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Star Trek Next Gen. #018:When/


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Product Details

  • Actors: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis
  • Directors: Kim Manners
  • Writers: Gene Roddenberry, Hannah Louise Shearer
  • Producers: Gene Roddenberry, Herbert Wright, Maurice Hurley, Peter Lauritson, Rick Berman
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Paramount
  • VHS Release Date: April 1 2004
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302457084
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,106 in Video (See Top 100 in Video)

Product Description

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Following faint energy signals like a trail of bread crumbs, the Enterprise ends up in the Epsilon Minos system. Riker is excited because this is the area where the mythical world of Aldea is located, an advanced civilization rumored to be centuries old, peaceful, self-contained, and technically sophisticated, where the inhabitants devote themselves to art. What luck, then, that they end up parked just outside of the orbit of this legendary planet and lines of communication open up. Good luck turns to bad when the Aldeans kidnap a bunch of children from the Enterprise and try to pay off the parents by giving them advanced technology. Turns out the Aldeans are impotent and dying off, and need a new generation of children to help repopulate the planet. They try to be good surrogate parents, opening up the kids to their artistic potential, but that doesn't placate the birth parents. "When the Bough Breaks" capitalizes on a natural mistrust of artist colonies, combined with a fear of forced adoption. --Andy Spletzer

From the Back Cover

The Enterprise accidentally discovers Aldea, a utopian world hidden behind a sophisticated shielding device. After initial contact is made, tragedy strikes when several children disappear from the Enterprise, Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) among them.

The crew is shocked when the Aldeans reveal that they are responsible for this heinous crime. Having lost the ability to reproduce, the Aldeans need the children to perpetuate their dying race.

As Picard (Patrick Stewart) struggles to find a method of penetrating the planet's shield, Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) discovers the Aldeans suffer from radiation poisoning, which is slowly destroying the planet's atmosphere. Can the starship crew rescue its children from a dying planet?

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"When The Bough Breaks" is such an inconsequential Star Trek: The Next Generation episode that it immediately fades from memory once the closing credits pop up on the screen. If there's any equivalent to newspaper or magazine filler in the television medium then this is it. Well, they can't all be winners.
The Enterprise-D discovers the planet Aldea. However, it turns out the "accidental" meeting between the ship and the planet was planned in advance. The Aldeans have lost the ability to reproduce and have lured the Enterprise-D to their homeworld in order to kidnap some of the ship's children to help them repopulate their race. The situation is eventually resolved when Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) offers the help of his ship to repair the planet's atmosphere which has been weakened by a protective shield encircling the planet.
Yes, Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) was one of the children kidnapped and the mind boggles as how this television series would have turned out differently had he remained behind in captivity on Aldea. However, this was not to be as the young man was among the rescued and well, the rest is history. Star Trek: The Next Generation also once again borrows another story device from the original series by attributing the problems of a planetary society to a guardian computer. You have to wonder just how many of these computers are out there in the galaxy? Is there a 24th century IBM producing and selling these things in bulk to planets tired of looking after themselves? Can you purchase these computers with that cool dragon-head as seen in the original series episode "The Apple" (1967) or is that a custom job? So many questions . . .
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The Aldean Abductors
Unable to repopulate their species; the inhabitants of the planet Aldea steal some children from the Enterprise. Because of a defect in their planets' atmosphere reproduction is impossible. The short version of this one? Wesley and the kids have a hunger strike to protest their abduction. Picard refuses to exchange information for the children. The Aldean leader wanted to exchange technological information for them. It's cold and just stupid. Who in their right mind agree to those terms? It's just the bad writing in this episode.
The B story in this story is .....you guessed it ..... an antiquated computer that still runs the planet is broken down! Picard tells them the Federation will come in and fix their faulty one and thus solve their atmosphere and population problem. It all gets wrapped up in one episode. The only highlight in this is when the big bad "Custodian" computer is taken off line.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
some cheesy scenes Aug. 26 2004
By Shelley Gammon - Published on Amazon.com
The Enterprise happens upon the Epsilon Minos system, legendary as the supposed home of a lost utopian colony. Supposedly, hundreds of years earlier, colonists built a life upon Aldea, a life devoted to culture and the arts. So they wouldn't have to focus on science or industry, hundreds of years ago they built a supercomputer that does most of the mental work for them, and helps them to control force fields around the planet, etc.

The Aldeans seem eeriliy friendly - thrilled even to have the Enterprise visit. They share stories and information and then the Aldean leader drops a bombshell - he asks if they can buy the children of the Enterprise. Picard steels himself against the laughable, if not horrid notion of selling children and explains that children are never for sale.

The Aldean leader explains that the young lady who has played their hostess is the last child born on Aldea - all the inhabitants are sterile and have skin lesions that crop up from time to time.

The Aldeans have an interesting batch of technology. They are able to probe a child's mind to find their hidden artistic talents and match that child with special artistic tools that allow them to create things quickly, whether it be music or sculpture. When they are refused, the Aldeans zap seven of the children aboard the Enterprise to the planet and place each child with a host family that is best suited to hone each child's unique talents.

Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) is the eldest of the seven captured children and tries to enlist the other children into an organized passive resistence movement, not easy to do when some of the kids are just 5 or 6 years old.

The Enterprise is warned that if they don't agree to a settlement in trade for the children, the Aldeans will use their powers to repel the ship so far away that their children will be elderly by the time the Enterprise returns. Picard has to figure out a way to get through their defenses without tipping their hand and losing the children forever.

Not only is it a matter of reuniting the Enterprise parents and children, but Dr. Crusher discovers that it is the protective shield the Aldeans use that has caused their infertility and skin lesions, and by kidnapping the children, they have condemned them to the same fate.

Any scene with Picard and children is enough to make anyone's butt slam shut - he is so awkward around them and obviously uncomfortable. The scene in which the children thank him for rescuing them is almost vomit-inducing.

There are some poignant moments to be sure - especially when young Harry must choose between his newly discovered talent of sculpting and a young couple that show they are instantly ga-ga over their new adopted (albeit by force) child, and going back home to the Enterprise, where his father forces the budding artist to take Calculus. The actor who plays the would-be adoptive father of Harry has the most stunning of performances and closely resembles a young Kirk Douglas.

Good news: Lo carbs. Bad news: high cheese content.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Why not ask the custodian about the health problems? Sept. 19 2004
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on Amazon.com
As a math teacher, I was thrilled to see the start of this episode. A young boy running through the corridors of the Enterprise collides with Riker and falls down. He was running from his math class and his father catches up. The father scolds the boy, telling him that everyone needs a basic understanding of calculus. This is stuff to prime the heart of mathematicians everywhere. Unfortunately, after that stellar beginning, the episode collapses.
The Enterprise is following a trail of faint energy readings, when suddenly a planet appears. It is the mythical planet of Aldea, where an ancient civilization chose to remain hidden from others so that the inhabitants could engage in intellectual pursuits. The cloaking device used to shield the planet for centuries is said to function by the selective bending of light rays. Of course the gravity well of a planet would still be discernable, even if it could not be seen.
The real absurdity of the plot is that the Aldeans can no longer have children, so they want to take some from the Enterprise. Being civilized beings, they are willing to pay for them by giving the Federation some of their advanced technology. That technology is very powerful, to demonstrate it to the crew of the Enterprise, they hit it with a force beam. The Enterprise is thrown so far that it takes them three days to get back at maximum warp. Since the children and their parents are not consulted, it is a case of kidnapping. The idea that an advanced civilization would engage in such an act is ridiculous. If they needed children they could contact the Federation and request that they be allowed to adopt some orphans. Even in such advanced times, there would still be children without parents. It is similar to "The Empath", an episode of the original series where a technically advanced civilization tries to save the population of a world by kidnapping and torture.
It then takes on a familiar technology run amok theme. The Aldean world is controlled by an extremely powerful central computer called the custodian. It has functioned flawlessly for hundreds of centuries, so the inhabitants have lost all knowledge of how it works. Dr. Crusher also discovers that the health problems of the Aldeans are due to radiation damage. The shield that hid the planet for all those centuries damaged the ozone layer, allowing solar radiation to leak in. Of course, Crusher discovers this in a matter of days, when the Aldeans with all their technology couldn't find it in a million years.
The Enterprise crew manages to overcome the Aldean technology and disable the sentinel. This allows Captain Picard to recover the children. As a final absurdity, Dr. Crusher is able to cure the Aldeans of their radiation-induced afflictions. The episode ends with the Enterprise crew and the Aldeans walking into the chamber containing the sentinel power source and engaging in some pathetically mushy promises to help each other.
All of the major premises that the plot is based on are ridiculous. Such an advanced civilization would not kidnap when they could adopt and there is no way that such an advanced technology could fail to determine the cause of their affliction. Didn't anyone on the planet ever think to ask the custodian why the inhabitants were experiencing their health problems?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
"Our children are not for sale, at any price." June 12 2004
By Steven Y. - Published on Amazon.com
"When The Bough Breaks" is such an inconsequential Star Trek: The Next Generation episode that it immediately fades from memory once the closing credits pop up on the screen. If there's any equivalent to newspaper or magazine filler in the television medium then this is it. Well, they can't all be winners.
The Enterprise-D discovers the planet Aldea. However, it turns out the "accidental" meeting between the ship and the planet was planned in advance. The Aldeans have lost the ability to reproduce and have lured the Enterprise-D to their homeworld in order to kidnap some of the ship's children to help them repopulate their race. The situation is eventually resolved when Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) offers the help of his ship to repair the planet's atmosphere which has been weakened by a protective shield encircling the planet.
Yes, Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) was one of the children kidnapped and the mind boggles as how this television series would have turned out differently had he remained behind in captivity on Aldea. However, this was not to be as the young man was among the rescued and well, the rest is history. Star Trek: The Next Generation also once again borrows another story device from the original series by attributing the problems of a planetary society to a guardian computer. You have to wonder just how many of these computers are out there in the galaxy? Is there a 24th century IBM producing and selling these things in bulk to planets tired of looking after themselves? Can you purchase these computers with that cool dragon-head as seen in the original series episode "The Apple" (1967) or is that a custom job? So many questions . . .
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Cradle Will Fall Jan. 20 2001
By Picardfan007 - Published on Amazon.com
The Aldean Abductors
Unable to repopulate their species; the inhabitants of the planet Aldea steal some children from the Enterprise. Because of a defect in their planets' atmosphere reproduction is impossible. The short version of this one? Wesley and the kids have a hunger strike to protest their abduction. Picard refuses to exchange information for the children. The Aldean leader wanted to exchange technological information for them. It's cold and just stupid. Who in their right mind agree to those terms? It's just the bad writing in this episode.
The B story in this story is .....you guessed it ..... an antiquated computer that still runs the planet is broken down! Picard tells them the Federation will come in and fix their faulty one and thus solve their atmosphere and population problem. It all gets wrapped up in one episode. The only highlight in this is when the big bad "Custodian" computer is taken off line.


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