NEW NONFICTION: MIRROR TV GUIDE LISTINGS, TNG, SEASON 1 AKA Through a Sunbeam Darkly Author: The Enigmatic Big Miss Sunbeam Code: TNG Rating: R for Language and Suggestive Situations. Summary: Inspired by the buhrilliant LeneT's TOS listings, I offer this up to you. It's also a celebration of the forthcoming stripping of TNG eps on TNN (The National Network, *nee* The Network That Brought You Thirty-Minute Infomercials on Jimmy Dean Sausages!) Warnings: Spoilers. Lies. Gossip. Nonsense. GOTTA SAY: TNG rules!
1. Encounter at Farpoint. Wherein introduced is the basic strategy of TNG episodes: Things Happen So There Must Be a Plot! So tonight Things Happen while you see the cast warming up their characters. It's interesting how far wrong Brent Spiner and His Love-Yahweh SirLordPatrickStewartiness (I am not worthy to speak His name) are about their characters, plus Bev is SO hostile! Only Wil Wheaton is actually Wes. Kinda interesting that. Wait, what am I saying? I must be insane! Of course, John deLancie knows EXACTLY what's he doing as Q. U Can't Touch Q! Don't Hurt ‘Em deLancie! (BTW, love the hippy dippy Deadhead who chastises the . . . thing that is doing the . . . thing.)
2. The Naked Now. A sex virus afflicts the crew, and, as Elvis so tellingly puts it in his *Peace in the Valley*, they are changed, changed from the creatures they am. Since the actors are still searching for their instruments, they make many silly gestures. Deanna calls Will "Bill". Bill. BILL. Jean-Luc clowns around with how much Bev sexually arouses him (boy, he gets over that FAST, doesn't he?) And, finally, Data points out that he's fully functional, thus engendering a boozillion sex fantasies. Not to mention a groozillion teeshirts.
3. Code of Honor. Those crazy Negroes! A terrible episode! Not even Governor Wallace would have an excuse for this racist ep! Tasha fights a black gal in the *Star Trek* equivalent of "Under the Bamboo Tree" and one of them either wins or loses, depending on your point of view. Also, it looks as if Jean-Luc may not be as good an archaeologist as he thinks he is. At the beginning, he gives the Negroes a sculpture and says in his best RSC way: "Here, you lot, something as primitive as you are! A Sung dynasty sculpture of a horse!" SUNG!!!! When it is so clearly T'ang!! I mean, that's one of those things you learn in remedial Chinese art history! It's like saying, here's an Egyptian mummy from the time of George Washington!!!! Fortunately, TPTB get their act considerably together after this.
4. The Last Outpost. Here Riker is declared bestest guy in the whole damn world by T'Kon, the Carekeeper. *Oh, I am Riker, Sexgod of Sexgods. Look on my good stuff, ladies, and get down!* Of course, his only competition is a bunch of Ferengis (first Ferengi sighting, by the way). Poor Jonathan Frakes: he's just crucified by being Roddenberry's Marlon Sue. Hey, I'm not making this crap up; I've done research! Frakes reports that he was told by Roddenberry not to smile the whole first season because GR wanted Riker to get that "midwest Gary Cooper thing" going on. OH REALLY. We thought it was that "midwest piece of wood thing". On a related topic, upstairs in a closet chez Sunbeam, I have one of those Big Cardboard Rikers! Everyone here is fond of Big Cardboard Riker; he comes to all our parties, and he helps us out at Halloween too! A couple of years ago as a birthday gift, I gave Mr. Sunbeam a handmade bar guide which I entitled "Put Some Gin In It This Time!" (something I say a lot). Among other things, it contains a recipe for a Big Cardboard Riker; you have to use blue curacoa and a little plastic trombone.
5. Where No One Has Gone Before is your basic NAMBLA episode. A couple of guys come on board the Enterprise and make it vroom all over the universe and the vrooming just gets out of hand basically and the scarier one of the two guys, the one named Traveler (curiously this is also the name of Robert E. Lee's horse), takes a fancy to Wesley and tells Captain Picard how precious and wonderful and Mozartean etc., etc., little Wesley is. It is a mark of how civilized they are in the future that no one openly laughs in Traveler's face. (It takes six years, but Traveler finally finally nails Wes).
6. Lonely Among Us. So much plot! My head can hardly retain all this plot. Okay, the plot: basically two races hate each other (they are the Calico Cat and Gingham Dog of races); the episode ends when it runs out of plot. (Note to TPTB: More sex and ass and nipples and quivering manhoods and so on. And less plot.)
7. Justice. Riker and an away team go to the Planet of the Zombie Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders! Bunch of blondes of all genders fetchingly tug at their thong-like outer garments as they welcome our gang. (Many visits to Wig Outlet Mall went into the making of this ep.) Turns out these new people are hot to trot AND they want to kill Wesley (someone in the front office seems to be working through some issues here). Poor old Jean-Luc has to explain all this to Bev. (Bev is slightly affected.) Head of Zombie Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders gets on her knees to Picard, but nothing much happens. Oh, BTW, we get to see God. Worf sums it up when he says: "Nice planet."
8. The Battle. Listless Ferengi plot. Jean-Luc goes mad. This is before PSHimself realized Jean-Luc *doesn't* go mad. In theory we get backstory on JLP, but none that helps us any.
9. Hide and Q. Q wears the hottest outfit in his career, a French Empire kinda thing: I must say, he has a sexy lap. He also tries to seduce the thuggish Riker who just doesn't get it. "Say, Blue Eyes, it's hot, isn't it, and we could play a little game, couldn't we, and let me ply you with alcohol, and what are you doing later tonight?" But Riker just goes "duh". Bafflingly, Q still grants Riker the power of the Q, so Riker makes a lame attempt to give everybody what they want most. Wesley gets suddenly grown up (he turns out to be the kind of guy who works at Chess King in the mall), Worf wins a date with Acquanetta the Eel Woman, and Geordi can see! Only Jean-Luc spurns him, and all of sudden ALL CREATION realizes what Q's getting at. Jean-Luc, for God's sake, man, put out!
10. Haven. Wherein we are introduced to the explicable gifts of Lwaxana Troi. We also get to meet Wyatt with whom Deanna was betrothed from birth and also his Etch-a-Sketch hobby. Everybody makes a huge big fat deal about this betrothal, and then it is never alluded to EVER again. We also get to see Jean-Luc pretending Lwaxana's luggage is heavy (I love hokey stage business like that, and JLP is good).
11. The Big Goodbye. Hey, whatever happened to the Ship's Historian? We never see this character or this role again! Boohoo! At any rate, Jean-Luc goes off and plays detective Dixon Hill on the holodeck in order to relieve certain bug-related tensions (the bugs are a tribe of aliens who demand that he speak their pointless gibberish perfectly when he greets them or else they'll pack up their doll clothes and go home). Not much of a plot premise if you ask me. Nonetheless, Atrickpay Oowartstay *really* earns his Star Trek nickel here. In one fab scene, he's Dixon Hill glaring at the police goons who are giving him the third degree and then, in the same take, he breaks character and tells the holograms how good they are. You gotta see it! Plus he graces his 1940's costumes with the most heartfelt eleganza. Can you blame Q for loving him so? (Since this is before everyone knew what they were doing, JLP and Bev make plans to go his Dixon-Hill-office and GET BUSY. JLP and Bev tres hot here. He's dying to put his hand on her knee, right under the edge of her rayon hem, and then move that great paw up to the tops of her nylon stockings and toy with her garters while she whispers "no, Jean-Luc, no, we mustn't," but of course she wouldn't mean it. *sigh*)
12. Datalore. This is where we meet Super Fantasy Fodder Lore! AND the Crystalline Entity (grrr!) Lore is your classic evil twin: sinister, amusingly effete, and PRETTY HOT! But, of course, stupid Wesley has to fling Lore into outer space. (Also, stupid Wesley seems to be alone in recognizing that Lore is NOT Data. I guess Wheaton was the only one to read that week's script.) We learn about Data's off switch too. Hmmm, I think I'd like a man with an *on and off* switch, knowwhutimean? Hey, yall, who's hot for Lore? Is it Geordi? Or Deanna? Tasha maybe? And then who does LORE want most? Riker? Or Cap? Or is it . . . Data himself that Lore fancies? A capital episode!
13. Angel One. A planet where Girls' Gym Teachers Rule! Seems these Girls' Gym Teachers capture Riker and put him in a dress and earrings! And then there's some plot. Like all the other first-season red-herrings, the fascinating image of an ultra- femme Riker is not followed up in the next seven years.
14. 11001001 - starring the Bynars! For a long time, I thought this was the ep where some problem occurs and so Jean-Luc has to set off a ship-auto-destruct mechanism (so teen-aged-girl petty that I was surprised our captain didn't go to the mall afterwards and shoplift some nail polish). Turns out I was confused. But still a problem DOES occur. And then a solution. Hey, while Riker falls for holohottie Minuet, JLP seems to be there only as background noise. Ho ho. You can tell GR is still fruitlessly grooming Frakes as TNG's resident stud. (Roddenberry *really* likes that kitten-faced-boy/angular-man dyad, doesn't he? Riker and Picard. Kirk and Spock. Pike and Spock. Even Pike and Number One. And way back in *The Lieutenant* with Gary Lockwood and Robert Vaughn. Even way way WAY back to the early 1950's "Rocky Jones" serial with Richard Crane as the criminally cute pug-faced Rocky and the pointlessly ferret-y Scotty Beckett as his sidekick Winky. Say, where is the torn-from-today's- headlines Ph.D. thesis on Rodenberry's deep debt to "Rocky Jones"? That's what I want to know! Hey you! Quit sitting in front of the Internet and get to work out there!)
15. Too Short a Season. Guy gets young v. quickly (useful skill). There's also a mean alien named Karnas who wants to wreak revenge on young-ing guy. Mean alien is played by soft-core porn actor/producer Michael Pataki. I LOVE Michael Pataki. His speciality as an actor is the wicked blowhard, from the insulting second-Klingon-in-command in *The Trouble with Tribbles* to the hot ‘n' ultra slashy J.C. in Mystery Science Theatre 3K classic, *The Sidehackers* (which is where I first fell in love with Michael Pataki). I'm not sure what this episode is about, but I'll probably try to stay old.
16. When the Bough Breaks. Starring Radue!!! Studio audience, give a warm welcome to Radue! The plot is that there's a race of people and they have screwed around with nature and so they're sterile and they're really sad but they cheer up a lot after they steal Wes and some other children from the Enterprise and this looks like a good deal for everybody!!! Yay! Especially the studio audience! Radue is the ringleader of this wacky scheme; he is played by Jerry Hardin! Jerry Hardin! He who had a small role in *Thunder Road* ("And it was Thunder! Thunder! Over Thunder Road! Something something something and white lightnin' was their load!" I love old movies about the hotheaded drawlin, brawlin, lovin, smoochin South, esp. if they have Robert Mitchum in them.) (Jerry Hardin also gets to be in Joe Don Baker movies!) However, the downside of all this is that Jerry Hardin also played the single most irritating character on TNG when he was the wheezy Mark Twain in *Time's Arrow* I and II. Oh, yeah, Wes and them get to go back to the ship, and somehow the magic faerie of fertility visits Radue's race, so this was another ep with no real point.
17. Home Soil. What a splendidly cheap show! Lots of scenes where the cast stares into the camera pretending to look at "dangerous" microscopic creatures. "Look at what they're doing now!" Close-up Bighead JLP says! "Oh, no!" says Close-up Bighead Geordi! "Those creatures are multiplying exponentially," says Close-up Bighead Data! No sex. Although that would be easy to script. Close-up Bighead JLP: "Mon dieu, I've never seen a bigger lovepole!" Close-up Bighead Worf: "Too bad, Captain Picard! Now pull down those drawers!" Close-up Bighead Riker: "Meanwhile, Data, help me hogtie Geordi so I can take out Li'l Willy and . . ." (Man, I could write this script all day long!)
18. Coming of Age: See, Riker's getting a suntan in the holodeck but he stays in there too long and gets sunburned and so Bev has to give him a big shot of cordrazine and Jean-Luc is wandering around and he says, "whatcha doin' Bev?" and it startles her and her hand jumps and she accidentally injects the cordrazine into Jean-Luc and he goes crazy and starts having sex with everyone in sight, starting with bright red Riker in baggy swim trunks, um, and then Jean-Luc moves back to earth and gets his own series and it's called "Howdy, I'm Jean-Luc!" and his wacky next-door neighbors are played by Suzanne Somers, Lee Iacocca, and Flipper and there's always a moral where everybody learns some sort of lesson and then there's a big final music salute to "Coming of Age"!!! [teeny voice] I'm a terrible Trekkie! I don't have any idea about what happens in this ep! I made all that up!
19. Heart of Glory. To think TPTB didn't hire Dorn fulltime at first, and then he ends up striding two whole series like the Colossus he is! Here, some hot ‘n' leathery Klingons come on board the Enterprise and taunt Worf for being a nelly federation Klingon. He is torn. Eventually one of them dies and Worf gets to growl at the camera to warn him the dead are coming: Kool Klingon thing.
20. The Arsenal of Freedom. What a great Twilight Zone episode! See, okay, lotta plot here, and it's v. ironic! Species of Vincent Schiavelli-lookalikes invent weapons so clever that the species destroy themselves with them. Fair enough. But, in the process of destroying themselves, they also leave a CGI salesman who looks EXACTLY like Vincent Schiavelli who keeps trying to sell the same terrible machines to our gang by showing them how destructive the machines are. Shakespeareanly clever JLP figures out that the only way to get Vincent Schiavelli to put a sock in it is to buy the stupid program. And he does. And it does. A nice ep! Tasha (hey, does she have the eightiest hair in the world or what) and Riker get threatened with annihilation! Way to go!
21. Symbiosis. Drug Addict ep. The chief drug addict is played by the actor who was David, Captain Kirk's pretty-boy son. He does a lot of v. pubic acting with his Shatneresque mouth and it's a pleasure to see him. Actually, the whole ep is kind of a prototype of "Velvet Goldmine" only without the music. And without the nudity. And the buttfucking is only implied.
22. Skin of Evil. Love that title! See, there's a horrible villain and his name is Armus and he kills Tasha and he gets Riker dirty and he's got skin of evil and we hate him and they leave him alone and he lives in a swamp and he's got no friends and he's crying and he's lonely and . . . oh, no, I'm on Armus's side all the way! Tasha: what is it Shakespeare says! We owe God a death! Get over it, blondie!
23. We'll Always Have Paris. Jean-Luc appears to have had an affair with the cuter girl from the old sixties group, The Mamas and the Papas. Guess he stopped into a church. Guess he got down on his knees to pray. Etc. etc. You get the picture; they'd been in love once [snoresnore] but she married a big cosmic physicist instead. Despite all the potential, kinda boring the way all them early eps is. (You know though, if I knew a guy who had power over Time and Space, I'd have second thoughts about messing with his wife. What was Jean-Luc thinking of?)
24. Conspiracy. A favorite episode among slashers because of the presence of Walker Keel. See, Walker introduced Jack Crusher to Bev, and, of course, Jean-Luc (theoretically) caused Jack's death but, since Jean-Luc was also friends with Walker, Walker's a key erotic figure. What do you want to bet that Jack, Walker, and Jean-Luc had some three-way action right out of Andre Gide? But then Jack and Jean-Luc got a load of Beverly's stuff and that was that. Seems like Walker has been sulking all these years. Also: giant bugs come out of people's mouths. (Hey, Jean-Luc, that happens with my ex-boyfriends too!) Added pluses: Riker eats worms!!! and another guy's head explodes! Fun for the whole family!
25. The Neutral Zone. Boo! We're Romulans! Beware not only of us but also of our fearsome shoulder pads! Hey, three cybernetically frozen guys from the 1980's show up; they are meant to be typical frozen guys of the 1980's, to wit, a frazzled housewife, a country singer, and an asshole. The country singer (played by eerie Brechtian hillbilly Leon Rippy more as a hillbilly might be than as an actual hillbilly) hooks up with Data, the asshole is an asshole, and the frazzled housewife locates her great great great great grandson and makes plans to go and live with him. This is not a good thing! If my great great great great grandmother turned up from outer space, she would not be welcome, being no doubt much like Granny Clampett, only more primitive and less charming. And even MORE likely to offer marsupial-flavored snacks.
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