Non-adventures in dog-sitting, part 1

June 28, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
June 28, 2017

This week, I’m dog-sitting for the Os, friends of mine who live in Northern Virginia. Their home is close to the Beltway — Interstate 495, which rings our nation’s capital — and yet lies more than an hour from the District of Columbia.

I arrived on Thursday night last week, the evening before O pére et mére were to depart for a family reunion in New England. After dinner, I asked to be shown how the dishwasher, laundry machines and TV worked.

After the entertainment system demonstration, Mr. O and I watched a rerun of Star Trek: The Next Generation on this cable channel, which I’d never before heard of. (The cable channel, that is, not the show.) We happened to tune a few minutes after 9 p.m., and almost instantly I exclaimed, “Is that Matt Frewer?!”

I was pretty sure that was Frewer, although it was hard to be sure. I just caught a glimpse of the end of a wide shot showing a tall man on the bridge of the Enterprise; in it, the tall fellow, garbed in civilian clothes, is facing away from the camera. This was followed by some close-up reaction shots of Picard and Riker, and maybe Wolf and/or Troi, before the camera finally showed the face of a character known as Berlinghoff Rasmussen, who is indeed played by Frewer. I’m sure I saw this episode, “A Matter of Time,” either when it was originally broadcast in November 1991 or not long after.

Although Mr. O taught me how to change channels, in fact I haven’t done so since we landed on that Star Trek rerun. I don’t remember watching TV on Friday (I think I was noodling around on my computer), and I know I didn’t do it on Saturday, when I went to a nearby bar-restaurant, but I’ve watched TV Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights. I intend to do so tonight as well.

Why haven’t I changed the channel? Because six nights a week, starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday and 8 p.m. on weeknights, this TV channel broadcasts an episode of each live-action Star Trek TV series. The lineup starts with the original series, followed in order by The Next GenerationDeep Space NineVoyager and Enterprise.

On Monday evening, the original series episode was “The Ultimate Computer.” The TNG “ep” was “Hero Worship,” which centers around Data’s relationship with a traumatized child, and which I turned off about a third of the way through. The Voyager show was “11:59,” which from what I could gather revolved around some doings of one of Captain Janeway’s ancestors (Kate Mulgrew, who plays Janeway herself) on or about the turn of the 21st century. I turned the TV off and went to bed shortly after the first act of the Voyager episode began.

Monday’s DS9 episode was “Dr. Bashir, I Presume,” which starts off comically but ends up exploring a traumatic, heretofore unrevealed secret of Dr. Julian Bashir’s past. The episode guest stars Robert Picardo as Lewis Zimmerman, the Starfleet physician who serves as the template for Voyager’s Emergency Medical Hologram; Zimmerman’s selection of Bashir as the template for the Long-Term Medical Hologram powers the episode’s plot.

Without getting too much into the weeds, Bashir has benefited from genetic engineering, a technology that’s been banned by most members of polite galactic society for centuries. Keep that in mind when I return to spinning exciting tales of watching TV reruns in my next blog post!

To be continued

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