Thursday, August 27, 2015

Star Trek Voyager (Season 5a)

Season 4bSeason 5b

The first half of season five is solid, but not outstanding. There are even some serious topics dealt with, but largely in a cursory fashion. And, as is the norm with more modern Trek, there is a ton of stunt plotting.

Episode 1 “Night”

The idea of an empty vastness of space is probably a lot more realistic than the galaxy we see teeming with life in Trek. The concept of an alien species created to live in such emptiness is interesting, but one wonders how that makes any sense. The message here is elementary school level environmental, which does not make it bad or wrong, just unsophisticated.

Episode 2 “Drone” 

We get to explore all the deprograming Seven has been through in a matter of minutes with the spontaneous creation of a futuristic Borg. Luckily for everyone on the crew, their way of looking at life is clearly better than the Borg’s and this new Borg sees things that way as well. Once again, a rather simple perspective on intercultural differences from a show that wants to champion open-mindedness.

Episode 3 “Extreme Risk”

Trek addresses depression, and does a pretty good job of things.

Episode 4 “In the Flesh” 

Here we get one of those stories that doesn’t make a lot of sense in the big picture. Once again those aliens that they met several years-worth of normal travel in their past has decided that they are a threat and has set up training camps to prepare for an Earth invasion. Why these camps are out here several decades away from Earth—and how they managed to obtain so much information about Earth—remains unexplained. The whole episode seems created to justify an astonishing cold open.

Episode 5 “Once Upon a Time” 

Neelix takes care of a girl who is worried about her mom, all the while realizing that he is messed up over the loss of his family. “The Bonding” from STNG does a better job with greater stakes.

Episode 6 “Timeless” 

Another episode that never happened because time travel. Then again, Kim did get that message in the end…

Episode 7 “Infinite Regress” 

Seven has to come to terms with her demons, or at least all the people she helped assimilate as a Borg. Which is strange because she was a Borg way out here 70 years away from Earth. How did she help assimilate so many alpha quadrant species?

Episode 8 “Nothing Human” 

A great struggle with medicinal ethics. When is it OK to do good with information obtained through evil means?

Episode 9 “Thirty Days” 

Tom violates the Prime Directive in a major way and serves out a big punishment.

Episode 10 “Counterpoint” 

Another media res episode where we meet a whole culture that was simply set up to entertain a neat idea. However, unlike last season they didn’t spend several episodes setting up the culture. It plays like a power struggle between our heroic captain and basically a friendly Nazi.

Episode 11 “Latent Image” 

Trek has come a long way since the days of debating Data’s rights. The status of A.I. is a flux in Trek. If it is the one character we like—The Doctor—we treat him better than the dispensable “red shirt” humans. If you are another A.I., like say the Cardasian doctor a few episodes back, you’re out of luck.

Episode 12 “Bride of Chaotica” 

They have been setting the holodeck environment of Captain Proton up all season long. Just as we knew Da Vinci was going to play a larger role at some point last time, we knew we were eventually going to get our black-and-white 1950’s space opera episode. Unfortunately, we get the bare bones of a plot to justify it. On the other hand, it is quite fun. I could do with more.

Episode 13 “Gravity” 

So THIS is where they got the time differential concept for “Interstellar” and “Inception.”

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