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Why Darmok Is a Good Star Trek: TNG Episode 512

An anonymous reader writes: "Last week, the Ars Technica ran an article listing their staff's least favorite Star Trek: the Next Generation episodes. They hit a few of the predictable ones, like Angel One — wherein Riker's chest hair takes center stage — and Up the Long Ladder — featuring space-Irish. But a surprising suggestion came from Peter Bright, who denounced Darmok, a fan favorite. (You remember: 'Darmok and Jalad, at Tanagra.') Now, Ars's Lee Hutchinson has (jokingly) taken Bright to task, showing how IMDB ratings mark Darmok (5x02) as one of the best episodes of season 5, and among the strongest in the series. He also points out a trend in some of the bad episodes they didn't pick: 'According to the data, the worst episode of TNG by a significant margin is the season 2 finale Shades of Gray, a clipshow episode famously hobbled by the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike. We also managed to not pick season 6's Man of the People (the one where Troi falls in love with a brain vampire and gets really old) or season 4's The Loss (the one where Troi loses her empathic abilities and gets really whiny) or season 2's The Child (the one where Troi has dream sex with a space anomaly and gets really pregnant).' What are your picks for best and worst TNG episode?"
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Why Darmok Is a Good Star Trek: TNG Episode

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  • best / worst? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Amigan ( 25469 ) on Saturday March 29, 2014 @06:17PM (#46611787) Homepage
    I've always been partial to "Who watches the watchers" and thought that "Genesis" (final season) was one of the worst..
  • Re:Troi (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 29, 2014 @06:28PM (#46611861)

    > They don't even bring up the Luwaxana episodes.

    IMHO, one of the finest episodes of the series was Half a Life [], which centered around Lwaxana. She had to drop her facade of strength when she faced a very personal moral dilemma, and showed her true vulnerability.

  • There. Are. (Score:4, Informative)

    by pinzvidz ( 3520933 ) on Saturday March 29, 2014 @06:33PM (#46611885)
    Four. Lights.
  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday March 29, 2014 @06:40PM (#46611915)

    This is how all languages work.

    I once watched an interview of Bob Woodward about his book All the President's Men []. He mentioned that it had been translated into other languages, including French, but the title for the translations had been changed to "Nixon and Watergate". The interviewer asked why, and he replied "Because the French don't have Humpty Dumpty".

    Some languages use cultural idioms more than others. English has many idioms that refer to our common culturall heritage, but Chinese has far more. You can get by in English without studying idioms specifically. In Chinese, there is no way. You have to learn them or you will fail to comprehend almost every conversation.

  • by Your.Master ( 1088569 ) on Saturday March 29, 2014 @09:25PM (#46612631)

    We have to step back and all recognize that the Universal Translator does not actually make sense as it is portrayed. Not least because you often hear Klingons talking, and occasionally a bit of Vulcan or something else, but also because it makes things perfectly lip-synced, etc..

    So putting that behind us, why do you think that the Universal Translator operates on a word-for-word basis? I assert that it can't work even in English on a word-for-word basis; not even between two extremely well-known languages with lots of time in between. It would have to take groups of words (which are just groups of sounds still) and translate them. Darmok and Jelaad at Tenegrae (however that's spelt) should be perfectly translatable in that context.

    The episode would make more sense if they hadn't established instantaneous error-free communication with hithertofore completely uncontacted species at every turn. It seems a stretch that these guys are the only ones that say "where's the beef?" in the future, when we know that humans of today do it all the time, and that Star Trek loves throwing out idiomatic quotes to confuse Data or whatever.

    I still like the episode; continuity has never been a strong suit of Star Trek. I'd prefer if it did have continuity, but in the context of the show it wasn't as stupid as some of the crap they pulled.

  • Not quite... (Score:4, Informative)

    by denzacar ( 181829 ) on Sunday March 30, 2014 @10:30AM (#46614675) Journal

    Straczynski had the main arc in mind, but he could not foresee where the show will end up.
    So, he had "trap doors" written for all characters. But episodes and characters still had to be written as they went along. []

BLISS is ignorance.