Mini reviews of Television seasons old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional bunnies.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 5 (1991-92)

Amid the twenty-fourth century problems tackled—coolant leaks, transporter malfunctions, stubborn settlers on other planets, etc—are a large number of issues and moral dilemmas that affect people of all eras, meaning the show continued to be both universal and timeless. One of the most successful was an exploration of gender and attraction that the sci-fi genre is well-equipped to deal with.

It’s perhaps a coincidence, but more than any of the preceding seasons there are episodes centred around or featuring children: there’s a birth, an orphan, an imaginary friend, more than one single parent story, and an episode in which Picard has to deal with a trio of kids all by himself. The later isn't a particularly memorable episode in itself, but it highlights how funny the Captain could be when allowed to step down from the pedestal of seriousness. Speaking of Picard, he gets a stylish new coat that no one else gets - the perks of captaincy!

Standout episodes include the fan-favourites I Borg, which starts out slow but gets better and better, and Cause and Effect, an old idea made to fit the Trek mould. I would add The Inner Light to that list, too, because despite its flaws I love the idea.

Elsewhere, a new semi-recurring character is introduced and quickly becomes a pain in everyone’s ass; she’s like a prototype Kira Nerys (DS9). There’s an Irwin Allen style disaster movie story that should’ve felt even more perilous because of the environment, but somehow doesn't.

As is customary by this stage, the last episode is the first part of a two-parter that isn't resolved until the beginning of Season 6.

On a sadder note, it was during the production of Season 5 that Trek creator Gene Roddenberry really did go into the final frontier; he died on 24th October ’91. :-(

26 episodes, approx 44 minutes each.

4 frequently exploited subspace distortions out of 5

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