Unresolved Plot Points on "Star Trek :The Next Generation"
I was a huge fan of Star Trek TNG when it first came out. Like many people today, I've seen every episode several times. As far as I can tell, there are a few points that the writers took up and then seem to have dropped before they were fully resolved.
The first and most minor one is Picard's history with Boothby, Starfleet's trusty gardener. We know that when he was at the Academy, little Jean-Luc got into trouble. He played some sort of prank on (or that affected) Boothby, and boy, did he get into trouble. What he did was so terrible that the Academy officials were ready to expel him. If Boothby hadn't stepped in at the last minute on his behalf, Picard would today be cleaning toilets on Bolarus IX. After that the two struck up a lifetime friendship. But what did Picard do? Was it so horrible they couldn't say it on television?
Everything else has to do with Guinan. First of all, what exactly is her relationship to Picard. More than once she has referred to the great bond they share. I may not have this quite right, but once she said something to the effect that the bond was stronger than that of lovers or of family. Later she told Wesley that she only met Picard when she came aboard the Enterprise (in the second season). When Picard travels back in time to 1893, he meets a younger version of her who does not know who he is. So what is this bond, and how did it originate?
Also, during the first encounter between Guinan and Q in the series, Q knows her, tells Picard that she is not what she seems to be, and offers to eliminate her. Guinan also clearly recognizes Q, and she takes up what is clearly an offensive (not defensive) stance against him. So apparently she has some hidden power sufficient for Q to consider her a threat. Other than the fact that she can perceive disturbances in the timeline, what are her powers, and how did they arise? Presumably such abilities are not inherent to her race, since her people were gobbled up by the Borg. Guinan was an intriguing and mysterious character that the writers simply abandoned.
I'm fairly certain none of these questions was answered in the series. What I'm wondering is if they were ever tackled in a canonical Star Trek novel or comic. Or at the very least did a writer for the series ever shed light on any of them in an interview?
A few items I consider newsworthy:
I'm really excited about downloading torrents. Since a few weeks before leaving the U of O, I've made it a habit to always be downloading episodes from one television show or another. I actually spend more time watching downloaded programs than I do Netflix DVDs. Today I finished up the second and final season of Joan of Arcadia. That show had a lot of problems, not the least of which was that it's theology was based on ratings, but I was really intrigued by how it ended. It looked like they were planning to completely revamp the storyline for the non-existent third third season. There were a lot of different directions the show could have taken. (I was particularly looking forward to one day seeing Joan get burned at the stake; she is annoying, after all.) But I never imagined that the writers would try to make the show into a clone of Buffy. In the third season, she would be a regular high school student just trying to get by, but, in her spare time, she would be called upon by the forces of light (God and the dead people she was starting to see) to stop the forces of evil. Only she can bring balance to the world once again by defeating her evil nemesis. With only her schoolmates to help her, can she save the world in time, making it safe once more for Christianity? Perhaps they should have changed the name to "Joan and the God Squad".
Well, that's what it looked like to me. I may be exaggerating a bit, but not by much. Has anyone else seen the final episode?
Of the more than 600 entries I've posted, one of my personal favorites is the one about Brazilian soap operas. Today a Brit by the name of Greg Dixon posted a lengthy contrary view in the comment section, and it was interesting enough that I thought I would share it in today's entry. I won't bother to debate it, since I agree with most of what he says, just not his conclusion. I also have to wonder if Greg has ever had the misfortune of viewing an American soap opera.
You are all either mad or Brazilian! Novelas are absolute rubbish!! I'm from the UK and I have lived in Sao Paulo, Brasil for the past 6 months, and daily have to put up with these OVER-melodramatic episodes of cheesy shite!
Novelas are the spoon-fed media to give hope to Brazilians that they may one day live in Rio and have a house that is furnished properly! If there wasn't so much wrong with the Novelas I would be able to stomach it. But what has lead me to this website is an argument with my (brazilian) girlfriend about the Novelas, so that's it!
Where shall I start!?! Well, firstly the acting is so over the top! Yes they may well feature Brasil's finest screen actors, but every litle thing is exagerated to comic proportions! Someone looks at another person - (long still shot)...(pause)..(words said)...(pause for effect)...(pensive look on face)...(pause)...(response)...(cue music)...Oh my God! IT's so painful! And the amount of times I've watched someone cry and really 'milk it' is just too many to mention!
Second the 'dodgy camera-work' with stupid zoom effect shots (to increase the drama), crap editing, more silly effects, Flashback FX with plenty of Echo, strange angles, shots which start on a random ornament, you name it and it's there! Today I watched one which had 5 minutes of two women having a conversation. One is close to looking diagonally towards the camera, the other woman is behind her, and (very) out of focus, with a second camera cutting to her dialogue. I thought why doesn't the first woman turn around and speak to her face? Why? - cos after questioning and laughing at this for 5 mins, the full shot is revealed and the 1st woman was looking at the other in a mirror! Oh NICE ONE!! So well executed HA!
Thirdly, Most Novelas have crappy cheesy incidental music which gets worse in an action or dramatic scene. Which to me is very strange because the UK soaps don't have music during the episodes - why, because they are supposed to be imitating 'real' life with 'real' people! They are not dramas or feature films, and don't pretend to be! Another thing which is a favourite trick of the makers of the Novelas is to have one 'signature' song which plays every time a certain character is on-screen! Man are the audience so dumb they need this! that they need this drilled into there brains! You see, then the song becomes popular here too..ah it's too easy! The creators must be laughing all the way to the bank!
What can I say, most Brazilians are numb to everything from the melodrama to the dodgy FX and music. I think it's because everything is loud, garish, fast or dramatic here so the TV thinks right, bright colours, lots of movement, fast cuts, keep it busy so not to lose the punter for one second! However, there is no telling them that they are watching rubbish!.. My GF won't have any of it! Mainly she argues that all the actors are good, and the shows are exported around the world. Well, not to the UK for one! and maybe places like Spain and Portugal just have shitty TV anyway! And what else are the Portuguese speaking Brazilian actors going to do? Go to Portugal? Ha! I don't think so! They stay where the money is on the main channel - Globo. It 's never changing programming being Novelas, News, Novelas, Novelas, Dubbed Film every day!
The public here are totally under he influence of Globo (the major TV company) and will suck on whatever is fed to them...so another period Novela Senhor? Oh yes please! Well Art imitates Life, and Life imitates Art, because if the Novelas are supposed to be a reproduction of Brazilian life, then it is a highly dramatised one, thus making many people react the same as in a Novela! - honestly the family dramas explode here! There should be a couple of Oscars for over-acting awarded!
But there is no way out, because Novelas rule the TV - they are on almost every evening, all evening! Even in the day there are re-runs! Which, although people have seen, they still watch and cry the same as the first time! No re-run? Well how about the 'making of a Novela'? or, maybe a star or a Novela giving their thoughts on some random topic perhaps! Jesus! there really is no escape!
Don't get me wrong, I have an open mind, and am trying to like the Novelas for the harmony of my relationship! But, they are just TOO BAD! Oh, and before everyone here goes crazy too, I would ike to say that although I don't call myself an expert, I have had 6 months watching experience and I have a degree in 'Sound & Image Design' which included Film Studies and Cultural Theory so I would hope I know a bit about what I'm talking about! However, any responses welcome :) In fact, bring it on!
I really should write something. I seem to be going through a period of blogging burnout, which I'm sure will pass. This is the first time I have gone two consecutive days without posting (if you don't count periods of travel and/or finals). I'm also a bit behind on my reading. Bakerina recently left her blog open to guest bloggers when she went on vacation in Scotland. Not only have I not contributed an entry, as I intended, but I haven't even gotten around to catching up on what the other contributors have posted (except, of course, for this entry). Now I've heard through the grapevine that she's already back. Oh well, maybe next time.
I've recently discovered the wonders of torrents. I installed bittorrent several weeks ago in the hopes of being able to download Brazilian programming, especially novelas, but it turns out that Brazilians mostly use torrents for downloading American programs. It took me awhile before I found anything that interested me, and then I discovered I could use it for getting episodes of the new Dr. Who, which, as far as I know, are only airing in the UK. The writing is quite impressive, by the way, and, if you liked the original 26-year series, you should definitely check out Dr. number 9. (Yes, that silly attempt on Fox several years back is apparently cannon, and a complete waste of a regeneration cycle if you ask me.)
Tomorrow it's back to my stained glass Hello Kitty.
Star Trek Enterprise has had some outstanding episodes this past season. Unfortunately, the level of quality became so dismal in the prior two seasons (two and three) that most of the fans completely gave up on the series. (I don't know a single person who still watches it.) Head writer Manny Coto was brought in at the beginning of the current season and has, in my opinion, completely redeemed it. Not only is the writing far superior to nearly everything that came before, but we're finally getting stories that tie in closely with the original series (the one with Kirk and Spock).
The most recently aired storyline, entitled "In a Mirror, Darkly", was a two-parter that took place entirely in the evil mirror universe (the one where Spock had a beard). The opening credits were altered to show scenes from the history of the Empire (rather than the Federation), and the music was replaced with evil music. The story was based around The Tholian Web from the old series, and we get a lot of new information. It seems that the reason the Defiant was fading out of our universe was that the Tholians in the evil universe had created and inter-dimensional gateway from their side and lured it in. In other words, it was fading out of the good universe and appearing in the evil one 100 years earlier. The evil Enterprise crew steal it from the Tholians and use it as a war machine. Not only do we get a good look at the interior of a Constitution Class starship, but we finally get to see a Tholian up close. Oh, and there's also a Gorn. (I don't actually know why there's a Gorn, as it didn't seem to have anything important to do with the story.)
So Enterprise ultimately proved to be salvagable but not savable. It has been cancelled, and there are only three new episodes left. If this weren't the case, I'd recommend you tune in. At this point, though, you should probably just wait for the Season Four DVDs coming out later this year.
For some reason I seem to be running out of blogging material. Since a mediocre post is better than none at all, I guess I'll just write something about yesterday's episode of "Judging Amy", since that's the only subject that comes to mind.
Did anyone see it? I've pretty much been watching the series since the beginning (although I've missed several of the later episodes), and I long ago came to the conclusion that Amy is a nut. Her latest lunacy is this obsession with thinking that her daughter's life is going to Hell in a handbasket. I mean, first she colored her hair with temporary pink highlights; then she got a piercing; and now she's become a vegetarian. Even worse -- it's been revealed that she hangs out with other kids who are vegetarians! Amy deals with the situation by insulting her daughter's friends and pretending to cook a vegetarian meal, while secretly embedding shrimp in the tomato sauce. Then, of course, Lauren ran away from home. I wonder why. Hmmm.
The auction for Orionoir's old camera has ended, and I lost. Less than four hours to the end I was in the lead with $61.01, but then, after I went to bed, there were sixteen more bids which almost doubled the price to $117.50. If I hadn't gone to bed early that night, I might have been able to fight my way into the lead. I certainly hope that dflinker appreciates what he's getting. I was going to ask Orionoir to autograph it in permanent ink, so I could display it with pride on my bookshelf.
Today was a big day for me. The U of O Housing Department has an annual "Better Rooms" contest in which students in the residence halls can compete for the best-looking room. I first learned of this contest last year. Back then my room was in no condition to compete, but I've had a year to plan, and, while I haven't had time to implement all of my decorating plans, I've accomplished quite a bit. The judges who visited me today expressed genuine admiration for certain aspects of my room. I doubt I won, though. There are about 40 contestants competing in three categories, and, like I said, I haven't had time to do everything I wanted to in terms of decorating. Still, it was nice to have guests to whom I could go on and on bragging about every tiny aesthetic nuance of my room. The results will be released tomorrow. When I have more time, I'll post photos of my beautiful room.
It's Friday once again. In just a few minutes, I get to lie down for four hours of spectacular scifi action (about which I will no doubt complain tomorrow). Highlights:
Friday is a big day for me with all the new episodes of scifi programming. Here are my thoughts on what I saw tonight:
Enterprise: I can't believe this is the last season, especially now that they've finally got some competent writers. It amazed me that they're actually tackling the issue of why the Kirk era (pre-movie) Klingons looked so different and so human. This is something fans have been upset about for years, but the writers didn't want to deal with it, except once with a very cryptic comment by Worf in an episode of DS9.
Stargate: Was there a point to this episode? It was an above-average flashback episode, but that's not saying much. I like that the Furlings were finally brought up again. I was afraid the writers had given up on ever introducing them, but, if they're being explicitly mentioned, that must mean we'll soon be seeing them. Oh, and that remark at the beginning about apes and gorillas being two entirely different species made me cringe. I really don't want to have to go into this again.
Stargate Atlantis: The Ancients just keep getting lamer. And why were they returning to Earth? Aren't they supposed to have ascended? Why wasn't the time-traveling Dr. Weir even slightly interested in asking her alternate self for a recap of everything she had missed? You'd think she would take an interest in how the mission had progressed.
Battlestar Galactica: The bathroom scene went on too long and was just annoying. Also, why would it take people with that level of technology so long to enhance an image? I could do it in seconds with Photoshop Elements. That whole speech about the Cylon ship being alive and needing to be treated as a living being before it worked had one tiny flaw: Starbuck tore out its brain in last week's episode. It is obvious at this point that both Cylon versions of Boomer will go through some process of redemption whereby exposure to humans causes them to abandon their evil ways. One of them will die in an act of self-sacrifice.
I'll be spending the weekend getting the book fully assembled. Hopefully I can do that fairly quickly, but I'm taking a couple days off from blogging to free up extra time for the project.