Worst Episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #15

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#15. The Cart Before the Ponies

Writers: Ed Valentine and Michael Vogel

Storyboard: Patricia Ross and Megan Willis

Characters: Cutie Mark Crusaders, Cheerilee

Season: 6, ep. 14 Overall: 131

Summary: The Cutie Mark Crusaders enter the Ponyville Applewood Derby Race. They each ask Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Rarity to help. Scootaloo wants the “Most Creative” trophy, Sweetie Belle wants “Most Traditional”, and Apple Bloom wants to win the “Fastest” award. However, each of the adults has her own idea.

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Celebrating 40 Years of Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back

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For many Star Wars fans, The Empire Strikes Back is the definitive movie of the franchise. Although the franchise debuted in 1977, Star Wars really feels more like a byproduct of the 80’s than the 70’s. That’s how ahead of its time the original movie was. It not only secured the franchise as a permanent part of our culture, but also secured George Lucas’s place as a filmmaker. For better or worse, Star Wars defined him. Even when he tried to do a different movie later in the 80’s, Willow, it paled in comparison to Star Wars. Yes, he also helped make the Indiana Jones franchise. but that was a collaboration with Steven Spielberg. Star Wars was the more definitive movie.

Although I enjoy the series as a whole, Empire is not my favorite of the series. Which one is? You’ll find that out next time. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the movie, far from it. I just don’t enjoy it as much as everyone else does.

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Best Star Trek Episodes #1: City on the Edge of Forever

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Well folks, here it is, the all-time greatest episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. This isn’t just my opinion, it’s also Roddenberry’s favorite, tied with “The Menagerie” (which was a re-working of the original pilot episode “The Cage”).

From the series’ inception, Star Trek actually had the support of elites in the sci-fi community. When “The Cage” was shown by NBC and Roddenberry to these people, Isaac Asimov himself was in attendance and personally congratulated Roddenberry. But he wasn’t the only elite that supported Roddenberry. He also had Harlan Ellison, who had a special story he wanted to write for the show.

Harlan Ellison was a sci-fi writer who wrote novellas, screenplays, and even scripts, and not just for Star Trek. In fact, when Twilight Zone was revived by CBS in the 80’s, Harlan Ellison was brought on as the show’s executive producer, and wrote many of the scripts. (By that time, Rod Serling had died.) He actually was not pleased with this episode, as he and Roddenberry had disagreements over how the script was supposed to be written. These disagreements soured his relationship with Roddenberry, which is why this is the only story he ever wrote for the series.

The story begins with McCoy treating a comatose patient, and injects him with cordazine. The drug has the potential to cause insanity, but the patient does not appear to be affected.  However, when the Enterprise is rocked by a galactic distortion, he accidentally injects himself with too much of the drug, causing him to become paranoid. Driven by his paranoia, he beams down to the planet’s surface, with Kirk and Spock chasing after him. When they arrive, they discover a “time tunnel” (no relation to the short-lived TV series), which is causing the distortions. McCoy runs through the tunnel, and moments later, Kirk discovers that the Enterprise no longer exists. In fact, neither does Starfleet itself!

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Best Star Trek Episodes: Space Seed

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When Nicholas Meyer signed on to direct Star Trek II, he actually had little knowledge of what he wanted. To prepare, he watched several episodes, including this one. In fact, if someone had never watched Star Trek, this is an episode I would show.

The story begins when the Enterprise finds the starship Botany Bay. They board the ship with historian Lt. Marla McGivens accompanying them. When they beam onto the ship, they discover there are inhabitants in suspended animation. These are the notorious Khan Noonian Singh and his followers.

Everyone is intrigued with the idea of reviving Khan and his followers, despite their reputation. I like how Spock is bewildered that Khan is actually revered despite his tyranny. This is realistic. There are many notorious people who are still admired to this day.

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Best Star Trek episodes: Balance of Terror

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Mark Lenard appeared in two classic Star Trek episodes, and both are among my favorites.  I’ve already talked about “Journey to Babel”, so now let’s talk about “Balance of Terror”

The Federation has two alien races as enemies: the Klingons and the Romulans. While the Klingons eventually became allies by the start of Next Generation, the Romulans remained enemies throughout both Classic and Next Generation. While both are warlike, they approach conquest in different ways. The Romulans are such a threat that they set up a “Neutral Zone”, an area of space which the Federation is forbidden to enter. The Romulans can come and go as they please, but if the Federation crosses it, it could start an intergalactic war.

What I truly enjoy about this episode is the parallel between the unnamed Romulan Commander and Kirk. Both are well-respected by their crews.  In fact, the Commander, despite being the villain, is a father to his men. His crew believes it unwise to question any order he gives. They trust his judgment completely.  The Commander knows very little about Kirk’s background, but he sees Kirk as an equal.  Despite the fact that they are enemies, the Commander respects Kirk.

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Worst Star Trek Episodes: The Savage Curtain

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I almost put “Catspaw” in this slot because of its silliness. But I found an even sillier episode for my #3 spot on my Worst Star Trek Episodes countdown: “The Savage Curtain”.

This episode follows the formula seen in better episodes like “The Corbomite Manuever”, “The Gamesters of Triskellion” and “Arena”, where the Enterprise crew is put to a test by advanced aliens. That’s not the problem I have with this episode, the premise is fine.

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Dishonorable/Honorable Mention Star Trek Episodes

Before I unveil my top 3 worst and best Star Trek episodes, I thought I’d unveil what didn’t make the cut for worst and best. So, this post will be my “dishonorable” and honorable mentions for the countdowns. We’ll start with the ones that weren’t bad enough to be in the worst countdown.

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  • “The Man Trap”–when NBC started its run of Star Trek, they had three choices for the premiere episode: “Charlie X”, “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, (the true pilot, after “The Cage”, which was reworked into the two-part episode “The Menagerie”)and “The Man Trap”. The first two episodes would have been good choices, but instead “The Man Trap” was chosen. This had a bad monster with bad make-up on top of it.

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  • “Catspaw”–This was meant to be a Halloween episode, with all the trappings: a creepy castle, sorcerers, and monsters. In short–nothing that should be in a Star Trek episode! To be honest, this is really “so bad it’s good”.

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  • “Day of the Dove”–An entity powered by hate traps the Enterprise and Klingons. To eliminate the entity, Kirk proposes a wary alliance. And no, this has nothing to do with how the Klingons are actually allies in the Next Generation version.

The next three are my “honorable mention” for the best episodes.

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*”Piece of the Action”–The Enterprise finds a planet with a society that finds a book on Prohibition-era Chicago. This episode is silly, but in a good way.

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*”This Side of Paradise”–The Enterprise finds a planet on the brink of destruction, however none of the inhabitants wish to leave because they’re enthralled by plants that spray spores that make you content to remain on the planet. It’s another great story from DC Fontana, and one of her best character studies for Spock.

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*”Errand of Mercy”–This was actually a contender for my favorite Klingon episode, but I liked the uncertainty in “A Private Little War” better. The Klingons made their first appearance in this episode, and it’s a great introduction.