retsuko: (spoilers!)
2016-05-20 10:54 am

ST:TNG Rewatch: "Skin of Evil" & "We'll Always Have Paris"

This was… an oddly lackluster pair of episodes, considering everything that happens within them.

Skin of Evil: )

We'll Always Have Paris: )

Signs it’s THE FUTURE: We can maybe reboot the brain after death? No? Maybe? Uhm. Time travel! Theoretical physics?!

Signs it’s NOT THE FUTURE: Our Star Trek villains are still just guys in capes.

The writers’ ‘ship: Yar/Worf, and Crusher/Picard, but Picard’s attention is elsewhere. Poor Beverly.
retsuko: lady rainicorn and princess bubblegum from the pilot episode of Adventure Time (PB + Rainicorn)
2015-07-30 09:03 am

ST:TNG Rewatch: "Arsenal of Freedom" & "Symbiosis"

This pair of episodes was uneven. The first episode has some really great writing and some nice touches in both the character development and plot departments. But the second episode is the most obvious allegory this side of a Highlights political cartoon, and the Prime Directive ruins everything, so...

Anyway, without any further ado, The Arsenal of Freedom )

Unfortunately, the writing isn't so good in Symbiosis. )

Signs it's THE FUTURE: METERS, people. The metric system has won out! Also, thrilling space combat! And maybe we've conquered drug addiction...? Sort of?

Signs it's NOT THE FUTURE: Rich people are still douchebags to the poors. :(

Most random thing from my notes: UGH SO MUCH ALLEGORY DAMMIT PICARD ~~~~
retsuko: (cool yuuko)
2015-05-19 02:30 pm

ST:TNG Rewatch: "Coming of Age" & "Heart of Glory"

Let's get right to it:

Coming of Age: Internal Affairs vs. Everyone. Also, Wesley Crusher. )

Heart of Glory: Brothers... lost among infidels. )

Signs it's THE FUTURE: Aliens! With weird customs! They are different than we! THE FUTURE!

Signs it's NOT THE FUTURE: Standardized testing still sucks, apparently. Also, Star Fleet: Law and Order is still working as a television program I would watch.
retsuko: (spoilers!)
2015-05-08 02:58 pm

ST:TNG Rewatch: "When the Bough Breaks" & "Home Soil"

These were another two episodes that didn't really... stand up, or congeal, or something. They weren't actively bad, though, and they did show off some seriously good character moments for the people involved, but they've left me with more questions than answers.

When the Bough Breaks, and Mama Said Knock You Out! )

And then, Home Soil: She is possessed of a highly abstracted reality. )

Signs that it's THE FUTURE: Terra-forming a planet! The future, ladies and gentlemen! If science fiction has taught us nothing else, it's that nothing could possibly go wrong there!

Signs that it's NOT THE FUTURE: Uhm... there's still a necessity for HR and legal, both of which are sorely needed in both of these episodes. This week on Star Fleet: Law and Order, Contract Law! Existentialist debate! Kidnapping and extortion!
retsuko: martha jones from 'doctor who', in black and white (martha)
2015-04-29 09:41 am

ST: TNG ReWatch, "11001001" & "Too Short a Season"

Argh, I've fallen behind in writing these! This one sat on my to-do pile for quite a while, and I realized that besides Real Life happening, I just wasn't too moved one way or another by either one of these episodes. Nonetheless, here we go:

First of all, there was that one time the Enterprise got scammed. )

And then, ST:TNG does a Benjamin Button episode... before that was a thing, of course. )

Signs it's THE FUTURE: Aliens! The Bi-nars are the most consistently alien creatures we've seen for a whole episode, and that's nice. Also Holodeck~~~~!

Signs it's NOT THE FUTURE: The central moral dilemma plot problem in "Too Short a Season" doesn't really need to be set on another planet, except for the crazy alien drugs plot device. Really, this could be set in any time period, with any scientific mumbo jumbo substituted for the de-aging part of the story, and it would work just fine.
retsuko: (fierce!)
2015-04-01 07:34 am

ST: TNG ReWatch, "Datalore" & "Angel One"

OK, now this is what I was waiting for! The fabulous episode, Datalore )

Unfortunately, "Angel One"... I wasn't waiting for so much. Klingons appreciate strong women. )

Signs it's THE FUTURE/NOT THE FUTURE: OK, writers, in the future, have we eliminated the common cold or not? In "Datalore" it's mentioned (for the millionth time) that the common cold has been eradicated and no longer plagues anyone, but in "Angel One", the illness that the Enterprise crew is suffering from looks suspiciously like the common cold. Which is it, writers? Please pick one option or another!

A note for science fiction writers interested in writing a matriarchial society: If this is an episode about a planet dominated by women, why are the men talking so much? If you've set up this scenario solely to show how our modern society is still grappling with sexism and it's wrong, there are far easier ways to go about making that point without effectively doing exactly what the characters you make into villains are doing.
retsuko: finn & jake's fist bump of awesome (fist bump!)
2015-03-16 02:36 pm

ST:TNG Rewatch: "Haven" & "The Big Goodbye"

There is so much that is good/bad/wonderful/funny/bonkers about these episodes!

Haven: Telepathy is not all it's cracked up to be... )

Funniest Line: Data, at the worst engagement party in the entire universe, "Could you please continue the petty bickering? It is most intriguing."

The writers' 'ship = Awkward!Troi/Sullen!Riker

Most annoying music: It's a tie between the single violin of braveryyyyy and the panpipes of introspection.

The Big Goodbye: The Goods and Bads of the Holodeck )

Funniest/Best Line: The Holodeck baddie, who is surprisingly well spoken, "Make your thoughts fruitful and your words eloquent."

Funniest Moment: Watching Crusher mimic the movements of another woman in the Holodeck police waiting room is just adorable. Even more adorable is the following scene, where a random guy offers her a stick of gum and she swallows it whole.

The writers' 'ship= Picard/Crusher, but only after Picard is disastrously unaware and Crusher is damseled. >:(

The plot aspect that ties these two episodes together is the tricky challenge of introducing a brand new character and making the audience care about him/her in the space of about twenty minutes. Both of these episodes try really, really hard to do just that, but only "The Big Goodbye" succeeds with the Holodeck characters who first realize that Picard/Dixon Hill is, in fact, from another planet, and then, heartbreakingly, that his leaving their space means that they will, effectively die. The new character in "Haven" is a little trickier to care about, for the reasons explained above. It's one thing to see a new character who has an annoying family and a bizarre tie to a main character, but it's another entirely to hang the entire plot on him and his revelations and expect the audience to feel anything about him.
retsuko: snarky quote :) (capital letters)
2015-02-21 02:49 pm

ST: TNG ReWatch, "The Battle" & "Hide & Q"

These two episodes weren't awful, but they weren't great, either. I think the writers were in a rut of trying lots of new things in an effort to see what stuck.

The Battle: The Ferengi are back... and they've brought a Count of Monte Cristo-level complicated revenge scheme with them! )

Hide & Q: Everything's going along contrived but fine until something awful happens. )

Signs that it's THE FUTURE:
* Dr. Crusher says she rarely encounters headaches and the common cold is eradicated. Wishful thinking there.
* The Enterprise's bed technology is YEARS AHEAD of ours! (Seriously, not even a fancy mattress or something? Picard's bed looked like he was at a particularly joyless Motel 6.)

Signs it's NOT THE FUTURE:
* Well, any story involving Q usually necessitates future tech so that Q can show off his powers by messing with it. Both of these episodes need to take place in the future to work, and nothing feels out of place this time around.

Unintentionally Funniest Line:
Geordi: "Worf! Is this your idea of sex?!" (And, thus, a thousand terrible fanfics were spawned.)

The writers' 'ship=Geordi/Yar. This comes out of nowhere! And then is never mentioned again for the rest of the episode!
retsuko: martha jones from 'doctor who', in black and white (martha)
2015-02-13 04:22 pm

ST: TNG ReWatch, "Lonely Among Us" & "Justice"

This is a crazy pair of episodes: one that was really pretty good, and one that was... well, uhm, I'll take it to the comments.

Lonely Among Us: Are You Aware Everyone is Behaving Strangely? )

Justice: WHUUUUTTTTTT. )

Signs that it's the FUTURE:
* Uhm... energy being? The idea of colonizing another planet is pretty standard sci-fi, so there's that, but, generally, both of these episodes would have worked out in non-sci-fi contexts pretty well.

Signs that it's NOT the FUTURE:
* Dude, why doesn't the Enterprise have a firewall? This is the third time where the computers have just shorted out and/or been vulnerable to alien attack. If the ship is so sophisticated, surely the engineers planned for the computers to be invulnerable, at least in most of the ways that it counts!

* Also, the lighting in these episodes is STILL SO WEIRD. Everyone in Engineering apparently works in total darkness OR with the help of one florescent lightbulb.

Unintentionally Funniest Lines:
* A possessed Crusher, on what had happened to Worf: "A temporary... mental aberration." (I love this excuse, and will use it from now on, as much as possible.)

* Picard, on uncertainties: "Why has everything become a 'something' or 'whatever'?"
retsuko: (yay doctor!)
2015-01-31 12:49 pm

ST: TNG ReWatch, "The Last Outpost" & "Where No One Has Gone Before"

Before I begin, a brief side note: last time I posted, [profile] foreverinasmile and I were talking and she graciously listed her 5 favorite episodes, and then asked me the same question. I suddenly realized that aside from "The Inner Light" (which is one of my top 5 science fiction stories EVER, which is why I know the name), I had almost completely forgotten the actual episode titles, but rather, the arresting plots and images that came out of some of my favorites. So, without any further ado, the things I'm looking forward to:

1) Holodeck episodes: Data as Sherlock Holmes and Geordi as Doctor Watson; Picard as a film noir detective.

2) Character development episodes/scenes: Crusher teaching Data to dance for Chief O'Brian's wedding; Data's daughter; poker games; Worf attempting to be a parent to Alexander; Spot, and Data's efforts to learn music; and that one where Picard and Crusher almost but not quite confront their UST because of some crazy alien hostage situation.

3) Crazy images: Cellular peptide cake (with mint frosting!), which is probably the most bonkers episode that stands out in my memory; that one where everyone de-evolves for some reason; Worf delivering Keiko's baby in a turbolift shaft; the Borg (all of the stuff involving the Borg); and the Cardassians (who I will hard pressed not to type up as Kardasians.)

Things I'm not looking forward to include: Barclay and the holodeck (*cringe*); the Cardassians (ugh, just thinking about that torture scene); that one where it turns out Starfleet Command has been infiltrated by mind control aliens and the plot line is never brought up again; that one where everyone is addicted to a stupid game except Wesley and some girl he has a crush on; and more Ferengi nonsense.

Speaking of Ferengi nonsense, let's get to the rewatch stuff, because the Ferengi figure prominently in the first episode! The Last Outpost: Your alien images continue to shock us. )

So, as a palate cleanser, Where No One Has Gone Before: I'm not the Doctor! )

Signs it's THE FUTURE:
* Even though everyone references it, except for the Captain's Log, it appears that no one has to do any paperwork! Hooray!
* Engineering has barstools. Seriously. Hooray?

Signs it's NOT THE FUTURE:
* Aside from ragging on the awful sweater crocheted abomination that Wesley wears in the second episode, I've got nothing. Other than sickbay's bizarre lighting, these episodes manage to stay firmly in future tech territory.
retsuko: (Default)
2015-01-19 01:53 pm

St:TNG Rewatch: "The Naked Now" & "Code of Honor"

Uhm, wow. These two were pretty crazy.

The Naked Now: Everyone acts like they're drunk, and Wesley drives the ship in the PG-est drunken orgy I've ever seen. )

Code of Honor: No one likes the prime directive. )

Signs that it's THE FUTURE:
* Someone wears a metallic lame jumpsuit. Definitely the future.
* Their goblet technology is YEARS ahead of us. YEARS, everyone!

Signs that it's NOT THE FUTURE:
* Plague is still around, or at least, in our vision of the future, plague is still a problem on a large scale.
* Bureaucracy ruins everything. People still complain about it, and at some length.

FASHION Side talk: I know that there are other blogs devoted solely to critiquing the fashions of Next Gen, and I won't go too heavily into that, but I do want to know where the costume department got ahold of all that weirdly ridged fabric and why it figures into almost every costume they make. Also, Wesley Crusher's sweaters are just the ugliest damn things I've ever seen. And, finally, Troi's outfit gets worse with each passing episode; the "belt" of the pink ridge stuff is almost like an arrow that says "Vajayay this way!" and I just want to take Troi shopping for something, anything better than that.
retsuko: (spoilers!)
2015-01-11 10:33 am

ST: TNG ReWatch, "Encounter at Farpoint, Parts 1 & 2"

Netflix's very careful, non-spoilery summary: "The new starship Enterprise and its crew's first mission to explore the mystery surrounding the creation of Far Point Station on the planet Deneb IV."

There are two elements of this opener, one of which involves Q putting Picard & Co. on trial as proxies for the human race for crimes against... humanity? The universe? Crabgrass? Or something. (This part of the episode plays out like the worst job interview ever, complete with crazy outfits and impossible questions.) The other involves (obviously) the "mystery" of Far Point station, where everything is built to exact StarFleet specifications by some ~*~mysterious~*~ means and everything that people want keeps magically appearing. I use the sarcastic tildes and stars above because the idea that people (especially Star Fleet engineers) would dismiss this magical perfection as "just a coincidence" when they know that the planet doesn't have the materials to do this is ludicrous. The opening exposition dialogue between Riker and Dr. Crusher is really odd in this respect. My mental summary was:

Riker: Everything's too weirdly perfect here!
Crusher: LOL, you're such a suck-up.
Riker: But, APPLES!
Crusher: If only this cloth had an ugly pattern.
Shopkeeper: (eerie stare)
Riker: BUT!
Crusher: Whoa, this cloth has an ugly pattern!
Wesley: That pattern wasn't there before!
Riker: See?! Something weird--
Crusher: It's just a coincidence. Good luck with that sucking up while I reveal my angtsy past.

Seriously, StarFleet doesn't seem like an organization which would ignore weird coincidences, especially not on planets where it wants to build a permanent base. Of course, there's an explanation: Spoilers, just in case. )

The solving of this mystery leads to the other part of the episode, which is Q's trial for humanity, in a courtroom that's rumored to be modeled on one in the year 2079, after some event called "The Atomic Horror." It appears to be canon that ST:TNG's working model for our immediate future is that Mad Max does happen at some point, and that armies drug up their soldiers to get them to perform... better? Run faster towards their deaths? Or something. The courtroom is filled with people who look like they're all in a community theater production of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and Q has this awesome scissor lift chair that I noted as, "must own." Q and Picard have a snarky battle of words; Q uses his infinite cosmic powers to ice Lt. Yar like he's Mr. Freeze in an old Batman episode; and while this is all very dramatic, it's weird sequence of events. The pacing is really odd, with a lot of reaction shots from all the characters involved, and they all look awkward and grouchy.

This leads me to my other area of surprise in the rewatch: everyone is awkward and grouchy around each other. More spoilers! )

There is something interesting character building that I had forgotten: Geordi, for example, reveals that using his visor means that he can effectively see, but that he's in pain most of the time, and he's not going to let Dr. Crusher meddle with his brain to deal with that pain if it means he can't do his job or be himself. Geordi is a total badass. I also liked the revelations between Crusher and Picard, even if the entire tone was awkward; it still felt right, given what they'd been through together. Data and Riker's first meeting was pretty nice, too.

Awesome-est part of the episode: DeForest Kelly! And Majel Barrett Roddenberry's familiar voice.

Signs it's not the future:
* Picard orders the Enterprise to cease all internal communications in order to fool Q; he says they should use "print outs" instead. ZOMG.
* The lighting in this episode is very odd: sort of florescent, but weirdly dark in patches.

Signs that it's the future:
* Cloth is sold in cylinders, not in bolts! THE FUTURE!
* The Enterprise's elevator technology is YEARS ahead of ours. Years, people.
* Far Point station is in the form of a city with a pointy spire at its center. Pointy cities = always the future!
* People are always poking at wall computers, although it's never clear what they're doing (except for the time when Riker uses the computer to find Data in the Holodeck.) Wall computers! THE FUTURE!

Next time: Everyone gets some virus that makes them act drunk; Lt. Yar goes to that planet where she has to fight some guy's wife. This should be good.