Sunday, January 20, 2008
Back to the Star Trek Next Generation watching, it seems. This is what happens when you have a roommate who needs the TV for four hours or so to watch football.
This episode opens with an ominous introduction as Picard talks about the first encounter the Federation will ever have with a mysterious race called the Ferengi. We're clearly meant to think that these will be to this series what the Klingons were to the original series, strange and threatening.
But then they go and show, among oohs and ahhs from Geordi, who's at the helm today for some reason, what their ship looks like.
Does anyone else get the impression of eyes and teeth peeking out under a squashed Marvin the Martian helmet? Are we frightened yet?
Picard "very impressive design."
The planet that they're next to can drain all of the Enterprise's power, right through the shields. Mysterious super-entities don't show up as much in the later series, god love the good old days.
Data pulls up a historical comparison of the Ferengi to "ocean going Yankee traders.. The worst kind of capitalists." A little more obscure than the obvious "vulcans are greeks, romulans are Romans" theme. I still maintain that the Cardassians are a good facsimile of the French, though. I digress.
I love how everyone is so quick to snap at Data.
It's interesting how the effects and the ship still don't look dated. But if you take a good look at Data's console you can see how they did it:
Mostly static lights, including the busy-looking Nintendo control pad on the bottom left. The animated parts, on the top-left (with an upside-down Klingon symbol and writing, interestingly enough) and bottom-right are both in green-on-black, what you'd expect from a computer in the mid-to-late 80s. But still doesn't jump out as old or bad-looking when you're just watching.
Data explains the mysterious planet-trap while getting stuck in a Chinese fingertrap puzzle. The metaphors don't get much more subtle than that.
In the end Riker saves the day through diplomacy and the moral high-ground. Clearly they mean to show this aspect of his character early on.