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Sunday, October 4, 2009

An Absolutely Terrible Star Trek: The Next Generation Episode

I thought I had seen every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation over the course of my childhood. Apparently, that is not true. Over the past little while I have been slowly re-watching the series, and I am on the final stretch with the seventh season. Tonight I watched the episode entitled Sub Rosa. It was kind of like watching what I imagine would happen if television writers routinely trolled the internet looking for creepy fan-fiction rather than writing the episodes themselves. Not that I think anyone will mind, but spoilers are ahead.

Apparently, Dr. Crusher's grandmother lives on a weird colony that tries its best to emulate Scotland in the 1800s. While I figured that is what the holodeck is for, I guess it is the future when people can do all sorts of frivolously ridiculous things, including making an entire planet into a Scotland emulation, so perhaps we can forgive the setting. The episode doesn't really have much to do with any of the characters beyond Crusher, with Data, Riker, and Geordi providing minor plot bits. Picard and Troi have slightly larger roles, but their roles are unfortunately mainly served as foils for Crusher's weird and creepy trans-generational ghostly love affair. You see, Crusher's grandmother had a secret lover named Ronin who was actually an "aniphasic" alien who lived in a candle (a regular candle, but somehow it turns out to actually be a plasma candle). Now that Crusher's grandmother is dead, he seduces her. If the story of someone's grandmother's lover seducing them is not awkward enough, he repeatedly tells her how much he loves her within the context of loving her just like he loved her grandmother, and her great grandmother before that, all the way back through the generations.

I not only have no idea who pitched this storyline in the writing room, but I cannot imagine how anyone who heard it thought, "Grandmother's ghost lover seducing Dr. Crusher - how is that not television gold?" Apparently there is another episode that I also have not seen (or at least have no memory of seeing) coming up that is even worse than this one, but I have a hard time imagining that. Also, I realise that this post in no way holds any sort of worthwhile news or interesting bits about science, but I felt the need to share my pain.


cornucrapia said...

This is why I watch Battlestar Galactica

Mozglubov said...

That show had some terrible episodes too... and it really went downhill toward the end. But yes, in many ways it was a superior show, particularly in the first season and a half.

Robert said...

The remade BSG miniseries that launched the show was one of the greatest 3-4 hours of television in human history I thought. The first 2 seasons or so were great. It was still enjoyable after that (perhaps because I had invested so much in the characters and story by that point).

That being said, I remember that episode actually frightening me when I first saw it as a kid. And then it frightened me later on as an adult re-watching it. Though, I think the fright came more from the creep factor than anything else. Yeah, TNG was great, but it had some weak, and weird individual episodes.

That being said, it was a thrill for me to go back through every episode of TNG DS9 and Voyager, and discover that I missed a few episodes (or forgot seeing them) and being able to see them with fresh eyes. I have not systematically gone through TNG for about 3 years now I think, maybe it is time for me to do that again, and hopefully I will have forgotten some stories and plot lines, so it will be watching them like new all over again! (though that may not be possible, as I have seen every episode at least twice, and most at least 3 times, I imagine each episode, after seeing the opening scene, I will remember where the episode goes...)

Mozglubov said...

Yeah, TNG is my last Star Trek to go through completely (other than the original series... I just have not brought myself to systematically go through that). The reason it is my last is that a.) it is the only one I had seen completely (or at least nearly completely) before my systematic watching and b.) I remember really enjoying the final episode, so I thought I would end my Trek re-watch on a high note.

I enjoyed DS9 quite a bit more than I thought I would, but I was not a big fan of Voyager. There were some good episodes, but I found Voyager to be highly inconsistent in terms of technology (specifically in terms of the sentience and utility of holograms... of course, I liked the Doctor, but he was no Data).

Robert said...

DS9 is far and beyond my favorite Star Trek. I also really enjoyed Voyager. Sabrina likes Voyager and DS9 about equally. I like both Voyager and TNG about the same, but for radically different reasons. The shows are in many ways quite different. I have not gone all the way through the original series, but have watched and enjoyed quite a bit of then. I picked up a DVD/HD combo set of the original series for really cheap (because no one uses HD DVD anymore, and they were trying to get rid of them) and will, one day soon, go through all of them.

I think I liked Voyager and DS9 so much because I enjoyed the desperation of the shows, if that makes sense.

Also, my word is "hagman" which seems cool

cornucrapia said...

I haven't seen any of the original bsg, I was referring to the new series, which is such incredibly good TV it hurts my brain.

Robert said...

I was referring to the remade one also, if you were clarifying at me.