Category Archives: TV

My Top 10 Episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation

Not too long ago, my husband and I were talking about startrek.com’s poll results of fans’ favorite top 10 episodes of all of Star Trek. I disagreed with some of the episodes and definitely the order, so my husband suggested I create a top 10 list favorite of each series, and then at the end of our current rewatch do my own top 10 of all the series. Last month I shared my top 10 favorite episodes of the original series, and today I wanted to share my top 10 episodes of TNG. In descending order…

10. Data’s Day

A day in the life of Data proves to be anything but typical in this episode. It also features one of my favorite poems of all time, “Ode to Spot.” 😉

9. Disaster

When members of the Enterprise crew are isolated to different sections of the ship thanks to a disaster, they have to work in atypical pairs/groupings to find their way back to each other. (And now I have a great idea for an Escape Room style game…)

8. Lower Decks

This episodes provides a glimpse into the lives of some of the younger, less experienced officers aboard the Enterprise

7. Parallels

One of the best uses of an alternate timeline I’ve ever seen, in which Worf has to set things back to how he remembers them to be.

6. The Measure of a Man

An episode which explores just what it is to be human.

5. The Drumhead

When Picard is put on trial for some of his actions, he has to defend himself against someone who seems determined to see him fail.

4. The Inner Light

An alien probe affects Picard as he lives out another life as another man.

3. Yesterday’s Enterprise

Another great use of an alternate timeline in which the Federation is in the middle of a brutal war.

2. Best of Both Worlds

The Enterprise encounters the Borg and Picard gets assimilated. Whaaaaat.

1. Chain of Command

A Cardassian is determined to get answers out of Picard that he doesn’t have in this compelling look into the psychology of torture.

Which episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation are your favorite? 

Thoughts on Netflix’s Anne with an E

My husband and I have made it a good long while without caving to the pressure of Netflix. But when I heard that an original Anne of Green Gables adaptation was coming, I knew resistance was futile. So on the day of its premiere, when I also happened to have a free evening to myself, I started a Netflix free month trial and started watching Anne with an E – the first five episodes in that first evening, and then the remaining two the next day.

As some of you know, I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time last year and fell in love with it. Mostly GILBERT, but I adore Anne too and all of Avonlea. I still haven’t seen the 1980s Anne of Green Gables mini-series everyone seems to love, but I definitely want to one day when I can get a hold of it (I did check Netflix, and it wasn’t there, sadly). As a newer fan, I felt it was easy for me to go into this series with an open mind, though there are definitely certain things that are important to me when looking at an Anne adaptation, which I think will become apparent as you read my thoughts on this series.

My quick overall thoughts (in case you don’t feel like getting into my lengthy analysis below)… The show definitely has a darker tone and more modern sensibility than the wild-eye innocence feel of the books. There are a lot of deviations and for the first five episodes I was OK with this, but the last two episodes really left me disappointed.

What I liked…

The show is beautifully shot. Like ridiculously beautifully shot. The media production major in me definitely admires the aesthetic of the show.

For the first five episodes, the characters feel true to their original selves. Even though there are a lot of story deviations, the characters still feel the same. For the most part, you can believe these are sort of lost tales of Anne’s life that Montgomery did not share with us. This changes somewhat by episode six and a lot by episode seven. I’ll get into this more later.

The acting is A++++++++. I don’t think I’ve seen any of these actors/actresses in anything else but they are all so crazy good. They feel just like the characters.

And GILBERT. OH MY GOODNESS. So until we meet Gilbert in episode 3, Matthew was my favorite, because he is so fantastic, but GILBERT. For episodes 3-5, this Gilbert is so stinking wonderful and kind and adorable and everything you want Gilbert Blythe to be. Below I will get into spoilers of how a story arc changes his character in episode 6. I still like him a lot, but he does feel different at that point.

What was mostly OK…

Anne is definitely not the only character who gets a focus on her tragic backstory. We delve into the psyches of Marilla, Matthew, and others. This would sometimes add some nice depth, but sometimes it felt a bit unnecessary and detracted from the strength of the original source.

What I didn’t particularly love…

This show is a lot darker, and some of that is OK. We get flashbacks into Anne’s past and see how it actually affects her day by day, which makes it seem like real trauma. In the books she alludes to the bad stuff she had to go through in the past, but it just mostly rolls off her like water on a duck’s back. In this adaptation we see how this impacts her conversations with others, as well as just the very painful memories she relives in her mind.

But then as if that’s not enough, there’s more. There’s attempted kidnapping, possible attempted assault, actual physical assault and thievery, and then everyone in Avonlea is so much more openly hostile to Anne in this adaptation than they were in the book. Billy Andrews is especially quite the villain who repeatedly calls Anne a dog (thankfully just a dog, not another word associated with dogs, but still very terrible). And while I remember her first teacher in Avonlea not being all that great, this one is just downright horrible. He treats Anne, really most of the class, like trash, in addition to just being a bad teacher. And then the minister, ugh! He’s portrayed all wrong for no real reason. Sometimes, I feel there’s just a little too much of the bad, when the books focused so much more on the good.

Which leads me to my next point, that there’s a little too much modern sensibility thrown in, in my opinion. It’s one thing to talk about Anne’s first period (which was really funny but also pretty poignant and well-done), and it’s one thing for the mothers to talk about educational rights for women, but when a character literally said, “Feminism. What a wonderful word,” it’s actually kind of eye-rolling instead of empowering like I think was the intent. Way to be super on-the-nose. Just like the aforementioned dark aspects of the show, the attempt to bring in a little more progressive thinking in Avonlea is taken just slightly farther than I felt it needed to be.

What I hated…

While I didn’t love everything in episodes 1-5, I was still really enjoying everything overall. This started to change with episode 6, and then 7 crashed and burned it.

—SPOILERS BELOW—

In episode 6, Gilbert’s father dies. We learn earlier in the series that his father is ill and his mother is apparently already dead. This bothered me because it was so different from the books, but what made it turn from something annoying to something I absolutely hated was when it changed Gilbert as a character. It makes him much moodier, which he has every right to be under the circumstances, but the circumstances shouldn’t exist to completely change his character. It’s obviously added for drama or tension or whatever. Heaven forbid Gilbert just have a wholesome family life. I guess it’s a shortcut way to get Anne to relate with him better, but that feels really cheap to me. It also forces him to have to quit school to work which is just like WHAAAAAAT EVEN. I don’t even know how to explain in coherent words how that makes me feel. Mostly, it just feels wrong.

In episode 7, Matthew has his heart attack but doesn’t die (I wouldn’t be surprised if he does in season two though). But he bemoans how, because of their financial woes, it would be better for Anne and Marilla if he was dead so they can get his life insurance, and at one point HE GETS OUT HIS GUN AND IS READY TO COMMIT SUICIDE. People, this is not Matthew Cuthbert. He would NEVER do that. Thankfully, his lady friend from the dress shop/his former love interest from school? shows up and stops him. But seriously, WHY. The show was dark enough without going that far.

And then the way episode 7 ends is truly bizarre, and I’m surprised I haven’t seen anyone else on the Internet talk about this yet. So earlier in the episode, Anne and their hired farmhand Jerry go into town to sell some things. Jerry, separate from Anne, sells one of the horses. As soon as the buyer walks away and Jerry puts the money in his pocket, these two ruffians beat him up and take the money. Later, we see them noticing an ad for a room available to rent at Green Gables, and at the end of the episode, they both arrive there, separately, to live. This already seems like a weird subplot to have, but it got weirder when the second one who arrives acts like he is attracted to Anne, and she acts the same towards him, BUT HE IS GROWN AND AT LEAST TWICE HER AGE. Maybe I COMPLETELY misread the looks but all the acting had been so consistently great throughout the series that I have a hard time believing that I suddenly misinterpreted what was being shown to me. And then after their exchange, it just ends. It makes ZERO sense for an ending, even for one that is suppose to leave room for more because it makes me sick to my stomach rather than eager for more.

If you’ve watched the entire show, PLEASE let me know how you interpreted the end and how it makes you feel. I need to know if I either completely misunderstood or that I’m alone or crazy in my feelings about it.

— SPOILERS OVER—

A breakdown of my thoughts in star ratings…

Episodes 1: 4 stars

Episode 2: 3.5 stars

Episodes 3 & 4: 4 stars

Episode 5: 3 stars

Episode 6: 2.5 stars

Episode 7: 2 stars

Acting: 5 stars

Cinematography: 5 stars

Characterization: 3.5 stars

Story: 2.5 stars

Series overall: 3 stars

A few parting thoughts…

As you can see, I have very mixed feelings about the series. It started off promising, even with the deviations, but at the end, the changes did more harm than good in my mind. I wish I could better understand the intent of the series writers, and if they truly interpret Montgomery’s work this way or just felt like being edgy. Because personally, I feel Montgomery’s intent was misunderstood.

On Twitter I saw where someone described this series as a dystopia version of Anne of Green Gables. That’s actually a pretty good way to describe it. Every aspect of the story is cranked up to an 11 in terms of harsh realities. I think a little bit could have been sprinkled in without going to such an extreme. The original story is a coming-of-age tale I can’t wait to share with my future children, but this version I wouldn’t share with anyone under 12, with so much of the wonder taken away and replaced with grit.

Have you seen Anne with an E? What are your thoughts on the series, and what’s your previous Anne history?

My Top 10 Episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series

For those of you who have been paying attention, you may wonder, Amy, why are you talking about the original series while watching Deep Space Nine and Voyager? Didn’t you already share your favorite episodes? 

As Ezri Dax would say, these are all very good questions.

My husband and I were talking startrek.com’s recent poll results of fans’ favorite top 10 episodes of all of Star Trek. Of course I disagreed with some of the episodes and definitely the order. So my husband suggested I create a top 10 list favorite of each series, and then at the end of our rewatch do my own top 10 of all the series. Let me tell you, I anticipate that will be quite the task.

But I’m taking this one series at a time at the moment, going back to TOS. I’ll share TNG soon, and then will go through the others after I finish the entire series again and have already done my Top 5 episodes of the last season. In descending order…

10. Space Seed

My feelings for this episode are complicated, but it’s an important one in Star Trek lore.

9. The Menagerie

Even though I prefer the original TOS pilot The Cage which features the same story line, this is what we get as part of the official series and the concept is so interesting.

8. The Cloud Miners

The commentary about division of classes in this one makes it a worthwhile watch.

7. The Enterprise Incident

Sneaky spy stuff + a different side to Spock makes this a really solid TOS episode.

6. Mirror, Mirror

The only mirror episode in all of Star Trek that I really like because it was just fun and didn’t get rehashed into weirdness (looking at you DS9 mirror universe).

5. The Naked Time

A fun early episode in which even Spock loses his cool.

4. All Our Yesterdays

A poignant time travel episode.

3. A Piece of the Action

The Star Trek crew get to be gangsters for a day. Just fun.

2. The City on the Edge of Forever

An even MORE poignant time travel story that confronts the idea of letting history run its course no matter the cost.

1. The Trouble with Tribbles

I mean, you know how much I love tribbles. 🙂

What are your top episodes of all three seasons of Star Trek’s original series?

My Top 5 Episodes of Voyager Season Four

As my husband and I are going through our second full watch of Star Trek as a couple, I thought it would be fun to report on the highlights along the way. So I decided to copy the same format as Charlene. See her favorite episodes of Voyager Season Four

Season four, when Kes has departed and Seven comes on board. This is also the season of what I have long proclaimed to be the best episodes of Voyager, but stay tuned to see how my feelings have changed a little. Also, while the show is probably stronger this season than in the previous, thanks to DS9 really getting good I started losing interest and found less episodes from this season of Voyager standing out in my mind.

I will give an honorable mention to the episode “One,” for some nice Seven development. On with the top 5…

5. Nemesis

I’m not super crazy about everything in this episode, mostly how the dialect of the people carries over in a different way than it normally would with the universal translator, BUT the ending of the episode is one of those whoa moments, especially since I had completely forgotten the ending of this one. While many of the episodes from season four blur together in my mind, this one does stand out.

4. Waking Moments

I’m kind of a sucker for episodes involving dreams, and in this episode an alien species poses a great threat to Voyager through their nightmares.

3. Living Witness

This is definitely a very thought-provoking episode that makes you think of how we view history with our preconceived biases.

2. Year of Hell Parts One and Two

These used to be among my favorite episodes of all of Voyager, but aren’t even my favorite of the season this go-around. I think most of the tension was gone for me during this rewatch, and I didn’t remember the villain being the way he was, and I found him underwhelming this go-around. I think I was a little more engaged in part one, but by part two I was kind of over it. Of course, it probably didn’t help that there were several days between my viewing of part one and part two. Also, I think one of my favorite things about this episode this time was the friendship between Tuvok and Seven, which sadly we don’t get to see portrayed in quite the same light again.

1. The Killing Game Parts One and Two

Like how I’m a sucker for dream episodes, I’m also a sucker for anything where we see our crew (in any Trek series) in another time period. In this two-parter, most of the crew is forced into a WWII themed holosuite program by an alien species who thrives on hunting their enemies.

 What are your favorite episodes of Voyager season four?

My Top 5 Episodes of DS9 Season Six

As my husband and I are going through our second full watch of Star Trek as a couple, I thought it would be fun to report on the highlights along the way. So I decided to copy the same format as Charlene. See her favorite episodes of Deep Space Nine Season 6

I seriously can’t believe that my last Star Trek recap post was in October! Timeless, Agents of SHIELD, Designated Survivor, and basketball season seriously slowed my Trek viewing down! Also, stay tuned for my Voyager season four recap coming soon!

So things are getting really real in Season 6 of DS9, but there are still some dud episodes (most notably Profit and Lace… YIKES). But I feel pretty strongly that my top two episodes for this season though are among the best of the series, arguably of the entire franchise. So stinkin’ good. On with my top five…

5. Inquisition

I think I mostly like this episode because it sets up the future of Sloan-Bashir and Section 31, including an episode next season I really love, Extreme Measures. Every time I see William Sadler, I think of his role of Sloan first.

4. You Are Cordially Invited…

Before she can marry Worf, Jadzia has to prove herself worthy to become a member of the House of Martok. But the real gem of this episode is Bashir and O’Brien suffering through Worf’s “bachelor party.” My favorite thing is when Bashir has a “vision” that he’s going to kill Worf.

3. His Way

Odo and Kira… blah, blah, blah… That’s fine, but for me this episode is about Vic Fontaine! I love the introduction of James Darren’s character and look forward to more Vic moments in season 7!

2. Far Beyond the Stars

This episode has a little bit of everything… It’s fun to see our usual characters playing different roles. It speaks on the power of storytelling. And it has a powerful message about racism.

1. In the Pale Moonlight

This commentary on morality in war and those gray places we can find ourselves in make this one of the most compelling episodes of Star Trek ever.

What are your favorite episodes of Deep Space Nine, season 6?