Friday, August 28, 2020

Star Trek: Evolution

Episode: "Evolution"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 3, Episode 1
Original Air Date: September 25, 1989
Evolution (episode) | Memory Alpha | Fandom
via Memory Alpha
Paul Stubbs, an eminent scientist, is aboard the Enterprise to conduct a career-making experiment.  Unfortunately, Wesley's own school project has gone awry.  A couple of nano-bots he had been working with have gotten loose, reproduced and taken over the ship. 

First the best news, Beverly Crusher is back.  Maurice Hurley, the head writer, left the show after Season 2.  It was his personal beef that resulted in Gates McFadden's firing so once he was gone, she was invited back.  Equilibrium is restored.  Before we go any further, a quick update on the Uhura chair:

Uhura = Dr. Crusher = Pulaski = Dr. Crusher

Another considerable improvement, especially from the actors' perspective: new uniforms!  William Ware Theiss, a veteran from the original series, was out as costume director.  Robert Blackman was in.  In Patrick Stewart's words, "The new uniforms don't hurt."  Enough said.  There are personnel moves in story, too.  Both Worf and Geordi got rank promotions between seasons.

"Evolution" is primarily a Wesley episode and those are rarely strong.  And as much as I like Ken Jenkins the actor, his character, Stubbs, is annoyingly arrogant.  Anyone who constantly refers to Wes as "my young friend" is already losing with me.

That said, there are a few gifts.  The nano tech story in itself is definitely interesting, presenting genuine ethical quandries.  Plus, it's a great Guinan episode.  Guinan development is always more tease than substance but I'm alright with that.  This time we learn: she's been married multiple times and was perhaps not the most faithful wife, she has multiple children and both she and they are hundreds of years old.  Good stuff.

Acting Notes

Ken Jenkins | Scrubs Wiki | Fandom
via Scrubs Wiki
Ken Jenkins was born August 28, 1940 in Dayton, Ohio.  Without a doubt, his best-known role is Dr. Bob Kelso on Scrubs and he has a respectable resume on both stage and screen.  Once again, the Trek connections to the musical Big River are strong.  For starters, Ken's son Daniel was the original Huck Finn on Broadway - Tony-nominated.  Daniel also played Mark Twain in the 2003 revival.  Ken himself appeared in the original Broadway production as the Duke, creating a rare father-son Broadway combo.  For those keeping score at home, the part of the Duke was originated by DS9's Rene Auberjonois (also Tony-nominated) and later played by Brent Spiner (Data).


  1. It's difficult for me to imagine a writer having enough power to get one of the actors fired.

    1. Considering the full story, his power was limited. And perhaps McFadden herself was more politically savvy than he was. And thank goodness. The show only got better after he was out and she came back.

  2. Yeah, I like this episode. I like Jenkins. (I like Kelso!) I thought it was a far more mature Wesley spotlight than the average from the previous seasons. (It’s a guarantee that any revision of TNG would vastly emphasize the Traveler arc, which was only reluctantly nudged along in this “first draft.” Incredibly, Wesley shows up, in uniform, at Riker & Troi’s wedding, in a deleted scene, during Nemesis, therefore further downplaying it!)

    1. ... a better Wesley episode is still a Wesley episode.

      I love Kelso! Scrubs is an absolutely brilliant show - or at least, it was for a while. But I didn't like Jenkins's character here. No, I know I'm not really supposed to but some nemeses are more satisfying than others. Bob Kelso, for instance!

  3. I liked the use of an actual stellar event as the premise of the story. Always wanted Star Trek to include some of the wonders of the real universe in their stories.

    It would be great if the Captain Pike series showed some of the bizarre exoplanets we've discovered in the last decade or so.

    Loved Scrubs back when it was on network TV and when it was playing on Netflix.

    1. I agree about the real wonders. That would be cool. We're learning more all the time, too.

  4. I should finally got some time to watch at lest few episodes! Curently I'm stuck to Netflix documentaries:)

    1. I love documentaries! Do you have anything to recommend?