Writing Analysis Update (among others)

Back in 2009 (gosh, was that really 12 years ago??) I wrote a summery of my history in the world of fanfiction. Today I was going through my old posts, trying to make sure that the categories/tags were correct and deleting some minor posts that really never felt like they fit on this blog. It made me think of how I was doing in the fandom world today.

I’m not going to do an as in depth timeline of fanfics. I have over 100 fics on AO3 now (and I haven’t moved over all my FF.net ones. I should, and probably will sometime soon). There are way too many to do that for, and I doubt anyone is interested anyway.

I haven’t had any more award nominations for my fanfic, but I don’t sense alot of fandom awards anymore, at least not for the fandoms I write, which are getting older. I still write many fandoms (Too many as some of my friends say). Currently my major project is finishing ‘”Looking After You”, an Avengers AU story I started to write back in 2012. Its clearly AU now, because that is what happens when it takes you a decade to write a fic on a series of films that keeps pumping out movies every year. But I am determined to finish it. Its probably one of my longest fics, and I’m kinda of proud of it, despite my embarrisment that I’ve taken so long.

I’ve tried to switch over to some original work as well. For Camp NAno this July, I will be working not only on LAY but on an original story based off a Marvel fanfic I started to write in my head but will no longer work in canon. But I still like the idea, and since many of the characters are not based on actual Marvel characters it is not that hard to transfer them to the original realm. And the two characters that are are not that hard to change either. Hopefully one day I’ll be saying that one is complete and getting published.

I plan on getting things together before the end of this year to make changes to my writing (better organization etc) and to this blog. Right now it has become mostly a review blog, as I work through my pandemic project of a complete watch of Star Trek. However, I will be posting periodic posts about my writing, and book reviews as well as I get things better organized in my personal life so I have the time to meet deadlines when it comes to the blog and writing.

I have also decided to create a second blog for my history posts. I feel they get a little lost on here, so if you have been waiting for more of those posts, I will be announcing the new blog soon, and I welcome you to come read them over there. I will be revising my old posts as I transfer them over so they should be fresh and perhaps have more content then the original. Any posts that have comments will be kept, but if there are no comments I may delete the originals on this blog just to tidy up and kept it from being double posted.

Thank you all for sticking around for whatever topic you came for – be it my writing stories, fandom posts, book reviews or history essays. As always, I welcome your comments.

Good luck to anyone writing in Camp Nano.

The Rewatch 160: Data’s Day

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.10 Data’s Day (12/31/1990)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
Rosalind Chao (Keiko O’Brien nee Ishikawa) – Keiko will become a regular minor character in both this series, and more so in DS9 when she and Miles move to the station with their daughter Molly.  Rosalind Chao is always pleasant to watch on screen.
Seirra Pecheur (T’Pel/Selok)-
Pecheur is a long-time character actor who continues to add to her credit list today.  Her next release comes out next year.
Alan Scarfe (Mendak
)- Scarfe has many credits to his name, including two other Star Trek credits.  He has won numorours awards for his acting and has a successful writing career as Clanash Farjeon (Although recently reprinted under his actual name).
Shelly Desai (V’Sal)-
Desai has done various voice work, and if you are around my age, you may recognize his voice from Where on Earth is Carmen Santiago or Archer.  He has also worked on several TV shows, including ER, Men of a Certain Age, Friends, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Review:

Continue reading “The Rewatch 160: Data’s Day”

The Rewatch 159: The Loss

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.10 The Loss (12/31/1990)
Rating: 3.5/5
Redshirt Status: 1/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
Kim Braden (Janet Brooks) – Braden was well known in England for playing Anne Shirley in the 1970 mini series. She would appear later in the series as Elise Picard in the film Star Trek: Generations.
Mary Kohnert (Tess Allenby) – Kohnert played Ensign Tess Allenby for three episodes. The Final Mission, The Loss and then 3 years later Suspicions.  It would be her last credited role according to IMDB.

Review:
 

When I was reading production information on Memory Alpha, there were a few comments about this episode in relation to disabilities and showing them on the screen.  Except I think it failed to do that.  Troi loses her empathic abilities for a few days, then regains full functionality almost instantaneously.  It’s a momentary loss, and while I suppose some might argue that how she explains how she feels might relate to those with disabilities, I don’t feel she was disabled. Impaired, yes, but not disabled.

I suppose one of the problems of episodic television is that they don’t have the time to do long thought-out illness or injury. They wouldn’t be able to show Deanna struggling to regain her full empathic abilities.  They never mention whether she finds she struggles with certain elements of it at all in the aftermath.  So, the assumption is that they were suppressed, not taken away.  She had some brain damage, but it’s never stated later if that healed or was permanent. This weakened the commentary on ableism and disabilities.

To me this is more like when you are in an accident and something is swollen or broken, and you can’t use it for a while.  You eventually return to health and regain function. Disability to me (admittedly an able-bodied person) always seems more permanent.  You adapt to it, rather than cure it.

I would love to hear the opinions of those of you who have disabilities and how this episode felt to you. I realise this is definitely a case of your mileage may vary, and everyone has different opinions.

On the other hand, this episode is a good exercise in Deanna characterization.  She feels her empathic powers are such a part of her job that she doesn’t stop to think that she was well trained to be a counselor without the benefit of empathic abilities.  It takes Guinan and her tried and true reverse psychology methods to get through to Deanna that she is not unsuitable for the job.

I can relate to the anxiety that Deanna feels throughout this episode, trying to figure out if her injury is permanent or fixable. Her empathic abilities have been a big element of her sense of self. Most of her story arc relates more to her empathic abilities than anything else. Also there is her relief when her abilities have returned and she feels more like her usual self. 

I have to remind myself that she was raised Betazoid, and therefore empathic/telepathic abilities are seen as normal ways of functioning.  They often talk without vocalization. Perhaps there it would be seen as something that interferes with your daily life.  Perhaps that is where Deanna’s sense of disability comes from, rather than the earth-based thoughts of the rest of the crew and the audience itself. However, this is never brought up. We never see the reactions of her mother, or any other betazoid who might see her loss of empathic abilities as a disability and something that will keep her from functioning with society.

There is also a scene between Will & Deanna which I found odd.He knows her well enough to know how much to push her, but there is an element of resentment there.  She has always known how he was feeling when he couldn’t know likewise.  He admits it made their relationship a bit uneven at the time, in his opinion.  

As a side note, I was recommended to look up social vs. Medical disability models when I did this review.  So I did.  If you would like more information on that I will leave this: Learning Disabilities UK: Social Model of Disability. It helped me understand better what was going on in Deanna’s head.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Hilary J. Bader, Alan J. Adler, and Vanessa Greene.
  • Directed by Chip Chalmers
  • Deanna’s empathic abilities were almost permanently lost, but the production team decided against it in the end.
  • I included Janet’s husband’s death as a redshirt.  He wasn’t killed on screen, but they do mention his death so I’m including it.

Pros:

  •  A good character piece for Deanna.
  • Some Imzadi content

Cons:

  •  There has to be a bigger counseling staff.  One person for over a thousand is way too little. 
  • I think this fails overall to represent disability. 

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

The Rewatch 158: Final Mission

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.09 Final Mission (11/19/1990)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/0/33

Notable Guest Stars:

Nick Tate (Dirgo)
Kim Hamilton (Songi)

Review:
 

Those of you following along might notice that I skipped episode 8.  I am not a fan of Future Imperfect and decided I wasn’t going to force myself to watch an episode.  This is for fun, and if I force myself to watch episodes its not going to be fun anymore.

So, here we are, going to Episode 9 instead.  We have a Wesley episode, this time his farewell as a main character. Wil Wheaton went onto other things, and Wesley FINALLY gets to get his higher education.

I feel like this may be Wesley’s best episode because he must try. In a lot of Wesley’s episodes, he’s basically the wonderkid.  He comes up with a last-minute solution that saves the day, or is the one to figure out there was a problem to begin with despite there being several more experienced space travelers around. It always seems to come easily to him.

In this episode however, he is shown more like an officer.  He has (finally) been given a proper uniform, for one so he looks the part.  This probably should have happened a season or two ago.  He also has to work his way through a problem because everyone is relying on his experience and knowledge to save the day. It isn’t automatic, and there is time shown to have passed.

It was a good send off for Wesley and Wil Wheaton.

Its also an interesting episode, because it is another example of how sometimes the Captain (or XO) has to put the needs of many ahead of the needs of the few when Riker has to decide to help Gamelan instead of immediately going after the lost ship.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Kasey Arnold-Ince
  • Directed by Corey Allen (who also directed four other TNG episodes, and four DS9.)
  • This episode was written specifically to get Wesley a good sendoff.

Pros:

  • Wesley gets to act more like an officer then a wonder kid.  And it is about time he got to the Academy he’s been trying to get into it for three years.
  • I like the difference between the first episode and this episode in regard to Wes & Picard’s relationship.

Cons:

  •  I find Dirgo to be vastly annoying.

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

The Rewatch 157: Reunion

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.07 Reunion (11/05/1990)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/0/33

Notable Guest Stars:

Suzie Plakson (K’Ehleyr) – Plakson has appeared before on TNG as a vulcan medical officer and once before as K’Ehleyr. She’ll return as Lady Q for Voyager.
Robert O’Reilly (Gowron)- 
He is an award winning director of theatre and will appear as Gowron for several years on TNG, DS9 and Star Trek: Klingon video game.
Patrick Masset (Duras)-
He is better known for his writing and production credits.  He did appear in the series Friday Night Lights, which he wrote and produced as well. More recently he produced The Black List.
Charles Cooper (K’mpec) –
Cooper returns as K’mpec for his second appearance but he also appeared in The Final Frontier as General Korrd.
Jon Paul Steuer (Alexander) –
The actor playing Alexander would be changed over the years, but Steuer got to create the role.  He was also known for his roles on Grace Under Fire and Little Giants.  However, he unfortunately died in 2018 at 33.
Basil Wallace(Klingon Guard) –
He gets a special mention for being in West Wing, though I honestly don’t recall his character. 

Review:

Continue reading “The Rewatch 157: Reunion”

Rewatch 156: Legacy

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.06 Legacy (10/29/1990)
Rating: 3/5
Redshirt Status: 0/0/33

Notable Guest Stars:

Beth Toussaint (Ishara Yar) – She started off her career with modeling work and appeared in a few music videos, and a reoccurring role on Dallas. More recently she briefly held the role of Hope Wilson on The Young and the Restless in 2006.
Don Mirault (Hayne) –
While this may be his most known TV credit, he has also done a lot behind the scenes.  He is a skilled choreographer and owns his own publishing company.
Christopher Michael (Coalition Lieutenant)-
His largest role appears to be Sergeant Michaels from 7th Heaven. 
Vladimer Velasco (Tan Tsu) –
Velasco has a relatively short credit list according to IMDB.com but he has appeared on several shows including JAG.

Review:

Continue reading “Rewatch 156: Legacy”

The Rewatch 154: Suddenly Human

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.04 Suddenly Human (10/15/1990)
Rating: 3/5
Redshirt Status: 0/0/33

Notable Guest Stars:

Chad Allen (Jono/Jerimiah Rossa) – You may recognize Chad Allen as Matthew, Dr. Quinn’s adopted son in the show of the same name. He is an activist for LBGT+ causes and currently works as a clinical Psychologist.
Sherman Howard (Endar) – Howard would return in several Star Trek series.  He has also done a lot of voice work and guest spots across Television.  Most recently he appeared in The Code as General Geiger. He also from 1989-1992 held the role of Lex Luthor for Superboy.

Review:

Continue reading “The Rewatch 154: Suddenly Human”

The Rewatch 153: Brothers

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.03 Brothers
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/0/33

Notable Guest Stars:

James Lashly (Ensign Kopf) – Lashly would appear as various characters on Deep Space Nine

Review:

Once again we are dealing with family – in this case Commander Data’s.  The Bplot is that the Potts brothers have gotten in trouble after a prank went too far and now the youngest is in seclusion because of a parasite.  Although why would they have such an infectious plant just handing around the common areas of the ship, I don’t know.  But Alas, poor baby Potts has a parasite that only a Starbase can take care of.

Of course, Data’s family is not noted for their timing.  Data’s homing beacon is activated, and he takes the ship on a joy ride to visit his ‘father’ Dr. Noonien Soong.  Dr. Soong, long believed dead, is actually alive and well, maybe not well but he’s got some stuff to do. 

Side note: This episode is perfect for reaction pics/gifs.  Picard’s “I’m done with this” face was perfect.

Soong has brought Data to his lab because he is dying and his last wish is to give Data the chip that will allow him to process emotional input, something he failed at when it came to Lore.  Who, as it turns out, also has a homing beacon and has arrived at Soong’s lab.  Soong is surprised, thinking Lore to be stuck on a shelf still.  Lore, as usual, is upset. 

I feel this episode allowed Brent Spiner a lot of leeway as in how he could act.  We have Data, who is emotionally disconnected (I still hold the belief he can hold some emotion), Lore who is emotionally unstable and prone to anger and Soong whose dying and has his two mechanical sons* to deal with.  Technically I imagine was difficult to film since the actor had to basically act with nothing and then switch parts.  They would have had to do some editing later to meld the scenes together.  I think that’s why a lot of scenes have the three sitting apart enough from each other they won’t be in the same scene.  They could use a stunt double for the back of heads, or arms, but there were a few scenes where the characters interacted on screen.

I’m giving this a 5/5 because I think everyone did an excellent job, even Rick Bergman who I’m a little iffy on his production choices.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Rick Berman
  • Directed by Rob Bowman (his final episode)
  • From what I have read on Picard, Soong had a biological son as well.  All Soongs, of course, are played by Brent Spiner.  Some very consistent genes in that family.  Except for Juliana (Soong) Tainer who is, in fact, not Brent Spiner.
  • The ditty that Lore sings is Abdul Abulbul Amir.  I found a full version sung by Frank Crumit (1927)

Pros:

  • Definitely an acting showcase for Brent Spiner
  • Shows more of the activities on the ship then just the bridge.  Now we know they have a arcade area.

Cons:

  • It seems at the end they are pushing Data to try to forgive Lore because he’s Data’s brother, but honestly the guy has done more then a bad prank. 
  • I find it questionable that two children would be left onboard the starship while their parents are on sabattical.  Especially where there is no evidence of guardianship.

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

The Rewatch 152: Family

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.02 Family
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/0/33

Notable Guest Stars:

Theodore Bikel (Sergei/Sergey Rozhenko)- Bikel was a Academy Award nominated performer. He also worked with Samantha Eggar on a Columbo production.  He helped create the character of Captain von Trapp in the original production of The Sound of Music. The song Edelweiss was written specifically for him.
Samantha Eggar (Marie Picard).
Eggar was also an Academy award nominated performer, as well as a voice actress. She performed as Hera in the 1997 Hercules animated work. She also appeared in Doctor Doolittle (1967) as Eliza Fairfax along with Rex Harrison.
Jeremy Kemp (Robert Picard)
He had a varied career, but the highlight that I found was Darling Lili, which is a film with Julie Andrews and Rock Hudson.  Its actually not a bad movie and I recommend watching it.
Georgia Brown (Helena Rozhenko)-
Brown was most known for her work in theater, particularly the 1960 run of the musical Oliver!.  Part of the musical was rewritten for her to make use of her various talents.  She also got to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show the same evening as the Beatles, which I found interesting. You may also recognize her from guest appearances on Cheers and Murder She Wrote.

Review:

If there was a theme for the next four episodes, it’s the idea of family.  This episode obviously holds to that theme with a focus on Picard and Worf and to a lesser extent Wesley Crusher.

This episode isn’t particularly important to the overall arc of the show, but it is important if you like character focused stories. It is also the unofficial third part of “The Best of Both Words” arc, as Picard is dealing with the mental aftereffects with being made into the Borg.

To me, its obvious that they needed to do this story.  It’s a pet peeve of mine that so many shows do some awful stuff to their characters and they bounce back like nothing happened.  Some shows are better about it (ER for example, although they sometimes took it a step farther).  But Scifi in general is bad about dealing with mental health issues.  Episodic television in general is bad on physical injuries.  Some genres can get around time spans to deal with medical injuries (Scifi for example – Cue super healing!) but some don’t, then it seems super weird when the actor themselves has an injury and they have several months go by with these injuries.

In this episode, Picard has healed (physically) from his borg-related injuries. Psychologically he is still recovering, still trying to find himself after such a loss of control over his own being.  He decides to visit home while he is on earth.  I googled the city he mentions, and it is an actual city, though spelled differently then what it sounds like (which isn’t a surprise). Laval is in northern France, so you can actually go there.

Another improvement in Season 4 is that Troi is given a chance to show her status as a counselor.  She did to a point with Barclay in season 3, but here we are told she has spent awhile with Picard helping him deal with the aftereffects of his abduction.  I think one of the failures of previous seasons is not showing the characters excelling in their individual roles on the ship.  Troi was used as an emotional meter, almost just there to go “I sense a lot of danger, Captain.”  Its good to see her being a counselor rather then just Picard’s early warning system.

I still hold my theory that Picard sees some of his senior staff as pseudo-children.  Not in that they are children, but they hold the roles emotionally for him.  He and Will seem to have to have that father/son relationship and I think with Deanna as well he sees her as almost a daughter.  A later episode deals with his relationship with Wesley in particular who sees Picard as a father figure.

Back on Worf’s side of the episode, he must deal with his discommendation/dishonor and how it effects his relationship with his human parents. I think this episode shows both Worf;s backstory but also shows a happy healthy adoptive parent situation which honestly you don’t always see. These parents clearly love their son and try their best to understand the culture of his native people. Despite not always having the same reactions a Klingon parent would have, they make sure Worf knows he is loved and supported by them if no one else.

Overall this episode is pretty well acted, written and directed and I enjoyed it.  Is it important to the overall series?  Not necessarily but I still feel if you care deeply about knowing the characters who are in the show this is important to watch for both Picard and Worf, and to a lesser extent Wesley Crusher who has an ongoing plot arc from season 1 of dealing with his father’s death.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Michael Piller
  • Directed by Cliff Bole
  • So, production notes have it that Rick Berman and Gene Roddenberry were not happy with the script because it was more drama than action (Berman) and had animosity when the future is a utopia where we are beyond such things (Gene Roddenberry).  I disagree with both of these men because not dealing with the emotional/mental aftereffects of being captured, having your body modified and controlled by an outside entity and working towards killing your fellow colleagues would be wrong and unrealistic.
  • Several of the guest stars of this episode returned in later seasons. Bikel and Brown returned as the Rozhenkos, David Birkin returned as a younger Jean-Luc rather then Rene Picard, and Doug Wert would return once more as Jack Crusher.
  • One of the few episodes with no Bridge scenes.
  • Only episode that does not include Data, but given the next episode, he probably deserved the break.
  • Miles O’Brien’s rank is finally acknowledged as Chief Petty Officer.  There is a lot of development for Miles in this season.

Pros:

  • Character development for both Worf and Jean-Luc.  We get to meet their families, and how they deal with them.  And these families are important to the character going forward.  Unlike Riker’s father, they are mentioned again.
  • The showcase of the friendships beyond being good coworkers. These people genuinely care for one another.

Cons:

  • This would have been a perfect time to mention Riker seeing his Dad, but it looks like Kyle is missing in action.
  • I don’t really see this as a “con” per say, but its not really a pro.  Everyone in France speaks British English.  Was this a deliberate choice, since Stewart has a British accent, to make it seem like everyone in this little corner of France has such an accent?  Obviously, they spoke in English as this was an American TV-show but I’m going to guess we are to assume that despite hearing English and British accents, its really French and French accents.  At least that is the theory I’m going with.

Editing Note:  As of now, I have caught up to where I am watching/Reviewing so posts might not be every day but I’m going to try to get ahead again as I’m off due to a surgery and therefore have some extra time.
I’ll also be working on some other types of posts as well.

Screencap via Cygnus-X1.net