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All 106 Posts in the Category: Star Trek

8
May 09
Fri

Star Trek: The Breaking of the Curse of the Odd-Numbered Trek Movie

Since the airing of the last episode of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2005, and the release of the last movie, Star Trek: Nemesis, all the way back in 2002, the Trek franchise has lain dormant. One of my friends whom I went to watch Star Trek with had never seen anything from the franchise before, so I found myself explaining that there had already been 10 Star Trek movies and 5 TV series comprising 28 seasons worth of shows. And that I had watched nearly all of it. Long-time readers of this blog will know that I’m a trekkie – not one fanatical enough to dress up in costume, nor even one who gets all sensitive about the distinction between the terms “trekkers” and “trekkies” – but one who nonetheless can hold his own during a sci-fi trivia night and one who has a certain attachment to Trek along with a sense of protectiveness about what it stands for.

When I heard a couple years ago that Paramount had green-lit an eleventh Star Trek movie, I was convinced it was going to be a piece of crap. Somewhere along the line, the concept shifted so that the new movie would feature the characters from the original series but with an all new cast. I was even more aghast. What they were proposing amounted to desecration! But then J.J. Abrams came on board to direct and when I saw the trailer and understood what he intended to do with the movie, I suddenly became optimistic.

The idea behind the eleventh Trek movie was to do a reboot of the franchise. Rebooting franchises seems to be fashionable as of late (eg, Batman, The Hulk, Battlestar Galactica, and Superman), but to reboot something which has had a continuous heritage spanning over four decades is a risky and perhaps foolhardy endeavour. But Trek has not been without its problems.

A large problem with Trek is that, while it cultivated a strong and loyal fanbase, there were some things about it which held it back from mainstream acceptance, more and more so as time went on. By “acceptance”, I mean the common notion that you had to be “into Star Trek” to enjoy the movies and episodes. Audience sophistication has increased since the 60s, and consequently, story-telling methods have also moved on. The traditional story-telling method maintained by all of the Trek TV series – loose to zero continuity between episodes (leading to the so-called “reset button” being hit between each episode), and an almost naive way to approaching some themes – looked and felt increasingly outdated. This was combined with a certain nerdy stigma (not helped by treknobabble and the more rabid elements of the fanbase), and a long history which perhaps was more a barrier to entry for new watchers than a mark of quality (“Do I need to have seen Star Trek before to enjoy the new movie?”). Star Wars was only 6 movies. But with Star Trek, where do you start? Who wants to wade through the quaint 60s episodes of the Original Series to get to know Jim Kirk and his crew? The grand sentiment behind Star Trek – Gene Roddenberry’s optimistic vision of advancement towards a better future for humanity – should be universally accessible, but Star Trek itself was becoming increasingly inaccessible.

In order to become once again relevant to the next next generation, Trek needed to be modernised. Whether it was to become more gritty like the Battlestar Galactica reboot, or more tongue-in-cheek like the Stargate series, the franchise needed to feel a bit more “real” and less contrived. The Star Trek: Enterprise series tried to do this, but failed. And now the same task was being attempted by Abrams and co. The new Star Trek movie was purposely named without any number or subtitle (it’s just “Star Trek”) to dump the baggage of the old series and introduce, or as the case may be, re-introduce, Trek to this generation and our children’s generation (holy crap, I’m moving into the next generation up… that’s scary). This is all well and good, but the difficulty lies in doing this without pissing off the Trekkies.

Ok, enough background rambling. Did the movie deliver?

To me, it did. Speaking with my friends after the movie, they found it understandable, fun, and weren’t turned off by any nerdiness or treknobabble. And by not taking itself too seriously, the movie didn’t feel like it ever degraded into cringeworthy corniness. Creating a reboot by changing the timeline is a bit of a contrivance, but handling it with a measure of self-conscious, self-referential humour instead of trying to sweep it under the carpet is the right way to deal with things (well, at least I though that the not-subtle-at-all spelling out that this is a new reality and that these people will make their own destiny constituted self-referential humour). And importantly for me, the reboot was respectful to the fans.

Now for a shotgun approach to reviewing the movie (no spoilers).

Some fans called the movie Star Trek 90210, in reference to the young cast and elements like the Apple iBridge. A lot of people commented disfavourably on how young the cast was. But I liked this. After all, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy were young once (when Scotty was actually thin) – and if you want to make a franchise which is relevant to a young generation, why use old- or middle-aged characters that are difficult for them to relate to? Even Matt Damon was turned down for the role of Kirk because he was “too old”. What we got was a great cast that captured the vibrancy and freshness of youth, under the mentorship of the experienced. Yet the characters remained essentially true to their roots – talented, brash, and ambitious. The new cast was believable, and they wisely spent a good chunk of the movie on character development and introducing us to the characters.

One of my all time favourite episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation is called “Tapestry“. In it, Captain Picard gets to travel back in time and use his wisdom and experience to remedy what he regards as a mistake he made in the days where he was an “arrogant, undisciplined” and “cocky” youth which led him to getting stabbed in the heart. However, changing that mistake had unforeseen consequences – that “more wise” Picard played it safe, and took less risks. He matured too quickly and the end result was a mediocre and obscure career. The new Trek cast successfully captures the raw talent, but impulsiveness and inexperience of youth – the exciting fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants, learn-by-making-mistakes, getting-back-up-when-you-get-knocked-down mentality. The new Kirk embodied tha. Essentially, we have a cast that could be role models that I hope young people can relate to.

The treatment of Spock’s mixed heritage was handled better than it ever has been handled before. As with many things in Trek, there is an underlying theme that people of mixed race and also second-generation migrants can relate to. Actually, all the thematic elements that I love Trek for came through in this movie without feeling too sanctimonious, unsubtle, or naive. It was also great having Nimoy back on screen one last time.

I thought the casting of Bones was spot on.

John Cho’s portrayal of Sulu was shaky at the start (it didn’t help that he slipped briefly back into his Harold persona when he screwed up when trying to jump the ship into warp), but he held his own later on. Abrams had some hesitation at casting an ethnic Korean as a Japanese character, but apparently Sulu is meant to “represent Asians” on the Enterprise… whatever that means.

The plot was fairly solid. The casting of Bana and selection of Nero as the villain was a particularly good call. Having Nero as not some supervillain or military officer, but a commander of a mining vessel with a grudge was intelligent. It also allowed his vessel to be powerful, but not too powerful (as can be expected for a mining vessel, it wasn’t that well armed).

Music was solid and the movie’s fanfare was good but not great.

The special effects were fantastic. Can’t complain about the eye-candy, either.

It was a bonus for me to see Starfleet Academy at San Francisco, while watching the movie in the Bay Area!

There were heaps of in-jokes for the fans, which was appreciated. Each time a character delivered a trademark line, half the audience at the cinema would laugh, and the other half would wonder why they were laughing. (There’s nothing inherently funny about, “Dammit, I’m a doctor, not a physicist!” unless you know the history of the line.) I also loved the scene where Spock gives Scotty his own formula for transporting at warp. In Star Trek 4, there’s a similar scene in which Scotty gives away the formula for transparent aluminum to a guy in the plastics industry, telling a disapproving McCoy, “How do we know he didn’t invent the thing?” Also, they’ve preserved the whole thing about red-shirts, away missions, and dying in a pretty hilarious fashion (well I thought it was funny).

Of course, I wouldn’t be a Trekkie without having my own set of nitpicks. Red matter? I mean, come on. Since when was Romulus ever destroyed in the original timeline? Kirk got promoted from Cadet to Captain just like that? And wasn’t Kirk supposed to get a commendation for original thinking instead of a reprimand for cheating the Kobayashi Maru simulation (although I thought including the scene where he actually does the cheating was great). I could go on, but I won’t.

All in all, I was thoroughly entertained. The movie worked, and it worked well. Star Trek leaves the door wide open for a credible new line of Trek movies.

There have been many episodes of the TV series dealing with alternative realities where we get a glimpse into a parallel universe (it’s a common device, and the premise for the sci-fi TV series Sliders). However, we never really get to stay in one of those alternative realities. It looks like we are staying in one now.

There’s something bittersweet about that – the feeling that the Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Chekov, and Uhura we’re seeing aren’t quite the real deal. That we’re changing something that shouldn’t be changed, tampering with a past that should be preserved. People are naturally resistant to change, especially die hard fans and older people who have become entrenched in their ways. But today’s generation is more used to change. Look at how rapidly the world has changed since the 60s – the youth of today is a lot more mobile, a lot more connected, and a lot more flexible than their parents. The speed at which things move in today’s world can be breathtaking. Yet, the attractiveness of Trek is that it is at its heart about the future. It is about optimism and aspiring to reach for the stars, both literally and figuratively, and both in a personal and societal sense. As such, this sentiment will always be relevant to all generations. It is a message that is just as good as inspiring our generation, as it was for my parents, who saw man land on the moon 40 years ago on a black and white television set, or over the radio. All we have to do is ensure that the method in which this message is delivered remains relevant.

As Trek is about change and the betterment of humanity, Trekkies should understand those concepts as well as anybody. If Trek has to be changed to adapt to the sensibilities of the new generation, then, as long as we pay proper tribute to the hard work of the previous generations, that is a good thing which shouldn’t be resisted.

So now we have a fresh new version of the crew of the Enterprise, a fresh new timeline, and ultimately a refreshened franchise. Awesome.

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14
May 05
Sat

Enterprise: These are the Voyages…

And here endeth the saga. Enterprise has always been embroiled in controversy, and a lot of fans have been resentful of the fact that this whole series has inserted a pre-Kirk “Enterprise” ship into the universe where one never existed. I remember a convention compere describing the series as, “probably being good sci-fi, but for me, it’ll never been good Star Trek”, in reference to the irreverent rewriting of Trekkian lore.

The whole thing could have been avoided simply by giving the starship a different name, but over the duration of its four short years, and although the naming thing still nags at me, the the series has grown on me. I still think it’s one of the weaker series, with a more bad episodes than good ones, it has improved. Knowing the series was about to be cancelled, the writers had fun with Season 4, trying some innovative new story-telling techniques (3-episode movie-length story arcs, the “In a Mirror, Darkly” episodes, and so on). Finally, however, the last Enterprise episode had to air, and for once, the lots at Paramount are missing Star Trek sets.

So that leaves us with the last episode. How would they decide to send off the series? TNG’s “All Good Things” was about the Enterprise-D saving the galaxy. DS9 had a wonderful, poignant montage sequence of the crew’s adventures over its 7 year run. In Star Trek VI, before the Enterprise-A was finally decommissioned, the original crew saved the collapse of the Khitomer Conference, where the peace treaty was brokered, ending the decades-long war between the Klingons and the Federation. Trek VI closes with Kirk saying, “This ship and her history, will shortly become the care of another crew. To them and their posterity will we commit our future. They will continue the voyages we have begun and journey to all the undiscovered countries, boldly going where no man… where no one, has gone before.”

Warning: There be spoilers ahead.

The final episode of Enterprise was very tasteful and fitting, paying ample tribute to the other Trek series along the way. It opens with the ship on the way to a conference that will see the signing of the Federation Charter – the birth of an interplanetary “United Nations”. Then, suddenly, we hear a familiar voice saying “Computer, freeze program.” The camera pans to none other than… Will Riker. The Enterprise’s bridge dissolves and we find ourselves on the Enterprise-D’s holodeck. The title sequence then plays. At this point, I’m sure a shiver was sent up every Trekkie’s spine. Did they make it all a dream?! A holodeck simulation? Is that how they’re getting around the history problem?

Fortunately, the writers have a little more self-respect than that. The episode is told from the point of view of Riker viewing a historical simulation of the final days of the Enterprise NX-01 (set about 6 years after the previous episode, “Terra Prime”). It turns out he is in a predicament, whether to talk to Captain Picard about a matter he is bound to secrecy by an Admiral – a secret that could jeopardise the Treaty of Altron which sets out the Romulan neutral zone. The events in the TNG universe are of no importance, however. It takes a little time to realise what Riker is doing, but when the realisation comes, it is fitting. Riker is trying to get advice on his predicament by drawing inspiration from the character of the NX-01’s first officer as he deals with a prickly situation as the NX-01 heads towards the Charter Conference (involving Jeffrey Combs, who gets to appear one last time as Commander Shran). Riker chats with the rest of the bridge crew, with Trip himself, and in the process portrays the bond that all Enterprise captains have had with their first officers. Along with Jonathan Frakes’ role reprisal, Marina Sirtis also reappears as Counsellor Troi (surprisingly, not looking like she’s aged very much), along with Brent Spiner’s voice (as Data).

Apart from looking at the personal growth shown by the Enterprise crew, the episode works on a second level – the culmination of the Enterprise’s voyages resulting in the formation of the Federation. In many ways, this episode and the last several have covered similar themes to Star Trek VI – putting aside mistrust and xenophobia (on a personal and inter-racial level), not to save the galaxy as we know it, but to forge diplomatic alliances – which is a far more formidable feat than succesfully blowing up the Bad Guy’s Big Weapon of Death. It also preserves the distinguished lineage of Enterprise ships, which always go on to do Great Things.

It’s an event that on the surface really has apparently nothing to do with the “sci” in sci-fi (apart from the fact that there are a whole bunch of aliens in the room where the Charter is being signed), but at the same time it’s a theme that is central to a lot of good sci-fi but is rarely associated by mainstream audiences/readers with it – the visionary drive for exploration of new frontiers, which are not necessarily in the stars, but also within ourselves, and the struggle as things change and how people react to this change in different ways. The formation of the Federation is the optimistic keystone in Roddenberry’s vision of Trek, and it was conveyed reasonably well in this episode and throughout the season.

There are lots of neat self-referential touches in this episode. The Charter is signed in a location that the time traveller Daniels showed Archer a few seasons ago in a temporal “flash-forward”. Archer toasts “to the next generation”. When Trip says to Reed, “It’s been a good run, Malcolm. I never thought it’d come to an end,” Reed replies, “All good things…”. And of course, there are the shots of the Enterprise-D, where the 10-forward set has been recreated and the crew is in TNG getup. The closing sequence has a montage of the three Enterprises from TNG, TOS and Enterprise, overlaid by the three respective ship captains reciting the Enterprise’s mission statement. Surprisingly, the writers opted to have Archer say “man” instead of “person” or “one”, maintaining the timeline integrity of how political correctness has gradually made its way into the mission statement in the Trek universe (as opposed to our real-world timeline). Enterprise was not a great Trek series, but it nonetheless received a fitting send off. Farewell, Star Trek. It’ll be missed.

2
Feb 05
Wed

UPN cancels Enterprise

Paramount has just announced that Enterprise has been cancelled prematurely, only after just four seasons. As the link says, it will be the first time in 18 years that no Trek series is in production. Four seasons sees the show have enough episodes to be syndicated. I have mixed feelings about this. I think Enterprise was a show designed to reintroduce Trek to the masses, but 30 years of stigma and poor first and second seasons consigned this show to an early grave. Still, it’s sad to know that there will be no more new Trek for the foreseeable future.

21
Jul 04
Wed

Berman Talks About New Trek Film

From Sci Fi Wire:

“The movie that we’re having very early discussions about would have nothing to do with any of the characters that have ever existed on any of the Star Trek series,” Berman said. “It would be an entirely new setting and an entirely new set of characters, and it would take place prior to any of the series, including Enterprise.” (emphasis added)

Utter disaster looms. I can feel it. Star Trek is most closely associated with technology and the future (especially to the mainstream audiences which are necessary for successful cinema releases) and they keep pushing it backwards in time instead of forwards. What the? And this time there aren’t even going to be any characters anyone can relate to (even non-Trekkies know about Kirk and Picard).

19
May 04
Wed

Enterprise

Enterprise back for a fourth season? I must say, the latest Xindi story arc (time paradoxes aside) is pretty damn good. They’ve really kicked Enterprise up a couple notches recently.

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9
Feb 04
Mon

Enterprise: Impressions of Seasons 2 and 3

I’ve spent the majority of the last 24 hours catching up on my Enterprise eps. I’m sad to say that season 2 was composed of mostly uninspiring, insipid plot-driven episodes. There seems to have been a move away from anything deep or meaningful, and towards a hostile-alien-of-the-week style show. That said, there were a couple decent episodes. For example, “Cogenitor” (2.22) was refreshing. For once, they meet aliens who are understanding, friendly and patient even when insulted by Redneck Tripp who sees fit to apply human values to an alien culture. It’s another episode foreshadowing the development of the much maligned Prime Directive, and a significant one given the hard hitting consequences of Tripp’s actions. The writers continue to use the decon chamber as a soft-porn room. Not that I’m complaining, but those episodes tend to be awful in all the other departments.

Interestingly, in Season 3, Berman and Braga saw fit to rename “Enterprise” back to “Star Trek: Enterprise”, thereby bringing it solidly back into the franchise. Season 3 introduces a more solid arc of continuity, centred around the Xindi and a mysterious section of the galaxy called the Delphic Expanse, a sort of Bermuda Triangle where ships really do get abducted by aliens. Because it’s linked to the temporal cold war, the writers play around with time too much and the whole season is one big continuity screwup. I’ve learned to look past that, but it’s still pretty annoying when you have to suspend disbelief just so you can see what point the writers were trying to make. And there’s a lot of weekly “Captain Archer saves the world again” stuff happening which gets pretty tiring. Let’s hope something good comes out of this Xindi storyline.

16
Jun 03
Mon

Holodiction: Star Trek Convention (7/6/03)

The phrase, “Star Trek Convention” has never had anything but an abhorrent
stigma attached to it. Among the images conjured up by it are hordes of
costumed fanatics, vulcan ear tips, pimply teenage nerds and Klingons in
bathrooms enjoying a conversation in Klingonese over the urinals. That may
be true for American conventions, but the Australian
scene is a bit more subdued. Only a little bit.

This convention saw Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar, TNG), Dominic Keating (Malcolm
Reed, ENT) and John Billingsley (Dr Phlox, ENT) attend. For the uninformed,
the format of a Sydney Trek convention is basically a bunch of Trek actors
give a talk and take questions from the crowd. There may be an auction, and
there are some merchandise sales from a handful of stalls.

It’s a real novelty to see in the flesh the people you see on TV every week.
You get some sort of insight into the real personality of the actors out of
costume and character. Billingsley was on stage first. His real voice is
noticeably higher pitched than his Phlox persona. Other than that, he was
very interesting and had a bundle of funny stories to tell. Keating is a Pom, and he’s quite charismatic. A good
anecdote teller, fairly upfront, occasionally profane :) and very likeable.
A lot more “loose” than his character has been written up in Enterprise where he sometimes seems to have a stick
up his ass. And ironically, he isn’t too fond of pineapple. Crosby’s hour was comparatively
dull. She was a bit insipid, probably the result of being on the
convention circuit for the last 15 or so years, having the same questions
lobbed at her time and again. The high point of her spiel was when someone
asked her how she landed her Playboy photoshoot. There was a few seconds of
silence followed by (she was sucking a lollypop): “Oh er… *lick lick*…
um… are you allowed to ask that? *lick lick* erg… the Ghosts of my
past! *lick lick* okaaay… I can explain that… *lick lick*”.

Ultimately though, they are actors doing their job, and as much as Trekkies
would like to imagine, the actors aren’t hard core Trek fans. Naturally
though, some are, and they tend to be more favoured by the crowds.

Live long and prosper...
So Denise goes, “I can’t do that Vulcan hand sign thing,” and 100 Trekkies immediately give her the three-fingered salute.
(Click here for more photos)

Ah yes, the crowds. The crowds are interesting. Surprisingly to most, unlike
LANs, where the male to female ratio is 20:1 (or worse), the demographic
at trek conventions have a 50-50 split(!). Unfortunately the number of
attractive women there are virtually non-existent. At the risk of
digging myself into a deep hole, one of the things I noticed was that
a very significant percentage of convention attendees had a weight problem.
I’m not talking about a few extra kilos on the side, I’m talking about
gross obesity, to the extent it hinders mobility. Look, I’m not trying
to make fun of fat people here, but I am saying there were an abnormally
large number of them there that day. I don’t think that is by pure coincidence.
People, get out! Stop sitting on the couch! Go do exercise or something!

There’s also something lacking about the general social decorum of some of
these people. A mobile phone went off in this woman’s bag during Keating’s talk.
She’d changed her ringtone so it was her nasally voice repeatedly intoning,
“Answer your bloody phone!” After twenty seconds of scrambling, she eventually
plucked the phone out of her bag… and proceeded to answer the damn
thing. And no, she didn’t whisper, “hey I’ll call you back”, she had a frigging
conversation on it, oblivious to the icy glares people were boring into her.
Then there were people during the Q&A session who just wouldn’t put their hands
down. Sure they’d already had three of their questions answered, but they had
about ten more they wanted to ask – and screw the other people who had more
interesting questions to ask. Look, even though I’d never do it myself, I don’t
mind people dressing up and having a bit of fun, but I mean, there was
something wrong with a few of these people.

It’s also amazing how much money some people were willing to spend. Tickets started
at $100, which isn’t the cheapest. However, the $1000+ and $600 tickets had virtually
sold out. They also held an auction before the guest talks. Through that, the convention
organisers were raping everyone who ended up tendering a bid. The amount of money
being paid for some of the mugs, t-shirts, posters and other memorabilia was quite shocking.
I present to you exhibit A:

Fridge Magnet Auction
You are looking at a fridge magnet that sold for $52. No, it doesn’t polarise your fridge door to make it impervious to projectiles thrown at it

by your 3 year old son.

As we were lining up for autographs we had a brief chat to this woman:
“Yeah, I’ve spent waaay too much money on this hobby,” she said.
“How many conventions have you been to?”
“Heh, all of them. I’m a sucker for these things.”
“Ah, they’re expensive aren’t they?”
“Yep, we’re all idiots for paying this much.”
“Did you buy anything at the auction?”
“Hey! I’m not that much of an idiot!”

Ultimately it was a fairly enjoyable day. Hear the actors, grab a few photos and collect a few autographs. Definitely expensive, but I am a Trekkie after all! Photos from the day here.

11
Mar 03
Tue

Trek Convention

Time to start saving! There’s a trek convention in June which is billed to have Burton, Visitor, Keating and Billingsley attending (the latter having cancelled his last scheduled Sydney con appearance). Tickets aren’t cheap, but the attendance list is quite prolific for Down Under. I’m definitely going to book – it will be fascinating to hear from cast members from three different series. And of course to get some autographs while I’m there! Ok, non-trekkies can stop making snide remarks and gibes now.

9
Feb 03
Sun

Star Trek: Nemesis

As much as I tried to like the long-awaited tenth Trek movie, and as large as my bias was, I just could not. Not by a long shot, and the more I thought about it, the more I disliked it. Nemesis always seemed like it was halfway on the way to nowhere. It lacked direction, purpose and involvement. Its array of plotholes were simply too numerous to overlook in the end. Dreadful.

[Warning – spoilers ahead] The movie opens decently with the wedding of Riker and Troi. The wedding reception features many cameos by past TNG actors. Picard gives a rousing speech reminiscing about the past with his faithful right hand man, who has finally attained a Captaincy and is moving to command another vessel… much like a 40 year old finally moving out of his parents’ house. The next thing you know, this “venerable” old captain is gunning around sand dunes in a glorified quad bike, being shot at by aliens who have no relevance to the film whatsoever, after engaging in a scavenger hunt for dismembered android limbs. Someone in the franchise wanted a car chase scene real bad. And it was.

Admiral Janeway makes a cameo, briefing Picard that someone has usurped the Praetor in the Romulan empire, and he should be the one to check it out. (Picard has done a hell of a lot more than Janeway – why on earth is she an Admiral? That’s a travesty. I mean, they made Kirk an admiral, so you can still be an admiral and command the Enterprise.) Picard gets to Romulus and finds out that the new Praetor, Shinzon, is actually a clone of Picard. Picard spends time trying to convince Shinzon not to be so evil. When that fails, they spend the rest of the movie trying to kill each other. Whatever.

The thing about this movie is that it wanders along, never building up to anything in particular. Just when you think the movie is getting somewhere, it doesn’t. Halfway into the movie, Picard is captured by Shinzon’s Big-Ship-Of-Death, but he was expecting this all along. So, Picard makes his escape 5 minutes later (a 60 year old phaser-wielding man holding off 50 Reman soldiers virtually by himself) and poor Shinzon is back to square one. Not only that, but we find out soon after that Shinzon is in fact dying. That’s good. Let’s have a villain that starts off on the back foot. Not only is he made to look incompetent, but the guy is going to cark it in a few hours. pH3ar the dying man who has severe onsets of gastroenteritis every half hour. No, that doesn’t work. The next thing we discover is that Shinzon in fact has a super weapon that can destroy all life on a planet, and he’s heading to earth to wipe out its 9 billion inhabitants so the Remans/Romulans can 0wNz0r the Federation. But oh wait. He’s dying and he needs Picard for a DNA transplant, so his cloaked Big-Ship-Of-Death can’t go anywhere just yet. (Meanwhile, Troi gets mindraped by the Reman Viceroy for no particular reason other than to show Shinzon dancing horizontally on top of Troi.) Anyway, Shinzon throws a tantrum and opens fire on the Enterprise. Being cloaked and bristling with weapons, he has no trouble in 0wN1ng the Enterprise and two pissy Romulan ships that have come along to “help”. Instead of beaming Picard onto his ship, Shinzon instead beams a boarding party of 29 onto the Enterprise, so Riker can have something to do – that is, engage in a fistfight with the Reman Viceroy. Again, this incident has no bearing whatsoever on the plot.

Soon after, the Enterprise is dead in the water, with Shinzon’s Big-Ship-Of-Death staring him in the eye. Picard goes to self-destruct the Enterprise, only to be told that the self-destruct system is offline. No matter. “Prepare for ramming speed!” The Enterprise lumbers forward at a snail’s pace, and yes, it is entirely ludicrous that Shinzon’s ship can’t move away in time, thereby causing a collision between the two vessels which subsequently makes for a dramatic, but otherwise stupid, scene with cool computer generated imagery. Shinzon has another hissy fit and decides to deploy his Weapon of Mass Destruction on the Enterprise. We never even get to see the Weapon of Mass Destruction used. This weapon naturally takes 7 minutes to power up, which is enough time for Picard to beam on board Shinzon’s ship, to implausibly kill Shinzon and his entire bridge crew and to beam back off while Data sacrifices himself in blowing up the Big-Ship-Of-Death. Earth is saved.

Ok, plot holes aside, this movie has attempted to recover the good old days of The Wrath of Khan, where the Captain gets pitted up against a single uber-villain. While this may work for Admiral “Khaaaaaaaaan!” Kirk, it does not for a bald old guy who is known more for his diplomacy than anything else. And where in Wrath of Khan, Spock dies in a sacrifice in a poignant scene with memorable dialog (“the good of the many, outweigh the good of the one”), Data pops in, literally says “goodbye” and shortly afterwards explodes in a blaze of glory. The audience doesn’t even realise he is going to die until 2 seconds before it happens. If you are going to kill a major character, at least give them a good send off! Milk it for all it’s worth.

Next, the major theme of this movie was initially well done – namely, commenting on the issue of cloning. Basically, although DNA is the blueprint for life, it is not the blueprint for humanity. How a person develops is affected by how his neurons are wired up, and not even DNA can dictate the way those brain cells connect to each other during the course of life. However, this perfectly valid theme, represented by the interplay between Picard and Shinzon, is horribly undermined by the interplay between Data and his android brother, B4. It is clear at the start that although B4 has all of Data’s memories and physical capabilities, he lacks the same aspirations and depth that we have come to know Data for. B4 is a dolt, in comparison to Data. However, at the end of the film, after the short and frankly, crap-shallow tribute to Data, there is a scene where Picard is lecturing a clueless B4. B4 does not seem to have any grasp of the goals Data aimed for (self-improvement), and Picard gets frustrated. Now instead of leaving it at that, which would have been a perfectly good scene that reinforced the idea that Data was in fact a unique and irreplaceable individual who is now permanently gone, B4 starts whistling. Judging by Picard’s grin, that little act was meant to show there is hope for B4 yet. A replacement for Data. That was not only an insult to Data’s character, but sends very mixed signals about the show’s theme. You can clone a person, but you can’t clone a personality. Oh wait. I’ll whistle “Blue Skies” and maybe you can. What were the writers thinking?

Sad and disappointing.

27
Nov 02
Wed

Star Trek XI

Berman talks Trek 11. I loved this quote: “Jeri Ryan, I can’t imagine people would not love to see her on the big screen.” Gee, I wonder why? :)

6
Nov 02
Wed

Voyager Humour

Voyager clearly had enough room for all those shuttles

18
Jun 02
Tue

Trek X News

New Trek movie may alter Trek timeline, by not following the facts laid down to previous shows in the Trek universe. Yeah, as if we haven’t seen that before. Like um… the whole Enterprise series…

25
Mar 02
Mon

TNG on DVD

I think I may just have to save up a spare $1400 or so to splurge on these few dozen DVDs.

Trek X News

Nemesis is near. Frakes was shafted as director, but gets to marry Troi in Trek 10. Read more. {src: AJH}

18
Feb 02
Mon

Enterprise

Reminder: The first episode of Enterprise, the fifth Star Trek series, goes to air on Channel 9 tomorrow at 10.30pm. (Not that Channel 9 ever finished airing DS9 or Voyager. I had to watch downloaded eps of the final seasons of Voyager and rent a couple seasons worth of DS9 tapes to finish those series off.)

10
Feb 02
Sun

The Science of Trek

This is sort of like a science book online with continual references to Trek. It references book real world scientific sources, and Trek but does take itself a little too seriously.

Trek.net

Earthlink to offer Star Trek-themed internet access. What the?

31
Jan 02
Thu

Enterprise: Dear Doctor (Ep 1.13)

Personally, I think this is the best Enterprise episode that has so far screened. Doc Phlox finally gets a proper role in 13 episodes. The thing that has impressed me about Enterprise is the astuteness of the writers in noting small but important details, this episode especially (eg: A few lines between T’Pol and Archer gives meaning and complexity behind the Vulcan-Human relation which up until now, seemed to merely imply the Vulcans were being tight-asses.)

Apart from T’Pol, Phlox is the only alien on board, and to see how he culturally fits in is refreshing. His character is finally fleshed out, and he actually gets to act like a real doctor this time: with all the stress and baggage that comes along with being a medical practitioner. His job is unique in that everyone on the ship eventually comes to see him – he has contact with everyone from Captain down to Ensign, and of course, Porthos (that dog is really cute. Just a bit more personable than Picard’s fish Livingstone :).

Phlox makes some particularly keen observations about human compassion – especially the double standards Cutler shows when judging cultures. Ultimately this episode is about the Prime Directive, or how such a rule was developed. Ah yes, the Prime Directive, one of the most contentious attributes of the Trek universe. Yes, it was abused by Kirk when he saw fit, and yes its always bent, but after an episode like this, you can really understand the reasoning behind it. There needs to be some direction on interference with alien cultures. In the end, Archer overcomes his human compassion and effectively hands a death sentence down – this is no small decision. The only flaw I can really point out about this episode is making it painfully clear Archer is talking about the development of the Prime Directive (especially when he specifically says “directive”). It would have been interesting to let the viewer ruminate over the episode and see what conclusions they drew from it themselves – more so for those who haven’t watched Trek before.

29
Jan 02
Tue

Enterprise: Silent Enemy (Ep 1.12)

I thought the A-Plot of this episode was rather pointless. An enemy that doesn’t talk, and above all acts irrationally. Its guerilla tactics were a little puzzling, but at the end, they practically allow themselves to get shot up by Enterprise. The only real outcome of the whole encounter was to point out that yes, the Enterprise is woefully equipped and armed to deal with the hordes of aliens out there that all seem to have better technology than them. That this is explicitly acknowledged is commendable.

This episode, and those leading up to it, also provide a reason for why humanity seems to have accelerated in its technological development so rapidly. In TNG they are one of the more advanced races whereas in Enterprise they are effectively space newbies. The reason seems to be the extroverted and social nature of Captain Archer, and one would expect, all Starfleet captains, given Starfleet’s charter. Their willingness to chat to absolute strangers and invite people onto the ship (as in Cold Front). I suspect that in future episodes, some diplomatic alliances will be forged that provide tech upgrades to Enterprise.

The B-Plot is somewhat amusing, but really just a bit of fluff. Finding Reed’s favourite food doesn’t let us know him better, it just provides another trivia question to ask fans at the next Trek convention.

Enterprise premieres in Australia in February.

Enterprise: Cold Front (Ep 1.11)

Obviously an episode for Bigger Things To Come. By using a temporal cold war as one of Enterprise’s arcs, the writers are opening up a bit of a Pandora’s box. Actually, any episode to do with time travel is asking for trouble – a whole arc is crazy. Anyway, this episode exposes Archer to two sides of this war – humans (“more or less”) from beyond the year 3000, and mysterious guys from a little before that who haven’t yet perfected time travel. Given that a recurring theme in time travel in previous Trek series is to give those living in the past as little information as possible (stemming from the “temporal prime directive”), it’s a little strange how forthcoming Daniels is with providing info. He also shows off an array of magical gadgets, including the phase-shifting walk-through-walls device which conveniently gets lost by the end of the episode. Ultimately, the episode resolves little, so we will all just have to wait and see what develops. How it fits in with the entire Trek universe will also be interesting, and most probably, contentious.

11
Dec 01
Tue

Nemesis

Star Trek X info. Actors seem to be giving the plot a big thumbs up. Here’s a Wired article on Wil Wheaton who gets a cameo in Trek X.

29
Nov 01
Thu

Trek Tech

So warp drives and transporters may never be developed this century, but already some areas of science are more advanced that some things depicted on Trek. Read the Wired article. Being the trekkie that I am, I will say that the second last paragraph is erroneous (isolinear chips, anyone?), and the final paragraph should also be noted :)

“Scientists could synthesize a gene that carries the recipe for this hybrid hemoglobin, and through gene therapy, insert it into Captain Kirk. Kirk would begin to produce the hybrid hemoglobin in his blood, and the next time he encounters aliens who live underwater, he can spend enough time in their environment to negotiate a peace treaty and make a new girlfriend.”

25
Nov 01
Sun

Enterprise: Fortunate Son (Ep 1.10)

Probably the most original episode yet, this week really accentuates the fact that these are humanity’s early days in space – that they are currently pioneering a new frontier. It’s also the first episode where Mayweather plays a major role. The Fortunate is an old Y-class freighter that has been set upon by Nausican pirates. However, when the Enterprise comes to lend a hand, the crew of the Fortunate is not as welcoming as you’d expect.

I guess this episode harks back to pioneering days in general. To pioneer a “new frontier” (new lands, etc.), people would often have to go it alone and be self-sufficient. Not only that, but people who were pioneers chose that lifestyle. So, there must be something appealing (and something to be proud of) about the solitude and self-sufficiency. In today’s world, everything is connected and very few places in the world are isolated anymore. The world is “smaller”, so to speak. Perhaps there is something to be said about the pioneering spirit, in a culture where it is all but extinct? But then again, being a pioneer and being independent doesn’t mean you also lose your roots – in this case, human values and common sense.

20
Nov 01
Tue

Enterprise: Civilisation (Ep 1.09)

There’s no prime directive. That means Starfleet can go sticking their nose into alien cultures (resultingly, Captain “my translator broke” Archer can go sticking his tongue into alien cultures too :). Well, they keep violating the directive in the future anyway, so to do away with the pretence in Enterprise is an interesting move. Still, other things haven’t changed: In my opinion, the casting staff made an error in judgement by making Jolene Blalock a vulcan with a bad hair cut. The shieldless Enterprise is once again beaten up by another ship. Phlox and Mayweather are shafted for the 9th episode in a row (they haven’t had anything but supporting roles since the series started). This was an entertaining episode, but it’s really nothing we haven’t seen Kirk do… the Enterprise writers sure like their underground facilities.

18
Nov 01
Sun

Star Trek X

Wil Wheaton will be starring in Trek X. The actor himself has aged about five years, I wonder how they will weave him into the story? This Trek move had better turn out well – I don’t forsee another one for a long, long time. DS9 and Voyager can’t really be turned into movies. At least, being numbered ten, it won’t be under the “curse of the odd numbers”. The odd numbered movies tended to suck.

11
Nov 01
Sun

Enterprise: Breaking The Ice (Ep 1.08)

The first half of this episode didn’t seem like a conventional one. It sort of meandered along with an A-plot that could have been a B-plot. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t boring. The scene where Archer sends a message back to the school kids is amusing, and actually informative (we all wonder the same things as those 4th graders). However, the plot emerges in the second half of the show and we see once again that it is once again another episode developing the Vulcans. It strikes me as odd, that after a century of relations, Vulcans are still so cold and demeaning to humans. Odd, because only a century later, relations have warmed up (as much as you can describe a Vulcan as being “warm”) and the humans have surpassed the Vulcans in galactic influence. I wonder if the arrogance of Vulcans will be maintained throughout the course of Enterprise, or will they start to gain their respect? I’m taking more of a liking to Tripp meanwhile, he’s showing that he’s not just some hick from the South. Mayweather is another thing altogether. Who is he? What is he there for?? He’s like a tourist – everytime he gets sent on an away mission he’s wide eyed and can’t stop smiling. Yet, he serves no real role on the ship that we have seen yet. He’s always in a supporting position. He seems to be more “useless” than Harry Kim, and that’s saying something!

Enterprise: The Andorian Incident (Ep 1.07)

This episode was good for a bit of old-fashioned brawling, but Archer’s shirt never gets ripped like Kirk’s. But anyway, this episode we see an encounter with the antennae-wiggling Andorians (Jeffrey Combs, Weyoun from DS9, guest stars as the punch-happy Shran). Can’t say too much about this fairly solid episode other than that the writers have a big fixation on the Vulcans. I like the interplay between Tripp and Archer – their personalities really go hand in hand. They definitely gel as CO and 2IC. However, it is interesting how the transporters, when relied upon to work, always seem to. I mean, TNG had more transporter accidents than this. Hmm…

27
Oct 01
Sat

Enterprise: Terra Nova (Ep 1.06)

It is a formidable task for the writers of Enterprise to come up with new material – much to tell has already been told in TNG’s 7 year run. The writers seem to be up to the challenge though, more or less. This week’s ep deals with trust and a little on the issue of relocation (think, Insurrection). The spin on this episode is that Archer is not dealing with aliens, but humans who think they are aliens. A plausible scenario is provided to set everything up (the “Terra Nova mystery”) and it’s an entertaining hour of events. Captain “Are we there yet?” Archer’s way of handling things is unique among the other Trek captains. He is most like Kirk, but a more refined version.

Speaking science, the presence of an earth-like planet 20 light years from earth is questionable (I think?). Moving away from nit-picking, it’s things like being able to treat lung cancer that are so realistically optimistic. When Phlox diagnoses Bernadette with lung cancer, my immediate reaction was, “oh that’s really bad” before Phlox goes on to explain that it’s curable. I mentally slapped my head and thought, “but of course, this is the future”. Again, though, this shows that Enterprise is effective in projecting the image that this is the not-as-distant future (but still not the “not-too-distant” future). The disease and the curing of it is something everyone can relate to today (cancer is very much a contemporary issue). It’s not some miracle medical wonder of the future where the doc cures someone of a virulent bio-metagenic polymorphic super-virus that recodes DNA… no, it’s familiar lung cancer… Enterprise seems to be remaining faithful to Gene Roddenberry’s original vision to inspire humanity based upon his semi-Utopian optimistic views of the future – perhaps more so than the other series. Why? Because the only effective way to inspire people today of the future, is to show people things they can relate to. It’s not the ultra-high tech things that are inspiring (like that stupid Voyager episode where they go to Warp 10), but things we can see an application for today.

Another point is, one thing I think we’re going to see developed in Enterprise in the long-term is the history of Human-Vulcan relations. We’ve gotten used to idea that Vulcans and Humans have always been best buddies in the interspecies melting pot of the galaxy, but now we’re back in the time when the humans are still relatively “primitive”. The exchanges between Redneck “History was never my strong point” Tripp and T’Pol flesh out the history bit by bit. It’s these details dropped in surrepticiously throughout this and previous episodes that are evidence of writers seeking to explain how Humans and Vulcans became buddies.

24
Oct 01
Wed

Asians in Trek

I just realised that the Asian representation in Trek is slightly skewed. Here, look:

TOS: Japanese actor (George Takei) playing a Japanese (Hikaru Sulu)
TNG: Japanese actress (Patty Yasutake) playing a Japanese (Alyssa Ogawa)
DS9: Chinese actress (Rosalind Chao) playing a Japanese (Keiko O’Brien, née Ishikawa)
VOY: Chinese actor (Garrett Wang) playing a Korean (Harry Kim)
ENT: Korean actress (Linda Park) playing a Japanese (Hoshi Sato)

Hmmm there’s some sort of pattern there…
Update: Thanks to Dennis for reminding me about Nurse Ogawa on TNG!

20
Oct 01
Sat

Enterprise: Unexpected (Ep 1.05)

Trek’s equivalent of “Junior”. Erm, yeah. First episode of proper first contact. We see an alien race that’s more alien than virtually any race previously featured on Trek (we have improved film technology and budgets to thank for that). We see the Klingons acting all badass. We see holodeck technology. We see sex. Redneck Tripp gets raped, although fortunately not in the way you’d think. It’s an episode that doesn’t really go anywhere, and I feel that the humourous side of it could be milked a lot more. Another OK hour of entertainment, but still waiting for a memorable episode to come along.

At the Holodiction convention this year, the MC there declared that Enterprise was probably going “to be good science fiction, but not Star Trek”. At this point, I’m inclined to grudgingly admit that they pulled off an idea like Enterprise better than expected. Sure, it’s still a slap in the face of Trek fans who “know” there was “no such thing” as the NX-01, but nevertheless there’s no mistaking that this is distinctly Trek. And that is no easy task giving that Enterprise is set in the 22nd century instead of the 24th. Looks like Enterprise seems to be gelling well with non-Trekkies too (without mutilating the entire franchise as can happen when things are made more mainstream), which is always a good thing.

Enterprise: Strange New World (Ep 1.04)

Again, a pretty typical Trek plot. It’s the series’ first away mission and of course something goes wrong. Without giving away the plot, the episode turns out to take a look at xenophobia (please explain?). Tripp, the ship’s resident redneck, goes off at T’Pol because she’s Vulcan (that’s in a nutshell). Some nice character development – Archer is not as belligerent as Kirk was, but he’s still a pretty direct guy who’s not afraid to lie down with his ear on the floor in front of his senior officers because his floor is squeaking. He addresses T’Pol, “but we didn’t come here to tip-toe around” and without skipping a beat commands, “get the pod ready.” I like the guy already.

Enterprise: Fight or Flight (Ep 1.03)

The title of this episode is taken from a list of survival instinct responses – fight, flight, fright and f… Next week’s episode covers fright, the week following covers the latter response. This episode, however, gives the crew of the Enterprise its first taste of alien contact and the decision between fight and flight. The crew is antsy, not having come across any aliens for weeks. “But we’re travelling at Warp 5, there’s gotta be someone out here,” Archer declares. Nonetheless, they come across a vessel adrift in space which they brashly take to exploring. It’s a typical Trek scenario, except that this crew is very green. Anyway, the way things turn out is that the comms officer, Hoshi, has to step in to save the day. Of course, you wouldn’t expect it. She’s a whiner, has no self-confidence, and wants to go home. By the end of the episode, however, her attitude does a 180 and she “adapts”. Erm, this is just not believable. I mean, come on – she becomes more fluent in Axononian in 5 hours than I am in French… and I studied that for 5 years. Also, the personality change is pretty abrupt, no long term character development here! Nonetheless the episode is interesting, especially now how Starfleet are the technologically deficient ones. Getting used to the different perspective will take a little time, but for now, seeing a view of Starfleet we are not familiar with is refreshing.

1
Oct 01
Mon

Enterprise: Broken Bow (Ep 1.01)

I saw the pilot episode of Enterprise over the long weekend. Putting aside the disruption to the trek “history” this series causes (until this series, the NX-01 Enterprise never existed), it’s actually a fairly decent show. Possible spoilers ahead. Seems like with the intro music (now with lyrics!), the intro’s retro montage sequence, gel rub scenes complete with fingers slipping down the backs of women’s underwear (etc.), Berman is trying to make Trek more mainstream. Because the series is also set in the “past” (relatively speaking), the environment is not the slick, high-tech trekkian decor we are used to – it’s a more familiar surrounding which may serve to put non-trekkies a little more at ease? After having gotten used to the idea that the Klingons are now not the bad guys in TNG/DS9/VOY, we now find they are the bad guys again (or at least going to be bad). Furthermore, Starfleet knows little about them and there’s no such thing as a universal translator so we can’t understand their gutteral language.

The casting seems fine with the usual mix of genders and races. Bakula seems to be a haughty sort of person and fits the role nicely. As for the cast as a whole fitting into their characters – first episodes always are unpolished (just look at TNG for a prime example). Give them the season to settle in.

Is it just me or do the Vulcans show more hints of emotion than we’re accustomed to? How come the Klingons have their ridged foreheads again? Doesn’t the the Doctor sound like Garak?

- Slashdot thread with 1000+ comments
- Jammer’s Reviews
- 5 minute summary (spoof)

26
Sep 01
Wed

Enterprise

Well, Enterprise has hit the screens in the States. Anyone watch it? How was it?

14
May 01
Mon

Star Trek: Enterprise

Well it’s almost here. With 4th series Voyager finishing filming last year, and the final episodes currently screening in the US, the fifth incarnation of Star Trek takes the name of Enterprise. Production begins today. Scott Bakula (of Quantum Leap fame) takes the helm in this one, and it will be interesting to see how the writers differentiate him from the other captains. The worst thing is to give him an insipid character, or one too similar to the other captains. Trek lives on :)

Regarding Star Trek X, it looks to be released sometime next year.

Star Trek DS9: Wrongs Darker than Death or Night (Ep 6.17)

Kira gets shocked. She learns that her mother and the man she probably hates the most, Dukat, were lovers. This episode didn’t really excite me. There’s a bit of irony in her mother being considered a collaborator, and a little personal conflict over whether her mother deserved to live or not, but apart from that, it didn’t stimulate me that much. I mean, it was a decent episode, just that I don’t have too much to say about it!

2
May 01
Wed

Star Trek DS9: Change of Heart (Ep 6.16)

An episode into the bonds of marriage and love. Nothing to be excited about. What was more interesting was the B-Plot when O’Brien tries to take on Quark in a game of Tongo using Bashir. While this is amusing, what Quark says during the game also is intriguing – both mourning over lost love. I never thought that Quark was that taken with Dax, so it was a good way of wrapping it up when Bashir asked if Quark was serious with what he said, and he replied, “Doctor, don’t expect me to show you all my cards.” Erm, that’s it for this review.

27
Apr 01
Fri

Star Trek DS9: Honor Among Thieves (Ep 6.15)

Colm Meaney is a good actor, and it seems that any episode where the Chief is the main subject, is a winner. “Honour Among Thieves” has Miles O’Brien sent in as an undercover agent for Starfleet trying to ferret out information about a Starfleet traitor. The organisation (as it is euphemistically known) he is to infilatrate is The Orion Syndicate – an interstellar version of the Mafia with its own code of ethics and rules. Ethics, you say? From gangsters? Well, that’s what this episode revolves around, and the reason this ep works so well is that it uses O’Brien. His “everyday man” disposition creates a realistic and believable feel that ends up deceiving Bilby, his boss in the Syndicate.

Miles gains Bilby’s trust playing into the role of a “tinkerer down on his luck” very well. And trust him Bilby does. Bilby “witnesses” O’Brien which basically holds Bilby responsible for any stuffups O’Brien makes. Bilby isn’t a thug. He knows his line of work is not optimal, but he has a family to care for and this is the only thing he knows how to do. Family was a prominent concept with Bilby pointing out more than once, “family is the most important thing.”

The scene where Bilby makes a character assessment of O’Brien is poignant. “…a man who doesn’t have a friend in the entire quadrant…” The statement is interesting, because O’Brien looks like a man who actually *could* be that down on his luck. The irony, of course, is that O’Brien in Trek is the portrayal of the idea “family man” who has a whole bunch of mates back on DS9.

When O’Brien unknowingly sets Bilby up to die at the hands of the Klingons, the feeling of sympathy for Bilby hits in. Sympathising with the enemy it may be, but can you really blame him? Bilby is arguably as much an “everyday man” like O’Brien is. Only that he’s working on the wrong side of the law.

All in all, this episode is an intelligent one. O’Brien is put through another torturous episode (remember eps like “Hard Time” and “The Assignment”?) where his humility, down-to-earth attitude and common man sensibilities are thrown into a situation he doesn’t deserve. Thumbs up to this competently acted episode.

11
Apr 01
Wed

Star Trek DS9: Far Beyond the Stars (Ep 6.13)

Once in a while, an episode of Trek will turn out to be a gem, and this week’s one is most definitely a shining example. It’s Trek at its finest. It’s not just science fiction entertainment, full of geek notions and superfluous scientific sounding buzzwords. No, it’s entertainment with a social and cultural awareness that transcends technology, science, warp drives and tranporters by delving into what any human – sci-fi fan or not – can relate with: the human condition. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Deep Space Nine is not a soapie set in space. OK, sometimes it is, but not always. Its unique positioning means that it can mean so much more than an episode of Neighbours. This week’s episode is almost unrecognisable as Trek for those who don’t follow it, yet it is as Trekkian as an episode with guns blazing and weapons firing. (In fact, this episode is more likely to turn off the philistines who watch sci-fi just for the hi-tech destruction and special effects. Don’t get me wrong, I love those too, but at the same time I appreciate the other side of science fiction which happens to be purely about carnage. I don’t appreciate the people who dispense a good work of sci-fi just because it doesn’t have a shipfight.)

My roommate walked past when I was watching this episode: “What show is this?”
“Deep Space Nine.”
“Star Trek??? This is Star Trek?”
“Yep.”

The plot revolves around Sisko having a mysterious dream that places him in the role of Benny Russell, a black science fiction writer in the early 1950s. He works for a publishing firm where, after being inspired by a drawing of the DS9 station, he goes on to write a piece about a space station captained by a black man. However, given the climate of the era, the story, despite being very well written, is straight away dismissed by the editor as implausible: “Your hero is a Negro captain… it’s not believable.”

One of Benny’s colleagues suggests that the piece is rewritten so that the story turns out to be a dream dreamt by a black man. If it’s a dream, then it can be implausible and it won’t make a difference, right? Theoretically correct, until the publisher not only cans the story before its makes it to press, but then fires Benny.

This show is commenting on racism. That is pretty damn obvious. What is interesting is that traditionally Trek has been colour-blind. Fair enough, given Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a quasi-Utopian society. The Original Series aired the first interracial kiss on television. Nonetheless, the show has seemingly consciously avoided making direct statements about racism and the race of characters in the series. Sure, there have been many episodes regarding racism, but this is the first time a character has been identified as being “black” and certainly the first time the show has used the word “niggers”.

Russell’s tragic struggle is ultimately doomed by Mr Stone, his publisher, but within him, he claims hysterically and repeatedly, the idea lives on. Nothing can stop an idea because you can’t censor what a person thinks (1984-esque societies aside). And that makes it as real as if the idea was published on paper. The allusions to black visionaries and their struggle are clear, but the point is made in a way that is not offensively blatant, but tasteful. This show could not have been aired in the 70s. Possibly, some would have found the idea of a black in command a little distasteful.

Yet, the show is introspective in that it acknowledges that in the 90s, a black can be in command of a space station on a television show – something that would’ve been impossible in the 50s. The point – that we have come a long way but there are still problems – is trite, but still needs reinforcing in today’s society.

The plot aside (which is devoid of Trekkian technology), the episode has a little fun with shoving the actors into new roles. Acting as people of the 50s, we see all the regular cast without makeup. Some are identifiable by their face and the rest by their voice. JG Hertzler stars as an artist. He is unidentifiable by appearance but luckily his voice is incredibly distinct. Combs and Alaimo (Weyoun and Dukat, normally) have accented their voice but are still identifiable as the two white cops with the typical non-subtle white supremist attitude. Eisenberg (Nog) cameos as a paperboy, Dorn (Worf) as a football player. Farrell (Dax) makes a good job acting as Darlene the ditzy secretary. The characterisation of the others is well done. If the two cops are overt racism, then Auberjonois (Odo) playing Douglas the magazine editor is the embodiment of covert racism. He refuses to publish the story, not because he objects, but because the public objects. He says “that’s the way things are”. He can live with a Negro writer on staff, but to let others know? Nuh uh. Shimmerman (Quark) is Herb the writer with views opposing his editor’s.
I like the reference to Communism and McCarthyism (Douglas insinuates that Herb is a “pinkie”). Visitor (Kira) represents feminism, which has had a history with many parallels to racism.

The reflective conclusion to the show also worked on a variety of levels. It gets Sisko thinking – he is privileged to be in the position he is in (owing that privilege to Negro activists who worked to produce the colour blind 24th century society) and inspires him out of disillusionment. Secondly, there’s the existential level – what if he is a part of a dream – a figment of Russell’s imagination? Is he real if he is an idea? Of course, there’s a third wrapper which is even jucier. Sisko is part of someone’s imagination, but not of someone far beyond the stars. He is a product of the Trek franchise, created by Trek writers. He is a dream, but for millions of viewers around the world, that does not make him any less “real”. The proof is in the pudding (did I use that expression right?) – the show, by its very existence, verifies the assertion that “an idea in the mind is still real”. Clever.

There is no B-Plot to detract from the story this week. Instead we have an engaging, intelligent episode with an atmospheric music score and the 50s was realistically portrayed in costume and set design. There’s a lot more to this episode and my review doesn’t do it justice. Watch it.

3
Apr 01
Tue

Star Trek DS9: Who Mourns for Morn? (Ep 6.12)

A light-hearted episode for Trekkies that have been following DS9 for a few seasons. The episode centers upon Morn who is reported dead at the start. Morn is the resident mascot at Quark’s Bar. He’s always present at Quark’s, enjoying a drink, yet in the entire history of DS9, he has never uttered a single word (people who know him on the show make him to be one of the most talkative people, although we assume this verbosity happens off screen).

Anyhow, the story begins with Morn leaving everything to Quark. “Everything” consisting of a mud-filled jacuzzi, a painting of a matador and a shipment of rotten beets. Oh, and a thousand bricks of gold-pressed latinum that Quark didn’t know about. Along comes a bunch of conmen (and conwoman) and the hunt for the latinum kicks off.

Episodes with Ferengi as main subjects are generally humour episodes but they all invariably run the risk of being ridiculously stupid. This one isn’t, I’m glad to say, but it’s still a good entertaining mindless (the plot is all too predictable) show after last week’s psychologically charged one. And there are some classic scenes (like when Nahsk slams the painting over Quark’s head, only to apologise for it later, and when Krit and Nahsk are about to lop off Quark’s finger over his ear-piercing squeals). Channel 9 better show next week’s episode – that’s one of the two season 6 eps I haven’t seen yet.

31
Mar 01
Sat

Star Trek DS9: Waltz (Ep 6.11)

Waltz: [G. walzer, from walzen to roll, revolve, dance, OHG. walzan to roll; akin to AS. wealtan. See Welter.] A dance performed by two persons in circular figures with a whirling motion; also, a piece of music composed in triple measure for this kind of dance.

Such is titled a gripping episode which is as close to a psychological “thriller” as DS9 will get. The episode offers a fascinating glimpse into
one of the most complex and in my opinion, interesting characters of Trek – Gul Dukat.

Sisko is on the way to taking the post-therapy Dukat (traumatised recently by the loss of his daughter and the rule of the Cardassian empire) when they get attacked by the Dominion. A crash landing sees the two stranded upon a planet, with Sisko injured and almost immobile. Why didn’t Dukat kill Sisko given the chance? Ah, that is the question, and so begins the “waltz”. A waltz of words, that is.

Dukat, overseer of The Occupation in its final years, has always claimed to have tried for a “softer rule”, to try to help the Bajorans. However, the Bajoran resistance movement, having already endured 40 years of tyrannical rule, are in no mood to desist and give up. Of course, Dukat must punish the resistance for their crimes, and the Bajorans do not see the resultant executions as a “softer rule”. Dukat, however, believes that the executions are fair (one Cardassian life for one Bajoran), and in a way, that much is true.

Dukat’s motivations are revealed in time. He regards himself as a misunderstood dictator – a kind, benevolant ruler who only did the things he did because his superiors ordered it, and the Bajorans necessitated it through acts of terrorism. He wants Sisko to see that – as he puts it, he wants Sisko to admit he respects him. Which is ultimately a deluded goal (Sisko, I’m sure would rather die), fittingly for Dukat, who is a deluded person. Voices in his head are cleverly portrayed as personae from influences in his life – Kira, Damar, and Weyoun – who taunt, goad and prompt him.

What’s troubling is that Dukat makes a convincing case. However, there is one major undermining flaw in his argument, and one which Sisko cunningly exploits. Dukat believes that Cardassians were “obviously the superior race” being hundreds of years ahead of Bajorans in every respect. If they had just accepted this fact, the occupation could have been a lot more peaceful. Naturally, this is bigotism. I’m sure the Jews objected just as strongly to the Nazi regime as the Bajorans did – it is virtually the same set of circumstances (although the Jews were in a much worse position).

Waltz builds up the tempo until Dukat explodes in a furious rage, admitting his deep seated hatred for Bajorans – screaming that he should have killed every last one of them. Was this hate always there? Or did it develop during his period of administration? Hard to say.

Nonetheless, a blow to the head and an absolutely brutal kick to the kneecap later (delivered to Dukat from Sisko), and Dukat is once more loose in the galaxy (albeit with a bad limp!).

The episode was an engrossing psychologically charged one, devoting one full hour to delving into the mind of a megalomaniac. It did resolve one thing, though – we’ve finally conclusively established that Dukat – despite his justifications and reasons otherwise – is an evil man.

28
Nov 00
Tue

Channel 9 Screws Viewers Again

WTF is going on??? 6 episodes into a brand new season of Deep Space 9, halfway through a “to be continued’ episode and what do they do? Cut it and replace it with Voyager. Not even new Voyager episodes, mind you, but Season 1 reruns. Screw Channel 9!! Nonetheless the pilot episode is an interesting watch, but I’ve seen it before and I want DS9 back.

“At ease before you sprain something.” (Janeway to the fresh, young, Harry Kim)

21
Nov 00
Tue

Star Trek DS9: Favor The Bold (Ep 6.5)

Another mover and shaker episode. Let’s do a recap of the Alpha Quadrant as it stands.

The Cardassians have formed an alliance with the Dominion and are in control of DS9. A self-replicating minefield devised by a “diabolical” Ferengi stands between the Alpha Quadrant and a truckload of Jem’Hadar reinforcements (who must be getting quite edgy in the Gamma Quadrant). Meanwhile, Bajor lives under a non-aggression pact signed with the Dominion. The Federation is fighting a war on a frontline, which now extends past DS9, allied with the Klingons by necessity. Gul Dukat heads Cardassia alongside Weyoun and a female changeling. This episode sees the Dominion making a breakthrough – they have begun to bring down the minefield (Damar having leaked the news to Quark over yet another booze sharing session).

Dukat is having family problems with Ziyal. Both Kira and Damar are right in saying he cares very much for her. What is in question is, is Dukat really an “intergalactic despot” or does he really care about Bajor? Evidence points to the former, but there is still that ounce of doubt. We also see Damar get bashed up by Kira (how humiliating!). There is a priceless scene where Weyoun is trying to evaluate the aesthetic qualities of one of Ziyal’s paintings, another insight on the genetical engineering of the Founders. Can genetical engineering dictate whether an entity has the ability to appreciate a good painting? Eyesight and hearing, yes, but to alter judgement of aesthetics – an intangible process? An interesting question they’ve subtlely raised (whether that was a point the writers were trying to make, I don’t know, but that’s what I got from it). Anyhow, as I was saying, they’ve started taking down the minefield. La Résistance manages to smuggle out a message warning Sisko of this via Morn leaving the station for his mother’s birthday. Sisko decides they can’t wait for the Klingons to join in and decides to grab two fleets and head for DS9. En route he runs into the defending force of over 1200 Dominion/Cardassian ships. Outnumbered two to one, we have to wait till next ep to see what happens. Odo meanwhile has been locked in the link, an experience more fufilling than the “limited form of intimacy” solids have (man, that must be really something… linking is better than sex and Odo was in it for 3 days straight!) I really am starting to believe that the Founders are a bunch of megalomanical, egotistical nymphomaniacs. So what of Odo? In the closing scenes, we see him start to do what looks like a 180. As they say, absense makes the heart grow fonder, and it seems love springs eternal (ok I’ll stop it with the proverbs now :). He chases after Kira and apologises. However, she, in a cold rage, correctly points out, “we are way, way, beyond sorry.”

17
Nov 00
Fri

Star Trek DS9: Behind the Lines (Ep 6.4)

Sisko obviously longs for the bridge but his elevated status has relegated him to a desk job planning the “Bolian Offensive”. Meanwhile Dax has taken command of the Defiant and has successfully gone out and destroyed the Argolas Array. The war is going badly for the Federation, even though we hear of these successful missions. Kira, back on the station, realises this too and is determined to proceed with her Resistance movement. Things are not going too well for her either. Quark (“I just had Kanar… with Damar!”) learns Damar has discovered how to bring down the self-replicating minefield, and an attempt to thwart this sees Rom ending up in jail. All this being Odo’s fault who seems to have taken a sinister turn after being linked with another Founder. In a strange turn, Odo seems to have developed a superiority complex that transcends his feelings for Kira. The Link must be really something. Odo has described being linked as a “sexual experience”, so one can only conclude that being in the Great Link must be the shapeshifter equivalent of a planetwide orgy. Ok. Moving right along…

14
Nov 00
Tue

Star Trek DS9: Sons and Daughters (Ep 6.3)

This episode, as its title references to, is about Worf’s Son, Alexander “I’m a gronk” Roshenko, and Dukat’s Daughter, Ziyal. Interestingly enough, they are both cross-bred: Alex being ¾-Klingon and ¼-Human, and Ziyal half Bajoran/Cardassian. I didn’t care much for the Alexander-Worf plot, it did very little except resolve what happened to the kid (24th Century equivalent of “Where are they now”?). As I recall, although I could be wrong, he never prominently features again. So now we turn our attention to Ziyal. Dukat may be evil, but he I must say he is quite charismatic. Ziyal returns to the station, overjoyed at meeting Kira again. However, she’s caught amidst the high tensile conflict between Dukat and Kira. The scene where Ziyal is talking about her drawings was a little unsettling in that she was being praised simultaneously by the two of them while Kira and Dukat virtually ignored each other (I didn’t think they were trying to one-up each other with who could praise Ziyal more, but they certainly weren’t reinforcing each other’s praise). The scene where Dukat surprises Ziyal with the “gift” dress was amusing, and very telling of his personality. Not a great episode, with an inconsequential A-Plot, but the B-Plot sets up another variable…

Sidenote: I can never get used to the Klingon rituals where they cut their hands. It makes me cringe every time. Almost as bad as seeing someone slit their wrists.

11
Nov 00
Sat

Star Trek DS9: A Time To Stand (Ep 6.1)

It’s been a while since the Season 5 finale, but as I remember, DS9 was occupied by the Cardassians and it’s clear that the Feds aren’t getting it back any time soon. From here on in, the episodes have a high degree of continuity as the war really starts to kick off. Sisko blows up a ketrecel white production facility but ends up in a badly damaged Dominion ship with no viewscreen. Dukat, on the other hand, is loving it. Time to sit back and observe what happens… this is going to be a fantastic season.

Star Trek DS9: Rocks and Shoals (Ep 6.2)

Nicely filmed episode with a somewhat bittersweet ending. We get an interesting insight into the Jem’Hadar and just how far they have been engineered for absolute loyalty (“It is not my life to give up, Captain … and it never was” is a confirmation of that). This is who the Federation is up against. This episode was directed nicely with the final fight scene lapsing into some well shot slo-mo sequences accompanied by a good musical score. Not only do we get an insight into the loyalties of the Jem’Hadar, but also of the Vorta to the Founders. Despite the Cardassian occupation of the station, Odo has managed to establish a Bajoran security detachment on board (much to Dukat’s dismay) – simply because he is a founder in the eyes of Weyoun. The dissent between Weyoun and Dukat is also something to keep an eye on. While this occupation isn’t as horrific as The Occupation several years prior, the opposition is just as strong as evidenced by the Vedek’s suicide on the promenade – an act which zaps Kira into taking action in the form of a “new resistance”. Till next week, then.

8
Nov 00
Wed

DS9

It runs twice a week. Tuesdays & Thursdays. I’ll try to review both in one go, once a week. Rocks and Shoals on Thursday, and as I remember, it was a bittersweet, but well written, episode.

3
Nov 00
Fri

DS9 Resumes

This Tuesday. Hence, reviews will too. (I know I’ve seen all but three eps from DS9’s final 2 seasons, but they deserve a review.)

14
Sep 00
Thu

Trek

6 more episodes to watch before I finish the DS9 series!

9
Sep 00
Sat

Trek

Polished off half a season’s worth of episodes of DS9 Friday night/Saturday morning with a friend. I lost consciousness around 5.30am and missed half of Ep 7.8 (Seige of AR-558). We plan to finish watching the series sometime these hols :)

10
Jun 00
Sat

Trek Map

Jamie sent me a very nice map of the alpha/beta quadrants.

26
Apr 00
Wed

Trek

Oh yeah, they have started showing Voyager Season 4 on channel 9 now, but I’m not doing reviews for it.

18
Apr 00
Tue

:(

Season 5 finale of DS9 tonight.

16
Apr 00
Sun

Star Trek DS9: In The Cards (Ep 5.25)

Easily one of the best episodes this season, it’s a down to earth comedy that tracks Jake and Nog’s attempts at getting hold of an elusive baseball card (I remember doing this with comic cards back in year 9). Along the way they have to trade a whole bunch of miscellania to get the card off a person who is working on a way to live forever via a “cellular entertainer” (this concept provides a few cute moments, like when the kids try to explain it to Odo). Many scenes could be described as uh… “cute”, but not sickeningly so, and the episode closes up on an upbeat note (the scene when they are captured by the Vorta is even light hearted :). Wonderful episode.

10
Apr 00
Mon

The Fifth Franchise

The 5th Star Trek series is to be entitled “Birth of the Federation”. It’s set a little back in the Star Trek timeline, picking up where First Contact left off. Strange concept – I wonder if it will work at all? It’s slated to start up in Autumn (US), 2001. Sourced from here. On the side, George “Starving broke actor looking for job” Takei is pushing for a new series starring Captain Sulu and the adventures of the Excelsior. Heh.

7
Apr 00
Fri

Star Trek DS9: Empok Nor (Ep 5.24)

An unusual episode of Trek. Effective lighting created a gloomy and surreal mirror image of Terak Nor (aka DS9). It’s an episode containing suspense of the shock type. This is the only episode of Trek which has made me jump – something I totally did not expect. Credibly done, it’s only when Garak is affected by the psychotropic drug does the episode move into a “second plot”. Garak tries to bring out the primal instincts of O’Brien, goading him and trying to induce him into “going psycho”, continutally referring to O’Brien’s time as a soldier. However, O’Brien manages to contain himself somewhat. Unfortunately this was not wonderfully executed. Especially to see the closing scene where Garak and O’Brien resolve things. I couldn’t help but think back to the episode where O’Brien was “virtually imprisoned” by the Argrathi (Hard Time) and pushed to, and over, the edge. In this episode, O’Brien endures 20 years of hardship before he snaps and his “evolved sensibilities” crumble. When you think of how Garak only has a few hours to provoke him, and how O’Brien has gone through the immense psychological trauma in Hard Time and has had to recover from that (he probably still has the occasional nightmare about it) it’s not hard to see how he managed to keep his wits. Colm Meaney’s one of the better Trek actors.

Three more episodes left in the season.

3
Apr 00
Mon

So That’s Where It’s From

Ok I know you don’t care about this, but half a year ago (2 Sep 99) a DS9 episode was entitled “…Nor the battle to the Strong” This made absolutely no sense, but today I was reading an article (yet another one playing around with babelfish’s mistranslation capabilities) linked off Camworld. Turns out the title is a Bible verse.

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. -Ecclesiastes 9:11

Ohhhhhh. I get it now.

29
Mar 00
Wed

Star Trek DS9: Blaze of Glory (Ep 5.23)

Another great, solid episode. Eddington is a unique character in that he’s a match, or even more than a match for Sisko. The repartée between the two is swift and cutting, hitting each other blow for blow. Both are astute in their observations of each other, and despite their viewpoint differences, they are indeed very similar men – loyal to the end about their beliefs. There is no “wrong side” in this case (between Maquis and Federation), which makes this episode interesting. Eddington isn’t really a villain, and neither are the Maquis. It’s a unique way of poking holes in the “goody-good image” of the Federation and Sisko. The episode also ties up neatly why Cardassia joined the Dominion, and updates us on the status of the Maquis (who seem to be no longer a force). Eddington going down in the “blaze of glory” was a good way to resolve things. It seemed to have put Sisko in a more reflective and more objective frame of mind.

On the flipside, we’ll ignore the subplot of Nog trying to gain the respect of the Klingons, except that it was quite amusing at times :).

22
Mar 00
Wed

Star Trek DS9: Children Of Time (Ep 5.22)

Great episode! It was packed with all sorts of things. The perfect example of where Trek sometimes uses sci-fi as a vehicle for conveying issues, because this episode wasn’t very sci-fi at all, except for setting up the base environment for the rest of the episode. The opening of the episode shows the writers screwing around with time again, but in this case, they don’t expose too plot flaws. Instead, they deal with the paradox. Here’s the episode synopsis I ripped from st-hypertext (I can’t be bothered explaining it :)

The setup is as follows: Returning to the station from a reconnaissance mission in the Gamma Quadrant, the Defiant (carrying all the DS9 senior officers, of course), deviates from its course to investigate a planet with some odd energy readings. Dax assures Sisko that the risk of entering orbit is minimal–definitely worth investigating for what may be a rare scientific discovery. The Defiant is snagged in an energy field, and seconds later they receive a hail from a human colony with more than 8,000 people. The crew beams down to the planet, where they’re told by the colony leader (Gary Frank) that the entire settlement’s citizens are descendents of the Defiant crew. According to the leader, in two days when the Defiant attempts to leave orbit, the ship will encounter an anomaly that will send it back two centuries through time. The Defiant will then crash on the planet. With no means to escape (the wormhole doesn’t even exist at that point), the crew will decide to begin life anew. Two hundred years later, this history is revealed to the crew before it happens. The leader of the colony, by the way, is Yedrin Dax–the current host for the still-surviving Dax symbiont.

The outcome actually leads to the episode touching on existentialism – questioning exactly what existance is. If changing the timeline means 8000 people will blink out of existence, and therefore it can be argued that they never did exist, does that make it okay? You may say that if these people never existed, that’s alright, it’s not like killing them. However, is it correct to say they never existed? The crew has memories of them – is that enough to justify existance? The episode also briefly looks at religion, and the concept of destiny. Then of course there’s the issue of Odo and Kira, which I believe was handled well. What seemed as “an easy way out” for Odo to express his love for Kira turned out to only make the situation more confusing and somewhat precarious. We also have wonderful characterisations coming through – of O’Brien (and his weak spot for children), of Sisko (I found it humourous how he sat there listening to the crew debate whether or not they should return home, even though he had already made up his mind), etc. There are probably other things I’ve forgotten to mention, but there was a lot of stuff in this episode, and all handled well and wonderfully character driven.

18
Mar 00
Sat

Star Trek DS9: Soldiers of the Empire (Ep 5.21)

Finally, a Trek episode which acknowledges that not all Klingons are brave, victorious warriors, and that the personality of Klingons in the Klingon empire is just as diverse as Humans in the Federation. Surely all Klingons aren’t necessarily honour-bound, courageous and belligerent. Interesting way to preserve the Worf-Martok relationship while making it evident Martok wasn’t doing his job properly. An interesting perspective given in this episode. The subplot this week was basically non-existent, but I think they might have done more with it to throw in a bit of humour (Bashir as intelligence officer was pretty amusing!).

8
Mar 00
Wed

Star Trek DS9: Ferengi Love Songs (Ep 5.20)

*Shudder*. Zekky and Moogie. No more please. Subplot? *Wretch*. Closet bit was funny. Quark getting back at Brunt was pretty damn satisfying actually :).

Jamie’s 2nd Opinion:

not DS9’s finest hour….
the closet joke was the only good bit, and even it ran too long
(would somebody please SHOOT moogie and zek?)

1
Mar 00
Wed

Star Trek DS9: Ties of Blood and Water (Ep 5.19)

Initially I thought this episode was going to be heavily political, but the politics only turned out to be a subplot. This episode stems from Second Skin, a few seasons ago. The real plot, with Kira having to deal with inner demons and the pain of having to watch someone die was predictable, but reasonably acted out. The vorta was quite amusing. It reminds us of the dominion’s presence (we haven’t seen them for a while), monitoring even Dukat (who seems to think Cardassia has been given “unparalleled autonomy” although I suspect otherwise). Probably not the most exciting episode, but possibly significant in the intelligence Gemore gave to Kira (intelligence that we do not hear about, which I guess reflects the emphasis of the main plot of the episode).

Jamie’s second opinion:

i can’t really remember much other than it wasn’t as good as its predecessor.
sorto of talky, with kira by the guys bed, and more kira/cardie conflict
which is normally good, don’t get me wrong.

23
Feb 00
Wed

Star Trek DS9: Business As Usual (Ep 5.18)

Here’s a rarity. A serious episode centered around Quark. Quark goes bust and has to turn to weapons dealing to repay his debts. Quark works under the unpredictable Victor Maitland. Uh, I mean, Hagath. (Hagath is played by Steven Berkoff, who also played the bad guy Maitland in Beverley Hills Cop. The two characters are extraordinarily similar.) Just as Worf has been “infected” by Human ideas, Quark seems to have been “infected” by being around Sisko and crew for too long – a ferengi with a conscience is only half a ferengi. The writers handled this episode perceptively, and the resolution to Quark’s dilemma was credible, crafty, and not some “quick cheap/lucky fix” as we see so often. The O’Brien baby subplot was an amusing tagalong plot, showing no one’s forgotten about Kirayoshi. This episode is definitely solid.

“You so much as litter on the promenade and I will nail you to the wall!” – Sisko to a shaken Quark

Second opinion from Jamie:

beauty….
MUCH better than last week’s IMHO…
Hagath was just a *tad* too over the top in places. too homosexual to be totally creepy, too prone to outbursts to be Blofeld-ian

18
Feb 00
Fri

Trek – Third Opinion

Babylon 5? Pffft :Þ.

I was watching DS9 and man did that episode bore me until i saw a really cool plot development in the making When odo was told that the Blone chix memories where stored in the chip I though she will give the chip back to the two bad guys and there fore securing her freedom but loosing her past life.

Another thing why did That sydicate memeber want that god damn chip its not like it would of benifited him.

Oh well
God i miss babylon 5

16
Feb 00
Wed

Star Trek DS9: A Simple Investigation (Ep 5.17)

Alternatively titled, Odo Gets Laid. Ok, not really, but it could be. A somewhat derivative episode, but since the subject it is being derived from is sound (first love, at long last), it doesn’t turn out too bad. It’s nothing exciting either (I can only take so much of a topless Odo. About half a second. I think a 5 minute scene is … ugh). Probably Bashir’s comments rang through and true in getting Odo to dispense with his inhibitions, and the gossip scene was a nice touch :).

Second Opinion (from Jamie):

a simple investigation is one of my most hated episodes.

here’s my ‘review’ ;)

Pure gutter trash from beginning to end. Stilted dialogue, poor plot. I pity Rene Auberjoinois who just looked so uncomfortable delivering his lines. They spend all this time developing Odo’s love for Kira and suddenly he has this fling with some dumb-blonde alien-of-the-week. Insipid stultifying dross – i’d rather stick my head in a fusion reactor than watch it again

Yeah, I agree with that, but I don’t judge it so harshly. Auberjoinois (how do you pronounce that anyway? Orber-jon-wah?) looks uncomfortable delivering his lines, yes, and this works well for the first part. But once he overcomes his inhibitions, it no longer works for him. Also, notice in the gossip scene, Kira is detectably bothered by the (true) rumour of Odo having successfully found a love interest (it seems the writers haven’t forgotten about the Kira-Odo relationship). Interesting.

8
Feb 00
Tue

Star Trek DS9: Doctor Bashir, I Presume (Ep 5.16)

TREK’S BACK!!! WOOHOO! And we kick off another round of weekly reviews… I can just hear you groaning in joy. Tough. :) Oh, and cheers to Noddy for reminding me just in time!

This episode covered issues unerringly similar to the ones in the cyborg article, above. Genetical engineering and the morals behind it, and of course the underlying premise about a parent’s concern for their child. Genetical engineering is indeed scary, simply because the benefits of it can’t be given to everyone. In a world where the gap between rich and poor is already cause for concern, a new “genuinely” superior race could cause a helluva lot of problems. Same could be said about cybernetics, too.

Plenty of humourous moments in this ep with the dart scene capping it off! And what can I say about Zimmerman at the end? Burrrrrrned! That would’ve hurt… just as much as mixing the Kama Sutra with Klingon sex would I’d imagine (don’t worry, you would have had to have seen the episode to understand). Cool episode.

Classic Line (when heard in context): “It’s just a minimum security penal colony in New Zealand”

16
Dec 99
Thu

Trek

KillKrazy has written about the future of the Trek franchise. It’s worrying. I haven’t heard anything about a 10th film, and I haven’t heard anything about new series (although there was a rumour a while ago that they were going to bring out 3 more series, but in hindsight that sounds pretty ridiculous). Of course, since Aust is a few years behind season-wise, I have a fair few episodes left to watch.

8
Dec 99
Wed

SoloTrek

Sorry to say this Solo, but Sisko is as “badass” and angry a captain as you’re going to see in Trek. I don’t know how he was in that episode (which is probably 2 seasons ahead of what screened here), but push him enough and the guy goes psycho :).

16
Nov 99
Tue

Star Trek DS9: In Purgatory’s Shadow (Ep 5.14) and By Inferno’s Light (Ep 5.15) [Two-Parter]

(Hey! By Inferno’s Light! My namesake episode!!) Well, well, well. Themes and issues have taken a back seat and plot has taken over. The best double-parter I’ve seen from Trek so far is mainly driven by a rivetting plot with some huge political ramifications occurring. This two-parter is the “mover and shaker” of the whole season. It potentially affects half the galaxy. It’s good to see the Alpha quadrant has overcome pig-headedness and united against a common enemy. When you break it down, it all has basically eventuated into a Alpha Quadrant vs Gamma Quadrant affair.

Garak’s character is a never-fail one, and despite the sudden revelation he is claustrophobic, Robinson plays out Garak to his usual high standards.

Dukat is Evil. He sold out big time. He’s playing with fire and he could get burnt very very badly in future.

O’Brien is dull witted. Shouldn’t he know Bashir very well, as best mates? :).

Sisko is willing and ready to whoop ass. None of this diplomacy shit – he’s realised everything’s beyond diplomacy. Good to see – the Federation is normally so passive. With the Federation under attack by an imminent and significant threat, however, you’d reckon they’d have a permanent starship guard there. How hard can it be to deploy a dozen ships there? I mean they must have thousands!

Once again the power of the Dominion is asserted. We have never seen any play by the Federation which has given them a tactical advantage over them whatsoever. Even the “secret” attack by the Obsidian Order and Tal’Shiar was turned into a Dominion ploy and crippled the secret services of the Romulans and Cardassians.

I just had a thought. It was triggered by changeling Bashir emulating the voice of a woman. You know who the Founders are? T-1000 units. Maybe a more advanced non-metallic model :). But they are terminator units! They change shape and change voice! What more proof do you need? Arnie and a fire extinguisher filled with liquid nitrogen? :)

On a worse note, Channel 9 pulled the plug on DS9. This is the last episode that will be shown until next year. They stopped it mid-season dammit! Half-way through! Fuck them! They can’t keep their hands off Trek for one bloody season, can they? Arrrrgh…. screw you Packer!!!

28
Oct 99
Thu

Star Trek DS9: The Begotten (Ep 5.12)

A fairly significant episode. Kira has the O’Brien’s baby. Odo gets his shapeshifting abilities back. The Odo/Mora plot was an interesting one, especially in light of the conversation Sisko and Odo had a few weeks back regarding children, and Sisko tells him, “you don’t know what you’re missing.” This episode, we find out. Quark in typical fashion sells a pile of goop to Odo – a pile of goop which turns out to be a baby changling – and Odo is enthralled and undertakes a parental role, trying to nurture this baby changeling. Mora, watches on. This can be pretty much viewed as a grandfather-father-son relationship. Sort of how strict parenting and punishment is justified because it is for the child’s own good. Of course, no child sees the good in being whacked with a stick (or being zapped with electric charges in this case). So, Odo effectively leaves home, and when he finally gets a “child” of his own, he is determined not to bring up his child the way Mora brought up him. Odo, despite good intentions, fails. The goop stubbornly remains a pile of goop, and eventually, Odo turns to Mora for advice. An intelligent plot with an underlying issue about parenting (“you’ll understand when you’re a parent one day” – familiar, yes?). You can’t but wonder, however, if it really is the founders who are behind Odo regaining his abilities… A test? If he shunned the thing, he would never have got his powers back. And where did Quark find the changeling? The sub-story was one that had to happen. Quite amusing. I wonder if surrogate mothers experience the same feelings that Kira did?

26
Oct 99
Tue

Star Trek DS9: The Darkness and The Light (Ep 5.11)

This was a weird episode… I don’t know how to write about it. The stuff about light and darkness, and morality and civilians in war was handled in a way I failed to grasp – especially with the light/dark metaphor which lost me. We do find out that the station security sucks major ass. A pregnant woman beating up three male security guards? The ability to blow up half the station with a hunter probe?

16
Oct 99
Sat

Star Trek: Rapture (Ep 5.10)

I just realised I forgot to do a gobbet on this week’s episode. Well, you don’t get off so easy – here it is. Most reviewers found this a highly refined and impressive episode of Trek, generally one of the season’s best. I, on the other hand could not share the high level of appreciation they displayed. The episode is based upon Sisko (Starfleet officer and Bajoran religious figure) being zapped by a faulty wiring and henceforth being gifted with rapturous visions which have the unfortunate side effect of gradually killing him. The visions must be rapturous, for Sisko is willing to die for them. This episode was filled (intentionally) with character about-turns and contradictions.

The episode was one regarding strength of faith – how it is everything to those who have it, and to those who do not have it, cannot understand it (and that statement it from a previous Trek episode). What was intriguing was that Sisko, a strong father figure and one who accepted the role of the emissary reluctantly, was not himself this episode. Understandably, Sisko may grow into the role of the emissary, but to neglect so much for visions? To have a smirk on his face while confronted by his son who is close to tears at the thought of losing his father? You could almost apply the term “spoilt child” to Sisko in this episode. Then there’s Kai Winn’s 180 degree change in viewing Sisko. However, she has been so embroiled in politics that I associate her not with the Bajoran religion, but politico-spirituality. It is hard to trust her, even though her retorting statements to Kira were very well said. Does she know something regarding Sisko’s visions we don’t? Am I missing the point completely?

Another aspect that was offputting was how Trek is so scientific. Not necesarily saying science will explain everything, or that science is everything, but even episodes that are based around faith and religion are normally weighted with science as the flipside. This episode has no science to it. Something I was not used to. On closer inspection, could this parallel the conversion of atheists to having a religion? I guess the Trek writers were handing us this episode, and were trusting the viewer to accept things as they were, with faith, as it were.

8
Oct 99
Fri

Star Trek DS9: The Ascent (Ep 5.9)

An passable episode that sort of became farcical at the end (especially the Nog/Jake thing – that was very soapie-ish). The ‘relationship’ between Odo and Quark is a weird one… they hate each other, but it’s not a cold hatred. If it’s meant to be, it’s not portrayed very well. It’s sort of like a “hate to love” (as opposed to “love to hate”) thing. Nice mountain scenery though.

29
Sep 99
Wed

Star Trek DS9: Things Past (Ep 5.8)

One of the things that DS9 always neglects is to resolve episodes fully. They spend about 2 minutes tieing up all the threads spawned during the last 40, and this episode is one of them which really needed a longer resolution – what did the rest of the crew think about Odo afterwards? This is another episode flashing back to the days of the Occupation. Although Terak Nor was gloomy, it was less so than the previous episodes I remembered (maybe due to Odo’s memory?). And using the euphemism “chemicals” in place of “drugs”? Hmm. It is interesting seeing Odo in a different light, however. An alright episode, although it could’ve been better.

And here’s a nice Trek site in newslog format.

22
Sep 99
Wed

Star Trek DS9: He who is without sin (Ep 5.7)

“You need this more than I do.” – Quark handing a Horga’an to Bashir after finding out Leeta has been fantacising about Rom while dating Bashir

Plotwise, this episode was shit. Fullerton’s case, that the Federation is going downhill because of a pleasure planet, is stupid. It’s akin to saying, the United States is going to shit because of Disney World. Yeah, whatever you reckon mate. Civilians are civilians – they need vacation time, even during war time. Even the army needs shore leave. And of course the Worf/Dax thing was purely nauseating. Please, no more of that crap. So, this episode has no plot (granted, it did have a few cute moments). What does it have? Dax and Leeta wearing less :) That’s compensation. So how could this episode be fixed up? Simple. No Worf. No Fullerton. More Dax. More Leeta. Less clothes. A special adults only commemorative episode. Yes, a bunch of horny Trekkies, that’s just what the world needs. Better luck next week, I hope.

A friend’s view:

no there is no meaning in this episode whatsoever. it’s just pure drivel. but (the stupid thing is) [Worf]’s right at some points

when he says “err people don’t sit around drinking and wearing nothing when there’s a war on – you’re all hedonistic losers” but that’s about it

15
Sep 99
Wed

Star Trek DS9: Trials and Tribble-ations (Ep 5.6)

“I’m a doctor, not a historian!”

This episode was nothing short of brilliant. Deviating from the rest of the season, this was a special tribute episode chock full of in-jokes. The nostalgia was particularly powerful, and the humour which ran through the whole episode was absolutely hillarious (heh… those guys from Temporal Investigations and all those puns on time!). What was particularly impressive was how this episode was grafted seamlessly onto an Original Series episode (the classic The Trouble with Tribbles). Especially when the crew involved in the bar brawl are being grilled by Kirk and they stick O’Brien and Bashir into the lineup. The digital manipulation was totally convincing (even though it is a 3 year old episode), placing the DS9 characters alongside Kirk and crew from the old TOS episode. The recreation of the old Enterprise set was also stunning – every nuance caught (uniforms, the squelch the doors make, decor, and those cheesy tricorders with “sleek lines”). Definitely the highlight episode of the season. Even thinking about this episode brings a smile to my face. Too bad I’ve heard that next week’s episode may be the worst episode in Trek history.

8
Sep 99
Wed

Star Trek DS9: The Assignment (Ep 5.5)

An episode with an ending you could see a mile away. O’Brien’s wife is possessed and he’s the only one that knows about it. The subplot has Nog resurface (and he virtually saves the day, again). Not a crap episode, but nothing special either. Looking forward to next week’s Tribble episode! Ought to be a barrel of laughs… apparently it’s something about sending Tribbles back in time – been waiting for this episode to roll around for a while now.

2
Sep 99
Thu

Star Trek DS9: … Nor the Battle to the Strong (Ep 5.4)

This week’s episode was on the classic issue of how you may hypothesize what you would do if placed in a situation, but if you were in this situation in real life, living the moment (I’m sure there’s a phrase in a foreign language for this expression) would you react differently? This placed Jake in the war/cowardice scenario, which reminded me somewhat of the character Uppham (spelling?) in Saving Private Ryan. Credible acting and a well written screenplay (if a little crammed) really made this a good episode. If death was handled poorly in The Ship (couple weeks back), then this episode handled itself excellently. Season 5 of DS9 looks to be the best of the first 5 seasons so far!

I still have no idea what the title means… is it a quote? It doesn’t even make sense…

25
Aug 99
Wed

Star Trek DS9: Looking for Par’mach in All the Wrong Places (Ep 5.3)

Suddenly, Trek got a lot more daring. Sometimes DS9 is called a “soapie in space” and this episode is about the closest Trek will get to resembling soapies. The whole episode revolved around Quark trying to get some randy Klingon sex (yes, we’re all repulsed by the thought) and the aging O’Brien getting a little too attached to Kira. Throw on top of this the sudden emergence of an explicit, intimate relationship (well, in Klingon terms, anyway) between Dax (“You’re in it for the sex, aren’t you Quark?”) and Worf, and it doesn’t sound like sci-fi anymore. This was a well written, enjoyable episode. The writers are noticeably more seasoned, working with distinct, well developed characters. They are getting better at adding “natural” humour – humour that doesn’t seem just stuck in, or humour that comes from a couple cheap one-liners (the Odo and Kira scene, for instance, was quite amusing). A much better episode than last week’s. Just one final thought… did Dax and Worf have sex at the end or did I misinterpret that? I’m with Bashir… I’d probably be better off not asking these questions.

18
Aug 99
Wed

Star Trek DS9: The Ship (Ep 5.2)

Yeah they’re back. My weekly thoughts on the weekly DS9 episodes. This episode was about death. Finally, we get to see someone from starfleet die a slow, lingering death (although it’s DS9’s equivalent of a red shirt). This episode tried to cover the personal side of death during wartime, but it wasn’t very “deep”. Sisko stated the obvious. It didn’t let the audience figure out the point of the episode for themselves (maybe because the episode was so vague). The episode had its moments, though, and the “item” the Vorta was looking for was a nice plot development that caught me by surprise. Nevertheless, you gotta love it when Sisko decides to go psycho.

14
Aug 99
Sat

DSN Back

Deep Space Nine came back, kicking off with Season 5’s Apocalypse Rising. Looks like a promising season.

28
Jul 99
Wed

Voyager

Good episode last night’s one was (“Worst Case Scenario”). The fact that I even mentioned it means it was an episode of unusual standard (for Voyager). Next week – season finale and with it the episode I eagerly await, “Scorpion Part 1″. Yes, we’re about two to three seasons behind here, down-under.

12
Jun 99
Sat

Bones Dies at 79

DeForest Kelly, who portrayed Doctor “Bones” McCoy in the Star Trek series, died. Please refrain from, “he’s dead, Jim” jokes please.

11
Feb 99
Thu

Channel 9 Screws Trekkies Again

Finally they decided to stop showing Season 3 TNG reruns and brought back Voyager. Finally, we Aussies could catch up on the three seasons we’re behind by… even if it is a crappy series. Not a chance. Voyager reruns. And they left TNG off at Best of Both Worlds Part 1 (aka “The Borg episode”). I’d much rather see reruns of TNG than Voy. Stuff ya, Channel 9.

14
Dec 98
Mon

Insurrection

The reports that have been filtering down from the US haven’t been positive. I must admit that the premise of the fountain of youth is dodgy, but its also interesting to find that the net has a lack of neutral responses. You ask friends and the most common response you’ll hear is, “it was ok” or “it was good”, but on the net, it’s more “it’s shit” or “it was good” and nothing in between. Am I generalising wrongly here?

17
Nov 98
Tue

Trek

BRING BACK DEEP SPACE NINE (or Voyager) YOU CHANNEL NINE SHITS! Ahem. Sorry about that. It’s just that the nine network dogs its viewers so much…

24
Jul 98
Fri

Trek Sites

I thought I’d just put a couple of links to Trek sites I just got the URLs of from a friend.
• Star Trek Hypertext
• Psiphi DSN

16
Jul 98
Thu

Channel 9 dogs Trek watchers AGAIN

The season ends, and they chuck DSN off the air (um… we’re two full seasons behind and you chuck it off the air?). Okay, I can live with that if they replace it with Voyager. They replace it with TNG. WHAT? WHERE’S THE COUPLE THOUSAND EPISODES of Voyager we’re behind by??? Dogged again!

14
Jul 98
Tue

Star Trek DSN – Broken Link

Awesome. No other word can describe the Founders. Hats off to the writers of DSN – never for one solitary second had it occurred to me that the changelings had infiltrated the Klingon, let alone as high as Gowron… Guess it’s my human-centric view of things :). This is a great plot, but I still can’t figure out why the Dominion don’t just overrun the Federation in a tick. I’ve got a few couple theories regarding this, though. Firstly, they still want the Federation on their side – intimidate them and infiltrate them so much that the Federation command structure, and its strongest asset – diplomatic relations – are in choas. This leading to an assimilation of the Feds into the Dominion. Secondly, the Federation is more than a match for the Dominion in terms of firepower, so this is the only way the Dominion can ensure victory. Whatever happens, it’s certainly clear that the Founders are the ultimate espionage agents, and the only weakness I can think of is that they have an extremely centralised system. Destroy the homeworld, and they are dead. Destroy Earth, though, and you’ve only dented human moral. It wouldn’t be a big a loss as blowing up the Founders homeworld. Which leads to an acknowledgement that Garak is really, really smart.

We know so much more about Garak, and he’s no longer a really mysterious person. “Plain, simple Garak” has even stopped denying his past… he’s merely not saying anything. One thing is certain though, this has been a great plot building season finale.

It’s been four seasons, but the merits of being on a stationary starbase are quickly being realised – a continuous plot. Better than any soapie :).

Five episodes to the Tribble one :) Channel Nine better not cut DSN off…

8
Jul 98
Wed

Star Trek DSN – Body Parts

Quark? Any episode in which he takes a main role is bound to be a winner and Body Parts is no exception. If you haven’t seen this episode, it’s about how Quark finds out he’s about to die and floats his body on the futures exchange. Yes – 52 vacuum desicated discs of Quark up for sale on a futures exchange. Oh – and Keiko’s baby has a “change of address” which is meant to be an interesting development but it pales in comparison to the developments with Quark and at his bar. I think Quark is actually losing his Ferengi qualities – he’s become too exposed to “hu-marns” and the final scene is almost mushy. It’s his Ferengi attributes which make him such a lovable character and I think (or hope anyway) that the Trek writers know this and won’t try to humanise Quark too much. Very interesting development that will have repercussions for future episodes. After all, if you were condemned by the rest of your race, that would have repercussions for the future.

7
Jul 98
Tue

Trek

Yeah! It’s started screening again, starting tonight.

28
Jun 98
Sun

Star Trek

Bloody Channel 9 took it off for three weeks while Wimbeldon is on. WHY IS IT ALWAYS TAKEN OFF WHEN WE HAVE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS??? Bloody hell.

20
Jun 98
Sat

Star Trek DNS – The Quickening

This episode generally hasn’t been looked very favourably upon, but I found it to be satisfying. Of course, it could have led to the issue of Euthanasia, but it didn’t. I think it quite nicely showed what a true doctor might go through (true as in a missionary-type doctor – no money, etc.). So Bashir is a very good doctor, but not a perfect one, which is gratifying, since there are so many perfect things in Trek (which is just plain unrealistic). Next week’s episode is Body Parts, and I’ve heard it’s about Quark “floating” his body on the stock exchange. I’m not sure if I heard that right… Which reminds me of the cameo appearance of Quark in the beginning of this episode. “Come to Quark’s, Quark’s is fun, Come right now, Don’t walk, run!”. Hahaha, and the singing cup – that was funny.

Star Trek IX

Has been giving yet another (working?) title. It’s now Star Trek Insurrection. It was Defiance before this one, Star Dust before that, and then Prime Directive and about 5 names before that.

13
Jun 98
Sat

Star Trek DSN – To The Death

Nice, interesting episode. We get a glimpse at the Jem’Hadar (spelling). They’re not unlike the Klingon, only less bounded by the tradition and “code” of a race that has been left to developed by itself. We have an insight into the Dominion, and relations between the Founders, Vorta and Jem’Hadar. You’d have to wonder, though, that if the Dominion is as insidious as it is, I’m sure a small group of Founders/Changelings/Shapeshifters could easily take control of the Iconian Gateway facility, and restrict access to it or something. That thing is powerful. I like how the Iconians popped up again, having heard of them first in TOS (I think, if not, then without a doubt in TNG). The galaxy is not as big as it used to be. I heard that in a later season there’s this series of episodes that shows an actual war break out between the Federation and the Dominion. But us Aussies will have to wait for that.

5
Jun 98
Fri

Star Trek DSN – For The Cause

Not a bad episode. Garak has found a friend :), and that should spell further trouble regarding Kira and Dukat. And now Sisko has problems. I thought the reactions of Sisko were quite realistic – no one was needed to tell him, “Get over your personal problems – you’re a Starfleet officer.” I also noticed that they’re keeping O’Brien out of the scene … I guess they don’t want to deal with him anymore until he’s gotten over his ordeal completely.

1
Jun 98
Mon

Star Trek DSN – The Muse

Last week’s episode was a total failure. Two sub-plots that went absolutely nowhere. Of course, anyone could tell that when Lwaxana waltzes in declaring that she’s pregnant… And if you were Jake, wouldn’t you get a little suspicious if someone was touching your head like that for hours on end? I don’t care if it is a “massage”.

23
May 98
Sat

Star Trek DS9 – Shattered Mirror

The mirror universe again! Another good mirror universe one (the last one was Through the Looking Glass). Nice computer generated battle scenes as well. Half hearted attempt at some sort of development in Sisko and Jake’s character, but I think I was too interested in the characterisation of the mirror universe characters and the nice fights :).

19
May 98
Tue

Star Trek DS9: Hard Time (Revisited)

I’m still thinking about this episode (sort of) [See May 17 entry]. And something I should have picked up on Sunday actually occurred to me in, funnily enough, maths tuition tonight! We somehow got on to talking about religion, and then philosophy, and then the philosophical notion that we don’t exist, and that we are all figures that are part of a dream. We aren’t real, basically. Along with this came the butterfly thing… One night you dream you are a butterfly, but are you dreaming you’re a butterfly, or is it a butterfly dreaming it’s a human (seems ridiculous, but try to ignore cynicism for the moment). My tutor pointed out that some psychopaths in society use the argument that since nothing is real (ie: just dreamt), that they can justify their actions as they don’t have any real repercussions. Then it struck me of the significance of the DS9 episode – that it doesn’t matter whether it was not real – the act was still there. BUT, the difference is, unlike a dream, in which you can’t really control yourself (ignoring lucid dreaming, too), this was an “interactive mental program” where O’Brien could choose his actions (as the final scene in the cargo bay depicted). Come to think of it, it’s very much like the previous episode. The harmful action was there, but in the real world, no harm was done (the murder of the imaginary friend, and the destruction of a holographic ship). This week’s episode is screening in a couple minutes… I hope it’s as good, and I wonder if O’Brien makes an appearance (he just won’t be the same man he was… or will he?).

Star Trek DS9 – This week’s episode (Preview)

I only watched the first bit (before the title sequence comes on) of the episode each week, tape the rest, and watch the rest on the weekend (gotta go to bed early :). According to my episode guide, the episode is called “Shattered Mirror”. Anyway, Jake sees his mother (who of course, is supposed to have died years ago). I think it’s developing Jake’s character – there’s a bit about missing Nog, and of course seeing his mother. Very interesting. Dammit I want to see it now but Dad won’t let me! From the title, I guess it’s about the mirror universe (the same universe in “Through the Looking Glass”). I guess I’ll have to wait and see… <grumble>.

17
May 98
Sun

Star Trek DS9: Hard Time

I really enjoyed this episode. The situation intrigued me, and from the beginning the effects of the “virtual imprisonment” would be interesting to watch. I thought the episode in general was carried out well, and I only had one gripe. I don’t think they developed O’Brien’s behavioural degradation well enough… it was too sudden in some parts, and not consistent. For example (warning: semi-spoiler here), there is no indication when he blows up at Bashir numerous times, that he is troubled at how he’s changed; but when when he blows up at Molly, the next thing we see is him commiting suicide. He seems to take blowing up at his daughter much more seriously than blowing up at his friend – I mean, he doesn’t even show concern about his broken relationship with Bashir. Then again, it might just be “stored stress” that only came out at the end. The ending was interesting, but I initially felt it wasn’t satisfying (in hindsight, though, I don’t see how they could have ended it any way else, so they actually did do a good job). I guess since they couldn’t rid the extra twenty years in O’Brien’s memory, there will be long-term effects that may have repercussions in later episodes. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

This episode left me thinking about it well after I finished watching it. How would you feel if you experienced 20 years in 3 hours? Of course, it’s bordering on the ridiculous (you could put someone through a living hell for 50 years in 7 hours … and then do it again after the first 7 hour session – the ultimate torture device. Just think about it.) Now I thought at first, it’s only in your mind, and nothing has changed – you haven’t aged 20 years. But on second thoughts, you actually endured 20 years of incarceration, so it may actually be worse. Good episode – not overly complex and convoluted, but leaves you thinking.

16
May 98
Sat

Star Trek DS9: Rules of Engagement

Not a bad episode… not a great one either… they sorta fudged the ending, but I guess the ending wasn’t important, but it was the exploration of the Klingon psyche (spelling?) that was. Trouble was that it wasn’t a very good exploration. Now I gotta watch the taping of this week’s episode. Great line from this episode (I thought it was catchy :), forgive the misquotation, though.

Sisko: “How you describe the current relationship between the Federation and the Klingon Empire?”
Klingon Advocate: “There is none.”

Okay, so it wasn’t that special, but I liked the way he said it :).

21
Apr 98
Tue

Trek DS9: Accession

Not a bad episode for this week; it closes one loose thread (Sisko and him being the Emissary etc.). Wouldn’t it be a sight to see Sisko going on a power trip now he’s seen just what an Emissary can do? >:)

14
Apr 98
Tue

Star Trek DSN

Deep Space Nine’s getting much better. There’s much more continuity between the plot, and you can see the development in characters (the “useless” sub-plots) that didn’t occur in the earlier seasons. People say that DSN is a “soapie in space”, but it I think the difference is that it doesn’t get bogged down by mundane relationship and behaviour problems, which is all soapies such as Neighbours seem to run on. The setting in space, plus all the races mean that DSN can cover many many more themes and issues than a normal soapie can (I don’t think a soapie does aim to cover themes, and issues – more like to give people something to look at while they eat dinner :), and it DSN is aimed at covering issues and current topics… with the occassional firefight! DSN has come a long way. Of course, #@!#$% Channel 9’s not showing Voyager, and we’re about two-three (even four?) seasons behind the US.

The episode tonight, “Bar Association”, was up there with the best episodes I’ve seen. It involved Rom and his co-workers at the bar striking against his employer-brother Quark (and anything with Ferengi in it is bound to be humourous). How appropriate, I was thinking, especially with the Waterfront Dispute going on. There was the main plot of Rom and the … the … u … uh … union :), then there’s that of Worf trying to adapt to DSN (and his crush on Dax :), and of course they manage to link the plots in a small way (the brawl between O’Brien and Worf over boycotting the bar). They develop O’Brien and Worf’s character, and Sisko gets a cameo role as Mr Grumpy for the second or third week in a row. This episode was really fun to watch, although the union “rally” scenes were a bit corny (especially the Bajoran Dabo girl (sidenote – if it was the Cleansing Festival, and she’s Bajoran, why was she still working??), but at least her presence meant we had something to look at =). If only we saw the wharfies parading around like that… hehe.



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