Star Trek: The Next Generation
Original Air Date: October 12, 1987
Written by: Katharyn Powers and Michael Baron
Directed by: Russ Mayberry
Synopsis: The inhabitants of the Federation planet Styris IV had the fish for dinner, leading to an outbreak of deadly Anchilles fever. With Styris IV's fate in the hands of Acting President Ted Striker and his intern Elaine, the Enterprise pays a visit to the only planet in the entire galaxy that can provide a vaccine, Ligon II.
Picard meets with the Ligonian leader Lutan and his little buddy Hagon when they beam up into the ship's cargo bay. On the way to meet them, Troi and Riker tell Picard that the Ligonians are a proud people with a very structured society. Picard thanks them for waiting until they're in the turbolift, going to the meeting to tell him this important information, instead of bogging down the pre-meeting briefing with it. When they get to the cargo bay, we discover that the Ligonians are also descended directly from a 1940s pulp novel set in deepest, darkest Africa, and that they are amused to discover that the Enterprise's security chief is a woman.
Oh good! We're going to be racist and sexist in this one!
Original Air Date: January 25, 1988
Written by: Patrick Barry
Directed by: Michael Rhodes
Synopsis: The Enterprise comes across the long-lost freighter Odin, which has been missing since Captain Hazelwood crashed the ship into an asteroid seven years ago. Three escape pods are missing and assumed to be on their way to Tatooine, but since the planet Angel One is closer, Picard decides to look there, first. Besides, it's supposedly run by hot babes who like to snu-snu, so Picard can finally dump that load of hats he's been hauling around since "Justice." And -- Science Fiction Cliche alert! -- it's "similar to mid-twentieth century Earth."
After a chilly initial audio-only contact with Angel One's leader, Mistress Beata, during which no one at all asks why the leader has a dom-sub porn name, Picard sends Riker, Troi, Tasha and Data down to the planet to get permission to look for any survivors. On their way to the transporter room, they run into Wesley and Nameless Extra Kid, who are wrapped up in Jiffy Pop suits and on their way to skiing lessons. On the holodeck's version of the Denubian alps. Now, for all the failings in this episode, here are two things it does right: the holodeck doesn't malfunction, and we don't have to watch Wesley and his friend doing their best Suzie Chapstick impression on the icy slopes of Mount Needaplotpoint (part of the majestic Isthisthebestyoucoulddo range).
Picard tells the away team that Angel One could one day be of strategic importance to the Federation, so they'd better be on their best behavior. Riker says, "Dude, is there any planet in the galaxy that isn't going to be of strategic importance to the Federation one day?" Picard responds, "If you keep asking questions like that, Number One, it's going to be fifteen years before you get your own command. Beam them away, Nameless Transporter Chief."
- Two (2) 80GB iPod Classics.
- Five (5) swag bags containing TAVA Canvas tote bag, TAVA t-shirt and TAVA pen.
- Seven (7) sample packs of TAVA.
Original Air Date: January 18, 1988
Teleplay by: Robert Lewin and Gene Roddenberry
Story by: Robert Lewin and Maurice Hurley
Directed by: Rob Bowman
Synopsis: After dropping off a bunch of Human Horn for Lurr in the Omicron Persei system, the Enterprise cruises into the nearby Omicron Theta system, to pay a visit to Data's home planet.
Omicon Theta was once a farming colony, but all the colonists -- and everything they once grew -- were all gone when Data was found. Oh! A mystery! Riker leads an away team to the planet's surface in an effort to solve it. (In a scene that was cut from the final episode, the USS Mystery Machine showed up, and captain Fred said, "Dang." before it flew away to the Scary Old Amusement Park galaxy.)
They make their way to the exact spot where Data was discovered: it's sort of a hollowed out area beneath a bunch of rocks, where Data tells them he was found wearing nothing more than a layer of dust. Before anyone can make a saucy reference about 'The Naked Now' to Tasha, Geordi's Visor reveals that the rocks aren't naturally hollow, and the "wall" opens up, revealing a twisty maze of passages, all alike.
I was lucky enough to recently get a look at what this new DVD set. Is it really better to have the entire series in an all-in-one case? Are the bonus features worth the price itself? Well, I'll tell you my thoughts, at least. (See here for a gallery of packaging images.)
Tonight at dinner, a friend of mine mentioned that he recently met Brent Spiner at an event. He then proceeded to tell me about how a particularly annoying Star Trek fan spent the entire evening bothering Spiner with questions about his character Data.
It reminded me of an episode of Joey where a similar thing happened, except in the episode, Spiner was more than happy to reminisce about his Star Trek days. He even went so far as to take Joey's nephew out to his car to show him his actual uniform from the show.
Are you a Captain Kirk fan or a Captain Picard fan? On one hand you have toupees and overacting and awesome songs, and on the other hand you have a calm, tea-drinking guy who pulls at his shirt all the time. I lean more toward Picard, but I often find that punching an alien instead of talking to him and sleeping with various female life forms gets the job done too.
In honor of Star Trek: The Next Generation's 20th anniversary,* Marty Beckerman makes a case for Jean-Luc Picard as President of the U.S. in this Huffington Post piece. More specifically, he compares the leadership qualities of the Enterprise captain with the leadership qualities of our current President.
It's a great piece, even if you're not a
Trekkie geek virgin Star Trek aficionado.
* God I'm old.
In the life of a television show there are always changes. It could be the departure or addition of a cast member, a new set or shooting location, or just the aging of characters. But, those are subtle changes that many viewers just shrug off as the natural progression of a program.
Then there are those changes that are so drastic that they take viewers by surprise, making them wonder if this is the same show they watched the previous season. When these changes take place between the freshman and sophomore seasons of a show this really takes a toll on the fan base. Throughout the history of television there have been a number of shows that have seen such changes between the end of season one and the beginning of season two. After the jump you'll read about nine such examples.
Original Air Date: January 11, 1988
Written By: Tracy Torme
Directed by: Joseph L. Scanlan
The Enterprise is on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan, and the imperial senate will not stand for -- oh. Wait. Sorry. Wrong Star. Let's start over, shall we?
The Enterprise is on a diplomatic mission to meet the Jarada, an alien species with a peculiar affinity for protocol: if Picard doesn't speak a particular greeting in exactly the right way at exactly the right time, the Jaradan won't join the Federation, and they'll take all their mythical Jaradan weed with them.
Picard and Counselor Troi have been practicing his speech for hours, because it is just about the most important thing Picard has done since convincing Q that humanity isn't a bunch of asscocks. Because he is so aware of the significance of the meeting, he naturally closes up his books and heads down to the holodeck to goof off. (If my son Ryan, who is about to enter college, is reading this, please don't follow his example if you intend to graduate in four years. Keep studying. Your grades and my money thank you.)
Picard tells us in his personal log that he's looking forward to trying out something new called a holodeck program: rather than simply recreating a time or a place (or both) it recreates an entire fictional universe inside the Enterprise (infinite recursion alert! Infinite recursion alert!) with characters and a story, sort of like LARPing, if LARPing wasn't totally lame.
Don't ask me why, but someone has compiled a video consisting of the final ten seconds of every episode of the first season of Star Trek: the Next Generation.
Now many of you may know this, but almost every episode ended with someone saying, "bite me, suck-face!" and giving the finger directly into the camera. I know, it's weird. I never quite understood it myself. It's one of those TV catchphrases that never quite caught on.
Seriously, though, if you're a fan of The Next Generation, this is a pretty cool tribute, as each episode doesn't end with a definite conclusion, but with another step toward more adventure.
Original Air Date: November 30, 1987
Teleplay By: Tracy Torme
Story By: Tracy Torme and Lan Okun
Directed by: Richard Compton
Synopsis: The Enterprise is in orbit around a planet known as Haven, a planet so beautiful, Picard tells us, legends say it has mystical healing powers. Data intelligently points out that the legend is entirely unsupported by fact, so Picard gives him a copy of Loose Change and The Secret to straighten him out on the whole "Facts vs. Bullshit" thing.
Yar calls Riker out of his quarters, where he's been watching two holographic young women play the harps together. (Uh, yeah. I have an easier time suspending my disbelief for faster-than-light travel and kids on the bridge than accepting that a dude, alone in his quarters, pulls up two pretty young holographic women to play harps together.) Riker arrives in the transporter room and wants to know what was so goddamn important that Yar had to call him away from his harp watching thing. It turns out that there's an object from Haven waiting to be beamed aboard the ship. Riker, vision of harp playing nymphs dancing in his head, tells her to beam the stupid object over, already.
Transporter Chief Buffalo Bill puts the lotion in the basket, and beams over . . . a mysterious box. What's in the box? Should they trade the red snapper for what could be inside? Red snapper is very tasty, but there could be anything inside! There could even be a boat in there!
Before we get to open the box and find out what it contains, a face on the front of the box (played by Armin Shimmerman, in a cool non-Ferengi role) announces that it has a message for Troi: Lwaxana Troi and the Miller family are pretty excited for a big event of some sort. Ah! It's a Betazoid Gift box, of course, and it's there to announce the joyous joining of Wyatt Miller and . . . someone. The box then takes a big jewel shit all over the transporter. While Tasha rubs the box's nose in it so it can think about what it's done, Troi tells Riker that the box didn't contain a boat after all. They should have kept the red snapper, because that someone getting married is her. Gulp.
Oh boy. Is it going to be one of those episodes?
Via Boing Boing comes this lengthy essay from Michael Schmitz that looks at Human Computer Interaction in both movies and television. Some of the technology explored in this essay comes from shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Futurama, Star Trek: Enterprise, and an old German series called Raumschiff Orion.
Schmitz's essay looks at the technology used in these series and compares them to similar technology in the real world. The essay is a bit heavy, but I think sci fi nerds will appreciate it. All true science fiction is grounded somewhat in real science, and this essay delves into that world quite extensively and shows how often modern technology began as a fictional concept before we were finally able to catch up and make it a reality. For example, the "Wil Wheaton" in the picture on the right is now a real person. I know, it's spooky.
Ah, the friendly neighborhood drinking hole. In one way or another, they're there to give you that much needed morning/evening buzz before/after work or school. In what order you visit them is up to you. We've seen our fair share of these booze and caffeine shoppes on TV throughout the years, and here's my pick for the top 18 -- why settle for just ten?
1) Cheers (Cheers) -- Let's get right down to it and start with the obvious number one choice before we move on. I'm not going to insult you with dragging you on to the end to see what is very obviously the most famous of all TV bars. And since I'm from the area, I have no business not making this number one.
Original Air Date: November 23, 1987
Teleplay By: C.J. Holland and Gene Roddenberry
Story By: C.J. Holland
Directed by: Cliff Bole
Synopsis: The Enterprise receives a distress call from a colony on Quadra Sigma III, which is just a few planets before eMac Sigma III. There's been an accident, and they need urgent medical attention. The colonists are in luck (as are Trekkies who have had their fill of "Pain! So much pain!") because the Enterprise has just dropped off Counselor Troi at Starbase G-6, putting them close enough to Sigma III to speed on over and save the 500 or so trapped miners. (Ah, trapped miners on a far off colony . . . it's one of the classic Sci-Fi cliches.)
The Enterprise kicks it up to Warp 9.1, but quickly runs into a familiar and no-longer-mysterious giant CGI net that the ship can't pass. Faster than you can say, "Hey, that's the ILM-designed thing Q used in 'Encounter at Farpoint!'" Data says, "Captain! It's that ILM-designed thing Q used in 'Encounter at Farpoint!'" They put on the brakes, and in a blinding flash of light, Q appears on the Bridge, and tells Picard that he's decided that humans are not just a bunch of shitcocks, and as a reward, he's giving them a really swell gift.
Picard tells Q that it's very sweet of him to offer, but they're on their way to save those trapped miners on Quadra Sigma III, where there are also radioactive mutants, a sentient brain in a jar, a computer that's become self-aware and turned on its creator, beings of pure energy, and a call that's coming from inside the house, so maybe they could just talk about this some other time.
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