Great _Star Trek: The Next Generation_ simulation episode(s)

From: Jim Fehlinger (
Date: Fri Mar 16 2001 - 22:59:33 MST

I mustn't let the simulation discussion end without mentioning
the _ST: TNG_ episode "Ship in a Bottle", written by Rene Eschevarria
and starring Daniel Davis (who also portrays Niles the butler in
the television show _The Nanny_) as Professor Moriarty.

This was a continuation of the earlier episode "Elementary, My
Dear Data" in which the holodeck simulation of Professor Moriarty,
whom Commander Data has enhanced to be a worthy opponent in
his role-playing adventures as Sherlock Holmes, becomes self

"Ship in a Bottle" contains some entertaining plot turns
based on multiple levels of virtual reality, and the end
gives a final twist which wouldn't astonish anyone
on this list, but which must have seemed like pretty advanced
stuff for a mass TV audience.

The most striking thing about this episode, though, is that
it is one of the most egregious examples of a radical
disconnect between an advanced technology with rather breathtaking
implications, and the comparatively mundane world of Star Fleet
and the Federation. Clearly, the writers were straining
against the walls of the box.

One could also mention _The Inner Light_ as an example of an
episode based on a kind of simulated reality (in any case it's held by
many fans to be the best _TNG_ episode of them all):
This isn't really a simulation in the sense being discussed
here, because it doesn't take place inside a computer; instead,
the virtual reality is induced in Picard's mind.
He experiences this induced state as reality, not as a dream, and an
entire lifetime in an alternate existence is packed into a few
minutes of Enterprise ship time, which he remembers completely
after waking up. It's a very poignant and
moving episode.

I'm sure other examples could be cited from the _Deep Space Nine_ and
_Voyager_ repertoires, but since I'm not as well versed in the later
shows, I'll pass over them in silence ;->.

Jim F.

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