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This jaunty B-movie funhouse of an episode could have sprung fromThe Twilight Zone. That's essentially where Commander Riker, Data, and Worf find themselves while investigating an oxygen pocket on a lifeless planet. A revolving door in the middle of nowhere whooshes the away team into a bustling Las Vegas hotel casino, where the activity seems to contradict sensor readings. There's no life here, merely an elaborate holodeck fantasy sprung from the pages of a trashy paperback crime melodrama. ThinkHarold Robbinsby way ofJean-Paul Sartre: there's no way out of this hackneyed soap opera and theEnterprisetransporters can't beam them out, so it's up to Riker and company to create their own dramatic exit. The rather elaborate explanation for it all concerns an ancient NASA astronaut and the misguided benevolence of a naive alien race, but it hardly matters. The fun lies in Data's studies of gamblers, gold diggers, and the intricacies of room service, and Riker's energetic fling as a flamboyant high roller. As Counselor Troi listens in on the hoary dialogue emanating from the gambling hall, she queries: "Did humans really talk like that?" Only in the B movies and TV soaps this episode parodies with such eye-rolling fun.--Sean Axmaker
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Studio:  Paramount
CastLeVar Burton, Gates McFadden
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review by . January 01, 2005
This is one of the most imaginative episodes of the series. One of the common questions used to judge books and the people who read them is to ask, "If you were stranded on a desert island, what books would you want to take with you?" A modification of this question replaces "books" with "people." In this episode, the question becomes, "If you had to live the rest of your life living out a novel, what book would you choose?"   The Enterprise is informed …
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