Janeway. As a result, the episode just did not work. Yes, there was tension throughout, but most of the story was silly. However, Seven/Annika in Unimatrix Zero saved some parts of the episode. You got some sense of the person who Annika Hansen might have grown up to be had she not been assimilated, and that helped character development. To sum up; flawed, but not a complete disaster. Incidentally, why didn't Janeway ask the Klingon general if he could spare a few transwarp coils?
Title : Imperfection Rating : 3
Writers : Andre Bormanis Year : 2377
Review : A somewhat more involving episode than the last one. It was a bit odd that the Delta Flyer showed up after getting blown to bits, and they even mentioned this. Perhaps this one was broadcast out of sequence. There aren't many good moments, but it is much more about Seven and Ichab's development as individuals than anything else. Seven's actions seemed a bit odd, but perhaps they made sense in some ways, and I can't fault Jeri Ryan's acting. Manu Intiraymi didn't do quite so well and it sounded as though he was reading from the script, but I'll put that down to inexperience. Ichab is usually somewhat reserved, so he might well have planned what he was going to say in advance anyway. Still, I quite understand Ichab's motives in taking the risk he took. It's the sort of risk someone of his age might take.
Title : Drive Rating : 3
Writers : Michael Taylor Year : 2377
Review : A half-decent episode. As a fan of motor racing, I found the idea of a trans-stellar rally fascinating (it got me speculating like mad about a Federation Grand Prix series). Having come up with the idea, they managed to add all the other elements, and it worked quite well. With Tom and B'elanna's relationship problems, I guess there was something for everyone. Neelix's Murray Walker impression was excellent, and it suited the tone of the episode. Most of the models seemed to be re-uses of others from all over the place (including a shuttle that was originally a Devore warship flying backwards!), but that doesn't detract from the story too much because the only ones that stay in shot for a long time are new designs. Still, I have to wonder how Irina ever got her shuttle aboard Voyager, since even the Delta Flyer is too big for the shuttlebay door.
Title : Future Tense Rating : 3
Writers : Michael Sussman, Phyllis Strong Year : 2152
Review : This was interesting. Archer & Co discover a TARDIS (hey, it travels in time and it's bigger on the inside) and everybody else wants it. I half-expected the pilot to have two hearts. The 'time-repeating' business looked like a defence mechanism to me, to prevent people damaging the craft. As usual, there are a few continuity violations, but there are also mentions of Zephram Cochrane going missing, so not bad by ENT standards. The Spock reference was good as well. As it went on, everything ran smoothly and they kept up the tension all the way through. A good episode by Enterprise standards.
Title : Repression Rating : 2
Writers : Kenneth Biller Year : 2377
Review : A good story that suffered from bad pacing. It took a full half-hour to set the scene, then the actual rebellion and the resolution were crammed into the last quarter-hour. If the Marquis rebellion had happened about half-way through, and Tuvok's recovery happened in the last quarter-hour, it would have worked much better. You could have even had a scene between Tom and B'elanna where he tried to convince her to stop Chakotay, then tried to rejoin the Marquis so that he could stay with her. As it was, Tim Russ put in a very good performance, and it was very disquieting to find out who the attacker really was (although they should not have telegraphed it, but let us work it out at the same time as Tuvok). I can't fault most of the script and the production, nor any of the acting. Generally good, but it loses a star for the bad pacing.
Title : Critical Care Rating : 4
Writers : Kenneth Biller, Robert Doherty Year : 2377
Review : Most of the way through this, it looked as though it was a TOS-style 'evil computer' episode, and the Doctor would end up talking it to death. Luckily, it was a lot more imaginative. As someone whose life was once saved by the NHS, this strikes me as an indictment of both the American health system and the class system. However, I do feel some sympathy for the administrators. Not everywhere has a huge surplus economy like the Federation, and some rationing might be essential if resources are short. The Doctor himself had to choose between saving Ensign Kim and Ensign Jetal in "Latant Image". If that had been Captain Janeway and Crewman Redshirt, then I think I know which one he would have chosen to treat first. This isn't exactly hypocrisy, but the Doctor did succeed in trampling all over the Prime Directive and judging these people by Human/Federation values. Still, it doesn't detract too much from the real message. As ever, Robert Picardo put in a good performance, and the guest cast around him backed him up very well. The side plot provided some amusing moments, in contrast to the somewhat grim main plot, although I wouldn't have minded knowing what they did with Gar, or even whether Janeway paid the miners for the Iridium or gave it back. Overall, it was eminently watchable, and made me think a little.
Title : Inside Man Rating : 3
Writers : Robert Doherty Year : 2377
Review : I'm not quite sure what to make of this one. Poor old Mr Broccoli had a bit of a hard time again, though I liked his solution to the problem. I'm trying to imagine what a 'Vidiian phage torpedo' would do. Holo-Reg was quite a character, and his impressions were remarkable. Still, the concept of 'geodesic radiation' was frankly laughable. 'Geodesic' as a word came from the measurement of the size and shape of Earth and referred to a part of a Great Circle course, so I suppose that might be where they got the word from. However, it usually tends to refer to a large, rounded building made of triangular structures, a geodesic dome. As such, the idea of this being a fold in space, let alone a form of radiation, was ridiculous. Why didn't they just say that it was some kind of wormhole? They could even have suggested that the star the Ferengi used was Betelgeuse or Antares. There was also no suggestion of how the fold could form in the right place, not half way accross the galaxy in Dominion space or somewhere. OK, it was an entertaining episode, but some very bad science loses it a star.
Title : Body and Soul Rating : 4
Writers : Michael Taylor Year : 2377
Review : Another good, solid episode. Jeri Ryan did a remarkable job of playing the Doctor, and then Seven's reaction to what had been going on was spot on as well. Apparently, Robert Picardo took her through all the scenes a few times, although I think she added the odd touch of her own. The B-story was vaguely amusing, but not all that worthwhile. Still, it's nice to know that the writers have remembered that Tuvok has been going without for seven years. The whole story was remarkably free of holes, inconsistencies and anything else to detract from it. It flowed well and the plot was fine, so was the script, and the dialogue was excellent. This is my 100th review, and it's good to know that I could mark the occasion with a decent episode.
Title : Nightingale Rating : 2
Writers : Dave Long, Robert Lederman Year : 2377
Review : An attempt at character development for Ensign Kim, but it didn't quite work. They forced some hard choices on him, and he took the wrong ones a few times, but things worked out OK in the end. If it sounds familiar, it's probably because you've read one of the Hornblower stories, where the young midshipman is ordered to take a captured ship into port and she sinks under him. Yes, this isn't quite the same, but you do see what I mean. Still, it did OK. I'm not so sure about the side story, but Icheb is facing one of those things that hits everyone when they are growing up. They handled it OK, I suppose. Verdict, another good try.
Title : Chain of Command, Part 1 Rating : 3
Writers : Frank Abatemarco Year : 2369
Review : Another one that's hard to review. Jellico did not seem like much of a captain; I hope I never have a boss like that. I wonder if he was named after Admiral Jellicoe, the C-in-C of the British Grand Fleet who failed to capitalise through over-cautiousness when he had an advantage at the Battle of Jutland. The historical irony would be great. When Picard, Crusher and Worf made the attack, the lack of opposition seemed awfully convenient, and the trap was not much of a surprise on reflection. Still, it set up a very nasty situation in the end.
Title : Chain of Command, Part 2 Rating : 4
Writers : Frank Abatemarco Year : 2369
Review : This was genuinely chilling. Patrick Stewart put in one of his best ever performances, balanced ably by David Warner. The 'four lights' elements must have come from "Nineteen-eighty-four", and I think George Orwell based it on something the Gestapo used to do. The bit I really remember was Picard getting under Madred's skin, fighting back in the only why he can. Jellico continues with his Captain Bligh attitude in the B-story, but succeeds in saving the day in the end. Still, he has just been transferred from a 70-year-old cruiser to the Federation flagship, so it may have gone to his head early on. I tried not to imagine what Picard was going through when we could not see him, but it kept coming back. Genuinely chilling.
Title : Hippocratic Oath Rating : 2
Writers : Lisa Klink, Nick Corea Year : 2372
Review : Well, it was interesting, but not really gripping though. Somehow, it did not quite fit together. We have finally found out that O'Brien is a Chief Petty Officer. It's good to have a rating as a major character, but he seems to mix with the officers most of the time. If the writers had handled it properly, we could have seen what life was like in the Senior Rates' Mess as well as the Wardroom. They never quite went the whole hog. Perhaps the main problem was that we never really had an explanation as to what was going on with Goren Agar at all. Bashir had his hypothesis, but it was never proved. I'm not sure whether it's crucial, but I would have liked to know. The side-plot made a bit more sense. We could see that Worf had not quite let go of his old Security role, and could not help but interfere in Odo's investigation. Fair enough, and I hope they keep that one going. OK, but not one I'll especially remember.
Title : Flesh and Blood Rating : 2
Writers : Bryan Fuller, Jack Monaco, Raf Green Year : 2377
Review : Half-decent action episode, but got a bit silly in places. The Class Y planet for a start. They are supposed to be hotter and more dangerous than Venus (Class X, I think), but we had Hirogen down there and they did not all scream in agony and die in seconds (most lifeforms would at 800°C and 50 atmospheres pressure). It was also a bit odd seeing the Voyager apparently glued to the stern of a Hirogen ship like a Pilotfish. Jeff Yagher as Iden against Robert Picardo's Doctor saved it from becoming really silly. It slowly dawns on you that Iden is effectively a psychopath. His hatred of 'Organics' is understandable, but he carries it to the point where he only wants to kill them and kill all of them. He took the Doctor in early on, but we could see the doubts begin to come in as time went on. Overall, they should be a bit more careful on the details, but it just about worked.
Title : Natural Law Rating : 2
Writers : James Kahn, Kenneth Biller Year : 2377
Review : I get the feeling that the writers wanted to send out a strong anti-colonialist message with this one. If the barrier ever comes down permanently, the Ventu might well end up like the Aborigines - nice tourist attractions, but if a village happens to be on top of a valuable mineral deposit, pack your bags and push off. Still Species 312's decision to put the barrier up in the first place without apparently asking anyone seems colonialist enough in itself, and certainly inconsiderate. Even the solution smacks of colonialism. As a Brit, I'll try not to take it personally. On the story itself, it wasn't especially gripping. There were some interesting points, like the sign language that the Ventu used. The B-story was vaguely amusing, and I've known driving instructors just as obnoxious. Still, you'd have thought that the Ledosans would actually tell people what their laws were when they turned up in the system. Oh yes, Chakotay has written off another yet shuttle. Perhaps Tom isn't the only one who needs flying lessons.
Title : Homestead Rating : 2
Writers : Raf Green Year : 2377
Review : I wondered when someone would realize that Neelix was getting farther and farther away from home whilst the Voyagers were getting closer to theirs. Looks like they have now. Another vaguely diverting story, with some half-decent bits thrown in. I agree with Tuvok on Neelix; he may be very annoying, but somehow Voyager won't be the same without him.
Title : Renaissance Man Rating : 2
Writers : Andrew Shepard Price, Mark Gaberman Year : 2377
Review : A slightly confusing episode, which had a few good bits. Although it was hard to work out who was playing who at some points, I followed it well enough. In the bits that he was actually in, Robert Picardo put in his usual good performance, and his 'deathbed' confessions were very well done. Still, it was perhaps a slightly better story than the last few. Voyager's seventh series seems to have taken a bit of a dip, almost as though they were keen to get it over with.
Title : What You Leave Behind Rating : 4
Writers : Hans Beimler, Ira Steven Behr Year : 2375
Review : Quite an ending, although not perfect. The first part was action, action, action. There were some amazing moments within it, and I especially liked the moment when the Cardassians changed sides for some reason. The second part dragged a bit, but some of it really caught the spirit of a last show, with everyone drifting apart. Perhaps shifting some of the action into the second part might have balanced it a little. That was always DS9s failing, it often concentrated on the wrong part of the story. As a result, it could get a bit tedious at times. Its success was that it built the sense of a real community, and the good stories used this to great effect. Despite being rooted to the spot, moving on all the time, they pulled it together in the end. One thing really bothers me. Why didn't Morn get a line? He's been waiting for one for seven years! I would have added this to the end of the script. Quark - The more things change, the more they stay the same. Morn - You're right as ever, Quark. You're right as ever.
Title : North Star Rating : 2
Writers : David A. Goodman Year : 2153
Review : Trek does the Wild West yet again. In this case, it's a bit more interesting than usual, but not very much so. The odd thing really was the different attitudes in pre-Prime Directive days (which would not apply for a lost Human colony anyway). I really mean the moment when Archer beams himself and the girl up in front of half the village. T'pol seems to be trying to follow some form of non-interference rule, but I'm not sure what it is. Still, Earth now has a nice little colony out in the Expanse. If anyone works out how to get in and out, then I wonder if they will try to hang on to the planet. Verdict, OK, but not brilliant.
Title : Similitude Rating : 4
Writers : Manny Coto Year : 2153
Review : An excellently-written, well-acted and thought-provoking episode. Am I really watching Enterprise? This is a TNG-quality story. Connor Trinneer put in an excellent performance as Sim, and the various younger actors were very convincing as well (even down to the accents). I guess cloning has partially redeemed itself, at least in the eyes of some people. It would be interesting to compare this with "Tuvix" at some point, and I honestly think this is a better story.
Title : Caretaker Rating : 3
Writers : Jeri Taylor, Michael Piller, Rick Berman Year : 2371
Review : My impressions on first viewing: After being cooped up on DS9 for six months, it's good to be back out in space again where we should be. On later viewing, I'm not so sure. It was a promising start, which reminded me vaguely of "The Cage" in some areas, but it the subsequent series failed to live up to it for some time. Janeway rather reminded me of my old headmistress as played by Katharine Hepburn, while of the other characters, nobody really stood out. I was a bit sceptical about the EMH, little knowing that he would develop into one of the most remarkable characters in Trek. On the Voyager herself, I began calling her 'USS Cuttlefish'. She seems rather out of proportion, and the v/g warp nacelles are a bit silly. They should have been double the size and permanently in the up position, which would have balanced the bulk of the saucer much better. Overall verdict, promising, but would have needed more work to settle down better.
Title : Endgame Rating : 2
Writers : Brannon Braga, Kenneth Biller, Rick Berman Year : 2377
Review : OK, this could have been a lot better. The portions set in the 'future' were completely unconvincing, and I would have cut them out altogether. It's interesting in some ways, but somehow does not quite fit the story and rips off "Timeless". The portions set in the 'present' would have made a nice 1-hour episode with a few important changes (saying that the ship is about to cross into the Beta Quadrant, perhaps). Even better would have been a suggestion that the Borg were about to launch a massed attack on Earth, and the only way to save it would be to destroy the Hub before they could do so. As for the last few minutes, it somehow managed to destroy all the tension. Where was the mad plunge into Earth's atmosphere and the emergency landing? Then there are all the loose ends. What about a reunion or two? Will Chakotay and the Maquis be pardoned? This is the journey of the Starship Voyager - in with a bang, out with a whimper.
Title : Parturition Rating : 1
Writers : Tom Szollosi Year : 2372
Review : We're wrecking shuttles again! Not all that bad by early Voyager standards, but that's not saying much. It took years for the series to get going properly. Fairly rotten.
Title : Parallax Rating : 1
Writers : Jim Trombetta Year : 2371
Review : Now this was just plain daft. There's bad science and there's really bad science. This is really really really bad science. "Caretaker" seemed so promising, and this has ruined it. Still, it started the development of the EMH as a real character, so there was enough to redeem the story.
Title : Bride of Chaotica! Rating : 3
Writers : Bryan Fuller Year : 2375
Review : This must go down as one of the most almighty send-ups of all time. It went for the dated stuff in a big way, but also contained plenty of self-references (the planets all looking the same, renaming all the technobabble and even the silly outfits) and was perhaps having a go at sci-fi in general. Perhaps Voyager will look as dated as Captain Proton in fifty years' time. The cast obviously had great fun with it, and I particularly liked Kate Mulgrew playing Janeway, playing Arachnia. Despite her initial reaction, it seemed that Janeway was actually beginning to enjoy herself at the end. The serious side of things seemed a bit strange, and I had to wonder why they didn't line up all the shuttles (however many they've built now) and tow the ship off the 'sandbar' stern-first, a-la "Similitude". A mention of that would have been a good idea, just to say it wouldn't work. Finally, Neelix gave us confirmation that the ship really does have lavatories - which should be called 'heads'.
Title : The Begotten Rating : 3
Writers : Rene Echevarria Year : 2373
Review : A decent story. I've always thought that taking Odo's shape-shifting abilities away was a big mistake, and it was about time they gave them back. One possible YATI comes in at the end of the series, when we find out that Bashir was probably a Changeling at the time. This means that he allowed one of his own to die - surely against 'no Changeling has ever harmed another'. Still, you don't really know that until later, so it's not important (except that people sometimes don't think things through). Still, on the story itself, it gave a well-written insight into Odo's background, as well as the main story itself. The story itself was very convincing and presented well. Worth watching.
Title : Ferengi Love Songs Rating : 0
Writers : Hans Beimler, Ira Steven Behr Year : 2373
Review : OK, I don't like the Ferengi, I don't like Quark and I don't like stories that are just plain silly. That's probably why I think this is an utter and complete load of rubbish. However, I'm probably biased, so ignore this review if you like.
Title : Cold Fire Rating : 3
Writers : Anthony Williams Year : 2372
Review : Another half-decent story. I was beginning to wonder when they would run into the other Caretaker. I've heard Suggestions that there may be more of them about (remember the Edo God). Kes begins to develop a dark side, and makes her character a lot more interesting. Some moments were genuinely chilling - if I can say that about Tuvok's blood boiling. It's also curious that the Voyager might be considered to be a 'ship of death'. I'm not sure about the way they used Majel Barrett for the narration at the beginning. Unless you really need it, narration is a bit of a cop-out when a line or two of dialogue can deal with the same thing. Still that's only a niggle. Certainly watchable.
Title : 11001001 Rating : 3
Writers : Maurice Hurley, Robert Lewin Year : 2364
Review : Reasonable episode. I loved the re-use of the footage from TSFS for the approach to the Starbase. That was one of the most graceful pieces of motion control ever, and with a bit of re-scanning, it worked perfectly. We begin to see the full potential of holographic technology here, creating a character that had Riker convinced (I thought she was at least partly self-aware). The Bynars seem like a good idea, but somehow they are not very convincing. I suppose their home system might be a binary, so they might have a primary star left, but there is still a bit of a problem there. Personally, I might have used a gamma ray burst. Verdict, not at all bad, above average for an early TNG episode.
Title : Counterpoint Rating : 3
Writers : Michael Taylor Year : 2375
Review : I spent the first five minutes of this wondering what the heck the Devore were looking for. They're clearly more paranoid than hateful, and that probably explains everything about them. Kashyk may have been a treacherous creature, but at least he had a good taste in music, and Mark Harelik put in a half-decent performance. He got the look on his face just right in the last scene, a scene where Janeway was clearly enjoying every minute (I understand that this is Kate Mulgrew's favourite episode). Torat, with his pump-up nose, was fairly amusing. It's curious that none of the Devore noticed Tuvok standing on the bridge in the last scene. Why not have him, Vorik and the Betazoid as the shuttle pilots? The one thing missing is an explanation as to why the Devore are so scared of telepaths. They don't like them, but why? Verdict, not bad.
Title : Resistance Rating : 3
Writers : Kevin J. Ryan, Michael Jan Friedman Year : 2372
Review : There seems to be a run of decent stories at the moment. This one had a few bad points, but the good ones balanced it out. The Mokra, are they all motorbike couriers or what? Augris was quite an effective villain, although he slipped into cartoonishness occasionally. The story with Janeway on the planet actually seemed surprisingly convincing. I can sort of understand how someone might mistake her for his daughter, especially if he is losing his wits (it does happen). Some half-decent acting made it into quite an involving story. Back in orbit, I couldn't help thinking that Kirk, if he had been about, he might have bounced a photon torpedo or two off the Mokra installations on the planet, whereas Chakotay just sat there to be shot at. I know they're short on torps, but couldn't he have done something.
Title : Prototype Rating : 4
Writers : Nick Corea Year : 2372
Review : This was a good episode. You have to wonder whether it was really a good idea to activate any random android that you find. Still, the dilemma as to whether to help the androids procreate or not was a good way to cover a 'help us win the war' request. In the end, we see the argument for building more units slowly becoming less and less attractive, until we see what the real agenda is. That also throws up another dilemma, these units are built to fight, surely they would all have to be deactivated if the war ended. If they had not killed all their creators, that would have exterminated a sentient race (unless they reprogrammed them all as mining units or something). I liked the mention of Data, who is obviously famous. However, the oddest thing was to hear Chakotay saying "we don't want to lose another shuttlecraft". One minor fault, as often happens, was am over-reliance on technobabble in some places, but you have to remember that B'elanna IS an engineer. Finally, they left it open for speculation as to who will win the battle or whether the androids will ever come up with their own solution to the problem. Leaving things open leaves room for speculation, or even a revisit. I wonder what will happen if either side wins...
Title : Alliances Rating : 2
Writers : Jeri Taylor Year : 2372
Review : Well, this turned into a waste of time for almost everyone. Perhaps it was an entertaining waste of time, but a waste of time nonetheless. The Trabe seem a little unbelievable, and their plan was doomed to failure from the start - killing the leaders from some of the Kazon sects will only mean that their followers will be out for revenge. I also think it's a bit silly that the Trabe fighter did not immolate the whole conference room, or even the building. It's also a bit silly that they should fire three of their precious torpedoes at one fighter when a phaser shot or two would suffice. Still, the good point is that it was at least an attempt to engage with the other people out there. If Janeway had handled things better, she could have formed a little trading empire on her way back. Still, she we once again see her dogmatic determination to stick to her principals, which completely define her character. Still, this might have been a missed opportunity to change the parameters a little bit and develop the storyline, if perhaps the negotiations were successful. Voyager developed slowly, and stories like this were one of the reasons why. The message is 'stick to what you believe in', and that closes off new possibilities. Perhaps what the Voyager really needs is a cloaking device (illegal, but nobody's going to tell the Romulans any time soon).
Title : Coming of Age Rating : 2
Writers : Sandy Fries Year : 2364
Review : Not exactly impressed, but that was mostly because half of it was too focused on Wesley (although there was some hope that we would get rid of him). 'Obnoxious' is exactly the right word for The Brat, and I'm glad someone actually said it. The scene with the shuttle was OK, and I liked the eventual solution (it might not be quite right, but it's feasible), but where it fails is that they didn't simply tractor the shuttle as soon as it left the bay. Why not? It should be standard procedure if anyone nicks one. The best bit was the inquiry, and the way the crew all responded to back up their captain. Now, if they had spun the inquiry out a bit and cut out all the bits with Wesley, then we would have had a decent story. I'm going with two stars, but I'm a harsh marker.
Title : In the Cards Rating : 3
Writers : Scott J. Neal, Truly Barr Clark Year : 2373
Review : Quite good. Sometimes people do focus on one little thing which helps take their minds off the big picture, so the premise makes sense. The attempts to earn the card were amusing, not seriously funny, but amusing. The other story, where Kai Winn has to swallow her pride and ask Sisko for advice (desperately hiding her clenched teeth) was interesting as well. I'm not sure Weyoun would have done what he did, but it made a melodramatic climax to the story, which is what I suppose the writers wanted in the end. Not a bad effort.
Title : Meld Rating : 3
Writers : Michael Sussman Year : 2372
Review : Definitely a dark episode this. Very chilling performances by both Brad Dourif and Tim Russ. I honestly did not know if Tuvok was going to be able to stop himself from killing Suder (and maybe there is a Vulcan Death Grip after all). Still, it was also interesting to see what lies beneath the surface of the Vulcan mind, and that made it certainly worth watching.
Title : Call to Arms Rating : 5
Writers : Ira Steven Behr, Robert Hewitt Wolfe Year : 2373
Review : Now this was one heck of a powerful action episode, but with a bit of depth to it as well. We had some genuine war planning and a bit of diplomacy, along with a clever solution to the convoy problem. Then we had the people on board getting ready, each in his or her own way, to face the looming crisis. By the way, I did find myself wondering where all the runabouts had gone, until I realized that the Federation civilians must have used them to evacuate at some point. Finally we had a big set-piece battle, where both sides had achievable aims and a good plan. Running through this, there was Dukat who was obviously enjoying every minute (until it went wrong) and Weyoun, slimy as ever. The twist at the end, a pre-emptive strike going on somewhere else, was nicely done. Finally, I loved the very last moment. All those ships, wow!
Title : Thirty Days Rating : 4
Writers : Scott Miller Year : 2375
Review : After the last episode, they seem to have worked out how to get a clear message accross this time. The ocean in space looked very dramatic, although I cannot think why anyone would want to strip all the water from a planet unless they wanted to end all life there (Class M to Class H in a few hours). I'm not sure whether Tom Paris was going slightly out of character here. His interest in everything nautical seems to have come out of nowhere, although it fits into the story very well. There's nothing to prevent people having very wide interests (think Picard), but it seems odd, especially as it's never mentioned again. Still, he found himself a cause and stuck with it, and Robert Duncan McNeill played the part very well. There were other highlights, finally getting to meet the Deleney Sisters for a start, after hearing so much about them for five years. Then there was the whole underwater world, which was fascinating and I'm surprised that we haven't seen more marine civilisations in Trek. Verdict, a very good episode. Perhaps we should rename the Flyer the Delta Diver!
Title : The Arsenal of Freedom Rating : 3
Writers : Maurice Hurley, Robert Lewin Year : 2364
Review : An excellent 'man vs machine' battle. Nothing special, but handled very well. I liked some of the solutions to the weapons problems, especially Geordi taking the drive section into the atmosphere. They also had the sense to separate the ship when they needed to - the most woefully under-used plot device in Star Trek. Apart from the Minoans creating a weapon so effective that they destroyed themselves, I don't know if there's much more depth than just action, but it still gets a good rating. By the way, I think we've learnt that Denise Crosby can aim a phaser much better than Jonathan Frakes.
Title : Dreadnought Rating : 5
Writers : Gary Holland Year : 2372
Review : I really liked this episode; one of Voyager's best to date. The concept of a drone/weapon/ship like this it excellent, and it's the way that warplane design seems to be going today. There was something about B'elanna and the Dreadnought (which was really Roxann Dawson talking to herself) that reminded me of Dave and HAL in 2001 - the way the weapon answered back politely, and tried everything to save itself right up to the end. Even the solution was vaguely similar. It's slightly odd that Janeway can blow up her ship without anyone else to confirm the order, and goes against almost all established procedure. Still, I'll let them off that. I'd like Lockheed's designers to watch this episode before they design any more UAVs, maybe they'd understand why unmanned weapons are very bad idea. Too easy to reprogramme.
Title : A Time to Stand Rating : 3
Writers : Hans Beimler, Ira Steven Behr Year : 2374
Review : A decent enough episode in its way. We begin to delve into the dark days of the war. Something like this often happens. The aggressor starts the war because they think they can win it, and so the side on the defensive falls back and back. Usually, they turn it around and the aggressor loses, but we obviously can't know that yet. Everyone deals with the dark days in their own way, and this is what we see here. The other side, Weyoun and Dukat, provided some of the best bits as ever. They form a brilliant double act, both thoroughly nasty in their own ways. One last thing, Sisko's dad is right, why can't we all just get along?
Title : Rocks and Shoals Rating : 4
Writers : Ronald D. Moore Year : 2374
Review : The end of a desperate exercise leads to another desperate exercise in survival. This is what war does, and there must be hundreds of desperate exercises like this up and down the border just to stay alive. It also provided a bit of moral ambiguity, showing both sides as equally desperate and yet honourable in their own way. The only issues I really had were the question of how Sisko's ship got to where she ended up. Since they lost warp drive, they must be in the same system as the shipyard they blew up. Nothing seen on screen supports this, so where are they and how did they get there? The side-story of Kira and the others aboard the occupied station caught my attention almost as much as than the main story. We got some sense of what it was like to live under occupation, and it is not pleasant. I hope I never find myself in the same situation.
Title : Death Wish Rating : 3
Writers : Shawn Piller Year : 2372
Review : Before this aired, I was hoping we had seen the last of Q, but evidently not. Still, he seems to have grown up a bit, and stopped being quite so annoying. However, he doesn't age well for someone who is immortal. In this case, we seem to be seeing a real moral dilemma here, with Janeway in 'headmistress' mode, something she's good at. It was fairly obvious that Q was not a short-cut home, but I wish that they had opened the possibility that they might get home a little more. Overall, we seem to have a decent story, but nothing brilliant. One element they seem to have missed is that USS Cuttlefish has just made the most important scientific observations ever. She was there at the Big Bang! I hope they had their sensors going full blast!
Title : Lifesigns Rating : 3
Writers : Kenneth Biller Year : 2372
Review : Not a bad episode. Some might see this episode as the one where the Doctor comes to life. In my opinion, it is just the culmination of a long transition he has been going through ever since "Parallax". Still, this was quite critical in the development of the character. The obvious 'beauty comes from within' message was hard to miss and fair enough, but that was really overshadowed by the character development side of the story. What's going on with Paris as well? Should they really have characters who act in such an irresponsible way? Either they're setting something up or the writers have gone over the top again.
Title : Behind the Lines Rating : 2
Writers : Rene Echevarria Year : 2374
Review : It seems to be getting grimmer by the week. We see yet another good portrayal of the hardest part on any war, before you can turn it around. Odo seems to be having a very curious experience, and he's becoming almost as otherworldly as the other Changeling. Very curious. However, I found myself thinking that I wish we had seen the Defiant's dramatic and exciting mission, not just the ship arriving home. That's probably something like what Sisko thought as well, and no-doubt every captain who watches his old ship going into harm's way. Still, maybe this is the reason why I am not so keen on DS9, it sometimes skips over the action and the tension if favour of something otherworldly and character-building. Verdict, watchable in its own way, but not a thriller.
Title : Investigations Rating : 3
Writers : Ed Bond, Jeff Schnaufer Year : 2372
Review : Any fan of spy fiction would recognize this as a good old-fashioned mole hunt. It's quite a well-written one, and there is a bit of tension there. The side-issues, like Neelix's attempt at breakfast telly, were vaguely interesting. Unfortunately, 'A Briefing with Neelix' disappeared after this, because the odd mention of it (or even seeing a broadcast in the background) would have added atmosphere. Still, it's a fairly good story and it ties up a few loose ends as well. Not bad.
Title : Deadlock Rating : 1
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2372
Review : Interesting idea, another twist on the doubling idea that goes right back to "The Enemy Within". I can't count the number of times that characters have met themselves or lived alternative versions of their own lives. However, I'm not sure about the way it's handled. I'm not sure why, but it never really had me convinced. Perhaps a few minor tweaks to the script would have made it more convincing. It's probably the notorious 'Reset Button' making its appearance. If any other ship was damaged as badly as that, then she would have to go a Starbase for repairs. Seeing the Voyager magically fix herself in hostile space somehow spoilt the whole effect. Verdict, could do better.
Title : The Neutral Zone Rating : 3
Writers : Deborah McIntyre, Mona Glee Year : 2364
Review : An interesting twist on the 'people out of time' idea. It wasn't 100% original ("KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!"), but done in such a different way that I almost forgot about the precedent. They all seemed to be a comment on the spirit of the times in which the episode was made, the pompous Offenhouse, the overindulgent Clemens and the 'homemaker' Claire Raymond. All three actors were very convincing, and the crew's reaction was interesting as well, including the three direct contrasts, Claire & Deanna, Offenhouse & Picard, and Clemens & Data. However, the premise was ridiculous. The idea of a 21st Century satellite light years from Earth is a bit unbelievable, but not as unbelievable as the thing actually having working gravity and life support. There wouldn't be much need for either if you are only supporting dead bodies, not that they should have any kind of gravity system at all. After a while, the refrigeration systems would stop working as well - they would be too far from a star for the solar panels to work. Still, I think the story made up for all this after a while, and the Romulan Warbird's appearance at the end was a truly great moment. It provided a genuinely menacing presence, which was exactly the effect they were after. Verdict, watchable.
Title : Innocence Rating : 2
Writers : Anthony Williams Year : 2372
Review : Perhaps it was the premise, but I found this episode unconvincing. Yes, it was probably meant to mean something, but it lost me somewhere. The revelation at the end came as no surprise to me, this 'reverse ageing' idea crops up every now and then. Still, I find it hard to believe that the 'children' would not say something about their age. It would have been interesting if Alcia had been Tressa's daughter, although probably an unbelievable co-incidence. However, growing to a large size then getting smaller happens in real life; the Paradoxical Frog grows to 10in as a tadpole, then shrinks to 2½in as an adult. Perhaps the premise is not so unbelievable after all.
Title : The Child Rating : 0
Writers : Jaron Summers, Jon Povill, Maurice Hurley Year : 2365
Review : I know that this was a recycled "Star Trek II" idea, and I kept on wondering how Ilea (who originally took Counsellor Troi's role) and Dr McCoy would have handled the situation. Still, whoever was in it, it was a half-baked idea handled very badly. The 'plasma plague' side-plot was even sillier, when they could have come up with a more scientific explanation for it. The episodes' one redeeming feature is that it gave us a good look at the improved and updated Enterprise, which I suppose is more like the ship we are used to, so feels much more like the ship we know. Then there are all the personnel changes, especially the introduction of Dr Pulaski and Guinan. Pulaski is interesting, because she is unusual in being a shortish, middle-aged woman (not often seen as regular characters), and a very believable character (very much like many hospital consultants). The mysterious Guinan is one of my favourite characters, and I'm glad she stayed to the end of the series. Still, this is not really relevant. Overall, not a good episode. Probably it seemed like a good idea at the time . . .
Title : The Thaw Rating : 0
Writers : Richard Gadas Year : 2372
Review : Another daft idea handled badly. There were some partially scary moments, but nothing genuinely chilling. The solution was OK, and worked well enough, but was not brilliant. Rubbish!
Title : Resolutions Rating : 2
Writers : Jeri Taylor Year : 2372
Review : OK, good idea, but not quite followed through properly. I'm not sure if there was really anything wrong with it or simply I didn't like it. The story with Janeway and Chakotay on the planet was probably supposed to appeal to the more emotionally-minded, while the action on the ship was supposed to appeal to those who prefer action. As a result, the story could not make up its mind. Both sides seemed fairly convincing, but it somehow detracted from the story. I didn't spot this on first viewing, but they might have offered the Vidiians two defenceless victims by telling them where Janeway and Chakotay were. Still, full marks to whoever remembered that you can't beam through the shields, and a nice bit of in-series continuity by bringing in Denara Pel. I'm not sure how Tuvok will explain how he used up so much antimatter. Finally, if you want to catch an insect, a modified bedsheet or an old yoghurt pot will do the job fine, so there was no need to give up when all the traps broke.
Title : Basics, Part 1 Rating : 3
Writers : Michael Piller Year : 2372
Review : This seemed like a trap from the start, and they fell right into it. I've often thought Janeway is reckless, and this proves it. They were after one individual, a baby, and risked the ship and crew by attacking a vastly superior force. Madness that could only end one way, as indeed it did. The one particularly interesting feature was the suicide bomber, who must have used some specialist Cardassian trick to fool medical scanners. Incidentally, why didn't Janeway use the Voyager's greatest advantage and run flat out at Warp 9.9 for a few hours. There's no way the Kazon would keep up with that. Still, it's interesting to see another landing (Cullah must have been reading the manuals to get it right). Still, the set-up kept me in suspense for a few months, so I suppose it just about worked.
Title : Basics, Part 2 Rating : 4
Writers : Michael Piller Year : 2373
Review : Good episode, better than the first part. Splitting up the action worked fairly well. The part I followed most was the Doctor and Suder aboard the ship, good performances by both actors. That was where the important stuff happened, and you really got the sense of that. It's a pity they killed off Suder, he might have been good for a few more stories, and Brad Dourif's performance was the best of the episode. On the planet, Janeway and Chakotay (whose foolishness had landed everyone there in the first place) seemed to be doing their best to redeem themselves. We could be certain that the crew would survive, and thus it proved to be a bit of a side-show. Finally, Tom's phaser effects. Good plan, but it seemed a bit haphazard and stood a good chance of failure. What if the Kazon had repelled the boarders successfully? It might have been an idea to flood the ship with nerve gas or something (no effect on the Doctor, and Suder would probably survive) then board in space suits and cart the Kazon off to the escape pods. The CGI 'Land Eel' (apparently that's what it was called) was an interesting experiment, and it seemed to prove itself judging by all the CGI creatures we got later on. Finally, I think we have seen the last of the Kazon. Good riddance!
Title : Flashback Rating : 3
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2373
Review : I quite liked this episode, which is unusual for a Braga script. Obviously, the highlight was our visit to the Excelsior, one of the most elegant ships ever made. If her description is accurate, the reckless, incisive Janeway would have fitted right into the Movie Era (the uniform certainly suited her). Tuvok's past was curious, and it certainly deserved an exploration. It wasn't without its faults, a virus disguised as a memory engram was rather far-fetched, and radiation is measured in 'grays' or 'rads', not 'dynes'. Finally, I'm not sure when Valtaine died in TUC, but I think he was alive during the action against Chang's BoP, which is AFTER his death here. Still, it did all happen inside Tuvok's head, and he might not remember everything perfectly. Thus we can forgive some of the faults, and it makes a decent episode if we do.
Title : The Chute Rating : 3
Writers : Clayvon C. Harris Year : 2373
Review : A very effective episode. The writers put Tom and Harry through Hell and they survived. Not only was it very convincing, it contributed a lot to character development, so full marks to both actors. We also got a proper look at Neelix's ship, which is rare. Generally, a decent episode.
Title : Unnatural Selection Rating : 1
Writers : John Mason, Mike Gray Year : 2365
Review : The premise here was very far-fetched. I can't understand how an 'active immune system' would work, or why it would act against other Humans. Still, I suppose Diana Muldaur put in a fair performance, so that partially covers this. It's not a good episode, but vaguely watchable.
Title : Far Beyond the Stars Rating : 4
Writers : Marc Scott Zicree Year : 2374
Review : Now, this was a worthy story to tell, but I'm not 100% certain it was Star Trek. The message came accross loud and clear, and it didn't show the old thing from TOS of 'we are better than everyone else', it was 'this is what we used to be like'. It's very hard to imagine these days. It was fascinating to see many of the actors without their make-up. I had to go on their voices, and it was quite surprising (call me out-of-touch, but I didn't even realize that Michael Dorn is black until now). Perhaps that added to people's performances, they could express themselves without their faces being frozen. Well done to all of them. Still, is a story about people in the past writing about the future still Star Trek? I think it is, because it was done well. Finally, the end got very close to the fourth wall.
Title : One Little Ship Rating : 4
Writers : Bradley Thompson, David Weddle Year : 2374
Review : Honey, I shrunk the Runabout! This episode was very silly, but good fun. I loved seeing the Rubicon whizzing around inside the Defiant. Somehow, out of this silly premise, they created a good story. Some things were not quite right, for instance O'Brien and Bashir not wearing space suits to leave the ship, and I'm not sure why they didn't catch that one. Incidentally,they could have avoided having the Defiant going on a science mission simply by digging out the old Obarth model and saying that the Defiant is acting as escort. However, we can forgive them that because in the scheme of things the sheer insanity of it all covered it up. Silly or not, it was certainly an enjoyable hour of television.
Title : The Swarm Rating : 1
Writers : Michael Sussman Year : 2373
Review : If you forget about the 'Swarm' itself, then it works in some ways. Janeway seems to step into the realm of madness in some places. If cutting through the territory of a powerful and hostile species (against her precious Starfleet Regulations forsooth) wasn't bad enough, detonating all those little ships clamped onto the hull made no sense. That would be like blowing up a hundred photon torpedoes next to the ship. Insane! Incidentally, it also seems to mark the start of the Tom and B'elanna romance, although we obviously don't know that yet. This may be a fairly rotten episode, but Robert Picardo did his best to try to save it. His version of Dr Zimmerman was an interesting contrast to the EMH, similar but different. Just about enough to redeem a star, I think.
Title : False Profits Rating : 2
Writers : George A. Brozak Year : 2373
Review : It took them two years, but they finally got round to dealing with the Barzan Wormhole issue. With something like that nearby, I'm surprised Janeway didn't know head straight for it. Even if she didn't know about it, it would be bound to be in the database. Apart from clearing up that issue, it was almost all about the Ferengi, who were as odious as ever and almost as intolerable. Still, at least they did their best to give some hope of going home. I find a few things surprising. Firstly, why did Janeway ever let them go the first time? Surely, their arguments were completely spurious. Secondly, how is it that they could ever manage to get away the second time? Tuvok really needs to tighten up security. They then managed to out-technobabble the Voyagers (quite an achievement!) and get home. Perhaps it would have been easier to phaser them and run straight for the wormhole. Verdict, nice attempt to tie up some loose ends, but could do better.
Title : Change of Heart Rating : 3
Writers : Ronald D. Moore Year : 2374
Review : Good in its own way. The rendezvous seemed a bit haphazard, and the Defiant's cloaking device would have been very useful in getting to the planet. Nevertheless, the story on the planet was worthwhile. Worf was faced with one of those choices that nobody should ever have to make. From my point of view, there was no other choice he could make, even if it was dereliction of duty. The side-plot on the station rather jarred with the main plot, so that was probably a mistake. Still, it was a well-made episode.
Title : Remember Rating : 1
Writers : Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky Year : 2373
Review : Not entirely sure what to make of this. Much of it was the old story about the friendly aliens who turn out to have a dark secret. We've seen that before, and I'm not sure this version was all that convincing. Roxann Dawson does fairly well, but I wasn't 100% convinced by the performance. While not a complete disaster, I wouldn't watch this episode again out of choice.
Title : Contagion Rating : 3
Writers : Beth Woods, Steve Gerber Year : 2365
Review : An interesting attempt. It was good to see the Yamato, as another Galaxy, and this one named after a famous Japanese battleship (though I doubt we'll see a USS Bismarck any time soon) but it's a pity they blew her up straight away. The actual super-programme/virus or whatever it was seemed a bit far-fetched, but a real threat, I suppose, and they built up the tension fairly well. The Iconian gateway was curious, as a super-transporter idea, something we see a few times but this is one of the first. When Data stuck his hand through it, I was half-expecting the thing to change location and chop his arm off. The eventual solution, do a reboot, was a bit of a cop-out. Other than that, a good episode.
Title : The Outrageous Okona Rating : 0
Writers : David Landersberg, Lance Dickson, Les Menchen Year : 2365
Review : Awful episode! For starters, I don't like Okona (presumably his name is a distortion of O'Connor) as he seems to be a cross between Del Boy and Harry Mudd (the worst elements of the two). The Comic wasn't funny either, he was just plain annoying, and Data's attempts to imitate him just made him look silly. "My timing is digital," got the only laugh of the whole episode. Still, I can't simply criticise an episode for not being funny, and American humour is often a bit weak anyway. Firstly, why did Picard ever decide to back down in the face of a vastly inferior opponent? He could probably have sorted everything out without having to do that. The resolution seems unconvincing as well. I was glad when this one was over.
Title : Wrongs Darker than Death or Night Rating : 3
Writers : Hans Beimler, Ira Steven Behr Year : 2374
Review : Well-written episode, but perhaps the writers find it more interesting than the viewers. The thing I like is that they did not try to give us any particular moral position, but left it open for people to decide. We do know that Kira should not have tried to kill her mother, but what about killing Dukat? Would she have returned to a very different future if she had not saved his life? Speaking of Dukat, Marc Alamo makes him as odious as ever, although this is not quite his best performance. I'm not sure what to make of Kira Meru or what she found herself having to do. Lesley Hope certainly looks sufficiently like Nana Visitor, and she played the part fairly well. Overall, it's a half-decent episode.
Title : Sacred Ground Rating : 0
Writers : Geo Cameron Year : 2373
Review : What a daft episode! Basic plot summery: Kes does something silly and gets hurt. Janeway then does something even sillier and saves her life. Firstly, don't the Nechani believe in warning signs or safety barriers? They have a dangerous force field and nothing to stop people just blundering into it. Secondly, when Janeway gets a convincing explanation for what happened, why didn't she take it? It leaves her looking like a dilettante. Robert Duncan McNeill was very unlucky to get this of all scripts to make his directional debut.
Title : In the Pale Moonlight Rating : 5
Writers : Peter Allan Fields Year : 2374
Review : One of my all-time favourite episodes. Unfortunately, I only saw the second half of it. This was about good people doing bad things, the wrong thing for the right reasons. Garak may be an amoral pathological liar, but was still doing this to help his friends and ultimately to save his planet from the Dominion. Andrew Robinson put in his usual good performance, getting plenty of great lines as ever, and Avery Brooks also did very well, from what I see. Stephen McHattie's Vreenek was convincing as well, for what little we saw of him. It was interesting how he effectively signed his own death warrant by threatening to expose the fraud. If he had kept quiet, he might have survived. Finally, Sisko should keep on telling himself that he can live with it, maybe it will be true one day. I will make sure I see the whole episode next time.
Title : Warlord Rating : 3
Writers : Andrew Shepard Price, Mark Gaberman Year : 2373
Review : A good attempt at a fairly decent story. Jennifer Lien isn't exactly the world's greatest actress, but she did her best here. The story itself may have been fairly standard stuff, but it was reasonably believable. The only problem was that it was a technical solution. If Vulcans can transfer their katra to other people simply through their inherant ability, why can't the Ilari do something similar? A mind-meld from Tuvok could have provided just as convincing a solution as anything technical, probably more so. Still, that is a matter of taste. Watchable enough.
Title : The Q and the Grey Rating : 3
Writers : Shawn Piller Year : 2373
Review : Another decent attempt. 'Voyager Q' is a good deal less annoying than 'TNG Q', and it was a reasonable story. I'm not entirely sure that the American Civil War setting was a good idea (apart from anything else, Indiana is hardly southern). From an American point of view, the Revolutionary War would have made a bit more sense, but I'm not American, so I can't really judge. The resolution worked well-enough, and it fitted together OK. Once again, a whatchable episode.
Title : Fair Trade Rating : 1
Writers : Jean Louise Matthias, Ronald Wilkerson Year : 2373
Review : Not exactly brilliant. Firstly, the threat to Neelix's usefulness seemed manufactured. He was bound to reach his own 'final frontier' one day, and I can understand him being a bit neurotic about being put off the ship because of it. However, we all knew that he was a bit of a shady character in the past; surely the Voyagers knew that as well. Still, we went through a manufactured situation into a manufactured solution. Incidentally, what is so special about Starfleet warp plasma? Surely it's just very hot deuterium. Maybe it has lots of top-secret additives or something. Still, let's not bother with that one.
Title : Up The Long Ladder Rating : 0
Writers : Melinda M. Snodgrass Year : 2365
Review : "Every moment of pleasure in life has to be purchased by an equal moment of pain." After watching this, I think I'm owed. To complain about the American characterisation of Ireland would be utterly pointless, but I'll do it anyway. As for the rest of the episode, I find the idea of Picard treating these two colonies like an animal breeding programme utterly repugnant. People's ideas about cloning were very difficult back when this was made, and I'm almost certain that there should be a way around 'replicative fading'. Life does something similar by a process called 'recombination'. Verdict, rubbish.
Title : Alter Ego Rating : 1
Writers : Joe Menosky Year : 2373
Review : A reasonable try. It's not very original, several TOS and TNG episodes involved a lonely alien looking for love with one of the crew, and there have been plenty of other holodeck failures. Not sure if anyone has hacked into one before, but the general idea is not very original. Still, I suppose they carried it off fairly well. Finally, what's happened to the Nekrit Expanse? I thought they would still be going through it about now.
Title : Time's Orphan Rating : 2
Writers : Joe Menosky Year : 2374
Review : For some reason, this episode never really caught my imagination. Perhaps it's just a matter of taste, but if the writers want to give us a time travel episode, they should GIVE US A TIME TRAVEL EPISODE! Why not have the Sisko and the O'Briens going back in time to rescue Molly? Because it's been done before and they wanted to do something different. Do it well, and that does not matter. Perhaps the episode was done well, and the actress who portrayed the 18-year-old Molly was very convincing, but I didn't like it personally. Still, I think it deserves two stars.
Title : Coda Rating : 1
Writers : Jeri Taylor Year : 2373
Review : Let me get this straight, Janeway gets killed in a shuttle crash, strangled by a Vidiian, blown up, gassed and contracts the Phage. I guess it just wasn't her day, and I hope Neelix has plenty of coffee on hand. Of course, none of it really happened, and it was all caused by some sort of false devil/alien being. Still, once we worked out what was going on, we had Len Cariou's 'step into my parlour' performance, and a YATI where he appeared in a 2070s uniform rather than a 2050s one. Speaking of uniforms, you would have thought that the crew could dig out their full dress for their captain's sendoff, would you not? Janeway also did not try very hard to contact Kes after their first try. Why not do another walkthrough? Why not YELL AS LOUD AS YOU CAN during the whole of Tuvok and Kes' seance? Apart from things like that, it was a half-decent attempt to tell a story right up until the last scene - then they completely blew it! We suddenly had an 'everything's alright now' moment, after all that had happened beforehand. Janeway should have been deeply disturbed by it all, and perhaps concerned that maybe there really was a Hell after all. It didn't make sense.
Title : The Man Trap Rating : 2
Writers : Richard Metheson Year : 2266
Review : After 163 reviews, I *finally* get to do TOS. It's the remastered version, and I was amazed. The improved quality of the new effects shots was a little startling, but they spruced up the old film very well, and it fitted together brilliantly. Now, to the episode itself. It may have been the first to air, but it wasn't the strongest offering. You could tell that people were new to it, and things were not quite set out yet. Still, it was certainly intriguing enough to make me want to see it again the first time. There were some decidedly surreal moments, most notably in the conference room with the creature as McCoy discussing it's own capture. Still, it was a bit silly that Crater did not come clean about what had happened right away. Once you spot that, the story makes no sense. Maybe it's just plain surreal.
Title : Charlie X Rating : 1
Writers : Gene Roddenberry Year : 2266
Review : Not so keen on this one; perhaps TOS got off to a bit of a shaky start. Charlie was not entirely convincing, although that may have something to do with the fact that he did not look quite young enough. Still, some of his behaviour made some sense as someone who had not seen another member of his species until a few days before. However, it was impossible not to feel sorry for him at the end. The new Thasian ship was good, and done just as it would have been in the sixties if they had thought of it then. I also noticed a rare smile from Spock during a scene in the recreation room, just before Uhura's song. Still, that did not quite cover a slightly weak story. For all his imaginative talents, Gene Rodenberry's scriptwriting was never really in the premier league.
Title : Where No Man Has Gone Before Rating : 3
Writers : Samuel A. Peeples Year : 2265
Review : This was the genuine first episode with the main cast, and most likely a bit of a trend-setter. Kirk gets into a fistfight and had his shirt ripped, the engines pack up because of some strange thing in space, and a console explodes on the bridge. I certainly like the idea that the Enterprise was the very first ship to travel beyond the galaxy, unless you count the miraculous trip made by the Valiant. Incidentally, I'm sure we see the Valiant in the credits of ENT (at least that's how I interpret it). We proved that absolute power corrupts absolutely as we got nearer the end, something we will revisit time and again. Compared even with the next episode, everything looked so primitive, but the feel of something advanced and new was there. A decent start.
Title : The Naked Time Rating : 2
Writers : John D. F. Black Year : 2266
Review : Fast-paced, dramatic and a bit of a daft plot; sums up a lot of the original series. This particular one gave a very thin excuse for the Enterprise to be plunging to her doom, but if we just accept it and let it happen, it plays out very well. Not sure what is my great moment, Sulu chasing around the corridors with his foil or the look on Kirk's face when Riley says he'll sing his song "one more time...". Now I've watched the whole of the first disc, my views on the remastered series are that it is even better than I expected. The new shots do stand out a little, but it enhances the story rather than detracting from it. The feel is still right, the ship even flies with her nose down during the credits just like she used to. I call upon any television executive reading this (although I doubt any will) to broadcast the series as soon as possible. Anyone who remembers it as it was will thoroughly enjoy Trek Remastered.
Title : Peak Performance Rating : 3
Writers : David Kemper Year : 2365
Review : Not all that bad. I don't like the Ferengi, but they played a useful enough role here. Picard's reluctance to take part in exercises says quite a lot about the character, but does not make sense for a professional officer. Perhaps his later experiences will change him. Riker obviously had quite a good time here (everyone enjoys testing their skills) and he did fairly well. I'm not sure who would have won if the Ferengi had not intervened. The curious bit was the 'space-battleships' game (or whatever it was). Kolrami seemed to be an arrogant wotnot, and I'm glad he got his come-uppance here, delivered neatly by Data. Overall, a half-decent episode.
Title : Blood Fever Rating : 2
Writers : Lisa Klink Year : 2373
Review : It's not quite as daft as it could have been. The premise has a logic of its own, but could have been done rather differently. For one thing, Pon Farr is somewhat more extreme than what we are shown here. Still, even if we give them that, there are other things. Paris may have been trying not to take advantage, but I think I might have let him begin to give in at some point. There aren't many men who wouldn't be tempted. It's only at the end where he does give in altogether. Still, we get to the end. The last thirty seconds of this episode make all the rest of it worth sitting through, and it gives us a sense of foreboding that stays with us. Now we know why nobody comes back from the other side of the Nekrit Expanse!
Title : Unity Rating : 4
Writers : Kenneth Biller Year : 2373
Review : Firstly, Chakotay manages to land a shuttle safely, but still fails to get it back. I sensed that something was wrong on the planet fairly early, and that probably has something to do with Robert Beltran putting in a decent performance. The early appearance of the Cube was certainly dramatic, and got the message accross fairly well. After a while, we thought that everything was going to settle out and all very well in the end. At one point, I wondered if they could salvage the Cube and use it to get home (after all, it got to where it ended up in less than five years). Still, that went by the board, and the ending was certainly disquieting. That sense of foreboding seems to have been right. We knew the Borg were there. Now we've seen them, but what happened to them? This is where Voyager begins to mature.
Title : Coda Rating : 1
Writers : Jeri Taylor Year : 2373
Review : Let me get this straight, Janeway gets killed in a shuttle crash, strangled by a Vidiian, blown up, gassed and contracts the Phage. I guess it just wasn't her day, and I hope Neelix has plenty of coffee on hand. Of course, none of it really happened, and it was all caused by some sort of false devil/alien being. Still, once we worked out what was going on, we had Len Cariou's 'step into my parlour' performance, and a YATI where he appeared in a 2370s uniform rather than a 2350s one. Speaking of uniforms, you would have thought that the crew could dig out their full dress for their captain's sendoff, would you not? Janeway also did not try very hard to contact Kes after their first try. Why not do another walkthrough? Why not YELL AS LOUD AS YOU CAN during the whole of Tuvok and Kes' seance? Apart from things like that, it was a half-decent attempt to tell a story right up until the last scene - then they completely blew it! We suddenly had an 'everything's alright now' moment, after all that had happened beforehand. Janeway should have been deeply disturbed by it all, and perhaps concerned that maybe there really was a Hell after all. It didn't make sense.
Title : Darkling Rating : 2
Writers : Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky Year : 2373
Review : Another good try. While the premise might be a decent one, I like the idea that the Doctor can modify his own personality, the writing was a bit weak in some places. However, that did not stop Robert Picardo doing his best with it, and he managed to avoid going completely over the top (as some might) to give a decent performance. However, he did not get much support from Jennifer Lien, who sometimes seemed to be merely reading from the script. Still, it was watchable enough.
Title : Shades of Gray Rating : 0
Writers : Maurice Hurley Year : 2365
Review : A pathetic excuse for an episode (ironically it's TNG's 47th). Perhaps the short sections of new script are vaguely watchable, but the rest is a pointless clip show. Need I say more?
Title : Evolution Rating : 2
Writers : Michael Piller, Michael Wagner Year : 2366
Review : Far too much of Wesley in this for my taste, but it did show him doing something daft and having to own up about it. He seemed to have found a kindred spirit in Dr Stubbs, perhaps including the arrogance and dogmatism. Respected scientists often seem to be arrogant or dogmatic, and Ken Jenkins lived up to that fairly well. Still on casting, I'm not entirely sure about bringing Dr Crusher back. Maybe she was unpopular, but Pulaski was believable. The story played out fairly well, not a clue what was going on, then it became more and more clear. Picard's call for equal rights for small pieces of silicon was certainly curious, and would have made him look rather foolish if he had been wrong. Still, it worked out OK in the end, and they even got their experiment done. I have to admit that I was with Dr Stubbs, the most sensible thing to do would have been to blast the computer core with hard gammas. Of course, he was assuming that the nanites were acting in a similar way to a bacterial infection, which is what any scientist would expect them to do. I'm not sure where the idea that they might be intelligent came from, but I suppose they went down the right track eventually. Verdict, watchable episode.
Title : The Ensigns of Command Rating : 3
Writers : Melinda M. Snodgrass Year : 2366
Review : Decent episode. It's good to see something that looks genuinely alien for once, and the Sheliak was as near as we could get on a TV budget, so a good effort there. Data's light show on the planet certainly had a lot of dramatic impact, and his various scenes beforehand worked well. Picard's solution within the treaty was certainly typical of him, being able to win without firing a shot. They also offered a technobabble solution, then very neatly put it away again, and it's also good to see that NOT everything can be solved by remodulating the Heisingberg compensators (or whatever). Overall, a good effort.
Title : Favorite Son Rating : 0
Writers : Lisa Klink Year : 2373
Review : Considering all its implied sexism (against both sides), it astonishes me that this episode was written by a woman - yes, I do know how that statement reads. We had a very daft premise, and several gaping plot holes. While Janeway and Co were sceptical, they ignored the fact that someone would have had to fly 72,000 LY to implant an embryo with Kim's mother. Now, that is highly implausible, unless they have some sort of transwarp drive system. Whether you believe it or not, it's worth asking, just in case. Finally, once we work out what really happened, there is no convincing explanation as to how the DNA got into Kim's system, past all the standard bio-security measures. This just seems like a pathetic attempt to update the old story of the Sirens, via many TOS episodes such as "Mudd's Women". If this ever comes on again, I'll switch over.
Title : The Enemy Within Rating : 2
Writers : Gene Roddenberry Year : 2266
Review : The first transporter accident (from what would be a very temperamental piece of technology) splits Kirk into good and bad halves. Cue a lot of overacting from William Shatner as 'bad Kirk'. A bit of subtlety might have made this a far more chilling story. Still, stories like this got me hooked when I first started watching, so there's something to be said for simple and easy to follow. Some of the remastered effects shots did stand out a little, but I'm sure I'll hardly notice in a few weeks. Finally, there's still the question of where the shuttlecraft were...
Title : Who Watches The Watchers? Rating : 2
Writers : Hans Beimler, Richard Manning Year : 2366
Review : These 'duck-blind' studies strike me as a seriously bad idea if holographic technology is as unreliable as it seems to be. Still, the interesting thing was the varying attitudes to religion. Some people have complained about Picard's supposed intolerance towards religion here. I can see their point, one or two lines do slip into the more militant atheist territory (the suggestion that ANY religion will inevitably lead to 'crusades', 'holy war', etc). However, he tends to stick to reasonable atheism most of the time, and I suppose that his attitude was entirely consistent with "Justice". Gene Rodenberry was famously anti-religious, so I suppose that would explain either stance. The story itself had a decent flow to it, and Liko's somewhat zealous reaction certainly made it look as though Picard may have been right after all. The somewhat more reasonable Nuria (who went through two conversions in one day) was far more balanced, and her sudden understanding that 'The Picard' had no power over life and death after all was my great moment. Overall, I liked it, but it has a few flaws.
Title : Real Life Rating : 1
Writers : Harry Doc. Kloor Year : 2373
Review : The action aboard the Voyager was a half-decent story, but we really did not need the Doctor's soap opera for the rest. Maybe he could benefit from a bit of real life, but either his perfect family or B'elanna's chaotic one. (N.B. She is not a particularly good source on the conventional family, she didn't have much of a normal childhood. Why not ask Paris who did?) I'm actually rather glad that we don't see the holo-family again, it was entirely pointless and could have been done much better. I don't watch sci-fi to see a domestic soap opera, but the action aboard ship redeems the episode just enough to keep a star.
Title : Take Me Out to the Holosuite Rating : 0
Writers : Ronald D. Moore Year : 2375
Review : It's only a game for the Prophet's sake! Surely, this is one of the most pointless episodes ever. Maybe I don't get it because I'm not American and I don't get baseball, but if I floated something similar to the BBC about Doctor Who and cricket, I'd be laughed out of the building.
Title : Treachery, Faith, and the Great River Rating : 4
Writers : Philip Kim Year : 2375
Review : A good episode. It shows tension and friction in the Dominion, and perhaps redeems Weyoun a little. Weyoun 6 was still as slimy as ever, but you had the sense that he really began to want the very best for the Dominion, even if that meant betraying it. Odo's reaction to Weyoun's devotion was exactly what we expected, although he began to accept it a lot more at the end. As usual, there were a few flaws. The biggest fault was the runabout destroying a battlebug. Knocking out the warp drive would have been much more realistic, and just as effective. Nog's horse trading back on the station provided a few laughs, an effective relief from what would have been a very grim story. You can take the ensign out of the Ferengi, but you can't take the Ferengi out of the ensign. Overall, a very good episode.
Title : The Siege of AR-558 Rating : 5
Writers : Hans Beimler, Ira Steven Behr Year : 2375
Review : If we didn't know already, war is a terrible thing. Here we saw what it was like at the sharp end. The people here were fighting for themselves, for each other and for duty; the communications array seemed fairly unimportant as a reason. Some of the guest characters seemed curious. There was the dehumanised Reese against the decent Kellin. Kellin dies, Reese lives. I wonder how he'll adjust to life after the war. Some of the other characters, Nog especially, go through the wringer as well. Maybe this is where Nog grows up, and Aron Eisenberg puts in a convincing performance. Nicole de Boer seems to be settling into her role fairly well, although Ezri could hardly be more different from Jadzia if she tried. Incidentally, Sisko should not have put Quark, a civilian, in a situation like this, but I suppose he was necessary to provide a different perspective. I watched this from a comfortable armchair in a warm room, but an old schoolmate serves in Afghanistan. I hope he never has to face anything like this.
Title : Distant Origin Rating : 4
Writers : Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky Year : 2373
Review : This was a science fiction story about scientific conflict. Gegan's trial really made me think of Galileo's struggle to get the heliocentric solar system accepted (the Pope apologized in 1993) or Darwin's struggle to get evolution accepted (still ongoing in places). People like Minister Odala are very close to the types who refused to look through Galileo's telescope to see for themselves. From the late 1990s understanding of evolution, the writers got fairly close to accuracy. The hologram was actually a Gorganops, a synapsid mammal-like-reptile, not a 'crocomander' amphibian like the Eryops - which look rather like the salamanders in "Threshold". Both species were Permian, not Devonian. Current theories suggest that Dinosaurs were endothermic, but that was not widely accepted in the '90s, but they also suggest that Eryops was not related to Mammals OR Dinosaurs. Bad luck writers, but science always moves on. Still, the exothermic Voth looked absolutely right for a possible advanced Dinosaur as viewed through '90s eyes. It was also odd to see their view of mammals from the opposite side of the fence. All-in-all, I enjoyed this one.
Title : Displaced Rating : 1
Writers : Lisa Klink Year : 2373
Review : A reasonable attempt, but it might be a good idea not to have the ship captured two weeks in a row. Everyone could be certain that there was something fishy about the Nyrians straight away. They were certainly playing up the B'elanna/Tom relationship much of the way through. Chakotay also does not do a very good job of sabotage (for a former terrorist anyway). Even if he could not set auto-destruct, why not set a phaser on overload and beam it to the bridge? Why not shoot out a plasma conduit, or lock out the main computer? None of it was very convincing. The later parts of the episode, the holographic prison ship, were slightly more convincing. However, it might have been more convincing if the takeover had not been complete, and the Voyagers had fought back while still aboard ship. All-in-all, a bit of a mess.
Title : Worst Case Scenario Rating : 3
Writers : Kenneth Biller Year : 2373
Review : They managed to make a holodeck story that I actually enjoyed. It was almost convincing (although arch-nitpickers will spot that "Insurrection Alpha" is set in the first-season right away) and it does show you a few things about writing. Go with what you know, keep it plausible (within the conventions of the story of course) and make sure the pace runs fast and you will have a thriller. Having Tuvok as the author was actually a very good choice, and I liked the 'training scenario' idea. Finally, bringing Seska back from the dead was an interesting idea as well (notice that the first thing she did was get herself a cooler gun - she ditched her compression phaser rifle from the scenario and had a 'First Contact' one when she reappeared). Not a classic, but reasonably enjoyable on a basic level.
Title : Covenant Rating : 3
Writers : Rene Echevarria Year : 2375
Review : Dukat's back, but not quite up to some of his other episodes although Marc Alaimo is still very convincing. He and Nana Visitor always seem to balance each other very well, as do their characters. Not so sure about the plot, however, although I have heard similar ideas from Devil worshippers (God is really evil). There's not much point in trying to explain Dukat's actions, he's clearly gone half-mad, and the other half is still as evil as ever. Still, his actions at the end, the suicide cult and deciding to fake his own death, that was the same Dukat we've always known. Personally, I think that the Vedek should have tried to kill himself with Dukat's pill, thus proving Kira right when it doesn't work. Verdict, watchable enough. Incidentally, the cult can't have had many good engineers, they still haven't fixed Empok Nor's attitude control problems.
Title : Mudd's Women Rating : 0
Writers : Gene Roddenberry Year : 2266
Review : This story hasn't dated well, or perhaps it was no good to begin with. Harry Mudd comes accross as the most colossal a***hole imaginable, and the 'Venus drug' concept is frankly pathetic. Then there is the fact that the whole thing looks almost like slave trading. I've tried to find some good points in it, but I just can't. Incidentally, the Enterprise was still running on Lithium batteries.
Title : Scorpion, Part 1 Rating : 5
Writers : Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky Year : 2373
Review : We all knew this was coming; the Voyager reaches Borg space. Then we find out that there is something even more powerful out there. When I first saw this, that was a terrifying thought. Janeway seemed keen on trying something suicidal most of the way through, the 'North West Passage', taking on the whole Collective, allying herself with the Borg; and this time Chakotay was playing the voice of caution. Still, Janeway is in a position of being both powerless and powerful, because she had something that the Borg want and they could get by assimilation. Working in Picard's log entry was very neat (I'm not sure if it was a genuine line or not). Voyager has finally given us something up with the very best.
Title : Scorpion, Part 2 Rating : 5
Writers : Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky Year : 2374
Review : Great episode! Plenty of action, a lot of conflict between the characters when needed, and the Borg were genuinely frightening (unlike some other occasions - "Descent" anyone?). Spp 8472 was something very alien, and that strangeness (first major CGI lifeform) added a lot to the episode. The interesting thing was the reversal of fortune. At first, the Little V was practically helpless alongside the mighty Cube, but with the loss of the Cube, then the new weapons, the Voyager's power grew and grew. Of course, this was also Seven of Nine's début. That caught me completely by surprise, a Borg about to become a major character. Still, she served a very effective role here, presumably to give the Borg a face and a voice (although that goes against their 'character', it works). Incidentally, all those defensive enhancements might have been very useful in dealing with future enemies, Janeway should have kept them. They also make good trophies - 'We beat the Borg and stole this from them' is quite a message for a hostile species. I suppose re-shooting all the stock footage would have been a bit inconvenient. Verdict, as good as Voyager gets. Well worth six months' wait!
Title : The Defector Rating : 4
Writers : Ronald D. Moore Year : 2366
Review : A well-written and well-acted episode. Admiral Jarok was a very convincing character, and I could understand his odd dual motivations. They also gave us a half-decent new Romulan ship, although the notorious Big Bird of Prey (no pun intended) appeared at the end. Finally, didn't the Michael Williams character in Data's Shakespeare scene look very familiar? Perhaps you didn't recognize him under the wig.
Title : The Emperor's New Cloak Rating : 0
Writers : Hans Beimler, Ira Steven Behr Year : 2375
Review : DS9 continues to make a mess of the Mirror Universe. I found most of this unwatchable, although the scene with Quark and Rom carrying the invisible cloaking device was fairly amusing. However, they still don't go far enough with most of the mirror characters, although Mirror Ezri was better than usual (but not quite up to Intendant Kira). Nor have the writers got over their 'lesbian fetish'. Still, the Mirror Universe has been thoroughly ruined since "Crossover". Pointless.
Title : The Gift Rating : 3
Writers : Joe Menosky Year : 2374
Review : This was a good wind-down from "Scorpion". We see Seven of Nine beginning her own personal journey as she rediscovers her humanity, or at least that seems to be the metaphor they use, which would be in keeping with the general theme. Much has been made of the catsuit, but is it really much more revealing than Counsellor Troi's leotard, or Major Kira's uniform for that matter? It is also our farewell to Kes, who was never very convincing as a character. Still, it turned into a fairly big thing, and was a decent excuse for the first 'leap' towards home. Perhaps they should have given us a few more episodes running and hiding from the Borg, but it was sensible to clear their territory quickly. Finally, they actually gave us an excuse for removing the Borg technology, which was a lot better than simply ditching it when it had been very useful. Verdict, a decent episode.
Title : Field of Fire Rating : 3
Writers : Robert Hewitt Wolfe Year : 2375
Review : A decent episode. The gun was a good idea, although it looked a bit wrong, rather like one of those over-customised weapons rather than something you would want to carry onto a battlefield. However, you wouldn't need to, you could just stand on a holodeck and shoot at dummy targets, the transporter would do everything for you. I'm not sure about the resolution, the idea of a murdering Vulcan who 'hates emotion' goes against most of what we know about a people 'born to peace'. Maybe they were trying to show that war gets to everyone, but I think it was part of a trend towards making Vulcans hostile which started with "Take Me Out to the Holosuite". Joran also made for an interesting character, and a bit more believable than when we last saw him. Of course, he had been bottled up for a very long time, so you can understand the most extreme characteristics coming to the surface. Finally, the image of Nicole de Boer with that rifle will stay with me for some time. Such a juxtaposition.
Title : Day of Honor Rating : 2
Writers : Jeri Taylor Year : 2374
Review : This more or less beds in the general themes we seem to be getting here. Seven of Nine is learning to be Human, and the Tom/B'Elanna romance is finally forced to the surface. The Cataati seemed to have a bit of a victim mentality, not at all like the El Aurians, who went through a similar trauma. They still seem to resort to piracy though. Still, most of the story revolves around Torres and what turned out to be having a bad day, then a very bad day, then a very very bad day. She had to stare death in the face before she could tell Paris how she felt. Incidentally, someone seems to have dug up the space suits from First Contact. They must be some form of 'easy on' version, NASA's ones take two hours to put on. Verdict, not bad.
Title : The High Ground Rating : 3
Writers : Melinda M. Snodgrass Year : 2366
Review : This was the only TNG episode I had never seen before, because the BBC refused to screen it during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. By portraying the terrorists in a possibly sympathetic light, as well as Data's 'reunification' remark, I can see why it might be considered inflammatory. It is very effective, and possibly a warning to those fighting terrorism. If you are not careful, you could end up as bad as the terrorists. Flynn was certainly believable, and almost a sympathetic character, although I would not like to think what his country might become if he won. Still, in all his pontificating, he forgot that most wars tend to be lost by the aggressor, and the people who defended freedom had no choice but to fight. Gates McFadden did fairly well in showing Dr Crusher's changing sympathies, although you always knew where she thought she ought to stand. Overall, it was handled quite well.
Title : What Are Little Girls Made Of? Rating : 3
Writers : Robert Bloch Year : 2266
Review : A decent episode. I think this was where they started killing off Redshirts as well (the two beamed down here lasted about five minutes. The different androids in the episode were played in different ways; the wooden Brown, the alluring but lifeless Andrea, the menacing Ruk and the very lifelike Korby. Some features (like Ruk's ability to do voices) might have been recycled for Data in TNG. The 'centrifuge machine' for duplicating Kirk was bizarre, but I suppose they had to do that to make the changeover between shots easier. The second half of the process sounded exactly like an MRI machine (I've been in one), which was probably better, and gave Kirk the excuse to pass his message on to Spock, although it was a decidedly great leap to assume that his captain was an imposter on the basis of one derogatory remark. Korby's apparent mental collapse (cascade failure?) at the end was slightly overacted, but done fairly well. Finally, we had a very clear message not to trust technology when it tries to become like us. As for the polystyrene stalactite that Kirk tries to hit Ruk with, I'm saying nothing...
Title : Chimera Rating : 3
Writers : Rene Echevarria Year : 2375
Review : An odd comment on Odo's identity. It seemed to be an attempt to make him make sense of how different he really is, and the character of Laas was simply a vehicle to allow him to do that. Laas seemed to have some of the detached quality of the female Founder, but was obviously very bitter about his previous treatment. We also had the strange spectacle of Quark going to Odo to try to talk some sense into him - one wonders whether he would have wanted Odo to go or stay. Overall, it was done well enough and performed well enough, making for a decent episode.
Title : Nemesis Rating : 1
Writers : Kenneth Biller Year : 2374
Review : Not entirely believable. Firstly, Chakotay's written off yet another shuttle (although he was shot down, so maybe it's just bad luck). Secondly, I think we were supposed to believe that the events during Chakotay's recruitment really happened, or were on some giant holodeck, rather than implanted memories or something like that. That's a huge resource expenditure for simple recruitment. It had its good points, the Vori dialect was curious, and one has to wonder why other species do not have such distinctive turns of phrase. There was also the apparent mirror-image between the two sides in the conflict. However, I found the credibility issues at the end ruined the whole story.
Title : Deja Q Rating : 2
Writers : Richard Danus Year : 2366
Review : So we get to see Q without his powers. This turns him from an annoying superbrat into an annoying whinger. Frankly, I enjoyed the moment when Guinan stabbed him with a fork, he asked for it. Data's moment at the end was good as well. Still, not brilliant.
Title : Revulsion Rating : 2
Writers : Lisa Klink Year : 2374
Review : Reasonable episode, but nothing special. Dejaren was a possibly believable psychopath (of sorts, anyway). There seemed to be some references to "Psycho" and perhaps "Terminator" in his actions, but overall he just seemed plain mad. Maybe they were wrong to telegraph his actions rather that come up with a big realisation somewhere in mid-episode. Back aboard ship, I see that they're transferring the 'unlucky in love' thing to Harry Kim. It used to be associated with chief engineers (Scotty and Geordi). However, he did panic when Seven suddenly came onto him. Poor, daft clot. As for Seven herself, she seems to alternate between detached and arrogant. In fact, she reminds me of an android much of the time, but not quite. Finally, it's about time Tuvok got promoted. Perhaps that extra half-pip (from Series 1) won't look so out of place now.
Title : Badda-Bing Badda-Bang Rating : 1
Writers : Hans Beimler, Ira Steven Behr Year : 2375
Review : "Sisko's Nine"; a singularly daft take on "Ocean's Eleven". This all seemed a bit pointless. Still, there was finally a holosuite story which did not involve a possibly lethal malfunction. This 'jack-in-the-box' was pre-programmed in, and presumably the safties were still on. The one thing I liked was Sisko and Cassidy's argument about why he wasn't joining in. Both had valid points, and it was worth reminding the audience just how bad things really were in the past. Anyway, now it's over, we can get back to beating the Dominion.
Title : A Matter of Perspective Rating : 2
Writers : Ed Zuckerman Year : 2366
Review : Half-decent detective story. For me, the interesting thing was seeing different people's views of the same events. The story itself made some sense, and Picard would have made a very good defence barrister judging by the fact that he made a good case from some rather thin evidence. The life-drawing study was a very odd thing to happen on a starship. I presume the model was a hologram, stripping off in front of your captain might go beyond the call of duty. Finally, I wonder if Picard reads English detective stories as well as American ones, 'Chief Inspector' came fairly naturally to him.
Title : Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges Rating : 4
Writers : Ronald D. Moore Year : 2375
Review : No matter what you think of Section 31, this was a good story. The plot kept me guessing, and Koval's database made a very good red herring. I was convinced that it was the real objective, and Bashir was being set up to take the blame if they were caught. Spying is usually about information, not people. It's a bit hard to believe that Ross was involved in this, he never seemed like someone who would get involved with people like Sloan. Still, perhaps he was being manipulated as well. The idea of Koval being working for Section 31 may seem far-fetched, until you remember that the KGB nearly ran MI5 once. The Bellerophon was obviously a re-use of sets and stock footage, and I'm sure I saw 'OYAG' on the hull. Overall, a decent episode.
Title : The Raven Rating : 3
Writers : Bryan Fuller, Harry Doc. Kloor Year : 2374
Review : The writers are evidently making great use of Seven of Nine. Jeri Ryan seems to be doing fairly well in the role, which of course grew and grew until Seven got more screen time than Janeway. The Bomar seemed more paranoid than the Romulans, and I suppose that might be believable, especially if one shuttle can deal with ten of their ships. I'd be paranoid if my space was that vulnerable. Overall, it was a watchable episode.
Title : Scientific Method Rating : 3
Writers : Harry Doc. Kloor, Sherry Klein Year : 2374
Review : A decent episode, but not very original. We had the Voth walking around the ship with personal cloaking devices not very long ago, so that's not new. Nor is the idea of someone performing experiments on the crew, remember "Where Silence Has Lease" among others. Here, it was revealed slowly, which held my interest, and the Srivani's defence of their actions was interesting. It's essentially the same arguments used in support of vivisection (which I don't agree with). If you value life in any way, then causing suffering to one individual cannot be justified, even if it helps another. Janeway's solution, do something completely mad and nearly get everybody killed, might be typical behaviour even without the experiments. No wonder Tuvok thinks she's reckless, who wouldn't? There seems to be a distinct personality clash between Seven of Nine and Torres, although how much that had to do with the experiments is unclear, still I think they picked it up. The binary pulsar was a very good addition. It's about time we saw a real stellar phenomenon rather than a subspace anomaly, and it appears that binary pulsars are very important in physics. Will we see active star formation next?
Title : Miri Rating : 0
Writers : Robert Bloch Year : 2266
Review : I was six when I first saw this, and found the children utterly unrecognisable. That ruined the episode for life. Looking back, I think that the writer should have read "Lord of the Flies" very carefully before starting off. The race against time with the disease at least created tension, which is the one reason why I didn't switch off. At least Miri was a bit more believable than the others, which I suppose says quite a lot for Kim Darby. Still, it's not hard to look like a good actor when surrounded by so many terrible performances.
Title : Random Thoughts Rating : 2
Writers : Kenneth Biller Year : 2374
Review : Perhaps it's because "Year of Hell" was such a hard act to follow, but I wasn't so keen on this. It was a bit surreal in places. The idea of 'thoughtcrime' is very Orwellian, but the fact that these people are telepaths means that it makes some sense, although they really should do something to protect themselves from the thoughts of others. The culture clash is curious as well, and Tuvok seemed to find himself bridging the gap. The really surreal bit was, of course, our view into the subculture of violent thinkers at the end. I also found that some of Tuvok's memories seemed to be from "Generations" and "First Contact" (including the new uniforms, which he had never seen). Still, that's nothing to the Mari, who seem to have borrowed props and costumes from all over the galaxy (there are lists out there). Verdict, watchable, but not one of the best.
Title : Concerning Flight Rating : 1
Writers : Jimmy Diggs, Joe Menosky Year : 2374
Review : I suppose it was a good attempt. It's not entirely believable that the loss of one major component can cripple the ship like this (the laptop I'm typing this on has a dual-core processor and a backup hard disc) but I suppose it was a plot device. Still, the shuttlecraft ought to be unaffected, and using one to recover the core might be a bit more effective. It gets a bit silly in places (the escape via 15th Century hang glider for instance - I hope they donated the prop to a museum somewhere). In general, they could not really decide between making it dramatic or vaguely funny. They did not really succeed with either, but it sort-of worked.
Title : Dagger of the Mind Rating : 2
Writers : S. Bar-David Year : 2266
Review : This was a half-decent story, but suffers from a major plot hole. Why was Dr Adams messing with people's heads? Was he actually trying to help people in some twisted way, or was he after power, or simply getting a kick out of it? Somehow, not knowing that rather ruined the effect. We saw the first mind meld here, and it certainly looked very alien when first seen, so exactly the effect they wanted. The upgraded planet with its ring system was nicely done, and much better than simply re-using the Delta Vega backdrop (which seems lazy even by 1969 standards). Overall, flawed, but not too bad.
Title : The Corbomite Maneuver Rating : 3
Writers : Jerry Sohl Year : 2266
Review : Certainly dramatic in its effect. We already know that the Enterprise is the first ship out this far, and we are in uncharted territory. Then we see something strange that turns out to be threatening. Then of course there is the big, dramatic, powerful ship that fills the screen and threatens our heroes with destruction. It was probably something like this that got me hooked as a child. Bailey was seemingly written in to try to show how much tension there was while making the regulars look cool under pressure, and I suppose he did his job well enough. The curious thing was the end. Kirk's bluff seemed to be effective, but when we find out that Balok was not very threatening anyway, we wonder if he really would have destroyed the ship at all. Probably not, it was all a contrived test/defence mechanism to scare the living daylights out of people. Still, one wonders.
Title : Vis-a-Vis Rating : 1
Writers : Robert Doherty Year : 2374
Review : A reasonable episode, but I think they spent a bit too long getting going and then crammed the most interesting bits into the second half. There was a huge wasted opportunity as well. If I understand things correctly, the alien (in Paris' body) swaps bodies with the captain. I *really* wanted to see Robert Duncan McNeill playing Captain Janeway, just let your imagination play with that one for a while. Almost "Turnabout Intruder" in reverse. If they had moved things further forwards, so that the last swap occurred at half-distance, then the second half might have been a classic. As it is, it didn't quite work.
Title : Emissary Rating : 2
Writers : Michael Piller, Rick Berman Year : 2369
Review : 'Space, the final frontier. This is the story of Deep Space Nine, its continuing mission to . . . just sit there.' Sorry, but I'm not convinced. I understand it now as something different, a way of letting the story come to us rather than go out chasing it all the time. Still, at the time it seemed a bit dubious. There were some good points, I liked the fact that fewer than half the characters were Human for a start, since it provides more scope for differences. Then there was Picard's 'handover' moment, and some very good acting by Patrick Stewart where you just knew what Picard was really thinking in that meeting with Sisko. I wasn't so sure what to make of Avery Brooks, but time would tell there. Sisko seemed to be a troubled man, who we now know had found his calling. Anyway, the story went on and we saw the wormhole and met the prophets and it all seemed strange and different, nothing like what we were used to at all. Overall, I watched it because it was Star Trek, but Gene Rodenberry would scarcely have known it.
Title : The Omega Directive Rating : 3
Writers : Jimmy Diggs, Steven J. Kay Year : 2374
Review : A most curious episode. I like the idea of Omega, a virtually limitless energy source as long as it works, and perhaps as a metaphor for nuclear power in the real world. It's a pity we never saw them again, but that was one of the problems with the transitory nature of Voyager. We never saw the Krenim again either, also unfortunately. However, it seems a bit odd that the Borg can become so fanatical about it, although it does partly make sense, and I think I can understand Seven's reaction. What I find harder to understand is the Omega Directive itself. If Janeway had died (back in "Coda" or something) then who would have been able to deal with the situation? Besides, how can something this dogmatically anti-science be part of a scientific understanding. Maybe it goes back to the old 'needs of the many' question, of the risks outweighing the benefits. Personally, I think Seven was right about trying to get the thing stable. Couldn't they have just kept one molecule to experiment on? This new source of power might have got them home within a year. Verdict, not bad at all.
Title : Unforgettable Rating : 1
Writers : Greg Elliot, Michael Perricone Year : 2374
Review : So, what happened? This seems to have been a bit of a non-story that doesn't really contribute anything, a sort of 'filler' episode to pad out the series. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with this type of story, it was done well and probably well-acted, but just not really interesting. The one curious question is what Chakotay would make of his writing the next morning. He might suddenly decide he'd become a Mills and Boon novelist.
Title : The Menagerie, Part 1 Rating : 4
Writers : Gene Roddenberry Year : 2267
Review : I'll try to concentrate on the 'framing' story rather than "The Cage", itself a brilliant episode. It probably wasn't necessary to have Spock charged with a capital crime, the threat of being cashiered and sent back to Vulcan in disgrace would be bad enough. Julie Parrish's character did not seem to have any role other than to point out the way once and then almost swoon in the presence of Kirk, but there's not much point complaining about that. Rodenberry really pulled one out with this script. It showed Spock in almost complete control of a court martial where he stood accused, without looking forced at all. Then there was his decision to turn back and rescue Kirk and the commodore when he knew that it was their duty to arrest him. The remastered sections nicely polished up the images of the Starbase (look for flying shuttles in the background), and corrected a big error in day and night timings. More to come.
Title : The Menagerie, Part 2 Rating : 4
Writers : Gene Roddenberry Year : 2267
Review : So Commodore Mendez, who has been causing acrimony all along, is in fact the Talosians playing devil's advocate. I didn't see that coming! My congratulations to Gene Rodenberry for giving us an episode where everything fell into place just right, and for some clever recycling. If it wasn't for the unnecessary death threat hanging over Spock, I would have given this five stars. As it is, it gets four. As for "The Cage", I haven't re-watched that yet and haven't seen the original ending, so that will stay unwritten for now.
Title : Living Witness Rating : 5
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2374
Review : Brannon Braga seems to have redeemed himself a little as a writer with this. It's an excellent take on 'revisionist' history. At first, I thought we must be in the Mirror Universe (forgetting that DS9 had ruined it) and it only dawned on me later that it was all a series of mistakes. It must have been great fun for the cast to get to play the baddies for once. Kate Mulgrew certainly convinced, and Robert Picardo seemed to have his Emergency Medical Android enjoy every minute of torturing a helpless prisoner - very convincing. He was also very convincing as his regular character trying to save the crew's reputations. The EMH backup module seems a bit odd considering "Message in a Bottle", but perhaps the crew made it to prevent problems like that from happening again (no sooner had they finished it, than the Kyrians nicked it). The 'Warship Voyager' was certainly impressive (although she managed to look hideous from the front as well as the back) and perhaps the result of a 'one that got away' story. Every time someone tells the story, the ship grows another weapon, stronger shields or new crew members.
Title : Demon Rating : 2
Writers : Andre Bormanis Year : 2374
Review : This would have been a lot better if 'Deuterium' had been replaced with 'Dilithium' throughout, which would have tied in with the previous episode where the Vaskan trade agreement (involving Dilithium) went wrong. Even better would have been to add a few references to energy shortages for several previous episodes, and this one would not stick out like a sore thumb. Nevertheless, it's good to see a planet that's not simply yet another Class M, and this resembled a cross between the worst elements of Venus and Io. Not sure about the 'Silver Blood', but it might make sense as just about the only kind of life that can exist in such a hostile environment. As a result, this almost worked, but the daft mistake about the Deuterium shortage cost it a lot of credibility. On the story itself, the usual suspects (Tom and Harry) took out a shuttle, almost crashed it, got themselves into a spot of bother and had to be rescued. All fairly standard stuff, but done fairly well. However, they don't answer what the people left behind will eat and drink, or even whether the ship picks up any more fuel. This one needed to be thought through better before they made it.
Title : Night Rating : 3
Writers : Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky Year : 2375
Review : Something very different, at least at first. The Void does partly make sense, I assume that they were either crossing between two arms of the galaxy or a gigantic dark nebula. Still, its effects on the crew make a lot of sense. Janeway hasn't had all that much time for reflection, and her crisis of confidence was a long time coming, while everyone else started snapping at each other. Believable and understandable. The idea of poisoning a whole area of space was a bit far-fetched, but they made a good point about the selfishness and short-termism in some industries (no names named). There's always a victim with pollution, and the 'Night Aliens' provided that, but it cost some of the effect of the Void. They must have a homeworld somewhere, so the Void is not empty after all. Not sure they handled the ending well, why not simply tell the aliens how to collapse the vortex, then form a temporary alliance - very Trek-like and the baddies still get their just deserts. Finally, I liked seeing the ship with the lights off. Starlight is very dim, and that is what all ships should look like in open space, void or no void.
Title : Drone Rating : 4
Writers : Bryan Fuller, Harry Doc. Kloor Year : 2375
Review : An episode that really makes Seven of Nine look Human. She goes through a lot, that Borg façade begins to crack, and she genuinely melts. J. Paul Boehmer was convincing as One, which was not bad for a guest character. Overall, it was very much a reappraisal of Seven's rehabilitation, but mostly from her point of view. I also thought that we had seen the last of the mobile emitter, but it seems they are going to get it back again by the next episode. We also had a lot early on about the 'Class 2 Shuttle', which must be a purpose designation (say 'personnel shuttle'). I wish they had been a bit more consistent. Still, it was a good story and performed well, so niggles like this are best ignored. Good episode.
Title : The Conscience of the King Rating : 2
Writers : Robert Bloch Year : 2266
Review : I used to think this was a bit of a dull episode. Now, it seems there are more nuances to the script than I thought. A bit of a Shakespeare overload at several points, but I suppose that was only to be expected within the theme. Still, there were some very good moments, the overloading phaser for a start. However, if I were a fugitive who had murdered 4,000 people, I think I would go into something a bit less public than acting (become a librarian perhaps). There's also the fact that Riley reappears as a communications officer (wearing gold, not red) when he used to be a navigator. The remastered effects were obvious in some places, but quite subtle in others (moving stars in the observation deck scene for instance). They didn't add a shot of the phaser appearing in space outside the ship, I would have been tempted to do so, and it is probably good that they are not going too far. Overall, quite nuanced in places and a lot more effective than I first thought.
Title : Data's Day Rating : 3
Writers : Harold Apter Year : 2367
Review : I often like these insights into the life of a ship or a character, and this was a good one. Since Data is the outside observer of the crew, he was a good choice to follow. The story tied together several minor story arcs, and the story of the Romulan spy worked fairly well too. Gates McFadden did all her own dancing, and Brent Spiner did about 90% of his, so good marks to them both. Apparently, the Warbird's name is a Latin pun, although I'm not sure if that was intentional. So, this is Data, on duty 24hrs a day if he has to be, with an interesting and varied life.
Title : Extreme Risk Rating : 2
Writers : Kenneth Biller Year : 2375
Review : Not a bad effort, but mistimed. I happen to know a lot about clinical depression, and it can have some effects like this. However, it is a long-term condition, and this seemed to come out of nowhere. The timeline of this does not make sense either, depressive episodes tend to happen either just after a traumatic event or around its anniversary. Perhaps this should have been placed a few episodes after "Message in a Bottle". Still, Roxann Dawson gave a fairly convincing performance, so fair enough. I like the Delta Flyer, an acknowledgement of all the shuttles lost and replaced over the last five years and a reference to Seven's idea of building a better support craft. However, she must be a bit of a TARDIS; she is 15m on the outside and 21m on the inside. I'm not quite sure if she fits through the shuttlebay door, but that doesn't stop her being a decent little spaceship. As for the rest of the story, fairly solid stuff, but nothing special.
Title : The Voyage Home Rating : 3
Writers : Harve Bennet, Leonard Nimoy Year : 2285
Review : While it may not be the best Trek film, it's certainly one of the most enjoyable. It also had the ability to reach out beyond the ordinary fan-base, with it's strong conservation message and 'present time' (now 'past-time' of course) setting. Many elements seemed to work well. The cast worked perfectly together, and had now known their characters for almost twenty years, so that is not surprising. Leonard Nimoy is obviously a good director, and produced a result which not only fitted together well, but where everyone was able to contribute. There were some great moments, probably too many to list, and all the main cast got at least one good line. As a zoologist, I think they did a fairly good job at making the whales look and behave realistically. They also remembered that they migrate, and have to be released in the right place at the right time of year. Finally, this was one of the least violent films, with no fistfights, one weapon fired at a door and two slightly comedic chases. However, it had its flaws. The alien menace going for Earth (a gigantic chocolate Swiss roll) might have been a bit over-used by now. I also can't understand why they shrank the Bird of Prey, then made it bigger again for the scene menacing the whaling ship. Then there was the new bridge. Why not be a bit more consistent? Of course, the whales weren't quite perfect either. Just releasing them might not work, they have to learn to bubble-net their food and must know the migration routes. However, I'm not quite sure if they went too far trying to get through to non-Trek fans. Maybe they sacrificed a little too much to do it. Also, because of its setting in 1986, it does not date very well. Still, let's not ruin it. Overall, it was a very enjoyable film. I wanted to give it a 4, but it just doesn't quite make it. Pity I can't give it a 3.5
Title : Timeless Rating : 4
Writers : Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky, Rick Berman Year : 2375
Review : Voyager's 100th episode, and they really pulled one out of the bag. OK, time travel may not make much sense, but it doesn't need to here, it just has to work. We knew that they had not finished with the quantum slipstream drive from "Hope and Fear", and it's used very well here, putting the Old Cuttlefish nearly a third of the way home. The crash was pretty spectacular (although I'd have thought it survivable, but perhaps the inertial dampers weren't working). The sections in the future lean very heavily on Garrett Wang, and he puts in a fairly decent performance, no longer as 'young Ensign Kim', but as a man devastated by a past mistake which he ultimately puts right. Geordi LaForge's cameo was a nice touch as well, perhaps he'll 'really' gets command of a Galaxy-class one day, although it's a bit odd that he was not on the bridge. Still, that was unavoidable, because they had dismantled the Enterprise bridge set. Overall, a decent episode.
Title : Balance of Terror Rating : 5
Writers : Paul Schneider Year : 2266
Review : This was great! I am a big fan of submarine films, and a space version of "The Enemy Below" was definitely worth seeing. I'm not sure if the cloaking device (which was not named as such for two years) was a new concept in its technological form, but an enemy that can become invisible at will is clearly not. Still, it was great to see how Kirk turned the device to his advantage, detecting the Romulan weaknesses and using them. Making the Romulans look exactly like Vulcans was a curious decision, and opened up all sorts of possibilities. Stiles was a strange character to put in, although his attitude to Spock makes some sense given his first view of the Romulans, but I suspect he was put in to make the regulars look like better people. The remastered version was certainly faithful to the original, and the few new shots fitted in perfectly. Perhaps the only real fault is that it is too close to "The Enemy Below", but I'll let them off that. A great hour of television.
Title : Infinite Regress Rating : 3
Writers : Jimmy Diggs, Robert Doherty Year : 2375
Review : It looks as though Jeri Ryan really can act. She was convincing as every character she played. It's also worth remembering that when she was playing the little girl, Seven could have turned dangerous at any moment, while she was with Naomi Wildman. I only realized that later on. Speaking of little Naomi, the writers should be careful not to over-use her, I think we all know why, but she performed a role here that an adult character could not. The Borg server (surely that's what it was) served as a reasonable concept, and I like Species 6339's attempt to hurt the Borg through a virus, almost what Picard should have done via Hugh in "I, Borg". It's a bit odd how many victims from Wolf 359 appeared out of all the trillions the Borg must have assimilated, but I'll let them have that for dramatic licence. The Doctor seems to have taken against mind melds recently, which is a bit odd. Anyway, full marks to Jeri Ryan and not bad to the writers for a good, solid episode. By the way, Spp 6339 should have got a name, even if it began with 'T'.
Title : Nothing Human Rating : 1
Writers : Jeri Taylor Year : 2375
Review : Firstly, the title was a bit odd considering that there's nothing particularly 'Human' about several of the main players here (apart from Torres, who is half-Human). Still, it's a good enough episode, but I think the message got a bit scrambled somewhere. There are quite a few problems, such as the fact that Ensign Kim could not duplicate the Doctor, but could pull the Moset hologram out of the hat in minutes. Mind you, the writers pulled Tabor out of the hat as well, rather than bringing back Gerron or someone else we had seen before. The crustacean that attacked Torres was done well enough, but still looked a bit unconvincing. It tackled the debate fairly well, but I think the Doctor ended up by doing the right thing, then the wrong thing. Seven of Nine seemed to see it backwards (remembering how often we have seen the Voyagers using Borg technology). Still, if we went down Tabor's route, all those deaths would have been for nothing. Research in Nazi concentration camps may have killed hundreds, but it helped develop the survival suits that have prevented just as many deaths in icy waters (something to think about next time you put one on). Carry it to extremes, and you would have to pull up the Autobahns as well. Delete the Moset hologram if you like, but hold onto the research data, that way the victims will not have died for nothing. Still, whatever the message, Robert Picardo held the show together very well, and David Clennon was very convincing as Crell Moset, who really seemed to think he had done the right thing. Not sure how to rate this, but I think I'll be harsh and remove a star for the mixed messages.
Title : Bliss Rating : 1
Writers : Bill Prady Year : 2375
Review : This isn't exactly new (it reminded me very much of a Space 1999 story) nor is the idea of one or two crew members being impervious. Still, it's done fairly well, and the solution makes sense. Quatai was fairly believable, but not especially original. If he ever wins, he's going to need one heck of a wall to hang the trophy on. I think we saw a little too much of Naomi Wildman, without any explanation of why she was not affected. Seven I can understand because of her Borg implants, but little Naomi just because she did not really want to go home, that's a bit unbelievable. There's also the question of what the creature lived on when it could not get starships. Spacefaring organisms? OK, it was well-produced, but not very original and a few plot holes.
Title : Shore Leave Rating : 1
Writers : Theodore Sturgeon Year : 2267
Review : TOS produced a few episodes that were too silly for words. Sometimes they got away with it, sometimes they didn't. This, I'm afraid, was the latter. I enjoyed some parts of it when I was a lot younger, but it's simply way too far over the top my current tastes. Apart from that, you get the sense that everyone on the planet, especially Kirk, had lost their heads. Maybe the planet was pumping out some kind of dopamine enhancer, to help people enjoy themselves, which might explain why they all seemed easily distracted, irresponsible and excitable. Otherwise, they were just a bunch of kids out on a day in the country. Being pursued by television aerials did not help, and that looks especially silly from the modern perspective. An accident of scheduling put this the week after Ensign Martine saw her fiancé die, whereas months actually passed in stardate time, but it's still an odd way to recover from a loss like that. I also have to wonder about Yeoman Barrows, who seems to be there simply so that Kirk and McCoy can rescue her (and needs some unarmed combat training). Finally, there's the Vought Corsair that changes to a Mitsubishi Zero - the result of someone cobbling together any old bit of stock footage that they could find. Couldn't they have at least made sure it was the same type of aeroplane? Maybe it was entertaining, but that was about all I can give it.
Title : The Galileo Seven Rating : 4
Writers : Oliver Crawford Year : 2267
Review : I like the shuttlecraft concept. It's basically just a flying box with a few seats inside (which could do with being bolted down and having belts added) meaning that there is nothing unnecessary in there at all. There was also this bizarre mix of futuristic and dated; gauges with dials, measurement in angstroms and lb/psi vs energy from phasers in a craft with warp engines. A bit like the contrast between the wonderful new effects shots of the shuttle and the polystyrene rocks on the surface! Some minor characters seemed to be there for no reason; Commissioner Ferris was a pain in the backside most of the time, while Latimer and Gaetano were just Redshirts wearing the wrong colour, and Yeoman Mears served mainly as ballast. It's also a bit odd that Scotty was with the shuttlecraft, why do they need an engineer on an astronomical survey? Still, whatever the reasoning, the whole thing made a good episode in the end. They created several effective character conflicts, and it all played out very well. The ape creatures were a credible threat, and it helped that we did not see too much of them most of the time, imagination is a great suspense-builder. Leonard Nimoy, of course, put in by far the best performance as Spock holding things together to save his crew. Although they stand out a bit, the new effects are excellent. As usual, there was a nice moment at the end. We can excuse the faults this time, it worked well.
Title : Course: Oblivion Rating : 3
Writers : Bryan Fuller Year : 2375
Review : An interesting idea, which works up to a point. I did wonder slightly what the people on the Demon Planet would do, let alone eat or drink, after the Voyager had flown off. Once I had worked out what was going on, I began to wonder if any episodes between "Demon" and "Thirty Days" were set on the wrong ship. Unlikely, but possible. Of course, there'll be no references to this in the future (say by the 'real' crew arriving at a planet where the people recognize them). Here, the sense that something was wrong grew on you steadily throughout the first quarter of the episode, and then the ship's deterioration really set in. We've seen a beaten-up Voyager before, but not falling apart at the molecular level. Duplicate or not, Janeway was still Janeway, still determined to press on despite condemning her crew to a very unpleasant death if she got it wrong, then gambling all their lives in a race back to the Demon Planet. This time, she lost, but managed to die in her command chair. Maybe it's unfortunate that they didn't make it, but it provides closure to the events of "Demon". Overall, somehow the Voyager cast always seem at their most convincing when the ship is coming apart around them (which is probably why the writers smashed her up so often). Finally, we have the ultimate Reset Button, none of it happened to the 'real' Voyagers anyway. Verdict, watchable enough. Finally, Paris called Janeway 'sir' on the 'real' bridge at the end, perhaps the nature of the moment caused her to let him off that one.
Title : The Fight Rating : 0
Writers : Michael Taylor Year : 2375
Review : A complete load of old cobblers! Much of it looks like a seriously bad rip-off of "Night Terrors", which was bad enough to start with. Secondly, since when was Chakotay interested in boxing? It doesn't quite fit the character somehow. In short; a daft plot, bad acting and rips off a TNG episode. If I didn't have to review it, I wouldn't have watched it.
Title : Juggernaut Rating : 3
Writers : Bryan Fuller Year : 2375
Review : A classic 'haunted house' story with an ecological theme. It also shows a good deal of character development for B'elanna Torres, who seems to be slipping back into her old ways early on (probably while recovering from her depression) but trying to change for the better. Roxann Dawson put in a convincing performance just when one was needed. As for the Malon, they seemed less arrogant and self-interested here, but still defended their way of life. You got the sense that the revelation of what that life could do to some of the crew may have hit home somewhere. Still, this leaves a few unanswered questions. Will the Malon authorities rethink Janeway's reprocessing scheme? Will they ever change their ways? We never see them again, so we will never know. However, we can add a few more. Does Starfleet not issue anti-radiation suits? Why didn't someone adapt a few normal spacesuits? Does Malon territory really stretch to over 30,000 LY (taking the "Timeless" and "Dark Frontier" leaps into account)? Maybe this should have been broadcast a few episodes earlier. Still, the storyline holds up very well, and we should forgive these. A decent episode.
Title : Someone to Watch Over Me Rating : 4
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2375
Review : The poor old Doctor. This was certainly a good episode for character development. A hologram who spent the first three years carving out his own personality guiding a Borg through the same thing. The dating plot made an excellent vehicle for that, with echoes of "In Theory" and perhaps "Pygmalion". 'You Are My Sunshine' was a highlight, and I think that Robert Picardo and Jeri Ryan did their own singing. If so, then she does indeed have a wonderful voice. We also got to see Seven's deadpan wit on one or two occasions. The B-plot, with the puritanical ambassador indulging himself, reminded me of a P.G. Wodehouse story (not a good one). It was really the only blemish on what was otherwise a well-written episode. Finally, why did Paris sabotage the Doctor's date with Seven? Maybe he thought he was not playing by the rules of the wager.
Title : Relativity Rating : 4
Writers : Nick Sagan Year : 2375
Review : Very clever and very confusing. It took quite a lot to keep track of all the timelines. The way Seven of Nine sorted it out, rather messily, and then Janeway fixed the timeline completely, was curious as well. It's also puzzling how Braxton changed from his appearance in "Future's End", really meaning 'why didn't they hire the same actor?'. Still, Bruce McGill was convincing in the role. We also had yet another 'ship death', more bizarre than spectacular this time with the ripple effects around the explosion. In terms of story quality, we seem to be alternating between good and bad. No series ever maintained total consistency, but it's odd how it happened here. Still, certainly a good and watchable episode.
Title : The Squire of Gothos Rating : 2
Writers : Paul Schneider Year : 2267
Review : The playful, all-powerful being has been done to death now, but it must have seemed a lot fresher back in the day. Gene Rodenberry must have been thinking of Trelane when he came up with Q, so the two are linked, at least in thought. William Campbell's version was certainly effective on first viewing, and a bit disturbing. Perhaps it's rubbed off with time, but he seems to have lost it a little. We had another 'Rand stand-in' in Yeoman Ross, who once again ended up as a passive character, but contributed a little. The date this is set was a bit confusing, but I don't think they pinned down any date at all until well after this was made (compare with "Space Seed" for instance). Certainly a decent episode, but don't watch it too much.
Title : Arena Rating : 5
Writers : Frederic Brown Year : 2267
Review : A true classic, often copied, but never equalled. The best moment of the lot has to be where Kirk refuses to kill the Gorn. No matter what else happens, that's the best moment, because it sums up exactly who Kirk is. He's a good guy, who doesn't kill without a good reason. What's more, at the time neither of them have technology to hide behind, which they did earlier on (and Kirk won by ingenuity). The Metrons produced a great set-up, leaving most of the main cast at the same level as the audience. It would be repeated several times, but was new here. So, we had a great action episode, and a serious point to think on, not to mention a number of unanswered questions. Would the Enterprise have destroyed the Gorn ship without intervention? Would it have escalated? Who knows? What a wonderful episode.
Title : Warhead Rating : 3
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2375
Review : Not a bad attempt. We've had the 'talking bomb' story before with "Dreadnought", but this was not quite the same. Instead of the weapon staying as the antagonist, it moves to the side of right and sacrifices itself to kill off the other weapons. Slightly debatable morals (the 'species' went 'extinct' if you like) but on balance there probably was not much point in trying to redeem thirty-odd bombs all of which would have blown up anyway. Robert Picardo came up with another version of the 'Dark Doctor' act, and was convincing as ever, but I have to wonder why they did not simply give the bomb a voice (which he could provide). Maybe to keep the Doctor out of the way, but who knows. I presume the bomb used the famous 'super antimatter', otherwise the explosive component (which produced a crater as big as the impact event that killed the dinosaurs) would need to be much, much, MUCH bigger. Still, that's a side issue. It's a bit odd how some of the junior officers were acting around Ensign Kim - who is the same rank as they are. If he had actually been promoted, it would make far more sense. Anyway, he did fairly well, and I suppose the same goes for Garratt Wang, who has been 'doing fairly well' for five and a half years now. Not sure what that is as a comment.
Title : Equinox, Part 1 Rating : 4
Writers : Brannon Braga, Joe Menosky, Rick Berman Year : 2375
Review : This worked very well. I spent much of the episode looking at the smashed-up Equinox and thinking 'that's what the Little V ought to look like after all this time'. Still, the sensible thing would be to take the Equinox to pieces and build the best bits into the Voyager, sell or abandon the rest. I would also advise the writers to read up on the principals of seniority - if Janeway had held her captaincy for longer than Ransom, she could pull rank on him (the precedents are endless). Still, there were plenty of excellent moments, the sight of these strange creatures popping out of subspace and attacking everything in sight certainly made an impression. I couldn't help feeling some sympathy with Ransom. After all, it's a case of desperate times and desperate measures. The appearance of the Equinox EMH was another surprise (I'm not sure if he was supposed to exist) and we can see just how much character development went into our EMH. In the few minutes of the new hologram's début, he turned out to be a very different character. The creature attacking Janeway at the end was certainly startling. Were they killing her off? A very good episode
Title : Tomorrow is Yesterday Rating : 4
Writers : D.C. Fontana Year : 2267
Review : Our first serious time travel story. While the concept itself doesn't make much sense, the story was pretty good. Captain Christopher was a decent character, trying to do his duty and report back, although I can't say what his commanding officer would have made of his story. The look on the Air Force guard's face when he beamed up will stay with me for some time as well. Still, it seems that Kirk and Spock were a bit careless when they beamed down to recover the films. They might at least have disguised themselves in USAF uniforms (having done similar things many other times in various episodes). Anyway, it was thought out well and written convincingly, which is one of D.C. Fontana's hallmarks. The new visuals were really impressive here, especially the scenes in the atmosphere, although the slingshot sequence was just as effective (sun like a wall to one side). Very much a good episode. Incidentally, although some F-104s really did carry nuclear-tipped AAMs, they were never deployed operationally, so Spock shouldn't have been worried.
Title : Riddles Rating : 2
Writers : Andre Bormanis Year : 2376
Review : One of those curious episodes, which once again gives certain cast members the excuse to play a completely different character. That is exactly what Tim Russ does, and he does it well, giving us some idea of what the ancient Vulcans might have been like. Ethan Phillips does quite well opposite him as Neelix, with the usual mix of the annoying and the sympathetic. However, one has to wonder what happened to Vorik. Maybe he's young and hasn't learnt how to mind-meld, but it might have been a good thing for Tuvok to speak to another Vulcan. 'Ba'Neth' seems to be almost an anagram of 'Beneath', which makes it sound like a name somebody made up for them. Now they were an interesting concept, and the 'afterimage' scenes were very strange. I wondered if Starfleet's methods for detecting Romulan ships might have been helpful at one point, but perhaps Vorik had taken them away to study or something. In general, it was curious.
Title : Pathfinder Rating : 3
Writers : David Zabel Year : 2376
Review : My 247th review, and it produces a half-decent episode. They gave us something different, but still heavily linked to Voyager herself. Old Mr Broccoli seems to have reverted to type once again, and Dwight Schultz was entirely convincing. It was also good to see Marina Sirtis back as Counsellor Troi. I'm still not quite sure why Barclay's boss completely refused to listen to what turned out to be a very good idea, but I can understand it up to a point. The holographic Voyager was interesting (although I have no idea how Barclay could have found out what the Maquis crew members looked like - they can't all have had files with pictures) as it provided the link between "Hollow Pursuits" and the 'real' ship. Finally, the scene where they finally get through was certainly well-written and very effective. Overall, not bad.
Title : Court Martial Rating : 2
Writers : Don M. Mankiewicz Year : 2267
Review : This episode tried, but was not quite up to it. Maybe it had something to do with the court's strange reaction to due process (although we can assume that a future court has its own ideas of due process) but both Shaw and Cogley could get away with leading questions and the odd bit of speculation. They tried, but did not quite get things right. It also seems that they did not quite think through the idea of having Finney hiding on board. Even if the internal sensors (assuming the Enterprise was supposed to have them) were not working, a tricorder scan could find him in seconds. Finally, since Areel Shaw is supposed to be an old flame of Kirk's (there must be quite a few) she should not be involved with the trial because of the conflict of interest. It had its moments, the scene where Kirk decided to stand up to Commodore Stone and demand a court martial for one. Elisha Cook's technophobic lawyer was partly convincing, but he seemed to go a bit far in places. The remastered scenes were good. We saw the Enterprise in dire need of a clean after the ion storm and the planet views, plus lots of shuttlecraft buzzing around. Best of all, we had a glimpse of another Connie, although it was impossible to read the name. However, the plot had a few holes, and somehow any drama seemed forced. This one comes up short, but it is still watchable.
Title : Space Seed Rating : 4
Writers : Carey Wilber Year : 2267
Review : Maybe because it was the set-up for the best Trek film of the lot (IMHO) I was looking forward to this one. Having seen it, it was good, but didn't quite live up to that. The plot had a few holes. Kirk must have been extremely complacent to allow Khan access to the technical manuals (which ought to be classified). No wonder he hushed it up! Marla McGivers seemed to be a bit of a pushover and a very weak character, but that was a fault of many women in TOS. Still, she did come to her senses in time to save Kirk. However, the good points outweighed the bad by a very long way. The main good point was Khan himself, who came accross as ambitious, ruthless and arrogant, but not genuinely mad or evil. This suggests decent performance from Ricardo Montalban, which is exactly what we got. The idea behind the episode is interesting as well, where the consequences of something that I'm sure the eugenicists must have thought was helpful to Humanity turns out to be a disaster. How many times has that happened? Then there is the direct link from a foreseeable future to the Trek future. Finally, there is the pacing (bang on) and the sense that something might be wrong right from the beginning. The new CGI made the Botany Bay look like a battered old derelict, which was just about right, and I liked the way she had lost attitude control at the start. Very effective. Fourteen years after the Botany Bay's supposed launch, technology has got nowhere near that level. Still, perhaps people really thought that they would get this far in the heady world of sixties spaceflight. All I can say is that, much as I would love to see ships like the Botany Bay flying for real, I'm extremely glad that the writers got this future very wrong.
Title : Collective Rating : 1
Writers : Andrew Shepard Price, Mark Gaberman Year : 2376
Review : Not good at all. Voyager's quality went downhill several times, and this was fairy rotten. Firstly, did the writers not watch "BOBW" or "I, Borg"? The Borg don't abandon their dead, they vapourise them. It would have added greatly to the tension if they had known that another Cube was on its way to destroy the one we saw here. We've seen Borg as vulnerable before (Hugh for instance) but Borg children don't really work. Maybe it could have been done some other way, but it did not quite work. I also have to fault Janeway's negotiations. Surely she could have led a boarding action (150 trained Starfleeters against 5 Borg kids - who wins that!?) or done something a bit more imaginative, but she let herself get onto the back foot. Of course, the other avenue they missed was having the Voyagers in a race against time to strip the Cube of transwarp technology before the Borg came to blow it up. Verdict, barely watchable.
Title : Ashes to Ashes Rating : 3
Writers : Ronald Wilkerson Year : 2376
Review : Now here's something different, and much better than some of the last few episodes. The main story was not only original, it flowed well. The only real fault was that it got a bit slow in places (but perhaps that is just a contrast from certain other episodes). Lindsay Ballard was a wonderful, dynamic character, and her unusual arrival certainly made some difference. She must have one FAST shuttle though, the Voyager covered 30,000-odd light years during her absence. The B-story was probably an inevitable occurrence, although we did not see too much of it (perhaps fortunately). They will have to be careful not to over-use the Borg children, otherwise it could become tedious. At the beginning, I wondered if they should not have brought back somebody we had already seen (not sure who though) but then we would have missed Kim Rhodes' wonderful performance. Somehow, she seemed much more believable than some of the regulars, despite the bizarre introduction. It's a pity she couldn't have stayed on for a few episodes at least. Verdict, not only watchable, but original as well. By the way, what was wrong with the universal translator this week?
Title : Child's Play Rating : 2
Writers : Paul Brown Year : 2376
Review : I usually have no sympathy with people who impose major decisions on people like Icheb without asking, he has a right to make an informed choice. However, the conflicting opinions of Janeway, Seven and Icheb's parents made for an interesting dynamic in this situation. At least they finally allowed Icheb to make up his own mind, despite the conflicting pressures on him. Manu Intiraymi played the part OK, but was a bit wooden occasionally. I'm not sure how much is inexperience and how much is the character's natural reserve coming through. The pathogen idea just might work as a weapon, with echoes of what Picard nearly did in "I, Borg", although it makes the Brunali look exceptionally ruthless. To use your own son as a Typhoid Mary bioweapon, in fact to breed him specifically for the purpose, is remarkably cold-blooded. However, I have to wonder if the Voyager could not have collapsed the transwarp conduit somehow (remembering "Dark Frontier"). The science fair was a nice little scene, and one that could not possibly have been done without the ship's children, so they played a useful role for once. Verdict, not bad.
Title : Good Shepherd Rating : 4
Writers : Dianna Gitto Year : 2376
Review : Again we have something different, which was good. Shades of "Lower Decks" throughout, of course, but it was sufficiently different to make a good contrast. The idea of dark matter life may have some real basis, but we don't know much about it, so it's a good subject to speculate on. However, the story was more about the three misfits, and that was about the right balance of emphesis. The three guest actors did fairly well, and seemed convincing enough. As for the characters; Celes just needs more experience and some confidence-building; Telfer might be OK after this, but I'd keep an eye on him; while Harren should be relieved of duty and subject to disciplinary action. I loved the opening sequence, it's always good to see new parts of the ship, and down in the bowels of the engineering section was something new. The fly-in and fly-out worked very well too. However, it's a bit odd for a captain to ask for directions in her own ship (even if it did give Tom Morello an extra line). Surely Janeway inspects her ship from stem to stern every now and then. Some captains conduct inspections once a week. Overall, a decent storyline, fairly involving, with a bit of tension. A decent episode.
Title : A Taste of Armageddon Rating : 4
Writers : Robert Hamner Year : 2267
Review : Kirk, the warrior for peace. Early on, the war actually looked like a very cynical population control measure, but it soon turned out to be a genuine, if a little insane. Essentially, these two cultures carried a cold war as far as they could, even to the extent of destroying their own people, so as not to let the war go hot. It took some serious gunboat diplomacy to sort it out, but it worked. Still, the concept doesn't seem much more incredible than Kirk overpowering and entire room full of armed guards. As usual, we had an interfering civilian who acted like a complete idiot at times, but he proved useful to the plot. Anan seemed to be a strange character, organising the deaths of thousands, but shying away from the killing of a few hostages. Still, at least he seemed irrationally rational rather than mad. The Redshirts did a fairly good job as well, actually doing something useful, and every one coming back alive. Maybe parts of it did stretch credibility a very long way, but this is what Star Trek is all about, peace at all costs, everyone getting along without having to kill each other. Some bizarre methods to obtain it, but they worked.
Title : Storm Front, Part 1 Rating : 3
Writers : Manny Coto Year : 2154
Review : After the rather unpromising cliffhanger (Alien Nazis) this came as rather a pleasant surprise. It was a decent episode, and a lot more believable than I thought. Archer on Earth created some interest, and Alicia Travers seemed fairly convincing. The general feel was right for any city under occupation. Up in orbit, it seemed that everyone was on the verge of giving up, but they managed to press on. Introducing Silik seemed like a red herring, which I suppose it what it might turn out to be. The biggest faults were that the Germans seemed like caricatures and the idea of incorporating Nazi Germany at all. They could have used many other different systems, Napoleonic France or the USSR for instance, which would have generated a lot more ambiguity. However, they had to send out an 'evil' signal, and making the enemy the Nazis did that. Personally, I would have preferred ambiguity. I'm also not sure about the Nakhul, who turn out to be a one-shot enemy. Maybe it's OK, but if they really had been Remens (or Romulans, or even the Krenim) then we might have seen something we understood. Still, they kept the tension going and produced something fairly watchable. Overall, not bad, but not brilliant either.
Title : The Return of the Archons Rating : 1
Writers : Gene Roddenberry Year : 2267
Review : This does NOT make sense. While the idea of a society under total computer control may have been considered then, it doesn't seem very well thought-out. Firstly, it's not entirely clear whether the people are computer-controlled all the time or not. Secondly, what is the point of the 'festival'? I have heard suggestions that it was for population control, but that doesn't make sense, the computer could just instruct people not to have children. Perhaps it's an Orwellian 'ten minutes hate' or some equivalent, but I think it was really a cheap way to make the computer look more evil. You can see some elements of the Borg Collective in this society, but not enough for it to be some form of prototype. I did quite like the way the Lawgivers reacted with something resembling an 'error message' when the landing party refused to go with them, but that was one of only a few decent moments. Not much more I can say about this.
Title : The Devil in the Dark Rating : 4
Writers : Gene L. Coon Year : 2267
Review : I've always liked this one, for two reasons. Firstly, they tried to show something genuinely alien (even if it was just a man crawling around under a blanket). Secondly, the monster gets a chance to redeem itself, almost making us look like monsters in the process. It's not often we get to see an alien invasion from the point of view of the aliens. Essentially, that's what we have here, and it takes a different perspective to understand what is really going on. Like a lot of TOS, it's a fairly simple story, but it works. There did not seem to be any outstanding performances, but it was still fairly convincing. Also, in the days before SIMs beacons, we had an astonishingly well-lit mine (presumably to avoid Kirk having to carry a flashlight with him). A Silicon-based creature might just about work biologically, but I'm not sure about that. Overall, a decent episode, with a very good message.
Title : Shattered Rating : 3
Writers : Michael Sussman, Michael Taylor Year : 2377
Review : I didn't have high hopes for this one, but it surprised me. It was more than just a tour through seven years of the same show, it was a fairly good story. There are a few major plot holes, how the ship is powered when she is fractured into pieces, where people go when they just disappear, whether there are people who exist in two places at once. Also, since when was there a corridor outside the Ready Room? However, the biggest one was the question of how people's uniforms passed through the temporal barriers (but perhaps that's best ignored). The story itself was really about the relationship between Janeway and Chakotay, and I suppose it summed it up fairly well. Mistrust at the beginning slowly changing to friendship (and possibly more, but that never happens). The scene where he tries to convince her to strand the ship in the Delta Quadrant no matter what is probably the best. It also shows just what that little ship went through in all those years, while still looking as though she had just left spacedock. Not bad at all, surprisingly.
Title : Repentance Rating : 2
Writers : Michael Sussman, Robert Doherty Year : 2377
Review : Another 'issue' episode, this time attempting to tackle the death penalty. In some ways, the Nygean justice system is exactly what some people want, which might well be the worst thing about it from other points of view. Other than that, there did not seem to be much to it, although I am not sure why. Jeff Kober put in a half-decent performance, and his speech at the end was the best point of the episode. I half-expected the family to commute his sentence to life imprisonment, even though I think that is worse than death. There were a few other nice touches, the Doctor and Seven discussing the death penalty early on, a balance between her 'efficient solution' and his 'life first' beliefs. Her turnaround was fairly interesting, but expected. However, much of the episode seemed to be a fairly superficial discussion on the death penalty and guilt (and obviously repentance). Nothing really outstanding. Incidentally, the pineal gland doesn't have any direct effect on conscience in Humans, although it does control sleeping patterns (disturbed sleep can make people bad-tempered). Still, maybe Nygeans are wired differently, and I'm not a xenobiologist (obviously).
Title : The Void Rating : 4
Writers : Kenneth Biller, Raf Green Year : 2377
Review : We seem to be back on track this time. A good episode, with some genuine Star Trek ideals coming through, cooperation and interdependency always wins out over brute force. It wasn't entirely new, we saw a starless void in "Night" and had power shortages in "Demon", but this pulls it together and comes up with a decent story. The dogmatic Janeway, who sticks to her principles no matter what, seems to be back. She sometimes agonises over stranding her crew, but still rejects a crucial component because it had been stolen. Fantome and his people, with their strange musical language, were curious. They can't be from the Void itself (there's no home planet) but must have lived there for a long time. The various other aliens seemed to be filling fairly basic roles, and provided a procession of established species. Anyway, they kept the tension going well, and it all worked out OK. Not bad at all.
Title : Prophecy Rating : 1
Writers : J. Kelley Burke, Kenneth Biller, Larry Nemecek, Raf Green Year : 2377
Review : This was fairly pointless. Firstly, we have a ship full of Klingons many light years from where they belong for no apparent reason. Secondly, we have another strange story about a Klingon messiah which did not seem to tell us much. Latching onto B'Elanna's unborn child as their saviour seems more than a touch desperate. I could understand if Kohlar was looking for a way to back out of the search without any dishonour, but he seemed to genuinely believe (at least early on). The rest was mostly an attempt to justify the premise. Not awful, but certainly not brilliant.
Title : Workforce, Part 1 Rating : 4
Writers : Bryan Fuller, Kenneth Biller Year : 2377
Review : As usual, I'm reviewing both parts together. Rather a curious offering. We start off with another curious situation with the main characters still very much in-character (apart from Tuvok, perhaps) but in a different situation. One of those usual 'what's going on?' situations. We find out fairly quickly, and the story develops well with the action gradually winding up. The Doctor's 'ECH Mode' gets another outing, and he does fairly well, despite the ship almost falling apart around him. We also had some decent interplay between the characters on the planet, mostly working very well as versions of themselves. The idea of this memory-wiping as a form of impressment makes some sense, and I can see a small group of influential people making it work. It's also good to see different attitudes among a species, hostile, friendly, neutral, passive, active and so on. Good marks for continuity, by the way. The writers remembered that Chakotay is a vegetarian and that you can't beam through the shields. Verdict, a decent episode.
Title : Workforce, Part 2 Rating : 3
Writers : Bryan Fuller, Kenneth Biller Year : 2377
Review : Standards maintained, although I'm compromising by giving this a 3 (I'd rate both as 3.5). Not sure whether the 'triaxilating frequency on a covariant subspace band' was a piece of desperate technobabble or the writers being facetious.
Title : Borderland Rating : 3
Writers : Ken LaZebnik Year : 2154
Review : I'm beginning to like this new Enterprise. We're getting a string of decent episodes, and they're finally beginning to get the 'feel' right. Having eliminated a lot of the dross from the last three years, they begin producing decent episodes that develop on ideas that date back to TOS and TNG. We see an exaggerated version of Khan and his people here, aggressive and rebellious, but without his steady, calculating mind. Khan liked to plan things carefully, only using force when needed, these people use force first, but use it hard. Dr Soong made an interesting character as well. I suppose he must be an ancestor of Data's creator, and you get some idea of the drive behind creating a better form of Human that might lead to that. Maybe he's yet another mad scientist, but I hardly ever thought of Data when watching him (which says a lot for Brent Spiner). The Orion slave traders did indeed seem like padding, although it made for a dramatic half-hour and gave Soong an excuse to send his message. Still, it might have been better to come up with something else and add one scene of him sending a message from the ship. Verdict, a decent episode. Enterprise is getting more like Star Trek.
Title : Human Error Rating : 1
Writers : Andre Bormanis, Kenneth Biller Year : 2377
Review : Not especially interesting. Yet another attempt at some character development for Seven (once again) but not especially well done. Firstly, I find her attraction to Chakotay a bit unconvincing. Much of the rest is far too close to "Inside Man" among others. The subspace warheads seem like another version of the weapon in "Warhead". Seven's 'fail-safe' was pulled out of thin air as well. Why did it not kick in in the many episodes where she had greatly emotional moments before here. Not all that good.
Title : Q2 Rating : 2
Writers : Kenneth Biller Year : 2377
Review : In general, this seemed like another fill-in story. They already knew it was Voyager's last year, and they seemed to be passing time with weaker stories. Once again, 'Voyager Q' isn't quite as annoying as his earlier self, but he's still annoying enough. His son was equally annoying, but then he was supposed to be that way, and there was more to it than that. It was hard to sympathise with him, but he did have a lot to deal with. Still, it was better than the last episode. By the way, could they not have left Neelix with his mouth sewn up? Permanently!
Title : Author, Author Rating : 3
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2377
Review : Overall, not bad. While most is a bit bland, the look on the Doctor's face when he saw what Paris had done to his programme made it worth watching. Good marks to Robert Picardo once again. I think the Doctor is suffering from 'first book syndrome', where people's early work tends to be autobiographical and a bit naive. While he might be interested in high culture, lack of experience is a barrier (he has only lived seven years). The crew's conversations with home were interesting as well, and added colour. I wonder if Irene Hansen is related to the late Admiral Hansen in some way. Verdict, a reasonable episode.
Title : Friendship One Rating : 3
Writers : Bryan Fuller, Michael Taylor Year : 2377
Review : This was actually quite an interesting episode, and I liked it for some reason. The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes once more. Now, I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought that Carey was dead, while he came back here only to die needlessly here. I did wonder about Neelix going down to the planet after what had happened on Rhinax, but it got mentioned, which I suppose was OK. When they started to clear the radiation, why not work on the other side of the planet (especially if it's ocean) where the shockwaves won't affect the people on the surface. We also saw the infamous radiation inoculations appear once again, but they are so firmly established that they will probably be impossible to get rid of. Still, I did like Friendship 1 as a design and a concept. Just about right.
Title : Cold Station 12 Rating : 4
Writers : Michael Bryant Year : 2154
Review : At first, I thought this episode would suffer from the usual problems of a 'middle' episode, but it actually turned out to be better than the first. Soong is clearly starting to lose control of the Augments, especially Malik, who seems to be madder than his 'father'. Persis is more believable. She obviously has her own agenda, but has latched onto Malik to pursue it, although she clearly has more doubts about going against Soong. Smike was a little under-used, and perhaps they should have given him an extra scene or two, which would have helped to explain his change of loyalty and explained Earth's attitude to the Augments. The scenes on CS-12 worked well, with the torture scene highlighting Malik's complete disregard for Human life as much as anything else. Archer's approach and attack was fairly simplistic, and was almost inevitably going to fail. Anyway, lots of tension, a decent story and fairly well acted. One thing I really can't understand is Archer going to fix the containment breach instead of sending someone else (Reed maybe). Archer's just been beaten up by someone five times stronger then him, yet he goes himself. Strange choice. Also, that Denobulan medical ship must be a lot smaller than it looks.
Title : Errand of Mercy Rating : 5
Writers : Gene L. Coon Year : 2267
Review : A very good episode. I believe this was our first look at the Klingons, and in some ways they seemed more effective before they evolved into galactic bikers. Kor made a worthy opponent and a convincing villain, he certainly changed over the hundred years before we saw him again. I could not understand the Organians any more than Kirk for much of the time, although it was obvious that they were doing their very best to try to avoid violence. Kirk seemed to be heading into colonialist territory at several points, an interesting mirror for the Klingons, but he dodged that one. The new effects shots were very noticeable here, including new views of the D7s and the pulse phasers from "Balance of Terror". Effective and done very well. The revelation at the end also worked very well. We see Kirk and Kor arguing for war, but then realising what they were doing, which I think brought the curtain down on a good episode.
Title : Time and Again Rating : 3
Writers : David Kemper Year : 2371
Review : Once again, we have a case of effect before cause. The polaric power situation, and of course the protests, bear a decided resemblance to the debate over nuclear power here on Earth. Portraying it as very dangerous is a bit odd in the Trek world, where thermonuclear power is common and antimatter power is at the heart of almost every warp-capable ship. However, we know that this really was extremely dangerous, unlike nuclear power, and we had a ticking time-bomb. They then succeeded in keeping some tension going, which was not so bad, until it ended in a complete paradox. We also saw Kes playing a part that nobody else could, something they would struggle with later on. Not all that bad for early Voyager.
Title : The Cloud Rating : 1
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2371
Review : A story that could not make up its mind. The story of the Cloud itself was way too short to stretch for a whole hour, so the bits in the middle had to go in. They seemed to be an attempt to fit in as much character development for everyone as possible, and I think they overdid it. If maybe we had had Sandrine's for one episode and the captain meeting her Gecko in another episode, then it might have been a bit easier. We never saw the Gecko again, nor did we ever meet Chakotay's animal guide, so that's an unexplored avenue. As for the Cloud, that was a simple 'It's alive!' plot that was neatly wrapped up. OK, I suppose.
Title : Phage Rating : 3
Writers : Timothy De Haas Year : 2371
Review : The Delta Quadrant seems a very hostile place. Unprovoked attacks to steal organs directly out of people's bodies are particularly nasty, and that set up a decent plot. This introduced the Vidiians, with Frankenstein creations for bodies. They seem much more effective than the Kazon, partly from the moral conflict they seem to have. The ones here tried to take organs from the dead where they could, and saved Neelix's life even when they did not have to. Ethan Phillips seems convincing most of the way through, making Neelix look very highly strung, which makes sense. Robert Picardo was beginning to grow the EMH as a character as well. Note his reaction when it is suggested that he might sing, very ironic in line of where the character went. The 'hall of mirrors' trick was curious as well, seemingly a baited trap that required another use of 'phadar' to defeat. Verdict, not bad at all.
Title : The Forge Rating : 4
Writers : Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Judith Reeves-Stevens Year : 2154
Review : A very good episode, well-written and well-acted. The bombing at the start got things going very quickly, and the plot then threw up a number of twists. I liked Arev, the most 'Vulcan-like' Vulcan we have seen on Enterprise. Soval was a surprise as well, not only softening his attitude towards Humans a little, but actually proving to be a 'melder'. Some elements reminded me of the current security situation, using terrorist incidents to crack down of dissidents with a very tenuous connection to the bombing. We had references scattered all the way through, and carefully placed in many cases, so that they filled in gaps. I'm especially glad we got a glimpse of a Sehlat, very much a 'sabre-toothed bear'. Finally, the Enterprise Vulcans seem to be redeeming themselves. Well done to Manny Coto and the writers.
Title : Eye of the Needle Rating : 4
Writers : Hilary J. Bader Year : 2371
Review : Interesting, the first contact with home. They got the quadrant wrong, it's the BETA QUADRANT for the Romulans, but they're using 'Alpha Quadrant' as shorthand for 'where we're going' anyway. We had a build-up of hope, firstly of communication, then of actually getting back. There was even a 'what if everyone did go home' moment. The Doctor would effectively die because Janeway would have to self-destruct the ship, destroying his programme. That was an interesting nuance to events. Of course, it never happened, otherwise we would have had a very short series. Telek Remor was a very convincing Romulan, suspicious, but prepared to do the right thing if given the chance, well done to our regular guest star Vaughn Armstrong. I wonder what Remor told the Senate, his seniors or his crew to try to cover things up, but it seemed to work. However, we don't know if he asked his daughter (who would be 20 in 2371) to pass on the messages, but it left a slim hope. It's a pity that there were no further consequences to this episode, it was a good one that deserved following up.
Title : The Alternative Factor Rating : 1
Writers : Don Ingalls Year : 2267
Review : Most of this is a complete load of rubbish. I'm not sure about the general understanding of theoretical physics back in the sixties, but somebody has got antimatter completely wrong. If the other universe really had been antimatter, Kirk would have vaporised as soon as he entered it. Spock's and Kirk's explanations made absolutely no sense either, especially considering the fact that they had only ever seen the mad Lazarus, so they had no grounds for deciding that there was more than one of him. Speaking of Lazarus, either version of the character made no real sense either, nor did the idea of leaving him unsupervised. As for the new effects shots, well, they were up to their usual standard. The most interesting thing was the off-axis phaser shot, which looked very effective. Overall, daft plot, indifferent acting and utter scientific nonsense. Thank goodness for the second season Mirror Universe!
Title : Ex Post Facto Rating : 2
Writers : Evan Carlos Somers Year : 2371
Review : I wonder if the writer is a fan of Agatha Christie. This was very much like a Poirot story in several ways. "A Matter of Perspective" has a roughly similar plot, with Tolen Ren taking the place of Nel Apgar, but has fewer Agatha Christie elements. Lidell Ren was very much like many of Christie's female characters, a flirtatious woman in a mismatched marriage who showed a distinct lack of grief at her husband's death, and the way she led Paris on is noticeable as well. Tuvok produced the classic 'Poirot seminar' at the end, pulling out the supposedly convincing (but decidedly thin) piece of evidence at the end. Under Earth law, this would have led to an appeal and months of waiting for the new case to come to trial, but the Voyager cannot hang around for that long, so we won't be tied down in the technicalities. Anyway, in general the acting was a bit stiff, but not all that bad, and the plot made rough sense. Verdict, OK, but not exactly original.
Title : Awakening Rating : 3
Writers : Andre Bormanis Year : 2154
Review : So now we're getting more of an explanation for the problems with Vulcans over the previous three series. Something has gone awry with their culture, and this is sorting it out. Well, I suppose all cultures go through phases, and that must be what is happening here. In general, the cast did fairly well, and perhaps Jolene Blalock is beginning to learn to act. Overall, it was a decent link episode, but perhaps not as good as the first part.
Title : Prime Factors Rating : 4
Writers : David R. George III, Eric A. Stillwell Year : 2371
Review : A very good episode. They showed something we had never seen before, Starfleet on the wrong side of the Prime Directive. There was a real split in the crew, not just Maquis, but Starfleet as well, which we had been promised, but rarely got. The Sikarians were a remarkably peaceful island in the harsh Delta Quadrant, and made a fairly interesting species concept. I also have to say that the acting is picking up as well. Perhaps this was not the best, but still very good. By the way, Harry, no matter how keen you were to get home, the Trajector would have still been there a few hours later.
Title : State of Flux Rating : 2
Writers : Paul Robert Coyle Year : 2371
Review : The Kazon are back, unfortunately. This might have been a decent episode if it were not for them. The other half, looking for the ship's traitor, was interesting and watchable. I wish they had kept Seska around, she seemed to be turning into an interesting character, and could have acted as an agitator between the two crews before they discovered their traitor. However, this is Voyager, not DS9. After the last episode, the acting slipped a bit, and the cast stiffened up again. Still, it was not too bad if you ignore the Kazon.
Title : Operation: Annihilate! Rating : 2
Writers : Steven W. Carabatsos Year : 2267
Review : Well, it was dramatic and sort-of tense, but a fairly basic story. One highlight was Leonard Nimoy, who spent much of the episode twitching and sometimes writhing, trying to show Spock's inner struggle against the creature possessing him. There was also his calm reaction to being blinded, and the way he allowed his eyes to wander, all very good non-verbal acting. The creatures themselves were not exactly convincing, but the concept was probably better thought-out than Voyager's "Macrocosm". The new visuals were excellent, as ever. We had a really nice shot of the Enterprise deploying a satellite through a small hatch in the engineering section. A very good idea to explain what these hatches are. Overall, not too bad, but nothing special.
Title : Babel One Rating : 4
Writers : Andre Bormanis, Mike Sussman Year : 2154
Review : Now this is beginning to feel like Star Trek. We had a cast of characters who we knew ought to be there, trying to work together for peace, then someone starts screwing it all up and they have to find out who it is. The story fitted together very well, and I even think the acting is picking up. The drone ship concept was interesting. Drone warplanes are a familiar sight now, but would be hard to imagine back when TOS was on, which sets up an interesting situation. The holographic disguise is really just an advanced version of the Graf Spee's canvas funnel and false flag, which was just as effective. Anyway, this time the tension ratcheted up nicely and the surprise at the end was very effective. A good episode.
Title : The Final Frontier Rating : 0
Writers : David Loughery, Harve Bennet, William Shatner Year : 2285
Review : If I were writing the novelization of this, I would end the second last chapter 'And then Kirk woke up'. I really want everything that happened in this film to be a dream, because some of it is so bad, it's almost funny. Yes there were a few good bits, with the interaction between Kirk, Spock and McCoy being the most notable. However, Sybok and his strange followers, some form of mental power that just doesn't really work on our heroes (although it does tell us something about them), Uhura's fan dance, flying to the centre of the galaxy, a (?Led Zeppelin-inspired?) 'Turboshaft to Heaven' and a god that turns out to be God knows what, what is it all supposed to be? "The Nth Degree" gave us the Cytherians as a possible explanation, but I wish this film would just be a bad dream. "The Way to Eden" was a terrible episode, so why use it as a starting point? So, the question is, does the odd bit of clever writing win it back a star? Nah!
Title : Shadows of P'Jem Rating : 2
Writers : Brannon Braga, Michael Sussman, Phyllis Strong, Rick Berman Year : 2151
Review : Well, it's all right for Enterprise's first series, and that's about all I can say. We learn a bit more about 22nd Century politics, get a little bit of action and meet the Andorians again. Shran is a decent character (which probably has something to do with Jeffrey Combs being a better actor than most of the main cast) and I'm glad we saw a lot more of him as the series went on. However, Archer got captured again, we probably lost another shuttlepod and the Vulcans are still acting like Romulans. Notice how they went for brute force tactics in their rescue attempt whilst the Andorians went for something more subtle, the reverse of what you might expect. Overall, showing signs of getting better, but not many.
Title : United Rating : 4
Writers : Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Judith Reeves-Stevens Year : 2154
Review : Another decent episode. They managed to balance the two stories effectively, giving roughly the same weight to each one. The drone ship was possibly too advanced to be believable, especially the self-repair ability, but I still like the idea. Interesting to see what is obviously supposed to be the beginnings of the Federation. It's an odd way to start, but seems to be working. Archer and Shran's duel was curious (Archer won a fight!) and adds another stage to the filling-in of the Andorian culture that has been going on for some time. On the subject of Shran, Jeffrey Combs once again gave a more convincing performance than the main cast. The revelation at the end was curious, but I imagine we will find out more next week.
Title : The Undiscovered Country Rating : 5
Writers : Lawrence Konner, Leonard Nimoy, Marc Rosenthal Year : 2293
Review : What a wonderful sendoff for the original cast, and I suppose for Gene Rodenberry. We had a sense of things changing and moving on all the way through. I've seen the extended version as well, and the extra scenes contributed a little. The conspiracy itself was somewhat incredible, I can understand Nanclus being involved with the full backing of his government (the Romulans would gain a great advantage from any conflict) but Cartwright and Chang are very unlikely allies, and especially Valeris - a Vulcan 'bred to peace'. Still, stranger things have happened. The scenes on Rura Penthe did not really contribute much (apart from allowing William Shatner to snog a supermodel) and one has to wonder whether it would have been better to extend the trial until Spock's rescue mission. One oddity is the torpedo that tore through the Enterprise's saucer - it must have failed to explode, so Kirk's infernal luck held. As for the acting, Shatner finally manages not to go completely over the top, Leonard Nimoy was excellent as ever, DeForest Kelly ditto and the other regulars backed him up very well. Kim Cattrall did very well, unbelievable as her character's actions were, she was certainly convincing. Christopher Plummer managed not to let us think of "The Sound of Music" for a moment, although all those Shakespeare quotes got tedious after a while. Finally, good cameo for Michael Dorn. Briefly, the highlights, the opening scene was good (and Sulu more than deserves a good command), the zero-g scene on the Kronos 1 was bizarre; the trial scene may have been short, but it was good; and the last few minutes brought a tear to my eye. So, that's it, the end of the road for the E-A and her crew. They gave us some wonderful moments, but nothing lasts for ever.
Title : The Aenar Rating : 3
Writers : Andre Bormanis Year : 2154
Review : Different from the two earlier parts, this seems like an attempt to inject a bit more emotional involvement into what had been an action-dominated story. They did fairly well, but is was still not quite as good. I love the idea that Andoria is a Europa-like icy moon, something very different from the standard Class M. Thanks to the writer for giving a plausible explanation to the Andor/Andoria question as well. We had quite a few of the usual Enterprise side-stories and diversions, especially T'pol and Trip in this case. It's about time those two made their minds up. Anyway, the story itself came down to the telepathic encounter between Jahmel and Gareb, which made for an odd moment of peace among destruction, I suppose. Verdict, it was still a decent story, but not quite up to the rest of the arc. Finally, why did Reed blow up the second drone? It would have been interesting to analyse it afterwards. Maybe it should have self-destructed instead.
Title : Generations Rating : 3
Writers : Brannon Braga, Rick Berman, Ronald D. Moore Year : 2371
Review : Generations is a good film, but nothing more than that. Firstly, I'm glad we got one last look at the 23rd Century, although I have to say that Captain Harriman should go back to flying a desk at Headquarters The loss of the Enterprise-D was almost meaningless in the end. This is the Federation flagship; the ship that faced down the Borg, the Romulans and the Cardassians; journeyed farther from Earth than any ship ever had; and made all those first contacts. Just as importantly, she was the ship that gave us so many wonderful stories over seven years, and she gets taken down by a tiny Bird of Prey that she should have blown to pieces in a very few shots. At least Kirk's death was more meaningful. We saw him die not once, but twice. Despite what he said in TFF, he did not die alone, and he saved Picard, the E-D crew and everyone on Veridian IV before he went. The sequence inside the Nexus was a bit confusing, not just because Picard the atheist was celebrating Christmas. They slipped Kirk's time with Antonia into a gap between TMP and TWOK, but I thought that he was supposed to have been in a post at the Academy at the time. Well, maybe he beamed in from Idaho every day. Still, it seems a bit odd that he went back to an obscure part of his life rather than the days when he wore a gold shirt (although that would have been hard to recreate). Anyway, there were some great sequences. I loved Stellar Cartography, and the saucer section crash was certainly dramatic. I can't fault the acting either. Patrick Stewart was excellent as ever, William Shatner matched him and Malcolm McDowell's Soran (was he inspired by Sting?) was convincing enough. He seems unbalanced, but not entirely mad. His age puzzles me, however. How can he be getting old at 300 while Guinan is going strong at 500-plus? We also had a good attempt to keep continuity with TNG at least, and the did OK in the end. Still, despite not quite being right, it is indeed a very watchable film.
Title : Affliction Rating : 3
Writers : Mike Sussman Year : 2154
Review : Enterprise takes on the Klingon Forehead Problem. While Mark Sussman and Manny Coto may be audacious, trying to take on every inconsistency ever generated in couple of dozen episodes is a bit much. We'll have to see how it turns out, but it could be interesting. Columbia *finally* gets going as well (the bridge lights were a bit silly). Onwards to Challenger and Discovery! We're seeing a lot of changes in various characters this series, Hoshi's attempt to put unarmed combat training into use for instance, perhaps Reed's disloyalty as well. I don't like Reedy much, but one thing he always has been is loyal, although he did try to redeem himself at the end. With regards to the story, plenty of action and a good continuation of current themes with the Augment arc. The acting was OK, and pacing worked fairly well. I also note a virtual recreation of the TOS 'over the top from astern' shot as the Enterprise looked at the wreckage. So, how did this reinvented Enterprise episode do? Overall, as a Star Trek episode, it did fairly well, although perhaps it seems to clash a bit too much with the rest of Enterprise (partly by being better) but I'll forgive it. Was it a good idea? We'll see. Finally, I believe they're on course for the Human speed record (once again!!!).
Title : Divergence Rating : 3
Writers : Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Judith Reeves-Stevens Year : 2154
Review : Another decent episode. We left it with the Enterprise breaking the Human speed record, now the Columbia comes along and takes the Blue Riband. Still, we actually saw a warp field, and that was unique. Trip's high-warp high-wire was a bit far-fetched, but good. Phlox's pursuit of the cure was fairly believable, and provided some minor insights into Klingon culture. We also had some decent interplay between the main cast. Not so sure about the ending, Archer growing ridges in less than a minute and Antaak losing his almost as quickly. Think how long a fracture takes to regenerate. Still, seeing two Earth ships fighting off the Klingons, maybe they looked too advanced, but it was done very well. The cast did OK with this, the story was good, the pacing worked and generally it all fitted together. I also noticed that the incidental music has taken a decidedly TOS turn as well. Overall, not bad at all.
Title : Insurrection Rating : 3
Writers : Michael Piller, Rick Berman Year : 2375
Review : OK, not a total disaster, but a bit of a let-down after "First Contact". Much of this reminded me of "Homeward", an episode that made Picard look like a total hypocrite. Maybe he learnt something from the experience, because he took almost the opposite stance here (despite the fact that Admiral Dougherty still wanted to remove them from the planet) and ended up looking like a man of integrity. Speaking of the Admiral, the -ogh- should be pronounced as in 'lough' (the same way as the Scottish 'loch') and that annoyed me. As for the man, was he in fact a member of Section 31? We shall never know, but it sounds like it. Anyway, the story almost seemed to be over before it had begun when everything was resolved within the first hour (almost like a typical TNG episode). It got interesting after that, but only in patches. They handled the escape and the planetside action fairly well, but I wanted to see what happened in space. The running battle was good, with the Enterprise winning despite being at a disadvantage. Well done Will! The conclusion was fairly effective, but I would much rather that Rua'fo had survived to go on trail. However, as well as getting the sense that we were missing out on the Dominion War (the Federation's finest battleship should have been in the vanguard), there were too many silly moments. Disabling Data by singing to him was almost clever, but not quite. There were too many scenes with that annoying child (same mistake as usual) and, although I can understand Data's curiosity, they went too far by letting him play in a haystack. Also, what was the point of the Worfzooka?(Tetryon pulse launcher?) The acting was OK, with Patrick Stewart doing his usual best, although most of the others seemed to be just average. The Son'a were sufficiently creepy to be average villains, although not very effective ones. Several points of interest did come up. Firstly, I suppose the Son'a's 'condition' was actually old age, although the idea from the early drafts that the planet's radiation had made them infertile should have been kept. Secondly, the particle collector, what a beautiful bit of CGI for something with such a terrible purpose. Thirdly, the manual steering column - although it was a silly Airbus sidestick, it does look vaguely similar to the Space Shuttle's systems - I would find it much easier to fly precision manoeuvres than by pushing buttons. Finally, one (female) source informed me that Riker looked a lot better without the beard.
Title : Vanishing Point Rating : 1
Writers : Brannon Braga, Rick Berman Year : 2152
Review : This was a case of 'good idea, but...' But in this case being that they made the whole thing one giant hallucination. I found it much more interesting early on, when I thought that Hoshi had some form of transporter psychosis, and only THOUGHT she was disappearing. That might have led to an interesting scene, where somebody tried to convince her that she was not. Both versions tell you something about her, she must have some fear of being ignored and left out, but I think that the earlier version looked better. What we actually got was basically another version of "The Next Phase", which was a good episode, but could only really be done once. OK, it wasn't the complete disaster I was expecting, but it was a major missed opportunity to do something new. Incidentally, it's worth mentioning a bit of a YATI. When Hoshi began to become invisible, she was not wearing the uniform she beamed up in, therefore her clothes should not have been affected, therefore...
Title : Macrocosm Rating : 1
Writers : Brannon Braga Year : 2373
Review : OK, this was the biggest load of scientific cobblers since "Threshold". It's impossible to get a single cell much bigger than 1mm, otherwise it cannot respire. Viruses can't move under their own power, and they don't have a nervous system either (being only one cell) so they cannot think for themselves. Be that as it may, it was really another excuse to do a rip-off of "Alien". We had Kathryn Ripley running round the ship with a phaser rifle (a proper one fortunately) trying to kill off the threat before it destroyed everyone. Well, it was certainly dramatic, and had a good deal of 'yuck factor', but the ending seemed a bit rushed. There really ought to have been a massive mopping-up operation to kill off the remaining virus, because you only need one to survive for the problem to recur. The Tak Tak, with their gestural language, seemed much more interesting. OK, it was entertainment, but I just didn't like it.
Title : Bound Rating : 1
Writers : Manny Coto Year : 2154
Review : OK, I think Manny Coto has let himself down with this. At first, I just thought he was bringing back one well-known TOS feature, the skimpy female costumes, while saying 'slavery is bad'. I'm not entirely sure whether the twist at the end, it's really the men who are the slaves, made up for it. It seems a bit unbelievable, and I find it a bit hard to square it with "Borderland", or even "The Cage". What did partly make up for it is some nice dialogue between Trip and T'pol, with the latter seemingly developing a sense of humour. Basically rubbish, but not a complete disaster.
Title : Dawn Rating : 1
Writers : John Shiban Year : 2152
Review : OK, I've seen "The Enemy", and "Darmok" for that matter. Redoing them might seem like a good idea, but not this sort of blatant rip-off. However, it was still a reasonable episode in its own right, with the classic Trek message that co-operation is best. It's nowhere near as good as "Darmok" (also with linguistic problems) but up with "The Enemy", I suppose. The Arkonians are pretty standard hostile aliens who don't like Vulcans, and you could probably have substituted any number of other species for them. Trip went through the wringer, and Connor Trineer put in a good-enough performance, I suppose. On it's own, this is a half-decent episode, but we've seen it all before. Just about worth a star.
Title : In A Mirror, Darkly Rating : 5
Writers : Michael Sussman Year : 2155
Review : I want to thank Michael Sussman, Manny Coto and everyone else on New Enterprise for giving us this episode, because it proves a point. You want edgy, you want dark, well welcome to the Mirror Universe where we've got it in spades, and it's fun too. Is this what you really wanted? From a Star Trek series, no, but from a Mirror episode, certainly. Everything worked; the story was good, the acting convincing enough, the timing good, and some neat tricks in adapting sets and costumes. The back story (Vulcan invasion fleet? Maybe a propaganda story) gave us a decent explanation for the differences between the two timelines. It wasn't perfect, of course. Why in the Emperor's name does Forrest trust Archer to lead the boarding party even though T'pol is supposed to bump him off? Archer's already betrayed him, so why risk it happening again. My highlights were seeing the whole of a Tholian for the first time, turning a basic shape into a believable creature that looked very alien, and the first sight of a *proper* starship for a very long time. So that's where the Defiant went! Oh yes, and the credits were brilliant (although I would have replaced the F-15 with an Iowa-class firing a full broadside) and the music was much better than the real universe version. Of course, this is only the first part. I'm looking forward to the second!
Title : In A Mirror, Darkly, Part 2 Rating : 5
Writers : Manny Coto, Michael Sussman Year : 2155
Review : It'll be hard to go back to our universe after this, it was so much fun. Not only that, it was well-written and decently-acted. Scott Bakula was finally believable in something, and everyone else backed him up well. Mirror Hoshi was certainly a revelation! As for the story, well, it was way over the top in many places, but that didn't really matter. We had some decent plot twists, the Gorn was a good idea, and everyone at each other's throats throughout. The Defiant was only in the MU for about a week, but in that time she cut a swathe through the Tholians, annihilated the rebel fleet, carved up the Avenger and threatened to wreak wholesale destruction on Earth. And they say 22nd Century technology is too advanced! You always *knew* that Kirk could have done this, he just didn't because he was a good guy. They left us with a wonderful cliffhanger for the next series. What would happen next? Would 'Empress' Sato hang onto power? Can anyone grow old and die of natural causes over there? We'll never know. Apparently, this was the episode where Enterprise was cancelled. Just when it was getting good...
Title : Demons Rating : 2
Writers : Manny Coto Year : 2155
Review : Back to the Prime Universe! Well, I suppose it was OK. They're trying to show some of the teething troubles of the new Federation, and some of the reaction to it. In that, it succeeds, it just goes about it a strange way. Firstly, I'm not sure how a woman with a hole in her chest could just walk into a heavily-guarded (I should think) conference room. Secondly, the idea of Trip and T'Pol having a child who neither of them know about is a bit strange. It's obviously the result of some sort of genetic engineering (I'm not even sure if Vulcan females can conceive when not in pon farr) and Trip's reaction was a bit strange. Wouldn't he trust her a bit more than that? Maybe he's having trouble dealing with it. As for sending the two of them on a spy mission, imagine sending Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins into the Soviet Union, no wonder they were picked up so soon. Mayweather got a bit more air time for once, but that just seemed like padding. One thing I did like was the flying mining station, which must be some space equivalent of an oil rig. Not sure about all the firepower they gave it (they'll probably call the new crater 'Paxton') because it seems a bit unreasonable. Paxton himself was curious. He sort-of has a point about Colonel Green, except that 'euthanised' is probably a euphemism for 'murdered'. But in the face of the things the Klingons said in TUC about a 'Homo sapiens only club', his speech will be remembered with some considerable irony. Although several million Vulcans will probably say to several million others, 'Told you so.'. Finally, couldn't we have kept the theme music from last week? (I'm not serious, but it's still better than the usual version.)
Title : Terra Prime Rating : 3
Writers : Andre Bormanis, Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Judith Reeves-Stevens Year : 2155
Review : Really, this was the last proper Star Trek episode of any kind (TATV doesn't count in my book) and it was a good one. Paxton was curious, and proved to be a hypocrite in many ways. He wouldn't be the first to confuse his opinions with fact, or let it get in the way of his judgement. It's good to know that he will get his just deserts rather than simply being killed off. Still, he left himself very much open to an attack such as this, or simply a strike from orbit. Archer's alternative, with the bombardment in reserve, seemed much more sensible, and it's a good thing that Starfleet listens to it's captains sometimes. Incidentally, diverting comets towards the Martian poles is actually a good idea (one theory suggests that Earth's water has a cometary origin). Maybe the details were off, but that ride down the comet's tail was a great way to perform the insertion (although Reedy might not agree). Anyway, the ending was handled well and convincingly, highly charged with emotion. Jolene Blalock did very well in showing T'Pol trying to keep her emotions under control, but not quite succeeding (maybe she really has learnt to act). It was also a nice touch that they named the baby Elizabeth. We had plenty of unanswered questions as well. Will this bring Trip and T'Pol closer together? Will the conference be a success, giving us closer co-operation between species? Will Mayweather and Gannet ever meet again (which might have given him more screen time)? We'll never know. Still, a good episode to finish with.
Title : The Wrath of Khan Rating : 5
Writers : Harve Bennet, Jack B. Sowards Year : 2285
Review : Views may differ on what was the best Trek film, but this will always be my favourite. It's a very effective use of continuity to bring Khan back in. He made an effective threat, localised, but potentially very dangerous. Ricardo Montalblan put in a very good performance, showing Khan as a man on the edge of madness, yet retaining enough sanity to plan his actions and strike at the most advantageous moment. He could have eased back on the Moby Dick quotations a bit though. Kirstie Alley made for a very emotional Vulcan, which was most curious, but good in her own way (a certain cast member from a certain new series could have learnt a lot from her). The story itself was excellent. The writers obviously took the time to consider the previous flim's reception and wrote as a response, bringing in the fact that the cast were beginning to show their age and weaving it into the story. Then there was so much about facing death, right from the beginning with the Kobyashi Maru. Maybe Kirk had faced death before, when he lost his brother, or having to kill Gary Mitchell, but he seemed not to have faced it in quite the same way. Oddly, he also rediscovered his estranged family, but that was not to last. I also liked the way the atmosphere seemed to have changed, become more realistic perhaps. The new uniforms were good, definitely looking the part, and the landing party jackets were very practical (they had POCKETS). I liked the way we got to see so many parts of the ship's operations; people running about to form damage control parties, actually loading a torpedo tube, everything in engineering and so on. Reliant vs Enterprise was a very effective space battle, done entirely with motion control (no CGI cheating) and Kirk's solution was a very effective use of the third dimension (often overlooked, but crucial in space). It's interesting that Khan died when he thought he had won, Pyrrhic victory or not. It took Spock's sacrifice to change it. It was a big thing, killing off Spock, but you can see how they left the door open to bring him back. Still, it produced some moving scenes at the end. An excellent film, well worth saving for my 300th review.
Title : The Search for Spock Rating : 3
Writers : Harve Bennett Year : 2285
Review : I want to make the case for this being a good film, although I'm probably biased because it's the only one I had on video for a very long time. Maybe it's not perfect, it certainly undoes a lot of what the previous film did. Not just by bringing back Spock, but Kirk's reconciliation with his family came to nothing. David was killed, and we didn't even see Carol Marcus. Genesis was obviously far too good to be true, that you could just make planets inhabitable in a few minutes, so it had to fail really. That just turned it into a plain weapon, and that was that really. One thing that doesn't make sense about it is where the star came from. Perhaps there was a protostar in the nebula that got activated, but Regula was far too small for planet or star. And what happened to Kirstie Alley? However, there was some excellent stuff in there. I absolutely loved the whole 'Stealing the Enterprise' sequence, right from "Make it quick, Admiral." to "Best speed to Genesis.". The whole flight out of Spacedock was dramatic and eventful, and my absolute favourite bit of motion control ever. Mind you, the flight in was graceful and smooth, and it had me looking up at the sky wondering if it ever will hold something that vast. As for the final battle and loss of the Enterprise, it was unfortunate, but meaningful. Nothing could ever bring the Enterprise down, her own captain destroyed her in a desperate measure to save a friend. Finally, this film gave us the elegant Excelsior, the trim little Obarth and the ever-reused Klingon Bird of Prey, which looked menacing enough to make a decent adversary. The story worked very well, and the Klingons made a fair antagonist, although certainly not up with Khan. There's also an odd twist where the Grissom's over-cautions captain accidentally saves Saavik, Spock and David (for the time being) by calling Starfleet before beaming them up, otherwise all three would have been blown to bits. Perhaps it's also worth mentioning that all the main cast got a decent line or two (my favourite was Scotty's "Up your shaft.") which was supposedly a touch Leonard Nimoy put in. He made a very good director, and it would have been good even if he had come back only to direct. OK, so the film wasn't perfect, but it certainly doesn't deserve some of the flak it takes sometimes. By the way, I wonder if 'Federation battlecruiser' was the Klingons being more honest than Starfleet.
Title : Muse Rating : 3
Writers : Joe Menosky Year : 2376
Review : This may or may not be good. From my point of view, Torres took some liberties with the Prime Directive, but I think she managed to contain things OK in the end. It seems as though the initial breach wasn't her fault, although that is a little unclear. Still, I have to wonder if there was not a ready-made play in the Delta Flyer's memory banks that could have served. Some people might have gone for this, but it seems that B'Elanna preferred to deal with it by helping the author make it up as they went along. A shuttle crash wasn't particularly imaginative, but what was actually shown was intriguing. The acting troupe seemed fairly convincing, although not outstanding. The play itself seemed to work fairly well, I found myself wondering what the rest of it was like, the audience must have been astounded by the "special effect" at the end. Overall, not too bad.
Title : Live Fast and Prosper Rating : 3
Writers : Robin Burger Year : 2376
Review : A curious episode. It avoided descending into humour, and provided a decent story. At one point, Janeway described her strategy as "making it up as I go along". That's surprisingly accurate, but not good, because constantly reacting to situations makes it harder to take charge and come out on top. When Dala escaped, I thought it was too easy, and ultimately that was the case. Mind you, it was also far too easy to override the security procedures on the Delta Flyer. Encrypt your database, for goodness sake! I also find the heating coil issue a bit implausible, but they needed an excuse for Neelix to remember Dala. Kaitlin Hopkins seemed to do fairly well as Dala, and might have made a good Janeway under different circumstances. Not so sure about the others. Verdict, reasonable.
Title : Amok Time Rating : 4
Writers : Theodore Sturgeon Year : 2267
Review : A remarkable look at a different culture. This added yet more complexities to the nature of Vulcans, who had already become a complex people. You get a sense of something ancient and different that the Federation itself will never touch. The story was really about personal things, Spock when stripped of his logic; Kirk's friendship and how he cannot risk Spock's life (twice), although he does risk his command; McCoy as ever finding a slight sense of superiority out of it, but showing a real concern for Spock's life; and even Nurse Chapel. The fight scenes were staged well and seemed convincing, while the weapons used might have been strange, but they seemed to be workable. It may have been an excuse for two of the main characters to fight each other, but the reason was sufficient and so it worked. Of course, Spock grinning from ear to ear then catching himself doing so, was the classic moment. The last scene settled the story back down, wrapping everything up very neatly. The new visualisations, clearly inspired by TSFS, were very effective, while not going too far. Leonard Nimoy, as ever, puts in a very good performance. So good writing and good acting (and now good visualisations). Excellently done.
Title : Who Mourns for Adonais? Rating : 1
Writers : Gilbert Ralston Year : 2267
Review : An interesting concept, that ancient mythology was based on alien visitors to Earth. Possibly "Chariots of the Gods" was an inspiration for it, but it was worth exploring. However, they did not do it very well. The classical references seem reasonably accurate (although there was no mention of the Sun). Incidentally, Pollux IV was an interesting choice, being both a real star(Beta Geminorum) and Apollo's half-brother in mythology. Still, for all that, the script was not particularly good. Apollo demanded something that Humanity could no longer give, and Kirk made sure that he did not get it. So, they were captured and freed themselves again, simple enough. Lieutenant Palamas was once again a bit of a pushover, something from the script even before they met Apollo, but she just got swept away until Kirk swept her back. It is possibly understandable what she saw in the situation, but there was no particular reason for anyone else to be tempted, which would have been far better. As it was, all the others could see was a prison. Scotty (who should not really be on a landing party) let his jealousy go far too far and simply served as a convenient subject to get beaten up. The hand in space was effective, and the new visualisations captured it well. However, that does not make up for the basic failings. A weak episode.
Title : Journey to Babel Rating : 3
Writers : D.C. Fontana Year : 2267
Review : Quite an effective bit of writing. This gave Spock a series of dilemmas, and different people to convince him either way with each one. Maybe that is the Fontana touch. Good performances from Mark Leanard, the perfectly dignified Vulcan ambassador and surprisingly believable as Spock's father even though he is not that much older in real life, and especially Jane Wyatt, who gave some sense of how hard it must be for a Human woman to live with someone like Sarek or Spock. Amanda first argued AGAINST then FOR the operation, but both equally well (and got a brief smile out of Sarek). The regulars did well too, with Dr McCoy getting plenty of good lines. As for the way the story played out, it was very effective. It is somewhat hard to believe that a shipload of ambassadors from allied planets would be quite so argumentative, but from anecdotal evidence it is not far from the truth. The new Orion ship was good as well, certainly better than the original spinning lights and perhaps an inspiration for the 'jellyfish' in "ST-XI". Another odd contrast is the make-up. I supposed one just has to imagine that the Andorians have mobile antennae, and that the Tellarites have five fingers. I think I saw what looked like a Ligonian delegation as well (not that anyone had ever thought of them before the TNG era). Anyway, the verdict, a decent episode.
Title : Brothers Rating : 2
Writers : Rick Berman Year : 2367
Review : Another episode where one actor spent a lot of time talking to himself (did Brent Spiner get paid three times?). He certainly did it fairly well, but then he is a very good actor. The contrast between Soong, Lore and Data was done very well, in writing as well as in acting. However, the story stretches a bit thin in places. It does seem a bit strange that nobody thought of using a shuttlecraft (especially since Data could have taken one and not delayed the ship at all). Since they are warp-capable and have independent systems, it might just have been possible to have got the child from sickbay to the starbase, or at least call another ship to pick them up. Rick Berman perhaps letting plot get in the way of practicality. So, what we got in the was patchy. Nevertheless, it was still a half-decent episode.
Title : Catspaw Rating : 0
Writers : Robert Bloch Year : 2267
Review : A fairly rotten episode. Doing a Halloween special was simply asking for it, and somewhere where magic is apparently real, well, not all that different from what you can do with telepathy and telekenesis, or transporters and replicators for that matter. It's also yet another story where a group of aliens is trying out what it is like to be Human. Then of course there's the plain silliness, the witches at the beginning, Sylvia chasing various people around as a giant cat (which can meow with its mouth closed, but is not clever enough to stick its paw through the cell door with its claws out). At least the strings disappeared from the puppets at the end in the remastered visuals. Load of rubbish.
Title : I, Mudd Rating : 0
Writers : Stephen Kandel Year : 2267
Review : Harry Mudd is back, and more insufferable than ever. It's hard to go more than five minutes without wanting to put your fist through that moustachioed face!!! Still, the idea of a race of androids stuck on a planet is not a bad one. There was potential there, but the basic message seems to be, 'to destroy androids, send in the clowns'. Talking machines to death is another repeat factor. Frankly, I was glad when this was over, and was tempted to watch it in fast-forward. I won't choose to watch it again.
Title : The Doomsday Machine Rating : 5
Writers : Norman Spinrad Year : 2267
Review : A classic man vs machine battle, or maybe Jaws before "Jaws" ever appeared (well, not quite). This is just as much a story about Kirk and Decker as it is about the machine. They end up commanding each other's ships, and William Shatner manages a very convincing (for him) facial expression when Kirk sees the Enterprise almost going down the throat of the Planet Killer. William Windom does fairly well as Matt Decker, reminding me of commanding officers from various war films who have seen their troops die in front of them. Clearly a terrible thing, and Decker's suicide fits the seemingly futile reaction, but ultimately turns out to be the crucial moment in defeating the enemy. Clever writing there. Some wonderful new visual effects, as ever, with everything much more dynamic, and the phasers seeming as effective as spotlights against that neutronium hull. Mind you, even the old version (the Constellation as a plastic model that had had a fight with a soldering iron) produced some dramatic scenes. (Pity the registration was 1017 rather than 1710, but that's just an annoyance.) OK, it was fairly simple, but had some hidden depths. Usually if an episode is simply a great watch, I give it four stars. The odd clever touch to the writing means that this deserves the full five.
Title : Friday's Child Rating : 2
Writers : D.C. Fontana Year : 2267
Review : Not exactly brilliant, but a reasonable story, I suppose. A somewhat unbelievable story. The Capellans presumably don't have warp capability, they haven't got as far as gunpowder yet, but they seem to know a lot about the spacefaring people who talk to them. Not sure how to explain that. Still, the main story was really about McCoy and Eleen and their strange version of the doctor/patient relationship. Slapping a pregnant woman does not show in a good light (even though the blow obviously missed by miles) but it seemed to work. The B-story, Kirk handling a tricky diplomatic situation in the usual manner (find an excuse to beat someone up) seemed fairly average. The C-story (complicated this) with Scotty on the Enterprise made some sense. The decoy was a fairly obvious one, but I suppose he had a duty to respond to the distress call. I wouldn't have minded seeing how he faced down the Klingon ship on the way back, but we can't have everything. Incidentally, the glowy light ship seems to have become a D7-type design. I was hoping for something Bird-of-Prey-ish (being a "small scoutship") but perhaps that was too much to ask. Verdict, OK, but not brilliant.
Title : Return to Tomorrow Rating : 2
Writers : John Kingsbridge Year : 2268
Review : Not entirely brilliant, but it had its moments. The acting seemed a bit off in places, certainly in Bill Shatner's case where he went way over the top a few times. However, I can't fault DeForest Kelly for his ultra-cautious McCoy in this one. Ultimately, both he and Kirk were both right and both wrong about how the situation turned out. The story worked fairly well, the idea of ancient survivors from a race of super-aliens is given yet another take. Different enough, and all three were different types of people, trying to capture different aspects of an entire culture in three people, and sort of succeeding. Henoch was out for power, Thalessa just wanted her life back and Sargon seemingly wanted to become a permanent father figure. Curiously, Sargon means "True King" in ancient Akkadian, a name taken by a usurper. The new VFX were limited to the planet, but much of the surface looked like oceanic crust with ridges and fracture zones, so not bad. OK, this was strange in places, badly acted in others, but it still sort-of worked. Finally, I've often wondered what happened to the half-built android bodies. Did a certain Dr Soong acquire them at some point?
Title : Patterns of Force Rating : 1
Writers : John Meredyth Lucas Year : 2268
Review : Those nasty, evil Nazis, they've got to be vicious. Firstly, John Gill was wrong. Nazi Germany only seemed efficient because a lot of its economy was based on slave labour and resource seizures from occupied countries. However, it was in contrast to the Weimar Republic, that was forced to pay massive reparations under the Treaty of Versailles. In fact, there was massive in-fighting at the top, and even between major agencies, and near-incompetence with many of the leaders. It's questionable whether a benign leadership could ever have controlled such a state, mostly because the main way to keep the population in check was fear, followed by propaganda. So the premise was wrong on several counts. As for the script and the acting, it was patently ridiculous. Would two random aliens trying to get into the Chancellery not be carted off to the nearest police station? Why would a research lab even be in the same building? What happened to the phasers and were they ever recovered (just a YATI)? Would someone not realise that there was something seriously wrong with the Führer? Is the change at the end not far too quick? Some things were good. Daras apparently betraying her father mirrors some real-life incidents. But that doesn't make up for the acting, which was wooden at best. It's been commented that the actors seemed to enjoy swanning around in Nazi uniforms. Whatever the reality of that, it did not look good. Overall, one of the most ridiculous episodes ever made, but just about watchable.
Title : By Any Other Name Rating : 4
Writers : Jerome Bixby Year : 2268
Review : I like this story. It was well-written and fairly well acted. As with many of the good ones, we had no clear villain, Rojan was a man doing his duty for his people, even though he could be quite ruthless about it. The death of Yeoman Thompson was part of this, and the writer made her more than just another Redshirt, but someone with a speaking part whose death meant more. Kirk's solution was quite effective as well, showing various attempts to use force or guile to get out of the situation, finally succeeding with pure Humanity, in this case a combination of Human strengths and Human weaknesses. So in the end, he won by experience. A number of things came up. Firstly, I don't remember the ship going faster than warp 8 previously, yet warp 9 started appearing afterwards. Did Scotty copy some of the Kelvan's modifications? Secondly, when the crew was reduced to little polygons, did Kirk go around picking them all up, work out who they were and move them to their quarters to prevent them from being damaged? Finally, if the Enterprise was supposed to be a generational ship, where were the Human females? They should have kept Uhura and Nurse Chapel around at least. The new VFX worked, as ever, and the Andromeda view was fairly accurate. There was a very neat trick with the make-up used for the Kelvans, especially Rojan, making it look more and more naturalistic as the story went on, suggesting that they were becoming more Human all the time. Verdict, a very good episode. It's a pity we never had a full series in the 29th Century, so that we could see when the Kelvans arrived.
Title : The Omega Glory Rating : 2
Writers : Gene Roddenberry Year : 2268
Review : A story that went from the sublime to the ridiculous. It started off very well, with the story of the strange disease that crystallised the entire crew of the Exeter (although one would have thought their skeletons would stay intact, but perhaps they crumbled). Then we went on to see the crazy Captain Tracey and the strange planet where everyone lives a very long time). That was developing into a good story, but it turned into a USA mutual appreciation society at the end. Unless it was intended as some sort of send-up, Rodenberry was well-known for his dislike of religion, they went completely overboard. Seeing symbols of a political system as "holies", and all the hoo-hah surrounding them, was far too far. The US Constitution has some fine words, and I admire the people who wrote them, but this went too far. OK, the new VFX. The Omega IV with its big supercontinent was well done, and it was good to see another Constitution-class (there's that word again!). Pity they didn't explain what happened to the Exeter. Quarantined? Self-destructed? Crashed into a star? Right, a split personality. Three stars for the first half and one star for the second. Average, two stars.
Title : The Ultimate Computer Rating : 4
Writers : Laurence N. Wolfe Year : 2268
Review : A very good episode. It's of its time, but very good. There was a lot of worry in the 1960s about people being replaced by machines - some of it justified - and it obviously rubbed off here. Also for its time, it placed a black man at the heart of the story as not only a genius, but a very respected man in his field. Not by all, but that had nothing to do with his ethnicity. He made for a curious character, an engineer caught up with his own inventions, gradually losing contact with reality - roughly what the M-5 did. I've never been quite sure why the machine became so paranoid and almost psychotic, but it was clearly necessary for the plot. Kirk's indignation in being replaced, and the contrasting attitudes of Spock and McCoy made an effective balance, I see the Fontana touch there (she re-wrote the script). The actors managed very well with it. The new VFX were excellent, the space station, a nice planet, a very sensible replacement of the ore freighter, modified starships and much more dynamic battle scenes. It's probably impossible to show what a dogfight between FTL vessels would really look like, but this conveyed the impression very well. We saw an ancestor of the M-5 in the ore freighter's automation system, although all that really needed to do was avoid navigation hazards and plod along in a straight line. Overall, a very good episode.
Title : Bread and Circuses Rating : 2
Writers : Gene L. Coon, Gene Roddenberry Year : 2267
Review : And here we are investigating alternative Earth history again. This time, it's the Roman Empire, and they have "Hodgkin's Law" as an explanation. Of course, if it was a *complete* Earth parallel, the patricians would speak Latin and the plebeians and slaves would speak Greek, but that would have needed subtitles. As for the setting, it did not feel entirely Roman, more a veneer stretched over a clearly American setting. I'm not sure about the Sun/Son thing either. The story fitted together fairly well, but the way Marcus intended to draw the Enterprise crew down in an attempt to prevent "contamination" did not seem well thought-out. It would have made more sense if the self-serving Marcus was after advanced technology for a power grab. Merik's end - a knife in the back - was the most Roman moment in the whole story. The writers seemed to be thumbing their noses at their network bosses on several occasions; "nothing so crude as television" and the gladiator bout scene with it's applause/booing effects. New VFX, we have a planet with a supercontinent on one side and a massive ocean on the other, plus two additional moons, otherwise nothing special. Overall, not bad, but not good either.
Title : Assignment: Earth Rating : 3
Writers : Art Wallace, Gene Roddenberry Year : 2268
Review : A pilot of a series that never was, in fact a handover episode ("Emissary" and "Caretaker" would do the same thing). It was handled very well, and the focus shifted gradually from the Enterprise to Seven and Lincoln. From there, the story flowed fairly well, with some decent writing. Seven was played very well by Robert Lansing, with a curious touch of menace to him. Roberta Lincoln might not have been entirely filled out, but there was potential for writers to work with there. Isis the cat intrigued me, and the way that Seven seemed to be communicating directly with her, I really did wonder what was going on. It added an "is he good or bad" question as well. That left us divided over whom we wanted to succeed in what. Curiously, the writers got both the prediction of a Saturn V going off course (although Apollo 6 stabilised) and an important assassination correct (unfortunately for Martin Luther King) - they both happened on the 4th of April, 1968. The rocket shots were Apollo 4, a slightly odd choice given that the Saturn V was an exclusively NASA rocket and a nuclear launch would have been handled by the USAF. I might have edited in some USAF markings if I had been in charge of the remastering process, and perhaps use the real 2nd stage separation for the shot, not the 1st. Seven also had something very like a sonic screwdriver. With all this, and the excellent setup, I get the sense that "Assignment: Earth" the series might have been good, but I suppose we will never know.
Title : Wolf in the Fold Rating : 1
Writers : Robert Bloch Year : 2267
Review : "All the evidence points to Jack the Ripper." 1968 contender for the Silliest Line in Trek award. What did we have here? A series of events clearly intended to make certain people (but not us, the viewers) believe that dependable old Scotty was a murderer. Well, what the Argelians believe is important here, I suppose. Still, when we get back to the ship and the computer-aided trial, Kirk and Spock build up an incredible hypothesis, which Jaris buys into for some reason, so "Red Jack" throws away its biggest advantage and just becomes another thing trying to kill everyone that gets defeated easily. Overall, not good at all.
Title : The Cage Rating : 4
Writers : Gene Roddenberry Year : 2259
Review : The original pilot, famously 'too cerebral' for the network bosses. Well, maybe they thought they were right, but I believe this was one of the best. It's odd when watching how different some things seem, especially where they sound effects don't seem to match the pictures, but that's simply because they decided different effects sounded better for different things. The sets also seemed more primitive, even in the remastered version. Still, some things actually seemed better - the uniforms were more practical for one thing. The acting was excellent as well. Jeffrey Hunter was a far better actor than William Shatner, and I really wish we had seen more of Captain Pike. Majel Barrett's 'Number One' was a curious character (pity we never found out her name) and the original version of Spock was certainly different from the character we know (although he was the only 'survivor' from the original cast). Still, I can't fault the story. Rodenberry managed a subtle reversal, from Pike being powerless in a cage, experimented on like a lab rat, to Pike being the key to the Talosians' survival, taking almost complete control of the situation. Almost, but not total. He also did it with his own mind, and the crew's best efforts to throw technology at the situation came to very little - although they did provide Pike with some useful laser pistols. It also highlighted the danger of disappearing into a fantasy world and leaving the real world to fall apart around you (something Mr Barclay and certain Trekkers ought to remember). It's a great unknown whether a series with Captain Pike's crew would have worked, but I would have liked to find out. This would have been an excellent start.
Title : The Enterprise Incident Rating : 4
Writers : D.C. Fontana Year : 2268
Review : A very good episode with an excellent story, good pacing and decent acting. However, the plot was a bit thin in places. Firstly, this depended on an incredibly unlikely series of events, and ran the risk of losing one of Starfleet's finest ships for the sake of the cloaking device. Firstly, they had to find a Romulan ship with the right sort of commander. Then they had to gamble that Kirk's death was believable. Then they had to hope that they could get past the Romulans' security procedures. Then they had to hope that the cloak worked. Then they had to gamble that the Romulans could not penetrate their own cloak. Not to mention retrieving Spock. All very unlikely, and all had to happen in the right order. Luckily for them, it did happen. One thing I can say is that it convinced on first viewing. I really thought that Spock might be tempted, and that Kirk just might be dead - but then I was eight at the time. That was down to the acting, with Leonard Nimoy allowing Spock's façade to crack just far enough, and Joanne Linville just about matching him as the Romulan Commander. D.C. Fontana's writing (despite the thin plot) was as good as ever, with some excellent dialogue. The new effects were as good as ever, with the Bird of Prey returning, the new markings and some dynamic movement in space. A very good episode, but I'm afraid a star has to go for the thin plot.
Title : The Paradise Syndrome Rating : 1
Writers : Margaret Armen Year : 2268
Review : OK, not much of a story here. It seemed promising, a number of mysteries offered in the first few minutes, but then did not really fit together. What Kirk had seemed to be some form of conscious amnesia, meaning that his memory still worked on a subconscious level, and that was the one thing done well. What I know about Native American culture can be written on the back of an envelope, but this somehow doesn't seem right. In fact, it seems to be the old cliché of a white man turning up and being mistaken for a god by the simple savages. I don't think many of the cast were Native American either. They also missed out what might have been a good scene, Kirk explaining to either Salish or the Elder how to work the deflector, and coming to the usual Trek-like resolution of everyone's misunderstandings. As a result, the story seems incomplete. It's a pity, because it might have worked. As it is, the writing let it down, despite the lavish budget. Still, Kirk's visit might have spawned some interesting legends. Briefly, the remastered sections worked fairly well, with a decent asteroid, improved phaser and deflector shots and a nice planet - generally maintaining the standard.
Title : Spock's Brain Rating : 0
Writers : Lee Cronin Year : 2268
Review : A patently ridiculous episode. I think it suffers from a major problem in acting. Any fool can act clever, but you have to be very clever to act a fool. The first twenty minutes or so were OK, but it all went downhill from there. As well as the pathetic story, the acting was terrible, from the main cast as well as the guest stars. The whole concept of feeding people stored knowledge through a dryer hood was laughable as well, as was Spock telling McCoy how to operate on himself (although brain surgery can be done without anaesthetic because the brain has no pain receptors). There are a few major YATIs. Firstly, the ion drive ship, NASA launched an ion-propelled probe in 1998, although getting warp speed out of an ion drive would be very impressive. Secondly, if there was a male/female split, how can the males have ended up on the surface? Either they survived a very long time, or surplus male children were sent back up. Thirdly, is this not a huge breach of the Prime Directive? A restored Spock might be able to pull the computers to pieces and install an artificial intelligence to restore this (plus gaining the Federation a lot of knowledge) but Kirk has just made a huge aid commitment otherwise. Overall, silly, ridiculous, badly-acted rubbish.
Title : And the Children Shall Lead Rating : 0
Writers : Edward J. Lakso Year : 2268
Review : OK, not quite as bad as it could have been, but another duff episode. The children in this were about as convincing as they were in "Miri", and that is not much. At least the story made some sense, another evil alien with a bag of tricks that could mislead the innocent, but went away when confronted. Still, the acting was pretty terrible, with Shatner down to his usual standard, and the rest of the cast not much better. Generally a rotten episode.
Title : Is There in Truth no Beauty? Rating : 2
Writers : Gean Lisette Aroeste Year : 2268
Review : A most curious episode. The plot was fine, the pacing worked, the acting was pretty good, but the dialogue was seriously weird. It was more like a stage play than a Star Trek episode. I also reckon the characterisation was a bit off, especially with Kirk, who just didn't seem to be making any sense. That's all down to the writing, and this episode badly needed a rewrite, even though it appears it was rewritten at least once. I'm also somewhat unclear just where the ship ended up, although inside the galactic barrier makes most sense. As for the Medusans being too ugly to bear, obvious recycling of ancient Greek myths, but I suppose it makes some sense as a comment on standards of beauty. Besides, how can anyone who has ever seen one be believed? Even Vulcans have never truly seen one. People can die during psychotic episodes, enough stress can cause a heart attack, but Marvick's death would be very unusual. Also, Kirk's presence during the ambassador's beamout was a bit of a YATI. Still, Diana Muldar did very well considering what she had to work with, and the regular cast were not too bad either. As for the remastered effects, good as ever. I liked the new Medusan ship, the barrier worked, and putting lights on the planet was a nice touch. Verdict, mixed good and bad.
Title : Spectre of the Gun Rating : 1
Writers : Lee Cronin Year : 2268
Review : A strange episode, but seemingly based on a strange episode in history. I used to think the entire story of the gunfight was fictional, but it turned out to be an actual historic event, although the circumstances were very different from here. Still, this version of it with its exceptionally low-tech special effects and the whole 'film set on Mars' look to it bordered on surreal in places. The obvious course of action would have been to throw down the guns and surrender as soon as possible (remembering that it was all an illusion anyway). I like the resolution, that by convincing yourself that none of this was real, nothing can harm you. The improved VFX was quite subtle here. The buoy looked pretty strange anyway, and all that really changed was a bit of realism to the banked turns. The planet looked like an expanded Mars, so matched the surface very well. Verdict, very strange, but not very good.
Title : Day of the Dove Rating : 4
Writers : Jerome Bixby Year : 2268
Review : Not bad at all! In fact, very good for the third series. Things seemed a bit strange and a bit dubious on several occasions, but then reality was getting a bit distorted for both crews as well. The alien was an interesting threat, although it seemed to go away very fast at the end. It's perfectly possible to generate intense feelings of anger by increasing adrenaline production combined with false information (which might be what the alien was doing). Some of the details were nice. Scotty's claymore was matched by Sulu finding a katana, Chekov a Russian broadsword and Kirk a naval officer's sword - although this is long before batleths were first seen. The Klingons here were much more similar to 'modern' Klingons than we have seen before in TOS. Kang is clearly recognisable, and hardly changed when they brought him back in DS9. The ending was very neat as well, albeit a bit quick. The new visuals were nice, with the exploding D7 providing plenty of debris. A decent episode.
Title : The Motion Picture Rating : 2
Writers : Allen Dean Foster Year : 2271
Review : Well, visually, this is one of the most impressive films I have ever seen. It's up there with 2001 in terms of cinematography, the sight of the Enterprise (a massive ship by 20th Century standards) looking like an insect when alongside the V'Ger craft was remarkable. It was all motion control as well, I have great respect for whoever made that model. So many strange things, both inside as well as out. Then we have the refitted and updated Enterprise, a very graceful ship, incredibly detailed and realistic. Maybe she's lost some of the simple elegance of the original, but still great. But special effects and models are not everything. Here, we have a good story, but perhaps not brilliant. There is a strange, mysterious force heading for Earth, plus the clash between Kirk and Decker, and Spock's return. Spock transits from being stiffer and starker than ever back to his normal self after the (again visually impressive) venture into the interior. Then the revelation at the end that this vast thing is all based around a tiny piece of NASA hardware launched centuries ago. Still, this all doesn't take away from the fact that we were watching a rehash of "The Changeling", with elements from "The Immunity Syndrome" and "The Corbomite Maneuver" stretched out to two and a half hours. Truly "The Slow-Motion Picture"! As for the origin of the Borg idea, all I'll say is that Rodenberry once said that the Machine Planet was the Borg homeworld.
Title : Alliances Rating : 3
Writers : Jeri Taylor Year : 2372
Review : Not entirely brilliant, but not bad either. We're seeing a little tension between Starfleet and Maquis (for once) with both sides questioning their captain, who seems to be pulled this way and that, influenced most by whoever last spoke to her. She was certainly taken in by the Trabe! They at least were convincing, and to be honest it might have been worth accepting the fait accompli and leaving it at that. As usual though, they went out of their way to make Maje Cullah look like a strutting idiot - far too obviously. The Kazon were supposed to be 'Klingons without Kehless', but that's clearly failed, although this episode established a vaguely plausible history for them. OK, odd issues. Firstly, after the ambush, why is the building still there? It was unshielded and under disruptor attack (imagine what an Apache helicopter would have done). Secondly, three photon torpedoes? The city is still there, so the yield was obviously turned down to TFF levels, but why waste them when one phaser shot would do? Not too bad for early Voyager, I suppose.
Title : Encounter at Farpoint Rating : 2
Writers : D.C. Fontana, Gene Roddenberry Year : 2364
Review : Usually when reviewing pilot episodes, I try to give my overall impressions of what the series will be like. However, I first watched this with my parents at age 3, so that's quite hard to do. Trying to look at TNG in a detached perspective, it happened just after the success of TVH, so a good time for the new series. Still, it didn't quite deliver in terms of the story. The whole section with Q was bolted on, essentially as an afterthought, but Q recurrend many times. He was clearly inspired by Trelane, yet with an attempt to provide more menace and a bigger threat. Unfortunately, that only half-worked, and he turned out to be far too silly for this threat to fit together. As for Farpoint, the Bandi and the space jellyfish, a simple story as a basic plot and a good start. There was an odd bit where they mention the Ferengi as the new 'big threat'. Everyone had their own contribution (albeit brief from some) and we got some sense of the various characters' back stories. As for the people themselves, Picard did not seem very sympathetic at first, and we had an eclectic mix of others. Riker seemed OK as the series' 'action man', the typical 'tough guy' role was taken by a woman (Yar), we had a ship's counsellor on the bridge (what the...?), plus a KLINGON (weren't they the baddies once?), a blind navigator, etc., etc. Data would seem to stand out with the most potential, an arifical life form, what would they make of that (please allow for perspective here)? I went through a phase of not liking the Enterprise D, yet now I think of her as a big, stately ship, the 747 of space. Here, we got some sense of what she could do, including the woefully under-used saucer separation. Overall, while it wasn't exactly brilliant, there was certainly potential (as we found out). I can get some sense of how it might have been perceived at first, but eventually it just WORKED!
Title : The Naked Now Rating : 2
Writers : J. Michael Bingham, John D. F. Black Year : 2364
Review : Naked Time - The Remake! Well, maybe not quite, but it's close enough to be so. Since this was only the second TNG story, then I would be a bit worried if it was going to start ripping off TOS episodes left right and centre. Looking at the story itself, it's OK (but the original was OK as well). The polywater intoxication is actually impossible, but the way it was handled was fairly reasonable. One good thing was that they were able to get some character-building in quickly, with Dr Crusher's attraction to Picard, Yar's past and Data's 'full-functionality' (one line that got a laugh) in there. However, we also had the first case of Wesley saving the ship by being a genius, handled badly as ever. Was it worth watching? Yes, in fact, but such remakes are not a good idea.
Title : Where No One Has Gone Before Rating : 3
Writers : Diane Duane, Michael Reaves Year : 2364
Review : Well, this was interesting and different. It was hardly perfect, but it was possible to see how TNG tried to curve gently away from TOS early on rather than sheering off at a mad angle. Here, we had the mysterious Traveller, who was at least written well (we learn a few things about him, but not much), and a visit to somewhere far, far beyond where we had been before. There were also elements of the old stuff, being careful about fantasy becoming reality. However, it had its flaws. They emphasised Wesley as a boy genius, yet of course they went WAY too far with that. There was also the strange Kozinsky, only two pips yet utterly and completely full of himself (if he's chief engineer of a garbage scow after this, he can consider himself lucky). They were also still establishing elements of people's pasts, Picard's chat with his mother not quite working, but being partly illuminating. Overall, I think I liked it.
Title : Lonely Among Us Rating : 1
Writers : Michael Halperin Year : 2364
Review : Not exactly brilliant. It was very slow and generally awkward most of the way through. The overall story of the entity being captured from the cloud and making its way back could have taken half an hour, but it was stretched to full-length with a lot of faffing around deciding what to do. The two alien delegations were clearly there for padding, after all they contributed very little to the story. One good point though was that they allowed different people to contribute, Troi with her 'duality' explanation, La Forge with what he saw with his visor and so on, I especially liked Data's little Holmes vignettes. The solution at the end, replicate the captain, was very effective too. With Picard's character, they seem to be developing him as Hornblower in space, someone who keeps a lot of things back, outwardly gruff but softer inside. It did help that they had a very good actor, though.
Title : Justice Rating : 1
Writers : Ralph Willis, Worley Thorne Year : 2364
Review : Not exactly brilliant. Here was one of the few times we see Picard mishandling something. Obviously, the Prime Directive should be paramount here, but (most likely because of his feelings about Dr Crusher - although that's not mentioned) he succeeded in shoving that out of an airlock and going with what seemed the easy way out. Duty should transcend that, but it did not, and here Picard allowed himself to be swayed away from his duty. When Starfleet Command hears of it, he should find himself on the carpet. Yar also messed up, since she forgot to explain what she DIDN'T know but should have expected to, namely the way laws are enforced. We had the interesting 'God in a space station' concept, something that would reappear with the Caretaker, but I would have preferred to see that developed more, perhaps with a visit to an Edo temple to help understand how they see 'God'. The future of the Federation colony is unclear, but how does one negotiate with a 'god' over colonisation rights? On other matters, it's not only the women who run around in skimpy costumes in TNG, or so it seems. I also have to complain about the dialogue, which is a bit clunky (something that often affected early TNG). Still, it was fairly watchable.
Title : Hide and Q Rating : 1
Writers : C.J. Holland Year : 2364
Review : Yet another attempt to rub in the old story of 'absolute power', but here it misfired. We had far too much of Q faffing around playing silly games and nowhere near enough of Riker coming to terms with his power. That might have made an interesting story from a character point of view. Nice try, but...
Title : Haven Rating : 1
Writers : Lan Okun, Tracy Torme Year : 2364
Review : Well, this was very good. Lwaxana Troi, a woman with an ego the size of a small moon, was played to perfection by Majel Barrett, but that didn't stop her being utterly insufferable. A re-use of the old theme of the counsellor (in this case) who can handle everything except her own family, but it worked very well here. We can also see how the Betazoid black eyes happened by accident. Still, we had some vaguely-entertaining personality clashes in some scenes - although Data got in one good line. The Tarellian plague ship B-story seemed only partially important. Although surely the solution suggested, planting the survivors on a deserted island, would be better than nothing. The whole end was an irritating deus ex machina, the other woman and the apparent intervention of fate wrapping up the whole story. Far too easy.
Title : Datalore Rating : 3
Writers : Maurice Hurley, Robert Lewin Year : 2364
Review : A story that nearly worked. Most of it was very interesting, finding out about Data's history, the old colony and what happened to it. Firstly, there was the interest in the identical androids, where we could not be quite sure what was going on (and did Brent Spiner get paid twice?). Then there was the question of Lore's character development. They made him seem as curious as Data, perhaps a little too curious. Brent Spiner did a good job with both roles, believable as ever. However, it did not quite work. I can understand why the captain decided to ignore Wesley's suspicions at first, he was distracted by the entity and that seemed a far greater threat. However, when 'Data' suddenly started communicating with it, he really should have realised something was wrong. It might have been better to handle it by toning down the differences somewhat, making Wesley nervous about speaking up when he was suspicious and giving Picard a certain ammount of doubt - but not enough to make him mistrust a senior officer. Also, why telegraph that Lore is evil? Overall, it worked, but I'd say it needed some tweaks.
Title : Angel One Rating : 1
Writers : Patrick Barrey Year : 2364
Review : OK, not exactly brilliant. The idea of a female-dominated society goes back to the Amazons, and Gene Rodenberry wrote a very good Planet Earth episode around it. The B-story was a pathetic excuse to add forced drama, and it could have been done better. Beata might have made a decent character, but not quite. As well as being a hypocrite, she was a caricature of a woman given too much power, or just of politicians in general. That's not a criticism of Karen Montgomery, more of the writing. Ramsey and the others were far less believable, and it was far too much of a co-incidence that he married a 'Mistress' as well. Again, this could have been handled far better. Riker made a reasonable plea at the end, I suppose. It was watchable, but barely, being badly written. Also, was this the first 47?
Title : Too Short a Season Rating : 3
Writers : Michael Michaelian Year : 2364
Review : This episodes seems as though it started as a sequal to "A Private Little War", although elements of the 'Iran-Contra' arms for hostages agreements took it over, with a comment on the futility of striving for things you can never have (second chances especially) thrown in. Admiral Jameson could not be more aware of his mistake, and was clearly doing his best to atone for it, yet having no success. Clayton Rohner was somehow convincing as him at all ages (despite the unconvincing make-up as the elderly version) and put in a fairly convincing performance. Marsha Hunt also seemed believable as Mrs Jameson, and her reaction to the admiral's actions somehow fitted, despite being somewhat contrary. In the end, it was a strangely believable story, all about individuals rather than the bigger issues. The hostages were in the background, we did not even SEE them (and 20 seems a tiny compliment for a starliner). Certainly watchable.
Title : Symbiosis Rating : 3
Writers : Robert Lewin Year : 2364
Review : Well, it was one way to take on the issue of drug-addiction. It perhaps didn't handle it perfectly, but did reasonably well. The main difference from recreational drugs is that the Onarians were being conned by the Brekkians. Since they genuinely thought that felicium was medicinal, then the whole conflict of supply and demand for recreational use did not apply. It was far more about how Picard handled things without making it any worse and dealing with his obvious disgust at the situation. However it was done, it was still convincing enough as an episode. Picard's solution makes me wonder whether he had just been reading "The Merchant of Venice". He had already interfered by rescuing the freighter crew, so he came up with a way to wash his hands of the whole situation as quickly as possible. Probably his only option at the end. Verdict, reasonably OK, but not the best.
Title : Skin of Evil Rating : 3
Writers : Joseph Stefano Year : 2364
Review : There seemed to be a touch of desperation about this episode. As I understand it, Denise Crosby wanted to leave, and they needed a way to make her death seem meaningful. Therefore, they created the ultimate evil creature and allowed it to kill her. That part did not quite work, because the idea of Armus is a bit wrong. So some sort of super-alien civilization found a way to shed the evil parts of themselves as a living creature . . . then just abandoned it. Surely, even without the evil parts of themselves, they must have known how dangerous it could be if it got loose, yet they still left it. It did a lot of evil things, but killing Yar was a bit pointless. It gave Armus no release and contributed nothing to the story other than making him/it look evil. A desperate way to kill a character. However, despite her apparently needless death, Tasha Yar's memorial was a poignient moment. The first major character to die and not come back. She was a half-decent character, and I'm glad we got to see her (and her daughter) a few times since.
Title : We'll Always Have Paris Rating : 2
Writers : Deborah Dean Davis, Hannah Louise Shearer Year : 2364
Review : Well, this was curious, but not all that interesting. They had two parallel stories, one about Picard and his past, the other involving Mannheim's temporal experiment. This seems to be a partial re-use of "The Alternative Factor" (which was not a good episode) and it barely makes any more sense here. Besides, tampering with the fabric of space and time seems like a bad idea, but that was reasonable enough to solve. Picard's past, abandoning Jenice the way he did, actually makes more sense. Picard is supposedly Hornblower in space, and sometimes has a lot of trouble dealing with his feelings, so it makes sense that he would stand her up, then regret it ever since. Still, it did not quite make up for the weaker A-story. I can't decide whether I disliked it or whether it was genuinely a bad episode, so I'll compromise by giving it two stars.
Title : Conspiracy Rating : 2
Writers : Robert Sabaroff Year : 2364
Review : The first TNG multi-story arc concludes (or does it). It's a pity they couldn't have run this on a bit more, perhaps with the captains' meeting during the previous episode, but then this was before DS9. As a 'what the heck is going on' episode, it sort of works, but somehow the whole thing seems rushed. Quinn and Remmick were fairly believable, and of course Remmick's death was suitably gory (and edited out in the version I just watched). But one expects the cconspiritors/parasites to have come up with a better plan to deal with someone detecting them. The stop-motion parasites were not done well either, but that was probably lack of budget more than anything. Maybe the confusing pacing took the tension out of it, or maybe the episode needed to be stretched into two parts, or maybe it just needed more thought. A near miss. Interesting, but could have been far more.
Title : Where Silence Has Lease Rating : 4
Writers : Jack B. Sowards Year : 2365
Review : This was quite disturbing in some ways. At first, it seemed like a re-hash of "The Immunity Syndrome", but then it began to shift away from there. Once again, we had the 'What the heck is going on?' plot running, and that's always intriguing. The various tests thrown at the crew only served to rub that in. We began to get the whole 'rats in a maze' thing aboard the fictional Yamato. Nagilum as a concept makes some sense, although I cannot really understand why it would want to communicate with or even make itself known to the Enterprise crew (although it was necessary for the plot) since that would affect the conditions of any test. Unless the question was more about how far Picard would go to prevent his crew from suffering. Seems it has its answer there! There is no real way to be sure that we ever did make it back into 'real' space at all, which begets plenty of questions as to what this (fictional) reality actually is. Maybe they never left at all...
Title : Elementary, Dear Data Rating : 2
Writers : Brian Allen Lane Year : 2365
Review : This worked on some levels, but not on others. Having read most of the Sherlock Holmes stories, it seems to have slipped a little way from the original. Watson was more than just a chronicler there, he was the action man while Holmes provided the brains - and they missed that particular part there. However, the original Moriarty was simply a means to kill off Holmes (a bit like Armus as a means to kill of Tasha) and here we saw an attempt to fill out the character. They did that properly when they brought him back. However, as usual with holodeck stories, we have to suspend our disbelief much more than usual. Can they not just cut the power, or beam Dr Pulaski out of there? As for Pulaski herself, I can't fault Diana Muldar's acting, but she sometimes has to deal with bad writing. Possibly because of the recycled scripts, they were trying to make Data and Pulaski into a surrogate Spock and McCoy, yet it looks more as though she was just being intolerant. Believably intolerant maybe, but I'm not sure. Verdict on the episode: OK, but no more. Finally, what a wonderful model ship! Well done whoever made her.
Title : The Schizoid Man Rating : 2
Writers : Hans Beimler, Richard Manning Year : 2365
Review : An episode that started off slowly, but got interesting later on. It took some time (possibly too long) to establish Ira Graves as a character, maybe more of a caricature. Transferring himself into Data's body is straight out of "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", which makes me wonder if he got hold of Dr Korby's research somehow. Brent Spiner was OK as Graves, but I think he went too far to make it convincing. But maybe that was the writing. Graves made virtually no effort to fit in as Data, he just carried on being who he had been before, an arrogant old man who saw himself as God's gift to the galaxy. The resolution actually worked, making Graves face up to the reality of where this might end up, although downloading himself into the computer might cause problems. His knowledge is now free to distribute throughout the Federation, which might have interesting results. Finally, 'touch-and-go-downwarping', surely that was an unnecessary bit of hyperbole. I also really wish we had seen the Constantinople - I don't think we have ever seen a Federation passenger liner - but we can't have everything. The verdict: flawed, but watchable.
Title : A Matter of Honor Rating : 2
Writers : Burton Armus, Gregory Amos, Wanda M. Haight Year : 2365
Review : Here was where they started filling out the Klingons, turning them from the pure villains of TOS and the slightly more complicated villains of TNG to the way we know them now. Sometimes, that did not quite work (hence jokes about 'The Bikers of the Galaxy') but I think it fitted together fairly well here. However, they succeeded in going somewhat too far with the Klingon captain's reaction. He turns one minor incidence of corrosion into a suspected surprise attack, then prepares for an attack of his own. He also lets Riker stay on the bridge rather than dragging him off to the brig. Finally, after Riker has already refused to reveal classified information, he then gives it away, and the captain does nothing. I'm more neutral on the Benzite ensign on-board the Enterprise, that was a pure culture clash, but had a bit too much of Wesley in it. However, there were quite a few redeeming features. Riker fitting in with the Klingon crew worked very well without slipping into comedy. He also seemed to enjoy every second when he was speaking to Picard as a fellow captain (tongue firmly in cheek, I imagine). Overall, not too bad.
Title : The Measure of a Man Rating : 5
Writers : Melinda M. Snodgrass Year : 2365
Review : One of my favourite episodes with a good story and good acting. A lot of this referred back to "Court Martial", but there were touches of "The Merchant of Venice", including Louvois - who reminded me somewhat of Portia, but had the same conflict of interest as Areel Shaw. However, in this, the legal proceedure was much more convincing than "Court Martial" (I say this as a fan of legal dramas). Maddox was possibly a bit too arrogant, but I think they went slightly too far on some occasions. However, I also get the feeling that, had Data's wellbeing not been in danger, Maddox would have been allowed to have his way. Jonathon Frakes had an interesting part to play this time, and I think he got it just about right, balancing Riker's conflicting reactions while hardly having to say a word. Whoopi Goldburg had her usual excellent cameo, quiet, but to the point. Picard's final speech was a classic, straight out of Patrick Stewart's RSC days. It obviously did what it was supposed to do. Let us not forget Brent Spiner, who managed to show Data's reactions with no obvious feelings, yet you just KNEW he would be terrified of the results if he could be. Generally, an excellent episode for my 347th review.
Title : The Dauphin Rating : 1
Writers : Leonard Mlodinow, Scott Rubenstein Year : 2365
Review : Not exactly brilliant! It had the odd moment, but hardly did well. Firstly, it was far too Wesley-centred, although here he was somewhat more believable. He's a young man learning about life and love rather than a genius, so they gave him limits and flaws, but I'd been put off the character a long time ago (due to him being a complete pain in the backside). There's also the somewhat ridiculous Nanny Anya, who went WAY too far and kept going. Pre-emptive killing of a helpless patient in sickbay just because a fellow passenger might become infected is just ridiculous, especially since it was a cheap excuse to show off her shape-shifting abilities. There's also rather an odd YATI, where they first claim that a terawatt source is 'more power than the entire ship can generate', then proceed to beam Salia down. A bit self-contradictory, I think (especially since the ship is supposed to be a lot more powerful). However, Jame Hubbard went some way towards redeeming the episode. She was very convincing as Salia, a young woman torn in various directions, who saw a whole new set of possibilities opening up before her, yet eventually decided to do her duty. An excellent performance. I also have to mention Guinan and Riker's little scene in Ten Forward, very nicely done. Verdict: not a total disaster, but fairly rotten.
Title : The Royale Rating : 0
Writers : Keith Mills Year : 2365
Review : Riiight! Who thought this was a good idea? Putting three of the cast into a terrible story, naturally gives us a terrible story. SURELY someone should have spotted that! As for the story itself, well, they did their best with it. It was strange seeing Patrick Stewart - who seemed to regard the story with considerable distaste - trying to act his way out of the story, but there was not much he could do. As a send-up, this might have worked, but not as a simple story. Finally, if Colonel Richey thought this was bad, it could have been far worse. Someone with more literary taste might have brought (for instance) "Nineteen-Eighty-Four"...
Title : Time Squared Rating : 2
Writers : Curt Michael Bensmiller Year : 2365
Review : OK, this was strange. The little scene at the beginning was clearly padding, but it made a nice vignette before we got down to the real 'what the heck is going on' story. The best bit by far was Picard's reaction to seeing himself. He is clearly very hard on himself, absolutely refusing to accept that he made a mistake. He then gets very close to making the same mistake himself (or again) but luckily cracks it himself with virtually no help from his duplicate. He then kills Picard 2, which carries 'being too hard on himself' to total overkill. There was a much better way. Imagine if Picard 2 STUNS Picard 1, then heads up to the bridge, orders the ship through the vortex . . . and vanishes. Picard 1 then wakes up in the shuttlebay and wonders what is going on. That way, Picard 2 would have fulfiled his purpose, saving the ship and redeeming himself. The effects for the vortex looked very effective, though. Overall, strange, but watchable.
Title : The Icarus Factor Rating : 0
Writers : David Assael Year : 2365
Review : An episode that looks like they ran out of ideas. Essentially, just a plain 'filler' where not very much happens, but we get a look at some of the characters' backgrounds. Now that might have been interesting, but totally failed. Essentially, it was soap opera stuff mostly. Everything about Riker and his father, Worf feeling down and all his friends trying to pull him round and so on, plus the remarkable co-incidence that Pulaski nearly married Riker's dad (out of a population of however-many-trillion, what's the odds on that?). No, not really interesting. There's an expression for Kyle Riker, and its initials are S.O.B., but Will began to act like one whenever he was around. Now that's believable (and seen in many families) but when it all suddenly sorts itself out in some silly game, it just isn't. As for Will starting to turn down commands, one gets the sense that he is precisely where he wants to be with precisely as much responsibility as he wants . . . for now. There were a few moments, O'Brien needling Wesley for a start, and Pulaski and Troi's little scene in the observation lounge perhaps, but that simply cannot make up for the rest of the story. Too soapish and generally dull.
Title : Pen Pals Rating : 2
Writers : Hannah Louise Shearer Year : 2365
Review : Now, remembering a previous review of "Homeward" last repeat cycle, this makes an interesting contrast. The problem there was there was NO dissent about the Prime Directive, the problem here is that they overdid it. What might have affected most of the senior staff would be when the Dremans suddenly found a voice, and it was a little girl. Most, but why Data? After all, what feelings does he have to sway? Maybe it's in his ethical programming somewhere, but it's possible they used the wrong character as a conduit to the rest. Also, we did not hear that much of the 'correspondence' between the pen pals (and surely it was regular light-speed radio - wouldn't their conversations take years unless the ship's sensors can speed it up somehow?). Instead of that, we had Wesley and his little survey. Now it's likely that he would need to start somewhere, but unless we've missed a lot, this is a bit too much too early. It was clearly an attempt to give him a bit of character conflict and prove him right, more of an appeal to motive than an actual interesting storyline. They still wanted people to like him, and wanted it too much. Anyway, both this and "Homeward" show one thing, the Prime Directive is a tightrope, all too easy to fall off on either side. Finally, when this survey is published, I'd expect the sector to be crawling with prospectors.
Title : Samaritan Snare Rating : 1
Writers : Robert L. McCullough Year : 2365
Review : After the last episode, a major let-down. Firstly, the Pakleds are probably the most half-baked species since the Ferengi. So, if we are to believe they are all that stupid, and equate knowledge with power (since it is clearly in short supply) we must somehow also believe that they are also capable of conning people far cleverer than themselves out of this knowledge. Since that clearly doesn't make sense, we are offered the alternative, that their language skills are the only deficiency. But since language is a means to express concepts and ideas, that makes no sense either. However you look at it, it's a ridiculous concept. With the other, they found a cheap excuse to put Picard and Wesley in the same shuttle and introduce the concept of his artificial heart at the same time. Assuming that was really necessary, then why not come up with something convincing (say that they heart cannot be replicated aboard the ship or whatever). Or do it separately, have Picard ordered back for a conference with the station admiral THEN have his heart go wrong. While some of the shuttle scenes worked, being quite well-written and handled about right, the excuse just makes Picard look vain. Why should he possibly think that having a tin heart will make him any less respeced by the crew? He may be very harsh and judgemental about his own actions (right up to murdering himself a few episodes ago) but this was all about not admitting even the SLIGHTEST weakness. OK, overall, this was rotten, but somehow the shuttle scenes worked, and it wasn't a complete disaster. Just about watchable.
Title : The Emissary Rating : 2
Writers : Hans Beimler, Richard Manning Year : 2365
Review : Not an easy one to review. Firstly, the idea of a 'sleeper ship' war fought over DECADES is ridiculous, unless one assumes something went wrong with this particular ship and the trup was supposed to be a lot shorter, but that is just an assumption. AIUI, they downplayed the threat to the Enterprise, but the old cruiser was still a threat to unarmed colonies, and Picard was put in a position of having to pull the trigger or let the Klingons run amok. That does not really work, all he would need to do is distract them for long enough to let another Klingon ship turn up to collect them. . The trip in the torpedo casing - far smaller than even a Mercury capsule - does sound like a desperate way to travel. K'Ehleyr was an interesting character, and Suzie Plakston was convincing enough. She seems torn between different parts of her divided heritage, neither fully accepting nor fully rejecting either side. I can understand how Worf might be drawn to her, and she to him, but (as often happens) they are totally unsuited. So they both try to deal with it in their own ways. The result is a sort of double culture clash. It worked well enough, but I lost interest somewhat. However, it was convincing enough.
Title : The Survivors Rating : 4
Writers : Michael Wagner Year : 2366
Review : Certainly interesting. Unlike last week's colonial trouble, we were left with a puzzle, one that slowly revealed itself through the episode. I'm somewhat confused as to why Uxbridge presented this puzzle, the only solution that occurs is that he could not know what was going on in orbit, otherwise he would either have hidden himself or shown the Enterprise an intact colony. This means he was not all-powerful, he could not trick the Husnok either and he had to resort to the music to move Troi out of the way. However, it worked from a storytelling perspective, unwravelling the puzzle was fascinating. Somebody also mangled their units again, 'gigawatts of particle energy' is not only nonsense, it's also incredibly weak even if rendered into conventional units (but that's just a YATI). Still, the episode maintained interest throughout, and we were able to stay with Picard's reasoning this time. The ending worked as well. Even if Uxbridge did submit to imprisonment, he could not be sent there without a trial, and there would be no evidence except for his confession. We know what he did, but not HOW he did it, if it was as 'clean' as a "Year of Hell"-style temporal incursion, it would be almost impossible to tell the Husnok ever existed. We also don't know why he did not recreate the entire colony. Still, perhaps it's best it remains a puzzle, because Picard was probably right, it would be best to leave him alone.
Title : Booby Trap Rating : 3
Writers : Michael Wagner, Ron Roman Year : 2366
Review : Quite a clever episode. It started with a curiosity, the derelict ship, which we later learn is 1,000 years old (adding to the running notion of the Milky Way having a rich and varied interstellar history). The booby trap itself was quite clever, being both self-sustaining and with the instinctive reaction to try to power out of it only making it harder to escape from - as simple and as clever as a plain old snare. I have to say, my immediate reaction was 'turn everything off' - although that was mostly to buy time rather than an escape route. Building on that as a way out of the trap was very neat, and gave us a much better feel of real spaceflight. The whole sequence was almost perfect, with some 'sideslipping' but the slingshot manoeuvre was slightly off on detail. There was also the B-story. Why are chief engineers always unlucky in love? Somehow, this was not only convincing, it contributed several possible solutions, including the final counter-intuative one. The one annoyance was the incidental music, but that happens a lot in TNG anyway, and I'll forgive them that as a matter of taste. The problems with radiation are also forgivable, mostly because it would be hard to do on a TV budget and fits the usual (slightly annoying) dramatic convention. Overall, this was a decent episode.
Title : The Bonding Rating : 1
Writers : Ronald D. Moore Year : 2366
Review : A fairly rotten episode. Firstly, somebody died and left her son orphaned. Well, that's a tragedy, but an inevitable fact of going in harm's way. There's some discussion of this, and I agree with Picard that it's a seriously bad idea to put families aboard starships. However, that is not really important. They TRY to tackle the issue of dealing with grief. They dance around it, look at it, yet do not really take it on. Yes, we see some discussion, but no actual story. Unusually for Ron Moore, he was telling, not showing. As a result, this was a damp squib.
Title : The Enemy Rating : 4
Writers : David Kemper, Michael Piller Year : 2366
Review : A decent episode. As often happens with good ones, we see how technology gets in the way of personal contact. While we have a developing confrontation in space, it's the 'human' stories that show up best. Picard was being rather dogmatic (for him at least) by holding position for such a long time rather than finding some way to both meet the Romulans and remain at the planet (dare I suggest separating the ship?) but eventually made his usual good decision at the right moment. There was the story of Worf, who stuck to his guns no matter what, and proved that that is not always good. Then there was Geordi and the Romulan centurion on the surface, again one with virtually no technology to hide behind, as hostility turned to co-operation in a very Trek-like manner (the antithesis of what was happening in space). The resolution worked and everything was handled very well. One oddity was Picard neither advising Starfleet of what was happening nor asking for help (we have a tactical squadron arriving in two days might have added to the growing confrontation). I also rather wish we had seen the small Romulan ship (which might have been a shuttle, but sounds more like a "Defector"-type scout). There were a few touches of irony added in the right places as well. Overall, definitely worth watching.
Title : Captain's Holiday Rating : 1
Writers : Ira Steven Behr Year : 2366
Review : Overall, I think they got away with this. Firstly, Risa looks like the most horrible tourist trap in the galaxy, and I wouldn't go there without a phaser to my head, but luckily the story avoided showing too much of it. Firstly by introducing Vash, secondly by building up the tox utadt idea, they took us away from the resort and out into the country. Vash was essentially a stock character, seductive but selfish. Of course, they added a Ferengi as well, which hardly helped matters. The resolution dangled an interesting thread, the Vorgons headed back in time again, with the implication that they would inevitably succeed, now with foreknowledge of what happened. Overall, I would tend to avoid this episode in future.
Title : Allegiance Rating : 1
Writers : Hans Beimler, Richard Manning Year : 2366
Review : Not too bad, I suppose. Yes, it was the old story of aliens testing humanity given YET ANOTHER spin, but it did partly work. The interest was split between the false Picard on the Enterprise, clearly testing the other officers - and especially Dr Crusher. This made for some curious scenes. We also had the real Picard and the other three in their cage, again clearly a test, and fairly predictable. Picard, a Frenchman, singing 'Hearts of Oak' was decidedly ironic. The ending had touches of irony as well. Clearly, the aliens had no consideration for individuals, and it would not be surprising if they tried the same thing again one day (although we never saw them again). Overall, there were a few decent bits, but it was generally predictable and a bit tired. Watchable, though.
Title : Tin Man Rating : 4
Writers : David Bischoff, Dennis Putman Bailey Year : 2366
Review : An interesting episode. The idea of a spaceborne life form is a bit far-fetched. What would it eat? How would it breathe? However, it has been seen before, and the idea of a living ship existing symbiotically with its crew was rather fascinating (I wonder if this inspired "Farscape"). The model used looked nice enough, although the interior set was less convincing. It's also a bit odd that Tin Man/Gumtuu chose to commit suicide by sitting beside a star about to explode rather than flying directly into one (or a black hole if it could survive that). Still, a lot of the story focused on Tam Elbrun and what was happening on the ship. To imagine the way he has to live, imagine every single radio station in the world being beamed into your head simultaniously - I'd go mad in a few days. Harry Groener put in a convincing performance (as did most of the people he interrupted - theatrical interruptions often sound unnatural) and the writers gave him some good lines, a different look at telepathy from the one we saw in "The Price". The resolution worked as well. I've sometimes wondered what happened to Tin Man, it had some interesting capabilities and potential for more stories. One side note, I see the Romulan Warbird now has a proper class name, not a reporting code. Did Jarok let that one slip in "The Defector"? (If the writers thought of that, nice touch.)
Title : Sarek Rating : 4
Writers : Jake Jacobs, Marc Cushman Year : 2366
Review : A very good episode, with top-notch writing and acting. Obviously, some of this harked back to "Journey to Babel", but here we had no external threat, but somehow Sarek's condition was more chilling. Old age can change people (Bendii Syndrome seems to have a parallel with Alzheimer's) and it's something we know will catch up with all of us. Right from the start, we had a sense that something was not right, then it developed into something we half-understood. As well as all the angry exchanges, we had several key confrontations, where Mendrossen lied through his teeth to Picard, where Data talked Sakkath round, and finally when Picard faced Sarek head-on. The scene where Picard has to deal with all of Sarek's emotions at once could only have been done by Patrick Stewart. With anyone else, it would have looked completely overacted, but he made it convincing (probably all those years on stage helped there). Mark Lenard was also entirely convincing, with Joanna Miles also doing well. Overall, good writing, good acting, good episode.
Title : Suddenly Human Rating : 3
Writers : Ralph Phillips Year : 2367
Review : Actually, quite a cleverly-written episode, the acting was not bad either. As I see it, Jono/Jeremiah essentially had a form of Stockholm Syndrome, having formed such a traumatic bond that he really believed he was no longer human. Picard could have taken the easy way out, warping off to the nearest starbase and letting the lawyers sort this all out (they would have ruled in favour of the Rossas, no doubt) but that wouldn't be Picard. Besides, as Troi pointed out, that would have effectively put Jono through a second kidnapping - two wrongs don't make a right. Instead, he tried to do things the hard way, getting through to Jono on a personal level, trying to convince him. It was working as well, we saw it. However, his judgement of Endar was somewhat flawed - this man had been involved in a massacre which killed innocent civilians including Jono's mother (and probably many children). However, he WAS the one person who asked what Jono wanted AND made it clear that the decision would stand (although, as the abductor, that was a pressurised decision). The result was an attempted 'suicide by cop' (I reckon he aimed to HIT Picard's sternum to make it look like a genuine murder attempt). And that was obviously the tipping point in Picard's decision. However, their little head-grabbing ritual at the end suggested that Jono/Jeremiah might have begun to accept his Human identity. Maybe one day, he will be back. Briefly, Chad Allen did very well, far more convincing than a certain cast member. Also, we had our first look at Talarian ships. Judging by the numbers we see, they seem to operate the Clydeside of space!
Title : Remember Me Rating : 3
Writers : Lee Sheldon Year : 2367
Review : Another 'what the heck is going on?' story. I think they pulled it off fairly well. We got to see (Cheryl) Gates McFadden take centre stage here, and she put in a convincing performance. There was just the right ammount of doubt showing at just the right time. We only found out what was actually happening at just about the time when we had seen enough clues to make a fair guess, so that was a reasonable assessment. Also, the scene where Picard and Crusher were trying to convince each other of their points of view was excellent, especially Picard arguing for a 2,000 ft ship with a crew of TWO! The resolution was somewhat lacking, though. The Traveller worked fairly well in "WNOHGB" as a plot-driver, but here he was beamed in to provide the resolution, which made absolutely no sense to me. OK, they had to recreate the warp bubble and a stable threshold, but why all the 'see beyond the numbers' stuff? It sounds like new-age gibberish, or was it just a substitue form of technobabble? Still, it worked. Finally, how many of us have wondered 'if it isn't me, is it the Universe?' I know I have.
Title : Legacy Rating : 4
Writers : Joe Menosky Year : 2367
Review : Rather an interesting episode. Regarding Turkana IV, it is clearly an allegory for a failed state and I find it hard to believe that the Federation Council would sit on its hands and let the colony go to Hell in a handcart (although in political cynic mode, it happens in the real world all the time). The Prime Directive does not apply to a Human colony, indeed it wouldn't exist but for the Federation, so they should send in a peacekeeping force and sort it out, whether they declared independence or not. However, it is clearly necessary for the story, and dealing with one faction in a failed state is a very tricky business. Ishara Yar was a very effective character, and Beth Toussaint put in a very convincing performance (as someone putting in a very convincing performance). It's easy to see how the crew could have been taken in, and how Ishara might have been somewhat tempted (maybe that's what Troi sensed). Oddly though, she did her duty just as her sister might. They might have made a mistake by putting in the 'it's working' line, but I always think telegraphing is a mistake. As for the resolution, it worked very well. Finally, the line about Alliances and Coalitions 'sounding so reasonable' sounded like a subtle dig at NATO. If so, it was given extra irony just over a year later.
Title : Reunion Rating : 3
Writers : Drew Deighan, Jo Perry, Thomas Perry Year : 2367
Review : Not bad. This episode weaves together two story arcs very neatly. Firstly, the Klingon politics issue. It makes some sense that K'mpec would choose Picard as arbiter, although I have to wonder if there was not some outsider Klingon available. Still, it works for the story. Gowron (as the outsider) seems to have been away somewhere - maybe he was a field commander - up against Duras, who had been on the High Council for some time (the insider). That sounds familiar (no names named)! We all knew that it must be Duras who was up to something, but they laid a few snippets that Gowron might have schemes of his own going. We also had the K'Ehleyr and Alexander story (curiously, he's named after one of Earth's great commanders). Once again, a convincing performance by Suzie Plakston made this believable, and some of her scenes worked really well. I'm slightly puzzled by Alexander's age, though, but maybe Klingons grow faster than Humans. The ending was also very convincing, except for one thing. The bat'leth is a hideously unweildy weapon, and a regular sword should defeat one easily (its reach alone should do the trick), yet still Worf won. Yes, he IS Worf after all, but still...
Title : The Wounded Rating : 4
Writers : Cy Chermax, Sara Charno, Stewart Charno Year : 2367
Review : I enjoyed this one. We have a combination of several personal stories and one big story going on at once. It also introduces the Cardassians, who look somewhat more alien than the usual Trek species - somewhere between reptiles and mammals. They worked very well, with the same semi-civilised veneer as the Romulans, but somewhat more ruthless. They seem a bit behind on technology, but their determination makes them threatening. Macet in particular seems to fit this idea (and does he have a relation in charge of Bajor?). O'Brien has gradually been making his way into the main cast recently. Not sure what's going on with his rank and position (if he's a CPO now, surely he was only a Petty Officer at Setlik III, yet he ended up as the tactical officer). He had a lot to do here, and seemed convincing at every stage. . In the end, there seems to be a slightly odd mirror between Setlik and what happened at the science station. The Glinn in Ten Forward said almost the same thing as Maxwell did about the suspected attack. However, we would later find out that Maxwell was right, but it was a clever touch. Overall, a very good episode.
Title : The N'th Degree Rating : 3
Writers : Joe Menosky Year : 2367
Review : A decent episode. Mr Broccoli is always a useful character, because he's believably flawed, giving a sense that maybe not everyone is up to the usual Starfleet standards. But even he still tried his best, when he can make himself do so. Unlike so many other people who gain superpowers, turn arrogant and try to kill everyone, he stayed in character, remaining essentially the same person, just superficially different. The main characters reacted naturally as well, somewhat wary of him, but not going too far. Picard only tried to disconnect Barclay when he genuinely thought he had no alternative. Finally, it's worth comparing this with "TFF". The Cytherians (whose name actually means 'Venusian') have the same 'disembodied head' communication method as 'God', live at the centre of the galaxy and are capable of transporting ships there themselves by using a single individual from their study group. That leaves an interesting question, have they just retconned (or even de-canonised) "TFF"?
Title : Identity Crisis Rating : 2
Writers : Timothy De Haas Year : 2367
Review : A half-decent episode, but the plot logic was a bit weird. We've had a string of these 'what the heck is going on?' stories recently, and it's about time for a change. They did provide us with a reasonable mystery to solve, and it seems they solved it fairly well, but not quite. The whole holodeck reconstruction scene worked very well, and was entirely convincing. What makes least sense is how poorly they monitored Geordi, especially when they suggested he might have the same infection as the others. Why not keep him confined to Sickbay, where he could work from Dr Crusher's office? Why not have a security detail trailing him? Why not do something other than leave him on his own? It would not affect the plot, if the transformation was quick enough, he could escape fairly easily. No, it seems to be sloppy writing. Still, the entire episode was to set up the last planet scene, where Geordi remembers himself just enough to come home. That scene worked, but there were better ways of getting to it.
Title : The Drumhead Rating : 4
Writers : Jeri Taylor Year : 2367
Review : An obvious take on the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s, but still a good episode. Firstly, there's clearly the sense that Satie had Picard thinking at several points. He clearly found her arguments compelling at first, then began to find them more and more appalling, while questioning his own behaviour on past missions. While this was happening, they were clearly turning down the subtlety until it's no more than a slap in the face. Then there's Satie herself, played convincingly by Jean Simmons, who has clearly lost touch with family and friends (and reality) in the pursuit of her supposed traitors, yet still retains enough composure to look reasonable to outsiders. She clearly sees that as a worthwhile sacrifice, but maybe having more stability and some roots would have helped her. There's one ship 30-odd years before this I'm glad I didn't serve in! Of course, the irony is that McCarthyism was all 'in the past' in 1991, only to resurface as powerful as ever a decade later. I guess "she or someone like her will always be with us, waiting for the right climate in which to flourish.".
Title : The Host Rating : 3
Writers : Michel Horvat Year : 2367
Review : An interesting attempt. The idea of a 'joined species' was clearly worth following up (seven years of DS9 proved that!) but there obviously had to be a few retcons. Still, maybe they were not as big as we thought, because I think the odd trace of Riker did emerge in Will Odan (as we should call him) so maybe the differences are not so big after all. The biggest problem, though, is Odan and Beverley's 'reassociation' (which DS9 subsequently made a whole episode out of). Practically, if the hosts can be male or female, this sort of thing was bound to happen sometimes. I'm not sure what message the writer was sending out here. Is love supposed to be something that conquors both gender and sexuality? Whatever it was, it didn't quite work. As a singular story, the rest of episode itself was fairly standard fare. We knew that peace would come eventually. Jonathon Frakes managed to handle the transition to a very different role well enough, and (Cheryl) Gates McFadden also managed OK. Verdict, a half-decent episode.
Title : In Theory Rating : 3
Writers : Joe Menosky, Ronald D. Moore Year : 2367
Review : A story that is both curious and oddly tragic, but not entirely convincing. Whether one believes in 'the rebound' or not, Lieutenant de Sora is clearly supposed to be on the rebound, and it's clear from the start that this is the case. The only people who did not see it were Data and Jenna (and perhaps Riker), and we all knew it could not end well. As for the B-story, dark matter was a new idea then, and nobody really understood it when this was written. The anomaly behaviour was oddly similar to what happened in the Delphic Expanse (although that is probably co-incidence). However, the solution was a bit off. Really, Data should have been flying the shuttle. Not just because of his lightning reactions and the fact he might survive in a vacuum, it would have made more sense for the story, that's what pushed de Sora into her decision somehow. The end was, of course, inevitable, and Data's complete lack of emotional reaction somehow made it work.
Title : Home Rating : 1
Writers : Michael Sussman Year : 2154
Review : An episode where, to be honest, not very much happened, and that was rather dull. OK, we did see a few interesting moments, perhaps as hints of what was to come, but they were spread very thinly and most of the rest seemed to be 'filler' to cover for this. One gets the sense that the writer was trying to do something like TNG's "Family", but simply didn't have the cast or direction to back it up. We had some insights into civilian life, plus the political backgrounds on Earth and Vulcan, and T'Pol's family. However, that tells us little more than a couple of scenes could have done in the next episode. Captain Hernandez made for a decent character (I found myself hoping she and Archer would swap ships at one point). There was also the business of xenophobia on Earth, which makes some sense (remember, this is a post-September 11th episode) and might have made a decent episode had it been explored further. Finally, there was Soval giving Archer a hard time (as ever) during the debrief, which again might have provided more interest if explored. Verdict, a bit dull, but otherwise nothing specifically wrong with it.
Title : The Augments Rating : 3
Writers : Michael Sussman Year : 2154
Review : An effective conclusion to what turned out to be a decent story, and the cast did very well with it. It simplified itself, gradually coming down to a simple confrontation. Malik was clearly the Augments' weak point - that was clear from the first part. He was far too rash, clearly leading them to destruction no matter what they did, and so it proved. The ending looked almost like a twisted version of "TWOK", with the bio-torpedo standing in for Genesis, but Malik's reappearance threw that off. It might have worked better if he had tried to ram the Enterprise, killing himself but taking Soong and Archer with him, but the ship blew too early. As for Soong, he seemingly went through what a previous generation of geneticists must have, great hope, then concern, then the realisation that what he had created was out of control (almost a Frankenstein plot) and finally the decision that he had to destroy his own creation. However, there was an interesting dangling thread in his last line - about cybernetics. If he could somehow live another two centuries, then maybe we haven't seen the last of him after all...
Title : Kir'Shara Rating : 3
Writers : Michael Sussman Year : 2154
Review : Generally handled fairly well. Final episodes can be a bit predictable, and I suppose this one was. They did have to pull a few cheap tricks to work some things out, Syrrin's memories affecting Archer for instance, but in general they were fairly few and far between. However, they missed one trick in going after T'Pol rather than trying to enter the capital using whatever transport the Vulcan security forces had available (they must have had something) although even that would be unlikely to get through security at the end - unless it's the usual Trek plot-dependent security (which it was anyway, but they might at least have tried). The most interesting part of the story was how V'Las was made to look more and more isolated through all three episodes until he finally found himself on his own with no options. That makes sense, he was at the head of a government about to fall. The final revelation, the Vulcans were acting like Romulans because there were Romulans amongst them, was quite clever. I also like the way they didn't let the reformation go too far at once, so there are still some tensions. Another decent episode.
Title : Daedalus Rating : 1
Writers : Ken LaZebnik, Michael Bryant Year : 2154
Review : This looks as though it has been thrown together from bits of other episodes. There were elements of "The Tholian Web" (a partially-visible character wandering around), "The Ultimate Computer" (scientist tries to recapture former glories), "Night" (a massive area of empty space), "Jetral" (the scientist using the ship's transporter for fraudulent purposes) and the soliton wave idea from "New Ground". And of course "The Visitor". However, it all seemed a little predictable, and I for one found it hard to identify with Emroy Erikson. That's possibly BECAUSE it was predictable, we knew a little too much about what he was really up to (the script was liberally sprinkled with clues). The Barrens was another unbelievable situation. It's a bit pointless, especially since there is no such startless void anywhere near Earth (by 21st Century knowledge anyway). Anywhere in interstellar space would do just as well. Other than that, there was nothing specific wrong with it, it was just a weak script.
Title : Observer Effect Rating : 3
Writers : Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Judith Reeves-Stevens Year : 2154
Review : They managed to find a different spin on the aliens investigating Humanity. Instead of the usual set-up experiment, they were trying to understand Human behaviour in a similar way to zoologists observing animals. It has more scientific validity than other methods seen, a much bigger sample size for a start. Quite cleverly, it manages to cover both the reactions of the observers to the test (zoologists CANNOT interfere, and many find it hard) and how the regular characters dealt with the disease. The silicon-based virus is the weak point, and not just because of McCoy's disbelief about silicon-based life. In reality, any virus can ONLY reporduce using a compatible host unless it mutates (look at the trouble H5N1 has with Human-Human transmission). If we suspend disbelief about this, then the story does work. Having some convincing acting helped. Anthony Montgomery had far more to do than usual with his extra work, and Linda Park was convincing enough holding the story together. Normally, the patient just has to lie there. She had quite a lot to do with recovering the shuttle, all the discussion about her past, then breaking out of quarantine in a delerium, and this all worked. Overall, a fairly decent episode.

Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 2,028 Last updated : 1 Jan 1970