I'm now reclaiming Fan Companion as an active member of my blog family, digging back into Star Trek.
More specifically, I'm writing some individual commentaries for episodes of seasons that readers previously indicated were more provocative from the early summaries of my franchise thoughts back in 2010 (as indicated by level of actual readership). My whole purpose for the Fan Companion in the first place was to try and suggest that it's not as hard as some fans like to suggest to like Star Trek in all of its forms. Some fans, for instance, suggest that Voyager, for instance, or Enterprise, or even the critically-beloved Deep Space Nine, is by definition inferior to the original series or Next Generation. Their main ammunition was the diminishing returns in viewership from the peak of the franchise (circa 1994), which they took to prove that later shows and films just weren't as good as earlier ones.
Of course, in 2012 you could make the argument that no Star Trek was really popular until the 2009 film. That's beside the point!
I'm simply trying to make the whole process less ambiguous. With the new episode commentaries, I'm trying to discuss the success rate by four categories:
1) Franchise, or if you need to be a fan of Star Trek in general to enjoy it;
2) Series, or if you need to be a fan of that particular series;
3) Essential, or if you can enjoy it above and beyond specific loyalties;
4) Character, or if the episode centers on someone who helps it succeed just on that level.
An episode can win distinction with any one category, or several, or best of all, all four. My humble opinion is that any episode that accomplishes that is worth watching whether or not you're skeptical about my opinions.