Trials and Tribble-ations (****½)
Imagine trying to write a story that straddles the line between being a loving tribute and also a parody, a story that's fuelled by nostalgia yet doesn't rely on it, and a story which is confined to be told within the confines of another story. Yes, Brannon Braga had quite a difficult task in front of him when he wrote Flashback
and he fucked it right up. DS9's team confronted the same problem with Trials and Tribble-ations
and they managed to create a classic episode beloved by those that don't even like DS9 all that much. Echevarria and Moore did one hell of a job on this script. There's a plot that's just strong enough to drive the action without taking itself so seriously that it gets in the way of the nostalgia. The jokes manage to draw humour from TOS without ever feeling like they're insulting it. The plot works pretty much perfectly within the framework of The Trouble With Tribbles
, so much so that it enriches what is already considered a classic episode of TOS. For all the praise that DS9's writers get for their story and character arcs, we shouldn't forget the great work they put into standalone episodes like this.
The first time I saw Trials and Tribble-ations
, The Trouble with Tribbles
was shown directly before it, and so I recreated that experience the other night by watching them one after another. As I said, the episodes are pretty much seamless. There are some extremely minor errors, such as Sisko and Jadzia working at a panel that wasn't there on the original show, or Kirk's conversation over the intercom being several seconds longer than it should be, but I honestly can't say that I give a damn about such things. I had watched the remastered version of TTWT
so the TOS footage used in T&T
was grainier than I had just seen, but the exterior shots of the Enterprise and DSK-7 looked better than the CGI used in TTWT
If there's one thing I'm going to criticise the episode for, it's the music. In every other way the episode finds the right tone, but the music is just standard DS9 music that barely tried to get into the spirit of TOS. The place where this is most noticeable is in the bar-fight scene where the music is fairly generic action music, which is completely at odds with the music in the original scene. That whole sequence was a comic tribute to a classic comedic scene, I don't understand why the music was played straight.
Sykonee's Counter: 33
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