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Skrint
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 11:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Course: Oblivion

If this episode is trying to say how meaningless everything is, it succeeds.

If it's trying to entertain, it fails.

Janeway finds out they are goo, and still stupidly keep going towards Earth for no reason, then changes her mind and goes back the other way, too late of course, and they all slowly melt. The end. Even the fake Janeway is a terrible captain.

1 star.
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Gaius Maximus
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 11:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Immunity Syndrome

There was another all-Vulcan ship on DS9. It was the one whose captain was Sisko's old rival and they played a baseball game against in Season 7.

According to Memory Alpha, it was also mentioned on TNG that the Hera, the ship commanded by Geordi's mother, had mostly, (but obviously not entirely), Vulcan crew. Makes you wonder what the crew dynamics would be like on a ship full of Vulcans commanded by a human.
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Dan
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 11:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: What Are Little Girls Made Of?

I will forever enjoy this episode because of the presence of Sherry Jackson. Trek has had a lot of beautiful women as both regulars and guests across all of its series, but few if any are as stunning as Sherry.
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peet
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 10:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

Also, for a creature that eats entire planets, the C.E. has an odd way of grazing in narrow little strips like a Caterpillar D8 bulldozer in the shots depicting it actually eating. At that rate it would take years to eat a planet!
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peet
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 10:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

I wish they had never called the creature the "Crystalline Entity" which is a stupid, clunky, overly long name. It almost ruins the episodes in which it appears, they just keep saying "Crystalline Entity" over and over and over again. It reminds me why some people hate Star Trek (and why they aren't always wrong to do so). Too much emphasis on weird language. I can see why Ronald D Moore tried to go in a completely different direction with his BSG remake.

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Skeat
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 9:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: The Disease

Terrible episode.

1 star.
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Cmj
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 9:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S4: Bound

They were trying to have fun with it, but I'm glad I can fast forward to any scenes with just Connor Trinneer or John Billingsley. The two most interesting characters in my opinion. The green makeup was not well done on those actresses so it took me out of the show. I did like to see Archer lose sexual control a bit. That was fun.
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Trent
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 8:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

Galadriel said: "In my mind, shows like Buffy, B5 and DS9 did it right, because they began mostly episodic."

And Buffy (created by a scifi buff) at its best wasn't merely episodic; it used its 45 minutes as a game or challenge to the writer; how far can you push the medium in just 45 minutes? How many metaphors, allegories, original angles and subversive moments can you cram into 45 minutes? What new things can you do with the narrative form in just 45 minutes? And it's those episodes you remember, much like TOS' "City at the Edge of Forever" is remembered, or TNG's "Inner Light" or DS9's "Visitor".
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Trent
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 8:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

Galadrial said: "I think this is the curse of serialized TV: The single episodes cannot be enjoyed as a standalone outing, but must serve a larger plot, which reduces their individual meaning."

In the 1800s, serialization was viewed by academics and critics as low art. Coinciding with the Industrial Revolution, it was deemed factory art, lacking in formal precision, churned out like a product, and forced to engage in constant wheel spinning and delaying tactics to maximize profit. But the masses loved it and guys like Dickens gave the format some street cred.

Ray Bradbury, in his writings on scifi writer Charles Beaumont, says science fiction writing should be short, playful, and have the wild, experimental curiosity of a child. He resented the dour, serious, protracted style of 1960s scifi, and preferred scifi to remember its pulpy roots in magazines, anthologies and short stories. A good SF tale is self contained, he believed, formally and thematically inventive, is designed around a point or idea, and exists to push the limits of what the medium, tale or idea can get away with. It tries to be as twisted and zany as possible. Today, shows like Orville and Dark Mirror try to evoke this old style, but they're mostly safe and derivative behind their updated decor. Comedies like Futurama or Rick and Morty update better the formal inventiveness and heady zanyness of 1950s SF, but their philosophies are largely apolitical, anarchic and cynical.

While I agree with Bradbury, I think what Trek needs - which is to say what society needs - is a loosely serialized TNG styled show which is intensely political, scientific and dead serious; literally episodes of guys weighing regolith and studying boring alien fungus. Maybe include a 2 parter involving the collection of soil samples. I'd pay good money to watch Captain Phillipa and Michael charting ion storms or taking humidity readings on Banal IV.
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Rahul
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 5:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: The Shipment

Good episode as Archer and the Xindi sloth Gralik develop an understanding of each other and it doesn't turn into a brutal torture scene followed by typical action sequences, which I thought it might at first. We get some good background on the Xindi and their history -- it would seem the Reptilians and the Insectoids are the most worrisome.

Trip's B-plot with the weapon with an organic component to it was also interesting and original for me.

Of course, there's plenty of espionage type stuff but at least it was thoughtful and suspenseful enough. Have to wonder about security and how lax it was around the facility and luck worked in the away team's favor. But getting Gralik on their side was huge and this does exemplify Trekkian philosophy, which is nice to see in the later Trek series.

Gralik was a good character and had some good lines like about why he should not be considered a mass murderer, that not all Xindi are the same. He's not a warrior or anything like that -- your typical scientist type who has a conscience and would probably avoid violent situations.

3 stars for "The Shipment" -- one of the better episodes of the Season 3 arc so far. Trying to add more color to the Xindi is always good as they're the main antagonists now (really the Reptilians and Insectoids). The episode just seemed to be more thoughtful than needlessly shallow/action-packed.
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Rahul
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 4:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: Exile

Decent episode that doesn't go gung-ho on the action scenes and that has a good A/B plot structure. Hoshi episodes can be more about feelings and emotions -- she's an interesting character, brilliant but vulnerable, tough but also down-to-Earth.

Tarquin's mind-reading is definitely creepy, Hoshi gets pissed off about it but not to the extent that I think she should. Surprised Archer doesn't get a testosterone overload and try and intimidate Tarquin only to return with his tail between his legs.

Predictable that the exiled Tarquin would try to convince Hoshi to stay with him. In a way, he reminds me of Flint in "Requiem for Methusalah" with his palatial mansion and old artifacts. Maybe he should learn to build android women. Hoshi wandering around with minimal clothing won't help her cause in his palace.

Of course Tarquin is a tragic figure, but with incredible capabilities. Clever that Hoshi got his magic crystal ball and put an end to his shenanigans, otherwise the Enterprise would be screwed.

Trip/Archer spend some time in the shuttlepod goofing around on the sphere in a minimal B plot. But the important thing is all this intelligence gathering gets them to the conclusion that the whole expanse with its anomalies was artificially constructed with like 50 spheres. That's a pretty cool thing to consider for what aliens have created. ENT is dreaming big with this season-long arc, so that much is good.

2.5 stars for "Exile" -- bit of an unusual episode for ENT with the Tarquin A-plot being a good character exposition for Hoshi. The B-plot is more standard ENT advancing the main arc but with an intriguing conclusion that builds up the scope or scale of what the Enterprise is up against, so that's good.

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Rahul
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 3:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: Impulse

Fairly typical ENT episode here with plenty of action scenes and a minimal plot -- just to show the dangers of the expanse and the effect trellium can have on Vulcans -- turning them into violent zombies instead of unemotional intellectuals. I don't think there's anything more profound here than that, but not a total waste of an hour either.

Blalock gives a pretty good performance of a Vulcan losing control, gaining in paranoia and violent tendencies. Archer is also good in trying to reason with her and his steely determination.

One of the problems with ENT episodes is they're action sequence heavy but light on the intelligence. "Impulse" spends too much time with the away team wandering around the Vulcan ship fighting zombie Vulcans and trying to escape. The action scenes aren't bad in themselves -- just that they go on for quite a long time. Have to wonder why more Vulcan zombies didn't get phasers and try to use them on the Enterprise away team.

Some really well done visuals with the asteroid field moving in random ways and the shuttlepods trying to fly through them. The Vulcan ship getting destroyed was pretty cool too.

Barely 2.5 stars for "Impulse" -- not much needs to be said about this one. Good action scenes and visuals carry this episode and being part of a season-long arc, ENT can take an episode here and there just to focus on the effects of the environment of the expanse on the crew.
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A coward
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 2:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Tattoo

Would people shut up about white guilt? The episode is saying Native Americans were dumb savages who were blessed by white men from space. It fetishizes them as some kind of mystical magic people. It's at least just as racist towards them as it is to anybody else.
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NCC-1701-Z
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

Doctor Who struck a good balance between standalone and serialization I felt - typical season was composed of mostly standalone eps, slowly dropping hints and building up to the season finale, but at the same time I can watch the eps of any season in any order and enjoy them. I can't say the same for more serialized shows - for instance I can't just decide "I'll watch a random ep of Lost tonight before bed" or I end up feeling well, lost, as much as I loved that show.
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Henson
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 1:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@Galadriel

Your complaints about the risks of serialized television are exactly the things that bug me in storytelling; for a lot of fiction, I can't know if the writers really know what they are doing until the very end. And once we get to that point, and things don't come together, I feel tricked for having stuck with the story for the whole time.

For long-form fiction, I want writers to focus on the journey as well, not just the destination.
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Galadriel
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 1:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@Plain Simple

I think this is the curse of serialized TV: The single episodes cannot be enjoyed as a standalone outing, but must serve a larger plot, which reduces their individual meaning.

If done badly (Alias, I am looking at you!), this results in completely meaning­less episodes that might fit together at the end of the season (or show), or more likely will never fit. They might be still engaging and thrilling, and efficiently moti­vate viewers to return to the screen next week, but in hind­sight, the experience is shallow. As with fast food, that you can’t stop eating but get stomach ache from.

In my mind, shows like Buffy, B5 and DS9 did it right, because they began mostly episodic, used the strengths of this format for characters and atmo­sphere and to establish the universe, and only switch­ed to serialized mode when the big things are going to happen. Yet, in the current word, where at­ten­tion spans range be­tween milli­seconds and mi­nu­tes, it is no longer an option to spend entire seasons on world­building and characters (which per­haps is why fran­chises are so com­mon — they draw on past worldbuilding).

I basically agree with all your criticism, but like I don’t pan a government in its first 100 days, I give the writers the bene­fit of doubt for the entire first season. My checklist of „things to fix before season finale“ grows longer and longer, but some items did get checked in the last two epis­odes, and I hope for more. Maybe I fell into the trap that I be­came so hungry for Star Trek that I am too patient now.

The dialogue between Archer and Silik is in “Storm Front II”, around 20:10. But you are right, there is a similar one with Hernandez also in the following episode.
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NCC-1701-Z
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 12:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

Jammer: Without commenting on the actual ep itself apparently your tendencies to delay are legendary; there's an old Trek parody site that made a brief reference to it (it's a parody of an Andromeda ep)

fiveminute.net/andromeda/fiver.php?ep=ouroboros
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Jammer
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 11:16am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

"By the way, I'm start to wonder if something happened to Jammer. He normally doesn't take this long to post his reviews..."

You clearly haven't been here long enough. :)

I am determined not to fall behind into a backlog, but posting the day or two after airing, while a goal, will not always be possible. I have two kids under the age of 5, a full-time job, and household obligations that make time a premium. Sometimes the reviewing schedule just won't work out. I am frankly amazed it has so far since the fall.
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Ed
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 11:01am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@Plain Simple

Yes, I agree that if the Lorca we know is from the MU (which I think he is), he blew up Lorca's old ship and took his place.

Then he used his skills of manipulation to get his superiors to buy his story and also get himself assigned to a science ship where he could supervise the work on a means of travel which could provide easy access to multiple universes.

He probably ended up in the PU through one of those random accidents we've seen before, while on the run from MU Michael whom I think he killed. Now he wants to continue his plot to overthrow the Emperor.

I'm speculating that he tries to make peace with Georgiou by telling her about PU Discovery's jump drive and dimensional travel abilities and recommending that they put their differences aside, build a fleet of warships with the spore drive and go on a spree of multidimensional conquest.

He still wants to kill her, but he needs her now and she will need his knowledge of the spore drive. He could also get aboard Discovery and set it up for takeover without the potential for destroying it that an outright Imperial attack would have.
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Nievesg
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 10:51am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

At first I didn't see the point of space-mushroom-highways.. until I remembered the legend of Yggdrassil "the tree of worlds", which is some ethereal living structure connecting Asgard&Earth&etc.
Now in real science I've recently heard about Laniakea (a tree-shaped accumulation of all known galaxies...)
Well, if I can understand Yggdrassil, I can live with the mushroom network of highways now. Not a big fan of "plant/fungus" highways, but not annoying for me anymore.

Nr.1 looked impressed when Burnham brought the data module from the rebels: she seemed tp take good notes for future plans. I guess nr.1 wants to learn a few more tricks before taking command and thats why she doesn't kill Burnham yet. Besides nr.1 can say the module was her own idea and let the emperor kill Burnham and give nr.1 the captain's seat.

Burnham wanted to meet mirror Voq, not to know his reasons to ally with other species (a common enemy is a reason good enough), but to know how a klingon would put the idea in words, as a resource for sweet-talking the klingons of her home universe. But Tyler's reaction shows that such mirror-klingon-talking doesn't sound convincing to a home-universe-klingon anyway.

Btw, I feel Tyler/Voq attacked the rebels by stupid instinct, while he attacked Burnham at her quarters with a calculated plan to take command somehow.

Shazad Latif was awesome as Voq, like some kind of Hyde (well, he plays Doctor Jekyll at Penny Dreadful).

I found mirror Saru and mirror Voq really interesting! They portray a subtle unspoken story of hidden pain somehow.

SMG may look dull, but I finally loved her performance of atonishment and horror when the Emperor crashes the party.

Stamets' words about someone in the forest...sound to me like his final mind-encounter with mirror stammets.

And I love the MU. Either at Enterprise and at Discovery shows. Georgiou and Sato might be related or not, Lorca may be a MU man with a plan to meet the Emperor and take her place. I love action and it may have flaws, but it's fun!

I'm no expert but it quite works for me. Just my own opinion.
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Yanks
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 8:46am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Despite Yourself

Nice review Jammer.
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Plain Simple
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 8:21am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@Galadriel: "At the current point, I see little other options that to discuss the plot. This whole season is just one story, and we cannot judge the value of the story, or its ideological character, before we know what it leads to."

Agreed, to a point. But separate chapters in a story should be worthwhile examining on their own. You might see them in another light at the end of the story, than during the story, but that doesn't mean there cannot be any light to see them in during the trip.

I know fictional stories are not real life (although good ones can inform real life), but one wouldn't say (I hope) that one's life is not worth examining until it's over either. So why make that case for a story?

@Galadriel: "I loved the dialogue with the Suliban spy “Captain, you have changed“ — “Not for the better” in the otherwise horrible Nazi two-parter"

I recently rewatched ENT season 4 for the first time since it aired (mostly quite enjoyable!). Wasn't this line from a conversation between Archer and the captain of the Columbia (forgot her name... Archer's old flame) in the episode following the Nazi two-parter? Or were there similar lines in both episodes?

'Fun' fact: I recently read "The Fifty-Year Mission" books (highly recommended for all Trek fans!) and in the part where they talk about ENT season 4 someone (I think Coto) mentioned that there were some suggestions (I can't remember the source of those suggestions) to set the entire season during World War II. Luckily he didn't like that idea and put an end to such silly notions!

@Galadriel: "So let’s wait for the remaining two episodes to air before criticizing the plot. I do agree, though, that till now the plot works mostly by mystery, twists and shocking revelations, not by logic or character."

Four episodes even! More time for the writers. :-) I agree on the second sentence.
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Galadriel
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 8:00am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@ Plain Simple

At the current point, I see little other options that to discuss the plot. This whole season is just one story, and we cannot judge the value of the story, or its ideological character, before we know what it leads to.

I remember well how much I hated the 3rd season of Enterprise, which I used to call “24 in Space”. At the end, however, this criticism evaporated, because Archer stopped channeling Jack Bauer and behaved like a Starfleet Captain again (and I loved the dialogue with the Suliban spy “Captain, you have changed“ — “Not for the better” in the otherwise horrible Nazi two-parter).

So let’s wait for the remaining two episodes to air before critisizing the plot. I do agree, though, that till now the plot works mostly by mystery, twists and shocking revelations, not by logic or character. This gives the show a character that I compare to fast food (somehow appetizing and even addictive, but not really nourishing or long-time sustainable). But if the writers are significantly cleverer than they have yet shown us, I don’t doubt they could still pull off a five-course meal out of elements that are yet sown.

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Plain Simple
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 2:53am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

@Henson: "Actually, this raises a very interesting question. If Lorca is actually from the mirror universe, then where is his non-mirror counterpart?"

I've heard or read speculation that MU Lorca destroyed PU Lorca's ship with everyone (including PU Lorca) on board. That would explain the strange story he told about blowing up his own ship while getting away safely himself.

@Brian: "Meanwhile, the message boards (including this one) consist mainly of people mired in discussion of the inane "plot" details that I could not care less about. "

If you raise an on-topic subject you are interested in instead, I'm sure we're happy to discuss it.
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Brian
Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 12:52am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The Wolf Inside

The scripting and acting continues to be horrible. Mumbling dialogue, long expository sentences, it just gets worse as time goes by. Sonequa Martin Green looks great in a night gown but she is not a good lead. The plot is going nowhere fast. I don't care about any of the main characters. At this point I literally spent most of the episode hoping characters would die or be killed, so we could get them off the screen and make way for some good actors to be brought in to replace them.

Meanwhile, the message boards (including this one) consist mainly of people mired in discussion of the inane "plot" details that I could not care less about.

Yes, we now have a whole generation of Trek fans reduced to fighting over table scraps.
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