Posted in Rewatch, Star Trek, Television shows, tv reviews

The Rewatch 145: Tin Man

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 3.20 Tin Man (04-02-1990)
Rating: 4.5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/.5/22

Notable Guest Stars:

Michael Cavanaugh – Robert DeSoto.  He;s been on several big TV shows as a guest appearance, including ER’s first episode, The West Wing, The Secret World of Alex Mack and FlashForward.
Harry Groener – Tam Elbrun. You may recall him as Mayer Wilkins in Buffy.


This episode is pretty unique within Star Trek to my knowledge.  I actually don’t recall watching this episode before, and I don’t recall any of the other series dealing with bioships within the trek universe.  Its not a unique within science fiction – Farscape its based around the idea of a living ship and Star Wars novels (legends verse now) has a whole planet that helps grow living ships from special seeds.

This episode also develops the idea of an extreme telepath/empath.  Tam can hear everyone’s thoughts and has never has learned to block it.  He also has to deal with the fact that Picard finds his history questionable, and Riker outright doesn’t trust him. He’s fairly annoying, but at the same time warrants sympathy with the mental gymnastics he has to go through to separate his thoughts from the thousands around him.

This episode also makes me think of Anne McCaffery’s Crystal Singer series of a mind meld between a ship and a human.  So this episode, while not seen much in Trek, borrows or joins in with several science fiction themes out there.

The main issue with this episode is I think the medium was too short. They couldn’t develop the Alien Tin Man more  within the time constraints of a hour long program.  Perhaps a novelization of the episode would have been a good tie in idea.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Dennis Russell Bailey, Lisa Putman White and David Bischoff
  • Directed by Robert Sheerer
  • Jay Chattaway debuted as the score writer for this episode, alternating episodes with Dennis McCarthy.
  • Based on a short story “Tin Woodman” by Bailey & Bischoff inspired by The Wizard of Oz books.
  • Apparently rules of credit when it came to writing would only allow two writers to have credit, so for this episode Bailey is credited as Dennis Putman Bailey to honor Liza White who did not receive a full credit.
  • This episode was nominated for an Emmy for Special Visual Effects.


  • Expansion of Betazoid culture


  • Nothing stands out

Screencap via


A thirty-something Graphic Designer and writer who likes to blog about books, movies and History.

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