My Voyager Rewatch: S4E16

S4E16: “Prey.”

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That Hirogen is @TonyTodd54! Even under all that makeup the voice gives it away. The hunting other sentient creatures motif remains distasteful to me but the EMH teaching Seven social graces on the other hand is nicely comedic & sets up the core of the episode.

The crew gets a big data dump on the Hirogen, stuff that was already obvious. They remain One-dinemsional cookie-cutter villians. Meanwhile we learn more about Species 8472, intriguing mainly because the show has the sense not to tell us too much. Trek should leave things mysterious more frequently.

The heart of “Prey” is Janeway’s interactions with Seven. Her initial stand on helping the Hirogen is odd, more

about the learning than the compassion. When the conversation shifts to saving the member of 8472 she remains dispassionate while Seven is intense. That’s a nice inversion especially when coupled with Seven’s defense of her own individuality.

Todd is great but after “the Visitor” I wish there had been more to this character. It still isn’t enough to make the Hirogen interesting. There are some dubious (distracting) decisions along the way but overall this was a fun and enthralling episode.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

#StarTrek #StarTrekVoyager

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My Voyager Rewatch: S1E01

S4E01 – Scorpion pt. 2

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Since I started tweeting these in the middle of season 4, I decided to go back and fill in, working my way outward to S1 and S7. A lot of the previous episodes were on as background noise; this gives me an excuse for a closer watch.

At the start of the episode Janeway has made an alliance with the Borg. I’m sure this is one of the things that will figure prominently in her trial when she’s charged with war crimes. Working with the Borg is dumb and using Borg nano-probes medically is playing with fire.

A lot of stuff doesn’t make sense, like Species 8472 trying to speak through Kes, but having nothing to say. The Borg aren’t quite acting like Borg and everyone seems vaguely out of character. It’s clear this is a contrivance to get Seven of Nine into the show. That at least is well done

From the start Seven is distinctly more human than a regular Borg. It’s curious that Janeway recognizes her as human (how?). The build-up works and Seven’s isolation from the collective in fluidic space nicely foreshadows the resolution. The story ends as it inevitably had to and isn’t too silly.

So, overall this episode is pretty good despite its flaws. Species 8472 appears to be a malevolent new presence and Jeri Ryan as a new cast member shows a lot of gravitas. We can hope interesting things are forthcoming.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

#StarTrek #StarTrekVoyager

My Voyager Rewatch: S4E15

S4E15 “Hunters.”

Voyager is stealing cable to talk to Starfleet in the alpha quadrant and the Hirogen don’t like it. I wanted to see more of the Hirogen, but the face painting thing is too cliché for me.

It’s weird to see the crew have hope. I predict the writers will use this for some cheap pathos.

Meanwhile, Pro Tip: Don’t want to hire an extra to play a corpse? Throw an empty costume on a biobed and claim there’s been a “complete osteotomy.” That’s technobabble for “This alien has been fileted.”

So, yeah. Letters from home. We get cheap pathos in spades; some of it’s organic, like news about the Maquis, but a lot, like Harry whining about not getting a letter, is just annoying. And Neelix hovering over everyone as they read their letters… Ugh. Très creepy. You’d think there’d be a better way to deliver e-mail in the 24th Century.

And I’ve lost interest in the Hirogen; they’re a completely forgettable morass of hunting clichés and despite having warp drive, they’re idiots. Maybe it gets better, but for now, they rank with the early Ferengi, utterly one-dimensional. At least they aren’t the Kazon.

It was fun watching Janeway be a complete and total badass, but that didn’t make up for the rest of the episode.

This one did not work for me.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

My Voyager Rewatch: S4E14

S4E14 Message in a Bottle

The Doctor’s alpha quadrant adventure is pure cheesy fun! Andy Dick works well as an even haughtier Emergency Medical Hologram Mark 2. It’s a joy watching them play off of each other.

Auto correct tried to give me “Andy Duck.” I’d watch that too.

I could have done without the Paris and Kim side plot. In 2021 it seems silly that something as important as the EMH program doesn’t have a backup.

Voyager 4x14 Message in a Bottle - Idrin is shocked by ...

I would have preferred more of the Hirogen subplot. I don’t remember anything about them and they seem interesting.

But at least we’re finally moved the big “voyage home” story forward. From now on it’s less Star Trek: Gilligan’s Island and more Doctor Who: Blink sans the Weeping Angels of course. An above average episode.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

#StarTrek #StarTrekVoyager

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My Voyager Rewatch: S4E13

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Personally, I don’t wear shirts without a pocket.

S4E13 “Waking Moments.”

Starts strong with an atmospheric teaser that’s almost a collection of vignettes. It’s obvious that the crew is dreaming. It’s nicely disorienting, evoking the feel of a dream before they make the fact undeniable.

There are some nice moments, like some real comedy with Tuvok. Sadly, I’m most impressed that B’Elanna’s uniform has a pocket; it’s functional.

Another vision quest. Yawn. But Chakotay carrying a spear in the dreamscape is hilarious. That’s not Freudian at all.

Star Trek: Voyager - Waking Moments (Review) | the m0vie blog
Tell me about your mother.

Ultimately, a mediocre episode that I had a hard time caring about. Aliens living in dreams makes little to no sense. But lucid dreaming is a cool idea. Check out Ed: “Captain Lucidity”. It’s a much better episode. #Ed #Stuckeyville

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

#StarTrek #StarTrekVoyager

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My Voyager Rewatch: S4E12

(This is the point where I started tweeting the episodes.) S4E12 “Mortal Coil.”

The Star Trek Gallery: Ships

I’m in the middle of a StarTrek Voyager rewatch and I’m up to “Mortal Coil.” As soon as I heard the word protomatter I knew someone was going to die and be brought back to life. Sure enough, Neelix gets zapped and is revived by Seven’s nanoprobes.

Of course, it had to be Neelix. The episode is now about questioning religious beliefs. They wouldn’t try that with a human character.

The most amazing thing so far is how damn dumb Chakotay is. He’s on his way to watch a holodeck recreation of the accident & he invites Neelix along without batting an eye. “Sure! Come watch yourself die! That won’t traumatize you at all!”

Mortal Coil (episode) - Memory Alpha, the Star Trek Wiki ...

This got heavy-handed fast. And of course, there has to be a vision quest that inexplicably requires a piece of technology.

Neelix contemplates his new condition and the episode almost stops without any real ending. This might be okay if they circle back to it, but without a real epiphany, this is merely a return to the status quo.

It’s a pleasant enough episode but ultimately unsatisfying.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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My Star Trek Voyager Rewatch

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I’m not always a good Trekkie or Trekker. Whichever.

Until about 2 years ago, I hadn’t rewatched Star Trek: Deep Space 9 or Voyager since their first airings twenty-odd years ago. I’d done partial rewatches of TNG and Enterprise that petered out toward the end of the series.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete Series (DVD ...

Of course, rewatching wasn’t always as easy as it is now. The Next Generation attempt was actually quite an investment. I’d had some old VHS tapes that we recorded during the first run of the series but those were getting old and they weren’t exactly taped in order. But then in March of 2002, CBS started releasing TNG on DVD. The seasons cost just over $100 each, and I thought, “Here we go! I’m going to enjoy these, in order from beginning to end as the Great Bird of the Galaxy intended!” Although he probably didn’t. Long story short, this was about the time I got serious about finishing my doctorate and finding a tenure-track position somewhere. Season 7 is still wrapped in cellophane.

Starbase-Wandavision

Fast forward to 2019; I finally started enjoying Deep Space 9 again. I’d made it into the fourth season and it was, shall we say, better than I remembered. But the 25th Anniversary of Voyager was approaching and my old friend Rick announced that he would be talking about Voyager season by season on his podcast Starbase 66. That itself sounded like fun! I’ll listen to those! Okay then, Voyager it is, I’ll get back to DS9 later.

And the rewatch has been interesting. I distinctly remember initially finding Voyager electrifying. I watched the first few episodes twice within a week of their airing and hunted for clues on the internet about what might be coming. That quickly turned into a kind of low-key malaise about the show. The characters seemed formulaic and a lot of the episodes felt like they might have sat on the shelf since TNG because they hadn’t quite been good enough to film. I mean, seriously, you’re trying to get home and that’s 70,000 light-years away! How do you keep running into the Kazon? You should have been out of their space after episode 3 or something. Think about the premise for crying out loud! This is Star Trek: Gilligan’s Island. The Mosquitos didn’t come back to the Island after they decided that the Honey Bees were a better band who would threaten their success. You encounter them ONCE because you’re STUCK ON THE ISLAND!

So the Voyager rewatch has been happening for a bit over a year. It’s been a lot of fun even with the show’s flaws. Once again, better than I remembered.

Mid-season 4, I decided to tweet about the episodes. I liked how those came out. I restricted myself to a maximum of 6 tweets and that kept the comments pithy; no weird tangents or references to Gilligan’s Island. I can’t believe that was kicking around in my brain somewhere.

Turns out that’s a pretty efficient way to “review” a teevee episode and that’s a good thing. Two years ago I started a post about Mad Magazine and it’s still gestating there in my drafts folder waiting to see the light of day. So that’s what you’ll find in this “Voyager Rewatch” column. Short efficient quasi-reviews as I work my way through the series. Basically the same as they appeared on Twitter before they’re so far back in the past that they’re hard to find. I hope you’ll join me and enjoy.

More Star Trek Apple Watch Faces

I’m a big Star Trek Fan and so, I enjoy having stuff that looks like it might be used in the show if the show were real life.

Over the holidays I was inspired to create a couple of Apple watch faces that make my watch look as if it runs on the “Library Computer Access/Retrieval System” (or LCARS). That’s the operating system used in all the Star Trek shows set in the 24th century from Next Generation to Lower Decks. I created two, which you can see here.

But here’s the thing: These are made using the Apple Watch’s Photo Face. These are static images that look like they have buttons, but the “buttons” aren’t functional. The only things that are active are the complications that are active from the Apple watch itself.

This isn’t ideal. So what’s the next best thing? How about a watch face that seems interactive? We can get closer. If we load a number of images to the Photo Face the Apple Watch will display a different one every time you raise your wrist and, if you want to pretend it’s actually interactive, you can tap the watch face and it will switch to another image. You can’t control which image you get next, but you can make-believe. Here’s a collection of images you can use.

This collection includes:

A home page with the UFP Logo, three astrometrics faces, two each of planetary conditions, tactical, and medical faces, one face that appears to scan for life signs and a face that looks as though a communications system is active.

So, if you want a watch face that looks like it might be used on a federation vessel, feel free to use the collections above!

To install, save all of the images above to your iPhone.

Then:

  • Select all the images you want to use from your gallery.
  • Scroll down and select “Create Watch Face.”
  • Select the “Photos” face.
  • Set the position of the time, “Bottom” for all of these, and choose the complications you want above and below the time.
  • And select “ADD.”

You should be all set. Comments and suggestions are welcome; and if you’d like a Voyager face let me know in the comments. If you use the watch face please leave a picture in the comments!

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Star Trek Apple Watch Faces

Happy New Year! Almost. As a fun project, over the last week or so, I created a couple of watch faces for my Apple watch. These make the watch look as if it runs on the “Library Computer Access/Retrieval System” (or LCARS) from the Star Trek shows set in the 24th century. It makes sense to share these on the day the landmark 800th episode of the franchise is released.

I was inspired by seeing a smart watch on Twitter Christmas Day with an LCARS face and of course, Apple doesn’t offer one. This is the next best thing, making use of the watch face that displays photos. The “buttons” aren’t functional. The only things that are active are the complications that are active from the Apple watch itself.

So, it you’re like me and you’ve been wanting a watch face that looks like it might be used on a federation vessel, feel free to use one of these and enjoy!

To install, save one of the following two files to your iPhone.

Then:

  • Select the image from your gallery.
  • Scroll down and select “Create Watch Face.”
  • Select the “Photos” face.
  • Set the position of the time, “Top” or “Bottom” and choose the complications you want above and below the time.
  • And select “ADD.”

You should be all set. Happy New Year! Comments and suggestions are welcome; if you use the watch face please leave a picture in the comments!


If you like this, you’ll also like the New and Improved version!


Happy Star Trek Day!

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On 8 September 1966, after two years in development, Star Trek finally debuted on the teevee. Fans have celebrated this date as “Star Trek Day” unofficially for a while now, but the producers of the show have now gotten on board and today, 2020.09.08 is the first Official Star Trek Day with events like marathons, cast reunions and more. “Encounter at Farpoint” is airing on StarTrek.com as I write this.

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In our little corner of the Alpha Quadrant, we’re marking the occasion by flying the flag of the United Federation of Planets. We’ve flown the UFP flag before and you can read my original post about the flag here.

The UFP Flag and Beginning Vexillology

That post contains my thoughts on the flag. For today I thought we’d look at two precursors of the UFP flag and a proposed redesign. The UFP apparently had no flag in the Original Series. The Star Fleet Technical Manual (Joseph, 1975) had a Banner, which can be seen in “And The Children Shall Lead” and it had a seal shown here, possibly designed for the book cover. This seal would make a passable flag itself.

The first place we see an image similar to the “current” UFP flag is on a view screen in Star Trek the Motion Picture when Kirk addresses the crew. This same image is seen as a flag, draped across the Torpedo Tube at Spock’s funeral in The Wrath of Khan.

This clearly looks like a hybrid of the Tech Manual’s seal and the current flag design. There are two advantages over the current design for me. There’s no text and the wreath looks less like something of terrestrial origin.

The last image we’ll look at today is a proposed redesign of the UFP flag that I found on Reddit, created by Doliam13.

This fixes a lot of the issues with the current UFP flag. The text is gone and the star field is more symbolic, looking less like a literal map of our local piece of the Milky Way. This also fixes some of the symbolism in the current design. There are four stars to represent the four founding civilizations of the Federation where the current flag highlights only three. The notion that the three stars represent three of the founding worlds as seen by an observer standing on the fourth is an inane retcon contrivance. Better to just fix the flag and not try to explain it.

A few last things to mark the day. Science Officer Leonard (named for McCoy, Leonard H. Son of David) is properly attired and ready to face the day while I have two different pairs of let’s call them “Spocky socks” that I’ll wear throughout the occasion. The blue, black, and gold pair were made by my lovely wife, Joanne while the pair with the Vulcan salute was a gift from my sisters-in-law.

Also: Tea. Peppermint. Hot.