The Measure of a Man (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 9)

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. Data’s autonomy is at stake in a taut, character-driven courtroom drama that resists pandering — no distracting fist-fights or space battles. This episode not only succeeds as a stand-alone meditation on the human condition, it meshes narratively with events from past shows and offers affordances for future story arcs at a time when most TV was purely episodic. “The Measure of a Man,” by…

A Matter of Honor (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 8)

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break. Riker accepts a temporary assignment as first officer of a Klingon vessel. “A Matter of Honor” offers a thoughtful, enjoyable dramatization of differences between Federation and Klingon culture, and a good B-plot in which Wesley helps a visiting officer adapt to routine operations on the Enterprise. It’s a nice touch to have Riker using his fists, his culinary tastes, and his sense of humor to…

Unnatural Selection (ST:TNG Rewatch Season 2, Episode 7)

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation after a 20-year break. Tension mounts between Captain Picard and Dr. Pulaski as the Enterprise encounters a rapid-aging disease. I rather liked how Picard, who just last week quoted part of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, is in his ready room reading a book when Troi reminds him he wanted to see her. When he closes the book, he uses his finger as a bookmark —…

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The Schizoid Man (TNG Rewatch: Season 2, Episode 6)

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation after a 20-year break. In his final hours, an arrogant, crotchety cybernetics genius takes a liking to Data. After the genius dies, Data starts acting arrogant and crotchety. Hmm. This early in the run of TNG, we’ve already seen the trope of a brilliant, older professional man supported and in some sense idolized by a female companion in Too Short a Season, We’ll Always…

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The Outrageous Okona (TNG Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 4)

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation after a 20-year break. A pony-tailed pirate-shirt-wearing pile of charisma steps out of a Renaissance Festival sideshow onto the Enterprise for a silly low-stakes caper. Meanwhile, Data tries stand-up comedy. I cringed when the guest star put the moves on the pretty transporter technician (played by a before-she-was-famous Teri Hatcher), and I had to take a break while watching an excruciating scene featuring Data…