Monday, January 28, 2013

Deep Space Nine, Season 2: Armageddon Game

Deep Space Nine, Season 2
"Armageddon Game"
Airdate: January 30, 1994
32 of 173 produced
32 of 173 aired


Dr. Bashir and Chief O'Brien assist two long-warring races in disposing of their stockpile of biological weaponry. Things take a turn for the worse, though, when those races also decide to dispose of anyone who has worked directly with the weapons, to prevent their ever being re-created.

Do you think we're still invited to the party, Chief?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Star Trek: A New Hope

By now, most of the internet is aware that JJ Abrams is (allegedly) signed on to direct the forthcoming Star Wars film. I have thoughts, and since it's half my blog, I get to share them at will.

First, thank the Blessed Exchequer. Hopefully this means he'll stop desecrating Star Trek and we can all PTSD his contributions to the franchise from our collective memories and get back to some real Trek.

Second, this may actually be a better fit and make a better movie. Lens flare jokes aside, most of our problems with Star Trek 2009 (podcast coming soon!) are about how it uses or abuses Star Trek history. The movie is certainly not cheaply made, and context aside, many of the visuals show are pretty good. Setting aside our concerns about the movie as a piece of Star Trek, the remaining problems Matt and I had with the film are pretty similar to the criticisms you could lob at even the first three Star Wars films. The characters are a tad two-dimensional, the universe is not really sketched out as a viable, working place, and the story is largely a grandly scaled morality play with more than one critical event happening by fiat rather than organic development. Turn red matter into "The Force" and Nero in Palpatine, and you're halfway to a Star Wars film right there. But you know what? I'm gonna say it: Even with its sins against my beloved franchise, Star Trek 2009 is better than any of the Star Wars prequels. It's a low bar to be sure, but Star Trek 2009 didn't make me want to open my wrists until the walk home when I was actually thinking about it. Phantom Menace had me praying or the sweet release of death from the first scene when Creepy Japanese Stereotype opened his mouth.

Now, before Andrew has an aneurysm, let me be clear: I really like the first three films and would argue to anyone they rightfully hold a place in the highest echelons of American cinematic history.  I think Matt correctly argues in his post on the subject that Star Trek achieves greater narrative depths and a more internally defined and functional universe, but that's as much a virtue of the extended time frame of a serialized TV series than creative talent alone. Our (many) criticisms of JJ Abrams boil down to he is talented at making a big initial splash that is engaging and interesting, but can't sustain it to really tell a complicated narrative  Happily, Star Wars is not about complicated narrative. There are good guys. There are bad guys. They fight with swords made of light. The end. In a way, I actually fully trust Abrams to make a high-energy, visual extravaganza of a movie with his entry into the Star Wars franchise, and since that's what I've always enjoyed from the Star Wars trilogy, I think it has a decent shot of working out.

And really, could he do a worse job than George Lucas? I mean, really?

And this time I mean it!

TNG podcasts are now up to date as well. I honestly don't know how seasons three and four slipped through the cracks. Seasons 1 and 2 were all converted the new server links. Perhaps I was distracted by something shiny. It happens.

In any event, all the links should be working. I am choosing to take it as a positive sign that I got notified right away by a commenter I didn't recognize. I guess that means we're getting more popular. Excellent!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Deep Space Nine, Season 2: The Alternate

Deep Space Nine, Season 2
"The Alternate"
Airdate: January 9, 1994
31 of 173 produced
31 of 173 aired


The Bajoran doctor who first worked with Odo after he was discovered comes aboard the station. It is not a happy reunion for Odo, who resents the experiments performed on him. The doctor has an intriguing reason for seeing Odo. A Bajoran probe has found the possible origin of Odo's people. As much as Odo is not eager to relive his early years, the possibility of finding his origins is too tempting to ignore.

Hey, I can see my house from here! Oh wait, that's just a painting on the wall.

Monday, January 21, 2013

All the podcasts are now operating within established paramters

I am now able to happily report that all the TOS podcasts are working and the links have been corrected to the new server in the posts. So, why not wrap up this holiday weekend with a little TOS podcast? If somehow I missed one, just leave a comment or email us, and I'll fix it. Enjoy everyone!

Trek Interviews: Ron Wilkerson (Part 1)

Hello everyone! Here in our second interview with Trek franchise creators, we have Ron Wilkerson, a screenwriter for both The Next Generation and Voyager. Ron has full writing credits on TNG "Lessons" and Voyager's "Learning Curve," and story credits on episodes such as "Lower Decks" and "Schisms."  Our questions are in bold-face, while Ron's answers are in regular type.

TNG writers get one free time travel trip to the 24th century. Lucky ducks.

Q: How did you become involved in Star Trek?

I've been a scifi fan since I was a kid, devouring the works of writers like Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut and Rod Serling by flashlight, under the bedcovers, in our home where I grew up in Western New York.  The stories that particularly appealed to me were those that used science fiction to deal with the human condition.  A unique attribute of the scifi genre is speculating about future scientific developments in order to ask the big questions about philosophy and values.  This, obviously, was Gene Roddenberry's imperative with Star Trek, that all stories must be "about something," which led me to a real appreciation of TOS, which I saw mostly through reruns long after it had gone off the air.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Podcast correction

I completely forgot to upload the podcast for Necessary Evil with the episode review. I updated the post, but here's the link again, so it will get your attention.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Deep Space Nine, Season 2: Rivals

Deep Space Nine, Season 2
Airdate: January 2, 1994
30 of 173 produced
30 of 173 aired


A competitor to Quark arrives on the station, bringing some strange machinery in tow. When strange coincidences and pieces of luck both good and bad start conspicuously occurring, though, the crew must find out how and why their fortunes have been altered.

In the future, racquetball will have a zillion targets on the wall, and shiny jumpsuits. And sound effects.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Deep Space Nine, Season 2: Sanctuary

Deep Space Nine, Season 2
Airdate: November 28, 1993
29 of 173 produced
29 of 173 aired


A group of refugees from the Gamma Quadrant arrive at the station. Called the Skrreeans (I had to look that up every time I typed it in this review), their home was conquered by the Dominion. Skrreean legend tells of finding the wormhole and a new haven for their people, which they now believe to be Bajor. The only problem is that the small group of refugees will soon be followed by three million more.

This dress is the most hideous thing Haneek has ever seen. Has she looked at her hair in a mirror lately?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Deep Space Nine, Season 2: Second Sight

Deep Space Nine, Season 2
"Second Sight"
Airdate: November 21, 1993
28 of 173 produced
28 of 173 aired


When Sisko meets a strange woman on the station, his life intersects with that of an egotistical scientist. That's all I've got, folks.

Hey, baby, why so blue?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Deep Space Nine, Season 2: Necessary Evil

Deep Space Nine, Season 2
"Necessary Evil"
Airdate: November 14, 1993
27 of 173 produced
27 of 173 aired


Quark is tasked by a mysterious woman on Bajor to retrieve a box from an abandoned store on the Promenade. The store's owner was murdered several years ago, during the Occupation, a case Odo has never solved. Quark's attempt to retrieve the box unearth old memories for Odo, including how he became security chief on Terok Nor and how he first met Kira. Will Odo finally be able to solve this old crime, and what are the consequences if he does?
Perhaps the Cardassian Neck Trick is occurring out of frame?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Deep Space Nine, Season 2: Rules of Acquisition

Deep Space Nine, Season 2
"Rules of Acquisition"
Airdate: November 7, 1993
26 of 173 produced
26 of 173 aired


When he is conscripted by the Grand Nagus to travel to the Gamma Quadrant to broker a trade deal, Quark's career is placed in jeopardy by an unexpected amorous advance.

Did anybody else think Quark protested too little when his apparently male waiter jumped him in the sack?