Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2005-03-20 Entry: "Mostly Star Trek (Two Days)"

Yesterday saw finishing the Star Trek disc, with two excellent episodes, "Shore Leave" which sees the crew on an idyllic planet where anything they imagine comes true, including the White Rabbit and Alice, and "The Galileo Seven" which sees Spock's first command being a less than promising one. This was great, seeing Spock keep making the logical decisions, and for things to get progressively worse because of it, both with his crew and with the giants on the planet.

Then, Doctor Who, with "The Green Death" which everyone remembers as the one with the giant maggots. But ignoring the not-very-realistic ending between Jo and the scientist whose name I can't remember, this has got a lot going for it. It is a fraction long, but they use the cast well, and there's plenty of tension (yes, even with killer maggots!). The BOSS is a little silly, but this is Doctor Who.

Of course, I had to take a break in the middle to watch the extremely dull Formula 1 qualifying for the Malaysia Grand Prix. The only highlights were the lacklustre performance of the Ferraris, and the continual good performance of the Renault team. Of course, the Ferrari is still last year's car, so we're liable to see some improvements when this year's turns up...

And then today, a pathetic drubbing of Norwich City... the team managed to rouse themselves so they actually played some football during the last two minutes, but what happened to the other 88?

Then, more Star Trek, starting with "The Squire Of Gothos" and Sulu and Kirk disappear from the bridge after encountering a strange metal planet that isn't supposed to be there. Turns out the squire wants to play with them - but his ideas of Earth come from 900 years ago. He's some sort of alien, who can transform or create anything he wants... but he's not infallible... and he has parents... which is lucky for Kirk!

In "Arena" some powerful aliens intervene in a conflict between the Enterprise and another ship, and decide the best solution is for the captains to beat each other up on a neary planet... Kirk fights the Gorn.

"Tomorrow Is Yesterday" causes the Enterprise to get thrown back in time to 1960's Earth. Unfortunately, they get detected as a UFO and a fighter pilot is sent to investigate. This is a fun little episode, and the first instance of the time-warp slingshot around the sun.

Then "Court Martial" sees Kirk up on charges over the death of a crewmember. He insists that he acted responsibly and correctly, but the computer record shows he jettisoned the crewmember before declaring the red alert. Of course, there's the old flame of Kirk's who's just conveniently the prosecutor in his case...

"Karate Kid 2" sees a whole honour thing going on in Japan when Miyagi goes back there to see to his dying father. Of course, there was a whole falling out between his best friend over some girl, and now the best friend wants revenge. Daniel also manages to get a new girlfriend (Tamlyn Tomita with really big hair) and get mixed up with the son of the best friend, who's a little thug in his own right!

Back to Star Trek with "The Return Of The Archons" which has the first of many computer-controlled societies in Star Trek that can be beaten by simple contradictory logic statements... they really need to design these things better. Note to self when designing AI - don't let them get stuck in logic loops, program them to assume humans are being deliberately obtuse and stop trying to make sense of the unsolvable... of course, I'll probably feel a bit stupid when it goes crazy and tries to take over the world and I can't stop it with a bit of contradictory logic!

"Space Seed" and the appearance of Khan Noonian Singh, genetically engineered superman and all-round megalomaniac. Of course, instead of dealing with him, we let him get away in a spaceship and stay in cryogenic storage until Kirk can come along and thaw him out... although I haven't noticed us building any ships like this, and it was apparently constructed in the 1990s...

Of course, Khan has to try to take over the ship, and Kirk has to strand him on Ceti Alpha something-or-other so he can turn up in the second movie... see, this is why Peter David writes the best Star Trek novels - he can take a throwaway episode that appears to have no consequences and write a whole character or plotline around it. Whoever wrote Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan had the same idea - throwaway storyline that turned into possibly the best movie of the lot (closely followed by the one with the whales, the undiscovered country, and Insurrection).

And then I had to go and watch what turned out to be a fairly exciting F1 race. The Renaults seem to be the cars to beat this season, although we have yet to see this years Ferrari, which may come to dominate.

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