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Wert's Star Trek: The Next Generation rewatch (now in added HD!)


303 replies to this topic

#21 Maltaran

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 03:42 PM

The Ferengi, meanwhile, have all the incentive in the world to keep them operating properly, as failure more or less means a facing down a fleet of angry Klingons.


And even worse - lower profits!

#22 Nukelavee

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 04:45 PM

I actually got to drink with Q at a GenCon. It was kinda funny, because the point of it was that a good friend was going through a nasty soon to be divorce, and her husband was a huge STNG fan, so I broke a rule and just went over to him.


The husband was pretty bitter over it.

#23 Werthead

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 07:18 PM

113: Datalore
The Enterprise arrives at Data's home planet, a former human colony now devoid of life, and discover a replica of the android lying disassembled in a lab, along with evidence that the colony was destroyed by an alien lifeform of tremendous power. The replica android, Lore, initially attempts to integrate with the crew but, despite the lack of a beard, soon turns out to be Data's EVIL TWIN. Lore knocks out Data and replaces him, but the deception is exposed by Wesley Crusher by noting that Lore uses contractions and Data doesn't (note: Data uses contractions in pretty much every single other episode of the series ever, before and after this one). Lore gets beamed into space and, erm, left there (rather than being imprisoned or phasered to death). Obviously no-one thought that leaving Lore alive in space right next to a powerful alien entity of proven malevolence whom he was allied to was going to cause problems later on.

Definitely one of the highlights of the season and a strong contender for best episode of the first year. The episode is sold by Brent Spiner's excellent dual performance as both Lore and Data and the superb way he distinguishes the characters from one another. Even the 'Wesley saves the ship, FFS' problem is not as obnoxious as normal, since the method he uses actually makes sense (his friendship with Data allows him to spot flaws in Lore's impersonation). The ending is a bit of a letdown, however, with the Enterprise just leaving Lore floating in space and making no effort to neutralise or destroy the Crystalline Entity (which has killed hundreds of Federation citizens, after all).

114: Angel One
The Enterprise arrives at the 'female-dominated' planet of Angel One to track down some long-missing crewmembers from a cargo ship. Whilst the Away Team gets to work on the planet, the crew of the Enterprise is struck down by a virus at the exact moment the ship is needed to respond to a Romulan threat in the Neutral Zone.

Definitely not one of the best episodes of the series, but a lot better than I remember. The script decides to do something a bit different here by combining a series of different time-sensitive storylines together instead of just focusing on the A-plot. Which is just as well, because the A-plot is fairly inane. There's a couple of interesting ideas - like the women of Angel One being physically stronger than their males (who are all played by actors of a smaller stature) - which could have led into some interesting discussions about gender roles, but it's all let down by some ham-fisted execution (such as the strong, determined female leader of the planet falling for Riker's charms in about ten minutes). Still, Jonathan Frakes seem to be having a good time and his performance is notably improved here over previous episodes. The virus storyline is more interesting for putting LaForge in command of the ship and it's intriguing to hear about the Romulans again, but the different storylines don't really gel together.

115: 11001001
The Enterprise arrives at Starbase 74 to undergo a massive upgrade to its computer system, to be carried out by the cybernetic Bynars. However, the Bynars take advantage of the situation to steal the ship (with Picard and Riker trapped aboard) for their own ends. Picard and Riker have to retake the ship and discover what is going on.

Another strong episode, with the writers and actors alike starting to gain confidence in their abilities. The resolution is unexpectedly benign, despite a gaping plot hole (namely that if the Bynars only meant to kidnap Riker alone, why does access to their computer system require two people working together?). It's also good to see the continuing improvement of Frakes and Stewart showing some severe cajones as he immediately prepares to blow the Enterprise to pieces rather than let it fall into the hands of an alien race with unknown intent. Overall, a very solid episode let down only by the re-use of effects footage from Star Trek III to depict Starbase 74. The Enterprise-D is twice the length of the original Enterprise and simply wouldn't fit through the space doors of the station. Whilst understandable from a budget point-of-view (the expensive-looking docking sequence required nothing more than a couple of standard fly-bys of the Enterprise-D model), it's irritating from a continuity perspective. Pleasingly, the same problem did occur to the production crew, who worked on an alternate sequence in which the Enterprise docked on the exterior of the station (with dialogue indicating it was too big to get inside) before having to drop it due to cost. Fanwank explanations - that the stations have been scaled up in size whilst retaining the exact same design, or they're the same size as before but have varying-sized doors - are less than satisfactory. But this is a very minor nitpick indeed /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

#24 Werthead

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 07:05 PM

According to the rumour-mill, remastering Season 1 cost CBS/Paramount over $9 million. Which is about one-third the cost of shooting the whole season in the first place /shocked.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':shocked:' />

Also, apparently the original release run of the Blu-Rays have somewhat banjaxed sound on the 7.1 Dolby audio mix. After switching over on a few episodes, this does appear to be the case (Haven has a bit where Picard's log entry sounds like it's been recorded at the bottom of a well). Happily, CBS are offering free replacement discs, and you don't even need to send the originals back. Unhappily, this is in the USA only. The replacement process for the UK still needs to be sorted out, but should be clear in a few days.

#25 Aemon Stark

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 08:59 PM

Hmm, I suppose the US policy doesn't yet apply in Canada?

I did notice the sound problems in Haven. Glad it wasn't just me!

Edited by Aemon Stark, 02 August 2012 - 09:59 PM.


#26 felice

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 09:57 PM

According to the rumour-mill, remastering Season 1 cost CBS/Paramount over $9 million. Which is about one-third the cost of shooting the whole season in the first place /shocked.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':shocked:' />


In today's dollars, season one would have cost about $68 million, so only 13% of the original production cost after adjusting for inflation. Still not a cheap endeavour, though!

The NZ release has been delayed, apparently to fix the sound issue.

#27 Ghiscari

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 04:18 AM

This is as good a place as any to note that Paramount and/or Amazon did a sloppy job of putting TNG on Amazon Prime. It takes you to episode 4 instead of episode 1 when you click on the season, and "11001001" is mislabeled as "Angel One" -- a bit annoying maybe, but not major. Then you try to watch "Encounter at Farpoint" and the sound effects are missing. I guess it does make the space sequences more "realistic"...

#28 Werthead

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 01:51 PM

116: Too Short a Season
The Enterprise crew must take an aging admiral to defuse a hostage situation on a volatile planet. However, when the admiral starts to grow younger, Picard must work out what's going on and how to save the hostages (note: he succeeds).

This is one of those episodes which relies on its guest stars being as good as the regulars in order to work. Michael Pataki rises to the challenge with a fearsome performance as Karnas, the leader of the planet, but Clayton Rohner is simply unconvincing as Admiral Jameson. This is not helped by his ludicrous wheelchair prop: costing $10,000, packed with electronics and almost totally immobile, it was the difficulty of using this device which convinced the DS9 crew to adopt a much simpler wheelchair prop for their episode Melora, six years on from this episode. The aging make-up is also horrendous.

Rohner's inept performance and a shaky script undermines a reasonably solid premise and a very un-Trek-like (at this stage, anyway) moral situation where no-one is really in the right and all of the players are tainted by their actions in the past. Not the worst episode this season, but nevertheless disappointing.

117: When the Bough Breaks
The Enterprise discovers the legendary planet Aldea, which is hidden from the rest of the universe by a cloaking device. The Aldeans are masters of technology and science, with capabilities far beyond the Enterprise. However, they are also sterile and unable to conceive. They decide to abduct several of the children - happily, including Wesley - on the Enterprise and forcibly 'adopt' them. When Picard objects, the Aldeans use a repulsor weapon to push the Enterprise three days away at Warp 9. As the Enterprise races back, Wesley and the other children launch a 'strike' to try to convince the Aldeans to let them return home. Eventually it is discovered that the Aldean planetary cloaking device is what is making the people sterile, and by shutting it down they may be able to start breeding again.

A potentially solid, emotional-jugular premise is upset by a series of baffling continuity issues (if the Aldeans have been using their planetary device for thousands of years, why has the sterility only kicked in during the last generation?) and some logic flaws. Despite the resources of the Federation and the entire Galaxy being open to them in solving their problem, the otherwise peaceful and enlightened Aldeans seem willing to resort to threats, violence and kidnapping way too easily. Jerry Hardin (here a few years short of his role as Deep Throat on The X-Files) gives his all, but the premise is simply too riddled with problems to be plausible. Still, a nice effect as the Enterprise is blasted out of orbit, so nice it's used several more times in the course of the series.

118: Home Soil
The Enterprise arrives at a planet being terraformed by a Federation science team. During their visit, there is an accidental death and Picard becomes suspicious that something is amiss. Eventually it is discovered that microscopic - but intelligent - crystal aliens are living in the planet's subsurface water table, which is being drained by the terraforming effort, and are defending themselves. Picard brokers a peace and departs with the scientists, marking the planet as off-limits.

An interesting episode dealing with the moral and ethical issues of terraforming, as well as (broadly) getting the science of it right as well. The guest cast is a mixed bag and there is some inherent silliness in the crew staring intently at a goldfish bowl with a glowing light in it for half the episode, but the premise is reasonably strong, let down by a mixed execution.

119: Coming of Age
Wesley Crusher gets to show how awesome he is when sitting entrance exams for Starfleet Academy. Realising that letting Wesley be as awesome as normal would result in him leaving the show (not really seeing the problem here), the writers somewhat cheesily have Wesley helping a less-confident classmate get a higher score than him, resulting in him staying on the show for another year. Great. Meanwhile, the obnoxious Commander Remmick launches an investigation of the Enterprise crew. His superior informs Picard that there may be some kind of conspiracy building at the highest levels of the Federation and he wanted to be sure of the crew's loyalty. Picard agrees to help investigate the situation once more information is available.

Woah, Star Trek flirts with a multi-episode storyline for the first time in its existence (barring two-parters). This episode sets up some things to be explored further a few weeks down the line in the batshit insane Conspiracy (the one where Picard phasers someone in the head, resulting in their skull exploding on-camera). Fairly mild by modern standards, but in 1988 some fans had to be carried out on stretchers from the shock of an episode that didn't resolve everything nicely at the end. Shame it's so inane, with very vague insinuations of some shit going down on Earth and nothing more than that, not helped by a total lack of urgency to events. The Wesley storyline is so dull it hurts. So overall, nice idea, poor execution.

120: Heart of Glory
The Enterprise responds to an SOS and discovers three Klingons on a damaged freighter. Initially they claim to have been passengers on a ship attacked unprovoked by the Ferengi, but they then reveal to Worf that they seized control of the freighter and destroyed a Klingon warship. They have tired of the years of peace and want to return to the glory days of battle. When the Klingons send a ship to apprehend them, the prisoners break out and run amuck on the Enterprise until Worf defeats them.

The 'Worf episode' of Season 1 is one of the stand-outs of the season. In retrospect, the episode lays a surprising amount of pipe for future Klingon storylines: the Klingons bored with peace and wanting a return to war is a recurring theme in both TNG and DS9, whilst Worf's conflicted loyalties will form arguably the best-handled character arc in the history of the franchise. Whilst Ronald D. Moore gets a lot of credit as Trek's 'Klingon guy', a fair bit of their characterisation in the series is actually established in this episode. There's some good action beats and the episode is quite fast-paced and well-directed compared to most of the first season. The only problem is that the episode never convinces us that Worf is going to side with the renegades, merely acknowledge that they might have a point. It still works quite well apart from that, and can be forgiven for the slightly weird bit where someone falls over and the transparent engineering deck beneath them shatters into a thousand pieces instantly, which seems a bit of a design flaw.

121: The Arsenal of Freedom
The Enterprise arrives at Minos to investigate the disappearance of the planet's population and the destruction of the USS Drake, which was sent to investigate. The crew discover that Minos was home to a whole race of arms-dealers. Triggering an automated sales pitch and 'demonstration', both the Away Team and the Enterprise come under sustained attack. Riker is imprisoned in a forcefield, Dr. Crusher is wounded and the Enterprise is forced to flee with LaForge in command. Picard manages to deactivate the system by agreeing to the sales pitch and offering to make a purchase, but for some reason the system attacking the Enterprise remains operational. LaForge destroys the automated vessel through some clever maneuvering and everything is okay.

LET'S! BLOW! SOME! SHIT! UP! This episode feels like the result of a note delivered from Paramount asking if the crew can stop dicking around talking to aliens about their feelings and unleash some major carnage. The result is the most action-packed episode of the season, a totally brainless but nonetheless entertaining episode with more phaser blasts than the rest of the season combined (probably). There's some good humour, with Riker's exchanges with the illustory Captain Rice being particularly notable ("My ship is the USS Lollipop. It's a good ship,") and the holographic arms-seller having some great sales patter.

Underneath the violence there's also some good moves, like putting Worf in charge of tactical on the bridge whilst Yar is on the planet (where he excels) and LaForge handling command pretty well. However, the presence of an antagonistic Chief Engineer who tries to seize command of the ship from LaForge feels very strange and un-Star Trek-like. It's also good to see the Enterprise separating once again. Given that this is a primary ability of the Enterprise, it is ridiculous that the ship only separates three times in the show's history (all within the first half of the show's run). In reality this was because the original, unwieldy six-foot-long Enterprise model was the only one of the three major shooting models of the vessel which could separate, and filming sequences involving it were so ludicrously expensive and annoying that the producers eventually dropped the idea.

Trivia: conn officer T'Su is played by Julia Nickson, better-known to this board as Catherine Sakai in Babylon 5. The demonstration system shutting down but the space drone continuing to attack the Enterprise has been cited as the most blatant plot hole in the entire series (though there've been some spirited fanwanking attempts to explain it away). The actor playing Captain Rice (Marco Rodriguez) also played the exasperated Mexican baseball coach in the second season of Eastbound and Down.

Conclusion: Stupid, but fun, continuing the gradual rise in quality seen towards the end of the first season.

#29 felice

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 04:04 PM

A potentially solid, emotional-jugular premise is upset by a series of baffling continuity issues (if the Aldeans have been using their planetary device for thousands of years, why has the sterility only kicked in during the last generation?) and some logic flaws. Despite the resources of the Federation and the entire Galaxy being open to them in solving their problem, the otherwise peaceful and enlightened Aldeans seem willing to resort to threats, violence and kidnapping way too easily.


Doesn't sound too implausible to me; this is a race that has spent thousands of years hiding from the rest of the galaxy, while being far more technologically advanced, so why would they ask a horde of primitive, dangerous barbarians to help them with a complex scientific issue? And presumably the effect of the cloaking device is cumulative over generations?

#30 Aemon Stark

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 09:49 AM

I don't know how "enlightened" the Aldeans were supposed to be. We might suppose that their shield had only recently begun to have that effect. And as Crusher emphatically declares in one of Gates MacFadden's more questionable moments, they've forgotten how everything works. There are a lot of interesting ideas in that episode, but they never really fleshed out any of them. I did enjoy seeing the stuffed tribble getting stuck to Picard's back though.

#31 Bronn Stone

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 10:49 AM

To me it is not shocking at all that the Aldeans had Global Climate Change deniers. The Federation had a similar reaction in S7 when the dangers inherent in Warp technology were discovered.

#32 Derfel Cadarn

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 11:23 AM

It's annoying and unrealistic that the acting ensign treats the 3rd in command of the Federation Flagship with such condenscension.

Wesley: "Say goodbye, Data".
Data: "Goodbye, Data" *everyone laughs* Data: "That's Sir or Commander to you, you insubordinate little shit. Now put on a spacesuit and repaint the hull. Two coats."

#33 Independent George

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 01:42 PM

Wesley: "Say goodbye, Data".
Data: "Goodbye, Data" *everyone laughs* Data: "That's Sir or Commander to you, you insubordinate little shit. Now put on a spacesuit and repaint the hull. Two coats."


DATA: This is wrong. Worf - fetch a block.

#34 Werthead

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 07:50 PM

122: Symbiosis
The Enterprise crew discover a system with two habitable planets. The inhabitants of one are dependent on a drug manufactured on the other, apparently a cure to a virulent plague. However, the Enterprise crew soon discover that the cure is actually a narcotic, and an entire race has become a race of drug dealers. Picard plays the Prime Directive card and dumps the respective aliens on their planets and refuses to get involved...down to witholding vital technical help necessary to maintain the trade ships between the two races.

A potentially strong episode with a genuine moral quandry and some good performances. Judson Scott and Merritt Butrick play the opposing alien representatives and do so well. Trek fans will recognise them as having played major roles in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Khan's second-in-command and Kirk's son, respectively) and it's good to see them back on the screen. Tragically, Butrick would pass away a year or so after making this episode from AIDS-related complications.

That aside the episode is let down by its, "Drugs are bad, m'kay?" message, exemplified by an utterly hideous conversation between Tasha Yar and Wesley (though it does hint at the fact that Tasha was a drug addict in her youth, a potentially fascinating bit of character-building that leads nowhere). The somewhat badass ending, where Picard washes his hands of the whole situation and then mocks one of the races for objecting to his use of the Prime Directive to back off from perpetuating the misery when moments before they were welcoming it, does elevate things. And there is a nice comical moment at the end as Tasha Yar waves goodbye to the viewers (this episode was aired before but filmed after Skin of Evil).

123: Skin of Evil
A shuttlecraft bearing Counsellor Troi crashes on a remote planet. The Enterprise crew responds but is unable to affect a rescue due to the interference of a talking oil slick called Armus, who maintains a forcefield powered by his calmness (say what?). To show how totally fucking rad he is despite looking like a post-use Inchoroi condom, Armus kills Tasha Yar on a whim. The producers dick the audience around for five minutes by making it look like that they're going to save her on the operating table, but it then turns out she's really dead. In 1988 you could hear jaws collectively hitting the floor. Anyway, Yar's pointless death seriously annoys Picard and Troi who, despite being stuck on opposite sides of a wall, tag-team in destroying Armus's psychology until he's so annoyed his forcefield drops and they are able to escape. Picard then drops a photon torpedo on his head, because that's how he rolls. They then attend a moving funeral for Yar on the set of Teletubbies for no immediately-identified reason.

124: We'll Always Have Paris
A mad scientist punches a hole in the fabric of the universe that threatens to destroy the space/time continuum (as you do). Picard is, somewhat bafflingly, more concerned with the fact that the scientist's wife is his ex. Eventually Picard gets a chance to say goodbye to her properly and Data saves the entire universe ("IT'S ME!" - the non-contraction-using Data). Job done.

An oddball episode, with Picard's priorities rather bizarrely out of joint and the primary storyline - one of the largest-scaled in the history of the show - relegated to Riker and Data to sort out. Vaguely entertaining, but weird.

125: Conspiracy
Picard is summoned to a meeting with three Starfleet captains who are convinced that the Federation is being taken over by some hostile force. When one of their ships is sabotaged and destroyed, Picard gives more credence to the claims and takes the Enterprise back to Earth to investigate further. He discovers that alien parasites have taken over a small number of Federation personnel as a prelude to a full-scale invasion. With Riker's help, Picard phasers them all to death. The aliens send an SOS to a distant star cluster, but this never crops up again so whatevs.

This is the hands-down most batshit insane episode of Star Trek ever. The first half is superb, with a tense atmosphere and some great direction. The second half turns into an explosion of gratuitousness, culminating in a now-legendary scene where Picard and Riker phaser the mother parasite's host in the face, causing his skull to burst (even more gorily in HD). It's like David Cronenberg dropped by the set in full Scanners mode. Unfortunately, all of the flying bits of skull matter seem to get in the way of telling a good story, with all of the subtlety and dark undertones of the first half lost in the lunacy of the latter part.

126: The Neutral Zone
The Enterprise investigates the destruction of several colonies in the neutral zone and concludes that the Romulans were responsible. As the Enterprise crew tries to find out a reason, they also have to deal with three people from hundreds of years in the past who have been awoken from suspended animation. Eventually they confront the Romulans and learn that an unknown force has attacked colonies on both sides of the border. The Romulans agree to a temporary alliance to investigate further. Picard sends the frozen people back to Earth and makes a pithy speech about how awesome they all are before flying off into Season 2.

An odd episode for a season finale. There isn't a cliffhanger per se but instead a lot of set-up work. The original masterplan was for a trilogy spanning the end of Season 1 and the start of Season 2 in which the Federation and Romulans would encounter a powerful insectoid alien race which would threaten to destroy both of them. This plan was thrown out the window by the 1988 Writer's Strike, which necessitated the first few episodes of Season 2 to recycle old and unused script ideas. Then it was realised that a non-humanoid race would blow the budget, hence their transformation into the Borg we all know and love. Unfortunately, this arsing around would delay the Borg's introduction until late in Season 2, by which time the connective tissue with The Neutral Zone had been watered down and mostly abandoned.

As a result, The Neutral Zone is watchable and notable for some interesting trivia (it's the first time that a proper year is given for the events of an episode, not to mention the first appearance of the Romulan warbird) but overall feels rather pointless. Oh well.

#35 Aemon Stark

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 10:02 PM

I've always had a soft spot for The Neutral Zone - it's one of the few times humans from "our time" have had to react to 24th century life. Of course, the deck is stacked in favour of Picard's Federation triumphalism, so it's not especially even-handed, but interesting all the same.

#36 Bronn Stone

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 10:03 PM

Re: The Neutral Zone - Are the trio of humans truly said to be in suspended animation, or were they said to have been criogenically frozen after death? My memory is the latter.

#37 Aemon Stark

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 10:04 PM

I think they were supposed to have been frozen after death. I think Crusher's line is to the effect that "cryonics was never more than a fad".

#38 Derfel Cadarn

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 07:03 AM

Neutral Zone and Conspiracy are probably my favourite season 1 episodes - not that its saying much.

I'm curious how the cryo satelite launched in the late 90's designed to sit in orbit likely with nothing more than manouvering thrusters managed to travel from Earth to near the Neutral zone in 300 years.

The Naked Now: The tractor beam stupidity. The tractor beam, it seems, can only pull things closer to the ship but can't repel anything, until Wesley invents a modification, and everyone acts like he's cured death. And he then uses it to save the ship. WTF?

#39 Werthead

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 06:14 PM

It's been confirmed that Season 2 will have the extended, 1 hour-version of The Measure of a Man by Melinda Snodgrass (as well as the regular cut). There'll also be a brand-new roundtable discussion featuring the full cast musing about the show 25 years on. It'll be out on 4 December.

#40 Aemon Stark

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 06:42 PM

That sounds really cool.

On another note, has anyone received replacement discs yet for the defective ones? I haven't yet and they didn't confirm the submission of my disc info.



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