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New Ground (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 10) Worf’s Son Visits, Acts Out

Rewatching ST:TNG As LaForge nerds out over the Space Thing of the Week (a test of a new faster-than-light propulsion method), Worf receives word his mother and young son are coming on board for a visit from Earth. The big reveal is that tiny little angry Alexander thinks he’s not going back. Worf’s mother says Alexander has some trouble with obedience and honesty, and needs his father’s influence. Worf apparently…

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

In August, 2001 I was blogging about…

Broken Links and Poor Information Architecture (and of course the link to that article had broken, and the site taken over by low-value clickbait… but the Internet Archive preserved the original article) Helvetica Bold Oblique Sweeps Fontys (satire from the Onion, from an alternate timeline where typefaces get the respect they deserve) Boys and handwriting (from “equal-but-different” feminist Christina Hoff Summers) Velma from Scooby-Doo (a year or so before the…

Amanda Knox responds to high-profile movie profiting off of her name

American student Amanda Knox was wrongfully convicted of the murder of her roommate. Eventually her conviction was overturned and she was exonerated, but only after her personal life was totally upended. She lost years of her young life on trial, in prison, and facing the public eye as she simply tries to live her post-exoneration life. She’s been targeted by all sorts of strangers, and accused of stealing the spotlight…

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A Matter of Time (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 9) Smarmy Time Traveler Observes Crew

Rewatching ST:TNG An eccentric time-traveler won’t say why he’s shown up to observe events on board the Enterprise-D, but he’s giddy with fanboy glee to be in the presence of Picard. This week the writers decide that Troi, who when the script requires it can read specific thoughts from the mind of the captain of a passing starship, reports only that Rasmussen is hiding something. Clearly she and her colleagues…

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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…

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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…

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The Game (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 6) Cadet Crusher vs Fun Risian Gadget

Rewatching ST:TNG Cadet Crusher visits the Enterprise on a break from Starfleet Academy. He’s happy and doing well in school, and quickly befriends the happy and hyper-focused Ensign Leffler (Ashley Judd). The opening scene with Riker cavorting on Risa is just odd. Of course what he does when he’s off duty is his own business, but it’s certainly a clue to us when the bumpy-headed babe he’s chasing around a…

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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…

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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…

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Ensign Ro (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 3) New Bumpy-nosed Officer Is Stubborn

Rewatching ST:TNG Picard is ordered to accept a bumpy-nosed humanoid officer who didn’t want to be transferred to the Enterprise — but she admits the new assignment is better than prison. A complex plot introduces the backstory of Bajor, which will eventually be the premise for the spinoff series Deep Space Nine — an ancient and noble race of architects and philosophers was 40 years ago displaced by the militaristic…

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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…

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Redemption, Part II (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 1) Klingon Empire Wages Civil War

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation The teaser opens with Worf serving on Kurn’s ship, and being scolded for second-guessing his younger brother’s aggressive tactics. Picard convinces an admiral to agree to a blockade, to prevent or expose Romulan support of the Duras faction. LaForge’s new strategy for detecting cloaked Romulan vessels requires a network of many ships, but because the script requires it some of them are barely functional…

A WWII Propaganda Campaign Popularized the Myth That Carrots Help You See in the Dark

Yet another widely held cultural myth falls to the cold hard power of actual research. During the 1940 Blitzkrieg, the Luftwaffe often struck under the cover of darkness. In order to make it more difficult for the German planes to hit targets, the British government issued citywide blackouts. The Royal Air Force were able to repel the German fighters in part because of the development of a new, secret radar technology. The on-board…

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Redemption, Part I (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 4, Episode 26) Klingon Empire Faces Civil War

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation While en route to the Klingon Homeworld to participate in the installation of Gowron as the new leader of the High Council, Picard prompts Worf to take the opportunity to regain his family honor. Worf prefers to wait. Gowron is annoyed when Picard declines to use force to back his faction, and intrigued when Worf explains that his own father was blamed for treason…

I absolutely adored Spock. Loving Dad was much more complicated.

A great father-son story, written by Adam Nimoy, son of Leonard Nimoy. I was 10 when “Star Trek” debuted in 1966, and I was reading Spider-Man comics and listening to the Beatles at home in LA — a very different experience from having to deliver newspapers in the dead of a Boston winter. Dad’s zeal for work had its downside. His career always came first. He was not one to…

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In Theory (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season Four, Episode 25) Data Gets Boyfriendzoned

Rewatching ST:TNG In the teaser, a hot mess goldshirt who just ended a relationship compares a Space Thing to fireworks and then looks meaningfuly at Data. When Keiko tells a story about her home life with O’Brien, D’Sora chimes in with a story about when Data “said the funniest thing.” We see Data performing all the functions of friendship, which D’Sora finds appealing. After D’Sora makes the first move, Data…

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The Mind’s Eye (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season Four, Episode 24) LaForge Abducted by Romulans

Rewatching ST:TNG LaForge becomes a pawn in a Romulan plot to disrupt the Federation-Klingon alliance, in a clever homage to The Manchurian Candidate. LaForge’s shuttle is intercepted by Romulans while on a trip to Risa. The baddies put him through some kind of conditioning, as they report to a female superior whose face we don’t see. (*fake-cough-sounds-like-Sela*) The Enterprise ferries a Klingon emissary to a Klingon colony that seeks independence.…

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The Host (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 4, Episode 23) Dr. Beverly Crushes on a Symbiont

Rewatching ST:TNG Trek explores some cultural boundaries by having Crusher fall in love with an ambassador who is not what he seems. But before we get to that plot twist, we get comedy from Data not realizing he has interrupted a turbolift make-out session, some decent setup concerning a conflict between two moons of Peliar Zel, a girl-talk scene between Crusher and Troi, and some shuttlecraft pew-pew action. As the…

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Half a Life (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 4, Episode 22) Lwaxana Meets Cogsworth

Rewatching ST:TNG The teaser sets up another comic episode with Lwaxana Troi, and the first few acts deliver accordingly. This time, Lwaxana (Majel Barett) sets her sights on Doctor Timicin (David Ogden Stiers), a reserved scientist focused on saving his world’s dying star. This episode has many long scenes of Space Science, some of which exist simply to be interrupted by Lwaxana’s antics, but one is an overlong bridge scene…