Review In StyleBy Fred Shedian
Posted at April 29, 2000 - 4:23 PM GMT
Within the last two weeks, watching "Live Fast and Prosper" and "Muse," a thought came to me I would like to share here today. It is not a new one, but one which has proven a huge success on other sci-fi shows and even successful when used on Star Trek. However, before these remarks, let me comment on the last two Voyager episodes.
"Live Fast and Prosper" was a descent episode. Although I believe the writing did get a bit too predictable, I did find myself chuckling several times throughout the adventure. I would like to ask one question...did anyone else notice how the "alternate" Delta-Flyer bridge had some striking structural similarities to the Defiant's bridge? (i.e., Viewscreen setup, structural support beam location, bridge exit location) I believe LeVar Burton did a good job directing this adventure. Although I may have tried several scenes a bit differently, the script was yet again the weak point.
"Muse" was an episode I have to say had a few bright spots...but the long conversations between Tores and "her slave" got a bit boring after a while. Instead of long conversation, quick two/three minute scenes dealing with some dialogue sparking a topic of interest would be a good...scene ending with the two going to discuss their information during the commercial break. This would have saved more time for the last fifteen minutes...which I thought was very good and very rushed. From the point Kim appeared (something I don't think was handled properly) to the conclusion, the energy level of the episode went up...as did my interest. Although the theme was a common one, I didn't know what the outcome would be. More stories with that basic structure is what the show needs.
Closing on these two episodes, I must say I am disappointed by the ratings. I myself had to tape "Muse" due to it's original airing falling on my birthday. I am beginning to wonder if the end of the season's ratings will suffer since quality writing has been absent after a fall off in November. Fans may once again be so tired of the poor quality, The West Wing is drawing away support.
While watching and thinking about the above two episodes, I started to consider how the show will end. It has been stated Voyager will indeed have a "final chapter," following in the footsteps of Deep Space Nine. Throughout Star Trek's history, stories which have some direct link with one another seem to generate ratings. The writing quality is normally quite good and fans come back the following week to see "what will happen to Lieutenant Dan." Examples are numerous, rating from season finales to DS9's "Final Chapter."
Other science-ficition shows have adapted a writing structure based in individual character/show subplots. For example, most recently, Babylon 5 and Farscape. Although your one time episodes exist, most of the time we were/are watching the characters take one more step in a long chain of events. When the conclusion finally comes, the last twelve episodes come together. Using an example, when the Chief of Security aboard Babylon 5 resigned...it was part of a subplot which had started a month before and didn't end for another two years. Could Star Trek use such methods?
I believe it is something the senior staff of the show should consider. Although the issue of "missing one and getting lost" would be something to be dealt with, overall we would see some adventures I think could be quite good. It has worked in the past...as overall I can't think of a two-part Star Trek episode that wasn't good.
If Series V is a Birth of the Federation show, or even a Starfleet Academy 90210 show, using the above "season/year long adventure style" would more than likely help make either new...but old at the same time. Mixed with traditional episodes, new sci-fi shows have proven the idea will work. Perhaps at a time when folks ask for "Old, but new" a compromise could be reached. Keeping the old, but telling it in a new way?
As always, I would love to hear your feedback or column ideas. Feel free to submit them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time...
Fred Shedian writes a weekly 'A Take On Trek' column for the Trek Nation.