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Old January 22 2013, 09:10 AM   #1
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Episode of the Week: The Neutral Zone

I don't remember reacting so strongly to it before, but this episode is repulsive. Gene Roddenberry could be such an arrogant jerk sometimes. He's not credited with the script but his prints are all over it.

He wanted to impress with his vision of enlightened 24th century humans. To do that he drew a contrast with his commentary on his contemporary humans. We get this insulting portrayal, including one who embodies every negative stereotype about the 1% there is. The enlightened 24th century man looks down his nose and renders judgments like:
RIKER: Well, from what I've seen of our guests, there's not much to redeem them. It makes one wonder how our species survived the twenty-first century.
What can one say but ?

The Romulan storyline is comparatively well done, at least through the first four acts. Unfortunately, every time it starts to draw me in it gets interrupted by the 21st century assholes, undermining the dramatic tension while, paradoxically, inducing a tension headache (probably from all the ing).

In Act Five, the Romulan story reaches a resolution so anticlimactic it's almost a joke. After all the grand buildup, the Enterprise finally encounters the Romulans, they have a short, unremarkable conversation and go their separate ways. It is far short of a worthy heir to the mantle of "Balance of Terror" and "The Enterprise Incident."

I also really don't like the reimagining of the Romulans, with unattractive cosmetics and Mark Alaimo oozing villainy. Mark Lenard and Joanne Linville had charisma! It's a big part of what makes those episodes so engaging and memorable. What convinced TPTB to go to the opposite end of the spectrum for TNG?
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