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The Royale (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 12)

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation after a 20-year break. In “The Royale,” an away team is trapped in a simulated casino, where Data cheats at roulette. That’s about it. A solid teaser and surreal first act ramp up the mystery nicely; however, on my rewatch, the episode didn’t hold together very well for me. We’re told that aliens who accidentally killed most of the crew of a 21stC NASA mission…

Scarecrow, Tin Man, Dorothy, and the Cowardly Lion approach Emerald City in this still from The Wizard of Oz

The Hidden Subversive Messages of [MGM’s Screen Adaptation of] The Wizard of Oz

When I tried teaching The Wizard of Oz in a literature class, I was a little frustrated with myself that I couldn’t bring the class discussion much farther than “how this book is different from the movie” and lists of one-to-one symbolism (“the yellow brick road represents the gold standard,” or  ‘the scarecrow represents agriculture, the tin man represents industry, and the cowardly lion represents the military”).  Part of my…

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Elementary, Dear Data (TNG Rewatch: Season 2, Episode 3)

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation after a 20-year break. LaForge works on his model ship in main engineering (?) and invites Data to enjoy a Sherlock Holmes holodeck adventure. Sounds fun, but a slow start, with low stakes. We can forgive the director for spending a lot of time showing the characters reacting to the richly detailed Victorian set. It was probably not cheap to build. I have to…