The Cynics Corner

Five Years in the Cynics Corner

by David E. Sluss

6 September 2002

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Believe it or else, it was five years ago, September 6, 1997, that I posted my first Cynics Corner Review, of Voyager's "Scorpion, Part II," to several Usenet newsgroups. I could say something really pompous about how this was a watershed event, but it really didn't matter much in the grand scheme of things. Still, it was the first step in the creation of a minor institution in a small corner of the Internet, and we're supposed to celebrate stuff in five-year intervals, so here we go...

A few weeks after that first review was posted, in October 1997, I collected the half-dozen or so reviews I'd written for Usenet, covering episodes from the early part of Voyager's fourth season and DS9's sixth, and put them on an extremely primitive web site, located at (don't bother clicking, it's as dead as Julius Caesar now). "Primitive" in this case meant an HTML index page linking to a bunch of raw text files. But perhaps I can be excused since I was hobbled by lack of HTML knowledge as well as a computer that was a dinosaur even then (386, 1 MB RAM, 40 MB hard drive, Windows 3.0).

Eventually, I got a new computer and more HTML skills. The site's design evolved through a couple of phases in the next two years or so. One was the unfortunate 3.x ("Cynics Corner Interactive") design involving frames and a Java-based "tap system" menu (If you weren't around for that one, it's just as well; that's The Cynics Corner's "disco era" and is probably best forgotten). Content-wise, Voyager was really the mainstay of this site during that time, while other shows came and went (I experimented with Babylon 5 for a while in 1998 and The X-Files in 1999, while DS9 came to an end in 1999).

On June 25, 2000, The Cynics Corner re-launched with its own domain,, and the 4.x design debuted as well. That design remained largely unchanged until today. On the content side of things, 2000 saw the debut of the first regularly reviewed non-Star Trek series, namely Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda (which two years later became the first series kicked out of the Corner).

The end of Voyager in May of 2001 was a sad moment in some ways, not because I would miss the show per se, but because I would miss reviewing the show. It was always an easy target, and those reviews were the most fun to write. The 2001-2002 review season, I think, reflected that loss, both in terms of my interest in writing reviews and in my timeliness doing so. Writing up Andromeda began to seem increasingly pointless, and Enterprise proved to be not quite so obvious a target as Voyager used to be. These factors, combined with time pressures, resulted in what I think was a relatively poor season of reviews. Committed to doing better, The Cynic spent several minutes in the wilderness, and experienced an epiphany ("Don't try to do two series a week, you lazy shit!").

In September 2002, the long-delayed 5.x site design was finally unveiled, and this self-indulgent retrospective article was posted.

What now? For the upcoming season, I am committed to reviewing only Enterprise on a regular basis (After more consideration and "soul-searching" than you might expect, I announced not too long ago that I'm dropping Andromeda). I may do special projects (irregular, or rotating, reviews) when time permits. There are a number of such projects under consideration. So as not to disappoint the readership if they don't pan out, I won't announce what they are at this time.

And now, the next half-decade beckons...




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This article is copyright 2002 David E. Sluss