Monday, September 9, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Fifty-two - Star Trek Voyager: Season 7, Episode 19, "Wait... this seems a bit familiar."

I've been very sporadic with my Voyager watching.

Having seen the complete series several times thanks to syndication and reruns on UPN (back when there was a UPN) and other networks for well over a decade, I pretty much just limit myself to my favorites... and, usually, those favorites revolve around The Doctor (Robert Picardo). Today's Couchbound entry is no exception, featuring the Season 7 episode, "Author, Author."

Recently MacGuffin-ing a way to regularly communicate with Starfleet back in the Alpha Quadrant (thanks to Dwight Schultz's recurring Barclay character), the crew of Voyager are finally able to speak face to face with colleagues and loved ones for the first time in years. Not having any family to speak of himself (or, perhaps, the writers not wanting to retread ground so quickly after Life Line), The Doctor decides to speak with a publisher for his new Holo-Novel.

The novel, itself, is a farcical reinterpretation of the Voyager crew from an oppressed Emergency Medical Hologram's perspective... and basically serves to drive a wedge between The Doctor and the crew as all of their fictional analogs act like they're from the Mirror Universe, but that's the throwaway comedic part of the episode. The real meat of the story is a replay of a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode with The Doctor standing in for Data in The Measure of a Man.

It really is extremely derivative of the legal proceedings from over a decade previous, where a Starfleet scientist wanted to disassemble Data against his will, claiming he had no rights because he was just a machine and Starfleet property. In Author, Author, it's the same, just swapping out the scientist with a greedy, overzealous publisher looking for a quick strip of gold-pressed latium and Data for the put upon AI, The Doctor.

The episode is a bit disappointing on the whole.

The novel is far too cheesy and melodramatic, the few glimpses of it we are given, and the crew's reactions to it, while understandable, are far too conveniently shocked/appalled, with only Neelix giving a favorable review. The only highlight for me was when Tom Paris reprogrammed the novel to give a creepy, perverted slant to The Doctor that gave Picardo a few gems to chew on.

Then there's the side story that features several bridge crew and their calls home with loved ones. While it was nice to see B'elanna and Seven reconnect with their families, the scene with Ensign Kim's stereotypical overbearing Asian mother felt as if it set back race relations a couple of years with a few broad strokes of the pen.... so, kudos there, writers.

Still, if you can get past all the cheese and hammy dialogue, it's nice to see "Measure of a Man"-lite, the Diet Soda of Data Episode Ripoffs. It pales in comparison to the original (what with Riker running the prosecution and much more time spent philosophizing instead of just the crew testimonials here), but it ain't terrible.

Plus, it's always good to see Broccoli, even if he's a tool in real life.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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