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Star Trekkin' Across the Universe: Discussing The Porgs


What was Kira’s line? Something like 12 Klingon ships destroyed, 8 disabled after Sisko hit the Kick Arse button.

That was some time after Worf had smashed the crap out of Drax with one punch too.






So…to finally answer this question, I agree that Star Trek (as originally envisioned by Gene Roddenberry) was intended as science fiction for an adult audience. It dealt in little philosophical conundrums and allegories etc. I watched the original series when I was a small kid. I watched TNG when I was a slightly older teenager. I bought the paperbacks. They were my gateway drug into reading and into harder science fiction.

When I say that I would like there to be something for kids (or teenagers or whatever) , I mean a slightly more cerebral science fiction show that deals with contemporary issues and leads them to checking on other things.

Does that make sense?

I will add the caveat that I have no idea what Star Trek: Discovery will be like and that I know that Star Trek is available in it’s myriad forms to watch through various means.


But far more importantly…What do we watch next?

We did mention a Voyager episode maybe…Do we dare go there? :wink:


Scott in the whole Redjack episode seemed pretty frickin’ stoned for the entire episode. Also, they mention this whole thing about Scotty getting his heart broken which is why they are visiting the planet at the beginning anyway. It was the first time it hit me that these characters had lives outside what we saw in the episodes.

if you look at the timeline of the show’s in-narrative chronology, they must’ve had all sorts of adventures that could’ve been episodes in their own right.


I’ll go with my Voyager suggestion from upthread: the Scorpion two-parter.

That way, you get two Voyager episodes for the price of one! :smiley:


Do we have any other suggestions? Todd mentioned Scorpion a while ago. I have never watched Voyager, so I’m willing to give it go.

I note that the slightly Marmite nature of TMP generated a lot more discussion than anything else we watched.


I think Voyager newbs might better be able to appreciate “Year of Hell,” a two-parter that was the show’s version of what a lot of fans thought it should’ve been like all along, what Battlestar Galactica later did, which was show the ship get beaten up over the course of its journey, just full of hardship. But also a wicked cool sci-fi element in which an alien starship captain keeps screwing with the timeline (kind of like Flashpoint, actually), creating alternate realities until he hopefully rebuilds a lost empire…and brings back the family he accidentally erased along the way.


I could pontificate about either 2-parter. They’ve got lots of good points, interesting trivia and production details, and I feel they’re a good mix of quality and flaws that there’s some meat on there to talk through


Let’s do it this way - Let’s do Scorpion now. We can look at Year of Hell in a future go round (like we eventually got around to Tapestry).

As an aside, I’m always happy to take suggestions, so if we don’t go with something straight away doesn’t mean that we’ve forgotten.


I thought I already posted my thoughts about TMP, but looks like I didn’t. Better get it in before we switch to Voyager.

TMP was actually my first experience with Star Trek. I was about seven or eight yeas old and very into Star Wars, so getting into Star Trek felt like a natural progression.

The one thing that really stands out to me about viewing it as a child is that it was a rather frightening, eerie experience (despite being rated “G”). The Klingon ships slowly being disintegrated by a big cloud and not really understanding what was going on, seeing the transporter accident before I knew what a transporter actually was and wondering why those people got killed, the wormhole effect where time seemed to slow done and get all shaky, what happened to the bald chick after she disappeared and came back with a car cigarette lighter in her throat. And V’ger itself, a giant cloud that seemed to destroy everything in its path, heading toward Earth – and the Enterprise flew right into it, and I couldn’t tell where the cloud ended and whatever was inside of it began.

To my eight-year old mind, TMP was mysterious and puzzling and frightening, and it left me wanting more.

So I’ve always had a soft spot for it.


I think that I saw it on TV at around the same age.

I remember being quite freaked out that she came back as a machine…but the transporter accident…Man, I have no idea why they would go there. It still makes me wince as an adult.


So next up on the menu is the Star Trek Voyager Two parter - Scorpion.

In this episode, the crew of the Federation starship Voyager makes a “pact with the devil” (i.e. the Borg) in order to combat a new enemy which poses a serious threat to both.

I hope you enjoy it…but even if you don’t (I know that Voyager has many detractors) come back and tell us what you thought.

Edit: Thank you @lorcan_nagle for switching over the thread title.


It weren’t I squire. This time…


So it’s a mystery then…

Well thank you very much to whoever switched the title.


Well, I can see who did it. So I guess I’m Data in this Holodeck program


Scorpion: Trivia!

So, production on this 2-parter is pretty convoluted. Episode 1 is the series 3 finale, and the original plan was to do the story that became Year of Hell. Then the decision came down to change the cast a bit, and Year of Hell was pushed back later into series 4.

Another proposed finale was a copy of Voyager crewed by biomimetic lifeforms arriving at Earth, and wreaking havoc before they’re found out. Unlike Year of Hell, this story was never developed into a full episode on its own, though the biomimietic lifeforms would be used as the basis for Demon and Course: Oblivion

The idea to use the Borg as a big opponent came from Brannon Braga. Unity was the only planned Borg episode and he felt that in the aftermath of First Contact, it was time to bring them back to TV as well. Braga also came up with the idea of Species 8472.

Fan speculation in the hiatus between series 3 and 4 was that Garret Wang and/or Jennifer Lien would leave the show, especially Wang given Kim’s grave injuries at the end of the episode. And… well, nobody really liked Kes.

Apparently it was decided at one point that Wang would be the one to go, but he showed up in People Magazine’s 50 most beautiful people list, and apparently the producers decided to keep him around as a result.

As a result of the casting decisions Lien’s last episode as a regular is Scorpion Part 1. For Part 2 Jeri Ryan is listed in the main cast, and Lien has a guest credit. Her final episode was The Gift - the episode immediately after Scorpion, and she made a final guest appearance in the Series 6 episode Fury

Upon Lien’s departure, Kate Mulgrew spoke very highly of her talents as an actress, and during retrospectives pretty much the entire Series 1-3 cast spoke of how much they missed her and how her departure effected the tight-knit family feel the central cast had developed.

While Mulgrew predicted Lien would become a movie star, her post-Trek career was quite spotty, with a handful of movie and voiceover roles in the late 90s-early 2000s. In more recent years she’s only made the news as a result of various run-ins with the law.

Part 1 also sees the first appearance of Janeway’s Leonardo DaVinci holodeck program, with John Rhys-Davies as Leonardo. Rhys-Davies is a long-standing veteran of genre TV and movies, most notably as Gimli and Treebeard in the Lord of the Rings movies, Sallah in the Indiana Jones movies, Professor Arturo in Sliders, King John in Robin of Sherwood, as well as many voice over roles.

Scorpion marks a point where Voyager began to shift away from the majority of the show’s effects being optical to CGI. Foundation Imaging, best known for producing the CGI for the first three years of Babylon 5, had begun to work on the show at the start of the year, creating a sandworm for Basics Part 2 and a swarm of starships for the episode of the same name.

Most of the CG for this episode was provided by Foundation, under the Voyager’s lead effects supervisor Ronald B Moore (no relation to writer Ronald D Moore). In practice Moore handled the practical work, and shooting of live-action elements of composite shots such as when the Species 8472 pilot attacks Harry Kim in the Borg Cube.

The battle between the Borg Cubes and Specis 8472 in the second episode wasn’t part of the original script, but a sequence Foundation did on their own initiative as Ron Thornton felt it would be an awesome addition to the episode. He was also very proud of the sequence where the Borg are sucked out into space.

In the other direction, the pile of Borg corpses Kes saw in her visions and was found on the destroyed Borg Cube by Chakotay, Kim and Tuvok was in reality a twelve-inch tall pile of Playmates Borg toys, cut up and the parts glued together. They were photographed against a blue background and composited into shots of the set.

As may be evident, many of the Borg costumes and set pieces were originally made for First Contact. Similarly, the matte painting used for the shots of Janeway talking to the Collective at the end of Part 1 was from First Contact.

As noted, Part 2 was Jeri Ryan’s first episode as a series regular. She was cast 6 weeks before the shooting began on the episode, and fittings for her costume began almost immediately. The full Borg prosthesis was very tight and pinched on Ryan’s carotid artery, causing her to almost pass out during a long day’s shooting.

Ryan’s first few days on the set saw her bonding greatly with the cast. She met Garret Wang and Tim Russ in the makeup department during her costume fittings, but met most of the rest on her first day. She fit in well with the cast’s sense of humour (though every time she laughed it made her eye prosthetic fall off), and this helped her past a huge dose of anxiety, exacerbated by the fact that she couldn’t see where she was going very well, and didn’t have a good sense of the bridge set’s ins and outs, and as a result spent a lot of time stumbling and tripping over things.

There was a lot of fan trepidation about Ryan’s casting, especially after promo photos of Seven’s silver catsuit costume were released. Jeri Ryan said in 1999 that she was actually getting hate mail before the series began. Similarly Robert Beltran was a guest at a con a few weeks before Part 2 aired and he urged fans to give Seven a chance and said that they would like her and her addition would be beneficial to the show.

Also speaking of actors talking about conventions, during the hiatus between series 3 and 4 Kate Mulgrew was attending a con where she spoke of how much she enjoyed Part 1, and was excited for Part 2 as she had no idea what was going to happen.

The 2-parter was highly regarded by cast and crew, with pretty much everyone speaking very highly of it. Garret Wang noted that he liked the idea of an enemy even the Borg couldn’t defeat, and Jeri Taylor noted that the show’s popularity vindicated the big risks it took.

While Taylor thought during her comments that Part 1 was the highest-rated episode of series 3, she was mistaken - Future’s End, Part 2 had the same numbers but a higher audience share, and Basics, Part 2 was higher-rated on both fronts. It was the most popular show for the entire month on Sky One when it first aired in the UK, however.

This episode marks the first instance of conflict between Janeway and Chakotay that would cumulate in him considering mutiny against her in the Series 6 finale/Series 7 opener Equinox.

The scene where The Doctor and Kes discuss assimilation gives an explicit explanation of how the Borg assimilated various Enterprise crewmembers in First Contact

The neural probes the Borg forcibly attach to Janeway and Tuvok and Chakotay uses to connect to Seven were first scene in Unity.

The asymmetrical ship used by the rogue Borg in Descent appears on a screen in the Borg Cube as a mine schematic.

And so: opinion!

This is a hard episode to assess for me, because while it’s a good episode by Trek standards, not just Voyager ones, it’s the point where I fell out of love with Trek in general. I never saw Part 2 when it aired on TV, even though I watched most of series 4, I wasn’t paying attention enough to notice the airing dates. Looking at a list of series 5 episodes, I think I watched less than 5 on TV.

So yeah, this is a good two-parter overall. It plays to Voyager’s strengths - they’re decades away from any assistance, so they need to be careful, and they need to make alliances that are only marginally better than the alternative. While the first point became a point of derision for the show with their magically replenishing shuttles and torpedoes. it works well here, as Voyager has to retreat a few times due to damage. The latter was played with earlier in Series 2 with the episode Alliances, it’s much more stark here. The Borg are the greatest foe the Federation has ever seen, a constantly expanding and hegemonising swarm. But Species 8472 is potentially more dangerous. Giving the Borg the nanoprobe weapon means leaving them a power in the Delta Quadrant, with the ability to reach even further thanks to their slipstream network. That hard call is what Voyager was meant to be about, but sadly rarely lived up to the potential. It’s part of why Ron Moore (the writer, not the effects guy) quit the show so quickly after moving over post DS9’s finale.

What’s especially impressive is that while there is technobabble in the episode, it’s in service of the story rather than driving it. it goes against the grain of what TNG became towards the end and what Voyager continued excessively (while DS9 didn’t so it as much, it still did it and that was part of what drove me away from Trek too).

Ultimately, it’s a great indicator of what Voyager should have been. I far prefer it to, say Year of Hell (that fucking reset button!), but because of that it stands starkly against what Voyager usually was. If only the show could have met this standard more often.


There’s 3 moments that stay in my memory for Scorpion Part 1 that meant the conclusion couldn’t ever really match it:

One:The opening. Two Borg cubes. Until then, we’d only seen one at a time and one Cube was a known fleet-killer! Then, with 3 shots, it’s all over. And the viewer is left having from: ‘Shit’ to ‘What the fuck?’

Two: Voyager nearly gets splatted by a fleet of 15 Borg Cubes! Not to mention, a short while later all 15 have been splatted by… Something else.

Three:At the episode’s end Species 8472 does its very good impression of the Death Star!

Those, along with the other pieces added up to a killer episode, even with the major flaw of Janeway being a moron with regard to the Borg.


The 15 Borg Cube moment was pretty interesting - they wanted to have some big moments in the various 2-parters between Series 3 and 4, hence the massive increase in scale. As you note we’ve only ever seen a single Borg Cube before on the screen, even in First Contact. And Brannon Braga had this image in his head of Voyager flying into a graveyard of Borg ships, to echo Enterprise in Best of Both Worlds, Part 2.

Also, the effects for the scene would have been basically impossible to do practically on a TV budget, Ron (B) Moore noted as much, talking about how hard it’d be to get the shot even in terms of how they’d mount the Voyager model to get the angle the same.