Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Star Trek: The Next Generation 3x15 "Yesterday's Enterprise"


One of the episodes long recognized as a classic is this unusual revisit of a prior series regular (though I've listed the similar experience of Kes returning to Voyager in "Fury" as another classic, this is far from a typical Star Trek fan's view) as an alternate reality allows the late Tasha Yar to stage a comeback, although she goes back and forth during the episode as to whether or not this is a good thing.

"Yesterday's Enterprise" references in its title one of the many nifty aspects of the episode.  The lineage of the name Enterprise as a ship in Starfleet was established by Pike and Kirk's commands in the original series as well as the next one under Kirk in the films.  Picard's command of the Enterprise-D was the next one established in continuity, and then the Enterprise-C in this one.  It wouldn't be until Star Trek Generations that we learn anything about the Enterprise-B, while the NX version was established under Archer in Enterprise.  Of course Picard also commands the Enterprise-E in the movies.

Anyway, we're chiefly concerned with the Enterprise-C for the purposes of this episode.  After Kirk's heydey and before Picard's there was considerable unrest between Klingons and Romulans.  Worf's backstory involves some of the particulars, although his presence isn't really relevant to "Yesterday's Enterprise."  The ship in question becomes time-lost in Picard's present in a crucial incident, which alters the timeline so that Starfleet has become more militaristic, but more important in this reality Yar is still alive (after all, she died pretty randomly in the more familiar one, in "Skin of Evil," which I've also listed as a classic).

She proves useful in bringing the older crew up to speed, complicated when Captain Rachel Garrett doesn't survive the experience that brought her ship into the future.  An odd kind of bonus is that Yar starts to fall for the de facto new commander of the ship.  This becomes relevant the longer she becomes aware that as far as Guinan is concerned, she shouldn't exist.

That's the most interesting aspect of the episode for me.  Guinan was often kind of overly mysterious.  The creators kept hinting about her backstory and abilities (Generations eventually revealed exactly what species she was and how she ended up hanging out with Starfleet), and sometimes that made for some incredibly interesting material, even though no single episode was ever based entirely around her (strangely enough).  This one came closest.  She's the only member of Picard's crew that is aware that reality has been altered, and she lets Yar know that she's the most obvious blip.  This might be considered incredibly insensitive.  If Guinan had remained quiet about that Yar wouldn't have made the decision she does at the end of the episode, and we wouldn't have Sela later in the series (also played by Denise Crosby).

But that decision is its own kind of redemption for the character, alternate version or not.  She goes out much more heroically, choosing to lend her expertise to the Enterprise-C crew when it goes back in time and undoes its undoing of the timeline (does the doing of the timeline?).  Anyway, feel-good moment for everyone, except when you realize the crew is headed to its own doom, and that Yar will become a Romulan prisoner, and mother of a real Romulan watchyourmouth.

At this point in Star Trek lore, acknowledging any kind of continuity was still a rarity, so something like this would have been special one way or another, but it's still an excellent and unexpected episode.  And yes, technically there was a female captain of an Enterprise!

franchise * series * essential * character

notable guest-stars:
Denise Crosby
Whoopi Goldberg
Christopher McDonald

Memory Alpha summary.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Star Trek: The Next Generation 3x14 "A Matter of Perspective"


"A Matter of Perspective" is interesting, and yet it's not as memorable as the similar Voyager episode "Ex Post Facto."  Both are stories about a crewmember being accused of murder on an alien planet and being forced to clear their names by extraordinary means.  In Voyager's version it's Tom Paris, who has already been sentenced and punished by the time we catch up with him, forced to relive the murder he supposedly committed over and over again.

For The Next Generation, it's Riker.  The means by which his supposed crime is explored is more interesting than the crime itself.  (In Voyager's it's both, although fans of that series mostly criticize it for bringing out all the wrong elements of the character at an early stage of his and the show's development.)  Simply put, it's essentially a holodeck episode, but more importantly than saying that is that it's one of several episodes from the series to use it as much as a tool as a means of entertainment.  (Although no one's entertained with it this time, including the audience, relatively speaking.)

It's a devise that's used again in "Schisms" to much greater (and creepier) effect, not to mention "Identity Crisis" when Geordi is trying to figure out what's happening to some old colleagues of his (and because I love "Distant Origin" from Voyager, there's a memorable recreation sequence there, plus the whole completely inaccurate recreation from "Living Witness" from the same series).

Anyway, so this one seems to have bred an entire genre of Star Trek storytelling, one that begs the common belief that the holodeck was a terrible trope in franchise lore.  It just so happens that the first effort wasn't the best one.  They seldom are.

Actually, the most notable element for the characters in the whole episode is Data's barbed comments about Picard's artistic abilities.  Which may as well as be a metatextual comment about the episode itself.

franchise * series * essential * character

notable guest-stars:
Colm Meaney

Memory Alpha summary.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Fifty Years to First Contact!

On April 5, 2063, exactly fifty years from now, Zephram Cochrane will take his warp test aboard the Phoenix, and as a result Vulcans will figure humans are worth visiting.

Cochrane had "dollars" in mind when he created his warp engine.  He doesn't like to fly! He dreams of retiring to a tropical island, filled with naked women.  Yet whatever his motivations, Cochrane will prove to be a great man.  As he himself will say, "Don't try to be a great man, just be a man, and let history make its own judgment."  Yet he will still be surprised when a statue is created in his honor.  Geordi La Forge will go to Zephram Cochrane High School!

We know all of this because of Star Trek: First Contact.  Cochrane actually makes his first franchise appearance in the original series episode "Metamorphosis," in which we discover how he actually retired.  Following First Contact, he became a much bigger element of franchise lore, appearing in "Broken Bow," the first episode of Enterprise, creating the distinctive phrasing of the famous mission statement Kirk and Picard quote in the opening sequences of their shows (while just as famously correcting the dreaded split infinitive by declaring that we'll go boldly).  Later, Enterprise reveals that an alternate version of how human's first contact played out created the Mirror Universe when Cochrane fires on the Vulcan and leads a raid on his ship.  This occurs in the "In a Mirror, Darkly" two-part adventure.

That may or may not be how it occurs without Picard's intervention.  First Contact reveals one last ripple of this famous date in Star Trek history.  It begins with humanity's second brush with a Borg invasion.  Picard and his crew are initially sidelined thanks to the events of the Next Generation two-part story "The Best of Both Worlds," yet they arrive just in time to save the day, and witness a cube's traveling through time.  The Collective believes that pesky humans will be easier to assimilate if they're far more isolated than in the timeline proper.  They choose to step in and eliminate Cochrane's flight from history, thereby preventing first contact.  It may be worth noting that Cochrane's world is in a state of disarray following the devastation of WWIII (first referenced by Q in "Encounter at Farpoint").

Picard will hardly let that stand.  Although things are complicated when Data is kidnapped and almost convinced to join the Borg's efforts, not to mention Riker's exasperated discovery of Cochrane's personality, events play out the way history remembers them (except for the intervention of visitors from the future, much less the presence of the Borg).

Fans who want to follow another thread of First Contact will note another Enterprise episode, "Regeneration," which closes the loop of the movie and may also explain why the Borg were so obsessed with humanity in the first place.

Cochrane isn't alone, it should be noted, in his efforts.  He's ably assisted by Lily, who may after all be the idealist history thought Cochrane was, at least before he saw that everything he was told by Riker, La Forge and Troi was true.  Yet she has a much more difficult time embracing the strange visitors to her time, possibly because she's brought aboard the Enterprise itself, forced in a real and immediate way to confront everything about the future she helps create.  Her scenes with Picard define First Contact even more than Cochrane's.

Fans had a difficult time processing that the pleasant surprise of the Vulcan visit at the end of the movie didn't immediately segue into friendly relations as suggested by the original series.  Enterprise features a steady stream of humanity struggling against Vulcan patronizing.  Although if you think about it, the signs were all there.  We're told by Troi herself that humans were considered too primitive to visit previously, that Cochrane's flight came as a big surprise.  Half of First Contact is an emphasis on how decidedly human Cochrane himself is.  Spock, meanwhile, is an anomaly in his own crew, not only apparently an exception as a Vulcan serving in Starfleet but also subject to bigotry among his colleagues, the least harmful being his playfully antagonistic relationship with Dr. McCoy.  (This pattern of behavior, from oppressor to oppressed, is reflected in the Deep Space Nine continuation of the Mirror Universe saga, by the way.)

All that being said, enjoy this anniversary of first contact!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

100 Greatest Moments: Movies Edition

I thought it might be interesting to have a look at the Star Trek magazine special's greatest moments from the franchise as they reflect each of the series:

26) David Marcus dies (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock) 
The son of Kirk is murdered by Klingons.  It comes up again three films later. (#97)

25) McCoy relives his father's death (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) 
Crucial to the arc of Spock's half-brother running around trying to find God is his ability to attract followers by relieving their pain.  He does so by making them confront it.  McCoy wanted to spare his father pain, too, but couldn't know that the illness afflicting him would be cured soon after. (#96)

24) pink Klingon blood (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) 
The magazine doesn't seem to know why the Klingons have pink blood in this movie, but it's because the ratings board would have gone crazy otherwise. (#93)

23) Data dies (Star Trek Nemesis) 
Most of the reason why this is rated so low is that most fans don't respect the movie in which it happens.  I do.  But as I've said before, I'm not here to quibble. (#91)

22) Worf gets a zit (Star Trek: Insurrection) 
One of the wacky side effects of defending a planet with a functional fountain of youth is this moment. (#90)

21) Spock mind melds with V'ger (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) 
One of Spock's many mind melds embraced by the magazine.  It's the turning point of the whole movie, naturally. (#65)

20) Zephram Cochrane greets the Vulcan (Star Trek: First Contact) 
The end of the movie has the biggest surprise, because until this point fans didn't know how humans and Vulcans met.  Ended up serving as the basis for an entire series, plus the secret origin of the Mirror Universe. (#64)

19) George Kirk dies (Star Trek) 
One of the best moments of the 2009 reboot came early on, when we meet Kirk's heretofore unseen father and the circumstances of his death in the diverging timeline. (#62)

18) Riker stuns Zephram Cochrane (Star Trek: First Contact) 
Cochrane was just one of the many reasons this film proved instantly memorable, and this is just one of the many ways he helped make it that way. I'm sure it wasn't because Riker was getting revenge for that whole drunk episode with Troi.  Noooo (#60)

17) "What does God need with a starship?" (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) 
Kirk asks this question.  McCoy counters with "You don't ask the Almighty for his I.D."  But Kirk is right. (#53)

16) orbital skydive (Star Trek) 
In a movie filled with action, this one of the best action moments. (#46)

15) Decker merges with the Ilia probe (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) 
Those two people you don't remember from the original series?  Neither makes it out of the movie alive.  But they help the evolved probe fulfill its mission (and incidentally not destroy Earth).  Rampant speculation through the years has it V'ger was modified by the Borg.  Although that would imply that the Collective either had equally mechanical origins ("Have you seen John Connor?  We're supposed to go out on a date.") or that the darn probe screwed everything up (which is what fans have been saying about this movie). (#43)

14) destruction of the Enterprise-D (Star Trek Generations) 
Saucer section goes sledding!  Calvin was at the helm. (#41)

13) Kirk cheated in the Kobayashi Maru test (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) 
An increasingly crucial element of franchise lore is established. (#35)

12) Kirk meets Picard (Star Trek Generations) 
Everyone thought it would be more epic. (#26)

11) Spock and the punk (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home) 
You know the punk.  The one with the boom box.  The one everyone cheers to see receive the Vulcan nerve pinch.  Colorful metaphors not required. (#25)

10) Data switches off the emotion chip (Star Trek: First Contact) 
The fact that Data is an android was a heavy emphasis of his appearances in the movies.  This is still the best moment concerning that part of his character. (#20)

9) destruction of the Enterprise (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock) 
It was talking to the Klingons.  Or maybe just counting down to a self-destruct.  Or it could have been Marvin. (#18)

8) ready room confrontation (Star Trek: First Contact) 
My personal favorite moment from this or any other Star Trek movie, Picard and Lily clash over what to do about the Borg.  The magazine cleverly points out that although Khan brought up Ahab first, it was Picard who learned the lesson. (#17)

7) battle of Mutara Nebula (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) 
Other than the Battle of Wolf 359, this is the most famous ship fight in franchise lore. (#15)

6) Kirk meets McCoy (Star Trek) 
The best moment in the reboot was our and Kirk's introduction to McCoy.  Everyone knows it. (#14)

5) Data is tempted by the Borg Queen (Star Trek: First Contact) 
As in the series, the android somehow still gets around more than anyone else (besides Riker). (#13)

4) Khaaaaaan! (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) 
This is the utterance everyone knows.  The funny thing is that it's all part of a bluff, so the passion everyone remembers so fondly is just another Corbomite maneuver. (#12)

3) eels in the ears (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) 
Creepy crawly. (#8)

2) Spock mind melds with Gracie (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home) 
In which he discovers she's pregnant, which is the least of what puts Gillian in a near-constant tizzy. (#6)

1) Spock dies (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)
A moment so memorable that the film that follows it builds the entire first and final act around reprising it.  And even without that, would anyone dispute this as the greatest moment in the film series if not the entire franchise?  I thought not. (#1)

100 Greatest Moments: Enterprise Edition

I thought it might be interesting to have a look at the Star Trek magazine special's greatest moments from the franchise as they reflect each of the series:

3) Trip becomes pregnant ("Unexpected")
Trip is one of my favorite characters, not just in Enterprise but the entire franchise.  So it's a little odd and perhaps amusing that at least at the moment his lasting legacy is that one time he got...pregnant. (#99)

2) 79. the Xindi probe attacks Earth ("The Expanse")
The fans all seem to agree that the series got much better in its third and fourth seasons.  This moment comes from the end of the second and is the start of a season-long arc.  Enterprise debuted in the fall of 2001, right after 9/11.  Another second season episode has the sad distinction of commemorating the Columbia disaster.  The Xindi arc was meant to reflect a post-9/11 world, something the series at first seemed to avoid.  Some fans in fact criticize the series for not reflecting...other TV series like The West Wing.  Yet if it is to have any legacy at all, this cannot be considered a bad one.  It is perhaps one that will only increase in significance over time.  And for the record, Trip is personally affected by the attack, which cuts a huge swath from Florida to South America, claiming among many others his sister, which is itself part of another arc, concluding only in the final season. (#79)

1) T'Mir introduces Velcro ("Carbon Creek")
T'Mir is an ancestor of T'Pol, and conveniently looks exactly like her!  This odd little bit of storytelling happens to prove that Vulcans came to Earth before the events of Star Trek: First Contact, and that at least these Vulcans didn't react so negatively to humans, which is the defining element of the series.  It's unlikely that the magazine was thinking about that particular element when it chose this moment, but that's where I come in.  You're welcome. (#47)

100 Greatest Moments: Voyager Edition

I thought it might be interesting to have a look at the Star Trek magazine special's greatest moments from the franchise as they reflect each of the series:

8) Nazis! ("The Killing Game Parts I & II") 
What the magazine argues perhaps without even realizing it, with both this initial moment and the others that follow, is that Voyager was always a fan's version of Star Trek, which is funny because it was the fans who struggled so much to reject it.  Yet it's Voyager that perhaps did the franchise itself better than any other incarnation. (#85)

7) Quinn argues for suicide ("Death Wish")
Another irony of the series is that it features one of the best Q episodes. (#80)

6) Janeway resets time ("Year of Yell Part II") 
"Year of Hell" was one of several "movies" that the series did, two-part episodes that were originally aired back-to-back on the same night.  It's also the best of them, and the best counterargument to the fans who thought Star Trek could pull off what Battlestar Galactica later accomplished, a bleak journey filled with one disaster after another, and a toll that visibly worked itself on the crew.  You'll think differently after watching this one.  Also arguably the best "reset button" episode of the franchise. (#78)

5) 69. One dies ("Drone") 
Another great irony of the magazine's selections is that they make a mockery of another classic argument against the series, that it basically ruined the Borg.  The magazine and I both defy you to watch this moment, and the episode around it, and still try to make that claim. (#69)

4) Janeway's Borg encounter ("Scorpion Part II") 
The fourth season began with the control of the show's first real clash with the Borg.  And the debut of Seven of Nine, whose continuing bid for humanity proves that it's far more difficult to disconnect from the Collective than simply breaking free of the hive mind. (#59)

3) the Voth establishment rejects science ("Distant Origin") 
Another really awesome selection is the magazine's acknowledgment of "Distant Origin," one of the best episodes in franchise lore.  The whole point of Voyager was that it was supposed to make getting back to the basics of franchise storytelling easier.  And episode like this one proves that no matter what fans think, this was a good idea. (#55)

2) the natives set Voyager free ("Blink of an Eye") 
A similar moment, and just a cool episode, is this one, which features the ship getting stuck in the orbit of a planet that spins faster than the norm, meaning civilization advances from primitive to advanced in moments.  The magazine rightly distinguishes the moment where this becomes more than just nifty storytelling. (#52)

1) Janeway and the Borg Queen ("Endgame")
Janeway is represented twice in the final episode of the series, one as her contemporary self and the other from the future.  It's Future Janeway who visits the Borg at their home, believing she can finally undo all her feelings of guilt by finally getting the crew home.  It's incredibly curious, and perhaps telling, that this is selected as the defining moment of the series, which featured the first female to helm a Star Trek, matching wits with the defining female villain of the franchise.  Janeway always had an indomitable will (it can perhaps sometimes be forgotten that she lost her fiance when the crew was stranded on the other side of the galaxy).  How better to prove it? (#30)

100 Greatest Moments: Deep Space Nine Edition

I thought it might be interesting to have a look at the Star Trek magazine special's greatest moments from the franchise as they reflect each of the series:

8) Sisko takes his son solar sailing ("Explorers")
In an entire series that remains my favorite, it's sometimes hard for me to say what my favorite moments are, but this one has always been among them, so it's nice that the magazine agrees. (#92)

7) Sisko and Garak conspire ("In the Pale Moonlight") 
Like "Amok Time," "In the Pale Moonlight" has a few key moments that endure.  The whole episode is about Sisko's willingness to get his hands dirty during the Dominion War that defined the latter half of the series.  It figures that "plain, simple" Garak would factor into these events. (#87)

6) Worf's bachelor party ("You Are Cordially Invited") 
The franchise became increasingly interested in Klingon culture, which might be said to reach its culmination in this moment. (#77)

5) Worf battles the Jem'Hadar ("By Inferno's Light") 
Worf gets a lot of moments on the list, and surprisingly two of them are in his second series.  Here he battles the foot soldiers of the Dominion while being held as a captive (some fun facts about his fellow prisoners: we learn that Bashir is one of them, and that the one that's been featured in the past few episodes was in fact a changeling; and this also features the debut of the real Martok, who was also previously running around as a changeling doppelganger, which more or less makes Deep Space Nine far more a precursor to Ron Moore's Battlestar Galactica than fans perhaps currently appreciate). (#76)

4) Quark serves root beer ("The Way of the Warrior") 
Quark could be many things, but he was also an unlikely observer of the human condition, a classic trope in Star Trek.  That's the whole deal with the root beer, which he compares to the Federation during the Klingon war that led directly to the Dominion one. (#71)

3) Nog seeks treatment in the holosuite ("It's Only a Paper Moon")
Since it more or less came to define the whole series, it's not surprising that the Dominion War keeps popping up in the moments selected to represent it.  In this instance, Quark's nephew Nog, the first Ferengi to serve in Starfleet, has lost a leg thanks to the conflict, and is only able to get over it thanks to virtual lounge singer Vic Fontaine.  Hey pally, it only makes sense! (#54)

2) Sisko deletes the log ("In the Pale Moonlight")
"In the Pale Moonlight" is told from the perspective of a personal log, one of the rare instances of this happening in the franchise ("Whispers" from the second season is another, while Voyager's "Thirty Days" is another).  It's Sisko's attempt to make peace with what he's done.  So the decision in the selected moment is a significant one. (#37)

1) Benny Russell ("Far Beyond the Stars")
Being the first black man to helm a series in franchise history, Sisko was always in a unique position, yet it's this episode that finally puts it in perspective, which may actually, as the magazine suggests, end by deciding that it's Benny Russell, frustrated 1950s pulp fiction writer, who's real, and not Sisko.  Like the Kirk-Uhura kiss, it's a cultural moment rather than a franchise moment, and it proves that Star Trek is so much more than mere science fiction, just as it proves the series was always more than the sum of its dark parts.  Like its brethren, Deep Space Nine was ultimately hopeful. (#7)

100 Greatest Moments: The Next Generation Edition

I thought it might be interesting to have a look at the Star Trek magazine special's greatest moments from the franchise as they reflect each of the series:

29) time keeps repeating itself ("Cause and Effect") 
Fun episode where the same events happen over and over again, with the crew eventually catching on and figuring out how to stop it.  One of the great fun facts of the series is that Kelsey Grammer makes an appearance at the end of the episode as the captain of a crew who had to wait until Data could be programmed to glance at Riker's pips. (#94)

28) Data and Tasha Yar have sex ("The Naked Now")
I mean, c'mon.  Sex in Star Trek is rare enough (unless you're Kirk with conveniently discreet edits).  This instance features an android getting it on.  And it's Yar's defining moment when she's actually alive.  What's not to love? (#95)

27) Riker and the alien nurse have sex ("First Contact")
The funny thing about Riker is that, at least as far as the magazine seems to be concerned, he made a better Kirk than Kirk did, the ladies man who made memorable moments out of this instinct.  Which is a tad odd, because Riker was best known for his relationship with Troi, which finally ended in a wedding with Star Trek Nemesis.  It's also worth noting that Riker was partially based on Will Decker from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, who is known as the polar opposite of Kirk. (#86) 

26) Tasha Yar dies ("Skin of Evil") 
Yeah, so Denise Crosby wanted out, and this is how she went.  An incredibly rare instance of a series regular permanently exiting a Star Trek series, and a defining moment in the formative development of this one. (#84)

25) Ensign Sito dies ("The Lower Decks") 
Sito was a Bajoran who was chosen to go undercover into Cardassian territory.  More importantly she was part of an episode that focused entirely on junior officers, a rare occasion indeed.  The magazine points out that this essentially makes her the most famous red shirt. (#82)

24) Picard laughs after getting stabbed through the heart ("Tapestry")
A famous, and famously baffling moment.  Why does he laugh?  Perhaps you'll know by the end of the episode, which by the way happens to feature Q. (#81)

23) Picard fights his brother ("Family") 
Aside from Star Trek Generations (in which we learn the fate of said brother), this is the only time where Picard's family is ever mentioned.  The reason for the visit, and the fight and its cathartic conclusion, is the aftermath of Picard's assimilation by the Borg.  Slightly more significant, then, than Kirk's fights. (#75)

22) Riker accepts Enterprise's surrender ("A Matter of Honor") 
A cool moment from the second season, during an officer exchange program that sees Riker aboard a Klingon ship. (#68)

21) Worf's family is disgraced ("Sins of the Father") 
Sucks to be Worf sometimes.  Sucks to come from the entire hard-luck family, actually!  Lies are told about Worf's father, and the only way out is to forsake Klingon honor in favor of personal honor.  It only figures that Worf goes that route. (#66)

20) Worf murders Duras ("Reunion") 
Star Trek characters don't tend to go around murdering people.  So if Worf does it, you can bet there's a good (Klingon) reason.  Duras is the bastard who murdered the mother of his son Alexander.  So revenge, which is of course a dish best served cold. (#63)

19) Data creates science ("Thine Own Self") 
Data loses his memory on an away mission and ends up in a medieval village, where only he is (still) capable of figuring out the cure to radiation poisoning.  The whole episode is pretty neat, so it's great that the magazine remembers it. (#61)

18) Riker falls in love with an androgynous alien ("The Outcast") 
One of the infrequent attempts by the franchise to address the matter of sexual identity, featuring Riker, which only figures.  In another episode, he's once again in the spotlight in our first encounter with the Trill, when the last host in a set of circumstances that featured Riker desperately trying to keep a relationship alive turns out to be...male.  He's no longer comfortable about it.  In a Deep Space Nine episode, Jadzia Dax, who is also a Trill, has a similar problem but a different solution. (#57)

17) Picard figures out the metaphor ("Darmok") 
Picard's Gorn moment is far more awesome, mostly because his counterpart speaks in riddles. (#56)

16) Picard embraces Hugh ("I, Borg") 
As the title of the episode suggests, Hugh is a Borg drone who ends up severed from the hive mind and in the hands of the Enterprise crew.  Starfleet feels it's a golden opportunity to cripple the Collective, yet Picard does the unthinkable. (#50)

15) humanity's trial concludes ("All Good Things...") 
One of the magazine's goofs is incorrectly or ambiguously identifying this moment.  I'd gone ahead and clarified for my own readers.  The judge, of course, is Q. (#49)

14) saucer separation ("Encounter at Farpoint") 
One of the perks of Picard's Enterprise is that it could split in two.  This was done for the first time in the pilot episode. (#48)

13) the space whale ("Galaxy's Child") 
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home featured humpback whales.  Here we get some of the more unique aliens to be featured in the franchise. (#42)

12) Data creates Lal ("The Offspring") 
Lal is another android, who appears to be a perfection of the Soong type Data represents.  Unfortunately she doesn't remain functional for long. (#40)

11) Moriarty is tricked into retirement ("Ship in a Bottle") 
Moriarty (originally based on the Sherlock Holmes villain, created when La Forge mistakenly orders a challenge for Data) is more or less the Harry Mudd of the series, a distinct foe who made a couple of appearances but whose legacy seems to be increasingly obscured.  He's completely awesome, by the way.  He's also a hologram, and Voyager's Doctor he is not.  His version of a mobile emitter is a box he and his virtual mate are locked in at the end of this episode.  Hopefully someone retrieved it during the events of Star Trek Generations! (#39)

10) Scotty returns ("Relics") 
Scotty is perhaps more awesome in this appearance than in all three seasons and seven films set in his own time.  Because he's very clear about which Enterprise he would like to see recreated on the holodeck. (#34)

9) enter: the Borg ("Q Who?")
It figures that Q is responsible for this.  Although the Collective first rears its suggestive head in the first season, so it would have happened anyway.  Q just wanted something to brag about. (#31)

8) Data's right to exist affirmed ("The Measure of a Man") 
Data is put on trial, and Riker is the opposing counsel (not by choice, mind you).  One of the more famous episodes of the early seasons. (#29)

7) ending on the poker game ("All Good Things...") 
Still the most famous ending to any Star Trek series.  Picard happens to join in for the first time ever. (#24)

6) Stephen Hawking stops by ("Descent") 
You can't ask for a greater sign of legitimacy than for the most famous scientist of his era appearing in Star Trek. (#22)

5) four lights ("Chain of Command Part II") 
Picard is tortured by a Cardassian, who tries to make him say that there are five lights.  There were in fact only four. (#19)

4) Spock mind melds with Picard ("Unification") 
Technically the point of the meld is so Spock can have one last moment with his late father Sarek, but this is perhaps the most ideal bridging of the generations yet depicted in the franchise. (#11)

3) devolution ("Genesis") 
What's interesting is that until the magazine listed this moment, I was under the impression that I was in a distinct minority in appreciating the episode around it.  Visually memorable! (#9)

2) Picard is assimilated ("The Best of Both Worlds")
The defining moment of Picard's life is when he nearly lost it when he joined the Borg as Locutus, the voice meant to help humanity better prepare for its fate. (#5)

1) Picard plays the flute at the end of the episode ("The Inner Light")
The show's version of "City on the Edge of Forever" has long been held in great esteem by the fans, but this is an oddly poetic way to define its enduring legacy, a more reflective version of the franchise than has been seen before or since. (#3)

100 Greatest Moments: The Original Series Edition

I thought it might be interesting to have a look at the Star Trek magazine special's greatest moments from the franchise as they reflect each of the series:

26) Sulu fences ("The Naked Time")
This is one of those instantly iconic images from the original series.  It doesn't mean much and it didn't particularly effect Sulu's growth (although no character had growth in the TV run), but if you ask anyone what the most memorable image was from "The Naked Time," this will invariably come up. (#100)

25) Spock's pet dies ("Yesteryear")
Few fans know much about the animated series, but anyone who does will always point to this episode as its most memorable moment.  It's the rare details of a personal nature, particularly the background element, that enhances its prospects. (#98) 

24) Kirk fights the Mugato ("A Private Little War")
One of two memorable fights Kirk has with an alien who is an actor dressed up in a full body suit. (#89)

23) Sarek and Amanda's marriage ("Journey to Babel")
It's one thing to know that Spock is half human.  It's another to know that you might as well have assumed that Spock was fully Vulcan in his typical presentation.  And then you meet his parents. (#88) 

22) McCoy wins an argument with Spock ("Journey to Babel")
The magazine does a good job of pointing out how fun a moment this is, with Bones literally turning to the audience to express his delight. (#83)

21) Kirk is put under observation ("The Mark of Gideon")
This happened all the time.  But apparently the magazine wanted to emphasize it. (#74)

20) Zephram Cochrane's mate exposed ("Metamorphosis")
The magazine's point with this one is that Cochrane is dismayed to learn the true nature of his mate, although fans who subsequently saw the warp engine creator in Star Trek: First Contact probably saw it as perfectly appropriate in hindsight. (#73)

19) Spock with hippies! ("The Way to Eden")
There were a lot of strange things that happened in the series.  This oddly feels like one of the less strange developments. (#72)

18) Kirk explains Fizzbin ("A Piece of the Action")
Along with his classic Corbomite bluff, this is Kirk gambling that he can outsmart his foe no matter what it takes. (#70)

17) Kirk ends the war games ("A Taste of Armageddon")
They were stupid war games.  But it also meant that Kirk blatantly defied the Prime Directive. (#67)

16) Kirk fights Finnegan ("Shore Leave")
Kirk made a lot of enemies and came across a lot of his former associates during the series.  Finnegan was a tormentor at Starfleet Academy.  The fight was just an illusion, but I'm sure it felt good all the same. (#58)

15) Pike embraces an illusion ("The Menagerie Part II")
Following the events of the original, unaired pilot "The Cage," the original captain of the Enterprise had some bad luck, remedied by the very aliens who had once tormented him.  Sometimes those weird planets turn out to be a good thing. (#51)

14) the spores attack Spock ("This Side of Paradise")
The magazine's point with this one is that it affected Spock's personality.  It was always worth seeing the usually stoic Vulcan out of character, which is why it happened to Tuvok, too, on Voyager.  Not the spores, though. (#45)

13) Commodore Decker dies ("The Doomsday Machine")
A rare instance where the guest character has the memorable ending, fighting the cone-shaped menace that became an obsession for him. (#44)

12) Kirk battles Spock ("Amok Time")
Another classic image, the two iconic characters of the series locking up in mortal combat. (#38)

11) Kirk fights the Gorn ("Arena")
Kirk fights an alien played by a stunt actor in a full body suit, part 2  One of his more iconic fights, even though it's terrible. (#36)

10) Gary Mitchell evolves ("Where No Man Has Gone Before")
The second pilot reveals that Kirk's previous best friend was basically a mutant, the male Jean Grey if you will. (#33)

9) Kirk outwits Nomad ("The Changeling")
Otherwise known as a precursor to Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  Worth noting that Uhura gets her mind completely erased during the course of the episode. (#32)

8) enter: Khan ("Space Seed")
The most famous villain Kirk ever faced, originally a dictator who came from sometime in the 1990s.  Voyager visited that era.  They didn't notice him either, so don't feel bad. (#28)

7) Kirk and the Tribbles ("The Trouble with Tribbles")
So memorable that it resulted in the exact moment being revisited with even more comedic value added in Deep Space Nine.  Comedic, that is, if you laugh at the prospect of Kirk being exploded by a Tribble bomb! (#27)

6) Kirk and Mirror Spock ("Mirror, Mirror")
You know Mirror Spock as the one with the goatee.  Kirk knows him as the only evil variation of the people he knows who still has a trace of logic in him.  It only figures. (#23)

5) Scotty outsmarts by outdrinking ("By Any Other Name")
Scotty was like the fifth Beatle (except in this case he'd be the fourth after the big three of the series), known as a miracle worker.  But he was also Scottish, as you might have guessed by his accent, his last name, or his nickname.  He liked to drink.  In this instance, it proves strategically valuable! (#22)

4) Spock discovers that Kirk is still alive ("Amok Time")
Spock breaks his usually stony expression when he discovers that he didn't actually kill Kirk.  As good a time as any to do so! (#16)

3) Spock mind melds with the Horta ("The Devil in the Dark")
The magazine seems to list every single instance of a Spock mind meld.  And they're absolutely worth remembering each time.  This one turns its entire episode on its head, revealing the apparent monsters to be the actual victims in a mining incident. (#10)

2) Edith Keeler ("The City on the Edge of Forever")
I'm simplifying this one because the magazine refers to Keeler and the episode in general only in the way she summarizes Kirk and Spock.  Yet we all know the most memorable aspect of "City" is its ending, when Kirk realizes she has to do. (#4)

1) Kirk kisses Uhura ("Plato's Stepchildren")
Culturally this is the biggest moment the series could have ever had.  Uhura already made history by being not only a woman but a black woman on the bridge of the Enterprise (and the magazine does a neat job of explaining how Nichelle Nichols was going to leave until Martin Luther King, Jr. explained how important that was).  She inspired many of the actors who would follow her in the franchise, including LeVar Burton and Whoopi Goldberg.  Now, in case you have no clue, while Uhura is black, Kirk is white.  When they kissed, by contrivance, it was the first time a white man kissed a black woman on national television.  It seems odd to us now, but a huge chunk of American history made such an idea unthinkable.  It's basically TV's Jackie Robinson moment, brought to you by Star Trek.  The sad part is that most fans today probably don't appreciate this, based merely on the episode in which it happened, one of what's routinely described as the typical dregs of the third and final season.  Yet there it is, and it shouldn't be forgotten, and it should be celebrated.  The magazine, at least, gets it right. (#2)
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