REVIEW: THE ZETA PROJECT

MAIN CAST
Diedrich Bader (Batman: TBATB)
Julie Nathanson (Sofia The First)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Lauren Tom (Futurama)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST~
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Ethan Embry (Eagle Eye)
Tara Strong (Batman: TAS)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Eli Marienthal (American Pie)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne Legacy)
Conchata Ferrell (Two and a Half Men)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Tom Kenney (Super Hero Squad)
Chad Lowe (Floating)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Dave Coulier (Full House)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Kate Jackson (Charlie’s Angel)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Robert Costanzo (Batman: TAS)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Steven Weber (13 Reasons Why)
Joey Lawrence (Melissa & Joey)
Chris Demetral (Lois & Clark)
Lukas Haas (Inception)
Mae Whitman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012)
Michael McKean (This is Spinal Tap)
Wil Wheaton (The Big Bang Theory)
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In this Batman Beyond spinoff, Zeta, an assassination & infiltrator robot, rebels against its programming. The authorities think it has been reprogrammed by their enemies, and tries to bring Zeta in for reprogramming. Zeta goes on the run, trying to find his creators and assisted by an orphan girl, Ro.
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As a spin off for a character introduced in Batman Beyond, this cartoon series went beyond the scope of adventure. Zeta was an experimental infiltration robot equipped with weaponry and a holographic self-projector that allows it to assume any identity. However, negating his own programming, he refused to kill. He fled his employers merely attempting to find his creator to prove that he is acting on his own free will. The government doesn’t know that, and hunt him down as they think he is rogue. Along the way Zeta hooks up with Ro, a teenage girl, and they assist each other in their treks.
165770_fullDiedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show) lends his voice to the peaceful, naive and near-human robot, sounding the least bit threatening and true to Zeta’s nature. The friendship between the child-like Zeta and Ro is genuinely portrayed. The supporting characters who chase him are great, including the government agents, and a young genius whom at one point reprogrammed Zeta. The Zeta Project is indeed a combination of Short Circuit and The Fugitive, balanced out by fantastic action, excellent characterization, and plenty of comedic moments.  In one episode, Batman Beyond even makes a cool guest appearance. Sadly, KidsWB canceled this exceptional show after 2 seasons, leaving Ro and Zeta’s quest hanging.
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REVIEW: LEGION OF SUPER HEROES

CAST (VOICES)

Yuri Lowenthal (Dino Time)
Michael Cornacchia (Happy Feet)
Adam Wylie (The Smurfs 2)
Alexander Polinsky (Teen Titans)
Will Wheaton (Powers)
Tara Platt (Sailor Moon Crystal)
Dave Wittenberg (The Twelve Kingdoms)
Andy Milder (Weeds)
Keith Ferguson (Legends of Oz)
Kari Wahlgren (wolverine and The X-Men)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Shawn Harrison (Family Matters)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jennifer Hale (Cinderella II)
Heather Hogan (8 Simple Rules)
David Lodge (Family Guy)
Harry Lennix (Man of Steel)
Khary Payton (Teen Titans)
Billy West (Futurama)

The Legion of Super-Heroes of the 31st century traveled back to the early 21st century to try to find Superman for help of against powerful group of super-villains in their era. Unfortunately, they traveled too far back and instead finding a young Clark Kent who haven’t assume his Superman identity yet. Taking him back to their future, Clark embracing his destiny and helps the Legion in fighting evil like Emerald Empress and upholding the laws of the United Planets before he can return to his own time. A new beginning for the Legions on the second season of the show. With Clark returns to the 21st century and began his role as the Man of Steel, The Legions realizes that they still need Superman within their rank. Enter a mysterious Kryptonian from the 41st century, appears to the be the clone of Superman, arrives to the 31st century to aid the Legions.After Teen Titans went off, I’d hoped to find another really good superhero show. This is it! If you are expecting Teen Titans, though, this is not it. A different animation style, different feel, basically everything is different. But different is not a bad thing. Whereas Teen Titans had both its very dark story lines (at times) and its uber-comedic moments, Legion sticks to a straight-forward classic superhero feel. Save the world (or rather, the galaxy).
I had my doubts at the first episode, I will admit, although I stuck through. First episodes usually leave me in doubt. I don’t think I’ve met a cartoon yet that I’ve loved since Episode I. But most cartoons that I’ve actually wanted to check out, I’ve been happy after the first episode. Legion is no exception.

REVIEW: TEEN TITANS GO! – SEASON 1-4

MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Scott Menville (Full House)
Hynden Walch (Justice League War)
Khary Payton (The Walking Dead)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Greg Cipes (Anger Management)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Ashley Johnson (Avengers Assemble)
Freddy Rodriguez (Planet Terror)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Weird Al Yankovic (Halloween II)

“Haters going Hate”(Starfire). The line said by Starfire in the episode Dog Hand, which sets up the general feeling amongst the viewers who have declared this show an abomination, due to not following the original’s compelling story and characters we cared about. Like many, I loved the original Teen Titans, which pretty much was up there with series like Static Shock, Batman Beyond, Justice League, and Batman TAS. The original Teen Titans will forever be a part of our childhood, and we as fans will go out in all lengths to defend the honor of the show, but many are missing the point to Teen Titans Go. In doing so, they are missing what seems to be a promising comedic spin on our Titans.Let’s start by stating that this revival of Teen Titans was never meant to follow or be like the original series. Those who thought otherwise did not read up enough on the show’s premise and details. Teen Titans Go takes our Titans and puts them in a skit. Teen Titans Go is a comedic take on the daily lives of our heroes, and has taken a break from all the serious action and storytelling that we all loved in the original. The mistake that fans do is that they take the show too serious and continue to compare it to the original, thus eliminating any chance for the show to strive. Once the public separates the original from the new, then the show’s genius will take off.
Now, you’re probably saying that there is nothing special or great about the show. It’s not funny or the animation is too grade school. That is all fair, perhaps the show is not your cup of tea, but here are some reasons why the show does excel. First reason; believe it or not, this show does a great job by paying tribute to its old counterpart. The episode Pie Bros highlights a familiar villain known as Mother Mae eye, which the old lady uses her customers as the secret ingredient to her delicious pies. Many Teen Titans Go episodes highlight concepts and villains that were present in the original, and put them into a comedic light. Raven’s daddy coming to visit, Jynx hanging out with Raven and Starfire or Speedy challenging Robin for Starfire’s love are but many episodes in which there are hints of our beloved series, but you have to have an open mind to see the hints to the original.
The argument of it being way too kiddy can be true at times, but many miss the wit that the show presents in subtle moments. The episode La Larva de Amor pokes fun at milk mustaches. At one point we have Cyborg look like Mr. T. Raven sports the Gandalf look from the LOR, and Beast boy does his Chewbacca impression. In the episode Tower Power, Cyborg references to VHS, Different Strokes, and The Pointer Sisters. Not to mention that stereotype on Mexicans in the episode La Larva de Armor. These jokes and pokes would fly over a child’s head. Teen Titans go has a little fun for all ages.Lastly, the characters on this show make it all worthwhile. The original voice cast is here and that authenticates the shows respect for the original. Robin is portrayed as being a control freak and has moments of rage and insecurities, sounds familiar. Raven is still emo and has her sarcastic wit that feels like Raven of old. Cyborg and Beast boy are still pals, and they have their fun. Starfire is still innocent at times and loves her Silky. You see, the Titans are still there, but they have transformed into Toon versions, and are put into a new world where doing laundry can be a great evil foe.Everyone has their tastes and by no means is this show perfect. However, the mistake is that going into a premiere with the expectations of a show being just like the original will set you up for disappointment. It’s happen to a lot of revivals that are good, but are ripped because it’s not the original. Teen Titans Go takes a step back from the original and focuses on lighter and wittier moments that make this show hilarious at times. The original will forever be superior, but this new take has its brilliance, you just need to let go for a moment and let the show take its course. Defiantly the show is worth a look or two.

REVIEW: TEEN TITANS – SEASON 1-5

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Scott Menville (Full House)
Hynden Walch (Justice League War)
Khary Payton (The Walking Dead)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Greg Cipes (Anger Management)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Lauren Tom (Futurama)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Tom Kenny (Superhero Squad)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Tracey Walter (Conan The Destroyer)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Dave Coulier (Full House)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Malcolm McDowell (Heroes)
James Arnold Taylor (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass 2)
Ashley Johnson (Dollhouse)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons)
Thomas Haden Church (Sideways)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Henry Rollins (Wrong Turn 2)
James Hong (BLade Runner)
T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh (Cosby)
Freddy Rodriguez (Ugly Betty)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Finder)
Jason Marsden (Return to The Batcave)
Glenn Shadix (Beetlejuice)
Judge Reinhold (Ruthless People)
Virginia Madsen (Highlander II)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)

Teen Titans centers around the five main members of the superhero team: Robin (Scott Menville), the intelligent, capable leader of the Teen Titans; Starfire (Hynden Walch), a quirky, curious alien princess from the planet Tamaran; Cyborg (Khary Payton), a half-human/half-robot who is known for his strength and technological prowess; Raven (Tara Strong), a stoic girl from the parallel world Azarath, who draws upon dark energy and psionic abilities; and Beast Boy (Greg Cipes), a ditzy, good-natured joker who can transform into various animals. They are situated in Titans Tower, a large T-shaped structure featuring living quarters as well as a command center and variety of training facilities, on an island just offshore from the fictional West Coast city of Jump City.

The team deals with all manner of criminal activity and threats to the city, while dealing with their own struggles with adolescence, their mutual friendships, and their limitations. Slade, their main enemy, is a newly designed version of the DC villain Deathstroke. The team encounters several allies throughout the series; including Aqualad in the first season; Terra in the second season (who is integral to that season’s story arc), as well as Speedy, Hotspot, and Wildebeest; Bumblebee and Más y Menos in the third season (who join Aqualad, Speedy and bumblebee to form ‘Titans East’), and numerous other heroes adapted from the DC universe in the fifth season to aid in the battle against the Brotherhood of Evil.

I admit I wasn’t sure what to expect from Teen Titans. The show is nothing like the Teen Titans comic books, which it is based on. It ended up being more of a kids show. The characters are quite different than their comic book counterparts.


The animation is definitely inspired by Anime. It is borrowing elements from several children’s anime. There is a emphasis on exaggerated character facial expressions, that definitely add to the charm of the show. The show isn’t shy to admit its cultural inspirations by enlisting the Japanese pop band Puffy AmiYumi to perform the catchy theme song.
Teen Titans isn’t for everyone. Overall, I quite enjoy the show. It is worth giving it a try.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: NEMESIS

CAST

Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The GIft)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Gates McFadden (Crowned and Dangerous)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Tom Hardy (Mad Max:Fury Road)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Shannon Cochrane (The Ring)
Dina Meyer (Birds of Prey)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is The New Black)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Majel Barrett (Earth: Final Conflict)
Whoopi Goldberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

On Romulus members of the Romulan Imperial Senate debate whether to accept the terms of peace and alliance with the Reman rebel leader Shinzon. The Remans are a slave race of the Romulan Empire, used as miners and as cannon fodder. A faction of the military is in support of Shinzon, but the Praetor and senate are set against it. After rejecting the motion, the Praetor and remaining senators are disintegrated by a device left in the room by a military-aligned senator.

Meanwhile, the crew of the USS Enterprise-E prepare to bid farewell to first officer Commander William Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi, who are being married on Betazed. En route, they discover a positronic energy reading on a planet in the Kolaran system near the Romulan Neutral Zone. Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Lieutenant Commander Worf, and Lieutenant Commander Data land on Kolarus III and discover the remnants of an android resembling Data. When the android is reassembled it introduces itself as B-4. The crew deduce it to be a less-advanced, earlier version of Data.

Picard is contacted by Vice-Admiral Kathryn Janeway and orders the ship on a diplomatic mission to nearby Romulus. Janeway explains that the Romulan Empire has been taken over in a military coup by Shinzon, who says he wants peace with the Federation and to bring freedom to Remus. On arrival, they learn Shinzon is a clone of Picard, secretly created by Romulans to plant a high-ranking spy into the Federation, but the project was abandoned and Shinzon left on Remus as a child to die as a slave. After many years, Shinzon became a leader of the Remans, and constructed his heavily armed flagship, the Scimitar. Initially, diplomatic efforts go well, but the Enterprise crew discover that the Scimitar is producing low levels of thalaron radiation, which had been used to kill the Imperial Senate and is deadly to nearly all life forms. There are also unexpected attempts to communicate with the Enterprise computers, and Shinzon himself violates Troi’s mind through the telepathy of his Reman viceroy.

Dr. Crusher discovers that Shinzon is aging rapidly because of the process used to clone him, and the only possible means to stop the aging is a transfusion of Picard’s own blood. Shinzon kidnaps Picard from the Enterprise, as well as B-4, having planted the android on the nearby planet to lure Picard to Romulus. However, Data reveals he has swapped places with B-4, rescues Picard, and returns with Picard to the Enterprise. They have now seen enough of the Scimitar to know that Shinzon plans to use the warship to invade the Federation using its thalaron-radiation generator as a weapon, with the eradication of all life on Earth being his first priority.

The Enterprise races back to Federation space but is ambushed by the Scimitar in the Bassen Rift, a region that prevents any subspace communications. Two Romulan Warbirds come to the aid of the Enterprise, as they do not want to be complicit in Shinzon’s genocidal plans, but Shinzon destroys one and disables the other. Recognizing the need to stop the Scimitar at all costs, Picard orders the Enterprise to ram the other ship. The collision leaves both ships heavily damaged and destroys the Scimitar’s primary weapons. To assure their mutual destruction, Shinzon activates the thalaron weapon. Picard boards the Scimitar to face Shinzon alone, and eventually kills him by impaling him on a metal strut. Data jumps the distance between the two ships with a personal transporter to beam Picard back to the Enterprise, and then fires his phaser on the thalaron generator, which destroys the Scimitar, and Data, while saving the Enterprise. The crew mourn Data, and the surviving Romulan commander offers them her gratitude for saving the Empire.

The Enterprise returns to Earth for repairs. Picard bids farewell to newly promoted Captain Riker, who is off to command the USS Titan and begin a possible peace-negotiation mission with the Romulans. Picard meets with B-4, discovering that Data had copied the engrams of his neural net into B-4’s positronic matrix before he “died”. Though B-4 does not yet act as Data, Picard is assured that he will become like his friend in time.A great film seeing the end for one of the crew as the rest embark on their new positions. The action is great and riveting from beginning to end.

REVIEW: TREKKIES

CAST

Denise Crosby (The Walking Dead)
Majel Barrett (Babylon 5)
James Doohan (Some Things Never Die)
DeForest Kelley (Night of The Lepus)
Walter Koenig (Babylon 5)
Nichelle Nichols (Heroes)
Leonard Nimoy (Transformers: The Movie)
William Shatner (Boston Legal)
George Takei (Space Milkshake)
Grace Lee Whitney (60s batman)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The Gift)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Terry Farrell (Hellraiser 3)
Jonathan Frakes (Lois & Clark)
Chase Masterson (The Flash)
Kate Mulgrew (Ryan’s Hope)
Robert O’ Reilly (The Mask)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Gary Lockwood (2001)
Robert Beltran (Lois & Clark)
Roxann Dawson (Darkman 3)
Robert Duncan McNeill (Masters of The Universe)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Tim Russ (Smantha Who?)
John de Lancie (The Hand that Rocks The Cradle)

Image result for trekkies 1997When I first watched Trekkies, I expected mostly to laugh at the weird and wild extremes to which Star Trek fans will go. (I myself a Trek fan, so I was also prepared to do a bit of laughing at myself as well!) But  Trekkies also surprised me with its warm-hearted, caring look at Trek’s most ardent devotees. It managed to tell both a funny story about Trek fans and pay gleeful tribute to their obsession of choice.
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Humor-wise, Trekkies scores big. The Klingons eating Big Macs, the Borg from New Jersey, and the Voyager sex scripts received by the Trek producers were all riotously funny. The Trek cast members all had funny stories to tell as well, from DeForest Kelley’s ardent female fan to Kate Mulgrew’s marriage proposal. But there were also some genuinely touching moments in Trekkies as well. James  Doohan’s story about the suicidal fan brought tears to my eyes. I know people who are fortunate enough to have met Mr. Doohan, and from all accounts he is a truly kind, compassionate individual. That really shows through in all of his comments about the Trek fandom. LeVar Burton tells how Gene Roddenberry named his character, Geordi LaForge, after a terminally ill Star Trek fan who passed away; John de Lancie speaks of another paralyzed patient who finds solace in Star Trek.
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The spirit of the film shares the same love for Star Trek that motivates the fans. It pays tribute to the groundbreaking nature of the original Trek, and praises the spirit of progressiveness and harmony of the Star Trek universe as a whole.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION – SEASON 1-7

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MAIN CAST

Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Joanthan Frakes (Roswell)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The Gift)
Denise Corsby (Dolly Dearest)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Gates McFadden (Franklin & Bash)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Diana Muldaur (Born Free)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

DeForest Kelley (Gunfight at the O.K. Corral)
John De Lancie (The Secret Circle)
Michael Bell (Tangled)
Colm Meaney (Intermission)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Elektra)
Brooke Bundy (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 & 4)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Tracey Walter (Batman)
Stanley Kamel (Domino)
Marc Alaimo (Total Recall)
Majel Barrett (Babylon 5)
Robert Knepper (Izombie)
Carel Struycken (The Addams Family)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Carolyn McCormick (Enemy Mine)
Katy Boyer (The Island)
Michael Pataki (Rocky IV)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Vaughn Armstrong (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Vincent Schiavelli (Batman Returns)
Judson Scott (Blade)
Merritt Butrick (Fright Night: Part 2)
Leon Rippy (Stargate)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday The 13th – Part 8)
Seymour Cassel (Rushmore)
Ray Walston (The Sting)
Whoppi Godlberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Chris Latta (G.I.Joe)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Billy Campbell (The Rocketeer)
Teri Hatcher (Lois & Clark)
William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Clyde Kusatsu (Doctor Strange 70s)
Paddi Edwards (Halloween III)
Sam Anderson (Lost)
Robert Duncan McNeill (Masters of The Universe)
Mitchell Ryan (Lethal Weapon)
Nikki Cox (Las Vegas)
Lycia Naff (Total Recall)
Robert Costanzo (Batman: TAS)
Robert O’Reilly (The Mask)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Scott Grimes (American Dad)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Andreas Katsulas (Babylon 5)
Simon Templeton (James Bond Jr.)
James Cromwell (Species II)
Corbin Bernsen (The Tomorrow Man)
Christopher McDonald (Fanboys)
Tricia O’ Neil (Titanic)
Hallie Todd (Sabrina: TTW)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Harry Groener (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Saul Rubinek (Warehouse 13)
Mark Lenard (Planet of The Apes TV)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Elizabeth Dennehy (Gattaca)
George Murodck (Battlestar Galactica)
Jeremy Kemp (Conan)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
BethToussaint (Fortress 2)
April Grace (Lost)
Patti Yasutake (The Closer)
Alan Scarfe (Andromeda)
Bebe Neuwirth (Jumanji)
Rosalind Chao (Freaky Friday)
Jennifer Hetrick (L.A. Law)
Michelle Forbes (Powers)
David Ogden Stiers (Tweo Guys and a Girl)
Gwyneth walsh (Taken)
Paul Winfield (The Terminator)
Ashley Judd (Divergent)
Leonard Nimoy (Transformers: The Movie)
Malachi Thorne (Batman 60s)
Daniel Roebuck (Lost)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Matt Frewer (Watchmen)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Liz Vassey (Two and a Half Men)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Ed Lauter (The Number 23)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Famke Janssen (X-Men)
Shay Astar (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Thomas Kopache (Stigmata)
Susanna Thompson (Arrow)
Richard Riehle (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Alexander Enberg (Junior)
Lanei Chapman (Rat Race)
James Doohan (Some Things Never Die)
Olivia D’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Ronny Cox (Robocop)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Stephanie Beacham (The Colbys)
Reg E. Cathey (Fantastic Four)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Richard Herd (V)
Tim Russ (Samantha Who?)
Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5)
Salome Jens (Superboy)
Andrew Prine (V)
Alan Oppenheimer (Transformers)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Richard Lynch (Puppet Master 3)
Robin Curtis (General Hospital)
Julie Caitlin Brown (Babylon 5)
Kirsten Dunst (Bring it On)
Lee Arenberg (Pirates of The Caribbean)
Fionnula Flanagan (Lost)
Mark Bramhall (Alias)
Terry O’Quinn (Lost)
Penny Johnson Jerald (Bones)
Brian Markinson (Arrow)

When the TNG series premiered in 1987, it wasn’t greeted well by many of the old-time Trek fans, including myself. It didn’t help matters that one of the earliest episodes, “The Naked Now” was a superficial retread of the classic “The Naked Time” from ’66. The new episode should have served as a way of spotlighting several of the new crew, but all it did was show them all in heat. I wasn’t too impressed. What did work was keeping the central theme of exploration (something lost in the offshoots, DS9 & Voyager). The new Enterprise was twice as large as the original, with about a thousand personnel aboard. Capt. Picard (Stewart) was a more cerebral, diplomatic version of the ultimate explorer we had known as Capt. Kirk. Again, Picard wasn’t too impressive in the first two awkward seasons, as some may mistake his caution for weakness. The Kirk-like first officer Riker (Frakes) was controlled by Picard, so the entire crew of Enterprise-D came across as a bit too civilized, too complacent for their own good. It’s interesting that this complacency was fractured by the most memorable episode of the first two years, “Q Who?” which introduced The Borg. All of a sudden, exploration was not a routine venture.

Other memorable episodes of the first 2 years: the double-length pilot, introducing Q; “Conspiracy”-an early invasion thriller; “Where No One Has Gone Before”-an ultimate attempt to define the exploring theme; “The Big Goodbye”-the first lengthy exploration of the new holodeck concept; “Datalore”-intro of Data’s evil twin; “Skin of Evil”-death of Tasha Yar; “11001001”-perhaps the best holodeck story; and “The Measure of a Man”-placing an android on trial. Except for “Q Who” the 2nd year was even more of a letdown from the first. Space started to percolate in the 3rd season. I liked “The Survivors”-introducing an entity resembling Q in a depressed mood, and “Deja Q” with both Q & Guinan squaring off, as well as other alien beings. A remaining drawback was the ‘techno-babble’ hindering many scripts, an aspect which made them less exciting than the stories of the original series. As Roddenberry himself believed, when characters spoke this way, it did not come across as naturalistic, except maybe when it was Data (Spiner), the android. The engineer La Forge (Burton), for example, was usually saddled with long, dull explanatory dialog for the audience.

In the 3rd year, truly innovative concepts such as the far-out parallel-universe adventure “Yesterday’s Enterprise” began to take hold, topped by the season-ender “The Best of Both Worlds,part 1” in which The Borg returned in their first try at assimilating Earth. After this and the 2nd part, the TNG show was off and running, at full warp speed. There are too many great episodes from the next 4 seasons to list here, but I tended to appreciate the wild, cosmic concept stories best: “Parallels”(s7); “Cause and Effect”(s5); “Timescape”(s6); “Tapestry”(s6); and the scary “Frame of Mind”, “Schisms” and “Genesis.” There’s also the mind-blowing “Inner Light”(s5), “Conundrum” and “Ship in a Bottle”(s6), “Second Chances.” The intense 2-parter “Chain of Command” was almost like a film, and the great return of Scotty in “Relics” was very entertaining, though it showed you can’t go home again. The show also continued to tackle uneasy social issues, as in “The Host”, “The Outcast”, “First Contact” and “The Drumhead” as well as political:”Darmok”, “Rightful Heir”, “Face of the Enemy” and “The Pegasus.” The series ended on a strong note, “All Good Things…” a double-length spectacular with nearly the budget of a feature film. But it wasn’t really the end. A few months later, an actual feature film was released “Star Trek Generations”(94). It’s rather ironic that the TNG films couldn’t match the innovation and creativity of the last 4 seasons of the series. “Star Trek Insurrection”(98) for example, is a lesser effort than any of the episodes mentioned above.