Sights, Sounds, and Smells of Elizabethan Theater

Somewhere during my education I picked upon the meme that “Shakespeare’s contemporaries referred to ‘hearing’ a play, not ‘seeing’ a play,” and I regularly trot it out to emphasize how growing up in an auditory culture meant that the average Elizabethan probably got a lot more out of casually attending a Shakespeare play than the average student gets from studying an annotated script. Practically speaking, I encourage students to listen…

1

Unification, Part 2 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 8) Spock Nurtures Romulan Peace Movement

Rewatching ST:TNG Beyond stating that he is on “a personal mission of peace,” the AWOL Ambassador Spock is reluctant to explain his presence on the Romulan homeworld. Referring to events depicted in the movie Star Trek 6 (which had not yet premiered when this episode first aired), Spock says he is reluctant to risk any one else’s life on yet another peace mission, but is personally committed to encouraging the…

1

Unification, Part 1 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 7) Picard Questions Sarek about Renegade Spock

Rewatching ST:TNG Informed that the venerable Ambassador Spock has vanished without a word and has been spotted on Romulus, Picard visits the ailing Sarek, who reports Spock’s optimistic hopes to reunify the Vulcan and Romulan people. This was an important theme in the early 90s, with the recent fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the USSR. As a fan of Trek and good acting, I remember being…

1

Disaster (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 5) Picard Trapped in Elevator with Weeping Moppets

Rewatching ST:TNG A character-based bottle episode (no off-ship locations), in which the Enterprise randomly bumps into a Space Thing that gives the writers an excuse to force all the main characters into odd groupings where they must act against type. The grumpy captain is trapped in an elevator with weeping moppets; the warrior must deliver a baby; the optimistic counsellor faces a difficult pragmatic command decision; the doctor and the…

1

Silicon Avatar (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 4) Grieving Xenobiologist Pursues Crystalline Entity

Rewatching ST:TNG Riker does some seriously exposition-friendly flirting with a civilian engineer whose fledgling colony turns out to be the next target for the Crystalline Entity, a big Space Thing that slurps up all life on a planetary scale. We spend just enough time here on Melona to care about the colony, which, fortunately for the on-location filming budget, is mostly a bunch of jumpsuited extras in park with random…

1

Darmok (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 2) Picard of the Federation, His Metaphors Timely

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation After an awkward encounter with aliens whose language is incomprehensible, Picard finds himself on a strange planet. The alien captain, holding two daggers, offers one to Picard, saying “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.” When I first saw this episode, as a young grad student in a crowded room full of my regular Trek-watching friends, of course I thought of the classic Star Trek episode…