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- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 11:25pm (USA Central)
Why would Chakotay and Paris have to take duty stations?...there is a crew of some 150.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 9:23pm (USA Central)
Fifth Season Recap
Sorry if I didn't pitch it properly (and it's SFDebris' pitch anyway), so let me clarify. It wouldn't be a gratuitous mention of "Hope and Fear" grafted onto "Night." Rather, the consequences of H&F would shape Janeway's character for all of Season 5. She'd be different from S4 Janeway; she'd be affected by her experiences. It would lurk throughout S5, surfacing occasionally (not necessarily a direct reference to H&F), and culminate in "Equinox" when she's on the other side of the same dilemma.
Not that there's anything special about H&F or S5 in particular; this could've been done every season. Every character would have a new status quo, behaving in ways they wouldn't have before, the way they were in "Caretaker."
Assume that the pilot had introduced the most compelling characters ever. Compelling why? Because we want to see how they respond in tough situations. If their response is to be unaffected by every situation, they are not compelling. As Jammer politely said, "It would be nice to see these people and their personalities put to a bigger test beyond solving each week's plot." Unfortunately, the writers weren't interested in testing the characters. So I lost interest too.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 9:04pm (USA Central)
Fifth Season Recap
Well, part of the problem with the Voyager characters is that there really wasn't much progress, and the writers seemed to simply abandon doing much of anything with Chakotay, Neelix, Tuvok, Harry, or even Tom aside from his fairly pedestrian romance with B'Elanna. We got lots of Seven and the Doctor and (by default) Janeway, which mostly worked pretty well, but then they'd go off the deep end with the likes of Unimatrix Zero with effectively zero consequences.
It's not about serialization either - DS9 only ever became serialized in the last two seasons, and even then not consistently. Continuity isn't about requiring "recapitulation" of previous episodes but just building on plots and character interactions that came before to more richly explore characters and storylines.
In the case of a character like The Doctor, there was a fairly satisfying evolution of his depth from a somewhat irascible program to something resembling a real person. On TNG, we had episodes like "Family" or sequels like "Reunion" that attended to continuity, and I'd further hold up most of the episodes involving Klingon-Romulan intrigue in season 4 as among the best of the series.
As to the example of a novel, presumably each subsequent chapter builds on the previous and moves the story forward somehow. If you read a book about a ship far from home, and find that most chapters read like self-contained episodes in the journey without much attention to prior character or plot developments, you might find it frustrating.
Otherwise, regarding the "soap opera" epithet lodged at those apparently low-brow 'serialized" TV shows, I'd suggest dropping it. Unless you'd have us believe that Breaking Bad is basically just Passions with blue meth.
Anyway, if Voyager was simply going for a "space exploration procedural" format, that certainly never fit with the original premise, and it doesn't excuse the show from offering up episodes like "Darkling", "Favourite Son", "Rise", "The Disease", "Course: Oblivion", "Fair Haven" AND "Spirit Folk", "Fury", "Nightingale", every Q episode after "Death Wish", "Friendship One", "Natural Law", or even the questionable finale in "Endgame".
I don't think it's for nothing that Jammer repeatedly snarks on the shuttle crash cliche or the Hard-headed Aliens of the Week, to say nothing of Holodeck jeopardy episodes that were stale 10 years earlier on TNG, or the frustrating arbitrary plotting of otherwise promising episodes like "Human Error".
On Voyager I wanted to see more about the crew's interactions, more recurring characters among the crew (Naomi Wildman and the absent-for-five-years Joe Carey don't count), perhaps even some reactions or even dissension in light of Janeway's many questionable decisions. It doesn't have to be like BSG (a show that if anything had underwritten characters), but DS9 managed to have Garak, Dukat, the Ferengi apart from Quark, O'Brien's family, Sisko's dad, and at least half a dozen other major recurring characters. About the only ones I can think of on Voyager were Suder and Seska, the former of which was ultimately underused, and both of which were dead by season 3.
Anyway, I should stop complaining. But the idea that complaints about Voyager have anything to do with a desire for strict serialization or even just a "DS9 Superiority Complex" is ridiculous. Either way, I'll still be enjoying repeats of "Distant Origin" or "Living Witness" in the years to come.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 7:29pm (USA Central)
Vash is hot. Only saving grace for this detritus.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 7:26pm (USA Central)
Anyone notice this: this episode insults anyone ranked lower than Captain. It says being a science officer is a "lowly" and "pathetic" and "unfullfilling job" and "not as good as being Captain". It promotes heirarchial thinking.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 6:06pm (USA Central)
I'am only a teen but I myself tend to copy similar traits from Star Trek characters. I copy the way Spock walks with his hands behind his back,I copy the way Data has perfect sentences some of the time because I tend to speak before I think, and I try to walk the way how it make them look fast walking but they are not.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 6:03pm (USA Central)
Not bad, but not earth-shattering either. I watched this last night and I was surprised at how subdued Burton's performance once. He had the different emotional tones, but seemed to play them all quietly. I think he should have emoted more.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 5:36pm (USA Central)
The Measure of a Man
I don't think Riker would have liked it if Data did a Vulcan Nerve Pinch to turn him off.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 4:56pm (USA Central)
Fifth Season Recap
Now wait a minute--why did "Night"'s script need to mention"Hope and Fear" did the thematic thread to be relevant? As I said before, the use of gratuitous continuity is less a means to dramatic ends than a wink and nudge to the fans. If you're reading a novel, and watching a character grow and change, is the author expected to remind you of what happened in previous chapters, let alone the very last one? I find this excessive use of plot recapitulation to be marshmallow-brained pandering at best. Occasionally, obscure facts or ideas need to be revisited if the details of such events are vital to a story's logic, but otherwise; either pay attention and draw your own conclusions or ignore continuity and enjoy the ride (in the VOY style of drama, either option is available). In serialised TV (while there are some advantages), there is only one option: keep up with the soaps.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 4:37pm (USA Central)
Fifth Season Recap
V's point about Gunsmoke (and, similarly, TOS) overlooks an important aspect, I think. Non-serialized shows are (were) built for that purpose. To keep a show fresh with the same elements takes a well-tuned engine that can generate endless stories. Voyager borrowed TOS's "Wagon Train" engine but was *not* built as a non-serialized show. The nature of its underlying premise - a voyage home - demanded progress & change.
I agree with Nic's comment at the top of the thread that other series/episodes are not crippled for lacking long-term narratives. Nor was VGR, for its fans. But I believe long-term narratives would improve them all. Not necessarily full-on soap opera, but acknowledging change at some scale, at least to distinguish each season. That would've required a different approach to the writing. As Jammer said, too often the writing "finds something worthwhile and uncovers a dire need for digging deeper. And, frustratingly, Voyager just cannot bring itself to go the extra mile."
As an example, SFDebris speculated that Janeway's disgust with Ransom in "Equinox" was really self-loathing after learning in the S4 finale of the consequences of her bending her principles in the S3 finale. That knowledge might've even driven her depression in the S5 opener. Except it didn't; it was never mentioned. Opportunity wasted.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 3:23pm (USA Central)
Fifth Season Recap
@V - I do understand what you are saying... but I'll pose a question for you.
"But if I had to just throw on a random episode of a show to be entertained, I'll pop on a Voyager, knowing that I won't have to worry about what point in the soap-opera plotting I'll find myself in the middle of, and instead I can just watch the always-enjoyable Voyager crew deal with whatever problem or situation they happen to have found themselves in that week."
Does that HAVE to be at odds with character growth? Do you not feel that you could do such a thing with TNG?
As I said, it's not about serialization/soap opera plotting for me... it's just about the enjoyability of watching characters change/evolve. I don't necessarily wish S7 Torres was sooo different or in the middle of such an arc that it would affect the enjoyment of stand alone episodes... but let's face it... we could have solved the dilemma in "Lineage" by just letting her watch "Faces", "Day of Honor" and "Barge of the Dead". "Oh ya, I've made peace with the fact that being Klingon doesn't suck, thanks for reminding me! I'm totally cool with my baby now!"
I don't need it to be "arcy" but when character development doesn't stick it makes the characters less interesting. I do agree with you that it is nice to just watch an episode by itself sometimes... but TNG manages to be able to do that and still grow their cast.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 2:25pm (USA Central)
@Tricia: The applause thing is really odd. The implication is that there are other people in the room -- which means the Trabe attack is all the more brazen.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 9:13am (USA Central)
You might be forgiven for coming away from this episode thinking: maybe Nikolai is right, maybe this was the right decision, in this case no cultural damage was done and adherence to the Prime Directive would have needlessly sacrificed these people.
But the more you think about, the more unforeseen consequences there will be for these people over the next hundreds or thousands of years.
For example, evolution by natural selection may not be discovered because all their hominid fossils would have been left behind on the old planet. What would that do for their culture? It could be absolutely devastating in the long run.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 5:04am (USA Central)
@Destructor - I just re-watched the episode and thought the same thing! Anyway, I thought this episode was pretty good until the end. Why didn't they beam everyone out? We don't even know who survived, although obviously Culluh does. I did like the backstory between the Trabe and Kaizon though, it's good to have some context.
I know this is nitpicky, but where does the music and applause come from when the Kaizon leaders walk into the conference room? Is there an audience? It's rather odd.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 4:15am (USA Central)
The Most Toys
One of my favourite episodes, but also one of the scarier ones because of Data's attempted kill-shot; it is clearly stated that the disruptor (disruptor is NOT spelled dis-rup-ter, ffs and btw) was "in the state of discharge", meaning Data 100% definetly, certainly and with out any doubt whatsoever fired the weapon, intent to kill Fajo. What makes it even scarier is that Data seems to have hidden a subroutine for lying or denial, since he is all like "Discharge? Must've been a transporter thing *shrugs*". That sneak! I'd rate it 4/4 Stars, but there are other Ep.'s that would easily deserve negative Stars, and other very good ones deserve 1000/4 stars.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 3:56am (USA Central)
The Search, Part I
This was definitely my favourite episode of DS9 so far. I don't know if it's maybe that I just enjoy these action-centric episodes more, but for met his episode was really intense and I enjoyed it a lot.
Honestly I don't think the writing in any of the Star Treks is sufficient enough for it to be able to stand alone as a drama, so for me these kind of episodes are necessary.
On another note, I really like Quark and the Ferengi. I think Quark has become my favourite character on the show thus far. I especially liekd his speech in the previous episode about humans not liking them because they reminded us of what we once were, albeit worse! I found it actually quite poignant.
- Tue, Dec 3, 2013, 11:50pm (USA Central)
An episode stirring this much debate is a great episode.
Many things have been covered above, but I want to add something new: that Starfleet is still essentially a "military" organization, and the person holding the RANK and POSITION of Captain is still in charge and responsible. It isn't a committee like these comments may seem to be. Like Captains today, this future Captain has been given the authority to send people to their deaths to save others. In TNG, Troi's "Command" Test (putting the counselor in command after a short test is a totally different commentary) had her send Geordi to his death to save the rest of the crew. Was that "murder"? Without Starfleet Command to consult, Janeway is within her right to summarily execute to save others.
If you can't make these sorts of calls, you're not fit to wear the red tunic. I'm normally critical of how Janeway is written in much of VOY, but they nailed the Captain's role this time.
The final scene says it best - command is a lonely place. Perhaps only those of us who have been given and perhaps used such authority over others under their responsibility will understand this burden. I'm glad Voyager gave the average person this command dilemma to consider.
- Tue, Dec 3, 2013, 11:43pm (USA Central)
The Andorian Incident
This was the first of many (way too many) episodes in which Archer is being interrogated, and his cocky demeanor in each case (always regurgitating gibberish, which would annoy me to high heaven as well) is so excruciating that I vicariously enjoyed the beatings he got from the interrogators he was torturing.
- Tue, Dec 3, 2013, 3:28pm (USA Central)
I totally concur with the psote above that siad, though they like Bakula, he was just totally wrong in this role.
- Tue, Dec 3, 2013, 1:09pm (USA Central)
@Susan: phasering the dark matter centipede was his first "mistake". The biggest issue with this episode is the pacing, whereby the events and logic of the last act or so are so crammed that one has to fill in many gaps. I believe this also accounts for Jammer's impression that there was no ending; it's there, but the lack of screen time requires one to infer a lot about what might have transpired offscreen.
- Tue, Dec 3, 2013, 12:25pm (USA Central)
I'm still trying to figure the ending part where Janeway says to Harren "You made a mistake, don't make another one!" What exactly was his first mistake? Following her order? Was it a mistake to decide not to stay with the rest of the crew to protect her, after she ordered them to leave anyway? First she orders them to leave, then when he does she calls it a mistake? Or am I missing something else?
- Tue, Dec 3, 2013, 9:11am (USA Central)
I think this was a really good episode. I'm not sure I'd give it four stars, but it's definitely in my list of personal favorites. It took some getting into initially, but overall, it was very, very good. Great performances by the two captains. Very touching ending. As someone further above said, the ending was so brilliant, it made the first 25 minutes "worth it".
- Tue, Dec 3, 2013, 8:36am (USA Central)
I always thought this episode was underrated in Voyager's run. It's something that really could have been straight out of TOS or TNG -- Kirk, Spock, Bones or Picard in Chakotay's role would have really been interesting -- and I generally liked the way different characters were utilized.
I'll grant Jammer's point that the "piece of Earth" thing was overdone in Voyager. But, then, it was overdone in just about every series, except maybe DS9. Granted, Voyager's farther from Earth than the other vessels, but I didn't find this episode crazier than Kirk finding "20th century Rome", or Picard finding a group of aliens going back in time to 19th-century Earth to suck the life energy out of humans.
If Voyager had been more like this episode, it would have been a much stronger series. This was generally engaging, and the aliens weren't just hard-headed guys who had slight makeup and fired on the ship.
- Tue, Dec 3, 2013, 4:22am (USA Central)
The Quality of Life
Ok : the enterprise LOOKS for life ANY life.
(a class M planet with only a few microbes on it would from that mission point still be interesting)
Still I was like the writer of this article thinking of : not all life is equall.
So they have PROVEN to have a survival instinct.
so have MANY annimals and we we would slaughter them without thought to save a sentient being.
Sentient life < Annimal life < Plantlife < MicrobialLife
Simple as that.
I have not seen probe these exocombs are sentient, so they are like annimals.
Sure there WOULD be some green ecomaniacks that would kill humans for the SURVIVAL of an annimal species. And while these exocomps CAN be recreated (so you can revive them after becoming extinct) one may play the "don't kill all of a species"
kinda like, would you sacrifice the last 3 pandabears or tigers in the entire universe to save just 2 of billions of humans?
Normally I'd say : no, unless we have a proper backup copy. (like ability to clone them or something to restore the species after extiction)
and in this case we have!
even better there are 3! -> so the best bet would be, send in 2, not 3, keep 1 to make copy's later from.
- Mon, Dec 2, 2013, 11:20pm (USA Central)
@Jay, and Jack, and all:
Regarding the Barrens being "100 light years from everywhere":
You shouldn't normally take that kind of information in Star Trek literally, unless:
a) It is a statement of fact, as in "It will take us 8 hours at Warp 4.5" or "We are 600,000 km from the unknown vessel", etc., or
b) It is provided by the likes of Spock, Data, or Seven of Nine, who famously tend to be quite accurate in their communication. But then again, none of them would have made such a vague, imprecise statement as this one, would they?
In most other cases, this kind of information seems to be the usual hyperbole we all know from our daily lives: "I spent a year working on that project" - even if it was only nine months, etc.
Taken literally, the Barrens being "100 light years from anywhere" can only mean that at its centre, that region is actually that distant from any other star system, effectively meaning it must be a region some 200+ light years across. But it's more probable that those "100 light years" is a typically inaccurate, casual human statement - as when a 43 minute television show, or train ride, is said to be about an hour long. It could actually just as well mean that the Barrens is something like a hundred light years across - being in the middle of it would still be pretty far from anything.
This doesn't change the fact that even then it would still be at a considerable distance from Earth for say, a Warp 2 vessel, which was Jay's and Jack's point. My point is quite simply, that all too often I see commenters here taking bits and pieces of such information far, far too literally. Quite often this is just more or less casual dialogue - nothing to merit such literal interpretatons. Let's not nitpick.
"Archer's decision to allow the experiment to continue even after he's lost a man is ludicrous".
---R.: Couldn't agree more. Enough said.
"If no one will speak for this episode, I will."
---R.: I personally don't care much for this episode. But I am honestly and sincerely happy that you did.
I think that the revelation of Erickson's dishonesty having caused the death of a crewman should have stopped his experiment right then and there. There is no way a responsible captain wouldn't feel betrayed and disgusted by such behaviour. Think Picard and Galen ("The Chase"), if the latter had done anything similar: "Professor, your experiment ends here! This far, no further!"
It would have been far more interesting to take it from there, I think, than to play out the wholly predictable rest of the episode. This could actually have been an intriguing exploration of the price of technology and technological research, of crime and punishment (think "The Drumhead", and "The First Duty"), and the obsession and fall of a great scientist - true tragedy, instead of technobabble in order to boost the pattern buffer, or enhance the pattern cohesiveness, or whatever. But having said that, I read what you wrote, and I'm glad that you liked this episode. After all, we don't all need to think alike.
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