Friday, 29 August 2014

My Random Journey Through Trek #10

Deep Space Nine

S2 Rules Of Acquisition

Opportunities for expansion into the Gamma Quadrant are obviously of interest to the Ferengi so the Grand Nagus pays Quark a visit and gives him the chance to lead a trade deal with the intent to get a foothold in the quadrant and ultimately reap profit. On the surface the deal seems fine but it soon gets complicated when as yet unknown player is revealed by the Dosi, The Dominion. A subplot of the story once again deals with the Ferengi culture and treatment of females, in this case Quarks new protege has a secret so we get plenty of cheap humour spun off from his or her situation and how those around them handle the devotion aimed towards Quark. 
Alien makeup examples across 2 decades
There is an awful lot of positives to take out of Rules Of Acquisition, the Ferengi in Deep Space Nine and more importantly due to Armin Shimerman are once again shown to be far more than TNG was ever able to present. Quarks interaction with Dax was always a high point of the show, Zek's interest in Kira was hilarious and you've got to admit reaching for any female of interest may get you slapped down but you know I don't think the odds are too bad especially when you have no shame:)
Love Hurts!
My only real complaint for the episode was the appalling make up for the Dosi, I've seen exactly the same idea on an old episode of Buck Rogers, a decade or so before not a problem but early 90's it wasn't good and on rewatch it's just embarrassing more so when compared in the same scene with Ferengi makeup. 
Rating 7


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

My Random Journey Through Trek #9

The Next Generation

S1 Coming Of Age

A very definite two plot story neither of which really pulled ahead of another so in the first we have Wesley going to take a Starfleet Academy test against three other candidates and only one will be admitted. Seems a strange way to do it, it's entirely possible all four could be superior to other candidates at other testing facilities and without any real clarification of what they are trying to achieve the whole process takes away from the story which is how Wesley handles this situation. A simple line saying it was an early admittance programme or a slot for a technical track rather than general admittance would have helped immensely in accepting what they were offering.
The second story has Admiral Gregory Quinn (Ward Costello) and Lt. Commander Dexter Remmick (Robert Schenkkan) coming on board claiming there is "something wrong" with the Enterprise and are on what amounts to a fishing expedition, they intend to find something come what may but despite Remmick skewing his questioning and making selective notes he has to admit to the Admiral he found nothing and even stated this is where he would like to serve his next tour. It's then revealed by the Admiral that there is suspicion amongst a select few that the Federation and Starfleet has been compromised and they don't even know if the threat is internal or external. Picard is offered a promotion but like Captains before him at least the sensible ones he elects to remain on board and eventually gives Wesley a bit of good advice when he returns to the ship.
Patience Picard
Coming of Age is ok I guess, Wesley has some growth within a plot that really isn't upto the job and we get some light shed on the issues within the Federation which echo throughout the series and beyond indicating the society isn't all peaches and cream and safely protected from threats both obvious and more subtle.

Riker in his patented chair sitting procedure, it never will get old:)
IMDB 
Rating  4



Monday, 25 August 2014

My Random Journey Through Trek #8

Star Trek

S2 The Immunity Syndrome

On the bridge of the Enterprise on route for some shore leave Spock cries out as he "feels" the death of the entire crew of the USS Intrepid a starship crewed by his people, soon after a message from Starfleet has the Enterprise put back onto alert status after a loss of communications with a whole solar system.
The Enterprise investigates and discovers a huge black "thing" and a probe is sent and simply vanishes, the ship edges closer and then is suddenly ripped into the "void" as the crew suffer during the transit and continue to degenerate as the space they now exist seems to defy normal space/time even down to how the engines should work. They encounter a huge single celled entity described as an amoeba and eventually Spock takes a shuttle to gather data and while trapped inside provides the information required for the Scotty and the Captain to come up with a solution, one that will sacrifice Spock and maybe even the ship but if this entity is not stopped then the galaxy is in peril.

The Immunity Syndrome is a good episode, not quite as much action as you would expect, there are a lot of talking head scenes but if the original series is your thing then that's never a problem as Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty are throwing ideas around and hoping to come up with a solution. There was a nice twist with Spock being able to sense the death of the Vulcan crew, it works given a telepathic spike/surge although the distance may be pushing things but the Intrepid line went onto to exist beyond canon so no complaints from me. There are always issues looking back at TOS when/if you've viewed TNG, the willingness to destroy the "amoeba" and other entities during the three year run of the show is more a product of the time/tv style than a statement of what Roddenberry was aiming for but treated as itself then you can't blame the crew.


Since this is my first original series episode of the random rewatch it's worth mentioning I'll be using the remastered Blu-rays and no question the picture quality is stunning for it's time and the original and reworked effects look very very good indeed. 
Overall The Immunity Syndrome is a solid episode of Star Trek and makes good use of the main trifecta as well as supporting characters, there is some tension which works even though we know Spock and the ship will survive and the idea of the Enterprise being the antibody within the cell was clever, shades of Fantastic Voyage perhaps.
Rating   7

Sunday, 24 August 2014

My Random Journey Through Trek #7

The Next Generation

S5 Hero Worship

The Enterprise searches for a science vessel that ceased communicating, they find the wreckage and the only survivor is a young boy who is trapped, they can not beam him out so Data risks himself to lift a beam and escape with the boy who is amazed at his strength. Timothy played by Joshua Harris claims the ship was attacked and soon withdraws into himself and surprisingly becomes attached to Data, his lack of emotion seems appealing. As the Enterprise investigates a possible enemy hiding in the Black Cluster of gravitational anomalies it becomes clear that there was no attack but soon the Enterprise itself is fighting for it's life as it's pummeled by waves of gravitational force. 
Data grooming a young boy...
So this is a bit of a Data episode dealing with the plus and negative aspects of his character and how it can be appealing to a immature psychi who is dealing with misplaced guilt over the deaths of perhaps his immediate family. It also begs the question why any Federation or Starfleet sanctioned science mission takes children along on a research mission which has obvious dangers involved and the Enterprise school room and it's very creepy teacher was so cringe worthy.
I was however quite amused how the boy saved the day, even Data wasn't up to speed with the cause and effects of their current situation and surprisingly Riker was going to dismiss Data's recommendation to drop the shields, when the second officer and expert in pretty much everything makes that statement in a time critical situation you listen and thankfully Picard did.
The helm officer Ensign Felton was cute, not sure that level of makeup would be the norm for Starfleet but who knows, the world of tomorrow is strange and wondrous.
Sheila Franklin as Ensign Felton
Hero Worship has it's moments but overall it fell a little short, I don't think the whole backstory that supports the Data/Timothy narrative works well, too many holes and I'm sorry but that will make or break an episode.
Rating 5


Friday, 22 August 2014

My Random Journey Through Trek #6

Deep Space Nine

S4 Body Parts

Now this was a fun episode with both A and B plots played with a lot of humour desperate the obvious seriousness of both situations. Quark given a terminal diagnosis sells his "remains" on the futures exchange to an unknown buyer who then turns up to collect a desiccated Quark but the hiccup is that he isn't dying and the only way out is to break the contract thus causing Quark to be an outcast, maybe a fate worse than death. Meanwhile an accident has forced Dr Bashir to transplant Miles unborn from Keiko to Kira who now has to carry it to term, poor old Miles the guy recovers well but doesn't know what he is in for after the Major moves into their quarters:)
Three women and Miles
Garak had a small but significant part to play in the episode, the look on his face when Quark reveals the target for assassination is himself was priceless and to wrap it all up the station coming to Quarks aid underlined how important he is to the day to day life of DS9, just as intended by Sisko when he asked or convinced Quark to stick around.
All is revealed

IMDB
Rating 9

Sunday, 17 August 2014

My Random Journey Through Trek #5

Enterprise

S4 Demons & Terra Prime

My random number generator came up with a double episode so I of course watched both, they were the Enterprise season 4 episodes Demons and Terra Prime in which are presented some of the cold realities due to the dramatic changes to Earth's population, politics, structure, culture and the ramifications for some with power and influence and many with neither. So Terra Prime a pro-human organisation clone a human/vulcan hybrid, gain control of an asteroid/comet defence installation and threaten Earth unless ALL aliens leave the solar system. Well that sounds impressive but there is only so much Trek can do on a minor network but they tried and overall the episodes came off rather well. It was a little difficult to believe anyone with John Frederick Paxton's (Peter Weller) intelligence could really believe he could achieve his goals or that the planet would really be fine given that the Earth had been noticed and they were really at the bottom rung of the ladder in that part of the galaxy. 
Peter Weller
It was also a little ironic that one of the higher ups in Terra Prime, Daniel Greaves (Peter Mensah) was sprouting the dogma and yet not that many generations back the very idea of mixing the races would have been seen in the same light as his beliefs now. I guess the underlying story was the cyclical nature of events as a society and civilisation grows both in the positive and negative aspects. 
Surprisingly the gave Mayweather plenty to do in the episodes and he went with it proving he had plenty to offer if given the material but the foggy clandestine scenes with Reed and Section 31 was a little trite:)
I really did like how the handled the young Elizabeth and how it had been worked into the canon and one of the best scenes of the entire four seasons was a simple dark room, two characters from different worlds expressing loss and compassion thus making it clear where Star Trek wanted to take us.

IDIC
It has been said and I think I agree that this double feature would have been a fitting finale to Enterprise, it had some excellent character moments and an Archer speech promoting the very ideals he references in the actual finale.
IMDB I & II
Rating  7 & 8

Kickstarter Rewards

I received a couple of rewards from Kickstarter projects I backed in the recent past, thankfully they crossed the pond without incident, the last one got hit by customs and the post office so that extra expense took the shine off the goodies.
The Wobbling Dead
The Green Girl


Saturday, 16 August 2014

My Random Journey Through Trek #4

Voyager

S7 Endgame

Well of course a random number generator would spill out the Voyager finale, oh well here we go:)
Endgame the feature length finale begins with scenes from the future as survivors of Voyager gather together to celebrate their return to Earth, there are some crew missing and we learn they died during the total 23 year return journey. The aging makeup was very hit and miss and so easy to do the Doctor who as a hologram looked the same but now he has a name and is married, god bless modern technology. We quickly learn that Admiral Janeway has plans to change the past, the deaths and other consequences of their return took too much of a toll and she goes ahead with her plan and arrives on Voyagers doorstep 16 years earlier at a pivotal event in their lives.

After escaping a Klingon arms/technology dealer ( Vaughn Armstrong ) and Captain Kim who had been sent to take her into custody the Admiral makes good her escape and lays it all onto the current Captain Janeway who is rightfully sceptical but not everything is revealed, maybe to protect the timeline but more likely as it turns out to prevent the younger woman's own ethics and morality from preventing her from taking the ship home despite the consequences elsewhere. Those consequences are the continued existence of the Borg transwarp hub / nexus one of only six in the galaxy which allow the Borg to deploy cubes anywhere within minutes and of course once the Captain learns of this fact she is willing to put it's destruction ahead of returning to Earth.
As is pointed out in the episode itself, with two Janeways the opportunities for success and achieving multiple goals increase immensely and that is ultimately the path taken, a plan is hatched to play the Borg Queen once again played by Alice Krige and on the verge of her victory as in Scorpion the rug is pulled from under the collective.


Endgame is good finale for Voyager, not perfect because I really didn't feel committed to the Seven/Chakotay romance which felt like padding and a lacklustre piece of emotional manipulation to drive the plot. The birth of Tom and B'Elanna daughter was good more so because we see the woman she would become in a the future timeline and no question the visuals were beautiful except for the fireworks at the start, that didn't look good. Personally I would have gone for a much darker finale, Voyager saving the day by all means but it was all too much of a happy ending which I guess we really shouldn't be surprised about.
Rating  8

Prelude To Axanar

Watch and enjoy and then if you have a few extra coins in your pocket donate towards the feature Star Trek: Axanar Kickstarter:)


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

My Random Journey Through Trek #3

The Next Generation

S5 Cost Of Living

The episode kicks off with the Enterprise destroying an asteroid bound for a planet, my question would be why? If the planet is part of the Federation then it has the capability to protect itself and if not then surely the prime directive applies after all where would we be without a mass extinction now and again:)
Worf and his kid are having "issues" and I think Alexander can count his blessings Worf is not quite 100% Klingon because I think a little physical intervention would be the norm in this relationship regardless of Deanna being all touchy/feely about it. Thankfully and I know the character polarises the fans but Lwaxana Troi played by Majel Barrett pays them a visit with the intent to marry her latest beau on board the ship, of course she gets in the middle of the family drama and while all the paraphernalia is a little embarrassing to watch these days the heart of her time with the boy and her intent to marry have substance. The minor "b" plot is pretty much pointless, the threat and resolution are half heartedly handled negating any impact and overall any real value of the episode is washed away with it's very weak presentation and gimmicks.

Rating   3

Too Much Trek

You know you are perhaps watching or even listening to a little too much Star Trek when the first thing that comes to mind when looking at this image is The Paradise Syndrome and that it wasn't only Miramanee that was keeping Kirk around.

Bonnie & Remy

Sunday, 10 August 2014

My Random Journey Through Trek #2

Deep Space Nine

S7 The Siege of AR-558


The episode kicks off with Rom auditioning for Vic which is a lot of fun and introduces the idea of the music used later and I wonder if the album was being released around then as well, I could probably find out:)
Anyhow a communications relay is being fought over on the planet AR-558 currently under the control of Starfleet, they are well passed the point of being rotated out and have suffered heavy casualties. Sisko, Nog, Bashir, Dax and Quark get trapped on the planet along side the last few defenders and have to fight against fresh Jem'Hadar troops and all hell breaks loose in a rather well choreographed and scored set piece.
An excellent episode of Star Trek and something at the time only DS9 could pull off, maybe Enterprise a little later would make this work but here we had all the investment in the characters and of course Quark pointing out some home truths about humanity. I had an issue with why the Dominion didn't just build another relay station and nuke this one but I can live with it being the drive for plot which allows the best of the episode to flourish. We also got three good guest stars with Bill Mumy (Lost In Space and Babylon 5), Raymond Cruz (The Closer and Major Crimes) and Patrick Kilpatrick.
Rating 8


My Random Journey Through Trek #1

Voyager 

S5 Counterpoint

Voyager is crossing a huge tract of space under the control of the Devore who have a serious dislike for telepaths and well not to put to fine a point on it they round them up send them to "relocation" camps and no more telepaths. They even dress in not quite all black with a very regimented and bureaucratic approach to genocide all of which makes it clear they are the bad guys.

Mark Harelik who plays Inspector Kashyk brings a lot of style to the role offering up a reasonable and intelligent side to the Devore and even when he "defects" his story rings true and the relationship between him and Janeway at least on the surface seems more than reasonable. In fact the two together drinking coffee, talking strategy and watching the stars is perhaps one of the better intimate moments for the captain.
I did like the Devore starships, some very nice texturing but the movement was a little off, too fast for such big ships they needed more presence. The use of the classical music didn't hurt either, it was not only fitting for the scenes but also timeless which is why I've always thought Scifi in particular should stick to that genre or at the very least not fall into the trap of dating themselves by using whatever is the current fad.
Overall a very good episode of Voyager, well above average and works very well as a standalone.
Rating   7



Saturday, 9 August 2014

Random Trek


So I was thinking of a way to waste more of my copious amount of free time I had the inkling of an idea, watch a random episode from the Star Trek franchise so I looked around and found plenty of ready made lists and decided to pick the one that had the episodes and movies in stardate which means Enterprise comes first BUT it does not take into account time travel episodes which have characters before the time some series was set in. Anyhow I have the list which includes Enterprise, TOS, TAS, TNG, Voyager, DS9 and the movies along with a web based random number generator, if the number hits on a multi-part episodes I will watch all the parts. I can then do a quick review and post my thoughts and in time who knows with over 700 episodes at least I'll always have something to watch for when I can not make up my mind:)