Friday, January 8, 2021

Star Trek: Tin Man

Episode: "Tin Man"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 3, Episode 20
Original Air Date: April 23, 1990

The Enterprise welcomes the Betazoid Tam Elbrum (Harry Groener) aboard.  Elbrum is highly telepathic, even by Betazoid standards.  Together, our friends investigate a bio ship life form currently hanging out near a star about to go supernova.  Complicating matters further, the Romulans get involved.

"Tin Man" isn't in the top tier for Season 3 but it has strong moments, enough to warrant an Emmy nomination for Visual Effects.  Groener is good: highly annoying from the get go, though undoubtedly intentionally.  We gain greater sympathy for him over time.  The ending is surprisingly touching, including some meaningful new awareness for Data.  Plus, of course, I'm a sucker for any and all Wizard of Oz allusions.


Acting Notes

Groener was born September 10, 1951 in Augsburg, Germany, both of his parents accomplished musicians.  His family emigrated to the United States when he was two years old.  He apprenticed with the San Francisco Ballet as a teenager then studied drama at the University of Washington.

His musical theater credentials are impressive, including three Tony nominations for Oklahoma!, Cats (he was the original Munkustrap, the narrator) and Crazy for You.  His best known television role was Mayor Wilkins in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  He was also a regular on Dear John and made two appearances as the Secretary of Agriculture on The West Wing.  This is his first of four Trek appearances.

12 comments:

  1. Oh, yeah, I liked him as the mayor in Buffy. Great villain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. His first appearance in West Wing is a wonderful scene.

      Delete
  2. Daughter would have enjoyed this one she is a Wizard Of Oz fan, she read several of the next books in the series.
    Any snow yet ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've gotten snow, though not loads. The skiers haven't been happy this year.

      Delete
  3. Not overly interested in this one.

    ReplyDelete
  4. To me, this was an excellent episode given that it introduced the concept of a living starship as well as non-humanoid beings, that Elbrum had contact with. Mind blowing concepts that mainstream science fiction plays with on a regular basis.

    I understand Star Trek can't normally delve into elements that deep because of budget issues and the fact that the various series are largely metaphors for the current human condition.

    Long story short, this episode in my opinion would have made a great movie. As opposed to most Star Trek movies, like the TNG Insurrection and TOS The Final Frontier.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will be interesting to see where the animated series will lead. After all, the benefit of animation for Trek in the '70s was that one could do more than with live action. Even CGI has its limitations. Maybe we have more far out concepts in store. I hope so!

      Delete