Bigger, Badder, Balder: Revisiting Star Trek: The Next Generation - Music Banter Music Banter

Go Back   Music Banter > The MB Reader > Members Journal
Register Blogging Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Welcome to Music Banter Forum! Make sure to register - it's free and very quick! You have to register before you can post and participate in our discussions with over 70,000 other registered members. After you create your free account, you will be able to customize many options, you will have the full access to over 1,100,000 posts.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-10-2023, 03:11 PM   #31 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,952
Default

Episode title: “Haven”
Season: 1
Importance: 3 (introduces us to Deanna’s mother, gives us some insight into Betazoids; kicks off the uneasy relationship between Lwaxanna and Picard, even if it is only in her mind)
Crisis point(s) if any: It’s an arranged wedding; how could it be anything else?
Original transmission date: November 30 1987
Writer(s): Tracy Tormé, Lan O’Kun
Director: Richard Compton
Stardate:* 41294.5
Destination: Haven
Mission (if any): R&R
Main character(s) in Plot: Deanna Troi, Lwaxana Troi
Main character(s) in Subplot (if any):
Not appearing: O’Brien, Wesley, Worf
Villain/Monster (if any): Lwaxana (Nah just kidding: or am I?)
Deaths: 0
Lives saved (episode): 0
Lives saved (cumulative): 7
Locations:

Shipboard:
Bridge
Transporter Room
Ready Room
Deanna’s Quarters
Quarters set aside for Lwaxanna
Observation Lounge
Ballroom/Banquet Room

Space:

Other:
Haven
Tarellian ship


Ships/vessels: 1
Space battles: 0
Bodycount

Historical
0
Incidental
0
Direct
0
Total: 0
Running total: 85

Make it so: 0
Engage! 1
Combat factor: 0
Planets visited: Haven
Planets mentioned: 2
Mysteries: The girl in the pictures Wyatt has been drawing since a child
Patients in sickbay: 0
Data v humanity: I think we can say Data gets a little too involved, and overwhelmed by all the human interaction, so we’re going to give it to humanity here.
Data 3 -Humanity 4

Character scores:
Picard 10
Riker 10
Troi 150
Beverly 20
Data 10
Geordi 30
Worf 0
Wesley 0
O’Brien 0

Earl Grey: 0
Shuttlecraft: 0
Admirals: 0
Starbases: 0
First contact: 0
Humour: 6
Episode rating: 7/10
Episode score: 245

Ah, why the hell couldn’t Majel Barret be happy doing the voice of the computer? Appearing here for the first time, she will become an annoying blemish on Star Trek (all franchises, or most) at least to me. I just can’t stand the woman. Her treatment of Picard, her dismissive attitude and lack of respect, and then her arrogant belief that he is in love with her, make me want to slap her. It certainly gives me a sense of sympathy for Deanna! We also meet her very tall, silent companion/butler/attendant, Mr. Homm, and learn that she is the ruler of Betazed, which I suppose in some way makes Deanna as her daughter a sort of princess. The gift that transports on to the ship to announce the wedding reminds me of that thing in TOS “Is There in Truth No Beauty?”


"Don't just stand there, Data! This thing's fucking heavy, and I'm no spring chicken!"
"Spring... chicken, sir?"
"Jesus in a warp core breach! Don't start that shit again!"


If, as Wiki says, Marina Sirtis worried that her being left out of the last episode was an indication she was about to be written out of the series, this episode must have, initially, confirmed those fears, as it’s said once she gets married to her genetically-selected partner she will be leaving the ship. I’m sure her heart must have fluttered as she read those lines. Picard’s sarcastic bow as he is “dismissed” from Lwaxanna’s presence goes completely over her head, despite her mental powers. Bit of a slip of the tongue when Wyatt’s father accidentally calls Lwaxanna’s attendant Comm instead of Homm; he recovers without missing a beat though and they obviously left it in, presumably to indicate he may have had one or two too many, or just been irritated by Deanna’s mother, and who would not be?


"You want fries with that?"

I like how Homm gets totally squiffy and even though he can’t talk, conveys a good impression of someone who is well on; I also like Data’s amusement/fascination with human interaction, especially as Lwaxanna and Wyatt’s mother argue: it’s a good illustration of his studying of human behaviour, though again he’s grinning, and isn’t he supposed to have no emotions? I suppose it would be claimed he is aping human expressions so as to fit in better, as he does later when he mirrors the host’s actions and gestures in “Starship Mine”, seasons from now. More information about Betazoids, as we learn that their weddings are, well, interesting, everyone being required to be naked.


"Somebody get me OUT of here! And get my agent on the phone!"

There’s a good sense of humour in this episode, a lot of catty bitching like a good episode of Dallas or Dynasty, and yet there are very serious subjects being explored here. It’s a love story, a fairy tale, a story of arranged marriage, a warning about ostracising one sector of society because they’re seen as incompatible with the rest of civilisation, like lepers or those with the Black Death. There’s the desire to help, to do what you can to ease the suffering of others, a sense of sacrifice, and destiny. It’s the first Troi-centric episode, the first real one centred around family. A really complex, well written and in the end quite beautiful episode.

And again, nobody agrees with me, and again they can all go fuck themselves.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2023, 12:50 PM   #32 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,952
Default

If the charts have shown us anything, it's that, unlike its predecessor, TNG at least seems to be - for the first season anyway - a show centred mostly around one character. Oh, the others are usually there, but the way only one character advances each episode shows that the episode was based mostly around them.

And so it is with "Haven", where Deanna's starring role enables her to climb over the men and make her way to the third spot, advancing five places and in the process displacing Data and Wesley, as well as her captain, moving each down one place, and Beverly, who falls two places. Data and Wesley now occupy fifth and fourth place respectively, while Picard also slides one to number 6. Beverly is now at number 8.

Riker retains his place at the top for the second episode running, though his captain has a chance to move up again - though hardly to top spot! - as our next episode is built all around him. For now though, the top three has changed, with Riker, rather appropriately, at number one, Yar still making a good showing at number two and now the girls outnumber the boys with Deanna at number 3.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2023, 08:03 PM   #33 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,952
Default

There was a hard rain falling that night, hard enough to wash the scum of this city into the gutters and... yes, you've guessed it.

Episode title: “The Big Goodbye”
Season: 1
Importance: 4 (First holodeck episode)
Crisis point(s) if any: Picard must greet an alien race flawlessly, but is trapped in the holodeck
Original transmission date: January 11 1988
Writer(s): Tracy Torme
Director: Joseph L. Scanlan
Stardate:* 41997.7
Destination: Torona IV
Mission (if any): Greet the Jarada
Main character(s) in Plot: Picard
Main character(s) in Subplot (if any): Beverly, Data, Geordi, Worf, Yar, Wesley, Riker
Not appearing: O’Brien
Villain/Monster (if any): None
Deaths: 1 ++
Lives saved (episode): 1
Lives saved (cumulative): 8
Locations:

Shipboard:
Captain’s Quarters
Bridge
Observation Lounge
Dixon Hill’s office ++
San Francisco street ++
Police precinct ++

Space:

Other:


Ships/vessels: 0
Space battles: 0
Bodycount

Historical
1 ++ (Dixon Hill’s client)
Incidental

Direct

Total: 1
Running total: 86

Make it so: 0
Engage! 0
Combat factor: 0
Transports: 0
Planets visited: 0
Planets mentioned: 0
Aliens: The Harada
Mysteries: Why the holodeck is stuck and won’t let them leave
Patients in sickbay: 0 (though presumably the historian was sent there, we don’t see him there)
Data v humanity: Like the Holmes stories, the whole idea of the forties private eye captivates Data
Data 3 - Humanity 5
Character scores:
Picard 155
Riker 10
Troi 10
Data 40
Beverly 30
Worf 10
Geordi 10
Wesley 30
O’Brien 0

Earl Grey: 0
Shuttlecraft: 0
Admirals: 0
Starbases: 0
First contact: 0
Humour: 6
Episode rating: 2/10
Episode score: 220

God preserve me! The first of several Dixon Hill holodeck episodes! What idiot thought that Picard/Stewart could play a private detective? I mean, I know he’s a good actor but look at anything he’s been in: he’s Captain Picard, always and forever. He has the wrong accent, the wrong demeanour, the wrong attitude for a private eye. This was, however, the very first holodeck-centred episode, so that’s something I guess. The second Picard-led one too, with most of the action taking place in the fantasy world created by the ship’s computer, set in San Francisco 1941. It does afford us the rare opportunity to see Beverly dressed up, and she looks well. Quite funny when she sits down in the police station, sees another girl sitting there whose legs are more exposed than hers, slides up her skirt a little and then realises the girl is a hooker! Oh dear.


Picard hopes Beverly never discovers that he uses her makeup...

Data gets fully into the role, as you would probably expect, and from having arrived there in his Starfleet uniform and looking totally out of place, Picard is now immersed too in his character, dressed as a 1940s private dick. Also funny when Bev is given some gum and swallows it. Riker arriving at the holodeck to Geordi: “Have you tried the intercom?” Geordi facepalming: “The intercom! Now why didn’t I think of that?” The subplot is almost negligible, really only providing a reason why Picard needs to seek the sanctuary and release of the holodeck. In many ways, we’re talking “A Piece of the Action” here, though perhaps not handled quite as well. Even at the end, Picard makes a gangster-style comment, as did Kirk in the TOS episode.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2023, 03:21 PM   #34 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,952
Default

Can't keep a good captain down! Picard rises all the way to number three, while his, um, Number One retains the top spot and Yar holds on to number two.

In other news, Data and Wesley now share 5th spot, the former having fallen one place and the latter two, but Deanna climbs four to the fourth spot. Others move up one place, but it's mostly a false move, due to two characters sharing the fifth slot, leaving room for others to move up. Essentially, they're the same, but visually at least Q, Worf and O'Brien move up one place, with Beverly and Geordi non-movers, remaining at 6 and 7 respectively.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018

Last edited by Trollheart; 04-15-2023 at 03:31 PM.
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2023, 03:22 PM   #35 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,952
Default

Now that we're more than ten episodes in, it's time for the first episode chart.
And here it is.

Obviously, episodes don't quite have the same ability to rise and fall as characters do, since once they're done, they're done, but they can move by virtue of other episodes being ranked lower than them. Also, once we have 20 episodes things will look at lot clearer.

For now, is this what you expected? I admit "Lonely Among Us" was one of the better episodes, but I did think "Encounter at Farpoint" would be at the top. It should be made clear, of course, that these rankings are based solely on the criteria I established at the beginning, and have usually nothing to do with my own personal like or dislike of the episode, or indeed its popular rating among fans, critics, or small blue things that go whoop on alternate Thursdays. In one way, you could say they're the truest and most honest ratings, because they depend entirely and exclusively on the facts: how much danger was in the episode? Was there a war? Were there aliens in it? And so on.

Anyway, we have "Lonely Among Us" at the top, followed by "Hide & Q" and then "Encounter at Farpoint", which in general is not a bad top three really. More of a shock, perhaps, to see "Haven" take the number four spot, while "Where No One Has Gone Before" being at five is no surprise, but a major amazement, really, to see "The Big Goodbye" so high, at number 6. "The Battle", "Justice" and "The Last Outpost" at number 7, 8 and 9 respectively does make sense to me, while the final episode in the top ten ends up being the awful "Code of Honor", leaving the even worse "The Naked Now", somewhat like its subject, out in the cold at number 11.

Again, if you don't agree, don't blame me. These rankings are based on whether or not the episodes attained the criteria set out by me, not any personal preference.

I won't do a chart after every episode, as there would be little movement, so the next one will be when we reach episode 20, and then perhaps at the end of the season.

Rankings, then, look like this for now:
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2023, 10:20 AM   #36 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,952
Default


Episode title: “Datalore”
Season: 1
Basic plot: Data meets his brother. And he’s evil!
Importance: 8 (shows us the first real origins of Data, gives Brent Spiner, somewhat like Nimoy in “This Side of Paradise” and, to a somewhat lesser extent, “Mirror, Mirror”, a chance to step outside the somewhat rigid constrictions of his character. Also allows him to pull a Kirk in “The Enemy Within”, as in, play two opposing sides of himself, a good one and an evil one.
Crisis point(s) if any: Lore takes over and prepares to feed the crew to the Crystalline Entity - and it’s been trying to cut down!
Original transmission date: January 18 1988
Writer(s): Robert Lewin, Maurice Hurley (teleplay by Maurice Hurley and Gene Roddenberry)
Director: Rob Bowman
Stardate:* 41242.4
Destination: Omicron Theta
Mission (if any): Maintenance at Starbase Armus IX
Main character(s) in Plot: Data
Main character(s) in Subplot (if any):
Not appearing: Troi, O’Brien
Villain/Monster (if any): Lore; Crystalline Entity
Deaths: 0
Lives saved (episode): 2
Lives saved (cumulative): 10
Locations:

Shipboard:
Bridge
Data’s Quarters
Ready Room
Engineering
Observation Lounge
Cargo Bay

Space:

Other:
Omicron Theta


Ships/vessels (encountered): 0
Ships/vessels (mentioned only): 1 (USS Tripoli)
Space battles: 0
Bodycount

Historical
0
Incidental
0
Direct
0
Total: 0
Running total: 86

Make it so: 1
Engage! 1
Combat factor: 0
Planets mentioned: 1
Aliens: Crystalline entity.
Mysteries: Destruction of colony on Omicron Theta
Patients in sickbay: 1 (Lore)
Data v humanity: Data really drops the ball on this one, and it’s up to Wesley to save him, so no, afraid he loses on this one too.
Data 3 - Humanity 6
Character scores:
Picard 10
Riker 25
Data 140
Troi 0
Geordi 15
Bev 20
Yar 15
Wesley 50
O’Brien 0

Earl Grey: 0
Shuttlecraft: 0
Admirals: 0
Starbases: 0
First contact: 1 (Crystalline Entity)
Humour: 3
Episode rating: 5/10
Episode score: 160

Having had a Riker, two Picards and a Troi-specific episode, it’s Data’s turn, and it will by no means turn out to be the last. This one, of course, concentrates on his brother, his evil brother Lore, and tells us not only how he was created and by whom, but how, had things been different, Data might have turned out to be a true adversary of humanity. Like they used to say about Sherlock Holmes, thank god he chose to work on the side of law: can you imagine Data as an enemy? Of course, this will happen later on in the series, when he teams up with Lore in the two-part episode “Descent”, but that’s getting a little ahead of ourselves. Picard shows admirable sensitivity in addressing the awkwardness the senior staff have about speaking of Data’s “brother”, by reminding them that we are all machines, of one sort or another.

We learn here that Data has an off switch, something which Riker will use to terrible effect in the episode “The Measure of a Man”. It’s interesting to see that both Chief Engineer Argyll and Beverly can work on Lore, as he is both man and machine. I always wonder why, if Picard was, as he says, certain of Data’s loyalty, he had to ask him the question in the first place? He obviously was not as certain as he makes out. Wesley proves pretty insufferable here, but it’s good to see he comes close to getting his comeuppance when Lore gets his hands on him. I am surprised though when Lore tells Data he can use contractions while his brother can’t; I’m sure I heard Data using those before. We also get some hints as to the existence of the alien known as the crystalline entity here, which will reappear in a later episode.


Is this what they mean by not losing your head? Sorry...

I have to wonder why Deanna is not in this episode. It seems like there would have been ample opportunity to use her talents, especially to determine Lore’s intentions. Maybe that’s why: if she had been able to tell Picard Lore was up to something, it might have spoiled the episode. Still, Marina Sirtis must have been feeling on a bit of a roller-coaster: one week she’s out, next week she’s the centre of the episode, the next week she’s not there at all. Well, not in that order, but you know what I mean. A small, almost insignificant role in the previous one. Lore’s facial tic that gives him away is a bit of a lazy plot device, almost as bad as if he were to twirl a moustache, and it’s pretty obvious how they’re going to identify him, though he does a half-decent job of covering it up by pretending he’s copying Data.


Picard: "I SAID, we will NOT do a Christmas episode, dammit!"

Both Riker and Picard show uncharacteristically poor judgement and insight when Wesley clearly has a problem with Lore. They ignore his warnings and never for once think this may not be Data who stands before them. I mean, I hate the little bastard, but it can’t be denied he has saved the day more than once, most recently when he gained access to the holodeck in the last episode. Yet they’re ready to jump on him for being rude to “a senior officer”, without considering the cause of that impertinence. Again, given how much I despise Wesley it hurts me to say this, but surely they should trust him? And their suspicion is not any further aroused by Wesley’s continued attempts - even though he knows he’ll lose his position on the bridge, something that means more to him than almost anything - to continue warning them? Not to mention Lore’s dismissive use of Riker’s surname without rank and his inability to understand Picard’s “Make it so”? Man, are they dumb.

It’s also a bit crazy how easily Lore overpowers Data. I mean, he just pushes him, and suddenly two (or, I suppose, at a stretch, three) against one becomes meaningless, and they’re all more or less hostages. Funny how it then devolves into a game of Donkey Kong! Nice how Picard apologises to Wesley for not believing him and for saving the ship. Oh no wait: he doesn’t.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2023, 03:15 PM   #37 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,952
Default

One more thing about Datalore. When Lore sees the CE he says "Beautiful, isn't it?" Not only is that an inappropriate thing for Data to say, he shouldn't be able to say it. He has no concept of beauty and can only go on what others tell him, so if the rest of the crew are repulsed by, or scared of the thing, then he should be too. He should not be able to make an independent appraisal of the beauty of an unknown object. So that should have raised suspicions. Picard does raise an eyebrow, but that's about all.

Anyway, on we go with the chart.


To nobody's surprise, Data makes strides up the chart, displacing his captain as he moves two places from 5 to 3, pushing Picard down to 4 from 3, while everyone else drops one place, the exception being Deanna, who, by virtue of not being in the episode, slips two places from 6 to 8. Wesley, despite his performance here, remains at number 5. He's about to become the fifth character to break the 300-point barrier, while Yar has already punched through the 400, with Data not far behind her - remember "The Naked Now", Tasha! - and Picard also heading for that milestone. Out on his own, Riker of course is well into the 600s.

It's not been, um, glorious for poor Worf yet, despite taking on Lore - read, having the crap beaten out of him - and even the blind guy is ahead of him. Mind you, consider poor Miles, who still can't get arrested, with a paltry 30 points after a dozen episodes! Even Q, who has only been in two, has more points than him.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2023, 04:52 PM   #38 (permalink)
Zum Henker Defätist!!
 
The Batlord's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Beating GNR at DDR and keying Axl's new car
Posts: 48,215
Default

Is Data lore just data?
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien
There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamiting factories and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as ‘patriotism’, may remain a habit! But it won’t do any good, if it is not universal.
The Batlord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2023, 06:22 PM   #39 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,952
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord View Post
Is Data lore just data?
Seriously? No, Lore is Data's brother, the android Soong built first, but he turned out to be EEEVVVILLL so he deactivated him. Obviously Spiner plays both parts, but they're different characters.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2023, 10:48 PM   #40 (permalink)
Zum Henker Defätist!!
 
The Batlord's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Beating GNR at DDR and keying Axl's new car
Posts: 48,215
Default

Please reread my post and note capitalization.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien
There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamiting factories and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as ‘patriotism’, may remain a habit! But it won’t do any good, if it is not universal.
The Batlord is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads



© 2003-2024 Advameg, Inc.