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Old 05-23-2014, 11:54 AM
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https://tv.yahoo.com/blogs/tv-news/s...223132059.html
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Old 05-24-2014, 11:45 AM
samwiseb samwiseb is offline
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I've never been fond of 'All Good Things'. I don't deny it was a well-directed two hrs of television, but to me there isn't anything in it to justify the excess of sentimentality. And I've never understood why people thought it would've made a better feature film than Generations when its story does not even hold together as a telemovie. The whole thing hinges on a 'huh?' revelation for its climax, with Senile Picard 'proving' the worthiness of the human race by being able to 'momentarily' grasp a rather pedestrian paradox involving a cosmic anomaly that violates its own laws just so the crew can witness it.
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Old 05-24-2014, 03:52 PM
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Funny idea with the museum ship XD
And I soooo agree with the Captains cooking eggs being a bad idea!
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Old 05-26-2014, 12:16 PM
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I agree...."All Good Things" was a good telemovie, but it would not have made a good "big screen" film at all.

I was disappointed with Generations. It (and First Contact and Insurrection) was nothing more than overblown, two hour episodes. They're fun to watch, but they look better on a television than they do on a big screen.
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samwiseb View Post
I've never been fond of 'All Good Things'. I don't deny it was a well-directed two hrs of television, but to me there isn't anything in it to justify the excess of sentimentality. And I've never understood why people thought it would've made a better feature film than Generations when its story does not even hold together as a telemovie. The whole thing hinges on a 'huh?' revelation for its climax, with Senile Picard 'proving' the worthiness of the human race by being able to 'momentarily' grasp a rather pedestrian paradox involving a cosmic anomaly that violates its own laws just so the crew can witness it.
I agree that All Good Things would not have worked better on the big screen which can be generalized to TNG in general, a show whose strengths were always foremost the stories and not the visual side (take the death of the two Enterprises, it just worked better in TSFS than in GEN although the sequence in GEN was technically more elaborate). Perhaps this is why the TNG movies are, on an aggregate level, fairly unpopular (as I often pointed out, GEN and INS only disappoint on a cinematic level whereas their scripts are quintessential TNG scripts).

But I disagree on the story which is about the characters and about why humankind is out there. Sure, there is nothing innovative about the Q part of the plot but I prefer these conventional Q stories in which Q teaches Picard something (he is more than a bored, sadist immortal) over the soap-opera like Q stories which explored petty details about the fictional universe like Q children, Q suicide and so on. This shrinking of the horizon has been a structural problem of Trek ever since the 3rd season of TNG so I appreciate all stories that make the galaxy feel large again and are not about stupid idiosyncrasies of the fictional universe but actually have literary quality because they don't deal with stupid in-universe sh*t but stuff like, " why are we out here, what does really matter?". And as the last scene of the series shows, Picard has actually learned Q's lesson.

Quote:
Q: You just don't get it, do you, Jean-Luc? The trial never ends. We wanted to see if you had the ability to expand your mind and your horizons. And for one brief moment, you did.
PICARD: When I realised the paradox.
Q: Exactly. For that one fraction of a second, you were open to options you had never considered. That is the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping stars and studying nebulae, but charting the unknowable possibilities of existence.
Together with ENT's finale Terra Prime (These are the Voyages might technically be the last episode of the show but it feels more like an afterthought whereas Terra Prime is a proper finale) All Good Things is the best finale among the shows. TOS never had a proper finale and DS9 as well as VOY just closed their open threads, i.e. compared to TNG and ENT their finals were more plot- than idea- and character-based.
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:34 PM
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To address both yours and Martok's points about the TNG movies, I think they're less popular because they remain episodic and don't represent a substantial change in format from the TV series, leading to the perception that they are mostly blown up TV episodes (a criticism also made towards the TOS films, since almost none of the ST movies in general are considered to be especially cinematic). With the TNG films there's no real sense that time has passed or that the mission parameters have changed.

You mention the destruction of the two Enterprises. What really changed with the new ship besides the ship itself? Barclay was still with them. Worf on the other hand was not. Do they have mostly the same crew after Generations? Or mostly a different crew? Or does it matter? What about First Contact? More than half the ship was assimilated by the Borg. Does that mean more than half the crew died when Picard and Data liquified the Borg Queen in Engineering? I wonder if composer Jerry Goldsmith thought to ask.

I agree that blowing up the ship in ST III was more effective, partly because it was considered almost unthinkable at the time... though probably not as unthinkable as killing Spock in II. There's also a necessary sacrifice in resurrecting any character, and I'm not sure that even sacrificing the ship should have satisfied that requirement. As sacrifices go it was a 'delicious minimum', which I think contributes to III seeming like a cynical by-the-numbers attempt to bring Spock back so ST could continue.

As would-be TV episodes, I would consider Generations and Insurrection more representative of the storytelling in TNG's final seasons. Which for me places them off the map of being quintessential. Al least they were trying to think big in Generations. I've heard it said that Yesterday's Enterprise would've made a better movie than Generations. I'm not sure I agree, but I do wonder if Tapestry might have made for a more honest series finale than All Good Things.

The problem with All Good Things is it doesn't represent any transition point suitable for a series finale. It's not a 'goodbye' episode. It is the end of a TV series, but the characters themselves don't know that. Nothing really changed with them (except for Worf) on the big screen. It's got all this sentimentality built up, nothing really to drive it. I don't feel like it compliments Encounter as a bookend to the series, because one story actually happened (from the standpoint of the entire crew) and the other did not. And I'm afraid I can't buy that the plot mcguffin was enough to motivate it. What exactly did Picard perceive when he realized the paradox? And why him? Did he not share what he'd figured out with the crew? They grasped it well enough. I understood it enough to pick it apart, and so did whoever wrote the Nitpicker's Guides (the anomaly is moving backwards in time; it should exist before they scanned it and not after). Is that really all Q was looking for? Is understanding nonsensical cosmic anomalies really key to evolving or "expanding one's horizons" in the TNG version of ST? (Facetiously, maybe it is).
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Old 05-27-2014, 04:21 AM
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I think you are reading it too literally. I totally agree with you, of course the stupid anomaly does not matter directly, it only matters indirectly. Let's try to think about it from the perspective of Q's words:

Q: For that one fraction of a second, you were open to options you had never considered. That is the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping stars and studying nebulae, but charting the unknowable possibilities of existence.

First of all, paradoxes are easy to deal with if you stick with Aristotelian binary logic (aka common sense), they are just paradoxes then, stuff that does not work logically. But in continental philosophy paradoxes pop up quite frequently and the world is probably more weird than we want to believe (just take quantum mechanics, particles literally emerge out of nowhere and so on). And I think this is what Q hints at, you won't become smarter if you map star systems and chase comets but actually start to really think.
Now Q does not literally say this, "unknowable possibilities of existence" could mean anything. But given by his later reaction the way Picard reads it is clear, the galaxy does not matter but people do. It is no coincidence that this very theme, the basic theme of Trek, reappears in the finale of ENT (it also appears in Samaritan Snare when Picard tells Wesley to read history and philosophy):

Archer: We are all explorers, driven to know what's over the horizon, what's beyond our own shores. And yet the more I've experienced, the more I've learned that no matter how far we travel, or how fast we get there ... the most profound discoveries are not necessarily beyond that next star. They're within us, woven into the threads that bind us, all of us, to each other. The final frontier begins in this hall. Let's explore it together.

I disagree with your claim that the characters do not change, Picard changes significantly when he socializes with his senior officers and joins the poker match. Now one could call Picard's realization that spending an evening with his comrades might be a better choice than sitting alone in his quarters and reading reports or books trivial but in my opinion it is precisely the contrast between the epic time jumping story and this tiny change in Picard's behaviour that makes the episode sublime.

Concerning your point about the episode not feeling like a closure, there is a theme-plot trade-off. If you want it to feel a closure plot-wise you obviously gotta roll with something that is more plot driven like the finales of DS9 and VOY. I prefer a finale that repeats the basic Q (these guys might feel great and smart but they still got a hell of a lot to learn) and Trek theme (boldly going where no one has gone doesn't necessarily mean discovering a new piece of space) over a soap-like finale that is about who becomes an ambassador, who becomes a professor and other trivialities.

To clarify my point, just take an early TNG Picard story like Time Squared. It is very dry, we learn little personal about Picard but precisely because the audience maintains at a distance to the protagonist we empathize with him meeting himself. We are subjects so meeting oneself as an object is a total nightmare for everybody, there is no need to make Picard more sympathetic or whatever.
Now compare this story to a late TNG story like Attached. It is warmer, more human, everybody is familiar with this uneasy situation in which you are more than friends and less than in love ... but this is utterly mundane, on the intellectual level of a soap opera and thus borderline trash.
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:15 PM
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I could be reading it too literally; maybe it was my turn. Let me try to dial it back. Q could have picked anything to test whether Picard was capable of charting the unknowable possibilities of existence. He chose an anomaly that Picard 'should' be able to figure out, but could also retroactively abort humanity if Picard failed to act. Since no one else showed any recollection between the three time periods, we can assume the anomaly both was and wasn't there (conveniently relieving the writers of having to acknowledge what the anomaly might/not have done to the rest of the galaxy as it expanded back through time).

Now, Picard has to be open to possibilities outside his linear thinking if he's to both solve the puzzle and explain it to his shipmates (as a senile old man no less). However it seems to me the TNG crew has already done this on countless occasions. Data probably does it 362.77775 times during the course of feeding his cat, although I'm sure Palaski would debate whether it actually counts as such when he does it. I would think that almost every moment of human invention or innovation has come from that kind of 'unlearning' in order to dismiss previously foregone conclusions about how the world works. So taken at face value, Q's explanation doesn't say a lot to me that was worth building 90min of story around.

Now as fans I suppose we have the right to fill in the gaps with our own assumptions. I.e., did Q assume that the evolution of human cognitive awareness would've stopped once their science/technology reached a certain point? I think every generation already wonders if that's happening, so it would make sense. Or maybe he already knew/hoped Picard would pass his test based on prior experience, but was nonetheless obliged to satisfy his continuummates.

The final scene with Picard at the poker table was well earned, and I think a good way to resolve the series with that final overhead shot of the table dissolving into the ship. For an episode as personal and introspective as this one I don't think it 'needed' to end the series on a more final note. But I'm also just not feeling some of the sentimental self-importance about the episode when it's not a 'goodbye' story of any kind and nothing is changing with the series format when it goes big screen (I can be jaded sometimes; teary-eyed childbirth scenes at the beginning of ST09 don't really move me either). I mean nobody's leaving, there's no ten-year jump ahead in time (nor should there be when you're filming a movie right away), there's no sense of going away and coming back, they will get a new ship and have over half their crew Borgified but it will still be (seemingly) the same mission uninterrupted (unless you're Worf and couldn't wait a year to find your place again). The episode wants to mark an important transition point, but it doesn't really feel like it does.

And I acknowledge I'm in a minority on this one. I've never heard anyone dismiss the episode, and I think numbers even show it was the most-watched two hrs of ST over all the series in their initial broadcast run. I'm not a big fan of TNG's final two-and-a-half seasons in general, but ST was at its peek and people made sure not to miss this one. So I'm the minority, and I'm comfortable with that. It's a good episode and exceptionally well-directed, I'm just not super-fond of it.

My own wish for 'All Good Things' would've been to have a story that effected the whole crew, rather than just Picard, if only so as to mirror 'Farpoint' on more even terms (I also feel that the novelty of it just being Q and Picard feels somewhat diminished after 'Tapestry' one year earlier -- and to this day I still don't want to know for certain whether it was really Q in the afterlife with Picard in that episode). And I would've had the three time periods effect each other more directly, allowing for some temporal/recollective disorientation between Picard (still the only one Quantum Leaping between the three periods) and his crew. What would it mean, for example, if they all knew Q was behind this but their very first meeting with him ('Farpoint') may not have happened due to the conditions of his test? And for a two-hour telemovie, I'd want something more meaty at the final moment of revelation/discovery (what we got would've been fine for a regular one-hr episode). Since I'm making a wish list, why not better continuity with 'Farpoint'? Could Denise Crosby have bleached her hair like she used to? Could Q's courtroom have been rebuilt to the expansive scope of the TV pilot? Could Jonathan Frakes have shaved his beard instead of appearing in recycled footage? Obviously there are practical reasons why these things didn't happen (and 'Farpoint' is probably my least favorite ST pilot anyway), and it's not that important since I already agree to being out of step with the rest of fandom on this episode (cheers).

Additional thoughts: They were right not to do the Borg. The B may have been TNG's most memorable bad guys, but that kind of end-of-the-world conflict should not exemplify what TNG -at its core- was about during its TV years. Plus I firmly believe Q did not belong on the big screen, making this their last chance to use him. That they did end up having a grand showdown with the Borg in VOY's finale I think illustrates Roddenberry's unique (if restrictive) character with the former series and the lack of identity with the latter.

I'm not really clear on your points regarding 'Time Squared' and 'Attached', other than I agree that the latter was more soapish. In fact I've often cited 'Dark Page' and 'Attached' as representing the kind of soap opera that I didn't like about TNG's final season. In 'Attached' the entire plot felt artifically constructed for Picard and Beverly to have that experience. And honestly I hated it. DS9 had already become the new TNG for me by that point; the one I'd mostly been missing since 'Unification'. But back to your point I would say both 'T Squared' and 'Attached' have theme; 'Time Squared' was was more sci-fi with its theme and didn't require arbitrary plotting to make is story happen.
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Old 05-28-2014, 03:05 AM
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"The episode wants to mark an important transition point, but it doesn't really feel like it does."

Aren't the seemingly large transitions in one's life, changing a job, getting married or whatever often not as large as one expects? Sometimes you suddenly notice that you or the world around you has changed a lot without any large event. In my opinion this is what All Good Things hints at.

I agree with you on all improvements. The anomaly is for TNG an old and cheap sci-fi trick to connect plain lot mechanics, Picard's time jumping, with the theme the writers want to hint at. It would work better if the stupid gizmo were not in the spotlight but rather done in Wellsian Time Machine style: all the sci-fi woobley-di-do does is to jump-start the plot. The obvious Trek examples for this are City on the Edge of Forever or Inner Light and I think that they are better stories than All Good Things for this very reason.

About the Borg, they worked until I, Borg because they were thematically dense, it was more about a giant collectivist force threatening to undo individuality than the post-FC body horror stuff. Sure, VOY repeated this theme but it was just a blunt repetition instead of a variation on it, not to mention that VOY dragged it out. Everything about de-Borgification was done so much better in Family than in dozens of Seven episodes.
So via comparing how Picard's trauma and Seven's slow path towards regaining her humanity were portrayed we see that too much closeness to a character is bad. Take Picard, he started to fail as a character precisely when Stewart's demands for more sex and action, i.e. to make the character more mundane and relatable, impacted Picard structurally (and not exceptionally, in just one episode like Captain's Holiday) in FC.
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