Season 5 rewatch

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by worf1965, Mar 23, 2020.

  1. worf1965

    worf1965 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I started rewatching Season 5 last week and I'm 5 episodes into it. Is it just me or was this a spectacular season? I rate all of these first 5 episodes as top notch.

    Redemption Part 2 wraps up the Gowron ascension to lead the Klingons very well. I liked how Sila accepted defeat to wait for another day. It also solidified my live for Worf as a character. He was a bit one dimensional in early seasons and the Klingon stories allowed him to develop more as a character.

    Not much needs to be said about Darmok. This was Picard at his best.

    Ensign Ro introduced Bajor and set the stage for DS9. It was good to see a more nuanced character in Ro. Some TNG characters can come across as a bit one dimensional. I especially liked how Picard skillfully handled Ro, seeing her strengths as well as her character defects.

    Silicon Avatar dealt well with the obsession of revenge and brought us more of Data's story.

    Disaster showed the crew, especially Picard, Troi and Worf, facing trying situations that pushed them to their limits. Yes one low point was making Troi, as often occurred, looked like a stereotypical weak woman who miraculously finds courage. I wish Troi had been handled much better in TNG, as she was in the recent Picard episode. But I did like how O'Brien and Ro were right there to try to help her as best they knew.

    Anyway, onward. Today I watch The Game.
     
  2. USS Firefly

    USS Firefly Commodore Commodore

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    Seasons 5 was indeed very good, I love the episode's with Cardassians.
     
  3. worf1965

    worf1965 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Just watched The Game. I know a lot of people don't like this one. Yes Wesley saves the day and everyone else looks inept and foolish. But for me it was a good prediction of what has since occurred with the video game addiction so many suffer from now.
     
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  4. TimeIsAPredator

    TimeIsAPredator Commander Red Shirt

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    Ive been rewatching the wholee show the last few weeks and while I think all seasons have the same numbr of bad episodes 5s high points are some of the best the show has ever had
     
  5. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In 1991, I recall the new episodes having a change in tone, which I was tepid to, and as I kept hoping the season would rebound... it largely didn't... The new incidental music style just about killed the show, if certain stories didn't do that already. It's so lifeless and dull; walking by a bog with a bunch of frogs flatulating have more nuance and character. Since then, my opinions haven't changed too much but I'll throw in some reasoning behind how I currently take the episodes as being. Even some of the better episodes are let down solely by the muzak.

    I recall a local network station airing the episodes. And, wow, did they chop out minutes of material. A sixth season episode with the green radiation and Picard is now "John McClane in space" was particularly affected by extended commercial break cuts... ugh... but I digress.

    But the first five episodes:

    "Redemption II" was laughably bad. Data in particular feels forced and out of character. And breaking the chain of command, despite being right (what luck!), would he not be court-martialed since it wasn't his decision to make?

    "Darmok" was okay, though the issue of communication was handled better in "The Ensigns of Command". The aliens speak in literally metaphorical English?

    "Ensign Ro" was the first robust episode of the season. Michelle Forbes is quick to embrace Ro and make a truly great character.

    "Silicon Avatar" wasn't halfway bad... even tolerable. Until the contrived, one-sided mush of an ending that hinged on changing a character to fit the plot narrative. And TOS castmembers were angry over getting the same treatment in "The Way to Eden"? Then again, Chekov being serious instead of the butt of a joke one would have thought is a good thing, so it's not the concept but how it's used. And aren't we just lucky the crystalline entity was around the same place. If it can travel by warp, it's not a natural thing. The episode could have explored this instead... Best of all, "Avatar" also contradicts a previous episode where Data flatly states he does not contain the actual memories of the colonists. But let's verify that...

    versus

    Buzz. Nope. Not buying it. (And it's more proof Star Trek was unconvincingly fudgefiddling with its own continuity long before a certain PICARD show came about...) Also, an amalgam is not a collection but more of a mixture or jumble.

    "Disaster". Well, it is what it says on the tin... and one I do want to see again because I don't remember why I hated it so much because it was so lacking in tension and suspense. The convenience of Picard stuck with 3 children was actually decent because we're enjoying watching Picard mentally squirm. We know he's uncomfortable around kids due to personality type but also because he didn't like the concept of kids being on the flagship, which would go into battle (e.g. "The Bonding"). There's a birth coming, what luck... what else does this glorified soap opera delve into? Apart from the laughably bad medical science of holding your breath before rapidly removing all atmospheric pressure from around you... (though the special effect was pretty good.) And, of course, Ro being shot down for ideas and it was at that point I was hoping she'd be proven right around these dingalings. It's the inversion of "The Wesley Trope" but just as contrived. Lastly, with the amount of amperage involved, Data should have been fried. The episode contrived just to put in big special effects with incredibly weak plot. DS9 did the trope far better, with justice, in "Starship Down". Something I didn't appreciate at the time.

    Speaking of Wesley, "The Game" is the next entry in the season (#6, and not an unintentional homage of a certain 1960s TV show called "The Prisoner"). This one feels like an above average season 1 story that's well-polished and surprisingly robust. While the episode hasn't dated much because video game addictions still exists, and the game is used as cult indoctrination as well, portable video games did exist back then as well. The only thing missing is Lt Yar making another impassioned speech. But how come some characters look like they're constantly in a state of bliss of the x-rated sort and others act normal (yet still under control by Etana, mustache-twilling villain of the week, moohahaha...)

    For season 5, ultimately, IMHO, right now, until I drink some coffee, "The Game" is third-best, with "Ensign Ro" being the second-best. "The Next Phase" is always going to be first in my book (despite the convenient phasing and not being pushed downward (or just floating upward) every time they jump), even the music isn't half-bad. "Power Play" being 4th best... "Violations" being 5th best. I'd rather think of those than season 5's stinkers, some of which are so confoundingly bad...
     
  6. TimeIsAPredator

    TimeIsAPredator Commander Red Shirt

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    The next phase despite having some questionable science has always been a favorite due to combining 2 of my favorite characters.

    Also love cause and effect and I Borg for giving us Hugh

    Shaka, when the walls fell
     
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  7. worf1965

    worf1965 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    #Cutie McWhiskers you make lots of hood points, but I guess I'm just a total TNG fan. Outside of Season 1 I pretty much like the entire series. Are there problems? Sure. But I tend to see what I like and always will. TNG came out during a great time in my life. My ex-wife and I bonded over this show. She loved Picard and I loved Worf and Data. We looked for the good in every episode and I still do. Anyway, I will continue onward with Season 5 with the two-parter Unification hopefully tomorrow.
     
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  8. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thanks! And thanks for sharing!! :)

    To be fair, I've not seen a lot of season 5 in a long time. I have noticed my own changing of opinions for stories, in either or both directions. And I have said of recent that where Trek doesn't always get the science right it makes up for it with the philosophical aspect. This is why I need to (and will) give 'Disaster" another chance (even though it was trying hard to be scientifically accurate with explanations), if not the other episodes before continuing on in season 5. Maybe it's been too long...

    Am sorry you had to divorce. :( It's never easy...

    And, yeah, looking for the good should be considered as well. It's too easy at times to forget about that...

    Am looking forward to your synopses and overviews.
     
  9. worf1965

    worf1965 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    The Unification two-parter is one of my favorites simply for having Spock appear. Who wasn't excited to see Spock. I love his idealistic mission he undertakes to try to reunite Vulcan and Romulas while seeing the obvious glaring problems with this story wise as well as the manner Spock undertakes his mission. Has he confided in no other Vulcans? It appears so and that is so unlike Spock.

    Seeing Picard and Data disguised as Romulans also was worth it for me and seeing Picard, Spock and Data work together - I can't even express my excitement.

    I've heard some ask why would the Romulans need Vulcan ships for an invasion when they could simply used cloaked ships. I guess under the guise of an agreement with Spock it would give some legitimacy to a Romulan takeover.

    Finally, I guess I'm ever hopeful that solutions can be found for entrenched conflicts and these episodes show that there are always reasonable people on every side, they just usually get marginalized by those who seek to continue the conflict for their own purpose.

    Side note, yes they could have eliminated the whole Riker and space junk sub plot and it probably would have made the episodes better, but the writers probably felt they needed to give the others something to do.
     
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  10. worf1965

    worf1965 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    A Matter of time - This has maybe my least favorite guest character of all. "Professor" Rasmussen is simply the most annoying character ever. The story isn't bad, but would have been better with a better character and/or actor. I really liked Data's statement at the end that he could put Rasmussen 's hand on the security recognition device whether he was conscious or not.

    New Ground - I obviously like all Worf episodes given my name here. I know some don't like Worf as Dad episodes because he really struggles with his duties as an officer, as a father and as a Klingon. I like the character development of Worf and seeing this struggle. It is really humorous at times.

    Hero Worship - I like this one too though it can be slow because we get character development here with Data. The progression of characters like Data and Worf is really one of my favorite parts of TNG.

    Violations - Generally I agree that Troi is the weakest character on TNG, but here she does show both emotional and physical strength that she should possess as a Starfleet officer. I assume she had to undergo some kind of basic training to be commissioned in Starfleet. Here she shows it fighting off the Ullian. It also deals with rape and mind control in a more intelligent manner than most shows portraying the control factor more than the physical.

    The Masterpiece Society - Here we get an episode dealing with genetic engineering and genetically superior racism. In a typical TNG manner, our blind crew member saves the masterpiece society and we get the one member of that society who sees the folly of their point of view. Yes the issue of a people not wanting to leave a doomed planet has been seen in other Trek episodes it's still done well here. What's not done so well and has been criticized in many episodes and even other shows is the one episode falling in love concept. I could do without that.
     
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  11. JesterFace

    JesterFace Commodore Commodore

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    Wasn't this episode created for Robin Williams who wanted to be in TNG? That could've been interesting.
     
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  12. worf1965

    worf1965 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I've heard that too. I could see it possibly being better, but also maybe worse as well. Sometimes Robin Williams could overdo things.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020
  13. TV's Frank

    TV's Frank Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Much like seasons 3 & 4, there is rarely a underwhelming episode during season 5. I think immediately of "Imaginary Friend" as forgettable, while "Masterpiece Society" has an interesting premise but is overall a bit dull. Otherwise, the highlights are many in the fifth season - I mean, both "Conundrum" and "Cause & Effect" are among my very favorite TNG episodes.
     
  14. JesterFace

    JesterFace Commodore Commodore

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    This episode gets so much poop. I still don't get the hate 'Imaginary Friend' gets, it's great. :)
     
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  15. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There's a lot of great backstory being developed, but Leonard Nimoy was arguably underutilized. Having him in both episodes more fully...

    Sela was also poorly used. One of sci-fi's best original creations and is turned into a B-level villain, complete with black hat and twirling mustache. :(

    I recall that being some of the highlights.

    In hopes their defenses would remain down longer.

    That was another plus; the world is made up of all types.

    Great point!

    I don't know if it's the script or the acting. The script was intended for Robin Williams, a long time Trek fan, but he was unavailable filming a movie at the time. :( Matt Frewer is passable, but I took and embraced the rumor about Robin too much at the time. The story is above average for the 5th season.

    It's not my cup of tea. It all reminds me of a certain "Cousin Oliver" TV trope where a kid is brought in to expand potential stories.

    I might rewatch this one for an updated perspective; when I saw it at the time I wasn't impressed ('Encounter at Farpoint" was better). Didn't "The Bonding" feature a kid not emoting because of shock over his parent's death? TNG has used past elements (Minuet, Lore, etc, as crutches for sequels (adding to the saga), with but now TNG is redoing TNG plots too directly, with no twists or innovations.)

    I recall it being one of season 5's stronger entries for sure. Worth a rewatch; I recall the start of the episode being warm and cozy, deliberately and in order to sell the mindrape.

    I disliked that one. Way too contrived and if one person snuffs it too early the whole society crumbles. "Pen Pals" had some not dissimilar themes done better already, complete with open ending instead of ramming it down the audience's collective throat (a typical failing of latter-era TNG). The bit about Geordi's VISOR saving the day for a planet that wouldn't even think about it because he'd be genetically altered if not aborted is probably the only good subplot.

    More importantly, Enterprise could just be used to ferry and relocate survivors from a doomed situation without 43 minutes of melodrama (and Troi getting jiggy offscreen, thus breaking the prime directive argument that much more). Whoops. Unlike 'Pen Pals" where the prime directive has a tangible meaning and gravitas for the episode, there's little dramatic weight to a colony of humans being the locus of focus.
     
  16. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's different, and takes the idea of "kid's imaginary friend" in interesting ways. I don't recall much of a plot, but it's nice to see adults who think the eight year-old child needs to be doped up on drugs for "seeing things" are proven wrong. And unlike 90% of the Wesley stories, the adults weren't dumbed down in the script.
     
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  17. TV's Frank

    TV's Frank Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    And this just proves the point that every episode is someone's favorite! Or at least every episode is appreciated by at least one fan out there! :)
     
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  18. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    Imaginary Friend has a decent message to it, and the idea of judging people badly because they don’t understand the concept of children is very Star Trek.

    It’s just not the sort of thing most people are tuning in for.
     
  19. worf1965

    worf1965 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Conundrum - Here the crew gets their memories wiped as to their identities but not their skills to get the Enterprise to destroy one alien race for another alien race who is at war with them. I liked the episode. It was basically seeing how long it would take for them to figure out who they were. Nothing spectacular here though I liked the Riker/Ensign Ro scenes.
     
  20. worf1965

    worf1965 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Power Play - This one reminded me of the previous episode Conundrum. We have aliens who turn out to be prisoners marooned in a different state of energy. Three take over the bodies of Troi, O'Brien and Data to use the Enterprise to help all the inmates escape. It's a straightforward hostage chessmatch after they take over the ship with Picard triumphing. Not a bad episode. I liked seeing Troi, Data amd O'Brien played as "bad guys", especially scenes between O'Brien and Keiko. Not TNG's best but good enough.