Viewing posts tagged Star Trek: The Next Generation

“Thou seest I judge not thee”: All Good Things..., Tribunal

It was a large room, filled with people. At the centre, a large horizontal bench over which presided the members of the judiciary: A human man, who looked to be in his early forties, and a Vulcan woman who looked youthful but could have been older than the ages of everyone in the house combined. The pair cast their gaze across the room to the wall on the far side, where a group of people were seated in a row, looking up with a mixture of anxiousness and confusion. “Read out the names of the accused”, someone said.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Commander Benjamin Sisko

Chief Petty Officer Miles O'Brien

Lieutenant Commander Data

Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge

Commander Jadzia Dax

Lieutenant Natasha Yar

Major Kira Nerys
“The revolutionary court is now in session.” 

It was sometime in the first half of 1994. I was going grocery shopping with my mother at the local market ...

“Ghost Train”: Emergence

In some ways, it's almost too simple. The parallels and analogies are so easy to draw I almost feel embarrassed pointing them out. It's too obvious. The symbolism is handled with incredible deftness and finesse within the story, of course, I'd just feel like I'd be pointing out the obvious by mentioning it. The episode basically analyses and critiques itself, which is in a sense deeply fitting. Perhaps that's the idea.

“Emergence” is Star Trek: The Next Generation. It is the show doing the best it can at attaining the best version of itself. Is it the greatest episode in the series? I could argue that. There are other productions that are materially better texts, but that's neither important nor interesting. There is no episode that embodies the potential of Star Trek: The Next Generation better than “Emergence”. It's the very best of the series gathered together in one place for critical assessment and bittersweet introspection. “Emergence” is unabashedly the Star Trek: The Next Generation that I, personally, remember. It is the one story in the entire seven year television journey I can point to ...

“You Klingon bastard! You've killed my son!”: Bloodlines

In the last book when I wrote about “The Survivors”, I mentioned that as far as I was personally concerned, the most notable thing about it was that it was a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode I somehow never managed to see in 25+ years and thus knew next to nothing about. It's a strange thing to have a fresh experience with a show you know this well. Back in the days of the TNN reruns, “Bloodlines” was that episode for me. Even moreso, in fact: At the time, I had no idea this episode even existed, in spite of owning a fair few reference guides and episode lists. It was like watching a brand new, never-before-seen episode of my favourite show for the first time in seven years, and was definitely an experience I savoured.

At the time I was pretty warmly receptive to “Bloodlines”: There was nothing I found explicitly objectionable and I more or less had an enjoyable evening with it. Over the years though it has faded from memory somewhat, partly due to my hazy 1980s-90s memory combing with my hazy 2000s memory conflating it with ...

“The Final Voyage”: Journey's End, The Maquis, Preemptive Strike

It's over. This is the moment Star Trek: The Next Generation officially ends. And it ends in the most ignominious manner imaginable: Assassinated on stage in front of its audience to make room for its presumptive younger sibling and overeager heir apparent.

No, not Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I've always maintained Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine are effectively the same show (or should be read that way), the only difference being what part of the universe the camera lens shines on at any given moment. And never has this basic, yet frequently overlooked, truism been more clear than now, because when Star Trek: The Next Generation goes down, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine goes down with it. Where one leads, the other will follow, bound inexorably together by the ties of fate and kinship. And while yes, something *called* Star Trek: Deep Space Nine continues for another five years after this moment, it's fundamentally a very, very different creature from what we've been watching since January of 1993. The shared universe that we've been witnessing unfold has suddenly and violently ...

“To the Future”: Firstborn

I didn't want to use this picture. Thought it was too obvious. But there are very few high quality images from this part of the series.
A brief rant: Why isn't this episode called “Bloodlines” and the next one called “Firstborn”? “Bloodlines” to me connotes family ties, lineages and heritage, which is precisely what this story is about. Next week's episode is a drama about firstborn sons, or perceived firstborn sons, with DaiMon Bok coming back (oh yeah Spoiler Alert DaiMon Bok comes back. Remember him? That makes two of us) to try and exact revenge on Captain Picard yet again because he's still tortured by the death of his son. I legit thought this episode was called “Bloodlines” and got incredibly confused when I was trying to figure out which episode I was writing about.

Anyway, the should-have-been-called-“Bloodlines” isn't about any of that, although it does feature a firstborn son. Namely Worf's, that is, Alexander. A personal highlight of the TNN years for me, it's the best Alexander story ...


Well, it could be worse. A lot worse.

I've been looking forward to revisiting “Genesis” since I first started this project. Of all the episodes of Star Trek I remember, this is the one that has the absolute widest gulf between popular opinion and my own recollections. Fan consensus on this story is that it's about as bad as it can possibly get-The only episode that seems to regularly beat it out for the title of Worst Star Trek: The Next Generation Episode Ever Made is, deservedly, “Code of Honor”. It's at least regarded as one of the nadirs of the series, and of the franchise as a whole. But I remember being utterly mesmerized by this one back in the day-It's another story whose imagery has haunted me ever since, and I remember immediately taking to it for its grotesque surrealism and dark, foreboding atmosphere. Prior to this rewatch I'd actually only ever seen this episode once, way back when it aired in 1994: I'd always avoided watching it again because I wanted to save it for a time when I could give it a ...

“Reoccurring dreams”: Eye of the Beholder

It's always an event when I return to a story that left such an indelible impression on me it literally shaped my own visions. And there are few episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, or of anything, that are as deeply ingrained in my imagination as “Eye of the Beholder”.

I count up to the double digits, at most, the moments in media that were so primally formative they completely changed my life. Many of them are from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and at least five of them are from this season. We've seen two of them already and there's another two to go, but “Eye of the Beholder” may well be the most momentous and personally meaningful. The degree to which the imagery and iconography of this episode have haunted me all my life, and haunted really is the only truly fitting term, is almost completely unparalleled. Why this episode stuck with me to the unbelievably powerful degree that it did, to the point rewatching it actually gave me chills due to how familiar it felt (even though, prior to this rewatch, I'd only seen ...

“The Face You Wear”: Masks

Does a mask hide a person's identity or bring it out? Perhaps it does a little of both; emphasizing certain states of being while keeping others hidden.

We all wear masks. We switch between them every day as we go about our lives, putting on different face and playing a different role for everybody we meet. Rarely, if ever, do we find someone with whom we can share the full multiplicity of people inside us. Instead, we wear the mask appropriate to the encounter. I'm wearing a mask right now for you all: This is the mask of Vaka Rangi, which has come to symbolize certain familiar behaviour traits and tropish signifiers that you have come to expect following this blog for a number of years. As personal as I try to get in my writings, Vaka Rangi is not, has never been and cannot ever be a complete encapsulation of my feelings and my identities for many different reasons. It's a caricatured facsimile meant to stand for specific aspects of it I felt were appropriate and workable enough to weave into a multi-threaded series of narratives.

(This is ...

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