Thursday, 29 September 2011

Episode 88: Vis à Vis

Not had a Paris episode in a while? Here, have one now, and one that felt to me that it wouldn't have been out of place in TOS.

Tom Paris is restless and shirking his responsibilities in Sick Bay to “repair” a “car” in the holodeck (guess it’s fixed after the last episode). Yes, it’s just like the previous three years of character development never happened! Anyway, a ship with a new type of warp drive shows up which needs repairs, Tom Paris is only too happy to help out which pleases everyone. Except the owner, Steth, is really an alien which swaps DNA (not like that) and appearances with other lifeforms, and you thought identity theft was a problem.

Dan Butler as Steth, or one of them anyway, was particularly good in this. Especially at being the different characters he has to play. I did notice he was even using Paris’ mannerisms later in the episode. Seven had about... wait for it.... seven lines in this but was still good and it was unintentionally hilarious when Paris/Steth threatened her.

With Roxann Dawson’s pregnancy, I think you can tell how far into the season we are with how far up her body they’re allowed to shoot. With this one, you can only about see her face so we must be towards the end.

Lastly I've just done a quick review of a Voyager comic, Planet Killer, at the Post Atomic Horror website (link also at the top of the page). Visit won't you?  And if you haven't heard their podcast give it a listen.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Episode 87: The Killing Game Part II

If we don’t learn from history we’re doomed to repeat it, apparently. On an unrelated note Star Trek: Enterprise premiered ten years ago today.

Anyway, since the Hirogen have put holo-emitters all throughout Voyager, there are holo-nazis (a word I never thought I’d type) everywhere. Seven and Janeway are the only ones to know who they are...well, I suspect all the others do but they’re pretending not to. Being in France during the second World War has to be preferable to being on Voyager. So to cut a long story short the Hirogen leader wants his people to use holo technology instead of hunting themselves into extinction (though if they’re hunting themselves they surely should win the Darwin award). Eventually the Voyager crew defeat them and the Hirogen leave. The end.

Oh before the Hirogen leave Janeway gives them holodeck technology. What’s with suddenly being fine to give other races Federation technology, like the isolinear chips in Retrospect? It’s funny how a few years in far off space and these “Federation values” go out the airlock faster than Paris when he achieved Warp 10. Fortunately these didn’t turn into lizards and try to copulate with Janeway. Small mercies and all that.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Episode 86: The Killing Game Part I

And the Hirogen are back after an episode off, just to fill the Seven/Hirogen rule I made up last time. This race who have been hunters and killers for thousands of years have decided to seemingly settle down and play on the holodecks because they’re always good episodes.

Voyager’s been taken over by the Hirogen and as I said they’re using the Holodecks to recreate battles from the past to hunt and kill the crew. Well, I say “kill” they just have the Doctor patch them up so they can do the same. All the crew think they’re the characters in the holodecks thanks to Technobabble Of The Week. For instance, Janeway’s a Paris cafe owner with a penchant for white tuxedos (if you know what I mean) and Seven is her singer while in their spare time they like knitting and resistance fighting. Well all except for Harry who is the only one to remain outside and fix everything. Take that Harry.

If all that sounds incredibly stupid, well it is. If I wanted to watch a World War II drama, I’d watch Colditz. I will give them points though for making Chakotay even more boring in his role as an Allied Forces Captain.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Episode 85: Retrospect

Shockingly the Hirogen aren’t in this one. But don’t worry Seven is. It’s gonna be either one or the other.

After Janeway barters some Federation isolinear chips, Seven has to cooperate with a Delta Quadrant Creepster to install more weapons for Voyager. So much for peace and exploration then. Seven is creeped out needless to say and punches him. With the help of the Doctor she remembers being held down and having her nanoprobes stolen. Yeah, I’m afraid there’s no way to say that without it sounding like a euphemism. Voyager initiates their usual investigation and lo and behold he’s innocent! Oh, he’s already killed himself.

The Doctor was probably about the best thing in this with his realisation that he was indirectly to do with a man’s death and his reaction. Even Seven didn’t have much to do considering she was the main character. She just acts angry, by which I mean she says “I am angry”, just to make sure there’s no ambiguity.

Incidentally the writers who came up with the initial idea for this episode also wrote for the game show Jeopardy! Which says a lot really. “What is the worst 24th century Star Trek series?” would be the answer I think.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Episode 84: Prey

So this is the third episode in a row with the Hirogen, I wonder if they’ll actually do anything in this one. Oh, Star Trek’s Tony Todd™ is playing one of them so I guess they must.

Voyager happens upon an injured Hirogen who’s been out hunting a Species 8472 (remember them? He did apparently.). So naturally Captain Compassion decides to treat him. The Species 8472 gets aboard and the hilarity starts. Janeway wants to send it back to it’s dimension but can’t without Seven who’s decided that’s a stupidest idea since... well, since Voyager, what with the approaching Hirogen ships and all.

Whoever decided to put the Doctor and Seven together as a double earned their money that day. I actually look forward to seeing their humourous scenes together. I’m still not convinced about the Hirogen though, since they’re just the standard Star Trek hunters which have been seen in any number of episodes (when there’s not time travel of course) but I guess they’ve only been in the three episodes!

Lastly, Seven disagreeing with and then disobeying the Captain is everthing that the Maquis should’ve been instead of Chakotay and crew just accepting everything after an episode or two. Seven’s parting lines to Janeway in the episode about individuality being quite apt with Janeway having nothing to respond with.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Episode 83: Hunters

So despite being told off by some giant threatening aliens the Voyager crew go ahead with using the array (which looked oddly like every other array we’ve ever seen on the show) to receive their letters from home. Which obviously pleases the giant aliens who run the array. But hey, that’s not going to turn into a problem is it?

Well who can blame them for wanting all that bad news? Janeways dumped by email, Chakotay and Torres find out all their friends are dead and Kim is still waiting for that activation email from that NotHuman porn site he joined. Happy times all round! Only Paris has any sense to not actually want one.

Also instead of sending these very personal letters to each crewmember individually they get Neelix to deliver them on pads as it he’s giving out Valentine cards. Probably just so he can read them as he goes, I’m sure there’ll be no problem with that. Apparently the Federation did away with Data Protection or it’s one of the Secondary Directives no-one bothers with.

This episode was a strange one. It was as if they didn’t have the confidence to do an entire episode just with the crew getting letters from home and it’s ramifications so they stuck some nasty aliens in as an afterthought, which it really didn’t need. Perhaps the aliens could have received some letters too?

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Episode 82: Message In A Bottle

Hooray! A good episode at last and wouldn’t you just know it features the Doctor? Oh and some comedian guy called Andy Dick.

Seven discovers a communications array which she uses to boost sensors and see just into the Alpha Quadrant. Well, it’s either that or chat to the crew. They send the Doctor through to the USS Prometheus which as luck would have it, has been taken over by Romulans. So the Doctor and the Prometheus’ EMH have to fight back against them. The Prometheus seems to have a top secret “multi vector assault mode”, in that it seperates and attacks things. The Enterprise D was doing that years before, so it’s hardly a secret.

Meanwhile back on Voyager, Torres and Seven can’t seem to get along. Well Torres can’t more specifically. Though that might be something to do with the large coat the actress has to wear to try and hide her pregnancy. So to recap, Torres is irritable. Are we sure she hasn’t been pregnant for four years?

The two EMH’s are actually excellent together, especially when they bicker of course. Their fast paced conversations and attempts to fly the ship are the episode highlights. Even the touching ending where the Doctor reveals that Star Fleet knows that they’re still out there. Well that’s that episode done, I’m sure the next one will be back to the usual dross.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Episode 81: Waking Moments

Today’s episode features a lot of sleeping. Now I could go for the easy joke and say I fell asleep watching, and I will. If they’re going for the easy show then I’m going for the easy joke.

Anyway, in this “exciting” installment the crew of Voyager all have nightmares, for example Janeway dreams of Neelix, oh and some dead bodies. In all their dreams there’s the same alien and because Harry Kim’s in a coma (he dreamt of Seven... yeah, dream on) they should probably do something about it. Captain Spirituality himself, Chakotay, decides to lucid dream but the alien tricks him and tries to take over the ship. Then there’s the usual are they dreaming or not. Of course they are, that’s ALWAYS the twist.

Oh and when the twist comes it takes the Voyager crew about five or ten minutes to actually get their heads around it. It’s not complicated! They’re travelling in time every other week, and dreaming is what confuses them?! *ahem*

Like a lot of episodes in this season I can’t help feel I’ve seen this before whether its from different parts of other Star Trek episodes or just the same one. I’m actually waiting for them to do something interesting, something that warrants the ship being across the galaxy and not just in the next solar system across.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Episode 80: Mortal Coil

When the very first two people to talk to each other in an episode are Neelix and Harry Kim it doesn’t bode well at all.

Neelix is killed (don’t get excited yet) when he tries to collect protomatter from a nebula. Didn’t he learn anything from Star Trek III? Luckily Seven (no pun intended) knows how to bring him back to life with nanoprobes. Unfortunately he didn’t see his afterlife and so comes to apparently question his entire faith and life. Though if he hasn’t questioned that after four years on Voyager something’s wrong.

This episode is almost good. I think when Neelix isn’t being an idiot and is played seriously he can actually turn out pretty well eg. Season 1’s Jetrel. However it’s a bit vague on it all. Plus it also gets minus points for being the episode that introduces Naomi Wildman. Just what Voyager needs a child. Although a high point has to be Seven trying to engage in party smalltalk with the Doctor and the child’s mother.

Lastly this might be the only time I’ve seen of the many times that the bridge finds out about a transport in progress that they’ve actually been able to stop it. Those aren’t good odds. So much for security.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Episode 79: Concerning Flight

So I’m looking down the list of names of the rest of Season Four desperately hoping there’s a good one there because the last few haven’t even been okay.

This episode, alien pirates steal Voyager’s Leonardo da Vinci holodeck programme (along with other equipment) and use him to come up with ideas that they can make and sell on. Then Janeway and Da Vinci team up to find the rest of the technology that was stolen. You know, when I’ve written down like that it sounds even stupider than when I watched the thing. I didn’t even think that was actually possible. John Rhys Davies is back as Leonardo da Vinci in this but don’t worry he was in movies again shortly afterwards, in case you’re thinking this killed the career of the Indiana Jones star.

Remember when Data was the only artificial lifeform that had been made and Star Fleet wanted to find out how he was put together so they could make more? I don’t know why they worried, a few years later and they seem to have the knack of doing it. First the Doctor and now Leonardo da Vinci. It seems if you just make a holographic character it’s like creating life. Isn’t it breaking some kind of Federation law every time you turn them off or erase them?

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Episode 78: Random Thoughts

And here we are once again, a good idea is ruined by a predictable pedestrian episode.

Torres and Janeway are visiting a planet so naturally go to the smallest marketplace they can find and put simply Torres has an angry thought which makes some of the inhabitants want to kill. I don’t know about you, but if the Voyager crew landed on my planet I’d feel about the same. Torres is arrested for her violent thought and is about to have a lobotomy when it’s discovered there’s an underground market for violent thoughts and they wanted to get Torres. Because ladies and gentlemen, they’re trying to tell you that censorship is wrong with this one and so it is. This episode shouldn’t be censored, they should have just made it better.

Of course while all this is going on Paris gets annoyed that we don’t just nuke the planet from orbit but Chakotay isn’t so sure. Neelix who obviously wants to get in on the machismo, befriends a girl for five seconds and goes off on an angry rant whenever she’s killed.

For this episode too, Tuvok cooperates with the local police detective, Nimira who’s better known as B’Etor in TNG et al. Yes, this one is so boring, I’m telling you who’s in it now.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Episode 77: Year Of Hell Part II

Once again after a good first part comes the disappointing second. I can’t think of a conclusion yet in Voyager which has lived up to the even low expectations some of them had.

After Janeway had given the order to abandon ship, seven of them remain and try to keep the increasingly embattled Voyager together. Get me 14ccs Duct Tape stat! Meanwhile Chakotay and Paris were captured by Annorax. Chakotay tries to appeal to his humanity as the only reason he’s wiping out civilisations is to bring back his beloved wife (I think she was buried on Ceti Alpha V or something).

So to the ending and the whole reset thing. I would’ve possibly gotten the whole reset thing if Annorax had been erased from time and the Voyager crew still remembered the events, maybe. That after all would’ve given it some irony but to have everything fine again and characters not to have lived through it seemed a tad pointless (Ensign Tad Pointless, who of course gave his life for the reset). A surprising thing I learned though was Brannon Braga actually wanted the ship to be wrecked for the whole season but the studio were against that. I would’ve definitely gone for it.

It is interesting though that Janeway’s attitude to first meeting the Krenim both before and after the reset are different. She’s perhaps nicer to them in the second.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Episode 76: Year Of Hell Part I

Hey kids it’s the Year Of Hell two-parter first hinted at in Before And After (Insert obligatory joke about each season of Voyager being a Year Of Hell here). Of course that means time travel too, well sort of, since no-one really travels in time.

So anyway, in this Voyager are making their way across Zahl (yes, really) space while being annoyed in a mosquito type way by alien ships. That is until the Zahl are erased from time by Annorax (no really), a Krenim scientist, (the always great Kurtwood Smith) obsessed with returning the Krenim Imperium to the timeline. Well, wouldn’t you? I mean, it almost rhymes for a start. From there on out things get worse and worse for Voyager, entire decks destroyed, Tuvok blinded, people killed, virtually no weapons left and it just gets better and better for me.

This is the kind of Voyager episode I’m talking about, no holds barred insanity, they’re only one ship in this vast quadrant anyway so you’d think they’d have been picked apart long ago. The Doctor is especially good in this going from an amusing speech at the start to his despair at having to let people die to save more. 

Funniest thing said in this episode though goes to Janeway on time travel, “I’ve made it my goal to avoid it”. This is her avoiding it?!