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Paul M.
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 9:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

I dont get your point, Chrome.

Borg *are* compelling. They were meant to be a hive-mind implacable faceless swarm that comes at you and eats you alive (sort of), no buts, no ifs. They were scary precisely because they couldn't be reasoned with and because they had no discernible motive except assimilation.

Romulans aren't -- or shouldn't be -- faceless mooks. They are a traditional adversary to our protagonists, much like Klingons, Cardassians, or any number of other "typical" humanoid races. They have a clear agenda that they follow. A representative of such an adversary should have a compelling character and interesting motivation. Again, look at Duras, Gowron, Dukat, Chang, Khan, or any number of other arguably successful Trek villains. They, like all good antagonists, need to have either a personal motivation for doing what they do or otherwise they should at least be compelling "plot-movers" with memorable character traits, even if superficial (I'm reminded of Senator Vreenak from In the Pale Moonlight - now that's a character who left an impression). Tomalak by comparison is simply a random characterless Romulan who might as well have been different character every episode he appeared in; it would have made zero difference.
Skeptical
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 8:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Someone to Watch Over Me


Well, uh, guess I get to be the contrarian one. Not surprising, given my disdain when Voyager decides the EMH should just be a quirky human. When it comes down to it, I simply don't see him falling in love. I didn't way back in Seasons 1 and 2, I thought his bragging about it and the other EMH being jealous was utterly ridiculous in the otherwise good Message in a Bottle. And I don't like it here. Sorry.

What is love? (Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more) It's a combination of both an emotional and a physical bond. People can have deep emotional bonds with others without the physical side. It can even be so close that the two people are constantly together such that it could get in the way of a romantic relationship with someone else. So yes, it's possible for two people to be very close without the physical attraction. So I can see Doc developing an emotional bond with Seven. But why physical? Why does he have simulated hormones? How was that part of his original programming? How did he get that far?

That Data would try to have a romantic relationship in In Theory makes sense. Data was explicitly programmed to be sentient, was explicitly programmed to mimic humanity. And we know that his primary goal in life is to become as close to human as possible. So even though he didn't have the physical attraction to Jenna, he was willing to try to fake it. But the EMH? He wasn't programmed to be human, he was programmed to be a surgeon and to learn. Somewhere along the way, he gained enough learning to start wanting to improve himself, ok, I can buy that. He got a few friends (well, just Kes, really), developed a few interests of his own, started to live a new life. But he never explicitly tried to become human; in fact he always had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about being a hologram. And unlike Data, he never created a program to be in love. It just happened to him. He didn't try to fall in love, didn't decide to create virtual hormones. So where did those virtual hormones come from?

I have no idea. And neither, I think, do the writers. Not only that, but at this point in time, I don't see the Doctor wanting to be in a permanent, deep relationship with anyone even on a mental level. He still likes being himself, and while he craves casual contact with others, he never seemed lonely or desiring more companionship. He likes attention, mostly. But that was to satisfy his ego, not because he wanted to deeply connect with anyone. Could Seven be different, being an outsider like himself? Being a bit more artificial, like himself? Perhaps. And I could see him trying to program in a romantic side of himself in order to get closer to someone that he has a mental relationship with, since, y'know, he has no ability for physical desire to appear naturally. But that clearly isn't what happened. He clearly "fell in love" just like a human.

If you're going to make a character that is not human, why are you basically turning him human? What's the fun of having a human doctor that can be turned off, rather than a truly artificial intelligence? Dumb, dumb move. I would much rather if it was Seven who realized that the EMH was her optimal choice, then realized that such a choice was not practical. We could still have had a poignant ending, but one that fits the characters better.

Sigh, whatever. As for the episode itself, it had its moments, but in the end it was still pretty simplistic and safe. I groaned when it became clear they were doing the Pygmalion Plot, especially when they added the bet with Paris. Fortunately the resolution of that (y'know, the cliched bit where the girl finds out, gets super mad, and the guy has to make a dramatic appeal to her to fix the problem) was far more subdued than normal, but still... Also, the date was too cliched. Lobster? Getting injured by dancing? Too simplistic. Same with the B Plot. I mean, I'm glad the creepy minister at the end wasn't as strict as we had been told, but that could have been more subtle.

So yeah, I can see why people go gaga over this, but it definitely isn't my cup of tea.
Robert
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 6:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

That's because that look didn't suit the Borg. Seska was a card carrying bad guy and she was compelling.
TLW
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 6:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

Dan, I agree with everything you said here.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 5:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

Not every villain needs to be "compelling". The Borg aren't compelling. They're destructive and single-minded. That's part of their charm. In fact, many on this board criticize Voyager for trying to make Borg less than the badass villains they were in earlier shows. Adding nuance can backfire.

I think that's what you're trying to do with Tomalak. That's not his role in this series. He's a card-carrying villain, and at that job, he excels.
Paul M.
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 4:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

That's a terribly low bar to set: Sela or Tomalak. There was nothing stopping writers and producers from coming up with a truly compelling recurring Romulan character, much as they managed to give Klingons some recognizable faces with distinct backstories and character: Duras and his sisters, Gowron, K'Mpec. The problem with TNG-era Romulans was that they were always too sketchy for their own good. They were sneaky, they liked to plot and scheme, and they were an obstinate adversary to deal with, but they were never given the kind of consideration and exploration Trek gave Klingons and especially Cardassians.

That this episode is so beloved speaks not only to the strength of the script and cast, but also to the potential of Romulans as an interesting multifaceted species. Alas, it was not to be.

I wonder if some part of love (or appreciation if love is too strong a word) some fans bestow upon Tomalak is due to Katsulas's memorable role as G'Kar on Babylon 5. Now *that* was a fantastic character and a fascinating race.
TLW
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 4:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

This is one of the episodes that really made me really not like Picard sometimes.
Diamond Dave
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 3:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Scientific Method

Fresh, inventive, definitely creepy and very funny in places. Makes good use of Seven and the increasingly off kilter Janeway is adequately explained by the two aliens poking needles in her head. The Chakotay/Neelix comparing symptoms scene is something of a classic.

That said, it doesn't really break out of second gear and the conclusion seems somewhat forced - nothing like surviving 20-1 odds. 2.5 stars.
Robert
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 2:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Dramatis Personae

@Luke - As long as you score the next two high you're forgiven!
Diamond Dave
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 2:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: The Raven

"Well, there's a good story lurking inside here somewhere, but it's sabotaged by a host of cliches and other annoying plot anomalies." Amen, Jammer, amen. I don't normally dig too much into the nitpicking of episodes but in this one the contrivances are just too big to ignore. My personal bugbear - how the B'omar appear and disappear to suit to needs of the story.

There are some nice moments here - Seven and Neelix for instance - but on the whole it's nothing more than another fairly nondescript effort. 2 stars.
Luke
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 12:31pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Dramatis Personae

"Captive Pursuit" was just bland. "If Wishes Were Horses" was dumb. This one at least had something going for it.

Of course, that's all just my opinion. I could be wrong. :P
Chrome
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 12:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

@Paul M.

I'd argue that the showrunners themselves made Tomalak the archetype. Need a simulated Romulan threat? Here's Tomalak. Need a generic Romulan threat to raise the stakes in Q's puzzle? Here's Tomalak.

The Romulan you liked played by Sloyan, was already dead in this episode. So, were stuck with Tomalak or Sela for Romulan antagonists. I still think Tomalak is the better of the two.
Yanks
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 11:44am (UTC -6)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

@ Robert
Wed, Feb 10, 2016, 1:09pm (UTC -6)

Wait? He wrote SPIRIT FOLK?

Ok, he's dead to me.

------------------------------------------

Now come on Robert... we always get an episode based on the lead actors make-up/race/beliefs... 'Far Beyond the Stars' in DS9 and 'Spirit Folk' in DS9 :-)

Young minds, fresh ideas. Be tolerant. :-)
Del_Duio
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 11:43am (UTC -6)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

Hey, with Fuller aboard and apparently knowing Trek canon like the back of his hand I'm really optimistic that this new series will be:

A) Set in the Prime Universe and
B) Take place about 20 years after DS9 / Voyager

If they did this.. I mean, you could even base this series out of the fallout of the Dominion War. Damn, that'd be awesome.

P.S: VOY's "Alice" was a terrible episode, let's not count that one lol
Yanks
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 11:37am (UTC -6)
Re: Trailer: Star Trek Beyond

@ Demosthenes
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 8:53am (UTC -6)

@ Yanks

I love the way where you just skip over my first two paragraphs and go straight for the hyperbole. Your addressing only my silly way of blowing off some steam -- because I admit, watching that trailer actually makes me angry, probably a lot more than it should -- conveniently allows you to bypass my actual concern, and retain your own (I would argue) misguided optimism expressed earlier in the thread. Seriously, it's like you didn't even notice the abrupt change in tone. The shift to elevated in-universe references alone should have tipped you off. My God, I didn't think I would have to throw up "sarc" tags.

*** My bad. I was scratching my head reading that because I've enjoyed reading many of your posts in the past. I believe we've even conversed a couple times.

Since you apparently missed the thrust of my earlier comment, let me try again. Star Trek sometimes does action, but Star Trek is not an action franchise. Further, its attempts at grand-scale action setpieces (e.g., the buggy chase scene in "Nemesis", or the Scimitar-corridor shootout from the same movie) often come across both as underwhelming action and as inferior Star Trek. But even the deeply flawed "Nemesis" was hobbled in its attempts to Try Something a Bit Different by still trying to hold to the general tone of the universe. I see no evidence of any such hobbling in this trailer. The most logical conclusion is that Abrams and Co. are perfectly happy letting the tonal drift from the last movie proceed -- making another Star Trek flick that most hard-core Star Trek fans will barely recognize as such, in an attempt to put general-audience butts in seats for a "sci-fi" action-fest.

*** This always boils down to the same thing for me. Star Trek is made for and best shown on TV, not in the movie theaters. Sometimes it graces us with a movie that can make money and still be recognized as Trek, but mostly the "bad Star Trek movies" are the ones that most tried being relevant to the source material. ST2009 was a VERY good movie because it did what everyone expected it to do - brought together our heroes. STID has some great politically relevant story lines, but busted (for me) because they didn't keep our characters in character and couldn't get there head out of past ST movies. We all wanted something new, not rehashed flip-flopped old trek. STID could quite honestly have been the best ST movie yet.

Could the end product be more like Star Trek than the trailer is letting on? Yes. But after the terrible time I had at ST:iD, I'm not prepared to hand out benefit of the doubt. And I'm not keen on the thought of shelling out thirteen bucks for an IMAX ticket to watch "Star Trek: The Fast and the Pointiest." Looking at the trailer, you have to concede the possibility that it's headed in that direction. Really big stunts, way too much CGI destruction, one-liners to make you groan (or me, anyway) -- based on the evidence before us, my case is stronger than yours.
But you're too busy policing my last comment to see that. It's almost as if...as if you're trying to distract our attention away from the movie...until it's TOO LATE...

*** If I had seen the trailer and not listened to Pegg and Lynn afterwards I would agree. I'm more optimistic now than I was at the end of STID for sure. We'll see... it's gonna be an action movie for sure, we'll see how much trek gets sprinkled in this time. We don't want a 'Nemesis' now do we? I'll leave the real trek to the next series coming in January.

That's it, isn't it?! Clearly, you're in on the conspiracy! What part of J.J.'s vast Empire do you work for? Tell us right now, you gorram nerf herder, or I'll shove you in the nearest trash compactor. Or maybe it won't go that far...you see, contrary to rumor, there IS such a thing as a Vulcan death grip.

(Did you see it now, or do I have to pull out the "sarc" tags?)

*** LOL!! That just made my day (y)
Paul M.
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 11:36am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

Just checked IMDB. Katsulas appeared as Tomalak in 4 episodes only. One of those -- Future Imperfect -- was a simulation, and the other was at the very end of the show in All Good Things. That leaves us with a total of TWO appearances in Season 3, in both of those for a couple of minutes.

Come on, let's not make some kind of cool Romulan archetype out of this guy.
Dom
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 11:33am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens

"He has so much respect for the franchise but close to zero respect for the people that worked on it before him."

@John TY, I think that really hits the nail on the head. Abrams has respect for the tropes of the franchise, but not the ideas and originality of it. TFA does a great job feeling like Star Wars, but a terrible job feeling like a continuation of the story from ROTJ. We didn't need a "happily ever after" ending, but TFA pretty much resets the OT.
Robert
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 11:09am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Dramatis Personae

@Luke - THIS gets a 6/10 over "Captive Pursuit"? And "Wishes" (which is equally stupid but more fun IMHO) gets 1/3 of the score?!

You were doing so well up until now too... :P
Robert
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 11:05am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Shadowplay

@JC - Soong could have given Data emotions. He gave Lore emotions. The problem was that he couldn't give a fully sentient being perfect human emotions and he thought part of the reason Lore turned out bad was because the emotions weren't "right". In this episode Odo and company certainly believe that these holograms "feel"... but are they sentient?

My pets aren't sentient, but they have emotions. I think that Soong was more worried about the problems that came from giving sentient androids imperfect emotions than he was unable to give them any emotions.
JC
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 10:59am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Shadowplay

As far as holograms go my big issue with episodes like this, the Moriarty episode in TNG, the doctor in Voyager, etc. is that computers seem to have no issue whatsoever realistically simulating reasonable, dynamic emotions, even dozens of simulated people at once, yet somehow it was extremely difficult for Soong to give his androids reasonable emotional programming.

I can never reconcile Data's entire core character issues with the fact that computers seem to have no issue generating emotional simulations. It seems like Soong, given his skills, would have at least considered using portions of a well-established, effective holographic simulation program as the basis for his creation's emotional capacity and interactivity programming.
Chrome
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 9:48am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

@Paul M.

Romulans are all about intrigue. They engineer these crazy plans in order to test their enemies while gleefully watching them struggle. That's what Tomalak does, and he does it well in my opinion. I suppose they could've fleshed him out better, but TNG isn't really a war show, and Tomalak was unfortunately supplanted by Sela before he got more development as Jason R. pointed out.
Luke
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 9:10am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Dramatis Personae

"Dramatis Personae" is a rather unremarkable story with an unremarkable sci-concept and an unremarkable ending. Still despite that, it does have a charm to it.

What we have is essentially a story where almost none of the main characters appear, as all but two of them act like completely different persons. Yet, the way the mutiny unfolds in a slow-burn, the enjoyably kooky performances from everyone playing someone new and the general atmosphere of unease as the new suspicious characters play off against each other all manage to make it a somewhat enjoyable, if ultimately pointless, outing.

If there's any flaw it's the complete lack of resolution to the Valerian ship sub-plot. Before the wackiness even begins, Kira is determined to show that they're supplying weapons to the Cardassians. They eventually discover that they are, in fact, doing just that. However, once the virus has been dealt with, it's all just forgotten about. What happened to them? Were they turned over to Bajoran authorities? Was their cargo seized? Who knows.

6/10
Demosthenes
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 8:53am (UTC -6)
Re: Trailer: Star Trek Beyond

@ Yanks

I love the way where you just skip over my first two paragraphs and go straight for the hyperbole. Your addressing only my silly way of blowing off some steam -- because I admit, watching that trailer actually makes me angry, probably a lot more than it should -- conveniently allows you to bypass my actual concern, and retain your own (I would argue) misguided optimism expressed earlier in the thread. Seriously, it's like you didn't even notice the abrupt change in tone. The shift to elevated in-universe references alone should have tipped you off. My God, I didn't think I would have to throw up "sarc" tags.

Since you apparently missed the thrust of my earlier comment, let me try again. Star Trek sometimes does action, but Star Trek is not an action franchise. Further, its attempts at grand-scale action setpieces (e.g., the buggy chase scene in "Nemesis", or the Scimitar-corridor shootout from the same movie) often come across both as underwhelming action and as inferior Star Trek. But even the deeply flawed "Nemesis" was hobbled in its attempts to Try Something a Bit Different by still trying to hold to the general tone of the universe. I see no evidence of any such hobbling in this trailer. The most logical conclusion is that Abrams and Co. are perfectly happy letting the tonal drift from the last movie proceed -- making another Star Trek flick that most hard-core Star Trek fans will barely recognize as such, in an attempt to put general-audience butts in seats for a "sci-fi" action-fest.

Could the end product be more like Star Trek than the trailer is letting on? Yes. But after the terrible time I had at ST:iD, I'm not prepared to hand out benefit of the doubt. And I'm not keen on the thought of shelling out thirteen bucks for an IMAX ticket to watch "Star Trek: The Fast and the Pointiest." Looking at the trailer, you have to concede the possibility that it's headed in that direction. Really big stunts, way too much CGI destruction, one-liners to make you groan (or me, anyway) -- based on the evidence before us, my case is stronger than yours.
But you're too busy policing my last comment to see that. It's almost as if...as if you're trying to distract our attention away from the movie...until it's TOO LATE...

That's it, isn't it?! Clearly, you're in on the conspiracy! What part of J.J.'s vast Empire do you work for? Tell us right now, you gorram nerf herder, or I'll shove you in the nearest trash compactor. Or maybe it won't go that far...you see, contrary to rumor, there IS such a thing as a Vulcan death grip.

(Did you see it now, or do I have to pull out the "sarc" tags?)
RandomThoughts
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 8:06am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Birthright, Part II

Hello Everyone!

I'm sort of okay with this episode. A two-star that I kinda like but have a little disappointment in. Heh, I suppose that could be the definition of two-star. :)

I mostly liked the concept. It is an intriguing thought that if Klingons are not taught to be warriors, they might be fine being farmers. Not that they had a farm we could see, just a little hobby garden. But even in a warrior society, Someone has to be the scientist or farmer...

Upon first watching the original, and my recent viewing, I'm struck that Ba'el could argue for their peaceful community, when the only ones with the weapons are the Romulans. Yes, they have peace, but it is the peace of the sword. There are no Klingon guards, only Romulan. Perhaps since she grew up with it, and is part Romulan, these things seem natural to her. Yes they can leave the compound, but there is no doubt they have to return. Hmm... if they seem to be the only ones on the planet, why keep them all in a compound? The whole planet could/would be a prison, and they could all be a part of a fledgling agrarian society. But somehow I doubt many of the Romulans were tending the garden anyway. That was for the Klingons to take care of. Life in the compound seems like it would have been deadly dull.

And I kept thinking of K'Ehleyr while Worf was being a jerk to Ba'el. It just seemed... off... for him to be so (originally) disgusted by her lineage.

I'm thinking that when things started to go sideways, Tokath would have put Worf in one of the cells that must certainly still remain, since this was originally a prison. Killing Worf might make him a martyr, but the Klingons may have understood him being under lock-and-key. And I doubt he would have let anyone leave, even with their word they wouldn't tell anyone about the camp. Klingons seem to get loose lips when they've been drinking...

Now about Worf. The comments above by Troy about the Buddhist echoes my thoughts. Worf learned about Klingon society from the outside, and has an idealized version of it in his head. He knows how their honor should work, knows the stories, knows how they should strive to live. But there is a difference between theory and reality. Klingons should be above politics, be all-for-one, but reality is they have plenty. Worf always seems ready for battle, even at party events or in 10-Forward, but reality is they let their guard down a bit when off-duty (as shown in the mess hall when Riker served aboard one of their ships). And it was told that Klingons don't drink with their enemies, but reality is that if they are fighting each other, they do drink with them at neutral locations. These are compromises that are made with their beliefs. They know about their codes, but realize there are grey areas, and they are used to living with them. Worf, on the other hand, believes everything should be set in stone, because that is how he was self-taught. I think Worf starts to lose faith with Klingon society in general, because they don't live up to his expectaions. We see more of that a few episodes in the future.

Have a Great Day Everyone... RT
John TY
Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 3:14am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens

It kinda makes any victories the good-guys had in the original trilogy a bit pointless doesn't it... Empire's back; Death Star's back; Luke has trained new Jedi but they're all dead (except for his nephew who's gone bad); You can learn to use the force, and a light-sabre, in about 5 minutes (all these theories about Rey's repressed memory are ridiculous - as Jason R was saying - there needs to be some indication from her, or those around her, that she is MASSIVELY exceeding her known abilities); Han is a smuggler again and he and Leia's relationship didn't really add up to much; Sith lords can use the force to read minds now - why didn't Vadar just "mind-meld" the Rebel Base info out of Leia's head in ANH? (I guess this is an issue with ROTJ as well when Vadar discovers he has a daughter by reading Luke's thoughts/emotions) If this is some Knights-of-Ren ability then some reference to that effect might have been handy. And as an aside, all this talk of getting-rid-of/minimising CGI only to have the main villain and a yoda-wannabe needlessly animated.

I think this is my problem with Abrams reboots: He has so much respect for the franchise but close to zero respect for the people that worked on it before him.

Then again, Star Wars is purely a corporate vessel now and he probably has to wear Disney's directives. At least when you get a Lucas-type running the show you know you're gonna see what they want and not what they've been told to show you.
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