All posts by Beau

147: Force of Nature (7.09)

Synopsis: Our very special environment episode

Memory Alpha Summary: On green friendly non-paper

Review:  While I appreciate what the writers were trying to do here, there’s just too much 20th century angst that shows through the script for me to really enjoy it.  It also hamstrings the writers of DS9, or at least it would have had they not completely ignored this episode’s recommendation that star ships don’t exceed warp five.  It also took this episode about twenty-five minutes to get to the main story (after two subplots wrestle with each other for screen time) and I was bored and lost by the time it was brought up.  I will say Levar puts in a strong performance.  Watching Geordi struggle to accept a scientific theory that could affect his livelihood is a disheartening but honest experience.

At least Spot gets some quality screen time.  “Geordi, I cannot stun my cat.”

148: Masks (7.17)

Synopsis:  The Enterprise turns into a swamp while Data turns into Sybil.

Memory Alpha: Let’s leave symbols to the symbol-minded.

Review: You know, some ideas are just so high concept that it’s best just to leave them alone. Perhaps this confusing story could have worked for a full-length movie, or better yet, a novel, but there’s just too much exposition for a 42 minute show.  The performances are fine, but there’s no heart.  There is also no real tension, no real climax.  Very unsatisfying.  Mad props, though, to the art department.

149: Pen Pals (2.15)

Synopsis:  Wesley gets to order around his superiors for the first time while sober, and Data violates the prime directive not once, but twice.

Memory Alpha Summary:  Friends don’t let friends watch this

Review:   I could talk about how nobody really knows how to direct Wil Wheaton, or write good lines for Wesley, or that the really boring Prime Directive debate ends with Picard more or less saying, “Fuck it, go ahead.”  But I want to talk about Miles O’Brien.

At this point in the series, he’s been a supporting character only, mainly just transporting people on and off the ship.  But it’s easy to see why they eventually featured him more prominently and then gave him a starring role on Deep Space Nine.  Colm Meaney is a superb actor, and he can brighten up a simple scene with a quip and a smirk.  He can do serious, he can do sad, he can do funny.  When Riker not-so-subtly makes it known he’s about to violate the Prime Directive and orders O’Brien to take a nap, the latter delivers two perfect lines.  “Right sir, I’ll just be standing over here dozing off.”  When Riker needs him later, O’Brien quips, “Just woke up, sir.”  They’re good lines, but Meaney handles them masterfully.

O’Brien, I adore you.

Survivor X, Challenge 8: Style Over Substance

The challenge this week was to actually pick from a grab bag, and this is the challenge I took.  The goal was to cover a fantastic story, but in the vein of the Los Angeles media, focus on something completely vapid instead.

…and not only did he grow up here, he now lives on an avocado ranch.

I did not know that about Tom Selleck! Well thank you for that, John. Up next is a story that is sure to interest some of you. And to break it is our own weather girl, Bri. Hi, Bri! I see you have your Pasotti umbrella with you.

Thanks, Christina. And I’m afraid I may have to buy a new one after today.

Why is that, Bri?

Well, as you can probably see, it is indeed raining Milk-Bones.

That is interesting. Have you spoken with anyone regarding this development?

Yes, just a minute ago I spoke with Dick Wolf. He said he was in New York and didn’t know about the weather here, but he assured me that he and his family had nothing to do with it.

Thanks, Bri. And have you tried Michael J. Fox?

I did talk to his agent, who was with him. He said Michael couldn’t come to the phone, but that he was just shaking at hearing the news. I told him to ask Michael if the bones came from Canada, and I was hung up on.

That does sound suspicious. Is there anyone there you can talk to?

Most humans have decided to remain indoors during this event, but I do have a bull terrier with me. He’s being pelted by a deluge of Milk-Bones, but does appear to be enjoying one as well.

Is that Spuds McKenzie?

I don’t know, Christina. Should I put my Ray-Bans on him?

I say go for it!

Okay! Here. We. Go. Can we have a word from you little Spudsie?


I think that says it all. Back to you, Christina.

Thanks, Bri! So John, how ‘bout them Lakers?

Spooky: God help me, the vapid early show vibe here made me giggle a lot, and there were two legitimate belly laughs. “He’s being pelted by a deluge of Milk-Bones, but does appear to be enjoying one as well” might be the line of the evening (or season?). Good job, submitters. I wish there had been two more of you. 5

DK: The ridiculousness of the event is only outpaced by the ridiculousness of the coverage. Which is, indeed, the point. Good job. 4

This is my best week ever playing this game and am a little psyched.  Now to keep it up for about twelve more weeks!  The Vogons’ streak of finishing in first also continues.

I’m not exactly sure how I came up with “it’s raining Milk-Bones” but when I thought of it I was giggling too much to not do it.  At first I considered contrasting the absurdity of the morning show commentary with a dramatic scene involving a dog and a sick child, but could not figure out anyway to make that work (i.e. I learned from my mistake last week).  So I tried to see how many jokes I could fit into 300 words.

Interviewing a wolf and a fox was a bit obvious, so I decided I had to throw in deeper lever jokes in there.  For those who missed it, wolves are part of the Canidae family in taxonomy.  Spuds McKenzie died 18 years ago, so just the fact that they thought it might be the real one was another subtle jab. Pasotti is a luxury line of umbrellas that cost well over a hundred dollars.  I wanted a vapid sounding L.A. name, and Bri is the name of a weather girl in Los Angeles.  If you ever read this Bri, I am sure you are an amazing forecaster that doesn’t eat Milk-Bones.

And yes, Tom Selleck lives on an avocado ranch.

150: Symbiosis (1.22)

Synopsis:  One planet provides “medicine” to their sister planet in exchange for goods and services or: Just Say No Kids!

Memory Alpha Summary: Dare to keep a kid off felicium

Review:  Yet another episode that discusses a hot topic of the 20th century and exaggerates it to hilarious levels.  The notion that one planet could cause addiction to every single person on another, with not one person on either planet leaking information or deducing the scheme is laughable.  It’s also hard to believe that both cultures could regress so far over 200 years that they would not only forget how to fix their spaceships, but not have any manuals around either.  And Tasha’s after-school special lesson to Wesley is show-stoppingly hammy.  “Drugs can make you feel good!” she tells him while fondly remembering banging Data a few months back.  And doesn’t Wesley remember how awesome it was to be drunk and take over the Enterprise?

Picard gives an impassioned speech about the Prime Directive at episode’s end when he denies aide in fixing the freighters that are in disrepair.  For once, he’s right and relevant about the big PD.  Of course, once again we learn that the Federation made contact with a non-warp species, but whatevs!

I also love the opening scene where the bridge crew talks to the confused, stoned, and lackadaisical captain on the freighter.  What puzzles me though is that when the Enterprise received the distress call, they initiated warp two to get there.  They were already within the solar system of the two planets.  Didn’t we learn a little while ago that warping inside a solar system is dangerous?  And, really, how long would it have taken under impulse power to get there?

Muncher Friends

We’ll be back next weekend with a Trek video game review.  Today I want to give a shout out to some friends of this site.  I’m adding a Links tab as well.

Casa De Leche:  Run by one of my close friends, Kelly Wells, a screenwriter and actor.  The site is mostly devoted to his writing game in the style of Survivor, which I also blog about here.  He also hosts intensely run games of Werewolf.

The Almighty Guru:  Run by another good friend, Dean Tersigni.  While the main page is him mostly bitching about the world, there are some fun pages along the left hand column, including video game reviews, hacking guides, and a comic strip he created called the Blasphemer’s Bible.

Dauntless Media:  Run by Samuel Walters, this site has the most comprehensive reviews of the first three Star Trek series on the world wide web.  The link takes you to the TNG page, but don’t miss out on the rest of his site.  He has rated and written reviews of many, many television series, movies, soundtracks, and books.  Not surprisingly, he is also a published author.

The Flying Omelette:  This video game site has been around a very long time.  The lady who runs it has played video games at a rate I could only aspire to.  The site is filled with shrines, reviews, and humorous articles, mostly about the NES.

Nibbishment: A personal blog by friend Peter Bruzek.  The Top 50 Video Games and Top 50 Video Game Moments keep me coming back.

151: Lonely Among Us (1.07)

Synopsis:  Picard gets wrapped up in a ball of (racist) energy.

Memory Alpha Summary:  This show’s badness is elementary

Review:  More preaching by the Enterprise crew, disgusted that any species would want to eat an animal live.  This allegedly enlightened human race doesn’t appear to be able to tolerate minor customs of other cultures.  Gross.  Also, Picard is still trying to shake off his bad temper, as he literally yells at the Enterprise as its systems keep failing.  Thankfully, he eventually learns how to not be a crazy person in front of his crew.

When Picard’s body is taken over by the energy being, Troi proves her worthlessness by not identifying the problem until it’s quite obvious to everyone else as well.  She redeems herself a bit when she senses his presence in the energy cloud right before Riker gives up on him.  So go her.

The Antican/Selay subplot is mostly pointless, but at least Tasha gets to yell that one of them is being boiled by the ship’s cook.  The highlight of the episode is Data as Sherlock Holmes, a role he’ll reprise a few times.

152: The High Ground (3.12)

Synopsis:  Crusher plays Patty Hearst.  And terrorists are bad m’kay?

Memory Alpha Summary: The end of terrorism is when the first person stops writing awful television

Review:  If you thought the preaching in season one was hard to swallow, I think this episode puts that entire season to shame.  What we have here is a lot of righteous dialogue on both sides of a terrorist movement that doesn’t say anything new about the topic and just leaves the viewer feeling like the 24th century will be just as icky as the 20th.  I do like the twist of Picard and his crew unwittingly being oppressors, but since we are never really convinced that the terrorists’ cause is just, it’s hard to be sympathetic.

What this episode does successfully is show the first of 843 times Beverly begins to tell Picard her deep, moist feelings for him before she is conveniently cut off.  Like Geordi’s fumbling with women and Data’s infinite thesaurus, it never gets old.

153: Angel One (1.14)

Synopsis: Riker gets to provide “gestures of good will” to the head female of an oligarchy society, and if there’s time, save some castaways.

Memory Alpha Summary:  Considering it’s written by a man, it’s not that bad

Review:  This reeks of a “special episode” about sexism and does nothing at all to help it.  We also learn Riker has some seriously fucked up values.  First, he willingly lets himself get seduced by the leader of a planet in the name of diplomacy, when it is possibly the worst thing he could do short of murdering her.  Then, he shows every intention of violating the rights and self-determination of the castaways (by beaming them up against their will) all because of his guilt complex.  He saves some face by giving a decent speech about martyrdom (which, while preachy, is pretty damn accurate), but only after flipping the bird at the prime directive (which was violated many years earlier as Starfleet had met with this pre-warp civilization already).  And why couldn’t this speech be given by Tasha?  Now that would have been a statement (and made her useful for once).

Oh, and apparently the holodeck not only has a terrible failsafe mechanism, it can also kill the entire crew by manifesting a deadly virus.  At least Wesley got to hit the captain with a snowball.  After being told to shut up multiple times while trying to save Picard’s ass, I think Wesley’s revenge was beautifully understated but effective.

The only bright spot is Geordi’s awesome, emotional moment when he gets to sit in the captain’s chair for the first time.

154: Menage a Troi (3.24)

Synopsis:  The Academy shuts out Wesley for the third year in a row, and Riker fails to get in on some hot mother/daughter action.

Memory Alpha Summary:  Compare this to a summer’s day

Review:  Our annual Lwaxana episode is dreadfully boring for about thirty-eight minutes as the Ferengi bumble their way through a kidnapping.  Majel is wonderful, but her character goes over the top with her disrespect towards her own daughter.  The only highlight is Picard having to profess his undying love for her in order to save her from a life as a Ferengi sex slave.

I have to comment on how asinine the Academy is when it comes to their prospective students.  Wesley finally gains entrance into the Academy, but he has to delay his start yet another time because he’s too busy saving AMBASSADOR Troi from the Ferengi.  His reward is yet another snubbing and our reward is one more season of him.  At least he finally gets promoted to full ensign and can wear a uniform, which does actually suit him pretty well.