Blessed Are The Geek


Before he gave his life to the service of the Church, the Reverend Peter Organ dedicated his passion to spaceships, sticker albums, orcs and laser-swords. Now married with two children of his own, he’s yet to find a cassock which covers the geek completely, and wonders how he’s going to explain his Warhammer collection to the Bishop…


Each episode is gets rated from 1 monkey (as bad as a Wesley jumper) to 5 monkeys ("I am Locutus of Borg"). Will I make it through the first season? Time will tell...

 

Haven 

The ship is orbiting Haven when an arranged marriage catches up with Deanna, and we get to meet the mother from hell. 

My only memories of this story was of Lwaxana’s scenes, which is no great surprise as Majel Barrett’s horrific creation looms large throughout this episode. I can’t say she’s one of my favourite characters, though Mr Homn is fun, and Patrick Stewart gets to show off his comic talents in reaction to her. The bickering between the two families is like being at a bad family Christmas gathering, but it’s nice to know some things don’t change in the future I guess. 

The story is okay, but yet again things are wrapped up rather too neatly at the end. Along the way we are exposed to some of the results of the series’ budget restrictions. There’s some bizarrely bad acting from the woman in charge of Haven, and the costumes are rubbish again, with the Tarellians have look like rejects from Pan’s People and Wyatt obviously using the same tailor as Wesley, poor chap. Yar’s hair at the reception is laugh out loud funny, the crummy alien planet set is used again for Riker’s retreat to the holodeck and the Tarellian ship looks like a reject from the design studios of Fisher Price. 

Despite the cheapness, it’s all vaguely entertaining. 

Troi [of her mother]: "I’ll try to be only half as annoying."

 

 

The Big Goodbye 

A diplomatic meeting with the Jaradan is the background to Picard getting embroiled with a Dixon Hill adventure. Naturally, the holodeck malfunctions.

Literally a change of scene, getting away from the terrible planet set and onto one of Paramount’s standing sets for the recreation of 1920s New York. The holodeck playing up became something of a cliché during this and the later Star Trek series, but you can’t blame this story for being the first. The entertainment here comes from the reactions of the holodeck characters to the crew when they stop playing the game.

The character of Cyrus Redblock is nicely written and acted, and Officer McNary’s ontological questioning of his existence at the end is a smart sign of things to come for holodeck characters. The Jaradan side of things is not well served though, with no sight of the species, and not even a glimpse of what their world looks like other than from orbit. Ultimately I’m watching this series for the spaceships, not recreations of 1920s America. 

The story is fairly slight, with Wes to the rescue again - now he’s an expert on the holodeck too - but as an introduction to how the holodeck offers something new to the series, it’s not a bad episode. 

Picard [of Data]: "He’s from... South America."

 

 

Datalore 

The ship travels to the planet where Data was found and discover his "ebil" twin brother, Lore. 

Back to the crappy alien planet set, this time serving as Data’s dead homeworld, and it’s the android’s turn to question the nature of his existence. This story highlights what a brilliant creation Data is, with a great deal of interesting questions emerging from the discovery of a duplicate ‘droid. Spiner is great value, giving a charismatic performance as Lore, and he enables you to forget the camera trickery involved in getting two identical androids on screen at the same time. 

Asimov rightly gets a name-check in the episode, with his concept of a too human-like android giving humans the willies being exploited as the reason for Data being less human than his brother. The early CG design of the Crystalline Entity stands up quite well and adds a welcome dimension of threat on top of Lore. The only annoying thing about the story is the way Wesley yet again saves the day; the first to realise something is not right when Lore has disguised himself as Data, and then transporting the naughty ‘droid off the ship. 

Picard, Dr Crusher and the rest of us: "Shut up Wesley!"


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The Great Star Trek: TNG Rewatch continues next week!