Earl Grey 106: B.C. Before Chip

Emotion Chip.

A central character struggle in Star Trek: The Next Generation is Lieutenant Commander's Data's lack of emotions. Our favorite android experienced life on the U.S.S. Enterprise-D but was constantly challenged in his attempt to relate to emotional humanoid life forms. Phillip, Daniel, and Darren look at the flagship's second officer's "pre-emotion chip" existence and ask: Did Data actually already have the capacity for emotion? Did he evolve over those seven years, experiencing emotional states?

Earl Grey also examines the ever-changing look and features of Dr. Noonian Soong's emotion chip, introduced in the fourth season episode "Brothers." They discuss its appearance in "Descent, Parts 1 and 2," and the chip's installation during the inaugural TNG film, Star Trek: Generations. The trio asks whether "emotional" Data in the film was done well and how fans received that portrayal. They also look at the emotion chip's cameos and various "upgraded" features in the other three feature films. So "stop it, stop it, stop it!", open up your mind, and listen to this episode (which may overload your neural net), analyzing Data's emotion chip.

Hosts
Daniel Proulx, Phillip Gilfus, & Darren Moser

Editor / Producer
Darren Moser

Executive Producers
Norman C. Lao, Matthew Rushing, & C Bryan Jones

Production Manager
Richard Marquez
Content Manager

Will Nguyen


Chapters
Data B.C. (Before Chip) - Seasons 1-3 (00:03:46)
Brothers (00:18:02)
Descent (00:31:00)
Generations (00:47:37)
First Contact thru Nemesis (01:00:04)
Final Thoughts (01:12:40)

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Direct download: eg-106.mp3
Category:Characters -- posted at: 1:01am MST

Earl Grey 105: Snakebot: The Great Librarian

"Masks" Rewrite.

The seventh, and last, season of The Next Generation is not often listed as the best year of the Enterprise-D crew. It features great, bad, and "meh" episodes. Darren, Daniel, and Phillip take one of those "meh" efforts - "Masks," an episode that is considered an "okay" episode and rewrite it. They decide what elements worked, like Captain Jean-Luc Picard "geeking out" over archaeology and the overall mystery of the alien probe, and seek out what elements didn't work, e.g., Brent Spiner playing every single character and then some, as well as the "on the cheap" effects. 

The trio also incorporates new elements, characters, and story twists, using original ideas, as well as aspects from other TNG stories, including the other Star Trek. Their new "spec script" includes a memorable guest star that may remain a fan favorite for a long time. So join the other children in the clay room, forget all about the sun and moon, and join Earl Grey are they re-write the Next Gen episode "Masks."

Hosts
Daniel Proulx, Phillip Gilfus, & Darren Moser

Editor / Producer
Darren Moser

Executive Producers
Norman C. Lao, Matthew Rushing, & C Bryan Jones

Production Manager
Richard Marquez
 
Content Manager

Will Nguyen


Chapters

A plot / B plot (00:10:31)
Recap so far (00:32:30)
Ending (00:45:14)
Summary (00:55:25)

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Direct download: eg-105.mp3
Category:Episode Discussions -- posted at: 11:16pm MST

Earl Grey 104: The Great and Powerful Kevin

Q-like Beings.

Captain James T. Kirk and the NCC-1701 crew were not that impressed with aliens posing as "gods," from Apollo to Vaal. However, it turns out that, a generation (or so) later, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the NCC-1701-D encounter just as many awesome creatures. Q sets the standard in "Encounter at Farpoint," but The Next Generation features other "new life" that seems beyond human understanding. 

In this episode, Daniel, Darren, and Phillip look at the Q-like beings of TNG. From Nagilum and his magic maze ("Where Silence Has Lease") to the Edo Guardian (#Justice!), the Enterprise-D was forced to look at the galaxy in an entirely new way. Earl Grey also examines The Traveler ("Where No One Has Gone Before," et. al.), The Great and Powerful Kevin ("The Survivors"), and even Mr. Green Screen, John Doe ("Transfigurations"). The number of "light beings" is added up in this episode, leading the Next Gen trio wondering why there was not a Blu-Ray fan disc release of "The Light Beings of Next Gen." So get ready to raise your consciousness, move beyond your corporeal being, and join Earl Grey as they discuss the Q-like beings in The Next Generation. 

Hosts
Daniel Proulx, Phillip Gilfus, & Darren Moser

Editor / Producer
Darren Moser

Executive Producers
Norman C. Lao, Matthew Rushing, & C Bryan Jones

Production Manager
Richard Marquez
 
Content Manager

Will Nguyen


Chapters

Carry Over from TOS (00:03:29)
The Q in the Room (00:11:29)
Favorites/Least Favorites (00:17:17)
Mortals viewed as gods (00:50:07)
Final Thoughts (01:03:55)

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Direct download: eg-104.mp3
Category:Character Analysis -- posted at: 12:14am MST

Earl Grey 103: TNG is the Daily Show

TNG's 24th Century Legacy.

The creators of The Original Series had a second chance at modifying the Star Trek universe with Star Trek: The Next Generation. Those changes in approach, tone, characters, and philosophy "updated" the Trek universe, creating a 24th Century for the two subsequent series, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Phillip, Daniel, and Darren examine the two "Enterprise-less" television series thru the lens of TNG's legacy. 

Earl Grey goes through early DS9 (pre-USS Defiant/Worf), the rest of DS9, and all of VOY, exploring characters, species, story lines, and approaches to Trek. Whether charting Next Gen characters who lived on in other series, e.g., the O'Briens, Worf, Nick Loca-...Paris, or how the spirit of Picard and Company can be seen, the Earl Grey trio honor the unique approaches of Sisko and Janeway's crews while seeing how all three series manage to live in the same 24th Century universe. So update your uniform, get used to small quarters, and join this episode that examines TNG's 24th Century legacy. 

Hosts
Daniel Proulx, Phillip Gilfus, & Darren Moser

Editor / Producer
Darren Moser

Executive Producers
Norman C. Lao, Matthew Rushing, & C Bryan Jones

Production Manager
Richard Marquez
 
Content Manager

Will Nguyen


Chapters

DS9 Part 1 (Season 1-3ish) (00:04:16)
DS9 Part 2 (season 3ish-7) (00:25:40)
VOY - TNG Lite? (00:37:05)
Final Thoughts (00:55:10)

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Direct download: eg-103.mp3
Category:Starfleet -- posted at: 10:32pm MST

Earl Grey 102: Emergency Power to Analogy Generators

Beverly Crusher.

The pilot episode of The Next Generation, "Encounter at Farpoint," introduced the newest doctor of the U.S.S. Enterprise - Dr. Beverly Crusher, a widow and single mother. Throughout the first season, viewers saw this woman cure diseases, have an "interesting" relationship with her old friend Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and raise her ship-saving son, Wesley. And then she disappeared for season two. However, Dr. Crusher's return in season three, and her constant presence through the end of TNG and the four feature films, showed an in-depth character that Darren, Daniel, and Phillip analyze in this episode.

Earl Grey focuses on the (good) Crusher-centric episodes like "Remember Me," "Ethics," "Suspicions," and "Attached," discussing how Beverly came across as funny, professional, and an "in-charge" Starfleet commander. They also examine Dr. Crusher's relationships with other characters, her many artistic hobbies, and her many turns in the captain's chair. So put on your blue coat, put a hypospray in your pocket just in case, and listen to Earl Grey's character profile of Dr. Beverly Crusher.

Hosts
Daniel Proulx, Phillip Gilfus, & Darren Moser

Editor / Producer
Darren Moser

Executive Producers
Norman C. Lao, Matthew Rushing, & C Bryan Jones

Production Manager
Richard Marquez
 
Content Manager

Will Nguyen


Chapters

Establishing the CMO (00:05:06)
Remember Me 4x5 (00:10:31)
Ethics 5x16 (00:12:42)
Suspicions 6x22 (00:20:11)
Decent 6x26 (00:22:54)
Attached 7x8 (00:24:05)
Hobbies (00:30:32)
Season 2 (00:36:20)
Mother (00:40:43)
Final Thoughts (00:47:20)

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Direct download: eg-102.mp3
Category:Character Analysis -- posted at: 5:16am MST

Earl Grey 101: Number One Dad

Rascals Commentary.

On its face, the plot of the seventh episode of The Next Generation's sixth season sounds ridiculous: Captain Picard, Ensign Ro, Guinan, and Keiko O'Brien are turned into children and must re-take control of the Enterprise-D from the Ferengi. However, this fun-filled episode remains a fan favorite (though it also has its detractors). 

Daniel, Darren, and Phillip provide commentary for this episode, complimenting the outstanding work of the children actors portraying our TNG characters. From the Ro Laren sub-plot of her tragic childhood to Jean-Luc's struggle with losing command to Alexander Rozhenko  & friends helping to defeat the surprisingly evil Ferengi, this episode features many takeaways. Daniel also reveals why this episode is the pinpoint for Chief O'Brien leaving the Federation's flagship for Deep Space Nine. So re-learn to brush your hair, get your boys/girls-sized Starfleet uniform and become a "Number One" fan with this commentary of "Rascals."   

Hosts
Daniel Proulx, Phillip Gilfus, & Darren Moser

Editor / Producer
Darren Moser

Executive Producers
Norman C. Lao, Matthew Rushing, & C Bryan Jones

Production Manager
Richard Marquez
 
Content Manager

Will Nguyen


Chapters

Commentary Start (00:04:30)

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Direct download: eg-101.mp3
Category:Commentaries -- posted at: 3:03pm MST

Earl Grey 100: All Ships Are Big Shuttles

EGTNGRPG.

Earl Grey celebrates 100 consistent weekly episodes of dissecting, celebrating, and laughing about Star Trek: The Next Generation with a role-playing game, "Earl Grey: The Next Generation Role-Playing Game" (EGTNGRPG). Phillip, aka The Narrator, serves as the Game Master (GM) for Darren (a.k.a., Bolian operations officer Hegg) and Daniel (a.k.a., Andorian science officer Thovin) as they play through an original episode of TNG

The story is set during the middle of the 100th episode of Next Gen ("Redemption, Parts 1 and 2"), and includes special appearances by recognizable members of theNCC-1701-D, as well as new characters onboard the Federation's flagship. Daniel and Darren must use their assigned skills and specializations, along with some dice rolls, to make it through a harrowing away mission that features a mysterious Romulan ship near the Klingon border. Along the way, they encounter familiar voices from other Trek.fm podcasts. So get your character sheet ready, have a d6 handy, and join in the 100th episode of Earl Grey with a fun-filled role-playing game. 

Hosts
Daniel Proulx, Phillip Gilfus, & Darren Moser

Guests
Drew Stewart
Charlynn Schmiedt
Tristan Riddell
Christopher Jones
Colin Higgins
Mike Schindler
Andi Vanderkolk

Editor / Producer
Darren Moser

Executive Producers
Norman C. Lao, Matthew Rushing, & C Bryan Jones

Production Manager
Richard Marquez
 
Content Manager

Will Nguyen


Chapters

The Characters (00:01:41)
Last Time on Star Trek: The Next Generation (00:04:06)
Captains Log (00:16:43)
Beaming Over (00:24:48)
1 to 3 Odds (00:38:17)
Time is of the Essence (00:49:30)
Wrong Button (01:04:28)
Wrap Up (01:10:30)
Thank You For 100 Episodes (01:19:19)

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Direct download: eg-100.mp3
Category:RPG -- posted at: 11:33pm MST

Earl Grey 99: These Are the Problems

These Are the Voyages. 

Star Trek fans generally decry the series finale of Enterprise as being an extended episode of The Next Generation - so Darren, Daniel, and Phillip discuss it from their TNG perspective, with the help of special guest Will Nguyen, co-host of "Warp 5." 

"These Are the Voyages..." is an episode featuring many things - action, adventure, the finale to the prequel series, the continuing story of TNG's episode "Pegasus," a 24th Century perspective on the 22nd Century, and a so-called "valentine" to the Star Trek franchise itself. Viewers get to revisit the NCC-1701-Dfor the first time in years, from CGI external shots to rebuilt sets that almost look like the real thing. This episode also features a ten year fast forward from the penultimate ENT episode "Terra Prime," featuring uniform changes and ... no apparent promotions. Earl Grey discusses how well (or ill) the episode closed the series, what it meant to have the Next Gen predominately featured, and whether this episode deserves all the criticism it receives in the Trek community. So put on your nametag, switch to objective mode on the Holdeck, and join Earl Grey as they discuss the Enterprise series finale "These Are the Voyages..."

Hosts
Daniel Proulx, Phillip Gilfus, & Darren Moser

Guests
Will Nguyen


Editor / Producer

Darren Moser

Executive Producers
Norman C. Lao, Matthew Rushing, & C Bryan Jones

Production Manager
Richard Marquez
 
Content Manager

Will Nguyen


Chapters

Episode Recap (00:04:36)
Normal Intro (00:07:40)
The Books (00:16:47)
The A Plot - Shran (00:20:13)
The B Plot - The Pegasus (00:32:21)
The Ending (00:51:53)
Final Thoughts (01:09:38)

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Direct download: eg-099.mp3
Category:Episode Discussions -- posted at: 4:38pm MST

Earl Grey 98: It's A Family Matter

Season Seven Overview.

All good things must come to end, and so it was with the seventh and final season of The Next Generation on television. Daniel, Darren, and Phillip compare this final year to previous seasons and discuss how the quality ebbed and flowed during these final episodes. They sort through their favorite episodes like "Pegasus," "Parallels," "Gambit, Parts 1 and 2," and "Lower Decks," as well as "Sub Rosa"-level episodes ... like "Sub Rosa." 

This season also serves as an ultimate family reunion for the NCC-1701-D crew, including family members we never knew existed, like Data's "mom" ("Inheritance"), Captain Picard's "son" ("Bloodlines"), and Counselor Troi's sister ("Dark Page"). We also meet Worf's brother ("Homeward") and Chief Engineer La Forge's parents ("Interface"). There are attempts to wrap up character story lines, with Wesley turning into an energy being ("Journey's End") and Lieutenant Ro finding a new place for herself with the Maquis ("Preemptive Strike"). The brilliant series finale "All Good Things...", of course, ends the continuing mission of TNG on the small screen. So put on a mask, grab a slice of cellular peptide cake (with mint frosting), and join Earl Grey as they discuss Next Gen's final season.    

Hosts
Daniel Proulx, Phillip Gilfus, & Darren Moser

Editor / Producer
Darren Moser

Executive Producers
Norman C. Lao, Matthew Rushing, & C Bryan Jones

Production Manager
Richard Marquez
 
Content Manager

Will Nguyen


Chapters

Overview (00:04:02)
Sub-standard? (00:11:10)
TORF (00:14:47)
Family Matters (00:18:52) 
The Lows (00:29:42)
Highs (00:40:52)
Closing Thoughts (00:58:12)

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Direct download: eg-098.mp3
Category:Season Overviews -- posted at: 12:07am MST

Earl Grey 97: Windows 95

Yar/Sela.

Star Trek: The Next Generation was not the first, nor the last, Trek series to kill off a main character. Lieutenant Natasha Yar, the first tactical officer of the NCC-1701-D, appeared in 22 episodes of season one before being unceremoniously killed off, due to conflict between Denise Crosby and the studio. However, Yar (and Crosby) did not end her TNG journey with "Skin of Evil." Phillip, Darren, and Daniel are joined by Andi VanderKolk and Jarrah Hodge (co-hosts of Women at Warp) in a character profile of Lt. Yar, as well as her half-Romulan daughter, Commander Sela.  

Yar is a surprisingly complex character, introduced with perhaps the most definite backstory of all the main crew in "Encounter at Farpoint." However, season one did not give Yar many character-focused stories, and the episodes that did focus on Yar are probably best not mentioned. However, Yar's memorable appearances in two outstanding episodes, "Yesterday's Enterprise" and "All Good Things...", provided the audience and Crosby with a more complete Tasha Yar. Earl Grey explores Yar's role in Data's development, the best/worst Yar moments, and if Crosby's portrayal of Commander Sela ("The Mind's Eye," "Redemption, Parts I and II," and "Unification, Part II") added anything to Next Gen. Put on your skin tight yellow unitard, open hailing frequencies, and join Earl Grey (along with Women at Warp 2) as they discuss their character profile of Lt. Tasha Yar. 

Hosts
Daniel Proulx, Phillip Gilfus, & Darren Moser

Guests
Andi VanderKolk
Jarrah Hodge

Editor / Producer
Darren Moser

Executive Producers
Norman C. Lao, Matthew Rushing, & C Bryan Jones

Production Manager
Richard Marquez
 
Content Manager

Will Nguyen


Chapters

First impressions (00:04:23)
Episodes Highlights (00:21:11)
Death (00:35:03)
"Yesterday's Enterprise" and "All Good Things..."  (00:41:20)
Sela (00:47:47)
Final Thoughts (00:56:20)

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Twitter: @trekfm
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Direct download: eg-097.mp3
Category:Character Analysis -- posted at: 1:33am MST



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