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- Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 10:37am (USA Central)
Another chuckles-centric ep. Yawn. Didn't find it interesting in the least. Still thought the tattoo looked better in S4's Living Witness.
Best part of this ep was the always-reliable Robert Picardo's performance as the Doctor. Here Kes gives him a lesson in empathy. One that I'm sure his adaptive programming algorithms quickly took to heart.
1 star is all I could muster for it. And only because of that silly but entertaining subplot.
- Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 10:26am (USA Central)
I wasn't particularly enamored with this episode. I didn't find the plight or the people particularly memorable. No moreso anyways than those wanderlust stricken people in S3's Darkling. At least Robert Picardo's performance in that saved it from the snorefest it otherwise was.
In this I really can't find any redeeming virtues about it. S3's Remember was in similar territory but I guess the devil is in the details. I actually found that ep to be more fascinating than this one, too. The people and their history were a bit more fascinating for me. that and the way it unfolded. There was a certain mystery to it because I didn't know what direction it would go in. In this ep I have to say I was nonplussed about the way of life on that planet for better or worse. It could only end one way, which it pretty much did.
Kate Mulgrew's performance in it was tender, a paradigm shift from the usual half taskmaster half mommy that normally accompanies her Captain persona.
I don't know what kind of torture tactics they could have possibly used to make a Vulcan scream like he just saw Bea Arthur naked but it was jarring, to say the least. The self control he retained when dragged back into the holding cell was a testament to a man who knew how to quickly regain and retain it, though. I respect that in anyone nowadays, let alone a Vulcan.
B'elanna's reaction to it all was what we would expect from her. The Klingon/human battle still rages on within. You can practically see her halves warring internally just like they did externally in S1's Faces. I'll give her that much.
But I know she desperately tries to deny her Klingon half as much as possible. No surprise she opted to suppress those feelings while she tried to help a colleague whom had just been tortured moments earlier, yet retained a controlled demeanor once the session ended. For him the solution was rather simple. For her not so much. In this situation a Klingon reaction would have been pointless in any event. Just conserve your strength. Any level headed leader would have told her that, not just a Vulcan.
Interesting that these two polar opposites in emotional control would be paired up. No matter how many buddy cop movies that get put out where the protagonists are polar opposites the concept just doesn't seem to get old. But the only time we'd see them in any scenes together were in meditation. Not out in the field.
Then again Tim Russ was far too underutilized in the show anyways. Which would be one thing if he weren't such a outstanding actor.
In spite of their scenes, however, I still can't give this more than 1.5 to two stars at best. I just didn't find the premise all that interesting. It didn't exactly bear repeated viewings for me. Other than the Tuvok/Torres scenes I barely remember the rest of it.
- Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 9:28am (USA Central)
New Trek Series Coming in 2017
I like "Mad Men" and its spiritual successor "Halt and Catch Fire". So, I'm also in favor of a major arc per season where the characters all have their own story.
Unless it's done *really* well, I'm definitely not interested in nothing but disposable in-and-out, one-and-dones.
TOS, TNG, VOY, the first two seasons of ENT. We have 19 seasons of Starship Trek done in that style. Nothing will make the New Trek series look stale and outdated right off the bat faster than that.
And how long could they keep up a string of episodes that are so that well done that it would off-set the staleness of the formula? Especially when most of it's already been done and that's not how the Non-CBS Demographic watches TV. The first season would be the strongest, then it would drop off.
I'm not saying it should follow the path of DS9, because I don't want to see another series escalating into an all-out quadrant-spanning war, but, structurally, the way DS9 was set up in its later seasons is the closest example of what a Star Trek series should be like in the Binge Generation.
- Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 9:22am (USA Central)
New Trek Series Coming in 2017
@David, I agree with you dislike of the way that many serialized shows use gimmicks and "mysteries" to string viewers along without ever delivering a payoff. I think when we look back, most of us like Trek because of the great standalone episodes that hit upon profound social or philosophical points. I'd hate for that to be sacrificed on the alter of some greater "mythology."
That said, you do have to realize that making a TV show is a lot of work and there's just a tradeoff in quality if you shoot for quantity. It's possible to have 18-22 episodes per season, but it's a lot harder. If we got 18-22 excellent episodes, I'd say go for it, but we all know that even the best Trek had a lot of low quality filler episodes because the writers were so exhausted that they just filmed half-baked ideas.
I actually thought the first two seasons BSG provide a good example of a middle ground. They're not overly serialized and there are some important overarching story arcs, but also enough room for good standalone episodes. You get the sense that the ship has an overall mission and the show has a sense of purpose, but the show can also take the time to explore other interesting issues. I've also been impressed by the earlier seasons of the new Doctor Who and how they have standalone episodes but build up to a finales using pieces scattered throughout the season (the later seasons under Moffat are unfortunately more of a mess).
In terms of cast, maybe 5-6 leads, but it's nice to have a stable recurring cast as well. Even something as simple as having the same person play the same bridge officer would be a nice attempt to build realism into the show (unlike TNG, where the helm officer changed every few episodes). I think the number of leads and storylines has to be relatively small though with fewer episodes per season. I would hate something like the later seasons of Game of Thrones, where you have 20 different characters and plot threads, and each one gets 5 minutes per episodes to move forward. I think Trek really needs more time to breath and let each episode be about something more than just moving the chess pieces to their next positions.
@Lord Garth, remember that even though there has always been diversity in the US and the world, it's certainly gotten MORE diverse since the 1980s. Just in terms of demographics, whites went from something like 80% to less than two-thirds of the population. Also, issues of diversity are in some ways more prominent in our national discourse and debates. With all of our involvement in the Middle East, Americans have been forced to understand other cultures in a way we really haven't for much of our history. So it's increasingly important for pop culture franchises like Trek to help us think about how we do that.
- Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 3:55am (USA Central)
New Trek Series Coming in 2017
Was going to add but apparently can't edit a post once posted--that this notion that thirteen episode seasons is a good idea. Let me point out that a lot of shortened season shows are crap(salem, under the dome, extant, heroes reborn, caprica, V 2.0 , the strain, American horror story, scream queens, sleepy hollow etc). I'd much rather have a traditional sized season in the range of 18-22 episodes. It can be done. It has been done and most pre 21st century shows churned out pretty consistently good large seasons
- Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 3:49am (USA Central)
New Trek Series Coming in 2017
And I don't know about anyone else but frankly I'm not a fan of the style that every tv series nowadays has adopted. Namely I wouldn't want this new trek series to have a massive cast, some mystery puzzle format with lots of unanswered questions inside of some unwieldy series spanning convoluted mythology featuring flashbacks or flash forwards, interconnected collision storytelling with a breakneck pace and an over reliance of jerking the audience around with a lot of cutesy gimmicks
Frankly tv in general but this new series specifically really should get back to basics. A modest ensemble of seven or eight main cast members. No overarching mythology but rather start off with standalone episodes--and I'll point out standalone isn't the same thing as procedural. Then once the characters are established then towards the end of the first season going into the second season start being a purely serialized series featuring a few season spanning arcs that result each year in being a self contained season long arc as opposed to something like Lost where the arcs span the life of the series. Slow down the pace. You know there is a happy medium between glacially paced shows like Mad Men or ADHD paced shows like BSG or Losf for instance.
- Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 2:19am (USA Central)
New Trek Series Coming in 2017
I have zero faith it'll be any good. If you look at orci kurtzman and their track record their shows are pretty abysmal with lots of fast paced action, plenty of plot holes and recycled storylines plus bland characters. And the rebooted trek films were mediocre at best. So I fear the new series will be just as empty and unsatisfying even more so if it takes place in the Abrams timeline as opposed to the original Trek universe
As much as I would be looking forward to a new trek series I'm under no illusions that sometimes you might think you want something then when you get it you realize you would have been better off letting it alone and enjoying the nostalgic memories--case in point all the reboots or sequels of older series from the 80s and 90s that have come out over the last fifteen years. Besides I still watch television on my big bulky old school television from the. 90s and have zero interest in watching a tv series on a laptop or phone from a streaming service.
- Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 1:57am (USA Central)
Second Season Recap
Season 5 Episode 1 "The Weight"
2 out of 5 stars.
"There are three types of people. Those who can count, and those who can't." ~ Flavin
"'You can't get there from here' should be this place's motto." ~ Dylan
In Season 5, Andromeda returns to its space opera roots, setting up a season long story arc. However this arc appears to have little to do with the original storyline.
After the rather anti-climatic showdown with the Magog "World" Ship (actually several worlds with an artificial sun) Captain Dylan Hunt flies through the Route of Ages and somehow looses his slipfighter without explanation, manifesting in a dark corridor where he comes face-to-face with himself. Baron Samedi, above, describes this second Dylan Hunt as "godlike", but in actually this Dylan is exactly identical to the first Dylan, except he is wearing a jacket. (Why Baron Samedi thinks this Dylan is godlike, I don't know, maybe he is a closest Sorbo fan?) The two Dylans smile as if to say "of course I'd run into myself here" and then turn away from each other.
This scene is never explained, or commented on, for the rest of the episode. What was it about? What did it mean? Why did it happen? Who the slag knows? Is this Dylan's "paradine" self? Is this Dylan from another time zone (such as when he existed the Route of Ages in a later episode)? This is Dylan from another universe? Is the scene a visual joke on the old saying "If you travel long and far enough you will eventually meet yourself."? This question, and more, will not be answered.
Dylan finally escapes the corridor/Route of Ages only to suddenly ended up wearing the jacket the other Dylan was wearing. Have the Dylans swapped places? Is this in fact the other Dylan we are now following? Or is this writers'/director's error? We may never know.
Dylan is now on a planet (still no slipfighter) and is found by the Trance stand-in for this episode. Flavin. Flavin in fact is about this episode's only redeeming quality as he actually makes for an interesting and fun (if predictable) character.
We are then introduced to this planet's/system's rather farfetched premise. Its 12 planets, all identical, all of which everyone finds familiar, which is suppose to be Tarn Vedran or the Andromeda. Why everyone find this familiar when only Dylan has been to Tarn Vedran and the denizens of the planet are not the Andromeda's crew is not explained, like pretty much everything else in this episode.
We also meet Schwarzenegger's little brother, who apparently runs this planet. Its unclear if the entire planet's population consists of this one little town or not. But its a population of idiots. Also working for the Arnold's little bro is Rhade.
Rhade's character has received a makeover. While the new Rhade is a lot more fun then the old, one can't help but feel that this part was originally written for Tyr and has been adapted for Rhade's character. He also comes off as slightly unhinged and angry at Dylan for . . . well no good reason really, just because mostly. Where would this episode been without some conflict between the main characters. It seems the writers have totally forgotten that Rhade use to an Admiral, as he in no way acts like one would expect a former Admiral to behave.
After what seems like several bar fights, Dylan and Rhade are finally reconciled, Flavin does his Obi-Won thing and dies and the bad guys are driven off. No question are answered, including the pink elephant in the room which none of the characters even address. If this is Tarn Vedran, then where are the Vedrans?
This episode rates 2 stars mostly because of some fun characters. The new Rhade is a little weird, but its fun to see him less wooden and a little more Nietzschean. Flavin's character too is a lot of fun and Thomas' impersonation of a priest-like Schwarzenegger is fun to make fun of. A lot of things aren't explained, but then again, it is the first episode of a season-long story arc and it does a fair just of setting up the premise, as awkward as that premise is.
- Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 12:02am (USA Central)
New Trek Series Coming in 2017
Thank you Lord Garth for your feedback. I didn't mean to suggest that society wasn't multicultural in the 1980s, just that it is even more so now. I also didn't mean to suggest that the alien races on Star Trek were stand-ins for non-white Americans, but rather non-white, non-Americans.
Maybe it's wrong of me to want Star Trek to evolve to meet my current needs. Perhaps I have just outgrown Star Trek. I'm not interested in watching a show about 7 senior members of a star ship with a hundred extras in the background, interacting with 2-3 guest stars of the week from a mixed bag of talent, shot on a sound stage of maybe 3 or 4 sets. I'm definitely not interested in stories where the transporters cause two crew members to switch bodies, or the holodeck takes over the ship, or DNA does something wacky, or the crew travels back in time to 2016 Minneapolis (with LA as a stand-in), or an 8th dimensional develops a parasitic relationship with the warp core...
- Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 10:03pm (USA Central)
The Voyager Conspiracy
This ep was completely displaced. Firstly I tend to agree with others that in spite of Seven's rapid-fire delivery of facts she is trying to arrange in some kind of order in her now disorganized mind the suggestion that a conspiracy at this point was even remotely plausible required a bit too much suspension of disbelief on the part of the viewer. I keep forgetting about the tricobalt missles that were used to destroy the caretaker's array in the pilot. Not that it matters since they were never mentioned again except in this. And forgotten again soon afterwards.
Now this would have been perfect in say, Season 1. It would have made for a better episode than Learning Curve. It was in any event, surprisingly. Which was about the only episode that even dealt with the displaced and disgruntled Maquis. I was rather nonplussed with that episode despite Tim Russ' kickass portrayal of Tuvok as always. The ending felt too simple and the premise was meh.
Anyways regarding this ep the way the story laid out was doable. And it would have fit in perfectly with the tension of the Maquis/Starfleet crew...in S1. The 6th season is way too late for any kind of talk about conspiracies on that miniscule ship. That's what made it so implausible.
Now with that being said I won't lie. I loved the scene w/ Janeway and chuckles going to Seven's alcove to determine the source of those power fluctuations. You could slice the tension in that room with a butter knife. Even the way it ended was solid entertainment to me. Couldn't stop smiling thru the whole scene. Now if this level of acting was the norm rather than the exception at this point in the series I could see the viewers begging for at least 1 more season. I might have even written a letter or two to the execs myself. "Have a heart guys, leave em stranded just one more season, please!"
Still, one great scene doesn't make up for its shortcomings. The greatest being it's 5 seasons too late for talk about conspiracies. The Maquis conflict was a thing of the past just before DS9's cancellation and at this point Voyager was the only ST show in town. Not to mention the crew was working side-by-side with each other during the whole conflict to begin with. I'm guessing it was riding on the coattails of the X-files which was a network superpower around this time. Regardless, I don't think I could have given this one more than 1.5 stars.
- Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 6:42pm (USA Central)
"Once upon a time, Captain James Kirk gave a famous and rousing (if hammy and portentous) speech where he exclaimed, 'Risk is our business'."
"Riiiiiiiisk is our business!"
- Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 1:42pm (USA Central)
An archetypal piece of lightweight fluff. Nothing wrong with that per se, and there are some nice moments (particularly Rom's parting revelation), but overall it falls very much into the "so what?" category.
The B-story you have to wonder about - Bashir tells everyone he doesn't expect to win an award that he doesn't win but secretly wanted to. Hmmm. 2 stars.
- Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 10:44am (USA Central)
A story with a simmering subplot, tho at the time we had no clue where it was going. Next episode deals with that.
As for the main story I didn't realize just how awesome an actress Susan Diol is. The chemistry between she and the Doctor was natural, unrushed and flowed perfectly. And the good doc still had time for quips (both intended and unintended).
I had seen her before, but prior to this ep I didn't make the connection. Admittedly I wouldn't until I googled her.
Not sure if anyone would know this but she was in two particular episodes of Quantum Leap. She was Rear Admiral "Al" Calavicci's first wife, Beth. There was in fact an episode that dealt (indirectly) with that. I remembered it because I thought she was adorable then, too. (well, that and after he returned from Vietnam he would be plagued by failed marriages and alimony, bit of a running gag on the series. But it was clear Beth remained the only one he loved unconditionally). And the final leap for Dr Beckett was in fact, to her to give her some good news. Nice touch to give at least Al a happy ending if not Sam.
And she was in one TNG episode briefly. Anyone care to take a guess which one? I'll let you good folks know later if you don't already know...
Which brings us to this awesome ep. Whod've thunk that she would be as charming as she was? I might have to watch other films/shows she's done. She has screen presence no doubt. It's subtle but its there. She seemed to establish a rapport with practically everyone. Too bad she didn't become a regular on the show. It would have been a perfect addition to what Jennifer Lien was as Kes. This is what I miss about the earlier seasons.
They flowed more organically and not so by the numbers as the last few seasons would become far too often.
Maybe this was another changing of the guard. Later seasons felt as if the writers' attention spans began to narrow in pursuit of multitasking and cramming too much into an ep. And here we are, some 20 years later. Multitasking has become par for the course in life. Doesn't seem like life is getting any better for most of us. Is it any surprise the earlier seasons stand the test of time better than the later seasons? (Ok, S4's Witness is classic trek in any ST mythos, let alone any season. I liked it more than even S5's Timeless.)
Sometimes it's just better to let things flow naturally instead of rushing it. I know we all have a limited amount of time on this earth but cutting corners just to get a product out doesn't make for a quality product.
This ep was near perfect because it didn't rush itself. Indeed it paced itself quite well. Yet at the same time those 45 minutes went by wayyyyyy too fast for me! That's how immersed I was in this ep.
It kind of felt as it could have been some kind of romantic comedy with just the right touch of drama. Which is a testament to the acting chops of both Picardo and the lovely Ms. Diol.
It also showed that the Vidiians were capable of humanity and great acts of kindness. And yet their condition had forced them to take draconian measures just to survive. We've seen them at their best-and worst. Deadlock clearly juxtaposes what we see here.
I almost forgot about S5's Think Tank, which I have not watched yet. I think it was mentioned a cure was found for the phage in that ep. Nice, but we already knew Klingon DNA was resistant to the phage. It would have been better to actually show an ep showing the steps it took to create a cure rather than just write it off. It would have been even more awesome to have seen it involve B'elanna one more time too.
Another reason I can't understand why she hated her Klingon side so much. It clearly gave her advantages a normal human would not have. Like oh, say, immunity to a disease that has killed millions of a race for how long? 2 centuries? Can't remember the exact timeframe. I just hate the way they make her sidestep that fact in that scene with Dinara. She is literally a cure for the phage but they never pursued her again? Talk about missed opportunity. In S6's Fury all they needed was to kidnap B'elanna and BAM! instant cure. And at this point in time they must have known about her Klingon DNA being the cure since it was discovered back in S1. Shame on you writers...
I know Klingons don't honor being a lab rat per se but a savior is a savior. How in the world did they develop any kind of technology given their mindsets, let alone space travel? Voyager's writers treated them like intellectually challenged primitives who barely discovered fire. Which is practically a slap in the face to the pains TNG took to show them to be more than that. Much more.
In the midst of all this Dinara remained strong and resolute without losing any of her easy charm. She even seemed to allay B'elanna's fears and suspicions with her calm but reassuring demeanor. It never once felt forced.
The writers should have had her be the one to create the cure for the phage rather than the lip service we got in Think Tank. By then the show was too rough around the edges. Her appearance would have been much appreciated.
The rating jammer gave it speaks for itself. Why, we even got to see Seska ever so briefly. Icing on the cake! It ended just as it was beginning. A heartfelt episode with a developing sinister subplot.
- Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 1:52am (USA Central)
I emphatically cosign the last two comments. What the people who hate this are looking for, I don't know. I would be curious to know what they would submit as an example of a very strong episode.
As a side note, it was genius to have the rebellious son hanging out with Klingons and trying to emulate them. Kind of like a white suburban teen who identifies with inner-city black culture.
- Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 1:02am (USA Central)
Nic, I'm with you: when the story hinges on trusting someone, it should be Troi front and center in the episode. Instead, she only gets like one line. That says a lot, unfortunately, about how they value her character. (I don't think it's impossible to write stories about possible liars with Troi heavily involved -- there are limits to what she can do. But she should have a lot to say, even on a deeper thematic level, about trust.)
Two other minor things that bug me:
- If ever there's a time to separate the saucer section and leave behind hundreds of unnecessary passengers, it's when you enter the Neutral Zone.
- The dialogue should at least acknowledge that the Romulans have violated the Neutral Zone too, right? It is presented as if the Enterprise going into the Neutral Zone is as serious a violation as the Romulans' encroachment on *Federation Space* in "The Enemy".
- Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 12:34am (USA Central)
New Trek Series Coming in 2017
I'm cautiously optimistic about the new series. Here are my reasons:
I'm not familiar with Alex Kurtzman's TV work but this *is* a TV series, so it doesn't have a film budget which means they can't afford to have nothing but constant "BLAM! BLAM! POW! POW!" Even if they tried, it wouldn't look as good as in the movies. They have to do something else.
If it's written the way most modern series are now, and it's available for streaming, there's going to be a continuing story line and the necessary character development and character arcs to go along with it. That's what made DS9 so interesting to follow.
Blockbuster Movies have to play it safe and conservative to make the most profit. With TV, you can get away with taking more time to explore relevant issues in-depth like Star Trek at its best did. The ONLY time important social issues were addressed in any of the films was TUC with the end of the Cold War. TVH to a lesser extent with "Hunting a species to extinction is wrong!" but TUC was harder hitting.
The movies can be big, dumb fun. I don't care. As long as the TV series has more substance. It was the same way in the '90s. The TNG movies were already heading in the direction the JJ Abrams films have gone. I like to say the best TNG movie technically wasn't a movie, it was "The Best of Both Worlds".
- Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 12:27am (USA Central)
Skeptical I agree about him not wanting to switch bodies. It sure was causing him headaches trying to fight Kes off but the reward was like you said the ability to kill people with his mind. For some reason I was reminded of that 1984 movie Firestarter with a very young Drew Barrymore. More specifically her old man who had the ability to influence others too, only for him to deal with heaps of nosebleeds afterwards.
As far as the Kes/Neelix relationship, I felt Neelix became a good deal more annoying to watch after Kes' departure, to be honest. I'm not sure if he was meant to be comic relief or what but even so I'd say the Doctor already had a lock on that. The drama bit I'd say B'elanna already took first place with that. Maybe Paris too. Nothing against Ethan Phillips directly, I just thought Neelix was not one of his better roles.
Speaking of locks I was just about to give can't-get-a-lock kim the benefit of the doubt at the beginning of the ep...till a few moments later when he defaulted. Oops-yer-gone cuz I couldn't get a lock.
I liked seeing this side of Jennifer Lien. She could certainly act it up when she wanted to. Kinda wished Roxann had done that more often too (she looked dern good in that blue bikini btw :)). The only time we got to see that side of her was when she was literally split into her Klingon/human halves.
Anyways Kes still showed more acting range than chuckles and kim. Even if you were nonplussed by her hamming it up I can't say I was bored watching the ep. The old mind swap concept is hardly new, but then again neither is time travel. Variations on a theme is the closest thing to originality we'll ever get, especially nowadays.
So I can't say I've seen it done quite this way before. And to that end it held my attention.
Who says resistance is futile? (Well, aside from the Borg, whom Voyager all but neutered by the end of the show's run) Kes was fighting back against Tieran throughout his possession of her. She continuously showed deeper conviction than the writers ever gave her. It never once came off as inauthentic. I know some reviewers here would say otherwise but I must admit I was thoroughly impressed. Can you imagine what she would have been like in S4's 'Witness'? This ep gave us a minor taste of an "Evil Kes" if you will.
Oh, and don't get me started on what that ep would have done if Seska stayed a part of the crew. Damn, wish I could go back in time to rewrite history myself to have the best of all worlds just to see them in action in that ep. Yep, I'd keep Jeri Ryan. How could you not? But I would also have kept Ms Lien and most def Ms. Hackett as well. I agree the ep was easily 4 stars as it stands. Just saying with the other two ladies in it the ep probably would have been THE episode of the series!
Back to this ep. Creeped out by her affair w/ Neelix? Didn't give it a thought to be honest. Everybody needs somebody, why discriminate based on age? They are both adults and like Kes said in Darkling she can spend her time with whomever she chooses. As long as they are happy together (and not faking the chemistry just to secure a paycheck and ratings) I don't really mind. Nasty way to breakup, tho.
Her advances toward Tieran's wife was something different. I get he possessed her. But something about that scene and seeing her slink around in black leather...lol. Tres kinky.
Still, since Jennifer rarely got to extend her acting chops I didn't mind the leather prancing just to see if she could hold her own. I'm guessing the writers didn't mind, either.
She couldn't go back to the way things were, even before her departure. That's why I rate it ever so slightly higher. It would have forced the writers to show a maturing young lady. In that sense it raises it slightly above the standard alien of the week fare.
2.5 to a low 3 is what I'd rate it.
- Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 11:06pm (USA Central)
New Trek Series Coming in 2017
Responding to some of Petetong's points.
"Transporters - clearly a gimmick to avoid costly special effect sequences with shuttles. The technology makes no sense and it looks cheesy."
Interesting because the Delft University of Technology is actually researching how to make teleportation possible.
"Society is also a lot more multicultural now than it was in the 1980s. Using aliens as stand-ins for non-white humans / non-American humans is offensive."
What's offensive to me is that you think society wasn't just as multi-cultural in the 1980s. As a half-Iranian who's not religious, isn't straight, and who was a kid back then, I was fully aware that our society was not largely homogenous.
Though, I will agree with you -- to an extent -- that having other cultures stand-in for non-white Americans can be offensive, it can work if the stand-ins are not intended to be derogatory and if the point of view for why they think the way they do is explained.
I also think that the Federation, at least in TNG, has more in common with the European Union than the United States. When Star Trek returns on TV, what I hope is that if the Federation is a stand-in for America, it's not a stand-in for Red America, like ENT Season 3 was. That was a _major_ turn-off.
The Red State / Blue State Divide we now have would actually make for a great episode. Not for the Federation but, if the Enterprise, or whatever the ship it is, runs into a planet like this. That would be Star Trek commenting on our society as it currently is. Using another planet to make indirect commentary.
"Ship design - the saucer, two nacelle, bridge on the top is boring. That design was dreamed up in the 1960s and has been played with over time but I think in 2015 we can come up with a more interesting and realistic design for a ship."
It has to be recognizable as Star Trek or the audience will think its something else.
Also, how are ships, shuttles, or craft designs in general that different between the 1960s and 2010s? And how does the concept a design being from 50 years ago mean that it shouldn't be the design for a ship in the future? I know of no ships in 1966 that looked like the Enterprise. I know of no ships in 1987 that looked like the Enterprise-D.
When it was designed doesn't have to have anything to do with how much it's tied to that time. If I didn't know, I could probably tell the original Enterprise was designed in the '60s. But, I wouldn't be able to pin down the refit Enterprise to 1979 or the Enterprise-D to 1987. Those designs are timeless. The Enterprise-E not so much. I liked in 1996 but the more time passes, the less I do. Some of those designs have stood the test of time, others haven't as much.
- Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 4:39pm (USA Central)
New Trek Series Coming in 2017
I agree with the idea of sprawling, cohesive, story arcs. And I agree 10 meta-plot episodes a season is a good number. But I would still like 26 episodes a season because it allows for the very trek-important stand out episodes, character study episodes, political parallel episodes, and playful episodes. Without those in the mix it won't feel like a trek series. Also, having those episodes in the mix preserves rewatchability of the series which is a huge part of trek also.
- Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 3:58pm (USA Central)
One of those episodes that has its cake and eats it in the discussion of the ancient prophecy. But nevertheless it does neatly skewer Sisko's avoidance of the Emissary question when Odo asks points out his agenda. And while Kira might believe the prophecy because of her faith, she also provides a cogent scientific reason that the Prophets/wormhole aliens might have foreseen events given they exist outside of time and communicated that. But at the end it was all a misunderstanding, and actually it wasn't a prophecy of doom but one of glad tidings and just as well we got all that sorted out for the good then. Seems like a bit of a cop out.
It was also good to see some interplay with Cardassians who are not military dictators, just for a change. 3 stars.
- Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 3:10pm (USA Central)
Yeah, Sisko does indeed adjust pretty easily to Smiley and Jennifer kidnapping Jake to get his attention. Of course, part of that is because Jake is completely unaware he was kidnapped...right? Because Jake went willingly and is unaware there is a problem? Which, uh...Sisko initially believed that Jake would not leave the universe without letting him know first, but that seems to have been false. Of course, for Jake to leave without telling Sisko he's universe-hopping strains credibility, but I guess we are to assume that Jennifer bowled him over and he went anyway. Regardless, whether Jake went willingly or not, the intent was there to kidnap him to get to Sisko, and the implicit threat that they will not return Jake until Sisko has helped them, and that Jake will die on the station if Sisko does not help them defend it. That is pretty beyond the pale; for Sisko to agree to this hostage situation is one thing, but for him to stay and command the Defiant again because he just can't help loving this plucky band is another.
The big emotional core of this episode is Jake and how the Mirror Universe taps into his nostalgia and grief. The episode opens with Jake missing Nog, only for have an even more importnt person who is even more permanently gone from his life reenter it through the mirorr. I like how his eventual encounter with Mirror Nog is unpleasant and Mirror-Nog is absolutely insistent on breaking any of Jake's sentimental desire to recreate his friendship with the real Nog with this guy. Depending on one's perspective, this could either establish the way in which Jake's close bond with Jennifer really is a Real Thing, since it is not automatically true that Jake will get along with mirror versions of his loved ones; or it could be the commentary on what the truth of Jake and Jennifer is, under it all, and Jake is able to see clearly how Mirror-Nog is *not* Nog because Mirror-Nog, unlike (Mirror) Jennifer, has no interest in deceiving him. The parallel between M-Nog and M-Jennifer is strengthened by having these be the (only) two people gunned down by the Intendant in this episode, as if the Intendant were intent on, ahem, shattering Jake's illusions, whether they are idealized or not. It's something of a statement against the MU as a place for wish fulfillment, which plays in with Jake's material in "The Visitor" (as methane pointed out) where Jake destroys himself to restore his father, as well as commenting on Sisko's fantasy role-playing his dead wife as alive again in "Through the Looking Glass." The death of Nog is mostly a comic beat, playing off Quark and Rom's deaths in the last two MU eps (I'm surprised Ishka or Gaila weren't offed next to ensure that the one-Quark-family-member-dies-per-episode pattern remained), but Jennifer's death is played out as tragedy. To some degree, it feels like inevitable quasi-punishment for the Siskos for wanting to play house with her; their wanting to slot Jennifer in to where our universe's Jennifer had been, and MU Jennifer wanting to slip into another convenient identity, leads directly to the encounter with the Intendant and her recognition that Jennifer's death can be a message to Sisko, though what that message is who can say. ("I'm evil," presumably.)
The episode feels a little more honest than "Through the Looking Glass," then, in suggesting that there are negative consequences to this kind of role playing. In both episodes Sisko plays pirate and gets to cozy up to a woman who looks just like his ex-wife, and here Sisko goes as far as to command the Defiant on a probably suicidal mission because, um, well, I guess he likes their cause, but I can't help but feel that Sisko could only possibly think he should risk his life for this MU Terran cause without even bothering to tell his son (who is right there) if on some level he accepts the MU is some sort of wacky fantasy land, as if Sisko actually has the metaknowledge that of course nothing bad is going to happen to him over there. That does hurt the tension in the episode and also hits the internal integrity of the story, when we know that Sisko is probably not actually behaving like he gets that this is ostensibly real, just in another universe. But the turnaround that Jennifer dies to teach Sisko (and Jake) a lesson somehow earns the episode's previous bloodlessness. The further you delve into fantasy, the worse the consequences emotionally; even if Sisko and Jake come away undamaged physically, they are hurt to the degree that they had invested in that world. The payback Sisko gets for punching Bashir and sleeping with Dax on his last visit is effective as foreshadowing of the final result (though Sisko's weird statement to Dax is pretty inappropriate; he should have been apologetic, or at least said that he had no choice as Smiley had kidnapped him).
As far as the episode's overall value, I agree with Easter's point that it's particularly ridiculous that the Terrans have taken over Terok Nor which is *still orbiting Alliance world Bajor* and holding it for who knows what reason; it is an illogical base, because the main strategic advantage to the station in the main universe is its proximity to the wormhole, and before that its main value was either in helping rebuild Bajor or in ore processing, neither of which are going on. The episode is a bit tedious, and the Jake-Jennifer stuff is sappy in practice even if there are some interesting things about the idea. What I do enjoy in this episode are the energetic performances on the Klingon ship, with a particularly great chemistry between Robinson and Dorn (the first Worf-Garak material is in the MU, huh?) and with a pretty good handling of The Intendant Mark 3. While the complex character from "Crossover" is basically gone, Visitor hits a better mixture of camp with seductiveness with glee to make the Intendant amusing while in her cage and believably dangerous when out. So overall I am not sold on this episode, but I like it better than "Through the Looking Glass," which makes it (to me) the only exception to the monotonic decrease in quality in MU stories from "Mirror, Mirror" through "The Emperor's New Cloak." 2.5 stars.
- Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 2:44pm (USA Central)
New Trek Series Coming in 2017
Get rid of the transporters? They're one of the most iconic things about Star Trek? And why does Star Trek have to be like EVERYTHING else? Can it eschew the mainstream ethos of hate/revenge/violence and be its own thing?
Star Trek was a special phenomenon that appealed to a broad base of people. (I actually said "was"--thanks for ruining the magic, J.J.)
- Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 1:08pm (USA Central)
Heart of Stone
The basic A-story seemed almost like a TOS idea - trapped in an expanding crystal! - but clearly in retrospect it is just a contrivance to get the Odo/Kira story moving. For me it doesn't really work, even without the surprise twist at the end (which was a decent one), and especially with the reset button push.
The Nog story line works far better, and has a minor character ever played a scene better than when he finally reveals to Sisko why he wants to join Starfleet? Marvelous stuff. When Rom stands up to Quark at the end it puts the cap on a nicely played story that trumps the A-story. 2.5 stars.
- Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 10:06am (USA Central)
Bread and Circuses
"They threw me a few curves" - brilliant.
- Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 9:50am (USA Central)
New Trek Series Coming in 2017
I'd like to see an even bigger reboot of the franchise than what the movies have offered. As much as I love TNG and DS9 and the TOS movies, there are some fundamental things about the Star Trek universe that just don't cut it anymore:
1. Transporters - clearly a gimmick to avoid costly special effect sequences with shuttles. The technology makes no sense and it looks cheesy.
2. Humanoid Aliens with forehead ridges - doesn't need explained. Society is also a lot more multicultural now than it was in the 1980s. Using aliens as stand-ins for non-white humans / non-American humans is offensive.
3. The cave interior on a sound stage - we're not idiots, we know it's the same set redressed over and over again. Pretty much every good drama on TV does substantial location shooting; Star Trek must as well. And when they go on location, a campground, park or quarry outside of LA is not going to cut it either.
4. Ship design - the saucer, two nacelle, bridge on the top is boring. That design was dreamed up in the 1960s and has been played with over time but I think in 2015 we can come up with a more interesting and realistic design for a ship.
5. I think the success of Game of Thrones should inspire the new Star Trek series to do 10 episodes/season (not 26), to have multiple characters/story threads spread across a universe (the show doesn't need to be fixated on the 7 most senior members of crew on one ship), and to kill of main characters All.The.Time.
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