Tuesday, November 23, 2010

John Black, I Hope You Sued (Or Got Paid Anyway): "The Naked Now" Rehashes "The Naked Time."

The Good: Fun, More interesting than the pilot
The Bad: Repetitive, Unoriginal, Obvious
The Basics: "The Naked Now" is a retelling of the second episode of Star Trek and does nothing extraordinary in its Next Generation version.

Star Trek The Next Generation was built on a pretty solid philosophy: "If you build it, they will watch." No example proves that better than "The Naked Now." Going on the philosophy that fans of Star Trek were starved for anything Trek, the second episode of the new series rewrote the second aired episode of Star Trek and put it out.

The plot of "The Naked Now" has only subtle differences from Star Trek's "The Naked Time" (click here for my review!). In "The Naked Now," the Enterprise is investigating the disintegration of a star following the loss of a science vessel which had been doing the investigating itself. An Away Team - the more upbeat way of saying "boarding party" in the future - visits the ship to find everyone there dead, apparently in a state of inebriation. Shortly after returning, the crew begins to show symptoms of the same disease and the race is on to find a cure before the ship is destroyed by a piece of the degrading star.

So the bulk of this episode is the crew we've only known for a week walking around the ship acting drunk. Weak premise.

Outside the simple pleasure of watching Denise Crosby (who plays Tasha Yar) saunter through engineering flirtatiously and seducing Data, there's not much to recommend the episode. The acting is fine: Patrick Stewart and Gates McFadden prove they may act by playing Picard and Crusher off from their normally emotionally distant selves. But even the acting isn't consistent: Brent Spiner's portrayal of Data without inhibitions is over the top and ridiculous.

In all, it's a silly episode with a silly premise. Explaining the episode to someone who is not a fan of Star Trek The Next Generation is impossible to make interesting. This episode is the Animal House for the Star Trek type geek. It has appeal to those of us who are fans of Star Trek The Next Generation, but no broad appeal.

Moreover, the menace of the episode is somewhat ridiculous. Expecting the audience to believe the Enterprise is in mortal danger on only its second adventure is somewhat disappointing.

Even more insulting is what this episode is to the fans of the show. It bears such a close resemblance to "The Naked Time" that it's amazing the producers even bothered to make this one. It's silly and it's obvious and it's a one trick pony on a show usually above such things. John Black, by the way, is the man who wrote the 1960s Star Trek episode from which they lifted this one.

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete First Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the debut season by clicking here!


For other Star Trek reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2010, 2008, 2002 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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