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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old July 1 2013, 01:50 PM   #1
Jeyl
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Episode of the Week: 3x01 "Evolution"


Memory Alpha Entry
Chrissie's Transcript

With the rough take off of Season 1, and the very bumpy climb of Season 2, we finally enter smooth cruising altitude with Season 3 of Star Trek: The Next Generation. And what a way to open a season with a beautiful, newly created shot of the Enterprise. Things are really starting to look promising until..... yep. We open with Wesley sleeping. Despite the promise of how much this show will improve with this season, we still have to open with a Wesley episode.

Season 3 introduced a lot of changes to TNG both in front of and behind the camera. The main cast got new uniforms, the crew finally settled on a film stock that looked good (Seriously, Season 3 looks fantastic in HD!), and what can surely be called the best thing to look forward to from here on out, Maurice Hurley was GONE! A change so big that Gates McFadden returned to the show! Though there are those who would still prefer Pulaski over Crusher, and this episode demonstrates one one of the many valid reasons for this. She can't stop talking about Wesley in this episode.

Evolution also introduced us to Michael Piller, a writer who despite having some reservations about Gene's vision of Star Trek, managed to accomplish two seemingly impossible tasks in order to land the job. Write a story that pleases both Gene Roddenberry and Rick Berman. Ok, not exactly impossible since I'm assuming all it took to please Gene was simply saying "It's a Wesley episode!", but pleasing Rick Berman? That was going to be tough. Thankfully, it seems that lady luck was smiling on Michael because if there's one thing Rick loves more than Star Trek and great musical scores, it's baseball.
"As it turned out, Rick Berman shared my love for baseball and that speech hit him right between the eyes. And so a partnership was formed."
Note to all you potential future writers who want to get a job writing for an ongoing series. Don't indulge the producers with a good story, indulge them with a story that has things that they love in real life. Not saying it was a bad speech (it's actually a really good one), but incorporating baseball into Star Trek isn't exactly my idea of qualifying attributes in giving the franchise new life.

Now onto the episode itself. It's just mediocre. I do give Piller points in depicting Wesley as an actual character rather than a caricature of Gene Roddenberry's self-indulgance, but it still showcases him as an incredible genius who can create something that even Starfleet engineers can't even fathom. Again, why is Wesley's dream job at the Helm? Promoting him to chief engineer would have made more sense than giving the position to Geordi. At least Wesley never shouted "Yahoo!" when doing his job.

Also, if Michael Piller was ever given a "Bechdel Test", he'd fail the into the ground. Outside of that one scene where Beverly is treating Stubbs after he was attacked, every freaking scene that features Beverly is all about her talking to Wesley to everyone. My annoyance with this has more to do with the fact that Beverly is not a character of her own, but more of an observer who's sole purpose is to further Wesley's own plot.

Also, this exchange.

Wesley: Do you recreate them on a holodeck?
Stubbs: No. In here. (points to his head) With the knowledge of statistics, runs, hits and errors, times at bat, box scores. Men like us do not need holodecks, Wesley. I have played seasons in my mind.
What's this? A self-consious character who shuns technology in favor of what he could do for himself? That's a sure way to get the audience to hate him. Hope Michael doesn't make a whole movie out of that premise.

CONCLUSION: While mediocre to a T, "Evolution" is a far better start to a season of TNG than "Encounter at Farpoint" and most certainly "The Child". One unfortunate side effect to Michael Piller's long term position in this series is that from this point onward, "Evolution" is the last "stand alone" episode to open a season of TNG (i.e. Not have a "Part 2" in the title). While I honestly believe that Michael Piller would bring some great stories into Star Trek, there are some issues with this episode that will continue to stick with Piller all the way to "Star Trek: Insurrection". But you take what you can get, and thankfully his best work is yet to come. Rest in peace Michael, and thank you for the adventure that lies ahead of us.

STINGER:
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Old July 1 2013, 05:38 PM   #2
jimbotron
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x01 "Evolution"

Producers felt the need to introduce the season with a closeup of Wesley sleeping.

Thanks....
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Old July 2 2013, 03:07 AM   #3
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x01 "Evolution"

I heard the only reason Tommy was an expert at pinball was because they were pitching the idea to a record producer who loved pinball.

I don't mind the way they opened the episode.

The real problem with the episode is the way they gave them Data's body. Not even the idealism defense can apologize for that kind of abject stupidity.
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Old July 2 2013, 11:11 PM   #4
JoeD80
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x01 "Evolution"

Jeyl wrote: View Post
the crew finally settled on a film stock that looked good
The Director of Photography is responsible for picking the film stock. Marvin Rush replaced Edward Brown for season three.
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Old July 6 2013, 12:55 AM   #5
Trekker4747
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x01 "Evolution"

The scientist guy was an ass. The quote of his in the OP picture is a very good example of this. At that point in the episode the Enterprise has had two major system failures near a very dangerous situation. I call that a bit more severe than a baseball game being rained out.
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Old July 6 2013, 02:14 AM   #6
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x01 "Evolution"

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
The scientist guy was an ass.
That's another problem with this episode that I overlooked in my initial review. It brings in the tired old trope where the Enterprise gets involved with some kind of experiment, rescue operation or even just a meeting and the person who's in charge treats it like it's the most important thing to happen in this universe. It doesn't matter if your systems aren't working or even if your own crew are in danger of being killed. This operation must take priority no matter what.

For a show that tries to showcase how much humanity has solves their problems, there sure are a lot of uncaring a**holes who are perfectly fine with the potential death of innocents.
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Old July 7 2013, 04:44 AM   #7
Captrek
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x01 "Evolution"

Sure is quiet here this week. Did everybody give up on the series after Shades of Gray?

Argh! A mod deleted the tng episode of the week tag!
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Old July 8 2013, 12:26 AM   #8
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x01 "Evolution"

Captrek wrote: View Post
Sure is quiet here this week. Did everybody give up on the series after Shades of Gray?

Argh! A mod deleted the tng episode of the week tag!
Wait, WHAT?? Why would they do that?
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Old July 8 2013, 12:46 AM   #9
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x01 "Evolution"

It about put me to sleep when I rewatched it when the season three set came out on Blu-ray.
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Old July 8 2013, 12:50 AM   #10
Captrek
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x01 "Evolution"

Jeyl wrote: View Post
Captrek wrote: View Post
Sure is quiet here this week. Did everybody give up on the series after Shades of Gray?

Argh! A mod deleted the tng episode of the week tag!
Wait, WHAT?? Why would they do that?
Beats me. It was Spaceman Spiff. There’s a thread about it in QSF.
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