We’ll Always Have Paris (TNG Rewatch: Season 1, Episode 24)

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation after a 20-year break. Another episode that I had never seen before (so this is technically not a “rewatch”). The Enterprise traces time blips to the laboratory of a brilliant scientist on a remote research station, where a woman Picard stood up in Paris 22 years ago re-enters his life. The script was written by two women, but that doesn’t fully excuse the presentation…

Skin of Evil (TNG Rewatch, Season 1 Episode 23)

My rewatch reflection on the Star Trek:TNG episode “Skin of Evil,” in which the crew encounters a malignant oil slick. Some good character moments with Worf and Yar, and some good solo acting from Marina Sirtis as Troi psychoanalyzes a disembodied voice. While I appreciate the Roddenberrian argument against playing along with a power-mad enemy’s sick games, dramatizing a that philosophical concept is not enough to carry a full episode. If you’re a fan the final holodeck send-off scene is worth watching but overall it’s a weak episode.

Symbiosis (TNG Rewatch, Season 1 Episode 22)

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation after a 20-year break. Picard mediates a dispute over a shipment of medicine. This disjointed episode has a actiony/sciencey opening, a worthwhile medical/cultural mystery in the middle, and a morality play with a moderately Trekworthy finale. I have no memory of seeing any part of this episode. While I enjoyed seeing a new-to-me episode, I winced a lot, too. The fuzzy approach to the…

Arsenal of Freedom (TNG Rewatch, Season 1, Episode 21)

With an A-plot that comments on the Cold War arms race, a B-plot that tests LaForge’s command skills, and a C-plot that explores the Picard/Crusher dynamic, I wanted to like this episode more than I did. Yar wisely observes that it’s kind of pointless for the landing party to strategize against a system that has already wiped out all the intelligent life on a planet, yet the characters still peek through the bushes at the wobbly floating plastic menace, and leap out of the way of its space-zapper ray gun blasts, because TV.

Coming of Age (TNG Rewatch: Season 1, Episode 18)

A character-heavy episode, full of familiar tropes that add up to little. Starfleet seems much darker than we’ve ever seen it before, in two parallel storylines that intersect only thematically. Wesley, who we know full well isn’t leaving the show, applies to Starfleet Academy, and a grumpy admiral friend of Picard brings aboard an unlikeable prig who interrogates the crew, asking leading questions about events we’ve seen in previous episodes. After…

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Home Soil (TNG Rewatch: Season 1, Episode 17)

The concept was good, and the production values were decent (I really liked the main lab on the planet); however, it starts out as a murder mystery and spends some time developing the human suspects, only to drop them abruptly when the “microbrain” starts growing, so this episode ends up lopsided and disappointing. I did like Troi’s speech: “We see and hear you now. We didn’t know you were there. You are beautiful to us. All life is beautiful.” Yes, it’s corny enough that I couldn’t help but think of the reformed Sour Kangaroo at the end of Seussical. But it captures one of the enduring appeals of Star Trek — it lets us envision what it would be like to be part of a society where idealism and selflessness and intellectual curiosity is mainstream culture.