Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by GeordiFan, Aug 26, 2018.
I thought that episode was one of the worst thing ever! and not only in Sci. fi.
The thing that also gets forgotten is that they're still treated like a threat through pretty much all of TNG. Sure they're a comedic threat, but TNG always did stay true to the conception that the Ferengi were actually dangerous threats to our crew. It was only on DS9 that the concept of the entire species being somewhat of a lightweight on the galactic stage was enshrined, which is ironic because, of course, DS9 did more to actually flesh them out as a species, where on TNG they were mostly always villain-of-the-week.
I like most of the Ferengi episodes.
The thing that I find borderline offensive in this episode is the idea that we could "evolve" into stupid salamanders...
Who said they were stupid?
The core of it was a smart idea misunderstood by Braga. That is that evolution is not - despite how the word is used - about becoming more advanced. There are plenty of examples of creatures which have evolved to become more simple, like parasites.
That said, the part he didn't get was that evolution is about adaptation to the environment over, many, many generations. There's no way any sort of particles or radiation or whatever could cause you to mutate into exactly what your great great X10,000,000 grandchild would be like.
Exactly. Evolution is a process of adaptation through natural selection. It's not necessarily a continuous climb toward some predestined goal. We are not necessarily destined to become big-brained energy beings or whatever. It's about change, not advancement.
(I remember my dad explaining this to me back in the sixties, after an old OUTER LIMITS episode suggested that evolution had some sort of goal or endpoint.)
I remember that episode. It's about a scientist who invented a machine to evolve. A coal miner ( I remember that quy was dirty with coal dust, it made me laugh because I know people who were miners for real and they wouldn't have been caught dead being dirty outside of the mine, they had showers there) becomes extremely brilliant, he plays Bach on the piano, becomes a telepath etc...
Sounds like the plot of a stargate atlantis episode (Sub Rosa, IIRC)
Which is why "Dear Doctor" always stood out o me as quite odd in light of the tenants of evolution.
"The Sixth Finger" with David McCallum.
Okay, this one is technically not an "episode", and it's going to be controversial as hell, but:
I like the portrayal of the Ferengi as a race better on TNG than on DS9.
Now there are a few caveats: Quark himself as a character is fucking amazing! It's one of Star Trek's best portrayals, period. He's to the Ferengi what Worf is to Klingons and Spock to Vulcans. YOu won't find a better portrayal. Hell, ALL the Ferengi characters on the station of DS9 are great. I love Rom as the perfect contrast to Quark, and Nog to both of them. Those three: I LOVE them, they are my favourite Ferengi, and just a pure delight to watch.
That being said, what I don't like, is that - apart from them - the entire Ferengi race is portrayed as a big joke on DS9. The Nagus himself is funny. And Brunt a great character. But the whole structure of the society around them not. The Nagus would be amazingly funny as the whimsical leader of a powerfull, kinda' evil space Empire. But he falls flat as the leader of a bunch of joke-goblins.
On TNG on the other hand (after their really horrible debut) they were always the villains in not-super-serious episodes. They were never to be taken really serious. But if there were episodes with a slightly goofy concept, they worked pretty fine as antagonists. They were basically the evildoers in a comedy, but playe straight.
So, yeah: Ferengi characters: All hands down DS9!
But Ferengi race: In my opinion TNG.
Yes, they had a knack for titles that didn't give away the plot!
I think this a very basic problem is Trek. Take one alien with a fixed personality and they work well with the human characters. Spock was great as a foil for Bones and a way to explore different points of view, but eventually the entire Vulcan race became 'Yes, I am logical. That is logical. I must say logical every few seconds or my ears will unpoint'. Same with Klingons, Romulans, Ferengi, and so on.
Alien characters like that work better as alien points of view than as part of a real alien culture. Something like the Ferengi never seriously made sense as a species, so why not just make them a joke?
Honestly, I find the whole idea of them reaching Warp 10 so easily more annoying than the lizard thing.
True, most recurrent aliens would have been diagnosed with obsessive behavior with some exceptions though, like the Packleds who are collectively idiots, which is not an obsession per se.
I don't know. My point was less about the writing of individual (or a group of) alien characters from a certain species. But the portrayal of the species culture, power dynamics, hierarchy, and such.
Like, I still think the Ferengi can work as a "serious" race: An asshole trading Empire, powerfull, sometimes blatantly evil, but at the same time the only possibility to get goods you never would get anywhere else.
In TNG they had these big, somewhat weird looking powerfull ships. On DS9 the Grand Nagus travelled on a shuttlepod. If I imagine the ruler of the TNG Ferengi, I can absolutely imagine someone like Zek, but on an enourmous throne, in a Trump-style hall, in a super-sized palast that could fit on TOS. On DS9, Grand Nagus Zek ruled from the back of Liberace's dressing walk-in wardrobe. In TNG, the Ferengi had an army, equipped with the weirdest alien weapons like energy whips. On DS9, the entire might of the Ferengi was basically boiled down to Liquidator Brunt.
Again, while I love each and every single Ferengi character on DS9, more than any Ferengi ever on TNG, I still think the species itself was massively downgraded. From an actual, somewhat serious kinda' antagonistic (but not really evil) Trek species, to a running wink-at-the-audience/break-the-forth-wall gag.
I like all Ferengi DS9 episodes, with maybe some reservations for "Profit And Lace" and "The Emperor's New Cloak".
That's not amazing. In TNG (what little we saw of it, and yes, except for the introduction), they were still shown as a society that could have existed at some point in the past of humanity (minus the technology, of course), a deeply corrupt capitalistic society with powerful deamons that could, or could not, be reasoned with, depending on the motives they had at that moment. In DS9, their entire society only served as a joke, a caricaturial background to make jokes about and contrast the main Ferengi characters against.
The Ferengi were presented as a joke from the very start when they were jumping around like a bunch of crazy monkeys.
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