Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Riddles”

It’s flowers for Tuvok! Kind of. It’s an acting exercise for Tim Russ, at which it succeeds quite admirably, and is also a superb directing debut for Roxann Dawson. But the episode has its issues, also. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch solves some “Riddles.”

An excerpt:

It’s not really a surprise watching this episode to learn that Roxann Dawson has become a heavily in-demand director to the point where she hasn’t done any acting work in a decade, but has more than fifty directorial credits in that same span. In her inaugural turn behind the camera, we see excellent use of closeups, strong performances from all the actors, and some beautifully framed shots. This feels like one of the better outings from Jonathan Frakes or Winrich Kolbe, which is high praise indeed.

KRAD COVID reading #95a: Star Trek: S.C.E.: Here There Be Monsters Part 1

For 2021, KRAD COVID readings is covering the only short fiction I didn’t read in 2020: my novellas for the Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers series, a monthly series of eBooks that ran from 2000-2007. I’ll have a new reading every #TrekTuesday.

This week, we kick off Here There Be Monsters (or, as they call it in Germany, Achtung! Monster!), an epilogue to the Gateways crossover event, as the U.S.S. da Vinci is cleaning up various messes, including a sudden influx of giant extradimensional creatures on the Tellarite colony of Maeglin.

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Alice”

It’s Paris in wonderland! And that sentence is way more clever than anything in this rather run-of-the-mill episode. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch takes a look at “Alice.” (There’s a song about Alice…….)

An excerpt:

There really isn’t a helluva lot to say about this episode. I mean, I can’t really point at anything and say, “Wow, this is horrible,” but I also can’t really point at anything and say, “Wow, this is great,” either. It’s a pretty straightforward sci-fi adventure that wouldn’t be out of place on any of the Trek shows. (Seriously, you could’ve done this same story with Sulu, La Forge, Dax, Mayweather, Detmer, Rios, or Boimler and not hardly changed a word.)

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy”

The EMH daydreams, gets stuck in a recursive daydream loop, has his fantasies laid bare for all the crew to see, and gets to command the ship and save the day. It’s a banner day for Robert Picardo, as the Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch hopes John LeCarré isn’t turning over in his grave at “Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy.”

An excerpt:

There’s a lot of DNA of past Trek episodes in this one. You’ve got bluffing an enemy with a fake weapon (“The Corbomite Maneuver,” “The Deadly Years”), you’ve got a crew member thrust into a brutal command situation (“The Arsenal of Freedom,” “The Emissary”), you’ve got a crew member’s fantasies laid bare on the holodeck (“Hollow Pursuits”), and you’ve got an AI acquiring the ability to dream (“Birthright I,” “Phantasms”).

And it’s still a lot of fun, mainly—as usual—because of Robert Picardo. He modulates perfectly from the subdued but intense desire to improve himself, the over-the-top confidence in his daydreams, and the panic when he’s thrust into a real command situation.

KRAD COVID readings #94e: Star Trek: S.C.E.: Invincible Book 2, Part 5

For 2021, KRAD COVID readings is covering the only short fiction I didn’t read in 2020: my novellas for the Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers series, a monthly series of eBooks that ran from 2000-2007. I’ll have a new reading every #TrekTuesday.

This week, we conclude Book 2 of Invincible, which was a collaboration between me and David Mack. In this last part, Commander Gomez and Razka have their final confrontation with the monster shii……

Check it out! And please subscribe to the channel!

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Barge of the Dead”

Torres dies and goes to hell — twice! This episode adds to the lore and mythology of Klingons, but unfortunately does so in a manner that makes very little story sense, and basically establishes that putting someone in a coma sends them to the afterlife of their mother’s heritage. Sure. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch sets sail on the “Barge of the Dead.”

An excerpt:

The last time the show dealt with the afterlife, it was a much more effective meditation on life after death, with Neelix being mostly dead instead of all dead in “Mortal Coil.” This one falls down because it’s not really about the Klingon afterlife, it’s about Torres letting go of her anger and longing for her mother—yet it does so in a way that explicitly states that the Klingon afterlife is real, and that just cuts off the air supply to my disbelief.

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Survival Instinct”

It’s Ronald D. Moore’s only script during his abortive tenure as co-executive producer, and it’s excellent: a nifty look at one of Seven’s past missions as a Borg drone coming back to haunt her. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch looks at “Survival Instinct.”

An excerpt:

Ronald D. Moore is one of the best writers of Trek in its screen history, and this episode is a lovely tease of what kinds of stories we might have seen had he not quit in disgust. This particular story has one of Moore’s hallmarks: looking at the characters’ pasts and using it to inform the story in the present. We saw it in Moore’s very first script, TNG’s “The Bonding,” which made excellent use of Picard’s discomfort with families on his ship, the history of the Crusher family, the death of Yar, and Worf’s general personality profile to craft a superb story that also subverted the usual Trek trope of the faceless away team victim.

Likewise with Moore’s first Voyager script. He took her comment in “One” about being separated from the Collective and built a story around it, one that also made good use of Chakotay’s past experiences in “Unity,” the EMH’s ongoing development, Seven’s assimilation story as seen in “The Raven” and “Dark Frontier,” and what was established in TNG’s “I, Borg” about how a drone separated from the Collective might behave to craft another excellent story.

KRAD COVID reading #94d: Star Trek: S.C.E.: Invincible Book 2, Part 4

For 2021, KRAD COVID readings is covering the only short fiction I didn’t read in 2020: my novellas for the Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers series, a monthly series of eBooks that ran from 2000-2007. I’ll have a new reading every #TrekTuesday.

This week, we continue Book 2 of Invincible, which was a collaboration between me and David Mack. In this penultimate portion, Commander Gomez has learned the true nature of the monster shii, but she’s also been abandoned by the rest of the Nalori workers, except for Razka…

Check it out! And please subscribe to the channel!

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Equinox, Part II”

Janeway goes completely ’round the bend, cluck cluck, gibber gibber, my old man’s a mushroom, etc., because she’s pissed at Ransom for violating Federation principles. So she goes after him, violating all the exact same principles! Sigh. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch kicks off season six with “Equinox, Part II.”

An excerpt:

In much the same way that I utterly despise the TNG episode “Homeward” because turned the Enterprise­-D crew in general and Picard in particular into murderers, I also utterly despise this episode, because it turns Janeway into a psychopath for no compellingly good reason, and then changes her back at the last minute. In much the same way that I had trouble sympathizing with the Equinox crew in Part I because they committed mass murder, I have trouble sympathizing with Janeway in Part II because she commits acts of torture, acts of war, and acts of depraved indifference to murder. I can see her anger at Ransom compromising her judgment up to a point, and maybe having her act irrationally. We’ve seen this before, with Kirk in “Obsession,” with Picard in First Contact, and (in a situation with significantly lower stakes) with Sisko in “Take Me Out to the Holosuite.” But in each case, there was good reason for it—in fact, it was kinda the same reason for all three, a past trauma (Kirk’s self-perceived failure on the Farragut, Picard’s being made into Locutus, Sisko’s being tormented by Solok) warping their present-day selves. Janeway has no such excuse, she’s just met an asshole, and it has turned her into the same kind of asshole because the script says so.

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: Fifth Season Overview

A look back on a season that was big on high concepts, but not always so much on coherent stories. Having said that, there are still a lot of really good individual episodes, plus some of the best selection of guest stars in Trek history. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch looks back on season five.

An excerpt:

It also feels like Janeway is marginalized, which is a bad look for the first season in which a woman isn’t the show-runner. The episodes where Kate Mulgrew does get a lot to do are few and far between, and in many of them she’s not even playing Janeway herself, whether figuratively (“Night” where she’s depressed, “Course: Oblivion” where she’s a duplicate), literally (“11:59,” where she plays her own ancestor), or deliberately (“Bride of Chaotica!” where she cosplays as Arachnia). Having said that, both Torres and especially Seven get a lot to do, as does the EMH, with Chakotay, Paris, Kim, Tuvok, and Neelix all getting a moment or three in the sun, and while they’re not always successful—in particular the attempts at developing Kim are mostly disastrous—at least they’re giving folks a shot.