Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Next Generation 7x19 "Genesis"

rating: **

the story: The crew reverts to more primitive forms.

what it's all about: The common fan vision of "Genesis" is that it's one of the worst episodes of the franchise.  Frankly, I tend to take these distinctions with a grain of salt.  I don't think "Spock's Brain" is that bad.  I don't think "Threshold," which is hated for much the same reasons as "Genesis," is bad at all.  I don't think "These Are the Voyages..." is bad at all.  I don't think "Profit and Lace" is that bad.

Frankly, fans dangerously expose their prejudices when they call these episodes terrible.  It's especially surprising for "Genesis" (and "Threshold").  Gene Roddenberry and the whole of the original series took a very humanist, science-based philosophy to Star Trek storytelling.  "Genesis" may play fast and loose with evolution (though presumably, and maybe I'm exposing my own limitations of scientific knowledge, DNA will contain with itself versions of what we no longer have and/or need, such as that pesky vestigial tail, or appendix, that we do still have for no discernable reason), but I think it creates a lot of fun scenarios.

And it also takes some playful digs at the main characters (and even familiar guest characters, like blink-and-you'll-miss-him-in-his-only-appearance-this-season-Barclay).  Worf gets more primitive.  Crusher gets more caustic.  Riker becomes more dense.  Ha ha!  And Picard becomes even more scared of everything!

It becomes a little awkward when Data becomes a pencil sharpener.  Just kidding!  This is not deep storytelling, but it's fun, and that's about as much as you could ask of any episode.  Fans who have a problem with this theoretically have a problem with evolution?  I don't know.  That's what I could never figure out...

criteria analysis:
  • franchise - Frequently labeled one of the worst ever, but actually fits in really nicely with franchise philosophy.
  • series - Frequently labeled the worst episode of the series, but is actually a really nice parody of it.
  • character - Light caricatures of every character, so we'll just stick with the series label.
  • essential - Won't say you need to love it.
notable guest-stars:
  • Dwight Schultz (Barclay)
  • Patti Yasutake (Ogawa)

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