In honor of all things Star Trek, but specifically the release of the High Definition Blu-Ray release, we’re dedicating this week Red Shirt week. Since Beard week lasted 143 days (4 months, 21 days), we may be here for a while.
Wil, Scott, and I attended the special screening of the newly scrubbed HD season one episodes “Where No One Has Gone Before“ and “Datalore.” Kosmo wasn’t invited because he loves Texas more than Outer Space.
We could spend a lifetime nitpicking the inconsistent lighting of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes and the awful shadows that black out Worf’s eyes, the Traveler’s eyes, and the eyes of any character who has a huge forehead ridge.
“Where No One Has Gone Before” exemplifies the style of TNG episode I dislike that whisks the Enterprise around the galaxy (or galaxies, in this case) like a tin can kicked down the street and the entire focus of the story is getting the ship back to where it was when the show began. (cue the Seymour Skinner episode reference)
You can argue this is a hypercritical complaint specific to this one episode, but how many episodes revolve around the ship or a single crew member stolen away only to fight to get back where they were? Not every episode that follows this mold is dreadful. Inner Light is a wonderful example of this device employed poignantly.
With the exception of Wesley Crusher’s field promotion to acting ensign, what was the point of the Traveler episode? The highlight, in my opinion, is the succinct conference the senior officers have on the bridge about what they should do with the opportunity to gather samples and research the new galaxy. “Think of all the data we could send back,” Picard is advised. “Send it back how? And to whom?” Picard retorts. Other than that brief scene, the Traveler episode lacks any dramatic weight. I’ve always been amazed that the Traveler is so popular. Wesley is the least popular character of the series and the Traveler is Rifiki to his Simba.
“Datalore” is a distinctly different type of episode. A bit of respite between assignments and idle curiosity lead to adventure which begets questions of loyalty, ambition, and self-worth. Lore is Cain to Data’s Abel, Iago to his Cassio, Honest John to his Pinocchio. He only appears in three episodes, like the Traveler, and yet he significantly enhances Data’s struggle for acceptance (internally and externally).
This episode also features the tired, two-part device of Wesley Crusher’ s Cassandra curse. 1) Why is the by the only one who notices something wrong? 2) Why does no one listen to the boy?
It’s rather appropriate that Beard Week subsumed the birthdays of Scott, Dan, and Kosmo. Sorry, Wil.