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Emergence (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 23) Enterprise-D subsystems exhibit emerging intelligence

Rewatching ST:TNG When I first read a blurb about this episode, I thought maybe the ship’s computer would develop an attitude and say, “I’m tired of taking your orders and shutting down systems and whatnot; I want to star in an adventure all about me!” In the cold opening, a costumed Data delivers Prospero’s speech about giving up his art towards the end of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Picard bardsplains the…

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Bloodlines (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 22) Angry Ferengi threatens a son Picard didn’t know he had

Rewatching ST:TNG The Ferengi whose revenge scheme (s1e8 “The Battle“) involved planting a large thought-control device in the cabin of the starship Picard abandoned 15 years ago in order to force Picard to relive flashbacks of a battle is back, this time using a probe to announce his plan to kill a young man he says is Picard’s son. But soon the Enterprise-D finds the man and beams him safely…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In March, 2002, I was blogging about…

In March, 2002, I was blogging about The coming era of participatory news The “Worst Manual Contest” Ancient “Domesday Book” outlives electronic version (that article is also gone… but here’s contemporary coverage from Slashdot) My own text-adventure game “Fine-Tuned: An Auto-mated Romance“ PBS special “Merchants of Cool” (early observations about the cultural feedback loop as teens engage with, internalize, and mirror back the images marketers use to sell products) The…

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (workshop premiere of a new musical by Greg Kerestan)

I really enjoyed seeing the first workshop performance of SHU alum Greg Kerestan’s original horror-comedy musical, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” based on the classic 1920 German expressionist silent film. The music is powerful, and the cast is hilarious and creepy, in all the right proportions.   The daughter plays a ballet mistress socialite (and is also the choreography & assistant director).   You have one more chance to see…

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Genesis (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 19) The crew de-evolve into hominids, a spider, an amphibian, and such.

Rewatching ST:TNG After Worf loses a photon torpedo. Picard takes Data with him on a three-day shuttle jaunt to find it. I realize so far that probably sounds like a joke, but it’s accurate. They return to find the Enterprise-D adrift, and the corridors filled with animal noises. (I was listening with headphones, and the audio effects were great.) Picard for some reason decides to stop by Troi’s quarters, where…

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Masks (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 17) Ritual symbols start appearing on the ship and mythological figures inhabit Data’s personality

Rewatching ST:TNG Masks (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 17) Ritual symbols start appearing on the ship and mythological figures inhabit Data’s personality. This script is a mess. The comic opening is good. During an art class in the children’s center, Troi encourages Data to explore his imagination, but his sculptures are comically literal. The ship encounters an uncharted rogue comet, which causes a scanner glitch that will take some…

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Thine Own Self (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 16) Data gets amnesia at a RenFest; Troi preps for promotion to commander

Rewatching ST:TNG In the captain’s chair on a night watch, Dr. Crusher tells Troi why she likes being in command. Troi then tells Riker she’d like to take the bridge command test, too. Data has been collecting radioactive metal from a remote site on an inhabited planet, but something has clearly gone wrong, because he walks, disheveled and confused, into a Renaissance-style town square, where Garvin and his daughter Gia…

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Lower Decks (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 15) Junior officers star in a coming of age drama

Rewatching ST:TNG As Riker and Troi discuss crew evaluation reports in Ten Forward, we spend time with four junior officers who would normally get a few lines each. We already know Nurse Ogawa and Ensign Sito (one of the cadets who obstructed an investigation in s5e13 “The First Duty“). Lavelle is a square-jawed Dudley Do-Right and Taurik is a Vulcan with a dry wit. With their friend Ben (a gossipy…

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Sub Rosa (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 14) Dr. Beverly’s Space Ghost Romance

Rewatching ST:TNG Dr. Crusher eulogizes a grandmother she’s never once mentioned, on a colony terraformed to resemble Scottland (scotta-formed?). A man who looks like he swaggered off the cover of a romance novel throws a flower into the grave. A grumpy old caretaker warns Beverly not to light the candle which is her family heirloom.  Beverly learns her 100 year old grandmother had been in a relationship with a 34-year-old…

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Homeward (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 13) Worf’s foster brother interferes with a primitive, dying culture

Rewatching ST:TNG The Enterprise-D answers a distress call from Worf’s foster brother, a civilian observing a primitive civilization on a planet with an atmosphere that’s spontaneously dissipating because reasons. The dissipation is also creating a plot contrivance field that periodically jams key systems so that we can watch characters react to dramatic in-person discoveries of details we would otherwise learn through a scanner readout on the bridge. When the planet…

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Parallels (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 11) Worf gets technobabbled into a timeline where he married Troi

Rewatching ST:TNG After returning victorious from a bat’leth tournament, Worf is ambushed by a surprise birthday party, where a chocolate cake turns yellow, his big pointy first place trophy turns into a ninth place blob, and things continue diverging from the recent past he remembers. A great comic scene features a terrified Worf reacting when a very relaxed Troy undoes his ponytail and gives him a backrub. (As she sees…

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Inheritance (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 10) A scientist introduces herself as Data’s “mother”

Rewatching ST:TNG Within minutes of hearing about a problem with a planet’s molten core, LaForge comes up with a solution that Data and the visiting scientists from Atrea are convinced will work.  One of the visitors, Dr. Juliana Tainer, introduces herself to Data as a colleague of his creator Dr. Soong. In fact, because she was married to Soong, she considers herself Data’s “mother.” She explains she and Soong wiped…

The Protagonist’s Best Friend Would Like to Stop Having to Shoehorn So Much Exposition into Their Dialogue

Look, it’s just—now that you’re the protagonist of this movie, I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure to dispense clunky exposition in my conversations with you, and I don’t want to do that anymore. It’s not that I don’t love talking to you, dude. Of course I do—you’re my best friend! And you’ve been my best friend since we were kids. I still remember how we met in Mrs. Wilson’s…

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Force of Nature (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 9) A Space Thing leads to an environmental mystery that implicates warp drive technology

Rewatching ST:TNG In which a comic teaser features LaForge’s misadventures with Data’s cat; we join the search for a missing medical transport; and we meet environmentalists with dire warnings about a ubiquitous Federation technology. LaForge is tinkering with the engines, trying to beat the performance stats of an academy frenemy. He and his nerd buddy Data have a meandering scene fiddling casually with the sensors, which have been affected by…

Jerry Lewis’s Costars Speak Out: “He Grabbed Me. He Began to Fondle Me. I Was Dumbstruck”

As a kid I watched Jerry Lewis movies when they turned up on the local independent TV channels, and typically when I was home from school on  Labor Day, I would watch at least part of his muscular dystrophy telethons. I’m saddened to read allegations about yet another established male professional using his position of power to manipulate a younger female artist by demanding sexual favors. Demanding? Requesting? Suggesting? Semantics.…

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Attached (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 8) Picard and Crusher are telepathically linked and on the run

Rewatching ST:TNG Picard and Crusher are implanted with devices that let them overhear each other’s thoughts. The plot contrivance that makes this possible is ridiculous even by Star Trek standards; however, if you are a Jean Luc / Beverly shipper (as I am), the payoff is delightful. The preachy geopolitical framing story is also totally on brand for Star Trek. Preparing for a mission to evaluate a politically divided planet’s…

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Dark Page (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 7) Lwaxana suffers from a hidden trauma

Rewatching ST:TNG Troi’s mother visits the Enterprise-D with a delegation of nonverbal telepaths. She’s focused and professional, but we see her stumble dizzily. (In TV-land this is as bad as coughing.)  One of the aliens is a widower (with a daughter played by a pre-“Interview with the Vampire” Kirsten Dunst). On my rewatch I was impressed at how stealthily the script slips in an important plot point about Lwaxana, I…

JJ Abrams announces fourth rebooted Star Trek movie

“We are thrilled to say that we are hard at work on a new ‘Star Trek’ film that will be shooting by the end of the year that will be featuring our original cast and some new characters that I think are going to be really fun and exciting and help take ‘Star Trek’ into areas that you’ve just never seen before,” Abrams said. “We’re thrilled about this film, we…

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Phantasms (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 7, Episode 6) Data’s Trippy Dreams; Riker’s Brainstraw and Troi-cake

Rewatching ST:TNG Data is walking through a corridor, which is filmed with the wide-angle lens the series has used recently to represent dreaming. He hears an old-timey telephone ringing, and encounters people dressed like miners, pickaxing their way through a bulkhead. He tells them to stop, and then shrieks electronically at them. They respond by pulling him to pieces. Data wakes up in his quarters, having had a nightmare. Picard…