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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

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

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Old January 11 2014, 07:05 AM   #76
Nebusj
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Re: Season 1 is underrated, and better than season 7

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
I like "Force of Nature", and I thought that the idea of warp drive destroying the universe was a pretty good one. It was nice to see the characters humbled. Another memorable time that happened was way back in "The Neutral Zone" when Offenhouse showed up everyone on the bridge during the Romulan encounter.

I suppose "Force of Nature" hit too close to home to be a really fun idea, though, given that we're all actually on the line IRL with climate change and all. But, that was the way Star Trek rolled back in the days of TOS: challenging viewers with allegories of controversial real world issues. And it was nice to see that TNG still had some teeth left in it even by season seven.
Well, the trouble is, first, it wasn't an allegory of a controversial real world issue. It was just a real world issue with a search-and-replace done on the specifics. That can be worthwhile --- ``Let That Be Your Last Battlefield'' is iconic partly because it made its topic staggeringly direct --- but you have to bring something more to it. ``Battlefield'' achieved it by being big and direct (and, for my money, including the montage of destroyed cities as the two run around pointlessly); ``Nature'' gives us … uh … people sitting at their stations while little blipping noises go off, like in every other episode.

Second, the story comes after like eighty minutes of Data fretting about how to train his cat. I mean, sheesh. Any of the cat-training scenes is cute and could maybe be a pleasant little bit of slice-of-life before getting to the actual plot, but, the little bit of slice-of-life stuff is supposed to be a minute or two and then have actual things happen. Here, we're on Data's Cat for an insanely long time, to the point that I had to wonder if they actually for some reason made an episode about the exceedingly minor hassles of pet ownership.

Third, the plot fails its own allegory: the Weekians were trying to prove that ordinary, routine warp drive use damages otherwise healthy space, so … here's a big subspace explosion that damages an anomaly-ridden sector of space. Case closed! How could their work not have got past peer review? Granted the episode needed something big and dramatic to happen --- the most recent time that just watching sensor readouts was dramatic was the carbon dioxide scrubber scene in Apollo 13, so you know how hard these scenes are to do --- but it meant the episode didn't actually make the prima facie case for its own premise.
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Old January 11 2014, 07:40 AM   #77
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Season 1 is underrated, and better than season 7

Yeah, well, so "Force of Nature" was heavy-handed, with a dash of eco-terrorism thrown in. Coming off as an apology for eco-terrorism isn't exactly uncontroversial, by the way. The episode itself addressed why the female scientist felt she had to act in desperation for the sake of an ideal, and it covered how in the end the Federation was not convinced that she was the root cause of the damage (by laying the blame on warp drive itself), so there's no need to rehash that.

Most of what you're faulting the episode for are the failings of most TNG episodes by then, so I can't really single it out for failing in those capacities of pacing, people sitting around and yapping when they should be acting, focusing on a contrived and banal B plot when it should be the juicy A plot (making me wonder whether A and B should really be the other way around), etc. As you said, "like in every other episode."

I guess what I meant to say was that I prefer it to the standard fare that we were being fed by then. I think I also explicitly praised it only with respect to the overall premise, which is what it was being faulted for a couple of posts above mine, as well as for seeing the main characters humbled and daring to be controversial.

I limited my praise to those things, because aside from them, the episode was, as you said, entirely typical of the season. However, similar remarks apply to "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield". Strip away the minority of parts specifically pertaining to the allegory, and you're left with a second-rate effort, even by TOS third season standards, if not a third-rate effort, given how drawn-out the plot is.
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Old January 12 2014, 02:14 AM   #78
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Season 1 is underrated, and better than season 7

YellowSubmarine wrote: View Post
TNG, DS9 and VOY were all off to a rough start. Put Conspiracy, Duet and Eye of the Needle together, and I still don't think you've matched Out of Time and Captain Jack Harkness. Weirdly enough, Enterprise S1 managed to start the series better, and had a lot of good ones, but nothing I liked as much as Out of Time. But perhaps I am biased towards people from the past or something.

I find the first few episodes of ENT even more unwatchable than the very early episodes of TNG. Starting off with Broken Bow and the network-forced temporal cold war garbage, we then got an episode where Hoshi pulls the entire vocabulary for a completely alien language out of her ass. The first season is mostly a bunch of 'Yeah, we all know why you put this in, gimme a break' decon scenes, stuff like holodecks that don't belong in a 22nd century show, a lot of hackneyed unmemorable writing that copies earlier Trek stories directly, and Vulcans being dicks.
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