One of the horror genre's "most widely read critics" (Rue Morgue # 68), "an accomplished film journalist" (Comic Buyer's Guide #1535), and the award-winning author of Horror Films of the 1980s (2007), The Rock and Roll Film Encyclopedia (2007) and Horror Films of the 1970s (2002), John Kenneth Muir, presents his blog on film, television and nostalgia, named one of the Top 100 Film Studies Blog on the Net.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
At Anorak: The Five Most Underrated Episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987 - 1994)
My latest article at Anorak is now posted, and it remembers -- and lauds -- five underrated episodes from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
IF Star Trek: The Next Generation(1987 – 1994) did not have the words
“Star” and “Trek” in the series title — or the good fortune to air on TV the
year after the box office hit,Star
Trek IV: The Voyage Home(1986)
— it may never have survived a few awkward, early seasons and come to achieve
the reputation for greatness it currently enjoys with fans and reviewers.
The conventional wisdom — which happens to be correct in this case
— is thatStar Trek: The
not really hit its stride until its third season.
The early seasons of the series re-purposed plots from the classic
sixties series (“The Naked Now,”) played musical chairs with the Enterprise’s
CMO, failed to introduce the series’ new villain, the Ferengi, in a way that
made the race of “Yankee traders” seem menacing, and traded in preachy
didacticism about the perils of nationalism (“Encounter at Farpoint,”) eating
meat (“Lonely Among Us,”) and recreational drug use (“Symbiosis.”)
One dreadful episode, “Code of Honor,” featured a race of
primitive black-skinned humanoids, and was absolutely cringe-worthy for its
commentary on race. Another equally embarrassing installment, “Angel One,”
featured that old genre cliché about a world run by — gasp! —women.
But one fact to consider about conventional wisdom as it regardsThe Next Generationis that it largely fails to account
for the fact that some of the early episodes were also, in their own peculiar
way, daring and even experimental.
That doesn’t mean that the following episodes were necessarily
complete successes, but rather that theytriedthings, and in the process
attempted to push the franchise in new and ambitious directions. For
that, they deserve recognition, and perhaps even a little love.
Accordingly, below you will find a list of the five most
underrated episodes ofStar
Trek: The Next Generation.
And you’ll notice that all but one of them emerges from the
series’ first two highly-uneven seasons, a period of great lows, but also some