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Showing posts by: Keith DeCandido click to see Keith DeCandido's profile
Mon
Nov 25 2013 5:00pm

Steven Moffat hasn’t always been successful as a show-runner of Doctor Who. I’ve enjoyed his work more than some others have, but it’s obvious he’s sometimes struggled with keeping it all together. I think he’s been done in by modern television’s insistence on “seasonal arcs,” which is excellent for some shows, but it’s something far too many programs that are ill-suited to it have forced themselves to adopt rather than just stick with standalone episodes and progressing character arcs. (This need for ever-escalating seasonal arcs pretty much killed Burn Notice in its final two seasons, and severely damaged later seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, just to give two examples.)

Part of it is Moffat’s own ambition—he’s not satisfied with just dropping a phrase (“bad wolf”) or a reference (Torchwood, Prime Minister Saxon) into every episode, he needs there to be a big Rubik’s cube of stuff that has to come together with each color on the right side at the end. The problem being, of course, that he doesn’t always succeed in that. (The whole impossible astronaut thing, for example, didn’t quite come together as well as it should have.) I think the arc in this most recent season worked well in part because it was scaled back somewhat to simply the mystery of one character, as well as paying tribute to the show’s history (in its 50th anniversary year) by bringing back an old bad guy in the Great Intelligence.

[“Geronimo!” “Allons-y!” “Oh, for God’s sake......”]

Fri
Nov 22 2013 4:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Past Tense, Part I“Past Tense, Part I”
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by Reza Badiyi
Season 3, Episode 11
Production episode 40512-457
Original air date: January 2, 1995
Stardate: 48481.2

Station log: The Defiant flies the senior staff to Earth to address Starfleet on the Gamma Quadrant situation. Sisko, Dax, and Bashir beam down to a dinner with a particularly dull admiral (“Droner” Drazman, as he’s known), but something happens to the annular confinement beam when O’Brien beams them off.

Sisko and Bashir wake up on a San Francisco street in 2024. Their rank insignia and combadges are gone, and two cops, Vin and Bernardo, pick them up and take them in, calling them “dims,” given their state of dress (“matching pajamas”), lack of ID, and querying what year it is.

Dax is nearby, at the bottom of a subway staircase. By virtue of not being in the open, her combadge and insignia are in place and not stolen. A man named Chris Brynner sees her and assumes she’s been robbed—they got everything but her “brooch” (the combadge). Brynner offers to let her use the interface terminal in his nearby office to order new ID.

[I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been on any job interviews lately...]

Tue
Nov 19 2013 4:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Fascination“Fascination”
Written by Ira Steven Behr & James Crocker and Philip LaZebnik
Directed by Avery Brooks
Season 3, Episode 10
Production episode 40512-456
Original air date: November 28, 1994
Stardate: unknown

Station log: Jake is moping in his quarters rather than help Mardah put up decorations for the Bajoran Gratitude Festival, because Jake and Mardah are no longer a couple—not for any bad reason, but because Mardah’s been accepted to the Regulus III Science Academy. That’s great for her, but it’s 300 light-years away. Sisko, however, convinces Jake to go to the festival, anyhow, but he promises he won’t have any fun.

[Zanthi Fever? That’s ridiculous! That’s impossible! That only affects older Betazoids!]

Fri
Nov 15 2013 4:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: DefiantDefiant
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Cliff Bole
Season 3, Episode 9
Production episode 40512-454
Original air date: November 21, 1994
Stardate: 48467.3

Station log: Kira is having a really crappy day filled with report requests, schedule changes, cargo requirements, and other nonsense, culminating in her blowing up at Bashir, who diagnoses her with stress, borderline exhaustion, and in need of a day off. He marches her over to Quark’s and gives her gambling tokens, a holosuite program, a jumja stick, and a drink. Bashir’s prescription is that at least two of those must be enjoyed before she leaves the bar.

After Bashir goes off (and Quark promises to give the doctor a full report), Kira is joined by a familiar face: William T. Riker. They sit and talk for several hours. The next day, Riker reports to Sisko: he’s just passing through on his way to a vacation on Risa, but he thought he’d spend some time at Quark’s. Sisko invites him to dinner with him and Jake, while Kira insists to Dax that they just talked and they’re just friends, and besides, she’s seeing someone.

[“Tough little ship...”]

Tue
Nov 12 2013 4:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Meridian“Meridian”
Written by Hilary J. Bader and Evan Carlos Somers and Mark Gehred-O’Connell
Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Season 3, Episode 8
Production episode 40512-453
Original air date: November 14, 1994
Stardate: 48423.2

Station log: Odo joins Kira in the replimat and their conversation about taste and eating is interrupted by Tiron, someone she met in Quark’s the previous night. Tiron hit all over her then and he attempts to take another shot at her, forcing Kira to pretend that Odo’s her lover to get rid of him.

Sisko has convinced Starfleet to let the Defiant explore the Gamma Quadrant despite the Dominion threat for reasons passing understanding. They investigate a gravimetric disturbance in a star system that has no planets—and then a planet suddenly appears with thirty human inhabitants.

[“How far down do they go?” “All the way.”]

Fri
Nov 8 2013 4:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Civil Defense“Civil Defense”
Written by Mike Krohn
Directed by Reza Badiyi
Season 3, Episode 7
Production episode 40512-453
Original air date: November 7, 1994
Stardate: unknown

Station log: As part of Jake’s apprenticeship to O’Brien, he’s assisting O’Brien in converting an ore processing unit, which was used to process uridium during the occupation, to a deuterium refinery. Sisko shows up to take Jake to lunch, but before they can go, Jake is having trouble deleting one file. It just won’t go away—and it’s got no file name, no indication what it is.

O’Brien tries to set it aside, and it triggers an alarm indicating that an unauthorized use of the ore processing computer and asking for an access code. O’Brien’s access code doesn’t work, and even as he and the Siskos are locked into the ore processing center by blast doors, a recording of Dukat appears on the screens urging the Bajoran workers who are revolting (ahem) to lay down arms or security countermeasures will be put into effect.

[Garak groveling in a corner. That alone makes my trip worthwhile.]

Tue
Nov 5 2013 4:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Abandoned“The Abandoned”
Written by D. Thomas Maio & Steve Warnek
Directed by Avery Brooks
Season 3, Episode 6
Production episode 40512-452
Original air date: October 31, 1994
Stardate: unknown

Station log: In Quark’s, Mardah gets a high roller to play one more round of dabo before walking away with his winnings—only to have him lose it all on that next turn. She then takes a break to tell Jake how happy she is that she’s coming to dinner with him and his father—something Jake didn’t realize was happening. He’d kinda hoped Sisko had forgotten about agreeing to have Mardah over for dinner way back in “Playing God.”

Rionoj approaches Quark, wanting to sell him salvage—perfectly legal, for a change, from a ship that crashed in the Gamma Quadrant. It’s mostly junk, but amidst the wreckage, inside a sealed container, he finds a crying infant. Quark immediately brings him to the infirmary, where Bashir declares him healthy, though he’s not sure which species he is, and the baby has a phenomenally developed metabolism.

[“Seems a pretty cold-blooded thing to do.” “My people don’t have blood, Chief.”]

Fri
Nov 1 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Second Skin“Second Skin”
Written by Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by Les Landau
Season 3, Episode 5
Production episode 40512-451
Original air date: October 24, 1994
Stardate: unknown

Station log: Kira gets a call from the Bajoran Central Archives. A woman there is doing a study on the Elemspur Detention Center and wants to ask Kira a few questions. Kira’s happy to help, but she was never at Elemspur. However, the archivist has a detailed record showing that Kira was detained at Elemspur for seven days—something Kira herself has no memory of.

And then the camera pans up to a woman we’ve never seen before looking on mysteriously. That isn’t foreshadowy at all!

Kira and Odo go over the records. Kira’s quite sure the records are fake, as she remembers that week, and the weeks around it, clearly. The entire Shakaar resistance cell was hunkered down in the Dakhur Hills with no power cells for their phasers, very little food, and constantly hiding in caves from Cardassian sensor sweeps. She was not in a detention center.

[Major, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you look so ravishing.]

Tue
Oct 29 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Equilibrium“Equilibrium”
Written by Christopher Teague and Rene Echevarria
Directed by Cliff Bole
Season 3, Episode 4
Production episode 40512-450
Original air date: October 17, 1994
Stardate: unknown

Station log: The Siskos are cooking a huge meal for the senior staff. While waiting for dinner to be ready, Dax starts playing Jake’s old piano quite skillfully—which is something of a surprise, since none of the hosts of the Dax symbiont have ever had musical talent. She quickly becomes obsessed with a particular piece she’s playing, which she never heard before and doesn’t know, but can’t stop playing.

The next day, Dax is humming the same tune while she and Sisko are playing chess. She’s not even doing it consciously. When Sisko makes a move, Dax insists he was cheating and storms out of his office. Kira goes to talk to Dax in the replimat, and Dax blows her off, too. As she walks down the Promenade, she hears the music again, then hallucinates that she sees people in hoods and masks—but every time they take off the masks, there’s another mask under it.

[You look so—cute!]

Fri
Oct 25 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The House of Quark“The House of Quark”
Written by Tom Benko and Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Les Landau
Season 3, Episode 3
Production episode 40512-449
Original air date: October 10, 1994
Stardate: unknown

Station log: It’s 2100 hours and Quark’s is empty save for Morn—who leaves with an attractive woman—and an exceedingly drunk Klingon named Kozak. Fear of the Dominion is keeping people away from the station, which keeps them away from Quark’s. While Quark laments his decision not to go into insurance—“better hours, more money, less scruples”—Rom brings Kozak his thirteenth bloodwine. But the Klingon’s out of money and wants to be extended credit, and his and Quark’s discussion on the subject turns ugly when Kozak unsheathes his d’k tahg and makes a very clumsy attempt to stab Quark. They roll around on the floor for a bit, and the blade winds up embedded in Kozak’s chest.

Bashir examines the body while Odo questions Quark and Rom. Quark, though, sees the crowds gathering outside wanting to know what happened, and sees an opportunity to get people back in the bar with the story of his magnificent bar brawl with the cunning Klingon. (Rom’s protestations that it was an accident and the Klingon was drunk fall on very large, very deaf ears.)

[It’s not about profit anymore, it’s about respect!]

Tue
Oct 22 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Search, Part II“The Search, Part II”
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Season 3, Episode 2
Production episode 40512-448
Original air date: October 3, 1994
Stardate: unknown

Station log: We get a summary of the events of Part 1, then see Odo surrounded by fellow changelings. The female changeling explains that all of Odo’s people are part of the Great Link: a merging of thought and idea and sensation among all changelings. Against the objection of one of the others, the female changeling links with Odo, their arms merging into one for a second. It’s a profound experience for Odo, who realizes after the link that it’s all true: he’s home.

However, the issue they have is with Kira, a “solid.” Changelings have a bad history with monoforms, and they also won’t let Kira send a signal from the shuttlecraft and risk revealing the location of their planet. The changelings value their privacy. However, Kira knows some tricks from the resistance that will mask the signal, making it untraceable.

[What you call it is no concern of ours.]

Fri
Oct 18 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: The Search, Part I“The Search, Part I”
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe and Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Kim Friedman
Season 3, Episode 1
Production episode 40512-447
Original air date: September 26, 1994
Stardate: 48212.4

Station log: We get a summary of the events of “The Jem’Hadar,” then cut to a meeting in Ops run by Kira, with Dax, Odo, Bashir, and O’Brien. They’ve run seven simulations, and they all come out the same: the Jem’Hadar totally kicks their asses. Dax proposes two other alternatives: abandon the station and make a stand on Bajor or collapse the wormhole entrance on this side.

Before the discussion can continue, a ship decloaks: it’s a new class of Starfleet starship, the Defiant. Sisko brought the ship back from Earth: it’s a prototype for a fleet of warships that Starfleet experimented with to fight the Borg. They abandoned the class because it’s overpowered and overgunned. O’Brien’s job is to fix that problem, while Sisko’s mission is to take the ship into the Gamma Quadrant and find the Founders of the Dominion to try to negotiate with them. The reason for taking the Defiant is to show that they’ll defend themselves if necessary.

[Rom only has his son to think about. I have a business!]

Tue
Oct 15 2013 5:30pm

Deep Space NineStar Trek: Deep Space Nine Second Season
Original air dates: September 1993 – June 1994
Executive Producers: Rick Berman & Michael Piller
Co-Executive Producer: Ira Steven Behr

Station log. The second season was the year that DS9 stepped out of TNG’s shadow and really became its own show. Where the first season had bunches of callbacks to TNG, and several TNG-related guest-stars, this year really only had one such guest—Natalija Nogulich in “The Maquis, Part II”—and had more callbacks to the original series in “Blood Oath” with Michael Ansara, William Campbell, and John Colicos reprising their roles as Kang, Koloth, and Kor, and in “Crossover,” which was a sequel to “Mirror, Mirror.”

[I shot a Cardassian in his underwear.]

Tue
Oct 8 2013 5:30pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Jem’Hadar“The Jem’Hadar”
Written by Ira Steven Behr
Directed by Kim Friedman
Season 2, Episode 26
Production episode 40512-446
Original air date: June 12, 1994
Stardate: 47987.5

Station log: Jake is doing a science project for school involving Bajoran katterpods. Sisko challenges him to do something a bit more impressive, and asks what his dream science project would be. His answer (after learning to pilot a runabout, which Sisko quashes) is a planetary survey in the Gamma Quadrant, and Sisko decides that they should do it, as a working father-son vacation.

Kira and Dax go over stuff with Sisko, then Jake comes in and says that Nog’s having trouble coming up with a science project, so he’s going to partner with Jake—which means joining them in the GQ. Sisko isn’t at all happy about having a third wheel in his father-son bonding trip, but Jake guilts him masterfully—if he doesn’t do well on this project, he’s going to drop out; he’s my friend, I have to help him—and Sisko agrees.

[I hear they fought well for a spiritual people...]

Fri
Oct 4 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Tribunal“Tribunal”
Written by Bill Dial
Directed by Avery Brooks
Season 2, Episode 25
Production episode 40512-445
Original air date: June 5, 1994
Stardate: 47944.2

Station log: O’Brien is going on vacation, although Sisko, Kira, and Dax practically have to kick him out of Ops as he keeps remembering things he needs them to keep an eye on. On the Promenade, he bumps into Boone, one of his former shipmates on the Rutledge, who’s now running a shipping business in the DMZ. They reminisce for a bit, then O’Brien runs off to meet Keiko and start his vacation, while Boone checks over the recording he made of their conversation while being shrouded in sinister dark light, just to make it clear that he’s a bad guy.

The O’Briens are off in a runabout to their overdue vacation. O’Brien forgot to pack a holocam, but he did remember to pack several technical updates. Realizing he’s made a bit of a faux pas, he puts on some traditional Japanese music and starts making smoochy faces with Keiko to make up for his bringing along work.

[The sentence is death. Let the trial begin.]

Thu
Oct 3 2013 11:00am

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Collaborator“The Collaborator”
Written by Greg Holland and Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by Cliff Bole
Season 2, Episode 24
Production episode 40512-444
Original air date: May 22, 1994
Stardate: unknown

Station log: Bareil is having an orb experience. He walks out of the temple onto the Promenade, which is strangely empty—except for the body of a prylar hanging from the railing. Then he sees Kira playing springball. Kira cuts down the body, who is revealed to be Prylar Bek, though Kira says, “It’s you.”

Bareil comes up to the station for a booty call with Kira, which enables him to relax before the election of the new kai. Kira thinks Bareil is a shoo-in, especially since he was Opaka’s personal choice to succeed her. He also promises that he’ll always have time for Kira even if he’s elected kai.

Later they get dressed and go to the Promenade, to find Winn talking to some kids. She and Bareil have a very polite discussion that makes it clear that they well and truly despise each other. Kira also says she’ll be increasing security on the station—not for Winn’s safety, as she assumes, but for Bareil’s, given that the last time she was on DS9, an attempt was made on Bareil’s life. Winn denies responsibility for that (of course), and prays that some day Kira will put all this anger behind her and be Winn’s BFF.

[I hate payday...]

Fri
Sep 27 2013 5:00pm

“Crossover”
Written by Peter Allan Fields and Michael Piller
Directed by David Livingston
Season 2, Episode 23
Production episode 40512-443
Original air date: May 15, 1994
Stardate: unknown

Station log. Kira and Bashir are returning from the New Bajor, the first Bajoran colony in the Gamma Quadrant, where they’ve set up a hospital. The conversation is awkward and ridiculous for a while, until they approach the wormhole. The runabout suffers a plasma leak; they enter the wormhole and there’s a flash of light—when they come out the other side, the station isn’t there. Kira finds it in orbit of Bajor. They’re intercepted by a Klingon ship. Two Klingon warriors board the runabout and point disruptors at them, but then turn into quivering masses of jello at the sight of Kira. They escort her back to the station, where they meet Intendant Kira, who’s in charge of Terok Nor (in orbit of Bajor) and her second in command, Gul Garak. Garak is surprised to see that a mere Terran like Bashir even knows Garak’s name, and Kira is particularly stunned to meet, in essence, herself.

[I don’t like the name Miles. That’s why I named you “Smiley.”]

Tue
Sep 24 2013 3:10pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Wire“The Wire”
Written by Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by Kim Friedman
Season 2, Episode 22
Production episode 40512-442
Original air date: May 8, 1994
Stardate: unknown

Station log. So McNulty has come into the squadroom completely hung over, and—

Whoops. Wrong “The Wire”….

Bashir and Garak are walking along the Promenade. Garak is frustrated as a freighter he’s expecting that’s carrying sweaters hasn’t arrived yet, and Bashir is tired because he was up late reading The Never-Ending Sacrifice. Garak says it’s the greatest Cardassian novel ever written. Bashir found it dull in spots; while Garak sings the praises of the repetitive epic, Bashir views it as a little too repetitive. Their literary criticism is interrupted by the fact that Garak is in obvious pain. Bashir’s attempts to take him to the infirmary are met with a stern refusal, and Garak goes back to his quarters to rest rather than let Bashir examine him.

[Way down in the hole....]

Fri
Sep 20 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Maquis, Part II“The Maquis, Part II”
Written by Rick Berman & Michael Piller & Jeri Taylor and Ira Steven Behr
Directed by Corey Allen
Season 2, Episode 21
Production episode 40512-441
Original air date: May 1, 1994
Stardate: unknown

Station log: After a summary of Part 1, Hudson hands Sisko his uniform, saying it’s been feeling a little tight lately. He thinks that defending the colonies is a nobler cause than being in Starfleet. Hudson insists that Central Command is smuggling weapons into the Demlitarized Zone, which are being used against the colonies—but he doesn’t have proof. Sisko wants to obtain the proof and show it to the Federation, but Hudson isn’t interested in diplomatic solutions anymore. He’s answering violence with violence. When it’s clear that Sisko won’t help him (Hudson asks him to let the Maquis use DS9 as a maintenance port), Hudson stuns him, as well as Kira and Bashir, and leaves them behind.

When they wake up, they fly back to the station. Sisko’s request to speak to Central Command and Starfleet Command is fulfilled by Dax faster than expected, as a legate from the former is en route, and Admiral Nechayev from the latter is waiting in his office. Dukat wasn’t on the planet where they found Hudson, so Sisko tasks O’Brien with trying to figure out where he was transferred off before meeting with the admiral.

[The problem is Earth.]

Tue
Sep 17 2013 4:45pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Maquis, Part I“The Maquis, Part I”
Written by Rick Berman & Michael Piller & Jeri Taylor and James Crocker
Directed by David Livingston
Season 2, Episode 20
Production episode 40512-440
Original air date: April 24, 1994
Stardate: unknown

Station log: A Cardassian freighter, the Bok’Nor, is docked at one of the upper pylons. A Starfleet engineer named Samuels futzes with a control panel after all the Cardassians board it. As the freighter disengages from the pylon, it explodes, with no survivors. O’Brien and Kira examine the wreckage for signs of sabotage, but it’s Dax who figures it out from a reading she got before the explosion: a protomatter implosive device. But proving that that’s really what it was will take time, and Sisko has admirals crawling up his ass. What’s really weird is that there’s been absolutely no response from the Cardassians.

Sisko has called in Lieutenant Commander Calvin Hudson, who’s both the Starfleet attaché to the colonies in the new Demilitarized Zone, and also one of Sisko’s oldest friends. Hudson also lost his wife, and they exchange stories about Jake, about Dax, and about any number of other things before getting down to business. Hudson feels his job is a joke, and he’s angry that the Federation just abandoned their colonies to the Cardassians, especially since Central Command is doing nothing to protect them. He also thinks it’s just a matter of time before the Cardassians respond to the Bok’Nor’s destruction.

[How does eight sound to your tummy?]