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Keith R.A. DeCandido

Fiction and Excerpts [4]
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Fiction and Excerpts [4]

Sitting with Pain — Star Trek: Discovery’s “Anomaly”

Star Trek has, historically, been really really terrible with consequences.

On the original series, Kirk was present for the deaths of several important people to him: his best friend, his brother and sister-in-law, and two of the great loves of his life, one of whom was pregnant with his child. Yet he was never seen to feel any trauma beyond the episodes where those things happened.

And it wasn’t much better in the first wave of spinoffs. But if the trend toward serialization has given us nothing else, it’s given us TV writers who are willing to examine long-term consequences.

[Fine—I fly, you scan…]

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Fight or Flight”

“Fight or Flight”
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Season 1, Episode 3
Production episode 003
Original air date: October 3, 2001
Date: May 6, 2151

Captain’s star log. Enterprise has been sailing about in the unknown for two weeks now and all they’ve found is some animal life. They brought one on board: a slug, which isn’t doing well. We open on Sato staring at the slug in sickbay, where Phlox is trying to save the creature—whom Tucker has named “Sluggo.”

[I didn’t realize you spoke slug.]

Series: Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

Winning a No-Win Scenario — Star Trek: Discovery’s “Kobayashi Maru”

The primarily feeling I get watching the fourth-season premiere of Star Trek: Discovery—which is entitled “Kobayashi Maru” after the training exercise seen at the top of The Wrath of Khan and which has become synonymous with “no-win scenario” even outside of Trek—is that this is what the show should’ve been in the first place. I’m far more invested in the thirty-second century than I ever was in back-filling the twenty-third.

The secondary feeling I got from this episode in particular is that this is what Star Trek is about: our heroes helping people.

[Are you seriously complimenting yourself on nearly getting us killed?]

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Broken Bow”

“Broken Bow”
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by James L. Conway
Season 1, Episode 1/2
Production episode 001
Original air date: September 26, 2001
Date: April 26, 2151

Captain’s star log. We open with young Jonathan Archer putting the finishing touches on a remote-control spacecraft model. His father, Henry Archer, looks on; he’s supervising the construction of a real-world version of the spacecraft, and they discuss how the Vulcans are being parsimonious with assistance with the project. It’s 2121, fifty-eight years after first contact.

[Your superiors don’t think we can flush a toilet without one of you to assist us!]

Series: Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

Introducing the Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch!

Twenty years ago, the United Paramount Network premiered a show that was simply called Enterprise. It was the fourth spinoff of Star Trek and the first of those four not to have those two words at the top of the title. That aesthetic decision was reversed for its third season, being rechristened as Star Trek: Enterprise, which is how it’s currently identified on home video and streaming services and the like.

Starting next week, I’ll be doing an Enterprise Rewatch once a week every Monday.

[It’s been a long road from there to here…]

Series: Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

Star Trek: Prodigy Is the Best New Trek Series

In the 1970s, Filmation produced an animated Star Trek series that was very much intended not to be a dumbed-down version of the live-action series. The general approach was to treat this like the fourth season of the TV show, and while some concessions were made to the Saturday morning timeslot (not to mention the more limited time frame of a half-hour episode as opposed to an hour), the show generally kept to the spirit of the live-action show that came before it.

The second of Secret Hideout’s animated series, and their fifth overall, Star Trek: Prodigy is specifically designed for children. It’s also the best Trek show of the current slate of Trek productions, and that’s not meant to disrespect Discovery, Short Treks, Picard, or Lower Decks—it’s just that Prodigy is that good.

[Spoilers for the first two episodes ahead!]

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: Seventh Season Overview

Star Trek: Voyager Seventh Season
Original air dates: October 2000 – May 2001
Executive Producers: Rick Berman, Kenneth Biller

Captain’s log. As with both TNG and DS9, Voyager went into its seventh season fully aware that it would be their last year on the air. To that end, several episodes were done with the notion that the show was ending in mind.

Like the two show-runners before him (Jeri Taylor and Michael Piller), Brannon Braga stepped back to the role of consulting producer, with Kenneth Biller taking over the show-running duties. One thing Biller tried to do was address certain outstanding issues, or at least revisit themes that hadn’t been dealt with in a while.

[It took you thirty-three years to come up with “Joe”?]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Endgame”

“Endgame”
Written by Rick Berman & Kenneth Biller & Brannon Braga and Robert Doherty
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Season 7, Episode 25/26
Production episode 271
Original air date: May 23, 2001
Stardate: 54973.4

Captain’s log. In 2404, Voyager is celebrating the tenth anniversary of her return home after twenty-three years in the Delta Quadrant. Admiral Janeway attends a party that also includes Captain Kim (CO of the U.S.S. Rhode Island), Commander Barclay (a teacher at the Academy), Torres (a Federation-Klingon Empire liaison), Paris (a holonovelist), the EMH (now married and having chosen the name Joe), and Naomi and her daughter, at the very least.

[Admiral Janeway visits on Sunday. Today is Thursday. Logic dictates that you are not who you claim to be.]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

The Good, the Bad, and the Awesome — Star Trek: Lower Decks Second Season Overview

After a first season that was horribly hit-and-miss, Lower Decks came back with a second season that fixed several of the first season’s problems, the primary one being that it mostly just sat back and allowed itself to be a Star Trek show, albeit one that was filled with humor and ridiculousness.

Even the reversals of the status quo changes shoehorned into the first-season finale were funny and actually worked in the context of the show. While it’s still not perfect, and suffers from some of the same inconsistent tone as season one, this sophomore outing is a far stronger show than the one that debuted in 2020. And so, we have, in contrast to the first-season roundup, the Good, the Bad, and the Awesome of season two…

[Cerritos strong!]

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Renaissance Man”

“Renaissance Man”
Written by Andrew Shepard Price & Mark Gaberman and Phyllis Strong & Mike Sussman
Directed by Michael Vejar
Season 7, Episode 24
Production episode 270
Original air date: May 16, 2001
Stardate: 54890.7

Captain’s log. Janeway and the EMH are pootling along in the Delta Flyer for a medical conference, the EMH’s opera singing keeping Janeway from sleeping. They encounter a subspace eddy in a Mutara-class nebula. The EMH also says that he thinks he and Janeway should socialize more.

[Fifteen minutes of sleep is all I really need…]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Homestead”

“Homestead”
Written by Raf Green
Directed by LeVar Burton
Season 7, Episode 23
Production episode 269
Original air date: May 9, 2001
Stardate: 54868.6

Captain’s log. Neelix is hosting a party to celebrate the 315th anniversary of First Contact Day. He even gets Tuvok to say the words that the first Vulcan who landed on Earth said: “Live long and prosper.” However both he and Janeway fail to get Tuvok to dance, though Neelix promises that he will get Tuvok to dance before they reach Earth.

[I’m not a fighter, I’m just a cook.]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

It’s Captain Freeman Day! — Star Trek: Lower Decks: “First First Contact”

Sonya Gomez first appeared as a fresh-out-of-the-Academy ensign in the TNG episode “Q Who,” where she spilled hot chocolate all over Captain Picard. She was eager to sign up for the Enterprise because the ship was on the frontier. “Whatever’s out here, we’re going to be the first humans to see it. And I want to be a part of that.” She got a major lesson in being careful what you wish for, as shortly after that was Starfleet’s first encounter with the Borg.

Her next appearance was in “Samaritan Snare,” where she helped rescue La Forge from Pakleds, and while she was intended to be a recurring character, that didn’t really work out, and we never saw on screen again—

—until the second season finale of Lower Decks.

[SPOILERS AHOY!]

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Natural Law”

“Natural Law”
Written by Kenneth Biller & James Kahn
Directed by Terry Windell
Season 7, Episode 22
Production episode 268
Original air date: May 2, 2001
Stardate: 54827.7

Captain’s log. Voyager has arrived at Ledos, a world primarily occupied by a spacefaring people. Chakotay is taking Seven to a four-day conference on warp theory via shuttlecraft, and he’s taking the scenic route, as Ledos has some beautiful countryside. However, they collide with a force field and crash.

[We wouldn’t be stranded at all if you hadn’t insisted on admiring the view.]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Friendship One”

“Friendship One”
Written by Michael Taylor & Bryan Fuller
Directed by Mike Vejar
Season 7, Episode 21
Production episode 267
Original air date: April 25, 2001
Stardate: 54775.4

Captain’s log. A probe called Friendship 1, which launched from Earth in the twenty-first century, arrives at a planet in the Delta Quadrant.

Cut to Voyager, an indeterminate amount of time later, where Janeway is talking with Admiral Hendricks, a former professor of hers at the Academy. He has an assignment for her: to find Friendship 1.

[When my wife was pregnant, she didn’t want to be coddled, either.]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

ghuS choQpu’ — Star Trek: Lower Decks: “wej Duj”

The actual title of this week’s Lower Decks is rendered onscreen in the Klingon script. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t have that feature (and neither do most other web sites, given that all the publicity for this episode lists the transliterated title). You would be forgiven if you thought “wej Duj” translated to “lower decks,” but it in fact translates to “three ships.” Which is sort of accurate, though you could make an argument for “five ships” being more appropriate (which would make the title “Daj Duj”). But maybe the producers have the same confusion between three and five that King Arthur had

[SaS (that’s Klingon for spoilers…)]

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