TV Review – Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation Part 5

Darmok (original airdate: September 30, 1991)
Written by Philip LaZebnik and Joe Menosky
Directed by Winrich Kolbe

This is probably my favorite episode of Star Trek: TNG because it represents the very core ethos that Gene Rodenberry set out to show the world. The most simple description of this episode is two people who do not share a language must find a way to communicate or they die. The story is so beautifully executed, and I would argue it is a perfect episode.

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TV Review – Watchmen Season 1, Episode 3

Watchmen (HBO)
Season 1, Episode 3 – “She Was Killed By Space Junk”
Written by Damon Lindeloff & Lila Byock
Directed by Stephen Williams

As I am watching Watchmen, I’m often wondering what this experience must be like for someone who has never read the graphic novel. This episode, in particular, will not hit a viewer as hard if they aren’t already familiar with Laurie Blake, formerly Laurie Juspeczyk, aka Silk Spectre. Knowing the story of Laurie’s mother, the revelation of her father, and the complexity of her relationships with Dr. Manhattan and Nite Owl adds so much to the experience of watching this chapter. But I also think seeing Laurie as a blank slate could provide a fresh understanding of who she is as an aging woman, turning on the masked vigilante community that she was once a part of, and immediately clashing with the Tulsa police.

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TV Review – Watchmen Season 1, Episode 2

Watchmen (HBO)
Season 1, Episode 2 – “Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship”
Written by Nick Cuse & Damon Lindeloff
Directed by Nicole Kassell

Will Reeves, the young boy saved from the Tulsa Massacre, is now an old man in a wheelchair claiming responsibility for a murder he couldn’t have possibly committed. This puts Angela Abar in a tough spot and she locks Will up in her bakery while dealing with the fallout of the last episode’s killing. This entire episode centers around upending the world Angela knows and forcing her to question everything she’s becoming comfortable with. It goes from her work relationships to the very nature of her own heritage.

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TV Review – Castle Rock Season Two – Episodes 1, 2, & 3

Castle Rock Season 2 (Hulu)
“Let The River Run”
Written by Dustin Thomason
Directed by Greg Yaitanes

“New Jerusalem”
Written by K’naan Warsame
Directed by Phil Abraham

“Ties That Bind”
Written by Scott Brown & Obehi Janice
Directed by Anne Sewitksy

Anne Ingalls is a nurse always on the move, dragging her now teenage daughter Joy with her where ever she goes. Her escape from some unseen force in her past leads Anne to the town of Castle Rock following a car accident. While holed up in the Stargazer Motel, Anne is able to secure a part-time registered nurse position at the hospital in Jerusalem’s Lot, where we learn she is in dire need of antipsychotics. Meanwhile, “Pop” Merrill, the head of a local crime family, is caught in the middle of a fight between his nephew Ace and his adopted son Abdi. Abdi is laying the foundation for a Somali community center set up, especially for the refugees who have settled in Castle Rock. This goes against Ace’s grasp on the Somalis who rent space in his rundown market building.

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TV Review – Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation Part 4

Brothers (original airdate: October 8, 1990)
Written by Rick Berman
Directed by Rob Bowman

To go alongside the theme of Family from the previous episode of TNG, Rick Berman wrote this story that features Data coming face to face with his creator, Dr. Noonien Soong. There’s also a return visit from Data’s brother, Lore, the black sheep of the Soong family. Data episodes are always some of my favorites with a few exceptions, this is one of them.

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TV Review – Watchmen Season 1 Episode 1

Watchmen (HBO)
Season 1, Episode 1 – “It’s Summer, And We’re Running Out of Ice”

Written by Damon Lindeloff
Directed by Nicole Kassell

That opening is not an alternative history, an invention of the mind of Damon Lindeloff, or some parallel history that made up the backstory of the Watchmen universe. The Tulsa Massacre of 1921 was real, down the plane flying overhead and dropping explosives on the black people that populated the neighborhood of the Greenwood District. This place was known as “Black Wall Street” due to the financial success black people had experienced there, allowed to open their own businesses and create a community that empowered each other. If “separate but equal” would be the law of the land, then the residents of Greenwood would go their own, rejected by their country.

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TV Review – The Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation Part 3

The Best of Both Worlds Part 1 (original airdate: June 18th, 1990)
The Best of Both Worlds Part 2 (original airdate: September 24th, 1990)

Written by Michael Piller
Directed by Cliff Bole

Of all the episodes of TNG, these are the two I remember the most vividly. Here was were the procedural nature of Star Trek on television finally got upended, and it felt like this was a world where events could have long-lasting ramifications. While most viewers might see this as an episode about Picard, writer Michael Piller says this is a Riker-centric entry. The emotional core of the episode is Riker’s decision whether to pursue a place as captain on another starship or remain onboard the Enterprise as second in command.

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