Saturday, December 31, 2011

Roswell: Solved At Last! "Little Green Men" Is Fun Star Trek: Deep Space Nine!

The Good: Great idea, funny, nice acting, character development
The Bad: Somewhat silly resolution to the episode
The Basics: When Quark, Rom and Nog end up on Earth in 1947, human history has the potential to be irrevocably changed.

In 1947, rumors abounded in Roswell, New Mexico that a UFO had crashed and been recovered by the US Military. That's common knowledge. In Star Trek lore, this accident is finally explained: it was the Ferengi! In "Little Green Men," this is fully explored.

When Nog needs to report to Earth to begin his training at StarFleet Academy, Quark decides to transport him there in his new shuttle, compliments of Cousin Gaila. The gift seems too good to be true to Quark and it actually is: when the Quark's Treasure tries to come out of warp (slow down), the system fails and it appears the ship will crash. Rom, along for the ride, manages to save the ship, but in the process, the Ferengi lose consciousness. They awaken on Earth in 1947 where it seems they are doomed. As soon as Quark is able to get his universal translator back on-line, he becomes convinced that the destructive nature of humans of the time can be exploited and he decides to stay on Earth and do just that.

"Little Green Men" is, in the end, a comedy and it's well executed as such. The Ferengi usually get the episodes that are intended to be humorous and this episode is no exception. Almost from the beginning, we know this episode will be funny, with Nog noting that Captain Sisko looks an awful lot like Gabriel Bell (believe me, it's funny if you've seen "Past Tense, Part I and II). It gets even better when the Ferengi arrive in the past and they interact with the humans who are so different from themselves.

This episode was a good idea and it is executed rather well. It manages to keep the characters central to the events. More than simply a "let's put the Ferengi in Roswell in 1947" episode, this becomes "If it were the Ferengi, what would they have done and why?" episode. And that works quite well. Quark's natural greed and cunning come into play and are sensibly used.

In fact, much of the episode hinges on Quark's character. His ambition and desire to exploit make his place in "Little Green Men" essential. It also means that his failure to complete his desired task must, by necessity be the result of an external force and it's refreshing that it does come from someone other than himself. Here Quark is most true to himself and his own capitalist ideals and it's refreshing to see that unbridled here.

Armin Shimerman makes this episode fly. Shimerman has the opportunity to explore the unbridled greed of Quark. Armin has had the chance to play Quark as devious but never as openly vicious and exploitative as here. Shimerman rises to the occasion infusing Quark with great facial expressions and a professional sense of comic timing.

Even if one has never seen Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, there is a lot to enjoy in this episode. It's basically a comedy and for anyone who knows the mythos of the Roswell Incident will find this take on it funny. It has a great sense of how people in the late 40s acted and spoke and as a result the contrast with the 24th Century Ferengi is hilarious. While the Ferengi subplot is a major one, this is not an essential episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

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


For other Star Trek episode, movie and DVD set reviews, please click here to visit my index page!

© 2011, 2007, 2003 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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