Trekaday: Final ratings from 1966 to 2005

Posted on December 26th, 2023 in Culture | No Comments »

This is every episode I watched ordered by star rating. Episodes with the same star rating can be assumed to be equally good.

5 out of 5 stars
  • TNG S07E25 All Good Things…
  • TOS S02E01 Amok Time
  • TOS S01E14 Balance of Terror
  • TNG S03E26 The Best of Both Worlds
  • TNG S04E01 The Best of Both Worlds, Part II
  • DS9 S05E15 By Inferno’s Light
  • TNG S05E18 Cause and Effect
  • TNG S06E11 Chain of Command, Part II
  • TOS S01E28 The City on the Edge of Forever
  • DS9 S02E23 Crossover
  • TOS S01E25 The Devil in the Dark
  • TNG S06E14 Face of the Enemy
  • TNG S04E02 Family
  • DS9 S06E13 Far Beyond the Stars
  • ENT S03E20 The Forgotten
  • TNG S05E23 I Borg
  • ENT S04E19 In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II
  • DS9 S05E14 In Purgatory’s Shadow
  • VOY S05E04 In the Flesh
  • DS9 S06E19 In the Pale Moonlight
  • TNG S05E25 The Inner Light
  • TNG S02E09 The Measure of a Man
  • VOY S04E25 One
  • DS9 S04E10 Our Man Bashir
  • TNG S06E04 Relics
  • DS9 S06E06 Sacrifice of Angels
  • TNG S03E23 Sarek
  • TNG S06E12 Ship in a Bottle
  • TOS S01E22 Space Seed
  • TNG S06E18 Starship Mine
  • TNG S06E15 Tapestry
  • TOS S01E24 This Side of Paradise
  • DS9 S05E06 Trials and Tribble-ations
  • TNG S05E08 Unification II
  • DS9 S04E03 The Visitor
  • DS9 S04E01-2 The Way of the Warrior
  • TOS MOS02 The Wrath of Khan
  • TNG S03E15 Yesterday’s Enterprise
4.5 out of 5 stars
  • DS9 S03E26 The Adversary
  • TOS S01E18 Arena
  • ENT S03E18 Azati Prime
  • TNG S06E16 Birthright, Part I
  • VOY S07E07 Body and Soul
  • DS9 S02E05 Cardassians
  • TNG S06E10 Chain of Command, Part I
  • DS9 S05E22 Children of Time
  • ENT S03E12 Chosen Realm
  • DS9 S03E07 Civil Defense
  • ENT S04E05 Cold Station 12
  • TNG S05E14 Conundrum
  • TOS S01E10 The Corbomite Maneuver
  • VOY S05E18 Course: Oblivion
  • ENT S03E19 Damage
  • VOY S05E15-16 Dark Frontier
  • VOY S04E03 Day of Honor
  • TNG S03E10 The Defector
  • TNG S06E26 Descent
  • TNG S07E01 Descent, Part II
  • TOS S02E06 The Doomsday Machine
  • DS9 S01E19 Duet
  • TNG S02E20 The Emissary
  • DS9 S05E24 Empok Nor
  • VOY S07E25-26 Endgame
  • TNG S05E03 Ensign Ro
  • TNG S04E15 First Contact
  • TNG MNG02 First Contact
  • DS9 S05E13 For the Uniform
  • TNG S06E21 Frame of Mind
  • TNG S04E08 Future Imperfect
  • TNG S07E05 Gambit, Part II
  • VOY S04E02 The Gift
  • TNG S04E22 Half a Life
  • DS9 S04E19 Hard Time
  • DS9 S04E04 Hippocratic Oath
  • VOY S04E26 Hope and Fear
  • DS9 S03E03 The House of Quark
  • TOS S02E18 The Immunity Syndrome
  • ENT S03E05 Impulse
  • VOY S05E07 Infinite Regress
  • TOS S03E05 Is There in Truth No Beauty?
  • DS9 S02E26 The Jem’Hadar
  • VOY S04E18-19 The Killing Game
  • VOY S05E11 Latent Image
  • VOY S06E24 Life Line
  • DS9 S04E08 Little Green Men
  • DS9 S02E20 The Maquis, Part I
  • VOY S02E16 Meld
  • TNG S04E24 The Mind’s Eye
  • TOS S02E04 Mirror, Mirror
  • VOY S04E12 Mortal Coil
  • TNG S03E22 The Most Toys
  • TOS S01E04 The Naked Time
  • VOY S05E01 Night
  • TNG S04E19 The Nth Degree
  • TNG S07E12 The Pegasus
  • TNG S07E24 Preemptive Strike
  • VOY S04E16 Prey
  • ENT S03E13 Proving Ground
  • TNG S02E16 Q Who
  • ENT S02E23 Regeneration
  • TNG S04E05 Remember Me
  • DS9 S06E02 Rocks and Shoals
  • VOY S04E01 Scorpion, Part II
  • TNG S06E24 Second Chances
  • DS9 S03E05 Second Skin
  • ENT S01E15 Shadows of P’Jem
  • DS9 S05E02 The Ship
  • DS9 S02E03 The Siege
  • DS9 S07E08 The Siege of AR-558
  • TAS S01E14 The Slaver Weapon
  • DS9 S04E07 Starship Down
  • VOY S06E02 Survival Instinct
  • ENT S04E21 Terra Prime
  • DS9 S05E19 Ties of Blood and Water
  • TNG S06E25 Timescape
  • DS9 S04E23 To the Death
  • ENT S03E08 Twilight
  • TOS S02E24 The Ultimate Computer
  • ENT S04E13 United
  • VOY S03E17 Unity
  • ENT S01E22 Vox Sola
  • DS9 S06E11 Waltz
  • DS9 S07E25-26 What You Leave Behind
  • DS9 S02E22 The Wire
  • VOY S04E08 Year of Hell
4 out of 5 stars
  • VOY S02E01 The 37’s
  • TOS S03E23 All Our Yesterdays
  • ENT S01E07 The Andorian Incident
  • DS9 S05E01 Apocalypse Rising
  • DS9 S02E13 Armageddon Game
  • DS9 S05E09 The Ascent
  • ENT S04E06 The Augments
  • DS9 S07E15 Badda-Bing Badda-Bang
  • VOY S06E03 Barge of the Dead
  • TNG S01E09 The Battle
  • DS9 S06E04 Behind the Lines
  • TAS S01E01 Beyond the Farthest Star
  • TNG S06E17 Birthright, Part II
  • VOY S06E12 Blink of an Eye
  • ENT S04E04 Borderland
  • VOY S05E12 Bride of Chaotica!
  • TNG S04E03 Brothers
  • TOS S02E22 By Any Other Name
  • DS9 S05E26 Call to Arms
  • TNG S03E19 Captain’s Holiday
  • ENT S02E02 Carbon Creek
  • VOY S06E19 Child’s Play
  • DS9 S07E14 Chimera
  • DS9 S02E02 The Circle
  • ENT S01E11 Cold Front
  • DS9 S04E13 Crossfire
  • TOS S01E09 Dagger of the Mind
  • TNG S05E02 Darmok
  • TNG S04E11 Data’s Day
  • DS9 S03E09 Defiant
  • TNG S03E13 Déjà Q
  • DS9 S03E21 The Die is Cast
  • VOY S02E17 Dreadnought
  • VOY S05E02 Drone
  • TNG S02E03 Elementary, Dear Data
  • TNG S03E07 The Enemy
  • TOS S01E05 The Enemy Within
  • TNG S03E02 The Ensigns of Command
  • TOS S03E02 The Enterprise Incident
  • DS9 S07E23 Extreme Measures
  • ENT S01E23 Fallen Hero
  • DS9 S03E23 Family Business
  • DS9 S06E05 Favor the Bold
  • TNG S06E08 A Fistful of Datas
  • VOY S03E02 Flashback
  • VOY S07E09 Flesh and Blood
  • DS9 S04E22 For the Cause
  • VOY S07E21 Friendship One
  • VOY S03E09 Future’s End, Part II
  • TOS S01E16 The Galileo Seven
  • TNG S07E04 Gambit, Part I
  • VOY S05E13 Gravity
  • DS9 S03E14 Heart of Stone
  • TNG S05E11 Hero Worship
  • TNG S03E21 Hollow Pursuits
  • TNG S01E18 Home Soil
  • DS9 S02E01 The Homecoming
  • DS9 S04E11 Homefront
  • TAS S02E05 How Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth
  • TNG S04E18 Identity Crisis
  • VOY S07E02 Imperfection
  • ENT S04E18 In a Mirror, Darkly
  • DS9 S04E05 Indiscretion
  • TAS S01E07 The Infinite Vulcan
  • DS9 S06E18 Inquisition
  • VOY S07E06 Inside Man
  • DS9 S07E16 Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges
  • DS9 S07E10 It’s Only a Paper Moon
  • TOS S02E10 Journey to Babel
  • ENT S02E19 Judgment
  • ENT S04E09 Kir’Shara
  • VOY S01E16 Learning Curve
  • DS9 S05E03 Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places
  • TNG S07E15 Lower Decks
  • VOY S03E12 Macrocosm
  • TAS S01E08 The Magicks of Megas-tu
  • TOS S01E01 The Man Trap
  • VOY S02E11 Maneuvers
  • DS9 S02E21 The Maquis, Part II
  • TNG S02E08 A Matter of Honor
  • VOY S06E14 Memorial
  • VOY S04E14 Message in a Bottle
  • ENT S02E03 Minefield
  • DS9 S02E08 Necessary Evil
  • TNG S05E10 New Ground
  • TNG S05E24 The Next Phase
  • ENT S03E09 North Star
  • DS9 S05E04 …Nor the Battle to the Strong
  • ENT S04E11 Observer Effect
  • TOS S02E13 Obsession
  • VOY S06E08 One Small Step
  • DS9 S04E12 Paradise Lost
  • DS9 S03E11 Past Tense, Part I
  • DS9 S02E18 Profit and Loss
  • VOY S04E06 The Raven
  • DS9 S04E06 Rejoined
  • VOY S05E24 Relativity
  • TOS S01E21 The Return of the Archons
  • DS9 S04E14 Return to Grace
  • TOS S02E20 Return to Tomorrow
  • VOY S04E05 Revulsion
  • TNG S06E05 Schisms
  • VOY S03E26 Scorpion
  • DS9 S03E01 The Search, Part I
  • DS9 S07E02 Shadows and Symbols
  • VOY S07E11 Shattered
  • ENT S03E07 The Shipment
  • TNG S05E04 Silicon Avatar
  • ENT S03E10 Similitude
  • ENT S01E14 Sleeping Dogs
  • DS9 S05E21 Soldiers of the Empire
  • ENT S03E14 Stratagem
  • VOY S03E04 The Swarm
  • TOS S01E23 A Taste of Armageddon
  • DS9 S06E26 Tears of the Prophets
  • DS9 S05E08 Things Past
  • VOY S05E20 Think Tank
  • TOS S03E09 The Tholian Web
  • DS9 S06E01 A Time to Stand
  • VOY S05E06 Timeless
  • TNG S05E26 Time’s Arrow
  • VOY S06E04 Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy
  • TOS S01E19 Tomorrow Is Yesterday
  • DS9 S07E06 Treachery, Faith, and the Great River
  • DS9 S02E25 Tribunal
  • TOS S02E15 The Trouble With Tribbles
  • TOS MOS06 The Undiscovered Country
  • TNG S05E07 Unification I
  • VOY S06E26 Unimatrix Zero
  • TOS MOS04 The Voyage Home
  • TNG S01E06 Where No One Has Gone Before
  • TNG S03E04 Who Watches the Watchers
  • VOY S07E16 Workforce
  • VOY S03E25 Worst Case Scenario
  • TNG S04E12 The Wounded
  • VOY S04E09 Year of Hell, Part II
3.5 out of 5 stars
  • DS9 S03E06 The Abandoned
  • ENT S04E14 The Aenar
  • TAS S02E04 Albatross
  • TNG S03E18 Allegiance
  • TNG S01E21 The Arsenal of Freedom
  • VOY S06E18 Ashes to Ashes
  • DS9 S05E05 The Assignment
  • TNG S07E08 Attached
  • ENT S04E08 Awakening
  • ENT S04E12 Babel One
  • VOY S02E26 Basics, Part I
  • VOY S03E21 Before and After
  • DS9 S05E23 Blaze of Glory
  • VOY S05E14 Bliss
  • TNG S03E05 The Bonding
  • DS9 S04E26 Broken Link
  • DS9 S01E06 Captive Pursuit
  • ENT S02E12 The Catwalk
  • DS9 S06E16 Change of Heart
  • TOS S02E03 The Changeling
  • DS9 S07E20 The Changing Face of Evil
  • TNG S04E14 Clues
  • VOY S03E15 Coda
  • VOY S04E11 Concerning Flight
  • TNG S02E11 Contagion
  • ENT S03E23 Countdown
  • VOY S05E10 Counterpoint
  • DS9 S07E09 Covenant
  • TNG S01E13 Datalore
  • DS9 S01E08 Dax
  • TOS S03E07 Day of the Dove
  • ENT S02E04 Dead Stop
  • VOY S02E21 Deadlock
  • ENT S01E13 Dear Doctor
  • ENT S04E20 Demons
  • ENT S01E24 Desert Crossing
  • DS9 S03E15 Destiny
  • TNG S05E05 Disaster
  • VOY S03E24 Displaced
  • DS9 S05E16 Doctor Bashir, I Presume?
  • VOY S05E26 Equinox
  • TOS S01E26 Errand of Mercy
  • TNG S03E01 Evolution
  • VOY S01E07 Eye of the Needle
  • DS9 S03E25 Facets
  • ENT S02E24 First Flight
  • ENT S01E10 Fortunate Son
  • ENT S02E16 Future Tense
  • VOY S03E08 Future’s End, Part I
  • VOY S06E20 Good Shepherd
  • VOY S06E25 The Haunting of Deck Twelve
  • TNG S01E20 Heart of Glory
  • ENT S04E03 Home
  • TNG S07E13 Homeward
  • TNG S03E11 The Hunted
  • DS9 S07E01 Image in the Sand
  • DS9 S03E20 Improbable Cause
  • DS9 S01E20 In the Hands of the Prophets
  • DS9 S02E04 Invasive Procedures
  • VOY S01E15 Jetrel
  • TNG S06E19 Lessons
  • DS9 S03E13 Life Support
  • VOY S06E21 Live Fast and Prosper
  • VOY S04E23 Living Witness
  • TNG S01E07 Lonely Among Us
  • TNG S04E10 The Loss
  • TNG S05E09 A Matter of Time
  • TNG S03E24 Ménage à Troi
  • TOS S02E09 Metamorphosis
  • TOS S01E08 Miri
  • TOS S01E06 Mudd’s Women
  • DS9 S01E11 The Nagus
  • TNG S01E03 The Naked Now
  • TNG S01E26 The Neutral Zone
  • TNG S04E17 Night Terrors
  • VOY S04E21 The Omega Directive
  • TAS S01E03 One of Our Planets is Missing
  • TOS S01E29 Operation: Annihilate!
  • TOS S03E03 The Paradise Syndrome
  • VOY S02E07 Parturition
  • DS9 S03E12 Past Tense, Part II
  • VOY S06E10 Pathfinder
  • TNG S02E21 Peak Performance
  • TOS S02E17 A Piece of the Action
  • TAS S02E01 The Pirates of Orion
  • DS9 S02E17 Playing God
  • TNG S05E15 Power Play
  • VOY S01E10 Prime Factors
  • DS9 S01E15 Progress
  • VOY S03E11 The Q and the Grey
  • VOY S07E19 Q2
  • VOY S04E10 Random Thoughts
  • TNG S06E02 Realm of Fear
  • DS9 S06E21 The Reckoning
  • TNG S05E01 Redemption II
  • VOY S03E06 Remember
  • VOY S07E24 Renaissance Man
  • VOY S07E04 Repression
  • VOY S02E12 Resistance
  • TNG S04E07 Reunion
  • VOY S06E06 Riddles
  • VOY S03E19 Rise
  • DS9 S04E18 Rules of Engagement
  • TOS MOS03 The Search for Spock
  • DS9 S03E02 The Search, Part II
  • DS9 S02E09 Second Sight
  • ENT S02E07 The Seventh
  • DS9 S02E16 Shadowplay
  • ENT S02E01 Shockwave, Part II
  • TNG S03E17 Sins of the Father
  • DS9 S06E25 The Sound of Her Voice
  • DS9 S06E09 Statistical Probabilities
  • ENT S02E14 Stigma
  • TAS S01E06 The Survivor
  • DS9 S07E22 Tacking Into the Wind
  • DS9 S07E04 Take Me Out to the Holosuite
  • ENT S01E06 Terra Nova
  • TAS S01E11 The Terratin Incident
  • ENT S04E22 These Are the Voyages…
  • DS9 S07E18 ’Til Death Do Us Part
  • TNG S07E16 Thine Own Self
  • DS9 S03E19 Through the Looking Glass
  • VOY S01E04 Time and Again
  • TNG S02E13 Time Squared
  • TNG S06E01 Time’s Arrow, Part II
  • TNG S03E20 Tin Man
  • TNG S06E06 True Q
  • VOY S02E24 Tuvix
  • VOY S07E01 Unimatrix Zero, Part II
  • DS9 S01E12 Vortex
  • VOY S04E13 Waking Moments
  • DS9 S07E21 When It Rains…
  • TOS S01E03 Where No Man Has Gone Before
  • DS9 S02E14 Whispers
  • TOS S03E14 Whom Gods Destroy
  • TOS S03E11 Wink of an Eye
  • VOY S07E17 Workforce, Part II
  • TAS S01E02 Yesteryear
  • ENT S03E24 Zero Hour
3 out of 5 stars
  • TNG S01E15 11001001
  • DS9 S04E17 Accession
  • DS9 S07E03 Afterimage
  • DS9 S02E12 The Alternate
  • ENT S03E02 Anomaly
  • DS9 S01E05 Babel
  • VOY S03E01 Basics, Part II
  • DS9 S05E12 The Begotten
  • TAS S02E02 Bem
  • VOY S03E16 Blood Fever
  • TNG S03E06 Booby Trap
  • ENT S02E21 The Breach
  • TOS S02E25 Bread and Circuses
  • ENT S01E01-02 Broken Bow
  • ENT S03E11 Carpenter Street
  • VOY S01E13 Cathexis
  • ENT S02E15 Cease Fire
  • TOS S01E02 Charlie X
  • ENT S01E09 Civilization
  • TOS S03E21 The Cloud Minders
  • VOY S02E10 Cold Fire
  • DS9 S02E24 The Collaborator
  • VOY S06E16 Collective
  • ENT S02E08 The Communicator
  • TNG S01E25 Conspiracy
  • ENT S03E22 The Council
  • TOS S01E20 Court Martial
  • ENT S04E10 Daedalus
  • TNG S02E10 The Dauphin
  • ENT S02E13 Dawn
  • TOS S02E12 The Deadly Years
  • VOY S02E18 Death Wish
  • ENT S01E21 Detained
  • DS9 S07E24 The Dogs of War
  • VOY S02E04 Elogium
  • TNG S07E23 Emergence
  • DS9 S01E01-2 Emissary
  • TNG S01E01-2 Encounter at Farpoint
  • DS9 S03E04 Equilibrium
  • VOY S06E01 Equinox, Part II
  • TNG S05E16 Ethics
  • ENT S02E26 The Expanse
  • DS9 S03E22 Explorers
  • TAS S01E15 The Eye of the Beholder
  • VOY S01E14 Faces
  • DS9 S07E13 Field of Fire
  • TNG S04E09 Final Mission
  • ENT S04E07 The Forge
  • DS9 S01E17 The Forsaken
  • TNG S04E16 Galaxy’s Child
  • TNG  MNG01 Generations
  • TNG S03E12 The High Ground
  • VOY S07E23 Homestead
  • VOY S04E15 Hunters
  • TNG S07E10 Inheritance
  • TNG MNG03 Insurrection
  • TNG S01E08 Justice
  • ENT S02E06 Marauders
  • TNG S07E17 Masks
  • TNG S03E14 A Matter of Perspective
  • TOS S01E11 The Menagerie, Part I
  • TOS S01E12 The Menagerie, Part II
  • TOS MOS01 The Motion Picture
  • DS9 S07E07 Once More Unto the Breach
  • DS9 S06E14 One Little Ship
  • DS9 S02E15 Paradise
  • VOY S01E03 Parallax
  • TNG S07E11 Parallels
  • DS9 S01E03 Past Prologue
  • DS9 S07E17 Penumbra
  • TNG S06E09 The Quality of Life
  • DS9 S04E24 The Quickening
  • DS9 S05E10 Rapture
  • TNG S06E07 Rascals
  • TNG S04E26 Redemption
  • TNG S06E23 Rightful Heir
  • DS9 S02E07 Rules of Acquisition
  • DS9 S04E20 Shattered Mirror
  • TOS S01E15 Shore Leave
  • ENT S01E16 Shuttlepod One
  • DS9 S06E03 Sons and Daughters
  • TOS S03E06 Spectre of the Gun
  • TOS S01E17 The Squire of Gothos
  • VOY S01E11 State of Flux
  • TNG S06E22 Suspicions
  • TOS S03E17 That Which Survives
  • DS9 S06E24 Time’s Orphan
  • TOS S03E24 Turnabout Intruder
  • DS9 S06E22 Valiant
  • VOY S07E15 The Void
  • VOY S06E09 The Voyager Conspiracy
  • VOY S03E10 Warlord
  • TOS S03E20 The Way to Eden
  • DS9 S06E17 Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night
2.5 out of 5 stars
  • DS9 S04E16 Bar Association
  • TNG S01E12 The Big Goodbye
  • DS9 S02E19 Blood Oath
  • TNG S07E22 Bloodlines
  • ENT S01E08 Breaking the Ice
  • DS9 S05E18 Business as Usual
  • TNG S06E20 The Chase
  • TOS S01E13 The Conscience of the King
  • TNG S05E20 Cost of Living
  • TAS S02E06 The Counter-Clock Incident
  • VOY S07E05 Critical Care
  • ENT S02E18 The Crossing
  • DS9 S05E11 The Darkness and the Light
  • VOY S03E23 Distant Origin
  • ENT S03E16 Doctor’s Orders
  • DS9 S01E18 Dramatis Personae
  • VOY S07E03 Drive
  • TNG S04E21 The Drumhead
  • TOS S03E12 The Empath
  • ENT S03E06 Exile
  • TNG S05E19 The First Duty
  • TOS S02E11 Friday’s Child
  • VOY S06E23 Fury
  • ENT S03E17 Hatchery
  • VOY S01E12 Heroes and Demons
  • VOY S07E18 Human Error
  • TNG S02E14 The Icarus Factor
  • VOY S02E02 Initiations
  • VOY S02E22 Innocence
  • TNG S07E03 Interface
  • VOY S02E20 Investigations
  • TAS S01E16 The Jihad
  • VOY S05E21 Juggernaut
  • TNG S01E05 The Last Outpost
  • TNG S04E06 Legacy
  • TNG S07E02 Liaisons
  • DS9 S01E04 A Man Alone
  • TOS S03E16 The Mark of Gideon
  • DS9 S02E06 Melora
  • TAS S01E05 More Tribbles, More Troubles
  • VOY S04E04 Nemesis
  • VOY S05E08 Nothing Human
  • ENT S01E20 Oasis
  • TNG S03E16 The Offspring
  • TNG S05E17 The Outcast
  • VOY S02E08 Persistence of Vision
  • VOY S02E03 Projections
  • DS9 S03E16 Prophet Motive
  • VOY S02E13 Prototype
  • ENT S01E18 Rogue Planet
  • DS9 S02E10 Sanctuary
  • TNG S02E06 The Schizoid Man
  • VOY S04E07 Scientific Method
  • DS9 S03E24 Shakaar
  • ENT S01E26 Shockwave
  • DS9 S05E17 A Simple Investigation
  • DS9 S04E15 Sons of Mogh
  • DS9 S07E19 Strange Bedfellows
  • TNG S04E04 Suddenly Human
  • TNG S03E03 The Survivors
  • DS9 S04E09 The Sword of Kahless
  • DS9 S03E17 Visionary
  • TOS S01E07 What Are Little Girls Made Of?
  • TOS S02E02 Who Mourns for Adonais?
  • DS9 S06E07 You are Cordially Invited…
2 out of 5 stars
  • VOY S05E23 11:59
  • TOS S01E27 The Alternative Factor
  • TAS S01E13 The Ambergris Element
  • TNG S06E13 Aquiel
  • DS9 S01E13 Battle Lines
  • DS9 S04E25 Body Parts
  • ENT S02E17 Canamar
  • VOY S01E01-2 Caretaker
  • TNG S02E01 The Child
  • DS9 S07E05 Chrysalis
  • VOY S03E03 The Chute
  • VOY S01E06 The Cloud
  • ENT S02E22 Cogenitor
  • TNG S01E19 Coming of Age
  • TNG S07E07 Dark Page
  • VOY S03E18 Darkling
  • TNG S04E13 Devil’s Due
  • VOY S05E17 The Disease
  • DS9 S03E18 Distant Voices
  • VOY S06E07 Dragon’s Teeth
  • ENT S03E21 E²
  • TOS S03E13 Elaan of Troyius
  • VOY S01E09 Emanations
  • VOY S05E03 Extreme Risk
  • TNG S07E18 Eye of the Beholder
  • VOY S03E13 Fair Trade
  • VOY S03E05 False Profits
  • DS9 S05E20 Ferengi Love Songs
  • ENT S01E03 Fight or Flight
  • TOS MOS05 The Final Frontier
  • TNG S07E21 Firstborn
  • TOS S03E08 For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky
  • TNG S05E06 The Game
  • TOS S02E16 The Gamesters of Triskelion
  • TNG S01E11 Haven
  • TNG S01E10 Hide and Q
  • DS9 S06E20 His Way
  • ENT S02E20 Horizon
  • TNG S04E23 The Host
  • TOS S02E08 I, Mudd
  • TNG S05E22 Imaginary Friend
  • DS9 S05E25 In the Cards
  • TNG S04E25 In Theory
  • TNG S07E20 Journey’s End
  • DS9 S05E07 Let He Who Is Without Sin…
  • TOS S03E18 The Lights of Zetar
  • VOY S07E12 Lineage
  • TAS S01E04 The Lorelei Signal
  • TNG S02E05 Loud as a Whisper
  • DS9 S06E10 The Magnificent Ferengi
  • TNG S06E03 Man of the People
  • TNG S05E13 The Masterpiece Society
  • DS9 S04E21 The Muse
  • VOY S06E22 Muse
  • ENT S02E05 A Night In Sickbay
  • VOY S07E08 Nightingale
  • VOY S02E05 Non Sequitur
  • TAS S01E09 Once Upon a Planet
  • DS9 S01E09 The Passenger
  • TOS S02E21 Patterns of Force
  • TNG S02E15 Pen Pals
  • TNG S05E21 The Perfect Mate
  • VOY S01E05 Phage
  • TNG S07E06 Phantasms
  • TOS S03E10 Plato’s Stepchildren
  • TNG S03E08 The Price
  • TOS S02E19 A Private Little War
  • VOY S07E14 Prophecy
  • DS9 S01E07 Q-Less
  • TNG S04E20 Qpid
  • VOY S02E25 Resolutions
  • DS9 S06E08 Resurrection
  • TNG S02E12 The Royale
  • VOY S03E07 Sacred Ground
  • TNG S02E17 Samaritan Snare
  • TOS S03E22 The Savage Curtain
  • ENT S02E09 Singularity
  • VOY S05E22 Someone to Watch Over Me
  • ENT S04E01 Storm Front
  • TNG S01E22 Symbiosis
  • VOY S05E09 Thirty Days
  • VOY S02E15 Threshold
  • TAS S01E12 The Time Trap
  • TNG S01E16 Too Short a Season
  • TNG S03E25 Transfigurations
  • VOY S02E06 Twisted
  • ENT S01E25 Two Days and Two Nights
  • ENT S01E05 Unexpected
  • VOY S04E22 Unforgettable
  • TNG S02E07 Unnatural Selection
  • TNG S03E09 The Vengeance Factor
  • VOY S06E13 Virtuoso
  • VOY S04E20 Vis à Vis
  • VOY S05E25 Warhead
  • TNG S01E17 When the Bough Breaks
  • TNG S02E02 Where Silence Has Lease
  • DS9 S06E12 Who Mourns for Morn?
  • ENT S03E01 The Xindi
1.5 out of 5 stars
  • ENT S01E19 Acquisition
  • ENT S04E15 Affliction
  • VOY S06E05 Alice
  • VOY S02E14 Alliances
  • TOS S03E04 And the Children Shall Lead
  • TNG S01E14 Angel One
  • TOS S02E05 The Apple
  • ENT S02E25 Bounty
  • ENT S04E16 Divergence
  • VOY S06E11 Fair Haven
  • TNG S07E09 Force of Nature
  • TNG S07E19 Genesis
  • ENT S03E15 Harbinger
  • DS9 S06E15 Honor Among Thieves
  • DS9 S01E16 If Wishes Were Horses
  • TNG S02E19 Manhunt
  • VOY S07E22 Natural Law
  • TNG MNG04 Nemesis
  • TOS S02E23 The Omega Glory
  • VOY S05E05 Once Upon a Time
  • TNG S02E04 The Outrageous Okona
  • DS9 S07E11 Prodigal Daughter
  • TOS S03E19 Requiem for Methuselah
  • DS9 S02E11 Rivals
  • ENT S01E12 Silent Enemy
  • TNG S01E23 Skin of Evil
  • ENT S04E02 Storm Front, Part II
  • DS9 S01E14 The Storyteller
  • VOY S02E23 The Thaw
  • VOY S06E15 Tsunkatse
  • TNG S05E12 Violations
  • TOS S02E14 Wolf in the Fold
1 out of 5 stars
  • VOY S03E14 Alter Ego
  • VOY S07E20 Author, Author
  • ENT S04E17 Bound
  • TOS S02E07 Catspaw
  • TNG S01E04 Code of Honor
  • VOY S04E24 Demon
  • DS9 S07E12 The Emperor’s New Cloak
  • VOY S01E08 Ex Post Facto
  • ENT S03E03 Extinction
  • DS9 S03E10 Fascination
  • VOY S03E20 Favorite Son
  • VOY S05E19 The Fight
  • ENT S01E17 Fusion
  • TOS S03E15 Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
  • VOY S02E19 Lifesigns
  • DS9 S03E08 Meridian
  • DS9 S01E10 Move Along Home
  • TAS S01E10 Mudd’s Passion
  • TAS S02E03 The Practical Joker
  • DS9 S06E23 Profit and Lace
  • ENT S03E04 Rajiin
  • VOY S03E22 Real Life
  • VOY S07E13 Repentance
  • VOY S04E17 Retrospect
  • VOY S06E17 Spirit Folk
  • ENT S01E04 Strange New World
  • TNG S07E14 Sub Rosa
  • VOY S02E09 Tattoo
  • TNG S02E18 Up the Long Ladder
  • ENT S02E10 Vanishing Point
  • TNG S01E24 We’ll Always Have Paris
0.5 out of 5 stars
  • ENT S02E11 Precious Cargo
  • TOS S03E01 Spock’s Brain

No rating

  • TOS S02E26 Assignment: Earth
  • TNG S02E22 Shades of Gray

Trekaday #107: Natural Law, Homestead, Renaissance Man, Endgame

Posted on September 18th, 2023 in Culture | No Comments »

VOY S07E22 Natural Law (1.5 out of 5 stars). Chakotay and Seven beam off a doomed shuttle and are trapped on a forest planet beneath an impenetrable barrier, where they find a primitive culture making blankets and smashing com-badges. In a virtual re-run of a scene in Q2, Tom Paris is pulled over by the space fuzz for piloting infractions. And mysteriously, Seven and Chakotay are trying to get back for a conference, further reinforcing that life in the Delta Quadrant has become just like home. This feels rather like three different episodes have been put in a blender and the result is that none of them really work. The noble savage strand is by far my least favourite, but they’re all pretty bad.

VOY S07E23 Homestead (3 out of 5 stars). Neelix is throwing a party when Voyager comes across life signs – Talaxian life signs. The Delta Flyer goes to investigate and crashes, whereupon Neelix discovers that around 500 of his people are living in a hollowed-out asteroid, being victimised by a bunch of ghost-faced miners. If it weren’t that one side looks like Neelix, this would be yet another Zagbars vs Zoobles conflict. As it is, the fact that this is Zagbars vs Talaxian only helps a little bit. This all looks very much as if they might be going to write Neelix out here – there are only three episodes to go, after all. Neelix and Tuvok bury the hatchet (which given the events of Tuvix – recounted excitedly by Naomi in this episode!! – really shouldn’t be necessary) in rather a sweet scene. Surely, on the great ship reset button, nothing ever really changes…? But no, we won’t get to see Neelix sign up to Starfleet. He’s staying behind and Voyager is going on without him.

VOY S07E24 Renaissance Man (3.5 out of 5 stars). Once more, the unknown environment of the Delta Quadrant provides plenty of opportunities for itinerant captains and holograms to attend symposiums and deliver papers. Janeway has done a deal with the oligarchs who control this region of space. In return for not dismantling the ship, they will be allowed to settle on a nearby planet. Quite why we have to learn about this second hand isn’t clear. It sounds like it would have been quite a dramatic and exciting scene. But lo! The Captain is behaving very oddly, because she’s not the Captain. She’s the Doctor and he’s obeying the orders of a pair of Sontarans who have Janeway held prisoner. (And presumably these all-powerful oligarchs who presented us with such an extraordinarily intractable problem are just made-up, which is a pretty rotten bait-and-switch.) As strong as they are, Mulgrew and Dawson aren’t quite in Jeri Ryan’s league when it comes to impersonating Robert Picardo impersonating them. On the other hand, the Doctor hiding himself in a sea of a hundred identical decoys is a marvellous visual. His over-the-top goodbye is nothing short of embarrassing, however. Vulcan crewmember Vorik appears for the final time and manages not to get himself executed, which I suppose is something.

VOY S07E25-26 Endgame (4.5 out of 5 stars). What does spending seven years lost in deep space do to you? How might your friends, family, loved ones and colleagues react when you return home? What does it feel like to be welcomed back like a hero, when you know your success was earned with the lives of at least some of your fellow crewmembers? As usual, Voyager isn’t interested in any of those things. Which is a shame, because I super am. But the tug-of-love between deep character drama and the perceived need to stop people switching away from UPN ends up where it so often does on Voyager – in a bonkers high concept time travel pretzel logic fever dream of a story which aims to throw so many ideas at the viewer so quickly, that you stop questioning whether any of this means anything and you just sit back and enjoy the ride. It’s ten years after Voyager’s return to Earth, thirty-three years after they left. A lot’s happened in the sixteen years of travel that we missed. In the main, the old-age makeup is convincing and the actors do a good job of playing their more mature selves. Most are happy enough, but Tuvok has gone nuts, Seven is MIA, and Chakotay is dead and buried.

Back in our main timeline, it’s nearly B’Elanna Baby Day (but not quite), and Seven and Chakotay’s teamwork on the planet of the noble savages (as well as her turning him into a holographic sex doll) has matured into an actual relationship. After a great deal of not very necessary feeling busywork, into this cosy domesticity comes crashing sixty-something Admiral Janeway, and she’s cranky. Overhearing their sparring is the Borg Queen, looking rather more gaunt than when we last saw her, but now portrayed by Alice Krige who originated the role and who gives it a bit of extra sizzle compared to Susannah Thompson. After what seems like an awful lot of preparing, talking, talking about preparing, walking around with PADDs and general faff, it’s finally time to return to the Borg-infested nebula and try going home the short way round. Using future anti-Borg tech, Captain Janeway takes out two fully-operational cubes, slaughtering who knows how many drones. But she does draw the line at nipping through a trans-Warp conduit and it’s only here that the real Janeway on Janeway conflict begins. True to form, the Captain wants to destroy the conduit instead of using it to get home. They’re both well aware that this is a reprise of the debate in Caretaker, and the script hangs a series of lanterns on it. Embarrassingly, Garrett Wong has to say “It’s not about the destination, but about the journey,” as if he really, really means it.

Admiral Janeway seems to be motivated by the need to save Seven more than anything else. Shame she didn’t take her armoured TARDIS back in time just a few weeks earlier so she could save poor old Joe Carey, but you know, screw that guy. She briefly becomes as much the antagonist as the Borg, going behind Voyager’s back to ensure they get home whether they want to or not. And it all ends in a demented climax full of neurolithic pathogens, worm holes, destabilised conduit shielding, auto-dismemberment and much else besides. But this is a send-off party more than anything else, and everyone is invited: Barclay, Neelix (via Zoom call with Seven), the Borg Queen – but not Kes, of course, don’t be silly. And Mulgrew plays her dual role brilliantly, her older self coming back into alignment with the idealism of her younger self being one of the highlights of the show, reaffirming for absolutely the last time that, yes, she was right to destroy the array.

The Doctor, who spent much of the last episode impersonating Janeway, regrets that a therapeutic visit from Janeway won’t be possible to soothe an agitated Tuvok.

Voyager Season 7 wrap-up

It’s hard to know what to say about Voyager’s seven year run that I haven’t said dozens of times already. The cardboard characters let the side down again and again and again, with the result that this is the Janeway/Seven/Doctor show almost as much as TOS was the Kirk/Spock/McCoy show. Jeri Ryan and Robert Picardo are the only cast members who managed the dual trick of being supremely able actors who also inspired the writers. Unlike, say, Tim Russ and Roxann Dawson who almost never inspired the writers, no matter how good they were, and definitely unlike Robert Beltran who seemingly stopped trying somewhere in Season 2.

And yet, there is good stuff here, and good stuff in this final season. The Workforce two-parter was a good use of the whole ensemble, with a very beguiling mystery in the first part, Body and Soul was an absolutely hilarious showcase for Jeri Ryan and Shattered was one for the fans, revisiting past glories and failures to great effect. But just as you have to make the deal with TOS that you get one female character with depth per year, and an awful lot of cardboard rocks and crummy monster costumes, you have to make the deal with Voyager that you aren’t going to get deep character work, season-spanning arcs, or delicate emotional stories, and instead look forward to the next bonkers high concept premise which threatens to turn the whole show on its head.

In some ways, the episodes I liked least were the ones which threatened to revisit the premise of the show, because it kept reminding me that the idea of a two warring crews desperately trying to crawl home in a barely holding-together lifeboat would have been so much more interesting than this leisurely cruise through Zagbars vs Zoobles conflicts which we actually got. But, despite all of the problems I’ve articulated, I genuinely did enjoy hanging out with this crew for 170-odd episodes, and I’ll miss the sheer ambition that was often on display here.

Voyager’s final season averages 3.06. The show peaked in Season 4 with 3.54, which is about as good as TNG Seasons 3-5, but not quite as good as the same period in DS9. That said, I’d put especially Season 4 next to pretty much any other year of Berman-Trek and expect it at the very least not to disgrace itself. The overall overage for Voyager is about the same: 3.08.

Right, five down and one to go.

Trekaday #106: Workforce, Human Error, Q2, Author Author, Friendship One

Posted on September 14th, 2023 in Culture | No Comments »

VOY S07E16 Workforce (4 out of 5 stars). We’re on location, augmented with some pretty seamless CG additions, as Janeway and a bunch of aliens run around some kind of industrial centre. The structure reminds me of Gambit from TNG – the first part of a two parter which feels like the second part, starting as it does in an unfamiliar situation. Especially as Seven (introducing herself as Annika Hansen) doesn’t appear to recognise her captain. Also present – Tuvok, Torres and Paris. It’s almost a third of the way into the episode before we see a Starfleet uniform (Tuvok, who experiences a flashback when being innoculated against exotic radiation).

When business-as-usual Voyager asserts itself, it’s fairly superior fare with good stuff from the Emergency Command Hologram, butting heads with Forever An Ensign Kim, and a rescue mission with Chakotay and Neelix teaming up. But the best material is down on the planet, with a more thoroughly worked out than usual alien society, a strong role for Tuvok and an unusually effective love story for Janeway. And it all builds to – oh! A cliffhanger. This one wasn’t broadcast as a two-hour event episode, but nor did it announce itself as Part I in the opening titles.

VOY S07E17 Workforce, Part II (3.5 out of 5 stars). The mystery box structure of the first part is very beguiling and the pay-off for that is that a great deal of the second part is just plot admin. Once again, centring Chakotay means that there’s a hollow centre where character development should be. Robert Beltran doesn’t completely sleepwalk through this one, but the character is a lost cause by now. By far the strongest strand is the Janeway love story and that’s very surprising given the franchise’s track record with sex and romance. Neelix rehabilitating Torres is also rather sweet. In fact, this is one of the few stories which treats the regular cast as a true ensemble, which is worth an extra star. Once again, though, the remaining anonymous members of Voyager’s crew are never seen or spoken of.

VOY S07E18 Human Error (2.5 out of 5 stars). With no explanation, Seven presents herself with no implants at all, and – finally! – requests a proper uniform and some quarters. This turns out to be a Holodeck program, but when given the chance to practice the same skills in person, she declines. And then changes her mind. And then she turns up in uniform, being shown round her new quarters by Neelix (another simulation). This feels as if they shot alternate pages from two different drafts of the same script. It is a huge pleasure to see Jeri Ryan in uniform, whether it’s holographic or not. It turns out that Seven’s remaining implants will break her brain if she experiences too much character development, so don’t worry, nothing much changes because of this experience. This week, Holodeck programs are capable of providing costumes for participants, whereas previously we’ve seen people get changed before entering.

VOY S07E19 Q2 (3.5 out of 5 stars). John de Lancie’s final visit to Berman-Trek (he never showed up on Enterprise) and once again, some other poor actor has to live up to his brio and charisma. Q Jr has a small advantage when it comes to playing Q’s off-spring as the actor is de Lancie’s own son Keegan de Lancie, although this turned out to be the last of his acting roles and he’s still a poor substitute for his old dad. Suzie Plakson’s character from The Q and the Gray is referred to but never seen, alas. In something of a re-run of the TNG episode Deja Q, the newest Q is stripped of his powers and stuck on board Voyager to be housebroken by Janeway. So none of this particularly new, but it’s lively enough and the journey from obnoxious brat to earnest hard worker whose Daddy loves him is well worked out, if a little saccharine, with Icheb and Jr making a fun pairing. Minus half-a-star because the writing staff can’t conceive of an all powerful cosmic being who is anything other than resolutely hetero. The Q judges at the end wear versions of de Lancie’s judge outfit from Farpoint which is a nice touch.

VOY S07E20 Author, Author (1 out of 5 stars). With only half-a-dozen episodes to go, we’re back in the Alpha Quadrant as Voyager attempts Operation Watson, which turns out to be a real-time Zoom call. The Doctor uses this feat of engineering to talk to his publisher, which seems like a low-stakes way of handling a seismic alteration in the lifestyles of the crew. Tom Paris is the first one to subject himself to the Doctor’s choose your own adventure, which presents unflattering depictions of the crew. We’ve gone from a desperate struggle for survival to the pampered crew fretting about their reputations. And we’ve seen better and funnier ersatz-versions-of-the-crew stories in the past. Meanwhile this is just a panto version of The Measure of a Man and who wants that? The letters from home are largely cliches as well. Maybe that’s why there’s no uproar when the limited time available is given over to this re-hashed trial procedure. The final shot is unbelievably stupid too.

VOY S07E21 Friendship One (4 out of 5 stars). Regular calls home are now just an ordinary part of life, further making the desperate circumstances of the lost crew more and more comfortable. It doesn’t last. On their second official mission from Starfleet (the first being to track down the missing Maquis ship), USS Voyager meets Voyager 6 in all but name, a probe sent from Earth hundreds of years ago, which has fetched up on a nearby planet, once inhabited but now seemingly desolate and blanketed in deadly radiation. In fact, it was the probe itself whose technology was the catalyst for a deadly war, which together with some of Michael Westmore’s most disgusting latex makes for a bracingly grim edition. As usual our people are never anything more than their job descriptions. We learn more about the planet-dwellers’ relationships and personalities than we do about anyone in a Starfleet uniform. Speaking of which, in a blatant display of redshirting, briefly featured Lt Joe Carey joins the away team and is the only casualty.

Trekaday #105: Nightingale, Flesh and Blood, Shattered, Lineage, Repentance, Prophecy, The Void

Posted on September 8th, 2023 in Culture | No Comments »

VOY S07E08 Nightingale (2 out of 5 stars). A very impressive effects shot of Voyager beached on a rocky planet opens this episode which for once treats the titular ship as a lifeboat and not as a pleasure cruiser. Meanwhile, Kim inserts himself into the middle of a local skirmish and struggles to help a stricken ship where the only survivors are clueless passengers. He proceeds to demonstrate comprehensively why he has never been promoted, until Seven – Seven! – gives him a lesson in people management. Ron Glass, now better known as Book in Firefly, is the main guest star on the friendly side – who notably have much less prosthetic makeup than the badguys. Oh, god, and the remaining Borg teen wants the Doctor explain why nice girls don’t like him. Give me strength.

VOY S07E09-10 Flesh and Blood (3 out of 5 stars). This is the last of the Voyager mid-season “event” double-length episodes, and it focuses on the Hirogen who have so far gone through three of the four standard stages of Star Trek antagonistic alien races. They were introduced spouting typical pulp sci-Fi cliches, they began to develop a bit more specificity and interest, they were neutered when we started to understand them and empathise with them, but they haven’t yet turned into a fully distinguishable array of characters, rather they’re still being pressed out of the same rather rigid template. Also, they were once defined by their enormous height, towering over their co-stars in a very impressive way, but it seems those were exceptions to the usual rule, as this lot seem positively stumpy (and very easily killable).

On board an apparently lifeless Hirogen vessel, Chakotay’s away team discovers what seems like an arboreal environment, strewn with Hirogen bodies and Alpha Quadrant weapons. In what’s pretty much a re-run of In the Flesh from Season 5, we’re on a Starfleet inspired training facility. The not uninteresting twist is that their holographic prey seized the means of projection and turned on their fleshy overlords. It’s just a shame that – in a bumper-sized episode – we have to hear about this second-hand instead of watching it unravel. Like Geordi and Moriarty, the Hirogen made the mistake of asking the Holodeck to create a worthy adversary. And while we’re ticking off things we’ve seen in past episodes, the Hologram squad kidnap the Doctor before hightailing it out of the system.

There’s some hand-waving in the direction or moral complexity here, with holograms presented as a subjugated slave race, but nothing we haven’t seen before and treated with more nuance. Of more interest is the fact that Janeway’s hard nosed attitude towards the photonics aggressors pits her against the Doctor who switches sides in the face of her intransigence. Quite what compassionate, science-minded Janeway is doing automatically siding with fleshy Hirogens against insubstantial holograms is anyone’s guess. It’s a far cry from Picard’s passionate defence of Data’s personhood in Measure of a Man.

Because it’s a bumper two-part episode, Voyager, which is usually presented as completely outclassing everything else in the quadrant, is left crippled at the halfway point, and the downtrodden prey-turned hunters add Torres to their collection of prisoners. But this doesn’t turn into a particularly life-threatening race-against-time requiring desperate measures to resolve an impossible situation. Rather it just feels as if our people are arbitrarily involved in a local skirmish. For organics read Zagbars and for holograms read Zoobles.

Meanwhile the fact that this all started with the Hirogen becomes less and less relevant as time goes on. Even the fact that the antagonists are holograms seems to get forgotten about ultimately. The chief badguy assumes that all holograms are self-aware when in fact these are exceptional cases – and remember when the Doctor’s mobile emitter was a precious and poorly-understood piece of technology and without it, he couldn’t leave sickbay? Now these beings made of light and forcefields seem to be able to go anywhere they like, whenever they like, with only a cursor nod in the direction of holo-emitters.

VOY S07E11 Shattered (4 out of 5 stars). A visual effect zaps the ship and Chakotay suddenly looks like he’s done twenty years of sunbathing always facing the same way (he gets better). The Doctor has never even heard of a mobile emitter, suggesting we’ve gone back in time, and when he reaches the bridge, Chakotay is arrested by a Janeway who’s never met him before. Even more delightfully, engineering is in a time zone when Seska is in command of the ship (for which I’m awarding an extra half a star). Putting Chakotay at the centre of this story makes sense – it would be pointless to see different versions of his character since he doesn’t have one – but it does mean that once again this is a spangly bauble with a hollow centre. There’s good stuff for Janeway, but the structure of the story means that any character development she gets will have to be reset before the credits roll. Also, the details don’t make sense. Chakotay is the only one who can pass from one time zone to another, but in that case why do non-inoculated people disappear when they pass through the boundaries? Surely they should be unaffected. And it’s awfully convenient that every one of the 37 different segments seems to contain different crewmembers. Plus, Chakotay seems to have entirely forgotten about the Temporal Prime Directive as his method for solving the problem seems to be to tell everybody absolutely everything he knows, unprompted. The scene with grown-up Icheb and Naomi is rather sweet, but the extra mention of the contraband cider is butter on bacon. As if the one memory which Icheb carried with him for 17 years would be the exact thing which happened minutes before the temporal accident. C’mon now.

VOY S07E12 Lineage (2 out of 5 stars). Torres’s uncharacteristic sunny optimism is undone when it’s discovered that she is pregnant. “Let’s keep this to ourselves,” she suggests, heedless of the fact that Icheb, Seven, Tom and the Doctor already know, which means the whole ship does. The Doctor is able to use DNA analysis to create a 3D model of their baby. It doesn’t sounds like this is a standard technique, but if it isn’t then the Emergency Medical Hologram has created in mere seconds a brand new procedure which countless parents-to-be would benefit from, which hardly seems credible. In a clumsy metaphor for racial self-hatred, Torres is shocked that her offspring will have forehead ridges and begins a self-administered personal eugenics programme. On the one hand, it’s refreshing that the personal story isn’t diluted by any spatial anomalies, marauding aliens or time travel shenanigans. But on the other, any of those might have been more fun, as this doesn’t really work either as social commentary or character drama.

VOY S07E13 Repentance (1 out of 5 stars). The injured occupants of the stricken ship which Voyager encounters turn out to be convicted murderers under guard, and the all the action teaser turns out to be scene-setter for handwringing ethics class based on the fact that the prisoners are due to be executed when they get back home. Torres, who last week was so scarred by her childhood experiences of racism that she mind-raped the Doctor in order to advance her own personal eugenics programme, is sceptical when told by Neelix that the persecuted underclass of the society they’re visiting might be getting a raw deal. The Doctor and Seven determine that they keep getting arrested because congenital brain defects make them violent psychopaths, which is a pretty shocking detail to include in this kind of allegory. Only Jeri Ryan makes this at all watchable.

VOY S07E14 Prophecy (2 out of 5 stars). The title makes me think this is going to be some species of Red Queen’s Race time travel story but this turns out to be – of all things – a Klingon mythology story. Once again, Voyager’s straight line path from the Caretaker’s array to Federation space turns out to include all sorts of craft with special connections to this particular crew. In this case, it’s a generational Klingon ship which hasn’t heard that the Federation and the Klingon Empire are allies now (mostly). Once you get past this absurdity, the scene is set for a potentially interesting culture clash, reminiscent of Riker’s officer-swap, but instead we have to deal with a lot of nonsense about how Torres’s baby is actually a hither-to-unmentioned Klingon-space-Jesus-foretold. The motivation of the chief Klingon is impossible to determine. He goes from “I believe in these scrolls so much I’m willing to blow up my entire ship, on which I was born, and my parents before me,” to not ten minutes later saying “Who knows who wrote these scrolls or what they mean. Could be nothing. Let’s make up whatever we feel like.”

VOY S07E15 The Void (2 out of 5 stars). Trapped in a mysterious void, Voyager is raided by piratical ships which beam food and fuel off without permission. They’re essentially stuck in space quicksand, competing for resources with 150 other equally desperate crews. This is very much a “competent team solves made-up problem” story, but the details of the problem are well worked out and it’s nice that “making friends” is as much a part of the solution as “decompensating the phase inverter” or whatever. Jonathan del Arco (Hugh Borg) does well as the mute Fantone and director Mike Vejar has fun turning the lights down.

Trekaday #104: Imperfection, Drive, Repression, Critical Care, Inside Man, Body and Soul

Posted on September 1st, 2023 in Culture | No Comments »

VOY S07E02 Imperfection (4 out of 5 stars). We’re saying goodbye to some of the Borgettes, but weirdly not all of them. This nevertheless causes Seven to start weeping, even as she’s preparing to start letting out their alcoves on AirBnB. The remaining mini-Borg wants to embark on a career in Starfleet, but Seven’s glitches are getting worse and now she is rejected by her own alcove and so is unable to regenerate. Only a new cortical node will cure her and Janeway elects to go scavenging in a Borg debris field, putting up only a token resistance when Tuvok, Paris and Chakotay insist on coming with her. The treasure hunt for Seven’s replacement watch-spring isn’t really the point of course. It’s Seven’s angry wounded pride at being publicly laid low, and her refusal to let Icheb (or anyone) risk his life to save hers. Once again Jeri Ryan does exceptional work, but Icheb’s strand is a little contrived and more than a little soapy, and Janeway presumably tosses a coin before she decides whether to order people to submit to medical treatment against their wishes or not. Nifty effects work as the node is plucked out of and slotted into Seven’s forehead right on camera. Brannon Braga steps down as showrunner to work on Enterprise and his place his taken by Kenneth Biller.

VOY S07E03 Drive (2.5 out of 5 stars). In an act of magnificently reckless stupidity, even by his standards, Tom Paris elects to “test” the rebuilt Delta Flyer by entering into an asteroid steeple chase with a passing rando. Hot rodding turns to the rescue of a distressed damsel in the form of Cyia Batten’s perky Irina, and then Paris arguing passionately that the very best use of Voyager’s resources right now would be for him to participate in friendly race with more randos. This kind of “let’s make the best of being stuck out here decades from home,” I frequently find hard to take, and when we combine “oh what larks, we get to play the go-fast game,” with the seventies sitcom plot of “don’t tell my wife I’m off to the races” it all feels relentlessly trivial, and appears to hinge on Paris annoying Torres back into his arms. McNeill is fine, and Dawson does much to ground this gossamer silliness, but I’m not really invested in the outcome of the race or the relationship, which made this one a bit of a slog. Evidently this was intended to follow Imperfection, which makes no issue of the Delta Flyer having been recently rebuilt and in which Paris is already seen wearing his wedding ring.

VOY S07E04 Repression (3.5 out of 5 stars). I’m glad Torres is there to point out the absurdity of Paris creating a perfect 3D replica of 1950s movie house which showed stereoscopic movies requiring red/green cardboard glasses. But what’s even sillier is that this is the 1990s writers being nostalgic for their parents’ generation. Tom Paris is being nostalgic for a time well over 400 years in the past, rather as if you or I were spending all of our free time in a recreation of the court of King Henry VIII. Once the bodies start dropping, this becomes more creepy and more interesting, with experienced director Winrich Kolbe finding some interesting angles and moody lighting. As if anyone cared, it’s the ex-Maquis crewmembers who are being targeted. Tim Russ is spectacularly good (and even Garrett Wang gets a good scene), but none of these characters have had any real development for years, and the split crew plotline feels grafted on from another show entirely. Wasn’t it just last week that everyone onboard ship was all “Voyager! Starfleet! Ra-ra-ra!” That having been said, the final act drips with atmosphere and Manchurian Candidate style-intrigue, and I’d probably rather have a bad idea well executed than a great idea thrown away.

VOY S07E05 Critical Care (2.5 out of 5 stars). This week’s Space Arthur Daley is trying to flog Voyager’s EMH to Benny Stulwicz from LA Law. He’s stuck in the middle of some kind of ghastly bureaucratic field hospital and his medical ethics compel him to muck in when wounded start arriving. Since the Doctor’s program can’t be backed up or copied (for… reasons) the Doctor left on board the ship is a useless knock-off – so pathetic that one wonders why the miscreant bothered at all. The notion of a society where the rich have better care is scarcely new, and while it’s always nice to see Star Trek getting political, this is preachy and obvious stuff. But centring the Doctor rarely hurts. As well as Larry Drake, this features familiar faces in the form of 24’s Gregory Itzin, Jim O’Heir from Parks and Recreation and the familiar tones of William Daniels from Knight Rider.

VOY S07E06 Inside Man (4 out of 5 stars). It’s our annual visit from the Alpha Quadrant and this time it’s a hologram of Barclay transmitted to Voyager. He promises to have the ship home in a matter of days and while it would be amazing to think that the series is going to spend the last eighteen or so episodes dealing with Voyager’s crew re-integrating into Federation society, who are we kidding? This is yet another we’ve-found-a-way-whoops-half-a-mo-no-we-haven’t-soz story. Still, that’s no reason to write it off and it’s always a pleasure to see Dwight Schultz, amusingly playing an idealised version of Barclay, exactly what he would have designed for himself. The contrast is made clear when we cut back to Richard McGonagle (and Marina Sirtis) and see the real Reg wondering whether his swaggering avatar made it or not. This makes it fairly clear that the advice given by, let’s call him Alpha-Reg, isn’t entirely on the level but it’s still fun waiting for the other shoe to drop. The Ferengi turn out to be behind it all, but they’re TNG Season 2 Ferengi, not DS9 Season 6 Ferengi. The fake-out at the end is too confusing to be truly successful, and it’s frustrating that Voyager’s crew is left in the dark about “Barclay”’s motives.

VOY S07E07 Body and Soul (4.5 out of 5 stars). One of my absolute favourite things in movies and TV shows is seeing the regular cast impersonate each other. I just get such a kick out of it, I’m not sure why. We previously had an episode seemingly written just so that Jeri Ryan could show off her versatility (wonderful, loved it). Here, the Doctor has to animate Seven’s body in order to evade anti-photonics forces. This is preposterous stuff, which is even more scientifically illiterate than usual, and with more than a whiff of Red Dwarf (specifically the episode ‘Bodyswap’) but the upshot is completely delightful, and I’m utterly won over. Seven and Captain Ranek raiding the replicator is absolutely hilarious. There’s even a little anti-slavery parable stirred in (as well as a dash of homophobia, sad to say). Also, Tuvok is going through pon-farr and sweats and jitters his way through his shift on the bridge for some reason.

Trekaday #103: Live Fast and Prosper, Muse, Fury, Life Line, The Haunting of Deck Twelve, Unimatrix Zero

Posted on August 26th, 2023 in Culture | No Comments »

VOY S06E21 Live Fast and Prosper (3.5 out of 5 stars). Not for the first time (Living Witness) we open with an ersatz version of Voyager and its crew. Delta Quadrant long con merchants passing themselves off as Starfleet’s finest is a delicious idea, and to add to the fun, the ship is falling apart (something I consistently wish there was more of). The bridge officers are more concerned with persecuting Tuvok, which is a curious response to the imminent failure of their irreplaceable life-pod. Alas Kaitlin Hopkins and Gregg Daniel, while passably amusing while impersonating Janeway and Tuvok, don’t have the kind of megawatt charisma that the parts really demand, and the shipwide failures are only a plot device to allow Voyager to track down the identity thieves, and the original scam is very thin which makes Paris and Neelix look even more useless than usual (as does their feeble attempt to scam the Doctor). The resolution, in which Voyager successfully turns the tables, is rather more enjoyable.

VOY S06E22 Muse (2 out of 5 stars). After attempts to sully Voyager’s reputation by con artists last week, in the very next episode we have the series turned into mythic theatre on an alien planet. I’ve said before that I’m impressed by Voyager’s commitment to crazy high concepts, but (rather like the message of The Incredibles) if every episode is out of the ordinary, then that becomes ordinary. The origins of this passion play turn out to be a crash-landed B’Elanna Torres who has better things to do than be muse to an itinerant playwright. Despite all the mordant misery onboard the ship, as they continue the search, there’s precious little tension since we know she’s alive and well. The script is more interested in the trivial details of the fictitious version of the story, but I couldn’t really see the point in any of this. Harry Kim is missing too, but screw that guy.

VOY S06E23 Fury (2.5 out of 5 stars). Tuvok is back to being Janeway’s bestie, and she can’t wait to play a birthday prank on him. I continue to appreciate Tim Russ’s performance and continue to despair that he’s never given anything interesting to do. But the big news is that Kes is back – emaciated and on a collision course with Voyager. The shot of her balefully stalking the corridors as the bulkheads rupture behind her is quite striking (if clearly pushing the limits of what’s possible with a TV budget in the year 2000). Having killed Torres, she (sigh) translates herself back in time to Season 1, before the Chief Engineer got her perm and while the Doctor was still trying to give himself a name – but why is Tuvok referring to the Delta Flyer? (Don’t worry, we never get a real answer to that question.)

Jennifer Lien has great fun playing vengeful monster Kes, and subtly differentiating Kes from the future and original Season 1 Kes. But running in to her again makes the Gamma Quadrant seem very small and requires us (not for the first time) to just ignore all those big jumps we took over the preceding episodes. The bigger problem is that the script never finds anything interesting to do with either evil Kes’s trip to the past or past Tuvok’s visions of the future.

VOY S06E24 Life Line (4.5 out of 5 stars). Another Barclay/Alpha Quadrant story, this time pairing him with the real-life fully human Dr Zimmerman, who is suffering from a terminal illness which even he can’t cure. Thanks to Barclay’s efforts, Voyager is now getting monthly messages from home – which don’t appear to include lists of all the people who died in the Dominion War. The Doctor’s plan is to have his program sent to the Alpha Quadrant in lieu of the replies Janeway is collecting from the crew. Once again, his code mysteriously can’t be backed up or copied (except his singing algorithms). Not for the first time then, we have a double dose of Picardo, with usually strong effects work (but in a couple of shots, the eye-lines seem off). We also get Deanna Troi back for a return visit (with a few of those Greek East End vowels creeping in due to lack of practice). A riff on ‘The Three Doctors’ or ‘Me2’ from Red Dwarf, this mirror version of opposites attract (identities repel?) is masses of fun, and even manages to find some depth of feeling in the character of Haley and Zimmerman’s assessment of the EMH’s personality flaws (and by proxy his own). Sure, this is a familiar theme – where do we find personhood? – but it’s freshened up enough to make a compelling hour of TV. Robert Picardo himself had a hand in the script.

VOY S06E25 The Haunting of Deck Twelve (3.5 out of 5 stars). The history of Star Trek is not exactly awash with strong examples of ghost stories. Catspaw, Sub Rosa and Darkling are not among my favourites, so when Paris and Kim start seeing gothic shapes in a nebula, my heart sinks a little. Powering down the ship is a stronger sequence, bringing back fonder memories of shows like One, but it’s not quite clear why they’re doing this (or why nobody thought to brief the Borgettes about it first). The rest of the episode is the explanation from Neelix to the kids, in the form of a long story about an earlier crisis – so this is essentially: what would Voyager be like if Neelix was writing it? But the framing sequence, while allowing the director to cut away from anything too expensive, lowers the stakes on the story without adding much – although it’s always a pleasure to see don’t-mess-with-me-Janeway in action. One of those screw-up ensigns from a few weeks ago is back, and it’s nice that the ship is starting to feel a little more like it has 120-odd people onboard and less like seven or eight who do all the work.

VOY S06E26 Unimatrix Zero, Part I (3.5 out of 5 stars). Borgarama! Susannah Thompson is back as the Borg Queen with another, even more elaborate, version of her iconic First Contact entrance. She is trying to eradicate a mutation within the Borg ranks and meanwhile, Seven has had her first dream while regenerating in her alcove – she didn’t like it. But her dream turns out to be somewhere called Unimatrix Zero, which unites all the mutants – and Seven is their means of connection to the real world, and the eradication of the Borg. The other inhabitants are a blandly agreeable male with a very generic bumpy forehead (who turns out to be Seven’s boyfriend), a belligerent but oddly risk-averse Klingon, and others that Seven used to know when she was a part of the Collective.

There’s a good scene here for Tuvok who’s responsible for setting up what the Doctor acidly calls a conference call, in other words a two-way mind-meld which will give Janeway access to the Unimatrix dreamscape which Seven – sorry Annika – visits when she regenerates. Cutting back to the Borg Queen helps to keep the stakes high, even more so when drones loyal to the Queen break into Borg paradise. But again Susannah Thompson doesn’t have the extra fizz and crackle which both her predecessor and successor brought to the role. Hilariously, when one of the drone invaders get the better of the hulking Klingon, Janeway herself seizes the bat’leth and sends him packing.

Janeway’s insistence on going alone to sabotage the Collective is the source of some friction, which is a welcome touch of character dynamics in a show that’s lately been doing its best episode despite those rather than because of them. Because this is late-period Voyager at its most pure – Janeway and Seven vs the Borg to the exclusion of almost all else. Ultimately, B’Elanna and Tuvok go with her, and with the Queen singling out Harry for special attention, everyone gets something, but it’s never in doubt where the spotlight is, something which is made even more clear by the final startling shot of a Borgified Janeway. This doesn’t have anything like the shock value of the end of The Best of Both Worlds, but it’s a very striking image, if undermined a little by the sense that this might have been all part of the plan, rather than a terrible failure.

Janeway’s signature move is being a complete dick to someone before giving them a gift. She did it to Tuvok in Fury, and now she’s got a surprise Lieutenant’s pip for Paris (not you, Harry Kim).

VOY S07E01 Unimatrix Zero, Part II (4 out of 5 stars).  Although it is not immediately explained how, Borg Torres and Borg Tuvok both seem to have retained their individuality and are continuing to execute the plan. Part of the problem with continuing to revisit the Borg and have characters take greater and greater risks is that the stakes inevitably collapse a little. What was once seen as irreversible life altering invasive surgery, is now shrugged off like a bad cold, and characters return from being Borgified without even needing an episode in rural France to get over it. Having Seven blunder into her bland friends’ trap weakens her character to no particular purpose, although Jeri Ryan plays the moment beautifully. The plan also requires the Borg Queen to really take her eye off the ball. Far from being present to gloat as the Voyager intruders are assimilated, she doesn’t even notice they are not in the collective until Tuvok is briefly heard and then vanishes.

Making Tuvok the weak link is unexpected but succeeds well to throwing a useful spanner in the works. A brief scene between acting Captain Chakotay and acting first office Tom Paris is nice but recalls a similar scene between Data and Worf in Gambit Part II, which hit so much harder because those characters were so much deeper. Here if you reverse their concerns, the scene works just as well which reveals how little we know about these two even after six years and nearly 150 episodes.

The big showdown between Captain and Queen is the heart of this episode and both actors are equal to the challenge. The same can’t be said for Seven’s love story. So often these plotlines are the weakest elements of Star Trek episodes and so it is here. Mark Deakins brings nothing as Axum and as good as she is, Jeri Ryan can’t create chemistry on her own.

Last week, a big deal was made of the fact that while visiting Una matrix seven never entered rem sleep. This time when she enters zero, we get a big close-up of her eye rapidly moving under her close eyelid.

Season 6 wrap-up

  • Season 6 sees the show settle into an easy groove. It knows what works – Seven, Janeway, the Doctor. It knows the kinds of stories it wants to tell – high concept cover-of-a-comic-book teasers which become procedural problem-solving adventures and end with everyone laughing and smiling. Listen, what’s wrong with that – it kind of defined The Original Series.
  • But we’re three spin-offs and thirty years out from Kirk and Spock, and that show was able to give us real pain as well as innovating fantastic concepts which would influence writers for years to come. What’s Voyager’s biggest conceptual legacy? Sexy Borg babes I suppose.
  • So it’s not that these episodes are dull, or incompetent or misconceived (I mean some are all of those things, but no more than in any other season of this franchise) it’s that the spirit of adventure has gone. There are no strange new worlds to explore.
  • Highlights include the amazing showcase for Roxann Dawson Barge of the Dead, the fun of The Voyager Conspiracy, and return visits for Zimmerman, Barclay and Troi. But we also had to suffer two separate visits to Fair Haven as well as tedious instalments like Alice, Dragon’s Teeth or Muse. Average score for Season 6 is 3.12, continuing the slow decline since the height of Season 4.

Trekaday #102: Memorial, Tsunkatse, Collective, Spirit Folk, Ashes to Ashes, Child’s Play, Good Shepherd

Posted on August 19th, 2023 in Culture | No Comments »

VOY S06E14 Memorial (4 out of 5 stars). Harry Kim is bitching about his shipmates’ domestic habits. Since he has no known personality traits, except “is young”, why not cast him as the parent to Paris, Chakotay and Neelix, the better to further muddle his characterisation? When arrive back on Voyager, Torres has created an antique television set as a gift for her boyfriend. She even does the hoary old “I’ll say something shocking to demonstrate you aren’t listening” but. The reassuring jollity of these early scenes makes a nonsense of the “trapped on the other side of the galaxy with no hope of rescue” premise, but I suppose I should be over that by now. It’s just so insistent here, that I find it more than usually maddening.

It’s the television set which initially seems to be the plot engine of the episode, since it appears to have the power to transport Paris into the old war movies it shows, and pretty soon other members of the crew are succumbing to dreams/memories/hallucinations of combat atrocities. So this is pretty familiar stuff – mainly “uh-oh something on the ship is sending everyone bonkers” mixed in with “I’ve always been fascinated by twentieth century Earth history”. But the suppressed memories of war crimes have a little more weight than usual, and if the insight that “war is hell” is scarcely new (not even to Star Trek) then at least it gives the cast a chance to flex their acting muscles a bit – Paris’s big breakdown is very impressive and Roxann Dawson wisely plays a calm compassionate contrast to his garment-rending hysteria.

Sadly, the solution is another riff on The Inner Light (evoked only a couple of episodes ago) and so the cast has just been experiencing second-hand memories which have nothing to do with who they are – even though several of them have lived through wars – making this a puzzle to be solved rather than a moral choice for the characters (at least not until the very end). But the journey is more worthwhile than usual, with Robert Duncan McNeill’s big scene and a less hysterical but even more effective Neelix/Seven scene notching this up to four.

VOY S06E15 Tsunkatse (1.5 out of 5 stars). In a gladiatorial arena, a lycra-clad Zagbar is athletically kicking hell out of a similarly-attired Zooble, with Chakotay and Torres merrily applauding the victor. Before the titles, this is played as “what the hell is going on here!?” But after the titles, it’s played as “of course enlightened Federation officers will enjoy recreational bare knuckle boxing if they have nothing else to do”. Discussion of this makes up much of rather a formless and dull first act which also has time for Neelix’s sunburn, Seven’s packing habits vs those of B’Elanna Torres and whether or not a given silence might be described as “awkward”.

This last exchange is between Seven and Tuvok, two characters whose lineage goes all the way back to Gene Roddenberry’s idea for Number One in the original pilot. Tuvok’s character development stalled somewhere in Season 2 and poor Tim Russ has been reduced almost entirely to trotting out his Leonard Nimoy impersonation at the rate of three lines of dialogue per episode. Seven, having assimilated fully into the Voyager crew has recently only been called upon to summon superior officers to the astrometrics lab without explanation. Putting these two in a shuttle together isn’t a bad idea, as they could each use the story space, and as they are so similar in many ways, this might force the writing staff to focus on their differences.

But despite the presence of JG Hertzler and Jeffrey Combs, this is not Deep Space Nine, and the purpose of the expedition is not to give two characters time to talk during a long journey, it’s to re-enact Spartacus/Ben-Hur/Gladiator (you know like Kirk and the Gorn) with friends forced to fight each other to the death (you know like Kirk and Spock). Tuvok is just along for the ride as it’s her Hirogen trainer that Seven is forced to face in the arena. The whole thing is all pretty by-the-numbers, and was apparently devised to cross-promote a UPN wrestling show.

VOY S06E16 Collective (3 out of 5 stars). How about this for a very TNG-flavoured teaser? A poker game interrupted by the arrival of a Borg cube. In minutes, the Delta Flyer is taken onboard the vessel and Paris, Kim, Chakotay and Neelix are in for a Very Bad Time. But when Voyager catches up, the Borg want to swap their prisoners for Voyager’s main deflector. I’m not one for poring over made-up schematics and I don’t care one jot which room is meant to be on which deck, but I do note that something called a “deflector”, which is presumably meant to deflect things, is going to be used by the Borg as a radio antenna, and its purpose on Voyager is to help get us to warp speed. Huh…?

Seven pays a visit to obtain proof of life and finds more messed up humanoids of various ages (including a rather upsetting Borg foetus). These are immature Borg drones who haven’t had long enough in their maturation chambers, and these five individuals, cut off from the collective, are all that are left on this cube. All of this talk of immature Borg I think is meant to be grisly David Cronenberg-esque body horror, but it comes off as a university drama group cos-playing rather than a new insight into what it’s like to be Borg. We end up with four Borg kids on Voyager which is an unexpected, if not exactly unprecedented, development. Surely they won’t vanish into the background the way that the Equinox lot did.

VOY S06E17 Spirit Folk (1 out of 5 stars). Among the things I don’t enjoy about Voyager, some include: the crew treating being stranded halfway across the galaxy as a pleasure cruise, shenanigans on the Holodeck in the place of an exciting plot, Tom Paris’s obsession with cars, stories involving fairies or magic, everything about the recent episode Fair Haven. So in this episode, Tom Paris goes for a relaxing drive in the Holodeck fantasy town of Fair Heaven and is mistaken for a fairy.

VOY S06E18 Ashes to Ashes (3.5 out of 5 stars). Action! Adventure! Alien chick spouting gibberish whose ship is under attack! For once, we get a tangible sense that the Gamma Quadrant is a dangerous and unpredictable place for our people to be, and not three weeks in the Azores with twice-nightly cabaret. Also – hey! Those Borg kids are still on board. I genuinely didn’t expect to ever see them again, and it’s incredibly encouraging to see them, especially as none of them strike me as overly moppetty.

The alien chick claims to be the late Ensign Lindsay Ballard, a member of Voyager’s crew who died during an earlier (off-screen) mission. With plenty of episodes having included the deaths of various crewmembers, it’s odd that none of them was chosen for a return visit – especially in the same instalment which remembers the Borg Brood from two weeks ago. On the other hand, I always like it when characters reel off a list of all the things which might solve the mystery, but don’t this time. Kim Rhodes is very appealing in the part, and there’s some welcome specificity in the script, but the it’s hard to believe that this will end with Ballard returning to her duties. If anything, I’m more interested in the other new arrivals, under the stern but benevolent gaze of Seven of Nine, who lets them know that playtime has begun by commanding “fun will now commence”.

Kim’s new personality trait of “is tidy” seems to be here to stay, regardless of how little sense it makes of what little else we know about him.

VOY S06E19 Child’s Play (4 out of 5 stars). The progression of Voyager away from barely-lashed together lifeboat to luxurious pleasure cruise is essentially complete now, with the Borg children participating in Voyager’s first annual science fair. However, while the writing staff has remembered that the Borg children exist, we last saw them as stubborn, wilful and refusing to submit to Seven’s authority. A week later, they are docile, obedient and studious – and in the case of the eldest about to be reunited with long-lost family, as improbable as that sounds. Rather sweetly, Seven can’t bring herself to bring up the subject with the spiky young man, and she goes full bear-mama when she doesn’t think his biological parents are good enough for him. This issue of biology vs upbringing has come up before, and it’s great to see it used as fodder for another of these Janeway/Seven slanging matches which are always such fun – and we really probe Seven’s make-up here in a very exciting way. That’s Mark Sheppard as Icheb’s dad – basically science fiction royalty as he’s had roles in The X Files, Sliders, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Supernatural and many others.

VOY S06E20 Good Shepherd (3.5 out of 5 stars). Seven of Nine has been doing a time-and-motion study onboard Voyager (which barely scrapes a passing grade). A feckless Ensign has to walk a PADD with some specifications or other to Torres (presumably the WiFi is playing up). Via the medium of this device passing from hand to hand we meet our guest crew members for tonight – Mortimer Harren, William Telfer and Tal Celes – who are all falling short and who are punished by having to endure a team building session with Janeway. Having to build the narrative around who these screwups are means that they have a little more dimension that almost anyone else onboard, which makes this a touch richer than usual, but massively shows up the regular cast, even given that none of these three is another Spock, Picard, Garak or for that matter Seven. This character development then comes to a sudden halt as the episode gets wrapped up in thirty seconds flat with no follow up for any of the three misfits. Bajorans put the family name first, but Tal Celes is mysteriously referred to as “Celes” throughout the episode.

Trekaday #101: One Small Step, The Voyager Conspiracy, Pathfinder, Fair Haven, Blink of an Eye, Virtuoso

Posted on August 12th, 2023 in Culture | No Comments »

VOY S06E08 One Small Step (4 out of 5 stars). Space travel is nothing if not complex, whether you’re a NASA Mars astronaut in 2032 or you’re just trying to answer the doorbell in the Delta Quadrant. In Chakotay’s case, this is due to an impulsive Seven rewiring the ship on a whim. In Lt John Kelly’s case, it’s due to a yellow swirly thing (not a solar flare) which dumps his craft in the Delta Quadrant, and much else besides. Voyager’s crew is eager to examine the contents of this intergalactic trawler net, and also eager to spend many excitement-free minutes discussing the virtues of exploration and sharing childhood ambitions – Jeri Ryan’s admission that pre-assimilation she wanted to be a ballerina might be the best single line-reading this season.

Chakotay, who this week is mad-keen on either palaeontology or archaeology, it scarcely matters, risks the Delta Flyer and the lives of Seven, Paris and himself in his lunatic zeal to obtain this ancient hunk of space junk. When they end up trapped, Seven understandably rips him a new one, which is almost enough to prevent me from noticing that this obsessive Indiana Jones figure is almost completely unlike the blandly easygoing peacemaker who usually wears that costume.

Their way out is to salvage parts from the command module, and Seven’s virtual trip into the past via Kelly’s log entries is oddly affecting, largely thanks to Jeri Ryan’s expert playing – but this is all too low-key and uneventful to be anything like a classic and we’ve arrived at the stage where regular characters suddenly sprout new traits at random to make the plots work, which isn’t good news. But it’s hard to ignore the depth of feeling for Kelly’s plight and for space pioneers in general, so this gets a grudging four stars from me, despite the issues with pacing and characterisation.

Yet again, Voyager’s straight line from an arbitrary point on the other side of the galaxy to home intersects with a trinket from Earth. And weirdly, it’s never even suggested that this thing which scooped up a NASA module and dumped it in the Delta Quadrant might be capable of whisking Voyager back to the Alpha Quadrant.

VOY S06E09 The Voyager Conspiracy (3 out of 5 stars). Chakotay, with or without extra bolt-on personality subroutine, seems to have been upgraded to Janeway’s Best Friend, supplanting poor old Tuvok, Janeway’s oldest friend among those on board. While they eat dinner, Seven is mainlining past episodes of Voyager straight into her brain, and has determined that the sensor grids caught “photonic fleas” at some point in the past. And at the same time, wouldn’t you know it, a fishfaced alien is developing a faster-than-warp catapult drive and needs a hand with it. But Seven’s new blipvert intelligence tells her that the catapult is Caretaker-style technology and she’s suspicious of his motives – and the Captain’s. The trouble is, I’m not and so the question is not “what was really going on in the pilot?” it’s “what’s up with Seven and when will it get fixed?” – which is less interesting, especially when Seven’s unlikely stories become flatly contradictory. Chakotay brings Torres in on his suspicions, but keeps Harry Kim in the dark. Poor Harry Kim.

VOY S06E10 Pathfinder. 3.5 out of 5 stars Given the set-up of a Federation ship lost on the other side of the galaxy and a writing staff that likes playing games with form and structure, I suppose it was inevitable that we’d eventually see Voyager’s dilemma from the point of view of the Alpha quadrant. That hindsight obviousness doesn’t make this any less welcome, however, and it’s delightful to open with Reg Barclay and Deanna Troi – in the new uniforms.

Hyper-focused Reg is spending every waking, and some sleeping, hours working out how to contact Voyager. Barclay being Barclay, he’s created a Holodeck version of the ship, with ex-Maquis officers out of uniform, Janeway with her bun, and where he’s the most popular member of the crew. So this is somewhat of a rerun of earlier TNG wish-fulfilment episodes (this-is-the-story-we-tell-with-this-character), but the mash-up of TNG guest star and the fun-house version of Voyager feels a little fresher.

But Barclay’s relapse into Holo-addiction and Starfleet command gumming up the works feels like fake jeopardy. The Federation of TNG was far more open and compassionate than this, and wouldn’t stand in a talented officer’s way because of an eccentric communications style. So the story only works if you’re willing to accept that the Federation are dummies, which I’m not. Nice to see Reg, though.

One of various episodes where we never (or hardly ever) see the actual regulars, only their Holodeck recreations (or Demon-planet goo versions, or historical simulations etc.).

Reg’s cat is called Neelix which seems like a missed opportunity. Mewlix. Voyage-paw. Kat-thryn Janeway. Seven of Nine Lives. Catchokay. Purr-Lanna Torres. C’mon, people.

VOY S06E11 Fair Haven (1.5 out of 5 stars). Yet more Holodeck hijinks bringing back unwelcome memories of both Sub Rosa and Up the Long Ladder as Tom Paris and friends swaps unconvincing Celtic clichés with the imaginary inhabitants of this St Patrick’s day hate crime. Robert Picardo elevates the thin material in his baffling but amusing guise as the local priest. Meanwhile, in space, the ship has to “weigh anchor” and ride out a technobabble. Suddenly, Paris’s parade of leprechauns and Guinness becomes everyone’s favourite off-duty destination. You know, because if your ship was being battered by an unpredictable wavefront, you’d obviously want as many key personnel as possible to be distracted by playing make-believe. To make matters worse, Janeway falls for one of these computer sprites, which turns our capable captain into a lovesick girl to no particular advantage, especially now they’re in contact with the Alpha Quadrant where her husband is waiting for her. Neelix appears not to know the difference between black pudding and haggis.

VOY S06E12 Blink of an Eye (4 out of 5 stars). Voyager encounters a nifty-looking space doughnut which nobbles all of their propulsion systems and pretty soon they light up the night sky which the doughnut dwellers take as the arrival of a new god. Adding to the fun, time is passing much faster on the planet below, which means Voyager’s presence may influence generations. This is another trademark Brannon Braga big swing (although he doesn’t get a writing credit) with echoes of TNG stories like Thine Own Self, Who Watches the Watchers or even The Inner Light (not to mention the nearly identically-named TOS episode Wink of an Eye). Initially, the premise promises more than it delivers as the details of the development of the beliefs of the doughnuteers is woolly and patronising, and the rapid turnover means it’s hard to get to know anyone. Things become more interesting when they send down the Doctor and can’t get him back, and far more interesting when first contact is made and we get to spend more than a single scene with any one guest star (the excellent Daniel Dae Kim) – although it’s at this point that the writers start getting confused about the rules they’ve made up. I continue to be impressed by this production team’s enthusiasm for finding yet more and more novel ways of telling stories, but the execution isn’t always up to the concepts, and this is a fascinating near miss not an unassailable slam-dunk.

VOY S06E13 Virtuoso (2 out of 5 stars). Voyager’s latest guests are sneering at the Federation tech in general and the Doctor in particular – until he starts singing to himself, whereupon they all lose their minds and their once closed system welcomes them in with open ears. Almost as silly as the TNG episode featuring people with no emotions, nothing about this makes sense, tests any of the regulars, or reveals any character flaws, and the parody of fan-culture feels mean-spirited coming from a still-struggling science fiction franchise show. What we’re left with is Robert Picardo Sings The Hits, which is moderately entertaining, but not what I’m looking for from my science fiction adventure show. Once again, the Doctor’s program can’t be duplicated for reasons which are not given. Whereas music is unknown to these people, it seems that every species across the entire universe goes through a stage of medicinal bloodletting. I wonder why?

Trekaday #100: Survival Instinct, Barge of the Dead, Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy, Alice, Riddles, Dragon’s Teeth

Posted on August 6th, 2023 in Culture | No Comments »

Post number 100. My undying thanks if you’ve been reading this regularly, or even occasionally.

VOY S06E02 Survival Instinct (4.5 out of 5 stars). Borg! The Marconian Outpost is a pretty nice CGI city-in-space, but the teaser has already promised us flashback adventures with Seven still in her drone form, so I don’t have an enormous amount of patience for the supposedly amusing hijinks of Janeway’s ready room awash with gifts. Re-establishing Seven as thoroughly house-trained, she is playing nurse maid to little Naomi, albeit in her own sometimes abrasive manner. One of the visitors bearing gifts hands Seven a bunch of synaptic relays, and it turns out that this creepy dude who’s rude to Naomi is up to no good.

All of this early shipbound stuff is pretty rote and predictable, but the flashback material which examines the state of mind of Borg cut off from the Collective is rather more interesting – Ron Moore, during his brief stay on Voyager, doing for the Borg what he’d previously done for the Klingons. The debates between the telepathic badguys mirrors the squabbling between the fraying drones in a neat move which foreshadows the eventual reveal without giving it away. Thus the routinely creepy badguys turn out to be a desperate trio who are suffering in unimaginable ways, and what looked like being a silly adventure turns into something much richer and deeper, with a little of the DS9 bleakness providing a refreshing squeeze of lime over the usual Voyager running and shooting.

VOY S06E03 Barge of the Dead (4 out of 5 stars]). Like something out of Star Tours, B’Elanna Torres comes crashing back into Voyager on a battered shuttle. While Voyager treats shuttles like they come free with packets of Weetabix, the ship only has one multi-spatial probe and that fact justifies Torres (or “Lana” as Janeway and her mother call her) risking her life to get it back. Maddeningly, we aren’t told whether she succeeded or not (or what a multi-spatial probe is or does).

Her shuttle is found to have a chunk of Klingon ship stuck in its side, and pretty soon it seems to Torres to be wailing and leaking blood. Kim puts it down to concussion. Tuvok to self-loathing. TNG had an extremely good track-record at avoiding the “are you sure you aren’t imaging it?” trope, which tends to do little except waste time while waiting for the plot to kick in. Suddenly Torres finds herself on a very pro-Klingon ship (Tuvok passionately talking up the bat’leth, Neelix serving “live” gagh, Seven and the Doctor letting rip with drinking songs) but she doesn’t appreciate the effort. Tim Russ, who has been good and quiet in the background for dozens of episodes, is particularly effective in his “counselling” scene.

For lo, this is not Voyager but the mythical Barge of the Dead, taking B’Elanna across the Klingon Styx – and no “computer, end program,” has no effect. Naturally, Ron Moore zeroes in on the show’s resident Klingon, the result is an atmospheric tale of life, loss and belief. Everything is undone by arbitrary technobabble fairly quickly of course, but until then we get the chance to see Roxann Dawson at the centre of a narrative with some kind of meaning to it, and I’m all for that. Bryan Fuller collaborated with Moore on the script, and also left the show very shortly after writing this episode, in part because he was disappointed by how it came out. Maybe I liked it better than they did – but it’s telling that they portrayed life onboard Voyager as literal hell for Torres. Or maybe I’m just seduced by the influences of Dennis Potter’s masterpiece The Singing Detective which similarly blended fiction, dream, memory and reality in order to examine its hero’s core beliefs. And Dawson is just fantastic.

VOY S06E04 Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy (4 out of 5 stars). The Doctor is inflicting his love of opera on the senior staff. This puts Neelix to sleep and triggers Tuvok’s pon-farr, which the EMH is able to resolve without missing a literal beat. The self-aggrandising fantasy is little more than a daydream, which is a pretty lowkey revelation to send us into the opening titles. This kind of delusion feels much more akin to Deep Space Nine’s Vic Fontaine or Our Man Bashir Holosuite escapades than Voyager’s own Bride of Chaotica, but the important thing is that the bundle of force fields and subroutines down in sickbay has needs and desires, and he wants to see Janeway’s manager (if he can stop thinking about his captain’s backside). He claims that his program can be expanded without limit and yet he seems saddled with a completely hetero libido, with none of the good-looking boys onboard able to get his algorithms twitching.

Meanwhile, some fussbudget Sontarans have determined that Voyager is an “unacceptable risk”, until their own chain of command issues cause that determination to be reversed. Their monitoring of the ship via the Doctor causes them to believe that his absurd daydreams are actual occurrences. Worse still, the Doctor starts to become unable to determine fantasy from reality. This is all pretty much nonsense, where things happen just because they need to in order for the plot to work, but Robert Picardo is just so winning, that it’s easy to stop nitpicking and enjoy the ride, especially when the Doc’s Amigos have to go along for the ride and make his fantasies convincing. What elevates this potentially thin material for me is the humiliation which the Doctor feels at his private Walter Mitty life being made public, and the compassion which Janeway shows, even when those same imaginings objectify her. That’s what makes this Star Trek.

VOY S06E05 Alice (1.5 out of 5 stars). Voyager encounters a “flotilla of hostile trash” also known as Abaddon’s Repository of Lost Treasures. The title promises Wonderland, but this falls more like Ali Baba to me (and turns out to be channelling Stephen King). In fact it turns out to be more hot-rodding as Paris falls in love with a clapped out old flyer and names it after a “lost cause” girlfriend from his Academy days. Unlike its namesake, the spacefaring Alice can literally read Paris’s mind and so his motor ends up falling in love with him too. He can resist everything but her endless stream of clichés it seems. Even by Voyager standards this is pretty silly stuff, but with no emotional centre to hold it together, the wheels come off pretty rapidly. Roxann Dawson does what she can but Torres is stuck in the role of irrationally jealous girlfriend.

VOY S06E06 Riddles (3.5 out of 5 stars). Neelix’s grade-school puzzle for Tuvok raises awkward questions about just how the universal translator works, but also feels like a stupid person’s idea of how a smart person would engage with a riddle. Making Tuvok blind to puns is a very limited rendering of Vulcans in general and him in particular, and this episode (eventually) does a little to open that window a little wider. That’s nice to see because although Tim Russ has been doing reliably good work, he’s been under-served for about two years’ worth of stories now.

This week’s Zagbars seem very generic, with arbitrary bumps and grooves from Michael Westmore and a studiedly bland performance from Mark Moses. He blames Tuvok’s condition on the mysterious Zoobles of whom legend speaks in hushed tones. While he and Janeway investigate, the Doctor suggests that Neelix try and irritate Tuvok out of his coma. It works, but this is not the same old Tuvok, and now it’s up to Neelix to try and rehabilitate him. Once again, it is necessary to pretend that Tuvix never happened, but provided you can do that, the slow rebuilding of the Vulcan’s logical edifice is quite worthwhile, and as noted this is a wonderful vehicle for Tim Russ. Torres doesn’t appear at all as Roxann Dawson was taking her first time behind the camera. It’s the start of a fairly storied career for her, and a good start, which isn’t at all typical for this franchise.

VOY S06E07 Dragon’s Teeth (2 out of 5 stars). Boom! Somebody somewhere is having a bad day, and we can only hope that the “bio-pods” whatever they may be survive the bombardment. I’ve noted before how tricky it can be in an ongoing series to suddenly ask the audience to get invested in a bunch of brand new characters we’ve never seen before, and I’m not convinced that – for all the CGI whizzbangery – this is the kind of teaser most likely to hook a channel-flipping audience. Voyager has its own problems. The ship has been pulled into a maze of subspace corridors full of debris. This looks like it could be a route home but the resident Zagbars are all – get stuffed, this is our maze. Popping down to a nearby planet to hide, Janeway and Tuvok find the aforementioned bio-pods which have sustained a couple of Zoobles for almost a millennium, following a planetary nuclear war. The deal to exchange information about the hyperspace bypass for help getting the Zoobles to safety seems fair enough, and much of the middle of the episode is little but admin related to this agreement, while it’s vaguely hinted that the Zoobles might be up to no good. None of this has anything to do with our people, it’s not terribly interesting on its own terms, and what little adventure befalls Voyager’s crew mainly looks like it was due to Janeway’s lack of foresight. But there is a lot of pretty CGI whizzbangery. Janeway doubts she’s seen the last of them, but I don’t believe they ever featured again, which further contributes to a story which feels undercooked at best.

Trekaday #099: Relativity, Extreme Measures, Warhead, The Dogs of War, Equinox, What You Leave Behind

Posted on July 31st, 2023 in Culture | No Comments »

VOY S05E24 Relativity (4 out of 5 stars). After flashing all the way back to December 2000 last time, we’re now flashing back to Voyager’s send off from space dock, and Janeway’s first time sitting in the captain’s chair – but before we hit the opening titles, there’s Seven of Nine in a blue Starfleet uniform, looking furtively over her shoulder. She’s looking for “temporal distortions”, because of course she is. Giving even one character access to a TARDIS which can take her anywhere in time and space is dangerous ground for a series predicated on our people being trapped years from home with no hope of rescue, but I’m prepared to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Second time around, and slightly less interestingly, Seven is sent back to Season 2, and one of Voyager’s battles with the Kazon. The central twist in which temporal meddler Braxton turns out to be the saboteur is just the kind of insane nonsense which this show does so well, but it doesn’t mean as much as it would have done if it had been a character we knew better (it doesn’t help matters that it’s a returning character played by a new actor).

I’m fairly sure there’s no such thing as “fractal calculus”.

DS9 S07E23 Extreme Measures (4 out of 5 stars). Kira and what’s left of Odo are back on the station, and their seeming goodbyes are rather touching. René Auberjonois and Nana Visitor are superb – never grandstanding, but totally believable, despite all the latex. This might be the most successful love story in the whole of the franchise. O’Brien and Bashir now break ranks and reveal to Sisko their plan to lure Section 31 to the station. And lo! There’s William Sadler doing his steepled-fingers-while-you-sleep routine. While there was good stuff in the last episode, it was dragged down by the bad. Here we have long-gestating storylines finally coalescing, and we’re putting our major characters at the centre of the action – both things we’ve been getting only very occasionally since Penumbra.

And because this is Deep Space Nine, solving his problem also means Bashir stepping over some ethical lines – using illegal Romulan mind-mashing gizmos to root around in Sloan’s consciousness to find the information he needs to save Odo. It’s rare indeed to see heroes of mainstream American television shows as the ones using torture to get what they want (Jack Bauer comes to mind). If anything, I could have done with a bit more handwringing from Siddig, who switches a bit too easily from “isn’t the irony horrific” to “oh goodie, a hard problem for me to get my teeth into.”

The hard problem involves O’Brien and Bashir walking through a dreamscape of Sloan’s memories (relocated to the station in a budget-saving move) and watching him give an account of himself to his imagined loved-ones and then setting guards on them. There being no shuttlecraft for them to talk on, they confess deep feelings while slumped injured against a wall. We’ve seen versions of this scene before, of course, but this has seven years of history behind it, and the extraordinary high stakes of the situation to bolster it.

While I appreciate the storytelling efficiency, having the miracle cure for the Changeling Pox reverse every symptom inside three seconds of the drug being administered is completely ridiculous, and very unwise for an episode which was playing games with plausible realities. And while I appreciate the novelty of an episode which actually told a complete story, the price we pay for that is that we learn nothing new about Weyoun, Damar, Dukat, Kai Winn, TFC, Martok, the Breen and everything else which was until recently being parcelled out over multiple episodes, and once again there’s literally nothing for Jake and Quark and next to nothing for Sisko, Kira, Dax and Worf.

Okay then – two episodes to go.

VOY S05E25 Warhead (2 out of 5 stars). Writers of nineties Trek grew up watching reruns of 1960s sitcoms and so when they want some domestic business-as-usual they reach for clichés like “I’ve forgotten my wife’s anniversary,” and thus a disposable Neelix/Paris scene kicks us off. Meanwhile Kim is learning that spatial anomalies, alien raiders, unexpected wormholes, temporal distortions and unexpected distress calls all tend to crop up only during Voyager’s “office hours” and never when the internal ship’s chronometer is set to between 0100 and 0600. Shouldering the burden of command is Harry Kim who leads the away mission comprising him, the Doctor and a nameless security officer whose costume doesn’t fit properly – no doubt because he won’t be needing it for very long.

Ensign Still Green After All These Years messes with an automated probe down on the planet which appears to have a human personality embedded in it, and has it beamed up to the ship without a second thought. Even after they discover it’s a weapon of mass destruction, they continue to treat it as an honoured guest and very nearly lose the ship when it arms itself and they aren’t able to beam it off. In a dispiriting re-run of Darkling, the intelligence takes over the Doctor. So, this is the usual Voyager gibberish science, but relies on everyone involved being as stupid as possible, and so both the adventure story and the philosophical musings are weak.

DS9 S07E24 The Dogs of War (3 out of 5 stars). Following last week’s refreshing devotion to a single strong plotline, this penultimate instalment hops from strand-to-strand with an almost ADHD-like frenzy. Bashir and Dax finally cement their relationship, with barely any shows left. The Defiant Mark II aka the USS Sao Paulo docks at the station and Sisko is given the big chair. Damar is adding further Cardassian troops to his anti-Dominion cause, but the Jem’Hadar is one step ahead and he, Garak and Kira end up trapped. Hilariously, Garak arranges to have them hidden by his old housekeeper. Odo finally learns the truth about his illness and he’s understandably peeved to think that his Federation friends are the ones who plotted the genocide of his people. Also – there are Ferengi on the station, remember, including sigh the Grand Nagus, who has chosen his replacement.

Some of these work better than others, some feel like the seven-year story is coming to an end, some of them feel like arbitrary busywork. Still no sign of Dukat and Winn, which is completely baffling, especially given that everyone is in this one, including two different Jeffrey Combs characters (who don’t meet each other). It plays rather like the last five seasons on shuffle, with scenes in wildly differing tones coming one after the other.

“Seskal” probably wasn’t the best choice of name for the doomed Cardassian as when Kira urgently hisses that word and urges him to beam them up, it sounds like she’s saying “Sisko”.

VOY S05E26 Equinox (3.5 out of 5 stars). It’s the end of the season. It’s another all-action, super-mega-crisis cold open, with a battered ship, helmed by people we’ve never met, forced to drop their shields and menaced by materialising Slimers from Ghostbusters. Turns out this is another Federation ship, the Equinox, and they’re only a handful of light years from Voyager’s position. Captain Ransom is known to Janeway and when they arrive, his ship is in one piece – just about – but there are very few survivors and they’re puzzled to say the least to be rescued by other humans (plus Seven and Neelix).

Director David Livingston shoots the wrecked ship with tons of atmosphere and style and it’s always a pleasure to see John Savage as Ransom. What’s puzzling is that Equinox was pulled into the Delta Quadrant after Voyager but didn’t know that another Federation ship was missing. Wouldn’t Voyager’s disappearance have been big news back home? Integrating two disparate crews sounds like it might be a fun plotline, but that was supposed to be the premise of this show, and it was flatly ignored as soon as possible, so I don’t have huge hopes for this aspect of the story. And I couldn’t care less about “BLT”’s old boyfriend (Lost’s Titus Welliver) coming back to needle Tom Paris. Chakotay’s new friend with engineering skills and PTSD is of more interest, but this all seems very sedate and talky after the blood-and-thunder opening.

A frequent trope of Star Trek in all its incarnations is that Starfleet is the best of the best, and very often, our central characters are exceptional even within this exceptional group (Kirk was the only one to bring his ship back intact after his five year mission for example). And likewise, Ransom turns out to be rather less successful at maintaining Federation ideals (and keeping his crew alive) this far from home. The mystery about what they’re really up to isn’t deathly dull, but the ramping down of energy through the middle is an issue, and makes this feel like a regular episode stretched out to double length rather than an epic tale which needs a full ninety minutes. If it weren’t for the twist with the Equinox’s EMH, this would struggle to stay in my mind until tomorrow, let alone three months.

Whenever anyone in a television drama says “I’m afraid that won’t be possible,” make a bet that they’re hiding something.

DS9 S07E25-26 What You Leave Behind (4.5 out of 5 stars). Here it is then – the culmination of the biggest, most complex story the Star Trek franchise has ever attempted. A very different problem to the one faced by All Good Things, five years ago. That needed to end a story designed never to end. This needs to definitively end a story which has been spread over 175 episodes. Commitment to serialisation has wavered over the last seven years, but every story since Penumbra has been part of this climactic arc, and it’s all been building to this.

Sad to say, judged by the standards of modern serialised TV, it’s been a bit of a mess. Early episodes tended to flit from scenario to scenario, barely inching the disparate plotlines along and this lent a disjointed and sluggish air to proceedings. Some developments were thrilling and moving – Kira’s role in the Cardassian rebellion, Odo’s near-fate at the hands of Section 31, the role of the Breen in the ongoing war – some continue to seem irrelevant – Winn’s acquisition of the Pah’Wraith Book of the Dead, Ezri and Bashir failing to get it on, who gets to be number one Klingon. And although Deep Space Nine is blessed with a tremendous bench of secondary and tertiary characters, it’s bizarre to see so little material for the series regulars: Quark has been very badly served, O’Brien just follows Bashir around, Dax has had little to do except to coach other people, Jake has been completely MIA, and even Sisko has been routinely sidelined, despite his unique position in both Federation and Bajoran societies.

But with ninety minutes to play with, and a war to win, hopefully everyone will be on their game. Last episode’s big revelation was Kasidy’s pregnancy, but we open on Bashir and Dax (who have enjoyed a big night it seems). Their pact to both come home alive is rather sweet. Not for the first time, the Defiant takes its place in a huge Federation-led armada, taking the fight to the retreating Dominion. Not for the first time, there’s plenty of time for meaningful conversations along the way (deadpan Worf is the best Worf).

While we’re waiting, there’s a great deal of satisfaction to be gained from the ongoing fracturing of the Dominion/Breen/Cardassian alliance, which we see both from their claustrophobic bunker and on the ground as Damar, Garak, Kira and Mrs Hudson plot to stay alive and ideally escape alive. And Kai Winn and Dukat finally emerge from their plot chrysalis and helpfully recap what they were up to half-a-dozen episodes ago before getting around to doing what they first discussed back in Penumbra – releasing the Pah’Wraiths.

When the action starts, it’s quite spectacular with both the CGI exterior shots and the shaky-camera, exploding console interiors looking very dramatic and convincing. Dominion suicide runs don’t seem to me to be playing fair, but it ramps the stakes up wonderfully, especially as Kira and her Cardassian allies are being captured at the same time – and TFC won’t waste time with elaborate scenarios which give them time to escape, she wants them executed immediately. But Weyoun’s decision to raze a Cardassian city to punish the rebels rebounds and first Cardassian soldiers save Kira, and then Cardassian ships turn on the Dominion. It’s a fast victory, but nevertheless a convincing one, built on threads established patiently – if not always engagingly – over many previous episodes.

Also visually impressive are the Bajoran Fire Caves, the flames of which seemingly restore Dukat’s sight as well as stripping Winn of her hypocrisy (and much of her clothing). Garak and Kira’s assault on the Dominion stronghold is more par for the course, but Andrew Robinson makes the most of the mini-arc he’s given, gleefully roaring “for Cardassia!” along with the other rebels before eliminating the last Weyoun clone.

In an act of pure spite, TFC refuses to give the order to surrender, caring more for taking Federation lives than sparing Jem’Hadar. Odo tries to talk her round and they’re able to link despite her pox. As Bajorans side with Cardassians, it’s Odo the outsider who finally brings peace – and who returns to the Gamma Quadrant in her place. The pain of his and Kira’s separation is testament to the detailed work put in by both actors, as well as some tremendous writing over the years, creating by far the most convincing love story in the franchise. (Bashir and O’Brien are in second place.)

And just as no journey from A to B ever happens during a commercial break on this show, we end the war with thirty minutes of episode left. Much of this is tying up loose character ends: Garak philosophising about what Cardassia was and will be, Worf becoming an ambassador, Kira and Odo saying goodbye, Bashir and O’Brien saying goodbye, Vic Fontaine singing goodbye. But the big loose end is those damned Pah’Wraiths who have apparently kept Winn dementedly monologuing on that cliff-edge for hours, if not days. Inexplicably, Sisko decides to join her at that exact moment – and again, no time seemingly passes while he leaves the Holosuite, charters a runabout, gets clearance to leave the station, sets course for Bajor, navigates into their orbit and beams himself down, where he finds a resurrected and reconstituted Dukat, still in moustache-twirling pantomime villain mode. Winn obediently switches sides at the last moment and space Jesus is, if not resurrected, then certainly given what feels like a less than permanent exit. Even Jake barely seems to register that his dad is missing, presumed dead, and Kasidy’s pregnancy is never even mentioned.

So, this isn’t flawless, and the Dukat/Winn subplot is the worst aspect, but there are weird ebbs and flows of momentum throughout, partly due to the fact that the preceeding episodes did so little to build up a head of steam. And yet, the whole is so much more than the some of its sometimes carelessly-assembled parts, and if the trippy psychobabble in the last act makes very little sense, it does at least centre the star of the show once more, something which we’ve had very little of lately.

Last episodes play by different rules. There’s no reset button, no plot armour and no guarantees of happy endings. If writers Beimler and Behr don’t take advantage of all of those opportunities, it’s hard to criticise them for it, when so much of what we do get is so engrossing, fulfilling and heartfelt. And Quark’s final line is pretty much perfect.

Last appearance of quite a lot of folks. Only Kira and Quark turn up (briefly) on Lower Decks and although Alexander Siddig was seen on Picard, he wasn’t playing the actual Bashir. Janeway and Seven are all over the animated spin-offs, and Kate Mulgrew even filmed a scene for Star Trek: Nemesis (although it was cut) but this series ends as it began – the obscure syndicated spin-off, albeit now in the shadow of the big network show instead of a similarly-syndicated older brother. So this is it for Sisko père et fils, Worf (on television), Dax, Bashir and O’Brien, as well as Dukat, Garak, Ross, Damar, Kasidy, Weyoun, Keiko, Nog, Martok, TFC, Winn and Vic Fontaine. Rom and assorted Ferengi we said goodbye to last time.

VOY S06E01 Equinox, Part II (3 out of 5 stars). Janeway and Chakotay are bonked by slimers but all they seem to do is knock them off their feet, and the end of the teaser is nothing more than “evil bad guy who was evilly bad last episode does evil bad thing shocker.” But these double act-outs at the begin of part two often do this kind of episode no favours so let’s not rush to judgement. Seven’s intransigence onboard the Equinox is a nice way to treat her character (and reminded me of Data vs the toy collector back on TNG) and in plot terms, the EMH switcheroo continues to deliver.

What’s puzzling and disappointing is Janeway’s guns-out, kill-the-SOBs, handling of the situation. The Janeway who expertly brokered the peace in In the Flesh wouldn’t tell Chakotay to stuff his order to start trusting the aliens they’re trying to make friends with. Instead we have the level-headed, compassionate Captain, driven by mainly curiosity suggesting open warfare to her Maquis rebel first officer who is urging caution, dialogue and knowing when to let something go. Sisko you could understand behaving like this. On his very worst day, just possibly Picard. Janeway? Nah. I get that the point is to push Janeway’s actions to the limits of her morality, but the ground wasn’t laid for this to play out in this way. And in the end, it’s Ransom who makes the moral choice, so Janeway is off the hook and her big debates with Chakotay are rendered moot.

Possibly the best part of the whole episode is the early shot of Janeway, marching down Voyager’s corridors, carrying a gun almost as big as she is, pausing only momentarily to glance at the fallen alien, and marching onward, aware of the horrors that her fellow humans have inflicted, equally aware that she has a job to do. The rest of the episode could have done with more of that kind of subtlety. I also appreciated the grace note of Ransom meeting his end from within his seaside fantasy.

Voyager Season 5 wrap-up

After the resurgence of confidence which Season 4 heralded, Season 5 is a bit of a step back. Seven is now just another crew member, so the thrill of watching her spiky Borg ways come into conflict with the warm fuzzy Federation is greatly reduced. But at the same time, thin characters like Kim, Paris and Neelix have remained drastically underdeveloped and once promising characters like Torres and Tuvok have stalled in their development.

Robert Beltran meanwhile seems to have given up almost completely. It’s hard to blame him, given the limited opportunities he’s been given, but whereas actors like Jonathan Frakes, Levar Burton, Marina Sirtis (eventually), Terry Farrell and Alexander Siddig gradually expanded what their characters were capable of, which in turn inspired the writers, Beltran doesn’t do much even when he’s given an actual plot function in a story (which isn’t often, but you don’t catch say Garrett Wang asleep at the wheel in the same way).

So, given that they’re by some measure the best characters, most of the stories tend to centre Captain Janeway, the Doctor and Seven of Nine, rather as TOS put Kirk, Spock and McCoy at the centre of all of the stories and included other members of the “regular cast” at random. You can do this of course, I don’t expect to see Uncle Arthur in every episode of Bewitched, but that’s not how this series was conceived, and it’s hard to see how we ended up here.

The best of this year’s stories have tended to be the ones which didn’t try and beat TNG at its high-minded-science-and-warm-family-feeling-game and which steered clear of DS9’s intense war-is-hell psycho drama. Voyager’s strongest suit turns out to be bonkers high-concept episodes which threaten to upend the very fabric of the show (but never do). Those can be thrilling while they’re on, but they don’t tend to linger in the mind, and the level of invention only has to falter for a second for me to notice that most of the characters are just lifeless puppets being pushed around by the plot.

Top episodes included the very strong season opener Night, the terrific Latent Image and the loopy Bride of Chaotica!. Weakest episodes included the dreadfully moppety Once Upon a Time, the dire The Fight and the ghastly and derivative Someone to Watch Over Me. The mid-season two parter worked very well, but the season-spanning double-episode less so.

Voyager now has the airwaves to itself, as DS9 has wrapped up and Enterprise hasn’t been thought of yet. For the first time since 1994 there’s only one Star Trek series in production. That’s freed-up Ronald D Moore to come over to this show. Rumour is, he took one look at Equinox, Part II and was like: “Guys, I’m out.”

DS9 wrap-up

There’s no question that DS9 sits very oddly in the Trek canon, and there’s no way that it could possibly have birthed a franchise on its own, or even that it would have carried the flame the way that TNG did, if TNG hadn’t come first.

As noted elsewhere, it tends to be overlooked as it always shared the airwaves with shows that had higher profiles, but DS9 exists in the shadows and in the grey areas. No other show of this era could have pulled off queasy, morally-compromised episodes like For the Uniform, In the Pale Moonlight, The Siege of AR-558 or The Ship, to say nothing of the magnificent Far Beyond the Stars. All of this pays of the promise which we saw way back in Season 1 with the extraordinary Duet.

Of course, this show also gave us dross like Profit and Lace and the concluding arc was something of a mess, but nobody can knock out 26 cast-iron classics every year, which makes the incredibly strong run from the end of Season 3 to the middle of Season 4 even more impressive. This is a show on which everything is working. Wobbly characters from the first season have bedded-in. Strong characters have become deeper and richer. And that incredible supporting cast is now fully-established.

This gave the show the freedom to experiment with form, tone and structure, and gave rise to potentially divisive, but undeniably ambitious, outings like Take Me Out to the Holosuite, Badda-Bing Badda-Bang, Little Green Men and Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places. The show which pushed the envelope with serialisation often did its very best work in these purely standalone episodes.

So DS9 ends up with a slightly higher overall average than TNG, 3.42 instead of 3.30, which I think largely reflects how quickly the new show got its act together. But no one season beats the amazing run of TNG Season 6, with its incredible 3.9 average. DS9’s best season was its fourth with 3.72 and its last season averaged a still very respectable 3.34.

What’s also slightly odd about DS9 in the context of the overall Star Trek universe is how much it changed and yet how little it influenced. Over seven years, we put the Federation through the kind of bloody conflict only previously glimpsed in horrific alternate universes, we introduced a major new threat made up of three different alien races (Founders, Vorta, Jem’Hadar), rearranged alliances throughout the Federation, eliminated the Maquis as a threat and added vast amounts of lore to the Bajorans, Cardassians, Trill and especially the Ferengi. But the show which continued after DS9 finished was Voyager, which was sealed off from all these changes by design. And the next show was set over 200 years in the past. So nobody else got to pick up these chess pieces from where Ira Steven Behr and company left them (on TV at least).

As noted, no main characters from this show have been re-used in the Kurtzman era, save a couple of very brief cameos, and DS9 never made it to the big screen either. There was an audience for Picard and Data – until suddenly there wasn’t – and although a spin-off movie gathering up some of the cheaper characters from across various series was considered, it never got the green light.

Voyager meanwhile, quite sensibly, isn’t trying to out-Deep Space Nine Deep Space Nine and instead is charting its own path. You can’t blame it for that, but I’ll miss the detailed character work, pointed ethical conundrums and refreshingly bleak outlook which you can only get here.