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Dan
Fri, Sep 30, 2016, 1:24am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

I agree this is a great one. Makes really good use of the characters—the best we've seen from Crusher and Troi, and maybe Riker, all season. (There's been *a lot* of Troi lately, but not until her few scenes here did I feel like she really clicked. There's been very little Crusher, so it's refreshing to give her something this good.)

I also liked Half a Life more than the consensus—probably the last episode that had me saying "wow, this is good" (sorry, Darmok)—so I guess I've got a soft spot for ethical dilemmas involving suicide in alien cultures.
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Rikko
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 10:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Charlie X

Pretty cool episode, I agree with the rest of the crew :P this is a bit creepy. The guest actor was a good one this time around.

I think the ending is not a cop-out but thematically consistent with the story. Charlie was basically a (superpowered) teen playing around while his parents weren't looking. And I can't think of many other choices of an ending, either self-destruction or some way to stop him (his parents). He was beyond reasoning or redemption since he banished Rand.

The basic idea of the episode reminds me of the classic short story "It's a good life". Charlie would have ended up like the kid from that story if he wasn't stopped. And yeah, Charlie was a sympathetic character, unlike some other ones I've seen so far (the thing of "The Man Trap"). Overall, I am satisfied.

And btw, I think I am watching the episodes in production order, because this was my eight episode of TOS instead of the second.
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dave
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 10:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

Shakar is a dick. OB should have knocked his lights out or something. They really do make the Chief too passive at times and writing his wife to tell Miles to get out was a disgrace. He missed the birth of his first child, Keiko should have demanded Shakar get his ass out of there if he is going to be a dickhead because Miles needs to witness this. Just stupid writing.

The realization in Odo that Mora's methods were honest and genuine was very touching, I really liked that part. It was an understanding from a son that his father meant well, after basically hating him for decades. I would have liked to have seen another follow up episode on their relationship because they could have brought in even more depth to what I feel is a great story to tell.

As for Odo getting his shapeshifting back. I do think that was necessary at some point because I really liked the season 6 opening arc where he got lost in linking and "forgot" about his job to help. (although they forgave him way too easily). However, I think this should have happened right at the end of season 5 in some other technobabble way (maybe an adult rogue changeling spy reveals himself and helps him.. who knows, you can write anything). I don't like that this baby gave it back to him after only half a season. it lessened the impact of the death of the changeling and I think that made the story less serious than it should have been.
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Jim Witte
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Scientific Method

I was just reading up on this episode on memory-alpha the description of the aliens as " brown-robed humanoid alien".. And thought of the "fish monks" in Schisms. I wonder why they *didn't* connect the two? They could have made up some Trek-nonsense about how something about how their being flung into the gamma quadrant caused a "subspace schism" (pun intended) that allowed the fish monks to locate them, and they (the monks) had been "following" them. Whatever "follow" across subspace domains.

It had taken them five years to figure out some subspace-nonsense to allow them to exist *anywhere* in our universe - not just in places they'd where managed to rip apart subspace like with the cargo bay 4. And they were invisible because.. Well, because *that's how alternate subspace domains work*! (“What are you, stupid!?")

Then, if they wanted to follow this possible arc further, they could basically turn the fish monks into an earlier version of Species 8472 (or have them *ally* themselves with 8472 - “Oh God, you mean it’s *worse*? Not *them* again!”). Maybe have them show up in the Delta Quadrant, and then follow Sisko back to DS9 and cause trouble there.

Then have one of the monks develop a conscience, fall in love with Chakotay or something, and have a trans-universe romance. Maybe have the alien be some kind of a human/fish-monk hybrid - with accelerated growth to take care of the age problems. This makes it more easier to be played by a human actress, and could take care of the “lobster hands problem”. (It also makes her an outcast among her own [half] species)

Perhaps work that into some techno-babble about her having a “cross-domain subspace phased atomic structure”, given her some greater ability to exist in our universe. Maybe the others have a time-limit or something.

You also have the possibility of a meerkat fight between Seven and whoever the alien is. Taking "star-crossed lovers" to new heights. Or whatever direction an alternate subspace domain is.
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Peter G.
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Second Sight

@ Troy Jollimore,

Even the producers realized too late that they had miscast the part, as he didn't play it at all how it was originally intended. It ended up simply being a failure that they regretted.
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Troy Jollimore
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Second Sight

All of this talk of 'bad acting'. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the acting of the captain of the Prometheus! I've seen better acting from the children's programs of local playhouses than what he delivers!
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mephyve
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S1: Fallen Hero

Interesting but predictable. (**.5)
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Robert
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

@Chrome

"Actually, I think Luke handily found the issue here. Until this point, no black Bajorans had speaking roles, so when Kesha appears and speaks up you get a sort of "Hey wait a second..." type of feeling."

That's all I've been saying, ya.

When Picard dates white people it doesn't feel deliberate because there are so many white guest stars all over that statistics just hold that it's not intentional. When 90% of the female guest stars are white and 100% of the love interests of a character are white and there are less than 9 love interests one can just say that, well.... it's incredibly like that all of your love interests are white when the pool is 90% white.

When the only 3 brown Bajorans that speak are all dating the same character well.... it was intentional. There's no way it's not intentional. And that feels weird. To me anyway.

Obviously there are two issues here. #1 - Why do they feel Jake can only date brown Bajorans? #2 - Why are there so few non-white guest stars that this is noticeable. Both are valid questions but #2 is a Hollywood wide problem and #1 is rather unique to DS9. And as you said, T'Pel adds to the eyebrow raising aspect of it all.

Especially when Jake's mother, Fenna and Kasidy are all black too. So 90% of the speaking guest stars are white but Ben and Jake manage 7 out of 7 for black love interests. It's noticeable, and not in a good way. Obviously people are allowed to have a "type" (Jake obviously goes for the nose crinkle in a big way for instance), but something about it just felt TOO intentional to me while binge watching.

As I said, I didn't notice it during the initial 7 year run, because things are more noticeable when you watch the whole thing over a 2 month span.
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Jor-El
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Past Tense, Part I

This is so inaccurate technology-wise that it's hard to watch and not believable in 2016. I couldn't sit through it. As Yogi Berra said, "The future isn't what it used to be".
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Peter G.
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 11:29am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

Bad typo in my last second sentence should read:

"But somehow I think it would've been different in DS9."
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Peter G.
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 11:28am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

@ Chrome,

Within the Trek universe I agree with you. But somehow I think it wouldn't been different in DS9. You have the first black commander in Trek, and he and his son are two of the stars of the show. Geordi was only supporting. And although the show isn't about the fact that they're black, that reality does seep into the show's running narrative about the Bajorans having been oppressed and who are now looking to gain their footing. Even in "Emissary" I find it hard to ignore the fact of a black man being ordered to a post he doesn't want after having lost his wife to a white man who destroyed a Federation fleet. Granted, this is years later, but I guess I feel like race is hard to ignore in DS9. This might be a sign that it isn't as 'Roddenberry' a series as TNG was, and that could be true. But instead of pretending that race doesn't exist - which is one way to go about it - DS9 seems to acknowledge that it does and that it will always take efforts and patience to accept others who are different; whether that's Bajorans, Cardassians, or anyone else. The fact of having bad blood between two races makes it all that much harder to ignore, no less to accept and embrace. I consider that a strength of DS9 rather than a reversion, but indeed I do think it means some of the carefree idealism of TNG couldn't exist in this show in quite the same way.
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Latex Zebra
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 10:24am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Year of Hell, Part II

Apologies if this has been mentioned.

Right at the end there is a little exchange.

This is disputed space.

Fine, change course to avoid their territory.
If they'd done that at the start of the first Day 1 none of this crap would have happened. Why the mind change?
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Chrome
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 10:16am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

@Peter G.

Are you kidding? In TNG, Geordi practically dates a new white woman every month. I don't think the stir is as big as you're making out to be.
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Peter G.
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 10:04am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

Here's the problem. When you do something like mixed-race couples, you face two issues simultaneously. Firstly you set up that in the future people look past race and it doesn't matter to them. But secondly you get all the viewers who will take conspicuous note of it and where the fact of a mixed-race couple will become the object of their focus, when within the context of the scene it's suppsed to be of no importance. This isn't like the Kirk/Uhura kiss or the Dax/Kahn kiss, where the writers went in knowing it would create a stir despite the episode not being about that. Here, although the stir would be lesser, it would still unsettle some throwback viewers, cause others to take note but approve, and others yet to wonder why there are no black people on the show other than Sisko and Jake. It's a no-win scenario, because whether the reaction is good/bad/indifferent it pulls focus from Nog's problem. The only logical solution is to do what they did and not make an issue out of who Jake is dating just for the sake of a race-relations political statement. Should there be mixed-race couples on DS9? Yes. But actually there are anyhow: Dax/Worf, Kira/Odo, Quark/Grilka, Miles/Keiko; and the list goes on. The fact that they're not specifically black/white is a hang-up with the viewer, not with the show. And Michael Dorn is black anyhow, for what it's worth.

The small irony that keeping Jake's date black raised concern with a few people here on Jammer's site doesn't seem to me to compare with the attention-draw making her white would have done. Like it or not, that's the reality. The show needed to prioritize its main story this time around. It was too serious.

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Chrome
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 9:30am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

Actually, I think Luke handily found the issue here. Until this point, no black Bajorans had speaking roles, so when Kesha appears and speaks up you get a sort of "Hey wait a second..." type of feeling.

I don't know if I would say there's anything dubious going on here, but I agree that like with T'Pel from Voyager, there's something jarring about alien-yet-same-race casting.
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Robert
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 8:08am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

I'm impressed. I'm going to have to look for them on my next viewing! I really don't recall any of that, but maybe I don't pay enough attention to the background.
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Graham
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 4:47am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Deadly Years

Found it disturbing that old age is automatically associated with dementia. Uncomfortable watching . . .
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Graham
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 4:41am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Friday's Child

Red shirt attempts to attack Klingon with possibly lethal force, without the slightest provocation. Kirk says it was self defence, not sure how that would stand up in court !!
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Outsider65
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 3:06am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Fun movie, not to be taken too seriously, as it breaks all the rules.

Watching the TOS movies in succession leads to some mood whiplash. First one tries to be mysterious/thoughtful, second deep/emotional, third was ??? (it had some humor, some sad parts, but overall was kind of scattered, no overarching feeling that I remember), and now fourth humorous.
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dave
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 1:47am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

Even back in 1996 I just went with the concept that his visions were from the prophets. They can see past present and future (without knowing which is which until Sisko explained time to them), so it is quite easy for them to give him a vision of something in the past, or warn him of something in the future (Bajor joining Federation = locusts heading to cardassia (dominion) destroying them as opposed to the non aggression pact they got to sign as an independent planet).

Bajor would have been obliterated when war broke out as they would have been target #1. Their independence allowed them to sign non aggression; which is what the prophets seem to have wanted Sisko to know.

Any being that is unexplainable can be looked upon as a god. That doesn't make them a diety. The prophets are not dieties, they simply had devices (orbs) that ancient Bajorans could not understand and it gave people visions and so forth and they became a religion . When science and discovery caught up, society doesn't let go of that faith so easily (same as with our religion), even if you can debunk any notion of someone being a god.

All of us would be gods if we went to 5000 BC somewhere, had our iphones, laptop, some movies, MP3 player, power generator, you name it..... we could do all sorts of tricks and before you know it someone in leadership is writing about us and 500 years later we are mythical gods and a religion is born.

There are no actual gods. They are constructs by sentient beings to solve various needs, mysteries, goals, or desires of faith. Anything can be created as a god if enough people buy into the message, some books are written, and a thousand years pass.
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Mike
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 12:17am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Year of Hell, Part I

Voyager ignoring Kes's warning from the earlier episode makes even less sense considering Year of Hell was supposed to be aired at the end of season 3 (closer to Before and After) but was shelved for the two-part season finale introducing Seven of Nine.
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Luke
Wed, Sep 28, 2016, 11:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

But there are a lot of black Bajoran characters - they just tend not to have speaking roles.

Right off the top of my head, I know there are black Bajorans in "The Siege" (when the Bajoran Militia takes control of the station the General enters with black militia members), "Rapture" (during Sisko's prophetic walk through the Promenade he tells one couple, who are both black, that their harvest will be better this year), "Duet" (one of the Bajorans waiting outside Odo's office to see justice done is black) and "Wrongs Darker than Death or Night" (one of the Bajoran "comfort women" is black).

I'm pretty sure I remember numerous other black background characters like that as well.
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Walter E. Gough
Wed, Sep 28, 2016, 8:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Nemesis

Star Trek Umpteen: Been There, Done That

ST:NEM isn't really a bad story, as far as stories go. Arguably it was a better story than its goes-nowhere, does-nothing predecessor, the overly technobabble-filled pseudo-Insurrection (in which the most lasting consequence was Troi and Riker hooking up).

Unfortunately, they made Insurrection first, which pretty much doomed Nemesis.

What else doomed Nemesis? The resurrection of plot devices trotted out elsewhere:

* Data's bad sibling;
* Riker's "Kirk kicks Kluge in the face" finish to his fight with the Viceroy;
* The "Stop the Bad Guy and His Death Ray in the Nick of Time" finish we'd just seen in the prior film; and
* Kill off the beloved character, sort of.

Pity. Nemesis held some promise. The awesome opening Roman Senate scene; the desert chase; the intriguing Picard clone concept ("the triumph of the echo over the voice"); the Remans, the Scimitar, the vicious space battle.

This was a more entertaining movie than Insurrection but also showed the franchise running out of new ideas.

One wonders what would have happened if they'd skipped the bloated TV episode that was Insurrection and gone directly from First Contact to Nemesis. My bet is that would have left room for a better finale, perhaps one that could have woven together some of the contemporaneous characters from DS9 and VOY.

Now that could have been a heck of a send-off.
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borusa
Wed, Sep 28, 2016, 4:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Hide and Q

I thought this was a rather dull and derivative episode.
Frake's portrayal of partially corrupted Riker evokes Gary Mitchell from the second TOS pilot but his subservience to patriarch Picard stops him and ,yes, this may indicate a submissive nature.
I agree with the above comments that Riker's gifts would not have necessarily been refused and Worf prob ably just needed a bit of privacy-seriously was he expected to just do it with the Klingon lady in front of his Captain?
Having said that Geordi's compliment to Tasha was genuinely touching as was Picard's consoling her when she was in the 'penalty box' but I say that partly as we know what is coming up in Skin of Evil.
John de Lancie can pretty much do no wrong of course but there are much better Q outings.
I think 2 stars
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Peter G.
Wed, Sep 28, 2016, 3:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: The Disease

There are really two episodes contained within this one: the first is the 'Voyager establishment doing its thing', and the second is 'love story of the week.' In a sense these two narratives are at odds with each other and don't even make congruent sense when placed in the same episode. The Janeway/Doctor side of it seems to fit in with an episode involving insubordinate and selfish action on the part of an officer, where a moral lapse has occurred. The love story side of it seems to be about individual needs as they conflict with the needs of the group. These two sides should never have met, and indeed as some other commenters have mentioned, the scenes between Harry and Janeway/Doc are unintentionally humorous because of how stupid they are. Actually my reaction was anger rather than laughter, as I found their treatment of him to hardly more advanced than would be someone's attitude towards this kind of thing in the 1980's. It's hardly a model of advanced views towards sex or even basic tolerance towards human errors. Some have argued that this was really about first contact protocol - and on paper that holds, but as the episode plays it's really not about that. Let's face it: it's about a prudish attitude towards sex along with, yes, the heavy-handed morality play about STD. It doesn't belong in Trek.

However the *other* episode going on at the same time DOES belong in Trek, and moreover, it is the ideal story to tell about a lost ship. What happens when the needs of 'the ship' begin to grate on the needs of individual members of the crew? What happens when one member feels s/he really needs something, but 'protocol' or even 'efficiency' says no? In regular Starfleet service the answer would be simple: "if you really need this then maybe serving on this ship isn't for you." But on Voyager there is no choice in the matter, and so some element of compromise - or at least negotiation - in that direction would be entirely fitting. Maybe the crew could negotiate with the captain for certain policy changes to fit their new lifestyle? It would make sense, and would be great food for episodic tensions. Even forgetting about the long-lost hope of tensions between the Maquis and the Starfleet crew, at the very least individual complaints could be addressed from time to time. The last occasion where this happened was with Tom Paris, and - oops! It was all a trick. Everyone was happy after all. What a farce.

As far as direction goes, the 'love story' part of this episode always takes me by surprise as I find it works very well. Too well, considering the writing surrounding it. Somehow they managed to create a real human emotion in an episode that wasn't mitigated by or explained by any phenomenon, astronomical event, shuttle crash, or plot device. Two people just fell for each other. It doesn't matter whether it was lust, love, or whatever. It's a bottle episode concept that on its own worked very well. If the writing was better the notion of the generational ship could have been tied in to the impulse to couple up. Sex -> procreation -> next generation of the ship. DUH. So Harry's impulse to find a mate should have been painted as being right and proper for a ship seeing itself as generational, with the only problem being his haste in ignoring the medical regs. It didn't have to be a "Harry broke the rules" episode. It should have been a "Harry did a good thing in a bad way" episode, where the crew could feel sorry that they didn't have the infrastructure to have a true generational ship like that other race had, since they weren't designed for that and don't have enough people.

Bah. The parts of the episode that don't belong (the 'Voyager establishment parts') are indeed one star, if not zero, since they are both tedious as well as morally backwards. The parts that are about Harry needing some damn human contact I'd give 3.5 stars, as those parts are among my favorite in the entire series for their simple honesty. Most love stories on Voyager ride entirely on plot pretence; a strange forgetting spell; a shuttle crash; intrigue while hiding telepaths; it's all contrivances. This one was just honest, if simple.

My final score should combine the two scores, it it doesn't, because I'm happy to compartmentalize the episode and ignore the stupid parts. The Harry story is doing battle with the Voyager story, and since I root for the Harry story I'll take its side and give the episode its rating. 3.5.

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