Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The five worst episodes of long running sci fi shows

Hi all, FOC again,

I watch a lot of Sci Fi and for the most part I enjoy it. Sci Fi has had some of the best single episodes of TV ever written. Good Sci Fi can be a melting pot of ideas coming together to create ideas and themes that examine the human condition.

Then again it can also produce crap like the following:

5) Babylon Five: A View From The Galley

Series five of Babylon five was a mess. But actually that was not the fault of J Michael Straczynski. Meddling from the studio executives had meant that two series had to be condensed into one, leading to a rushed Series 4. So by the time it was eventually renewed for a fifth series all the compelling stories had been resolved. That led to a lot of filler in series five and this episode was no exception.

"A View From the Galley" is one of those episodes where the events of the episode are seen from the viewpoint of background characters. When done well (such as in the Star Trek TNG episode Lower Decks) this is a good technique. When done badly it's this piece of crap.

This whole episode is a love in for the established cast and is so appallingly self congratulatory that it makes you want to shoot yourself in the face. The episode is shown from the viewpoint of two mechanics whose only job it seems is to talk about how wonderful the main cast are. This culminates in one of these working stiffs saying to Captain Lochley that she's OK with him. If I didn't know this episode was written by Harlan Ellison then I would have put it down as ascended fan fiction. It's just that bad.

4) Doctor Who: Love and Monsters

I love Doctor Who. Absolutely love it. For me it contains some of the best TV characters and moments ever written.

This episode however is not an example of that. The whole thing revolves around a search for the Doctor by him off Hustle. Peter Kay is in it wearing a green fat suit and there's implied oral sex with a brick.

Need I say more?

3) Deep Space Nine: Let He Who is Without Sin

Some people say that Prophet and Lace is the worst DS9 episode. Well they are wrong. This episode is far worse.

This episode takes Leeta, Julian, Worf, Jadzia and (for some reason) Quark to the pleasure planet of Risa. Unfortunately Worf has a rod shoved so far up his arse that it may be tickling his tonsils and he gets jealous that Jadzia is spending time with someone she did the nasty with back when she was Curzon. So what does Worf do? He commits an act of terrorism.

That's basically it. The worst bit of this frankly bizarre episode is that Worf would consider doing that. It's so completely out of character that you are left scratching your head wondering what the hell just happened. Plus the acting is forced and no one seems to be having a good time. Just to reiterate, this is a pleasure planet with implied hot and cold running sex and no one is having a good time?

The Federation puzzles me...

2) Star Trek Voyager: Threshold

Ho boy, we are getting to the big dogs now. Voyager was bad. I mean really bad. It had a captain who managed to make all the wrong decisions, a first officer who was a walking native American stereotype, an ensign who couldn't get promoted on a ship 70,000 light years from resupply, a chief engineer who (as has been established elsewhere) can't identify shit without a tricorder and Neelix.

Oh Neelix, how I hate thee. For any of you blessed enough to not have experienced the horror that is Neelix imagine a 5'8" bipedal hedgehog wearing a carpet, with a personality so annoying it would make you want to punch a kitten in the face. Neelix makes Wesley Crusher look like James Dean driving a Ferrari through a series of explosions.

Funnily enough though this episode has very little of the annoying one. Instead we are subjected to a "science" based episode whose science is so patently absurd that it stops being dramatic and starts just being stupid. Very, very stupid.

A quick potted synopsis. Tom Paris (Voyager's resident talking head for "I love the Twentieth Century" a shtick he developed in place of characterisation and personality) has worked out how to go so fast that you can be everywhere in the universe simultaneously. Leaving aside for the moment that this means you will be inside every star and black hole at the same time, who exactly came up with this astonishing leap in technology? It sure as hell wasn't Torres.

Anyway it works, but doing it makes Paris die (yay!) come back to life (boo!) and then "evolve" into a giant space newt. I kid you not. He rounds this off by kidnapping Janeway and making giant space newt babies with her.

Sounds stupid? Bear in mind that this is the worst Voyager episode. That's like winning an award for the biggest waste of space in Jersey Shore.

1) Star Trek TNG: The Outrageous Okona


What could be worse than Threshold? Well dear reader let me introduce you to the Outrageous Okona. This is crap to a biblical degree, an episode so inept on every level that it goes beyond mere badness into anti entertainment. This episode's very existence makes the world that little bit worse. It is by far the most awful TV episode of anything ever.

So what makes this episode so bad? Well this is one of those episodes which has an A plot and a B plot. This is a little conceit that Star Trek used a lot and often it works well. The A plot would be the meat of the episode and the B plot would almost always be a more light-hearted comedy story. Often an episode would have a poor A plot rescued by a fun B plot.

This episode has a horrific A plot and a B plot so bad it's a punishment for shoplifting in some countries.

The A plot concerns a shameless Han Solo rip off called Okona who is apparently Outrageous because we are told this in the title. Everyone fawns over him like he's the second coming with Wesley grinning like a moron every time he comes within 20 metres. He then proceeds to hit on and sleep with everything with boobs and a pulse, tell awful jokes and basically act like a cock. We are supposed to think this guy is great mainly because we are told to through the script whereas it's obvious to anyone with any experience of talking to other human beings that this man is a colossal tosser. There's some vague Romeo and Juliet romance plot going on as well but frankly by the point that came up I was too pissed off to care.

The B plot is the worst thing ever created by Human civilisation. Data decides to find out about humour so he goes to speak to Guinan who tells him the worst joke ever written. Data proceeds to explore humour by talking to comedians, trying stand up and doing Jerry Lewis physical comedy. Crucially none of this is funny, none of it even approaches anything even remotely resembling funny. What's worse is that poor old Brent Spiner has to grit his teeth and mug his way through all this losing any good will that Data had accumulated to this point. It's truly painful to watch, like a car crash in slow motion, you are horrified but you just can't stop watching. By far and away this is a truly joyless and cringe worthy waste of 45 minutes and everyone involved should hang their heads in shame.

Your resident masochist

Fall Of Camelot

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