My review of Angel One, which is part of the Top Five Most Painful TNG Episodes Ever, is up at TV Squad.
If you missed this morning’s preview (and if you did, what the hell, man?) here’s another bit of Mojo for your Nixon:
When they get to the planet, we discover that the women are all
statuesque beauties with perfectly feathered hair, and the men are all
refugees from Planet Simper V. After a tense palaver with the planet’s
only two leaders with any opinions whatsoever, Mistresses Beata and
Ariel, the away team is sent to their room to think about what they did
while mommy and mommy talk. Like all kids who are sent to their rooms,
though, instead of contritely thinking about what they did, they plot
against the people who sent them there.
Troi says that pretty
much everyone in the room was freaked out about something. Maybe it has
something to do with the Odin crew. Tasha’s insightful analysis: "Why?
Good question." Data (and the audience) wonder what they’ll do if the
Mistresses deny the existence of any survivors. Hey, that’s a good
question, and probably something we’d all like to be prepared for,
right, Riker? Actually, no. Riker petulantly tells Data, "Let’s not
look for problems." Yeah, because looking for and solving problems just
isn’t the way we do things in Starfleet, dog.
Of all the reviews I’ve done so far, this was the hardest for me to write. I didn’t work on the episode for more than one day, so I don’t have that many behind the scenes memories. The final product is so unbelievably horrible, it was a challenge to do more than write, "This thing was stupid, this thing was also stupid, this thing should be retconned, this thing was lame," etc.
So I wrote the first draft, and I asked Andrew to give me some help with the rewrite. I figured that he would have his own take on it, and would be able to help me find jokes where I was missing them. He did, and so far, the jokes everyone is picking out as their favorites were all written by him. I believe in giving credit where credit is due, so direct your praise for Worf’s sinuses and Riker’s wait for command in Andrew’s direction. He also found a gag to go with the vase, which I wanted to put in, but just couldn’t find on my own. The snu-snu, though, was all me, baby. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is spongy and bruised.
The column was getting long, so I didn’t have space to include something that I think it historically important about this show. If I only had a blog where I could share the additional information, I’d say . . .
Angel One is mostly crap, but the original story sounds like it was pretty cool. Larry Nemecek’s Star Trek The Next Generation Companion (which is a surreal experience for me to read, because it speaks to the fanboy and cast member in me simultaneously) says that "Heavy rewrites changed Patrick Barry’s original story — a direct, action-filled, allegory to apartheid using the sexes instead of the races to make his point." Larry gives more plot details in the book, which I won’t reprint here because I think that probably exceeds fair use. Director Michael Rhodes says that a big reason this story falls flat was Gene’s determination to strip any conflict out of this script, and that Gene decreed that there was "no place for conflict in Star Trek." I hate to be critical of Gene, but I clearly remember Rhodes and several members of the cast sitting on Stage 6 one morning, absolutely incredulous that anyone could think that interesting drama was possible without conflict.
You know how you’re a kid, and your parents are arguing about something, and you know they’re arguing but they tell you everything’s fine, we’re just talking, so go back to bed? That’s how I felt during this entire episode (even though I wasn’t working on it, I was there every day to go to school.) The actors hated it. I mean, they really, really hated it — almost as much as I hate Dick Cheney. I haven’t been able to confirm this with people
who allegedly participated, but I’ve heard from other Star Trek alumni
that some of the actors hated this script so much — it was even more
sexist and stupid in one of the drafts that it is in the final cut, if
you can believe that — they refused to work for a day or so until
various things were rewritten. Some people would say that’s a case of
actors being difficult, but I’d say it’s an example of how much we all
cared about the show, and how we all wanted it to be awesome and
Oh, and if you Digg it and Propel it, a talking goat will bring you a box of wine, for free! If that doesn’t wax your skis, I can assure you that Digging and Propelling will get you laid. And who doesn’t like that?
(Heh. "get you laid" sounds like 9th grade tough-guy talk during lunch. It also makes me think of Beavis and Butthead, for some reason.)