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Peter G.
Wed, Mar 1, 2017, 1:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Great review, Mark. I do think it's helpful to think of TMP as being good science fiction rather than underwhelming Trek. Putting this in a category with 2001: A Space Odyssey makes more sense to me than grouping it with Star Trek: TOS or Star Wars.
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Wed, Mar 1, 2017, 12:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Playing God

aside from being an overall bad episode
(to many stories crammed together as many pointed out.) it also REAKS of plotholes.

-the moles are never get rid off, yet somehow a week later (next episode) are no longer a problem... did they call the space-pest-eliminators?

-the universe, that will keep expanding and eventually consume our universe, and will pretty fast start consuming the first worlds in the gamma quadrant... and blocing the entrance to the wormhole... (causing that explotion after all)... yet is never mentioned again..
(yes you should have destroyed it, if it is us or them, I pick us, anytime.)
*I give a few moral arguments out that the lazy writers COULD have used did they do their work better :
- it could have time go for it so fast and so much mass inside it, it will collapse back on itself before becoming to close.. and than either vanish or repeat that cycle resulting to us in the formation of a dangerous region in space of changing size, but never ourside a certain border.
-our universe might be expanding faster.. while it would eventually destroy all life in the milky way and our entire galactic cluster, outside of that things move away to fast for this new expanding universe to catch up with the expantion of our own universe (a big sacrifice, but a needs of the many argument, what are a few million galaxcies with a few trillion sention species in them against an entire universe)
-have the q step in and get rid of this garbadge.. it all was a test.. how would we treat life if it was a danger to us, while we held their universe in our hand.. if we would have destroyed it, the q would have destroyed us.. "do unto others"... now they just wimp the proto-universe away and give us their version of a pad on the back.

-the beaming of the universe
from what I understand beaming is using some form of supermicroscope that is capable of detecting every particle (electrons, atoms, etc) in your body, as well as their relative location, connection speed and temperature.
the data is than stored, while the original is either vaporised (much more energy efficient) or his mass converted into energy (insane energy amounts required) than than is converted back into matter at the ariving destination.
another universe will not have our laws of fysicis, not our defenition of matter and energy, not our laws... so there is nothing to scan for, nothing that can be such it should not have been possible to beam it over.
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Wed, Mar 1, 2017, 11:27am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: The Quality of Life

"Picard and Geordi should have been allowed to die by Data's hand. That was the logical and expected outcome of his decision but the episode was too chickenshit to follow through"

I'm not sure I understand this line of reasoning, if the writers wanted Data to sacrifice crewmembers for his exocomps, then they would've written two extras in to die. That may not have the emotional impact of Picard dying, but it would still drive the point home that Data was sympathetic enough to value exocomps and biological sentients equally.

I would suggest that the writers only wanted the viewers to momentarily flip the ethical conundrum of the episode on its head: i.e. "why's Data protecting these robots, they're expendable" versus "why is Data protecting biological lifeforms when they're just as expendable as these exocomps." As long as the lifeform A vs. lifeform B concept is presented, I'd say the episode did its job.
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Mark Geraghty
Wed, Mar 1, 2017, 11:14am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE was a response by Paramount Pictures to the success of STAR WARS two-and-a-half years earlier in 1977. The STAR TREK TV series had found a large youth audience in syndicated re-runs in the early 1970s and it was partly this audience who had swept George Lucas's space opera to box office domination throughout 1977 and early 1978 right around the world. As it so happened, Paramount was looking to resurrect a TV version of STAR TREK throughout 1976 and 1977, based on the original show's syndicated performance, as a head-line show on Paramount's new TV network. When STAR WARS "happened", Paramount management decided that Gene Roddenberry's STAR TREK could be the studio's answer to the George Lucas science fiction adventure.

STAR TREK had had an element of action, but it was action on a television budget and it was not viewed as a "thrilling space adventure". The discourse that had been built around the show during its syndicated success in the early 1970s had more to do with its intellectual appeal and the humanist arguments that Gene Roddenberry had publicly presented about the reason why the show told the stories it did. The challenge for STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE was always going to be in the type of story that was selected to tell for its big screen adventure. Alan Dean Foster received the story credit for the film and Harold Livingston the screenplay credit, but the central concept of the story is very much Gene Roddenberry's.

The movie that finished up on the screen was certainly more compromised than most productions. Not only was the screenplay something of a hostage to expectation, the participation of the actors who had made the television series so successful was not guaranteed. Leonard Nimoy held-out until shooting was nearly ready to start and contingencies had been made just in case Nimoy was a no-show. Various accounts of the principal photography have told how the continuous screenplay revisions made it difficult to keep up with what version of a scene was being shot at any given time. On top of the issues on the soundstages, the production also ran into trouble with its special effects requirements. The sheer number of shots over-whelmed the original effects house engaged to produce them, but the extent of their difficulties did not become apparent for many months and, as a result, Douglas Trumbull and John Dykstra were brought on board the film in early 1979, less than 12 months before the release date, to complete twice as many effects shots that had been present in STAR WARS!
One of the main difficulties associated with STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE is its pacing. The film is leisurely-paced and doesn't ever create an urgency or excitement in the same way that films like JAWS, STAR WARS or SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE had created in the preceding four years. The responsibility for this lies with Director Robert Wise and his Editor Todd C. Ramsay. During the film's principal photography, concerns had been raised that Wise was working far too slowly even by the less frantic feature-filming pace. This practice seemed to flow into the film'e editing and was reflected in the way scenes were edited together, with more time than necessary spent searching for "moments" that would please the show's fans and give the broader audience a better sense of who the characters were. The problem was that both fans and non-fans felt that the finished product was boring and some even went so far as to suggest that the film's sub-title should be changed to: 'The Motionless Picture'.

The film's story is pretty straight-forward. A hostile alien probe is headed toward Earth and the Starship Enterprise is the only vessel that can intercept it before it arrives at Earth! At the time, the premise must have seemed sound. Retrospectively, it's really easy to poke holes through and ask a lot of questions that seem quite, dare it be said, logical. For example, why is the Enterprise the only vessel that can intercept? Surely, Starfleet would take precautions for the sake of humanity to have Starships whose responsibility it was to protect our Solar System ... Why would Kirk be allowed to take command of a ship and crew he doesn't know after sitting behind a desk for years? It's a story point that is addressed in the film, but it just doesn't make sense. There's a lot of things that a lot of people would like to do in the world, but they don't get the chance because there's a greater sensibility being applied. Just because Kirk thinks it's a good idea doesn't mean it's a good idea ... Why is there only one transporter room on the Enterprise? After all those years exploring the galaxy in the original series, it must have occurred to someone when they were refitting the ship that several transporter rooms were required and that they needed to be run independently of each other just in case, heavens above, they broke down ... Why are Klingons so determined to die? The opening sequences with the Klingons actually creates a false sense of security in the audience because it's the part of the film that has energy, excitement and jeopardy. The effects are cut together with the live-action footage really well and are superbly backed by Jerry Goldsmith's 'Klingon Battle' theme. It's a real shame that this wasn't the pace that was maintained throughout the entire film.
One of the other main criticisms of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE was its utter lack of humour. One of the endearing elements of the STAR TREK TV series was that the crew didn't always take themselves seriously. Episodes like 'The Trouble With Tribbles' demonstrated that the science fiction setting of the show allowed its writers to take the audience beyond their own frame of reference and introduce the unexpected and sometimes downright ridiculous. None of this exists in the 1979 version of the film, but that's not to say it didn't exist in Harold Livingston's screenplay. The STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE - The Director's Edition, released in 2002 on DVD, is proof that character 'moments' were part of the story and those scenes were even filmed. Robert Wise confirms this in his liner note that accompanied this DVD release:

We had removed several key dialogue scenes in order to accommodate our incoming effects work, but no time remained to work on properly balancing these two components.

One of the most baffling puzzles about STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURES is how Jerry Goldsmith did not walk away with every major film score award for 1979. Goldsmith's score elevated the entire film beyond what it may have deserved as his majestic, swelling tunes took what could have been extremely tedious effects segments and provided them with a grandeur that, at points in the film, make you think you could be watching LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in outer space! The first three pieces of music heard in the film really set the scene, as the opening scenes from the film are preceded by a very 'old school' overture piece that doubles as 'Ilia's Theme' throughout the film. In addition to 'Ilia's Theme' and the 'Main Title' that incorporates the Klingon battle music, the 'Floating Office' rack became a signature piece of music, as it incorporated the extended arrival of Admiral Kirk aboard the refitted Enterprise via shuttle.
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Wed, Mar 1, 2017, 9:30am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: The Quality of Life

@Tara - I think the episode is shifted a bit by the fact that the original solution involves killing ALL the existing Exocomps. I actually liked the Deus Ex Machina ending. Data was willing to let them die, he just wasn't willing to force them.

There were problems with it of course, but Data is not being nearly as awful as you think he is.

When arguing with Riker he says "Let me offer an alternative. Transport me to the station, I will attempt a complete manual shut down of the particle stream. "

And when Riker counters with "What if we re-connect their command pathways and we give them a choice? You've assumed the exocomps would shut down before accepting this mission. What if we ask them if they are willing to proceed?" Data agrees that it's reasonable.

His entire problem is with killing the only 3 members of what he believes to be a sentient species without even giving them a chance to object. Essentially enslaving them. It's hard to go at it with "the whole crew ostracizes and despises Data as a murderer" when he was willing to go down there himself and sacrifice himself for his friends.

And ::SPOILER ALERT??:: he eventually makes good on that in the final movie.
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Wed, Mar 1, 2017, 7:14am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Lower Decks

I love this one. Love it, love it. And, let my say again, I really enjoy Jammer's reviews and all the comments. Especially Greg's take, which didn't occur to me. It's brilliant and dramatic and deeply cynical and yet undeniable: under the shine of Starfleet and the bright optimism of 'seeking out new life', there's a pervasive dark underbelly, as in all militaries, that everyone draws a polite doily over.

A few other thoughts:

-- I liked Ben and preferred him to Guinan here, as he fits in well with the younger set. It's illuminating to see an example of the civilian infrastructure on the starship. Ben's everyone's friend and doesn't take orders or call anyone 'sir'. Yet he's agreed to a dangerous gig: he rides along and he'll die with the rest if the ship blows up. It's interesting. It did leave me wondering how many civilians serve on board. Don't forget, they've got the best barber in Starfleet!

-- To JadziaDaxMD: My understanding is that Beverly is Ogawa's boss not because a doctor should be a nurse's boss, but because Beverly is the head of the medical department, the same way a pathologist is head of a clinical lab. In a bigger medical department I suppose Ogawa would have reported to a director of nursing - but on the ship, with only one doctor and a thousand or so healthy people to care for and brilliant machines that do most of the work, I would guess the whole medical department aside from Crusher consists of fifteen or so medical support staff like Ogawa. So Crusher is the de facto boss of them all.

It certainly would have been nice if Ogawa were shown to have her own expertise, which would explain why she got the plum job on the Enterprise. (Like, she's done research in trauma care or specialized in diseases of non-human humanoids). That would also establish her cred as equal-but-different, which I agree is the right relationship between nurses and doctors.
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Wed, Mar 1, 2017, 5:11am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: The Quality of Life

Rosario took the words out of my mouth (years ago): best thing about this episode is Jammer's review of it. I am in awe of the reviewer's scalpel.

It would have been far more credible if the deus ex machina ending had not been tacked on. Picard and Geordi should have been allowed to die by Data's hand. That was the logical and expected outcome of his decision but the episode was too chickenshit to follow through,

I don't mean that I want to see the main characters die - obviously, as an engaged viewer I love me my Picard. Even the poorly-characterized Blind Engineer Guy has wedged himself Into my heart. But the final plot-cheat by which Data's choice has zero consequences and all's well that end's well, sinks this ep for me.

The most interesting part of the episode is the thing Jammer points out: to humans , both within TNG and in the meta-world of TV watchers, Picard and Geordie simply matter emotionally a whole lot more than some little robot-beasts. To Data, who does not assign emotional weight to any sentient lives, ethics is stripped to its bare and clean essentials: Picard's life is no more important than a single Exocomp's, and to force an Exocomp to die for Picard is as ethically incorrect as enslaving Picard and forcing him to die rescuing an Exocomp.

Can you imagine the follow-up scenes after Picard and Geordie died? Everyone in the crew, all those emotion-driven humans, would look on Data with horror. All this time they (and we) thought he was "just like the rest of us" . They even fought to save his life in "Measure of a Man". And in return his wiring is such that he repays them in this fashion. Suddenly "just Data being Data" would be exposed in a new light. He really *doesnt* have feelings toward the rest of us. And that makes him supremely virtuous and committed to Starfleet's ideals... And it makes us loathe him.

Data has incorruptible ethics and honor without emotions, and all we humans have corruptible ethics and questionable honor *because* of our emotions..

I suspect the final ending of that plot would have been: Picard and Geordie are buried, the whole (emotion-driven) crew ostracizes and despises Data as a murderer, and the (emotion-driven) human leaders of Starfleet court-martial him as a traitor and condemn him to serve life (i.e., eternity) in the stockade

Poor Data, bewildered by human emotionality, would slowly rust behind bars while forever (rightly) protesting his innocence, but would be incapable of sorrow or rage. Meanwhile we and the Enterprise crew would be traumatized by grief, rage, and guilt until we die.

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Wed, Mar 1, 2017, 1:18am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Playing God

Liked the "it takes me longer to get ready as a female" joke. Yes it was corny but effective. The rest of the episode was boring, fell asleep a couple of times during my streaming experience. Nothing great here just another attempt to jam a TNG level plot into this show.
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Wed, Mar 1, 2017, 12:24am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: The Adversary

Why is an ambassador briefing a Captain on his orders? This should have been an admiral.
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Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 7:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: The Outrageous Okona

I just watched this again out of curiosity. It's so poorly written too. They don't show us the character they tell us. Much of his character development consists of Troi assigning adjectives and descriptions, which never is convincing. If you want an audience to believe something about a character, or believe the character, you have to demonstrate it somehow. For example, if you introduce a character into a story and someone insists this is the kindest person in the world but we never see any acts of kindness or hear about anything they do as example or witness it, we just have to take the writers word for it and try to bear that in mind. But there's no context to the description and it has no impact, even if we manage to keep it in mind. Having troi spoon feed us the required adjectives up front felt lazy and poorly paced and poorly written. And much of her observations didn't seem like something you could know through empathy. They were assessments of lifestyle, and general approach to actions, not feelings that you could sense. How does someone "feel" like a free spirit, or any of her many other observations about his life style?

Aside from that everyone else slamming this episode is entirely correct. Just the mere fact we have a bunch of poorly developed characters who have no connection to the main characters of the series and no role in anything lasting, just some random people they encounter who we've never seen before and will never see again, taking over an entire episode with some boring love triangle romance - well it is astounding this was approved as a script. And there's no they'd or message to redeem it, no meaningful interaction with the main characters who are just kind of there as extras to facilitate this lame romance story. I think most people I know could come up with something much better, even if they know little or nothing about star trek.
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Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 7:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Ex Post Facto

Gotta admit, I liked the wife calling Paris out for being smug about not smoking. Kinda reminded me of Nog telling Jake that "if you don't need money, you certainly don't need mine."
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Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 6:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: The Omega Directive

Trek is *full* of resource scarcities. Federation worlds with mining, agriculture, manufacturing industries. They *clearly* don't use replicators for lots of things. The only rational explanation is that replication is too expensive, presumably in energy, to be economical for many applications in the normal course of things--even if they are within technical possibility. High-value mobile or remote facilities (like starships) might rely on replication much more than the Federation (and comparable powers) as a whole.
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Paul Allen
Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 6:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Prodigal Daughter

Completely unnecessary episode. Unmemorable. Like Ezri. and her reaction to her mum at the end, that makes no sense.

I ended up fastforwarding through bits of it.
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Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 3:31pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Friendship One

By Keeling I meant Neelix.
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Paul Allen
Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 3:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Counterpoint

Oh well played Janeway.

and Kashyk was fantastic, until he was outplayed.

Fun, stressful, enjoyable episode. :)
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Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 3:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Friendship One

Considering Keeling gets teary-eyed if murderers aren't allowed access to a proper meal, I was surprised by the complete lack of emotion from him after Carey got shot.

The opening sequence and Carey's death were beautifully executed (musical score when Carey got shot was a perfect match), but they felt disconnected from the rest of the episode, which was pretty crappy.

The episode was anticlimactic. Disappointing that Verin just got away with murder.
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Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 3:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Catspaw

A disappointing episode, especially coming after "The Doomsday Machine" - but the Hallowe'en theme is appropriate given when it first aired.
Still, it's lots of gimmicks without much meaning; it's another twist on "The Squire of Gothos" or "Who Mourns for Adonais?" where more powerful beings that lack wisdom threaten the Enterprise crew. It's a well-worn formula; interesting soundtrack though.
I wasn't a fan of the redshirt (LaSalle? DeSalle?) who was left in command of the ship - there was a missed opportunity. Would have been better if Scotty was left in charge rather than being a zombie the whole episode.
Even the final scene wasn't that compelling - Why does Korob lose all his power? He has the transmuter. Then, Sylvia is pointing a phaser at Kirk who has the transmuter. Can't she stun Kirk and get the transmuter?
I'd give this episode 2/4 stars and I think that might be a tad generous as it was quite slow paced and only really got interesting about 40 mins. in.
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Jason R.
Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 9:59am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: The Omega Directive

Peter I'd agree the concept of an impossible to synthesize compound is strange in a universe with replicators. But it is hardly unprecedented in Trek. Materials like Latinum, Dilithium crystals, for instance, were always established as rare or difficult to synthesize. I presume our unobtanium is just like that, only orders if magnitude rarer. And I see no illogic in presupposing that some pre warp civilzation could be blessed with the quadrant's only supply - maybe their planet is near a black hole that sucked in an ancient Indian burial ground seeded with cosmic fairy dust. Who cares? They have it.
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Peter G.
Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 9:37am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: The Omega Directive

@ Jason R.,

The fact that you felt obliged to call it "unobtanium" is exactly the issue here. They may as well have called it the magical philosopher's stone, only found in the land of the wizards. In science there isn't going to be some magical element only found in one star system in the galaxy, that even the Borg can't synthesize or find. Normal matter would be exceedingly easy to create using other elements, and if this is some kind of abnormal matter (exotic matter, subspace whatever, etc.) it seems inconceivable that it could ever be 'found' by anyone who didn't know how to go to the weird places where it could be found, since they'd lack the technology.

It would be like saying that some guy at a lab at MIT just 'came across' some exotic matter that can only be found in wormholes. Oh really?
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Jason R.
Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 8:28am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: The Omega Directive

To those questioning why the particle wasn't popping up all over the place if even a pre warp species could create it, this was answered in the episode. Seven described how the borg exhausted their supply of whatever resources were needed to synthesize omega. Given the vastness of the borg collective, we can presume this compound would have been exceedingly rare in the universe. The implication is that omega isn't necessarily hard to synthesize, *if* you have a supply of unobtanium to do so. The pre warp species may have just happened to possess a rare supply of this unobtanium.
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Jason R.
Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 4:31am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Conundrum

Having re-watched this episode, it's pretty clear to me that the only logical explanation of how the Sutterans took over the Enterprise was that this was a carefully planned, well-orchestrated black op on the part of Sutteran intelligence. Consider the way that MacDuff was alone on his ship - no crew, no support, just one man in one ship which intercepts the Enterprise and then destroys itself immediately after taking control.

MacDuff had to have known where the Enterprise was going to be; this did not seem like a random encounter. Also consider that Data is literally the first crewman disabled by the Sutteran weapon, even before Troi or anyone else is affected - which suggests the Sutterans were using a two-phase weapon, the first to disable Data and the second to disable the rest of the crew. They must have known about Data, and much like the plot in The Game, completing their mission required them to deal with Data at the outset.

My assumption watching this episode is that while the Federation may not have been familiar with species in this part of the Galaxy, the Sutterans were well aware of the Federation and had studied its patterns and may even have obtained inside information on its technology and the design of its starships.

Could the Sutteran military have defeated the Enterprise in a normal military engagement? No. But with careful planning and maybe a little inside intelligence about where and when the Enterprise was going to be, and the element of surprise, it stands to reason that a carefully executed "heist" (on par with Voyager's plan to steal a transwarp coil from a Borg Sphere in Dark Frontier) could have succeeded.

MacDuff was pulling Section 31 stuff with this episode. He was probably the Sutteran equivalent of Garek or Sloan.
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Tue, Feb 28, 2017, 3:07am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Crossfire

Boring. Nothing really significant happens in this episode.
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Mon, Feb 27, 2017, 9:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: The Omega Directive

I really enjoyed this episode even though some parts were questionable, though I think that has all been covered already. Someone mentioned them beaming up the Omega particles and asking why they didn't destroy them that way. Just don't re-materialize them period. I started thinking about it though and the way the transporter works is by converting matter to energy and moving that energy to a new location and converting it back to matter. However these particles are already energy so maybe it was just moving them, no dematerializing involved. I don't know, just a thought. Then again maybe it was just a plot hole.

By the way I think it's really awesome how this site has these conversations that span nearly an entire decade and just keep going.
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Mon, Feb 27, 2017, 7:47pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: Shakaar


"And was O'Brien faking his shoulder injury? If not, why didn't he throw the dart with his left hand to win his 47th game?"

...... clearly Jammer has never played Darts
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Mon, Feb 27, 2017, 7:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Warhead

To me, Jammer is generous in his rating. I would only give this 1 or at the most 1.5 stars.

Of course, it doesn't help that the central premise - a bomb with sentience - is pretty silly. And while I normally think PIcardo is a good actor, I think here his acting is only adequate, if that.

As others having pointed out, the idea of an Ensign being in command of the bridge is also rather absurd. At one point, Harry Kim refers to himself as a senior officer, which is just flat out wrong. Ensign is the most junior of all the commissioned officer ranks. However, a couple of points to be made: The crew of Voyager is less than a normal starship (I don't remember the exact number, but it is under 200), so perhaps there aren't as many senior officers available as there would normally be. Also, maybe Starfleet follows a different rank structure that that which is currently followed by the U.S. Navy. However, all indications are that Starfleet follows a nearly identical, or at least very similar structure, to that followed by the Navy.
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