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…

On Their Last Day, Student Newspaper Editors Cover a Shooting on Their Campus

THREE HOURS BEFORE A SHOOTING WAS FIRST REPORTED on University of North Carolina-Charlotte’s campus, Alexandria Sands tweeted that she was “officially a retired college newspaper editor. Thank you for letting me tell your stories, #UNCC.” At around 5:42 p.m., as she was sitting in the last class of her college career, she saw a message in a group chat for the Niner Times’ college newspaper staff. “There’s a shooter on campus in…

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.


Tell Me a Smart Story: On Podcasts, Videos, and Websites as Writing Assignments

It does take longer to evaluate student multimedia projects. I can understand the motive behind letting students do a shorter video or a longer audio project, but I’d rather let the students choose to go for depth or technical expertise, rather than automatically treating 10-15 minutes of video as if it’s the same as 45 minutes of audio. I’m actually in the middle of evaluating student media projects now, and…