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Michael Casselman
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Posted: 15 September 2017 at 12:02pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Picard casually reads Kirk's name off of a computer screen as though he's just some other Captain, and not someone of any historical importance.

--------------------------------------------------------

I've never had an issue with the read of those lines as others seem to have had... I think it actually speaks to the duality of how the Original Series is seen both in-universe and by fans.

Even as we have Discovery about to debut, we've had, for years now, a clamoring in fandom for a Trek anthology series, because "the universe is so big that not everything could have been encountered by just a crew of the Enterprise". Which makes sense in-universe, as we've seen first contacts attributed to other captains and other crews, but sight-unseen for the most part. Of course, we've also had TNG, DS9 and Voyager crews out-and-about in the ST universe having their own adventures and furthering the story of the Federation, Starfleet, etc. So we know, even in-universe, that when big things/events happen, it's not just when there's an Enterprise or Kirk around.

But then, on those occasions where there is some call-back to TOS, should it be read in an in-universe context, where Kirk and crew were one of many fabled crews throughout Federation/Starfleet history, or should it be read like a viewer, that the Enterprise-no-suffix was pretty much the only ship to have any grand adventures, and the other dozen-ish Constellation starships of that era spent their lives in drydock or hauling ore or on the most boring, uninteresting, do-nothing taskings imaginable? Or should a line like that be read like a bunch of, well, 'Kirk fans' who gush over any call-back to a televised TOS era mission?

With the episode so blatantly rehashing 'Naked Now' anyways, did we need to have Picard or anyone fawning in such a way that would have called even more attention to the nature of the rehash?

"Holy sequels, Number One, this whole incident is like a sequel to what happened to Kirk just as much as my being Captain to a Federation Starship named Enterprise is to Kirk's command... what a co-in-key-dink, huh?" (Looks directly to camera, shrugs, 'sad horn' music cue)

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Michael Casselman
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Posted: 15 September 2017 at 12:29pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

After a few minutes more thinging on it, is it possible this was another of those awkward early-episode reads like the aforementioned "Tell ME where Commander Data is..."? Has anyone ever looked back at that first season to gauge how many times actors tended to but the emPHAsis on the wrong SyLLAble in their dialog to see if it was a recurring 'thing'?
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 15 September 2017 at 12:33pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

The problem comes down to the inconsistency, I think. By the time of GENERATIONS, Riker speaks of Kirk's "death" aboard the Enterprise-B as if it's a Big Deal, and Picard's jaw practically drops upon seeing Kirk in the Nexus. Then, in DS9, Sisko and his crew go all fanboy when they encounter the Enterprise via time-travel.

It's a fine line to tread. Kirk and his crew shouldn't have been the ONLY ones to do anything of note in Starfleet history, but they also did save the Earth more than once, and were involved in several major political events (such as the accords with the Klingon Empire).

And, having just taken command of the Enterprise-D, you'd think Picard--Picard the historian and Renaissance Man--would have some sense of Kirk's importance to both the Enterprise legacy and Federation history, which would warrant more than a merely casual utterance of his name. A line-reading which gives the sense that Picard is thinking, "Oh, hey, a prominent person in Federstion history dealt with the same problem I'm now facing!". Stewart's ultra-casual line-reading almost gives the impression that Picard had never even heard of Kirk, until that moment.

I'm not saying that TNG should have deified the TOS crew, but rather that this particular moment feels like TNG trying to downplay the association to its parent series. Even in-universe, it feels a little "off" to me.

Edited by Greg Kirkman on 15 September 2017 at 4:18pm
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 15 September 2017 at 1:38pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I'm not saying that TNG should have deified the TOS crew, but rather that this particular moment feels like TNG trying to downplay the association to its parent series.

-----

I recall reading an article (in Starlog maybe?) where Stewart talked about that scene and that was specifically what they were trying to do. Kirk was just another name in Starfleet records. 
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Michael Casselman
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Posted: 15 September 2017 at 1:51pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

With so much inconsistant in that first year, I think they didn't really know how to approach the series as being able to 'stand on it's own' while simultaneously making open acknowledgement of the original series (that viewers would/could geek-out about). They may have wanted to get away from such 'in your face' stunts like Farpoint's Admiral McCoy cameo and just stick to easter eggs and more casual comments from then on. Surely that early in production, they wouldn't have much fan-feedback to gauge how well it was working or how it would come across (especially relatively early in the mass home-recording, rewatchng 'til your eyes start bleeding, pre-binge-watching days)
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 15 September 2017 at 3:47pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

"Kirk was just another name in Starfleet records."

Kind like treating Thomas Jefferson as just another Virginian politician or George S. Patton as just another military command, I feel.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 15 September 2017 at 4:21pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

With so much inconsistant in that first year, I think they didn't really know how to approach the series as being able to 'stand on it's own' while simultaneously making open acknowledgement of the original series (that viewers would/could geek-out about). They may have wanted to get away from such 'in your face' stunts like Farpoint's Admiral McCoy cameo and just stick to easter eggs and more casual comments from then on. Surely that early in production, they wouldn't have much fan-feedback to gauge how well it was working or how it would come across (especially relatively early in the mass home-recording, rewatchng 'til your eyes start bleeding, pre-binge-watching days)
++++++++++++

There's also the fact that the show very much copies the style and structure of TOS, in the first season. There's the main title sequence, the angles of the Enterprise flybys used in scene transitions, the orbiting shots, the constant use of Alexander Courage's fanfare, etc. Those all invite comparisons to TOS.
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 15 September 2017 at 8:47pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

There was also the edict to not not link back to the TOS from the Great Bird and enforced by Berman. So the erasure of the TOS from TNG was a conscious and deliberate decision.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 15 September 2017 at 10:08pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

...which makes the production of "Unification" and "Relics" rather amazing, considering all those attempts to distance themselves from TOS.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 15 September 2017 at 11:33pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

"Code of Honor".


...aka, "Amok Time on Planet Africa".


Oh, man. This one is pretty widely considered to be the single worst episode of TNG ever produced, and it's not hard to see why. I've read that a good chunk of the cast and crew felt that the episode came off as dumb, silly, and racist, and I tend to agree. The director was fired by Roddenberry before filming was complete. The music score (by the great Fred Steiner) is incongruously big and over-the-top, as early TNG scores tend to be. The writing is about as surface-level as you can get. The fight choreography at the end is pretty lousy. And, despite being a showcase episode for Tasha (at least in theory), it doesn't at all feel like one, and gives her nothing of meaning or depth to say or do.

"Pain...pain...!" Is about the only other comment I can muster. At least I know for a fact that it only gets better from here.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 15 September 2017 at 11:53pm
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 16 September 2017 at 8:15am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

...which makes the production of "Unification" and "Relics" rather amazing, considering all those attempts to distance themselves from TOS

I look at those episodes more as opportunistic ratings stunt casting on the part of the producers rather than as TOS nostalgia.  Much was made of Nimoy's appearance in "Unification" and Roddenberry had passed away the week before the first episode aired yet the resulting story was a load of talky dross padded out to two nearly two hours of dull television.   Ratings success, but it did absolutely nothing for the character of Spock IMO.  Not even a cringeworthy Super-Spock moment.  This is a guy who basically touched a divine being in TMP, died and was resurrected in subsequent films -- and they couldn't think of anything better to do with him here other than make him a clone of his father.

"Relics" is a little more fine-tuned and comes off better in the wash.  The recreation of the TOS-era bridge in the holodeck is a one-time anomaly in a series that was quite obviously structured as a sequel to the TOS film franchise (both in stories and aesthetics).  I have a feeling we got the TOS bridge because the set designers stood up and insisted its inclusion over the film series version (Not to mention that half of the film bridge set was already repurposed as part of the TNG sets anyway).  They still treat Scotty like he's some sort of quaint chump, and Geordi in particular is downright abusive to the man both to his face and behind his back.  Funny enough, there was an audio book sequel to "Cause and Effect" where it was established that Captain Bateson of the USS Boseman was considered the highest ranking officer in Starfleet -- even though he spent 80 years trapped in a time anomaly he had the earliest enlistment date of any ranking officer and was offered the command of the Enterprise E before Picard.   Scotty would also technically outrank Bateson in this scheme -- so Geordi comes off as extra douchey. 

(yes, I know they should consider both enlistment date and collective service time -- being stuck in a transporter or time warp... or even time travelling to the future shouldn't get you ahead in Starfleet, otherwise everyone would be doing it)




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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 16 September 2017 at 9:11am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I look at those episodes more as opportunistic ratings stunt casting on the part of the producers rather than as TOS nostalgia.  Much was made of Nimoy's appearance in "Unification" and Roddenberry had passed away the week before the first episode aired yet the resulting story was a load of talky dross padded out to two nearly two hours of dull television.
+++++++

I have a feeling part of it was cross-promotion with the then-upcoming STAR TREK VI, as well.
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 16 September 2017 at 10:41am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Well they originally wanted Nimoy to be the show-runner on TNG and direct the pilot. According to 50Year mission. I think they were looking for a new twist so they used romulans. Things did begin to loosen somewhat in the Post Roddenberry era. Tho Rick Berman felt it was his duty to maintain Roddenerry's edicts about what life in the 24th century was all about. To preserve that future. 

Still waiting to watch Naked Now. 
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 16 September 2017 at 11:37am | IP Logged | 14 post reply


I still remember seeing Nimoy at a Boston TREK convention in the spring or summer of 1991, as the hype-machine was building for STAR TREK VI... at the very end, he then announced that he would indeed be making a guest appearance on TNG for the upcoming (fifth) season.

If ever I thought the roof was going to collapse on our heads...!!



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Luke Styer
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Posted: 16 September 2017 at 11:53am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

[quote=Greg Kirkman]It's a fine line to tread. Kirk and his crew shouldn't have been the ONLY ones to do anything of note in Starfleet history, but they also d id save the Earth more than once, and were involved in several major political events (such as the accords with the Klingon Empire).[/quote]

The Earth-saving happened in the movies, where the stakes have to be bigger. So maybe the five year mission was more in line with the other Constitution Class ships (at least those that weren't get destroyed onscreen in TOS), but then in the movie era Kirk distinguished himself by saving the earth a few times.


Edited by Luke Styer on 16 September 2017 at 11:55am
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 16 September 2017 at 12:34pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

I have a feeling part of it was cross-promotion with the then-upcoming STAR TREK VI, as well.

Definitely for "Unification" as it aired one month before ST:VI was in theatres.  Michael Dorn also appeared in ST:VI which was another cross-promotion.

It's a shame later films never cross-pollinated with the existing TV shows other than the occasional references to things like ketracel white in INSURRECTION and of course Michael Dorn happening to be away from DS9 and in the neighborhood *just in time* for some big event.  Twice. 

(or was it three times?)
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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 16 September 2017 at 4:52pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Dorn's contract for DS9 required that it not detract from his participation in TNG movies.  I don't think they offered any explanation at all for why he was on the Enterprise in Insurrection.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 17 September 2017 at 9:16pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

"The Last Outpost".

...aka "Ferengi Arena".


So, it takes Picard, like, an act-and-a-half to figure out that some unknown force on the planet is holding both the Enterprise-D and the Ferengi ship immobile. Pretty sure Kirk would have had that checked off the list of possibilities in about a minute or so.

On the positive side, we do get to see La Forge hanging out in Engineering, for the first time. It's a very natural fit, but it'll be another season 'till he gets reassigned there.

Ah, the Ferengi. They'd been touted as the new Klingons, but...noooooo. Nope. They're lousy villains. It's been said that Armin Shimmerman felt a measure of personal responsibility for how things turned out, and so resolved to rehabilitate the species when he was cast as Quark on DS9, and did a fine job in doing so.


Not a lot else to say about this one, because so little of consequence happens. The two ships are immobilized, there's some back and forth, the combined Starfleet/Ferengi force beams down, then Portal spares them because Riker is brave in the face of death. That's pretty much it. 

I continue to be amazed at just how surface-level everything is, in these early episodes. There are attempts at fleshing out the characters, and lip-service paid to the philosophy and moral dilemmas that TREK is so beloved for, but there's just not a whole lot going on, besides those surface plot beats. Again, I'm glad to remember that will change for the better, eventually.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 19 September 2017 at 11:36pm
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 18 September 2017 at 11:47am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Your assement of Naked now was spot on, they guys get Drunk and the Girls get horny. I can't help but think. Fontana said the re-writes that she got back from Gene always added sex and lust and little esle to the script. 

Watching code of Honor. Regretting it. 

This would be around the time that Roddenberry's Lawyer was doing re-write,yes? 
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 18 September 2017 at 12:20pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Yep.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 18 September 2017 at 7:14pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

I've heard... erm... stories about Gene and his swinger lifestyle.  Maybe it was his lawyer all along!

Perhaps it doesn't really matter in the end who wrote it.   Writing STAR TREK that bad takes talent!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 18 September 2017 at 11:50pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

"Where No One Has Gone Before".

I actual like this one quite a bit, despite its being rather slight and straightforward. I have a distinct memory of seeing it at a young age, possibly even in first-run, as opposed to a rerun. 

I've read that the original script, by Diane Duane and Michael Reeves, was basically a repurposing of Duane's novel, THE WOUNDED SKY, which I haven't read. The episode comes across as sort of a riff on "The Ultimate Computer", with a dash of "Is There In Truth No Beauty".

So, in addition to Wesley being a Supergenius, the implication is that he's some kind of mutant with a knack for exploiting the contention between time, space, and thought.  Huh.

I'm also reminded of what Zaki Hasan likes to refer to as TNG's "competence porn", in that the TNG crew conducts itself in a very calm and competent manner, working problems (no matter how serious) from all the angles until they find a solution. In this one episode, the Enterprise-D is propelled literally billions of light years from home, and the crew is nonplussed by potentially being stranded beyond any conceivable human frame of reference. Of course, Voyager ended up stranded much closer to home, which became the premise of an entire series, and was treated as a Big Deal. Here, the crew calmly discusses the opportunity to kick back and explore...er...where none have gone before, then decide to get back to work on getting home. And then they do. No biggie!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 19 September 2017 at 11:29pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

"Lonely Among Us".


A rather weak and slight episode, bolstered by some fun character interplay and moments. This episode introduces Data's Sherlock Holmes fandom, and is also the first to really feature Brent Spiner's flair for humor. Some interesting acting from Patrick Stewart as the possessed Picard.

Some pretty wonky stuff at the end of this one. So...Picard is beamed into space as an energy pattern, without being reintegrated. Then, when Data attempts to use the transporter to bring him back, he uses the pattern from Picard's previous dematerialization to reintegrate him. Um, what?

Setting aside the transporter's potential as a cloning device (which Riker alludes to--as well as the apparent Vegetarianism of the future--when describing how humans no longer use livestock for meat, instead favoring replicated tissue), I find myself asking how Data distinguished the particular energy pattern which had been Picard, in order to use the record of Picard's pattern to reintegrate him. Did Picard's sentient energy
pattern make its way into the pattern buffer, and just wait to be reintegrated into its original form? This makes my head hurt.



Bonus points for the appearance of a model of a TOS-era shuttlecraft as a set decoration, though.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 19 September 2017 at 11:33pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

By the way, a few years back, I was given DC's original, six-issue TNG comic-miniseries as a gift. The series was released to coincide with the airing of the show's first season, so there's no better time for me to finally read it. 

The crew hangs out with a bunch of alien Grinches in issue # 2, which also features an energy being that resembles Santa Claus. Because the story takes place at Christmas.
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Christopher Frost
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Posted: 20 September 2017 at 10:16am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

"Dorn's contract for DS9 required that it not detract from his participation in TNG movies.  I don't think they offered any explanation at all for why he was on the Enterprise in Insurrection. "

It's been a while since I've watched it but if memory serves, they made a joke about it in the film. At the start of the film as Picard& crew were preparing for the diplomatic function they were hosting, they came across Worf on the ship and basically said something like "What are you doing here?" but the conversation was cut off before he could reply, thus saving the writers having to come up with why he would  be there if the war with the Dominion was still going on and he was on the front lines at DS9.

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