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Tim - Fri, May 22, 2015, 4:10am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S1: Encounter at Farpoint

Did anyone notice how Picard addressed Troi as "Commander" and then later Riker addressed her as "Lieutentant"? She got a Commander rank in Season 7, but before that I never heard any mention of her having an official rank (other than in this episode).
zzybaloobah - Fri, May 22, 2015, 2:18am (USA Central)
Re: BSG S4: Six of One

I second the comment about the interaction between Adama and Roslin.... it's so touching.
That and the scene a couple of eps. back where Laura calls Bill asking him to order her out of bed.
They've become like the old married couple without ever being the married couple.
It's been so subdued and so well done.
zzybaloobah - Fri, May 22, 2015, 2:06am (USA Central)
Re: BSG S4: He That Believeth in Me

Regarding the Baltar worship "making no sense." Can one even say (regarding an aspect of BSG) "this makes no sense" with a straight face? God (aka the writers) want it so.

Not all the characters have descended into the cesspool. I trust Athena *completely*. Who's not human, but who's counting.

And while the show had religious themes from the beginning, there's a big difference: Initially, religious belief was a huge part, but direct intervention by "God/the gods" was not. The first "miracle" was "The Hand of God" -- and the simplest explanation at that time was that Baltar was a sleeper Cylon. "Kobol's Last Gleaming" started to have more "miraculous" elements, but it wasnt' until Season 3 that we started seeing the miracle-of-the-week.

Andy's Friend - Fri, May 22, 2015, 2:04am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S2: Peak Performance

@Luke” "Picard's line that Starfleet is not a military organization just bugs the hell out of me. [...] We have an episode here that is about improving combat tactics for people who aren't in the military? "

@Grumpy: “[...] just assume Picard is an unreliable narrator. This, and his pronouncements about the Federation economy, are his opinions, not shared by all”.

I'll let the good captain himself answer:

PICARD: That's what this is all about. A lot has changed in the past three hundred years. [...]
[“The Neutral Zone”]

The thing is, Luke and Grumpy, you’re looking at it from a purely 20th century perspective. To *you*, *today*, it may seem that if an organization has armed vessels, uses a classic naval hierarchy, and conducts exercises meant to improve defensive capabilities, that organization must by definition be military. It makes perfect sense to think that today, because such is the reality today. But in a future in three hundred years, that may perfectly well not be the case.

The absolutely wonderful thing about Star Trek, and particularly TNG, is that it tells the story of a future which is not merely a continuation of the reality of today with improved technology, but actually with improved mentality as well.

You can claim that this is a Utopia. As I have written elsewhere here, it is clearly the way the Western world is heading, though. The trend is undeniable, unless one has no historical perspective whatsoever. Try comparing 2015 to 1915, and to 1815.

In 1815, the thought of many of the phenomena we observe, tolerate, respect, and protect in our societies two hundred years later would abhorr most, and be considered immoral by virtually anyone; only an infinitesimal fraction of progressive-minded people would even consider them as utopian. Two hundred years later, it’s increasingly becoming our commonplace reality.

The vast majority of people from 1815 would consider people in distant 2015 living the way we do immoral. Take a look at yourselves: do you consider yourselves to be immoral?

Just like many people today seem to consider Starfleet in the distant 24th century military...

It is absolutely clear in TNG that Starfleet does not perceive itself as a military organization. That is what matters, not your perception of things. And it’s not just Picard as “an unreliable narrator”, as Grumpy suggests. Let’s hear it from the droid:

DATA: Welcome to the Enterprise, Ishara. I am Commander Data.
ISHARA: You're not human.
DATA: I am an android.
(Ishara glances at him.)
ISHARA: Built for fighting...?
DATA (reacts): On what do you base that assumption?
ISHARA: A cybernetic device serving on a starship...
DATA: The Enterprise is not a ship of war. It is a ship of exploration.

This can only be a statement of fact, based on what Starfleet thinks of itself in the 24th century: it is an organization of science, and diplomacy.

People really, really, really have to open up their minds, and stop applying anachronistic concepts to a future reality that is clearly depicted as being different. You simply have to step out of your reality. Here’s an example of what I mean:

CLEMENS: Oh? Well, I'm not so impressed with this future. Huge starships, and weapons that can no doubt destroy entire cities, and military conquest as a way of life?
TROI: Is that what you see here?
CLEMENS: Well, I know what you say, that this is a vessel of exploration and that your mission is to discover new worlds. That's what the Spanish said. And the Dutch and the Portuguese. It's what all conquerors say.
CLEMENS: Young lady, I come from a time when men achieve power and wealth by standing on the backs of the poor, where prejudice and intolerance are commonplace and power is an end unto itself. And you're telling me that isn't how it is anymore?
TROI: That's right.
CLEMENS: Well, maybe it's worth giving up cigars for after all.
[“Time’s Arrow, Part II”]

It doesn't get much clearer than this wonderful quote: it just isn't how it is anymore. A lot has changed in those three hundred years. So in the end, we’re back in “The Neutral Zone”:

PICARD: This is the twenty fourth century. Material needs no longer exist.
RALPH: Then what's the challenge?
PICARD: The challenge, Mister Offenhouse, is to improve yourself. To enrich yourself. Enjoy it.
Susie - Fri, May 22, 2015, 1:59am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Schisms

Why is Picard leaning in so intimately with a woman during the poetry reading? I thought he didn't date on the ship.
eastwest101 - Thu, May 21, 2015, 11:35pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S3: Similitude

At least they were trying to do something a bit different and original. A few scientific/logical flaws but the whole thing was saved by reasonable acting and other strengths highlighted by John Gs comments above.

More of a success than a failure for me, maybe even 3 out of four stars.
eastwest101 - Thu, May 21, 2015, 11:30pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S3: North Star

When this started I thought: "Gee - I wonder what they will do once they go through all the western cliches of the 'hangins', possies, saving the schoolteacher, jailbreaks, bar fight/standoffs and shootouts?"

Answer: Nothing at all. A hackneyed revisit of every cliche in the book of how to make a western without any humour, risk, intelligence or imagination. Zero stars.
sticky steve - Thu, May 21, 2015, 7:31pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S7: Attached

what an utter bore captain picard is. 1 and 2 season of tng is true star trek, the remainder is commercial filler. That is all.
Yanks - Thu, May 21, 2015, 4:39pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S2: Dead Stop

Agree Gil. This is a GREAT Star Trek episode; not just Enterprise.
Yanks - Thu, May 21, 2015, 4:32pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S2: Shades of Gray

Great point Robert.

But, DS9 did MUCH better with 'Duet' for sure. :-)
Robert - Thu, May 21, 2015, 1:35pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S2: Shades of Gray

While this was awful, it served a purpose. It was the price paid for the Borg budget in "Q Who". That said... when DS9 ran out of money they made "Duet"....

But regardless, this cheaply made piece of trash was the price they paid for blowing the budget on the Borg ripping a slice out of the ship.

Totally worth it. Cause we can just skip this...
Luke - Thu, May 21, 2015, 11:45am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S2: Shades of Gray

Worst TNG episode yet. And that's really saying something. This is quite possibly not just the worst of TNG, but the worst of the whole franchise!

Say want you will about episodes generally considered to be the worst of their respective series (ones like "Spock's Brain," "And the Children Shall Lead," "Let He Who Is Without Sin...," "Profit and Lace," "Threshold," or that abysmal finale to Enterprise), but at least all those episodes were actually trying to be episodes. They were all failures, but at least the attempt was made!

"Shades of Gray" is as close as you can get to pure filler - nothing more.

Grumpy - Thu, May 21, 2015, 11:08am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S2: Peak Performance

Luke: "Picard's line that Starfleet is not a military organization just bugs the hell out of me."

Yet another example of early-era TNG smugness (if I had to guess, I'd say Roddenberry demanded the line when he heard about the wargames plot), but it doesn't have to be irritating. Instead of taking it at face value, as a definitive statement about the nature of Starfleet, just assume Picard is an unreliable narrator. This, and his pronouncements about the Federation economy, are his opinions, not shared by all. Perhaps these opinions were the basis of his falling-out with his father. Thus, when he insists Starfleet is non-military, he's not telling *us*; it's an echo of what Pixard told his old man.
MisterBenn - Thu, May 21, 2015, 10:31am (USA Central)
Re: BSG S4: Sine Qua Non

The thing that has me guessing at the moment is the increasing theme of love, and how it works in this increasingly fantastical series. It seems that frequently love is in place when people are witnessing the projections they can interact with (Baltar and Six from the start, Six and Baltar roughly at the point that she reveals she loves him back, Baltar and Baltar at his most self-obsessed, Tigh projecting Ellen onto prisoner Six, perhaps even Lamkin and his dead cat!) I also recall on New Caprica, the detail that the Cylons suspected that "true love" was required as part of the conception process. This feels relevant in Six conceiving the first wholly cylon child from Tigh, who is powered in part by the projections of Ellen that he sees and presumably the love that they admitted to each other when she died.

Roslin and Adama's low-key affection on New Caprica (the most heart warming of the romances by far back then) has become way more active and prominent in Season 4, and it has had me thinking for several episodes now. Overwhelmingly, the love relationships in this series have been destructive, or plain rotten to the core. Caprica Six uses Baltar to lower humankind's defences. Boomer was a cylon agent and mislead Helo as part of a breeding experiment. Tigh and Ellen have resentment and infidelity. Lee and Starbuck both leave a trail of ill-advised and failed relationships. Tyrol resents settling for Cally and disrespects her even after she has died. And then by comparison we have William Adama and Laura Roslin. From the point he started visiting her in hospital and reading to her, it seemed conspicuous to me that they are developing a purer form of love which is more selfless and self-sacrificial than the others have enjoyed. Now Adama has given up his career for her and is sitting and waiting in the cold depths of space for her to reappear, and I am feeling more and more assured in this theory! I'm also aware than Roslin is still ill and is going to need another miracle some time in the near future in order to keep surviving. Maybe this pure love is the key? The fantasy element of BSG is ever-increasing at this point and to try and guess the rules of this universe before they happen is pretty foolish! I just hope there is some explanation regarding the projections we see all the time, if it turns out they have always just been an abstract storytelling device I'm going to be disappointed!
Luke - Thu, May 21, 2015, 9:10am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S2: Peak Performance

This episode, while enjoyable enough on the surface, really falls apart for me on closer inspection.

It all starts with the opening scene between Picard, Riker and Kolrami in the Observation Lounge. Picard's line that Starfleet is not a military organization just bugs the hell out of me. If it's not a military, then why in the world were Kirk and company always called on to perform military operations and why are Picard and company so often shown doing similar things?

I think SF Debris summed it up perfectly in his review of this episode: "Let's be adults here - you have a ship full of weapons, working with government authority, that has military ranks, military style protocols, which comes to defend systems from military threats. You are personally armed with legal weapons. Your government has no other organization that is called, or is like a military in any way what-so-ever. And, if you fail to follow through on your 'duty,' you're court-martialed - a word which means 'military court.' Pretending that Starfleet is not a military is like pretending that Patrick Stewart is not bald."

Saying that this isn't a show about military things is disingenuous at best and downright stupid at worst. We have an episode here that is about improving combat tactics for people who aren't in the military?

And to this the fact that every character, not just Kolrami, is arrogant in the extreme, and I'm not sure who to root for.

The only 'good' thing this episode has going for it is its depiction of the Ferengi (never thought I'd say that in early TNG). They not the laughable failures of "The Last Outpost" and "The Battle." They're shown as semi-competent adversaries, even if they're still over-the-top (I AM BRACTOR! LEADER OF THE FERENGI ATTACK VESSEL KREECHTA!)

Smegma - Thu, May 21, 2015, 4:11am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

I thought the entire series was poorly written. Certain events occurred or had been resolved (mostly the latter) too quickly, as if they knew that people would forget what had happened after a full commercial break. TNG on the other hand, had events occur logically and thoughtfully. Deep Space Nine did have a darker side, examining more complex moral issues and that made it better than TNG.
I thought the actoring was horrendous for the most part in Deep Space Nine. The best actors were Quark, Odo, and finally Worf. The actor who played Sisco was aweful. I compare him to Shatner because he breaks down his spoken words into groups, and he sounds like a machine when he says his lines. It's a good thing DSP doesn't give Sisco as many lines as TNG gave Picard.
If you binge-watch the series as I did, you recognize a pattern in how the shows are presented. The middle of each season is dedicated to side-plots and character development, such as Ferengii affairs, etc. By the 5th or 6th season, I learnt to just speed through those episodes. I also noticed that the shows are created around the concepts of tiny cliff-hangers designed to keep the viewer on the couch so that the viewer watches the commercials.
The ending was disappointed. I was hoping that the Federation would bargain for peace with the Founders using the cure they had. Instead, Odo linked with one of them, and then the war was over. It didn't make any sense. In a way, the cure was the bargaining chip, but it wasn't made clear that it was.
Deep Space Nine had a very dislikable character or two, and they totally misused those characters during the final episodes and that was the true crime of the series. I'm referring to Dukat and the Kai.
Another problem with DSN is that there is alot of "spirituality" concepts. TNG was much more Atheistic in nature, even with Q running amok at times. I prefer the religious slandering of TNG over the spiritual overtones of DSN.
DSN had superior CGI, and the epic battles seemed closer to Star Wars than any other Star Trek I've watched to date.
I thought it was a mistake to kill Jadzia/Dax in the sixth season. I didn't find her replacement to be compelling at all. She was just a week and uninteresting character that kept whining. It should be noted that she was tiny and uglier too, which doesn't help the cause. I felt like too much time was devoted on that in the seventh season, rather than tying up loose plot ends.
Also, sometimes the show didn't make much sense. Like the changeling that had the ability to be a gas, a mist, and it can be jailed... Or that the Defiant can be cloaked but during wartime it remains uncloaked and taking on hits when it could have been cloaked... Or how easily people can travil within the galaxy, to earth for instance, as if it didn't take any time at all, unlike TNG where you felt the enormity of the galaxy. Or the weirdness of the alternate universe shows that were obviously time fillers for the writers.
In conclusion, the final moments of DSN were spoiled with too much interpersonal character sideplots rather than the political aspect of the intergalactic war. Many shows built a plot over a long period of time, but the climax of the story occurs so late that no time is spent on the denouement of the episodes. The only long denouement is the final episode where each character says their departing 'good-byes'.
zzybaloobah - Thu, May 21, 2015, 1:10am (USA Central)
Re: BSG S3: Crossroads, Part 2

Three words:
Deus Ex Machina

Again, it's hard to care about plot when the story is so obviously directed from above.

And, while some object that SF without mythology is uninteresting, the flip side is that at some point it stops being SF and becomes fantasy. And some of us *like* SF. And even fantasy has to have some sense that characters have control over the situation. Imagine the Lord of the Rings if, every time the Fellowship or Sauron made some major gain, the Valar got directly involved to change things around. Or DS9 if the Q started micro-managing the Dominion War.

And here's one for you. 12 colonies. Let's say 40 billion people. There's now 40,000. So, the chances of any ONE person surviving the attack are 1 in 1 million. What's the odds that 4 of the final 5 would survive? Add that to the list of mysteries to explain.

How could Baltar be found guilty when everyone else was granted amnesty? He wasn't around when amnesty was granted, he was off collaborating with the Cylons..... I don't think the amnesty included *future* actions. If you really want to follow Lee's speech to it's logical conclusion, there are no laws, we have a state of anarchy, which - as a practical matter -- would be followed by a military coup -- and there's no "legal" basis for objection.

Yeah, it's getting harder to find charaters to like.
Athena comes to mind. I can't find *any* fault with her.
Helo is good -- aside from his questionable decision to prevent infecting the Cylons.
Adama is good, but is a tyrant when it comes to his perogatives of command (but what do you expect from a military leader)
Roslin has her flaws and bad moments, but she seems to recover (like ultimately listening to the Chief about working conditions) and genuinely cares about the people (something you'd never accuse Baltar of....)
And there's a whole host of good / bad complex likeable characters (the Chief comes to mind)

So, I still like enough characters to stay very interested... I still love this show.

@Ryan "spectacularly ballsy asspull" Well said!

Interesting comparison to Return of the Jedi. I found that to be mindless entertainment precisely because of the silliness of the mythology. And the reference to Gilgamesh -- I can imagine Picard saying that humanity has grown up and is not so enthralled by Gilgamesh as it once was.

I believe the universe is (mostly) knowable, and I expect things to (mostly) make sense. I'm hoping the BSG universe makes sense, but the prosecution is building a pretty compelling case against it.

Final thought. There were a lot of posts on the DS9 board objecting to the wormhole aliens and the explicitly religious aspect of the show. Wonder what those people think of BSG?

zzybaloobah - Thu, May 21, 2015, 12:24am (USA Central)
Re: BSG S3: Crossroads, Part 1

My biggest disapointment is with Lee. He can be so idealistic AND naive -- and that's a dangerous combination. He lets Lampkin (a brillant character by the way) lead him by the nose and ends up seriously compromising himself. Lampkin tells him: "The system requires you to tell what you know about Roslin". Really?
Is that why Lampkin tried to talk the Six out of testifying?
Lampkin certainly isn't above abusing the system. Lampkin is a consummate player of the game. Lee becomes, essentially, a spy for the defense.

If Lee wants to work for the defense, fine, but he should openly announce that fact and not be allowed access to CIC, Adama, Roslin, etc.. As is, he ends up looking like a turncoat with a massive betrayal of trust.

(Minor spoiler)
Nice speech at the end about everyone else getting amnesty. He left out one detail: Why didn't Baltar get amnesty? -- he was off collaborating with the Cylons at the time (why wasn't that charged as treason?)

In the BSG universe, I think showing Roslin taking chamalla strengthens her case. The first time she did it, she had *accurate* vision. In the world we live in, we dismiss people with visions. But her visions came *true*. I'm enough of a realist to acknowledge that the world is the way it is, not the way I'd expect it to be. So, the defense has just shown that Roslin has access (through some unknown process) to accurate information not available to others. In any case, her testimony was about events on New Caprica, when she *wasn't* taking chamalla.

Let's see what actual crimes we, the audience, can pin on Baltar:

Leaking classified information when he allowed Six access to the defense mainframe. Not treason, but enough to get him locked away for a long time. And, given the ultimate impact, I'd give him the maximum sentence possible.

Identifying Sharon as a Cylon, then not telling anyone. That's willfully helping the enemy. Treason

Giving Six a nuke. Treason

Helping the Cylons find the Eye of Jupiter. Treason.

He's GUILTY, even if the prosecution can't prove it.

Sympathetic? Really? Entertaining, yes, but never sympathetic. I understand we look at fictional characters differently than real ones, but I always try to think "if Baltar was someone I had to interact or work with, what would my feeling be?" I'd hate the fracker.

One of my favorite lines in the whole series, one I just can't get out of my head, is when Tigh refers to "Gaius Fracking Baltar". I can't help but hear that every time I think of Baltar.

What's really interesting about this is the HUGE range of opinions about Baltar. We've all seen the same things, including his inner discussions with Six, yet our opinions of him are all over the map. It probably says something really good about the ability of the writers to create a complex character, but it seems to also say something disturbing about some pretty huge differences in how we evaluate people. Would some of us look at, say, a Charles Manson and see a sympathetic character? Would others look at an Abraham Lincoln and only see a unscrupulous tyrant?
Why the huge range of opinions about Baltar?
Robrow - Wed, May 20, 2015, 11:58pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

Lovely review. And a very lyrical coda to a wonderful episode. I got shades of Prospero in the Tempest: 'we are such stuff as dreams are made of'. As Jammer says: of course it's not subtle, neither was 50s racism. And it was great to see so many of the actors out of latex. Especially Shimerman and Auberjonois.
Xylar - Wed, May 20, 2015, 8:08pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S6: Barge of the Dead

I didn't care for it, for a very simple reason. I dislike any episode where the afterlife is depicted as actually existing and following the rules of whatever species they belong to. The afterlife isn't meant to be confirmed or denied. They seem to understand that in so many other Trek episodes. Even the one where Neelix suffers from a near death experience leaves him in doubt as to whether or not his version of the afterlife actually exists or not.
This one has too much detail and confirmation to be credible. You can't confirm or deny the existence of an afterlife. You can only hint at it. Any character development that follows in this episode was ruined for me, just because of this.

Silly concept, poorly executed, boring as hell (no pun intended).
The Man - Wed, May 20, 2015, 6:20pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

You don't want to hear it @Nissa? Clearly you're taking real life issues and extending f it to a fictional character. Clearly you're blind or haven't seen the episode "Booby Trap" she wasn't created for him to fantasize about she was a diagnostic program and the computer took personality traits from her appearances at caucuses in an attempt to give her a personality Geordi did not give her that personality.
The Man - Wed, May 20, 2015, 6:15pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

It's amazing that people are getting legitimately angry and calling Geordi creepy, a stalker and calling it sexual harrassment. A fictional character no less!
Robert - Wed, May 20, 2015, 1:53pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S1: Acquisition

@john walsh - Sadly this is why Abrams got his shot though. If B&B were knocking it out of the park we wouldn't be in this mess.
W Smith - Wed, May 20, 2015, 10:27am (USA Central)
Re: ENT S2: Judgment

Maybe a two star rating, but even that's pushing it. Derivative from Trek VI, felt like I'd seen most of it before. The story was incredibly predictable the whole way through. The only saving graces were Hertzler's performance, and a closer look into Klingon society with a class structure that makes the culture make some sense. If they developed warp drive then they must have scientists and some kind of value placed on education and knowledge beyond the martial. That was nice to see, but it didn't need this derivative story to introduce this concept of the Klingons. Season two Enterprise is just putting me to sleep and making me look at my watch. I can see why I gave up on it during season two in its original run, but I'm determined to see it through to the end this time.
jonn walsh - Wed, May 20, 2015, 9:10am (USA Central)
Re: ENT S1: Acquisition

I'll take this over Abrams all day every day.....
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