Top 5 Star Trek TNG Episodes

(That miss most top 10 lists.)

Lately I’ve been nostalgic for the Star Trek series of my childhood, that is, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Maybe it’s the recent announcement of the new Star Trek: Picard series. Or perhaps because of The Orville, a TV series that is a spiritual successor, loving homage, or blatant ripoff of TNG. (Opinions vary.)

Whatever the reason, I’ve been rewatching some old favorites of mine, and noticed a few that fail to make the top lists. So here (confusingly) is my list of top Star Trek TNG episodes that don’t make the top lists.

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Star Wars: The Headcanon Burninates

Every generation has a legend. Every fan has a theory. But Star Wars Episode 9 approaches, and as the trailers start to appear, many of these fan theories will start to go down in flames.

Although I am more of a Trekker than a Star Wars fan, I did have my own thoughts on the storyline for Episode 9. Since I have just watched the first Episode 9 teaser, I thought it would be amusing to record my personal theories, just to see how badly they hold up as future trailers come out.

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Four Rules of Phaser Safety

Or, Are Star Trek Phasers Sentient?

Anyone who has handled firearms in the modern era is probably familiar with the four rules of gun safety. But as our technology gets smarter, will the rules change?

Star Trek: The Next Generation showed us a future with warp drives and transporters, androids, replicators, and all sorts of futuristic technologies. In the midst of these technological advancements, what does their weapons-handling tell us?

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4 Ways to Save the World from an Alien Invasion

It’s the end of the world as we know it. Martian war tripods have been spotted just outside of Surrey. In New York and Washington, enormous saucers 15 miles wide hover menacingly over the Independence Day holiday preparations. A Dalek fleet approaches from one direction; a Borg Cube from the other.

In short, we’re so screwed. The super-advanced civilization that could stomp us out like ants appears poised to do just that.

In last week’s episode of The Orville (spoilers follow)…

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A Year of VSS365

A little over a year ago, my New Year’s resolution was to write more. And in particular, I challenged myself to participate in VSS365 every day in 2018.

The outcome? I did it. 2018 is over (hooray), and I posted a VSS365-tagged tweet each day. Not all of them were good, and I may have cheated a couple times early-on by doubling-up after missing a day, but…

Assuming on average I filled up half a tweet (140 of 280 characters), then for an average word length of 5 characters, I wrote 10,000+ words. While that’s not terribly impressive (only a fraction of what a NaNoWriMo winner writes in a single month), it’s a good start.

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Baby It’s Cold Outside (So Can I Come Inside?)

Christmastime is here again, and what would the holidays be without a warm fire, snowfall, and controversy? As I sit next to my fireplace staring out at a fresh blanket of snow, this year’s controversy is “Baby It’s Cold Outside”.

Is this song an innocent holiday classic from a bygone era? Or is it a dark misogynistic song with undertones of date rape?

I rather see it as a window into the complex intertwining of context, consent, and flirtation. And from a writer’s perspective, I see it underscoring the importance of nonverbal cues in character motivations.

(Also, I happen to like the song.) Continue reading “Baby It’s Cold Outside (So Can I Come Inside?)”

Star Trek: Discovery

The premiere episode of Star Trek: Discovery just aired on CBS, and I just want to say that, for the first time in many years, there is a TV show that is true to the spirit of Star Trek, that is fun to watch, full of hopeful optimism, yet not afraid to tackle tough issues.

And that show is The Orville.

Screw Star Trek: Discovery. Screw it with one of those pentalobe screwdrivers that you have to buy to service an iPhone. (Possible spoilers.)

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The Orville – To Blandly Go?

This week brought the debut of “The Orville,” the new sci-fi television series from Seth MacFarlane. Better known as the creator of “Family Guy”, MacFarlane might seem an unlikely suspect for a quality sci-fi series, but he also served as executive producer on the (rather well-done) reboot of “Cosmos”. He is also well-known to be a Star Trek fan, having guest starred in “Star Trek: Enterprise” and hinted at bringing Star Trek back to the small screen.

orville-approach
Captain KirkMercer and ScottyMalloy approach the EnterpriseOrville in Spacedockthe Dockyard. Screencap of video from Fox.com.

The first episode, “Old Wounds”, is currently viewable on Fox’s website. Web discussion of the episode frequently seems to hit on three points:

  1. It’s not quite Galaxy Quest, and more like Star Trek as a comedy.
  2. It’s a little more restrained than Family Guy.
  3. It’s kind of bland.

I’ll talk about each of these things.

(Possible spoilers throughout.)

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