Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Essential Bole


For the mainstream Star Trek fan the passing of Cliff Bole means numerous references to The Best of Both Worlds and his status as one of the most prolific directors the franchise EVER saw.

And rightly so. Bole has his name stamped all over the landmark two-parter from 1990 but let's just look a bit further afield than (as is due) lauding praise on what is likely to be the most cinematic 90 minutes of TV Star Trek ever created. I sure as hell can't think of anything that has as good a story AND the direction to match and lift it into another league.

Bole could also happily lay claim to the fact he is one of the VERY few directors to have helmed both parts of a two parter, even more impressive when you think that this was a season cliffhanger with a three month gap between shooting sessions. For reference the others who achieved this feat were Les Landau (Time's Arrow), Alexander Singer (Descent), Winrich Kolbe (Basics) and David Livingston (Equinox).

But what else did Bole do besides this monumental behemoth of Star Trek? The straight answer is a flippin' lot. Twenty-five The Next Generation, seven Deep Space Nine and ten Voyager episodes.

Could we also forget that the seam-faced blue-skinned Bolians were named after him? Of course not but what were the key moments that Bole brought to the screen during his time with Star Trek? I've come up with three that immediately came to mind but I'm sure there will be more for others to add to this list....(yes I know there's nothing from Voyager but I couldn't think of a scene that stood out...)


To Be Continued...

Bole swings the camera round, the music builds and we focus in, just as all the crew are, on the acting captain as Riker sent the show into it's first seasonal cliffhanger. Yeah, it's the obvious one to start with but you try beating that for a way to end your season and you'd be pushing it. Simply one of the most memorable moments from the whole show and nicely all focused on the one person who didn't want to make the decisions and was questioning his career for the whole of the episode. Brilliance bottled.

It's All A Conspiracy

Bole sticks Picard on the Planet Hell set, adds some red filters, drops the lighting level and starts to build the suspicion and the tension with a secret meeting of some of Starfleet's most prominent captains. Who's who? Who's allied to who? Who knows what's going on - but this mysterious gathering suggests that something isn't right with the galaxy and Bole's direction to focus on each individual at a time indicates that allegiances are uncertain even within this group.

Jadzia Loses It

Not a stunning episode but Bole's transitions from Deep Space Nine into Dax's visions of the masked stranger accompanied by the haunting melody from her "missing" host, Joran. Perhaps more mysterious and certainly more unsettling than the meeting in Conspiracy it made for a more enjoyable installment since you were never sure when a change was coming. Indeed, that uncertainty helped echo what was going through Jadzia's mind as her past unravels.

Thanks for the memories Cliff Bole. 

9th November 1937 - 15th February 2014