Star Trek: TNG reviews: Season 5, Episodes 1-14

Enterprise-DNo joke. I’m actually doing this.

Just to reassure you: No, this is not an April Fools Day prank.

This is me finally making good on a promise I made — oh, I don’t know — about 15 times over the past 36 months.

Three years. Yes, it’s been three years since I posted my last reviews for season four of Star Trek: The Next Generation Inertia can be a real bitch, let me tell you. Granted, I partially put this stuff on hold because I was reviewing BSG and later Caprica, but my attempts to get back to this failed time and time again, and before I knew it, one, two, three entire years had gone by.

Is there still anyone out here? Anyone who believed that I would finally actually do this instead of offering up my promise of “I’ll get back to it eventually”?

I finally realized I needed to latch myself onto something external that would keep me moving forward. And when I saw that, already, Zack Handlen over at The Onion’s TV Club was starting in on his reviews for season five of TNG, I thought, now here’s the perfect opportunity to get off my ass and keep up with an arbitrary pace car, otherwise it will be even more weeks/months/years before I find the “right time” to work it into my schedule.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to keep pace. I will be writing — but not necessarily posting — at least two TNG reviews (and hopefully more) a week until I’m finished. Something manageable. Enough to keep things moving.

Hopefully I won’t get derailed. But I think slow and steady will allow me to stay in the game.

I elected to post the reviews on individual pages this time around, rather than in the “recap” style of seasons 1-4, though the lengths are similar to season four (settling in at about 500 words apiece). I wished I’d done it this way all along so the reader comments were on their individual reviews, but so it goes.

You can comment your general thoughts on my return (did you ever think I’d be back, or had you given up on me?) on this blog post, but please post any comments on the individual reviews on the review pages themselves.

Anyway, let’s get on with it.

Here are reviews for the first 14 episodes of season five.

I might not post more reviews until I have the rest of season five finished — we’ll see how it goes — so enjoy these for now. As a matter of production (because these reviews exist outside my blog software), it’s more efficient to post them in bulk rather than a few at a time.

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46 comments on this post

Brian H
Thursday, March 31, 2011, 7:43 pm (UTC -6)

Anyone else think season 3 of TNG is the best? Season 4 is a close second in my opinion.

Great to have you back Jammer!

Destructor
Thursday, March 31, 2011, 8:10 pm (UTC -6)

+1, happy bunny

David L
Thursday, March 31, 2011, 8:43 pm (UTC -6)

Thanks for continuing your Trek reviews. They’re the best on the Internet and I especially enjoyed your DS9 ones. Keep it up!

Patrick G.
Thursday, March 31, 2011, 9:57 pm (UTC -6)

I think there is still interest in TNG, and I suspect many people still have you bookmarked, even if they have not visited in awhile.

Latex Zebra
Friday, April 1, 2011, 2:50 am (UTC -6)

Thank you!

I must admit I did think it was a joke as well!

karatasiospa
Friday, April 1, 2011, 6:47 am (UTC -6)

Your reviews are most welcome jammer! I will read them immediately!

El Kabong
Friday, April 1, 2011, 12:23 pm (UTC -6)

It’s hard for me to comment on many of the reviews as it has been so long since I have seen the episodes. At the time of release, I was 16 years old, and my standards probably weren’t as high. Even the episodes I liked, I am uncertain of whether they have aged well.

I thought I remember Season 5 as being a good season (with Darmok, Unification, Cause and Effect, The Inner Light)…but there sure were some clunkers in there.

I thought Darmok should have gotten at lease another 1/2 star, but again would have to watch it over again.

Was Unification just one long episode or 2 parts? I would give the first part 3.5-4 stars and the second 2-2.5 stars (maybe that’s what you did with an average review of 3 stars). Sela was just a bad idea all around.

You were too kind to The Game, IMO. That episode was terrible. Perhaps I just hate all things Wesley Crusher. His only good episode was the one where he left and he and Picard got stranded on that planet.

I’ll be interested to hear your takes on Cause and Effect as well as The Inner Light.

Rachael
Friday, April 1, 2011, 4:22 pm (UTC -6)

SO awesome. I check this site every couple of weeks to see if you’ve updated the TNG reviews, and I admit, I started to doubt. I’m so glad you’re going ahead with these. I’m curious to see what you thought of latter TNG (IMO the best of the show). I loved your DS9 and BSG reviews.

Mitch
Friday, April 1, 2011, 4:37 pm (UTC -6)

Glad to see you’re continuing your TNG reviews! I never doubted you would finish them, especially as someone who can empathize with your writing procrastination. I’m a bit of a writer myself (even done dabbled with some Trek reviews on Usenet) and I don’t know what it is, but I can sometime procrastinate for years on a big writing project. Case in point, I started a FAQ on a vintage home computer system back in 1997…put it aside for a few months, and now it’s somehow 2011! 😀 Please don’t follow my example though. 😉

I’m still regularly looking at your existing TNG reviews. The local CW network in my area (Vermont; I’m in Canada) airs TNG reruns every weeknight at 10 PM. Can’t help but to sit down and watch them when I can, they’re still (mostly) great and as entertaining all these years later. And I started watch TNG in my teens.

I consider your reviews the definitive of all Trek reviews. Been reading them, on this site, since 1995! Keep up the good work!

Cleanse
Friday, April 1, 2011, 8:08 pm (UTC -6)

Awesome reviews as always, Jammer. Though I was looking forward to some April Fools reviews. :-p

methane
Saturday, April 2, 2011, 12:47 pm (UTC -6)

Good to have you back Jammer!

And I figured you would eventually get to the reviews…though I wasn’t sure it would be this decade!

Nic
Saturday, April 2, 2011, 2:23 pm (UTC -6)

Yay! I know very few people agree with me, but I think TNG’s fifth season was one of the best seasons in all of Star Trek.

chris
Saturday, April 2, 2011, 2:40 pm (UTC -6)

Thank you Jammer!

Eric D.
Saturday, April 2, 2011, 11:17 pm (UTC -6)

I always believed you’d get back to it, Jammer. 🙂

Grumpy
Sunday, April 3, 2011, 7:48 pm (UTC -6)

“Is there still anyone out here?”

Not me. 😉

You know what’s happened in the last 3 years? Reviews like yours have become the dominant form of TV criticism, thanks to sites like AV Club and Television Without Pity. And you’ve been doing it since, what, ’96 or so? Back in the Usenet days.

Caliburn
Sunday, April 3, 2011, 9:08 pm (UTC -6)

Hooray! I had faith that you would return to these someday. Enjoy the rest of the re-watch.

Plain Simple
Sunday, April 3, 2011, 10:38 pm (UTC -6)

Alright, bring it on. Jammer time!

I’ve been coming back here regularly, checking if you had put up new TNG reviews. Great to see you didn’t forget about them either. 🙂

Brandon Adams
Sunday, April 3, 2011, 10:58 pm (UTC -6)

Honestly, Jammer, I don’t think anyone would have blamed you if you had just gone “screw it” and decided not to do them. These episodes have been on the airwaves long enough to reach Wolf 359 by now; popular opinion on them is already well-established and nothing’s likely to change that.

Sooooo glad you did them anyway. 😉 Here we go! *click*

Michael
Monday, April 4, 2011, 3:22 am (UTC -6)

All praise Jammer! I’ve been waiting, patiently, all this time. You’ll get back to Google’s nr. 1 spot, too, I think.

karatasiospa
Monday, April 4, 2011, 11:06 am (UTC -6)

Since we are talkingfor TNG reviews let me ask you a question. TNG had by far the higher ratings if compared to other star trek series and, in fact, it had higher ratings than any other science fiction series and sometimes was even among the 10 higher ranking series in ratings. So if it would air for the first time today and not back in 1987 do you believe that it would have the same ratings?

Jammer
Monday, April 4, 2011, 1:01 pm (UTC -6)

No way it would have the same ratings. Ratings across the board have gone down, down, down, because there are so many more options for entertainment these days. More channels, more ways of getting content, more types of content period.

The question is what TNG’s ratings would be relative to what’s considered a hit nowadays. My guess is that it would be on the level of a medium rated cable show.

But the whole conversation is impossible, because TNG’s success was based on part of when it aired in the timeline of the Trek franchise. By the time TNG’s fifth, sixth, seventh seasons rolled around, Trek was probably at its most popular time ever (in terms of the TV shows) — hence the two spinoff series that would go to the airwaves inside three years, and the TNG film franchise. From there, in terms of popularity, there was really nowhere to go but down.

Pea
Monday, April 4, 2011, 1:44 pm (UTC -6)

Great news. Say, will you even be reviewing the weird and wonderful FARSCAPE?

karatasiospa
Monday, April 4, 2011, 2:12 pm (UTC -6)

There are still some series like lost for example (allthough it is not stricty science fiction) which had high ratings. Perhaps it is also the audience that changed? perhaps sci fi fans today want other things? (allthough even BSG by far the best sci fi series of the last decade didn;t have high ratings)

Jammer
Monday, April 4, 2011, 2:26 pm (UTC -6)

No Farscape reviews. TNG will likely be the last of my retro-reviews. Going forward, I’d think anything else I review will be current (assuming I don’t hang it up).

Dunnik
Monday, April 4, 2011, 4:40 pm (UTC -6)

So long as there will be people watching Star Trek, there will be Jammer’s Reviews. I’m glad you’ve kept the website running all these years, and I wasn’t perturbed by the lack of updates: these reviews stand the test of time.

Brandon Adams
Monday, April 4, 2011, 7:17 pm (UTC -6)

TNG would be crucified by today’s viewers because times have changed. Google some recent TNG opinions and notice all the revisionist reviews of TNG as “pompous, self-righteous, pedantic, judgmental, preachy, etc.”. The show was popular in its heyday, but hasn’t aged well.

The 80’s and 90’s were a more idealistic age in which people were open to moral/ethical discussions. These days, fierce relativism has taken hold and people don’t take kindly to others suggesting how they live their lives. Any show with something to say gets labeled as “pretentious”, the choice buzzword of critics for anything with the balls to make straightforward points about society. Only way to avoid that label is to bury it several layers deep in metaphor and shaky-cam grittiness.

Patrick D
Monday, April 4, 2011, 11:47 pm (UTC -6)

This is the best news I’ve had in relative while. I’ve always enjoyed your Trek reviews–and non-Trek reviews and I’m glad you’re completing the canon on your site. I’m looking forward to your reviews of “The First Duty”; “The Inner Light”; “Chain of Command”; “Tapestry” and “All Good Things…”

Thank you!

bigpale
Monday, April 4, 2011, 11:55 pm (UTC -6)

This is great. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve loaded this site just hoping HOPING that there would be a new review.

This site introduced me to Battlestar Galactica, a show that brought me and my wife closer together.

So glad to have ST TNG reviews upcoming.

Thanks Jammer!

karatasiospa
Tuesday, April 5, 2011, 3:10 am (UTC -6)

Unfortunately Brandon Adams you are right. It is not a coincidence that BSG’s ratings also started to fall in the 3d season when its moral/metaphysical themes became more clear.

Butch
Tuesday, April 5, 2011, 8:18 am (UTC -6)

I knew you wouldn’t let us down.

Thanks, Jammer.

Vincent
Tuesday, April 5, 2011, 9:06 am (UTC -6)

Sweet. I always come back to this site when I rewatch DS9 (which I did recently). And it will be nice to see some new reviews.

Joseph B
Wednesday, April 6, 2011, 4:47 am (UTC -6)

Thank you Jammer!

This gives me an excuse to pull my dusty TNG DVDs off the shelf and view Season 5 all over again; but this time with the aid of your perspective on the eps.

Hopefully by the time you finish the Season 7 reviews there will be another Sci-Fi oriented show on the air which will merit your attention. But even if that doesn’t happen this site will remain an invaluable resource for Star Trek and BSG fans. Thanks again for all the tremendous reviews over the years!

Dan
Thursday, April 7, 2011, 7:24 am (UTC -6)

omg finally i always stop in one a week to see if any new ones are posted.

Black Mage
Friday, April 8, 2011, 7:40 am (UTC -6)

Wow. I never expected this to happen. I was in high school when you stopped writing Star Trek reviews; now I’m halfway through law school.

Well done, good to have you back.

Poltargyst
Friday, April 8, 2011, 3:12 pm (UTC -6)

@ Black Mage

LOL!!!!! We should all talk about all the milestones we’ve passed since the last time Jammer posted TNG reviews.

“Yes, sir, sonny, I was in high school when Jammer last posted, now I’m retired.”

Just kidding, Jammer, I know you have a life. I enjoy the reviews whenever you can post them.

Matt L
Friday, April 8, 2011, 6:22 pm (UTC -6)

Huzzah!

Jammer
Saturday, April 9, 2011, 1:22 am (UTC -6)

Seriously, though, it is funny to think how relative three years can be. When you’re still in high school or college, three years seems like so much time has passed. A freshman would now be a senior. That’s pretty crazy. But even with all the changes in my life the last three years, the time passage feels much less significant.

I’m thinking it’s probably that I’ve been in that same stage of life for so many years where I’ve been working my job, but I still don’t have kids, so I’m not constantly reminded how different things are from year to year.

Or maybe it’s that adage where the older you get the faster time accelerates.

Dimitris
Sunday, April 10, 2011, 2:38 am (UTC -6)

Jammer, I’m glad you are back! — I’m sure Jammer writes and posts his reviews from the future. The 3-year gap was caused by a glitch in his time machine. Hey Jammer, you should calibrate the damn machine from time to time, to ensure its smooth operation! 🙂

Kipling
Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 3:06 pm (UTC -6)

Woo yay!

Keshie
Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 6:33 pm (UTC -6)

Woah! I literally dropped by here to see if it was possible to get an old article before the site got deleted or whatever, and Oh My Fucking Gods!!! the site is still alive!!??!?!

Jammer dude, as long as it gets done, it gets done. People have low attention spans and even when you make stuff for free, they still squeal when you’re not delivering on schedule. Fuck those bollockheads.

Keep on truckin’ my man!

Myles L
Monday, April 18, 2011, 8:08 pm (UTC -6)

Long time reader, first time commenting, but yes, good stuff! Best geeky sci-fi reviews on the net! Your explanation of why BSG is great but cant be compared to The Wire was perfection!

Quinalla
Friday, April 22, 2011, 2:33 pm (UTC -6)

Was just thinking about these long delayed reviews when I caught part of a TNG marathon on BBC America. Thanks for getting back at them, I knew you would eventually 🙂

Landon
Thursday, April 28, 2011, 11:47 am (UTC -6)

Jammer, why have you been so hard on Voyager? Id like to have seen it much more serialized too but, for me, of all the star trek casts I think Voyager had the best overall group in terms of characters{minus neelix}. The doctor, seven, tuvok,belanna,tom……I loved sisko and the scope,structure,complexity and serialization of ds9. But even it left something to be desired in its last season. Just wondering Jammer, do you own the ds9 and voyager dvd sets as well? Also-what is your favorite ssn on tng,ds9 and voyager. For me its ssn 3 of tng,ssn 4 and 5 of voyager, and 2.3. and 6 for ds9. Keep up the reviewing!!

Poltargyst
Friday, April 29, 2011, 3:33 pm (UTC -6)

Voyager, to me, is the weakest of all the Star Trek series. I was loving DS9’s last season. To each his own.

Landon
Saturday, April 30, 2011, 11:45 am (UTC -6)

i dont know how any one could think voyager was the weakest series, but i know ppl who love it and those who dont, it certainly could have been better and there is some potential wasted, but man did it do alot of great stuff w/ great characters that rank among THE best in all of trek….minus its last season, enterprise was easily the worst, though personally i dont care for the original series much either….i think tng.voy, and ds9 are all equal and the best series, at different times ive favored one over the other….sisko isthe best captain w/ the best story….
does any one else feel the new movie tried to kill one of the best and most unique things about the terk franchise–its continuity and connecting tapestry of over 1000 hours through all the series and movies before that make up this huge universe that share crossovers and refrences and never contradict…..i did not like that at all period…this aint freaking batman… star trek is THE ONE franchise you dont do that to. i dont care how much it needed a reboot

Christina
Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 12:10 pm (UTC -6)

I just surfed by here after a long absense, and it’s nice to see the site is still alive after all these years.

I must wanr you, though, Jammer, that your Star Trek reviews are now competing with the video reviews by sfdebris. 😉

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