Sunday, 31 July 2011

Episode 62: Favorite Son

Yes! Go Harry. He’s finally sick of Janeway going at a snails pace and flirting with every alien on the way so he takes matters into his own hands and empties Voyager’s phasers at an alien ship. Excellent... what do you mean it’s only temporary? Ugh. Fine.

Needless to say things get back to humdruminess pretty quickly also if it’s not a word it should be. So basically it’s revealed that Harry is really an alien who’s been trying to get back to this planet. You see the women on this planet lure the men there and convince them they’re aliens so they can eat them or something. Just like Odyseus and the Sirens! Plus if you still hadn’t got the connection by the end of the episode Harry spells it out to Neelix.

It’s a real shame the story turned out the way it did because Harry was actually interesting at the start of the this. Then it just turns into Planet of the Femme Fatales. I don’t think Star Trek’s done a planet of the women in what... weeks? Also the original draft of the script had Harry actually being an alien at the end of it, of course this was soon rewritten as you can’t have things that actually impact on other episodes.

Apparently this is the last in what Voyager fans call the Trilogy of Terror stories that began two stories back with The Darkling. Two things: Voyager fans? Also only a trilogy? Thank you, I’m here all week.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Episode 61: Rise describes “boring” as an adjective which means causing or marked by boredom: a boring discussion or to have a boring time. I was surprised that this episode didn’t make the definition either. Wait, not surprised, saddened.

The plot, such as it is, involves Tuvok and Neelix along with some aliens (no, I don’t care what they’re called) trying to get some kind of orbital elevator thing to operate so that they can be beamed off the planet. Oh yes, and apparently there was something about asteroids and a spy or something.

Oh and what Tuvok episode would be complete without people thinking he’s being passive aggressive with him? For the 85th time he’s a bloody Vulcan! He has no emotions, he’s not a Romulan! Whereas Neelix seems to have too many emotions all filed under ‘annoying’. Though having said all that it would have been interesting if Tuvok was a Romulan. At least then he could’ve started bumping off all the Voyager cast. Ah happy thoughts.

So to sum up, basically the only interesting thing about this entire episode is that the actor who plays the lead alien is the same guy who voiced Skeletor in the 80s He-Man. Really, that’s it. Why didn’t I watch an episode of He-Man instead?

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Episode 60: The Darkling

Next up we have a Doctor episode but it’s...well.... it’s not very good and the sad thing is I’ve actually been looking forward to this one. I mean, the Doctor isn’t too bad in it but he’s not in it that much at all. Kes seems to be in it as much playing the part of a lovesick teenager who’s fallen for a member of an explorer race, yeagh I know what he wants to explore. I liked Kes more when she was a Warlord, I might’ve even liked her more when she was going out with Neelix.... nah.

The Doctor thanks to his own programming tampering (which NEVER goes wrong) becomes a Jekyll/Hyde character and, this is probably the only time I’ll ever say this, I prefer him normal. That’s not to say his ‘Hyde’ wasn’t interesting because it very much is, it’s just he immediately had much more personality as soon as ‘Jekyll’ returned. I can only hope the next Doctor episode is an improvement.

Apart from the limited involvement of the Doctor this is quite a dull episode. There are far more interesting things for Kes to do than come back slightly late to to the ship to get a disapproving look from Tuvok. Yes, Tuvok, at least the person Kes is involved with isn’t a hologram.

Also I’ve just reviewed Telepathy War, a Star Trek comic crossover from 1997. Check it out at Post Atomic Horror (link above).

Monday, 25 July 2011

Episode 59: Unity

It’s the Borg! Sort of. Well almost. Chakotay discovers a group of ex-borg (assimilated during Wolf 359) living as a ‘cooperative’ who want to connect together again. I guess they’re just like regular geeks, in that things are never as good as they used to be, even when they used to be being assimilated and killing people. That’s rose tinted Borg for you.

When Riley, the woman who’s been subtly seducing Chakotay (why?!), tries to convince Janeway to help them reactivate their Borg links again Janeway is for once understandably cautious. What could possibly go wrong? But then she’s probably just jealous of Chakotay’s new bit on the side. Considering he’s the most boring man on Voyager how does he keep getting these women?

We never see the Cooperative again, which is a shame, as they were actually interesting and there’s a lot you could do with them. But I guess the Voyager producers had a plan. Ever forward and new aliens.. Or ever backward and living off old ideas. Oh and another Voyager crewperson dies in this episode. I like the idea that by the time the series finishes there’s only about five of them left trying to fly the ship with a complicated system of pulleys.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Episode 58: Blood Fever

Stop the press everyone, this is the episode where Tom Paris turns down sex! True, it is with a half insane Torres but when is she not?

Remember that other Vulcan crewmember who inexplicably turned up recently? Well he’s here just in time for his Pon Farr (turned up three episodes ago and already this Vulcan’s emotional, it must be a new record for Star Trek). For some reason he chooses Torres as his mate who gets infected with the Pon Farr (I know, don’t ask) and then stuff and things happen.

The Vulcan ritual fight at the end or the Koon-ut-kal-if-fee which they insist on calling it is strange. Well apart from Chakotay just letting it happen because why not? But it’s about thirty years after the same between Kirk and Spock in Amok Time (or Spock Amok as a friend called it) and yet the Voyager one somehow seems cheaper and less epic. But then it does look like it’s been filmed in some body's back garden.

But what’s this at the very end, a hint that the Borg are coming. Or shouldn’t that be Voyager are coming since it’s supposedly Borg space. Hey, I’m just glad it isn’t the Kazon, I think at the moment I’ll be cheering the Borg on.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Episode 57: Coda

Friends, have you ever wondered what an episode which is the cross between TNG’s Cause And Effect and The Next Phase would be? No, me neither, so it’s quite beyond me why this one exists. Still Janeway dies a few times in this so it can’t be ALL bad.

Janeway and Chakotay are in a shuttle to visit a planet for some reason. Except once there she dies they end up back in the shuttle. Again and again until I assume Jeri Taylor got bored (which was considerably after me). It’s then that she decides that it should be about being dead so Janeway’s a ghost. Then she gets bored again and it was an parasitic alien all along. Damn those aliens! Why can’t they leave us alone! What? We keep invading their territories? Fair point.

At one point the Captain’s father, Admiral Janeway turns up and I would’ve sworn I’ve seen him before in a Star Fleet uniform but I guess he must just have one of those faces to be an admiral i.e. an old face. Oh yes, and we’re all shocked when it’s revealed he’s the alien.

The most remarkable thing about this episode is that it doesn’t actually involve time travel at all. Which is the scariest thing of all.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Episode 56: Alter Ego

Ugh. I would’ve expected better from a Tuvok story, unfortunately half of it is a Harry Kim story.

So many problems with Harry. Well, apart from the fact he falls in love with a hologram which is the main conceit of the episode.. He goes to Tuvok to get rid of all emotions, then when Paris finds him meditating instead of going to a party he blames Tuvok. Of course then he has another hissy fit (see previous episodes) when he sees Tuvok his the hologram in the holodeck. At the end of the episode Tuovk apologises to HIM but doesn’t even get one back?!

The hologram in the end turns out to be a lonely alien. Seriously, how many lonely aliens are there on Star Trek? Don’t they have some kind of dating service between them by now?

Life on Voyager reminds me of regimented “fun” at holiday camps and cruise ships. I’m having fun over here thanks, “NO! You must have fun here with all these other people”. What do you expect though with Neelix as Morale Officer. Tuvok has to turn up of course due to more Vulcan racism from the crew joined in by the First Officer and Captain. It’s all one happy society in Star Fleet, no crime or racism, unless you don’t have emotions and then it’s fine!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Episode 55: Fair Trade

They missed a trick with the beginning of the episode, the cut into the credits has Janeway asking Neelix about the viewscreen which he says is the Nekrid Expanse. Cue ominous shot and credits. If only when it had come back he’d have added “It’s quite nice actually”.

Hey, it’s the contractually obliged Neelix episode, with Neelix worried how the crew will put up with him now that the limit of his knowledge of the Delta Quadrant is being reached. If I were him I’d have been worried a long time before now, but I digress. Neelix meets up with another Talaxian, Wixabin or Weetabix, something like that who he was involved in a smuggling operation with. I thought we’d seen this Talaxian before but then it turns out they all look alike (little bit racist). Neelix ends up drug dealing with this guy on the space station they visit, in order to get a map so he can help the crew of Voyager as normal. Just say no, kids.

And what’s this?! There’s another Vulcan on board who has never been seen before but no-one questions his sudden appearance. This is also known as the Chekhov Effect.

Janeway tells Neelix that he’s one of her most trusted advisers but how can she trust him again? What like Tuvok? Guess they’re all just dropping like flies. Before you know it she’ll be left to just trusting... well, Neelix.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Episode 54: Macrocosm

Janeway and Neelix come back to find Voyager deserted. Very similar teaser to TNG's Genesis, but hardly surprising since they were both written by Braga. Turns out this macro virus has spread throughout the ship which gives Janeway her chance to do her Die Hard In The Delta Quadrant pitch.

This just doesn’t feel like a Star Trek episode and more like a typical summer action blockbuster. Even some of the dialogue feels set about this level. Even the Doctor in this episode doesn’t feel like he’s written as well as he normally is, nice though it is that he gets to go on his first away mission to another planet.

The Tak Tak who feature briefly in this, are the weirdest alien race encountered so far in Voyager with their elaborate gestures, which makes sense since Voyager's so far away from Earth. Of course we only see them for about 5 minutes, so much for that.

This is also the first episode to heavily feature purely computer generated aliens that the crew have to react with, and they act better than some of the regulars. If you turn your brain off for this story (and it’s Voyager why would you have it on?) it’s a pretty passable episode.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Episode 53: The Q And The Gray

Remember how the last time Q appeared on Voyager I was surprised it was actually a very good story? Well, relax everyone because normal service has been resumed.

The episode starts with the bridge crew clapping a supernova. Really? I bet they also applaud when Voyager lands successfully. Q arrives to try and get off with Janeway, for some reason. Something to do with a new Q baby stopping a Q War. Which of course is represented by the American Civil War, because if there’s one thing the Q’s can do while there’s a war on is help Janeway to see it as something she’d understand. That part really didn’t do it for me, especially when Chakotay (or Chuckles as Q called him) and the rest of the Voyager crew arrived as cavalry to rescue Janeway from the Q’s. If there’s one thing they can do, it’s rescue people from omnipotent super beings.

The only real bright spot in this episode were the Q’s. That is, John DeLancie and Suzie Plakson as the female Q (and also played K’Ehleyr in TNG (Yes, I looked up how to spell that (Whoops, too many brackets))). As fun as it was to have Q insulting Neelix with “bar rodent” I have to say the female Q was better in her limited screen time.

Also why didn’t Janeway just procreate with Q in return for getting the ship back to Earth? And more to the point, why did he want Janeway?

Friday, 8 July 2011

Episode 52: Warlord

This one’s teaser starts off with Paris, Kim and Neelix in a gaudy Hawaiian style resort, (but it’s from another planet, go figure) and finishes on a close-up of Neelix’s feet. Thankfully though, things get better from there, well they’d have to, wouldn’t they?

So in this episode Kes is possessed by a Warlord from another planet (See where they got the title from?) and as I’m sure I’ve said before Jennifer Lien can act. She’s just hardly ever given the opportunity to since the vast majority of her scenes involve Neelix who, under the influence of the Warlord, she broke up with!
Since we’ve only ever seen her as Kes it was quite refreshing to see her as this Tieran character (unfortunately not Tyrion from Game of Thrones, I’m not THAT lucky) and take relish in death and sexual deviancy. The sexual deviancy being that Tieran (male) not minding who he went with to get power, of course his wife wasn’t as pleased...

Another good thing about the episode is we spent most of it on the planet with Tieran in Kes’ body and the world down there. The Voyager crew were hardly in this by contrast, with the exception of Tuvok who attempted a rescue. Incidentally Tuvok actor Tim Russ is apparently a big Star Trek fan and would be the one on set keeping things right continuity wise. Well, when they listened, that is.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Episode 51: Future's End Part II

I can pretty much explain what happens in this episode in a sentence.  People get caught, then escape, then caught and escape again (it's almost like old Doctor Who) before the time line reverts to normal (and back to Voyager).  It seemed like a series of short episodes all stuck together rather than the conclusion to anything.

The best thing about the entire episode of course was the Doctor.  Now that he can actually leave the sickbay into the real world now that can only make things better.  There was a nice moment when he’s outside and he stops to smell a tree. Plus of course his usual sardonic wit.
At one point, Torres and Chakotay (who were on their way to rescue Paris) are captured by an anti-government militia in Arizona, presumably just to appear topical for a 24th century show.  I’m assuming the scene where they play Mortal Kombat against the cast of Friends was cancelled.
Okay, I promise I won’t mention the fact that the eugenics war should be happening, who says I khan’t.... dammit.  Still I don’t understand Jeri Taylor’s logic that “those of us who entered into the Nineties realize the Eugenics Wars simply aren't happening.”  Well that’s because we’re not in Star Trek.... it’s a TV show.  They could have have easily had one line saying that the time travel paradox stuff altered the war so it happened later.  Not that I’m mentioning it of course.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Episode 50: Future's End Part I

It’s a Thursday so we must be due for another time travel episode, and we are.
So a bunch of time travel type paradox stuff happens and Voyager ends up on Earth in 1996 where they have to find a pair of humpbacked whales... no wait, that was the better one.  This crew have to prevent a paradox and Ed Begley Jr using his smarm to destroy the Solar System.  There’s also a homeless man in LA  in 1996 who was from the 29th century and was a Star Fleet Captain of a Timeship until Voyager happened.  I know how he feels.  Oh yes, and Sarah Silverman is also there to help Voyager.  Was this sweeps week or something?
Of course this couldn’t be a Voyager episode without cliche, and there’s nothing that springs forth cliches better than computers in TV/movies.  I loved how Janeway didn’t really know how to use the 1996 computer but within seconds was typing, changing screens, and all without using a mouse.  Did ‘The Net’ teach them nothing?

Not a bad episode but it did suffer a bit too much in the ‘fish out of water’ syndrome with saying how different things are every five seconds, like Neelix and Kes watching soap operas or Paris calling things ‘groovy’..  Plus it was done with more aplomb in Star Trek IV.  Though to give credit where it’s due, there was a funny bit when Janeway’s communicator went off on Earth, the contemporary humans in the background all checked their phones.  Still there’s the hope of more than one scene with the Doctor in Part II.