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…

BWW Review: TWELFTH NIGHT Is Farcical Fun at Prime Stage

In his review, Greg Kerestan, who must have have gotten a pretty good education somewhere, manages to work in references to the Wind in the Willows, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Caddyshack. The cast is uniformly excellent, but the greatest burdens fall upon the leading players of the two sections of the show. Bouncing back and forth between the character of supposed-eunuch Cesario and lovesick maiden Viola, Carolyn Jerz is believably…

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The Ongoing Obsession with Shakespeare’s True Identity

I’ve never been all too keen on Shakespeare authorship conspiracy theories, and I find students often get distracted by their belief that the default way to get the “right answer” about literature is to look for connections between the author’s life and the author’s work. For example, I was disinterested in “Shakespeare in Love” because it depicted Will’s creative genius as if it were held hostage to events in his…

Why Grown-Ups Keep Talking Like Little Kids

Felt writey. Because reasons. The other day I walked through a room full of toddlers who were energetically growling at each other. They were obviously playing together, but there was a passion and an aggressiveness in their voices that made me feel that somehow, they weren’t just growling at each other, they were joining forces to confront the unfairness of a stressful universe. When I noticed my 17yo daughter had…

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.