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Less the heroes of our stories than the villains of some other bastard’s

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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.

9 Comments

  1. Dustin
    February 11, 2016 @ 1:36 am

    Josh, I think you're in serious danger of burnout here. I'm not sure you'll survive once you're waist deep in late-DS9 grimdark.

    Reply

  2. Adam Riggio
    February 11, 2016 @ 11:17 am

    Unless you can take a firmly ironic stance on the whole issue once DS9's war arcs really heat up. Or maybe concentrating on how the optimism of Star Trek's underlying utopian concept keeps shining through the madness of the last half of that series.

    Reply

  3. Adam Riggio
    February 11, 2016 @ 11:25 am

    I liked this episode slightly more than you did, but not by a whole lot. I don't look at it with the absolute rage that you seem to. Instead, it's a story of sadly unrealized potential.

    Interface could have been a great story. It would begin as a trippy little piece of high-concept sci-fi about Geordi's union of human and machine with the way they shot his control of the probe. Given Geordi's explicit reliance on his VISOR to see, there could be many weird little thematic parallels between how Geordi relates to the probe as an extension of his own perceptual technology.

    Then we get the sidewinder of Geordi's losing his mother in such a traumatic fashion – with the emotional distance of a Starfleet report. It could have been a story where Geordi is the teacher who's now in need of emotional guidance, but isn't sure where to find it, especially once the aliens start messing with his head through the illusions of his mother that appear through the probe. It could have been a touching story about overcoming personal trauma and pain to properly grieve.

    But instead we got this sloppy script. Ah, well.

    Reply

  4. Josh Marsfelder
    February 11, 2016 @ 1:51 pm

    And this is why Dustin is right. That's a tack that, quite frankly, I have no excuse for not catching.

    Reply

  5. Josh Marsfelder
    February 11, 2016 @ 2:04 pm

    Granting that the next few episodes went dramatically smoother for me and I'm approaching one of my favourites ever ("Phantasms"), I'm in no position to disagree. The constant disappointments have done little to alleviate the stress I've been going through elsewhere in my life. I've got just enough energy and motivation to see it through to "All Good Things…" I think, and I've got some really exciting things planned for immediately after. Beyond that though…It's probably about time to restructure this endeavour.

    I should probably outline this further in this year's anniversary post, but part of the reason I've been far harsher on TNG than I wanted to be (and frankly than is healthy for me) is because I don't want to spend four seasons going through all this in the Dominion War section. Because all the Dominion War is are the worst impulses of TNG and DS9 gone unchecked and left to run rampant over Star Trek. I was hoping if I got the grimdark critique out of the way first, I could spare myself a lot of pain and anguish later, freeing myself up to take a different approach. I knew this was coming and tried to plan for it the best way I could at the time.

    Maybe that wasn't the right call to make.

    Reply

  6. Ross
    February 11, 2016 @ 3:57 pm

    Because all the Dominion War is are the worst impulses of TNG and DS9 gone unchecked and left to run rampant over Star Trek

    If it's any consolation, this is a sentence that really desperately had to be said and thank the Prophets I'm not the only one who feels that way.

    Reply

  7. Dustin
    February 11, 2016 @ 8:39 pm

    "[T]his is a sentence that really desperately had to be said and thank the Prophets I'm not the only one who feels that way."

    Absolutely. What I value most about you, Josh, is your determined attempt to push back against an ossified fan consensus (TNG S1 sucks, S3 is its peak, DS9 is peak Trek and the Dominion War is peak DS9, etc.) It's incredibly important that there be fan voices that actually take this show's oft-disparaged values seriously.

    However you want to handle the future of this site, Josh, I'll be reading. Take care of yourself.

    Reply

  8. Glenn
    February 14, 2016 @ 7:44 pm

    The introduction of excessive family members in the final season was a sign that TNG was running out of ideas, but I'm more inclined to think that that problem reared its head more obviously in the episodes with Worf's brother and Data's mother and Crusher's grandmother and Troi's sister AND Picard's son (well, son-ish) than the one about Geordi, who unlike the others never had any pre-existing family on the show. Let alone family members in Starfleet, which is somewhat surprisingly unique among the ensemble.

    Reply

  9. Daru
    March 1, 2016 @ 8:30 pm

    "However you want to handle the future of this site, Josh, I'll be reading. Take care of yourself."

    I'm with Dustin. Whatever happens I will be reading and supporting you. Just change the journey ahead to suit how you feel now – you can do this any way you want to, make it fun for yourself again.

    Reply

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