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- Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 2:58am (USA Central)
What You Leave Behind
*Ric I meant to write
- Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 2:57am (USA Central)
What You Leave Behind
Thinking a little about what @Rif said in the "Doctor Bashir, I Presume?" thread:
I do think that Starfleet's never really punishing Sisko is a bigger problem than, say, not punishing Bashir over DBIP. Sisko is un-Roddenberryan in two major ways: the religious, nationalistic side with respect to Bajor, and the unethical, "getting his hands dirty" side with respect to things like "For the Uniform," "In the Pale Moonlight," or the "whatever it takes" to Worf in "Tacking Into the Wind." Now, Starfleet at least, or some representative of Roddenberryan philosophy like Bashir maybe, should go after Sisko on both counts, and Starfleet almost never does. Ross sometimes pushes back against Sisko on the Bajor thing, but inconsistently (and he pins a medal to him in "Tears of the Prophets," undermining the whole episode's argument as Confused Matthew pointed out), and no one ever really pushes back against Sisko on the moral stuff. The irony of course is that even if you take Starfleet out of the picture, those two should contradict each other. Sisko ending the show as a self-sacrificing messiah paints him as a saint, rather than the Complex Shades Of Grey guy. That there is no attempt to resolve the contradiction between Sisko as Space Jesus for Bajor and Sisko as poisoner of planets, perpetrator of a massive deception to trick the Romulans into a war, encourager of Worf to assassinate a Klingon head of state who is inconvenient, presents the scary possibility that the show is putting forth the argument that these types of things are the things messiah figures *should* do.
- Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 2:29am (USA Central)
Doctor Bashir, I Presume
Somehow, I don't actually mind that Julian "got away with" this in this episode; his father paid the price because his father was the one who was actually responsible for Julian being genetically engineered. I get that Julian lied, and that should be a big mark against him, but it's also clear that one cannot choose one's heritage and Julian being barred for entry into Starfleet because of his parents' decision is something that was manifestly unfair to begin with. It is noteworthy though how this compares to Simon Tarses in TNG's "The Drumhead," who similarly had a genetic secret and whose primary sin was lying about it, and whose career Picard speculated might well be over.
I think Sisko is a bigger problem, but I might write about that in the What You Leave Behind comments.
- Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 12:29am (USA Central)
The Way to Eden
I respectfully disagree, Jammer. I thought this episode was hilarious. I put it right up there with Sharknado as one of the campiest, most unintentionally hysterical things I have ever seen. Now I just need to watch it high! XD
- Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 12:13am (USA Central)
Doctor Bashir, I Presume
I totally agree with Jammer when he points the dramatic problem of Julian not having to face any consequences of his whole-life official lies. This is a bit too much for me. One day, Sisko bombards and poisons an entire planet to arrest a traitor. The other day, Wolfe illegally harms the controlled weather of Risa just because he is jealous of Dex. Then later, Sisko prevents Bajor to enter the Federation based on magicbabble visions of the future. Today, Bashir assumes that he has lied to the federation during his own life, even during his medicine tests, for sure.
The consequences imputed by Starfleet for all those cases? None. Zero. Nada. This just cannot be credible, sorry. I get that DS9 tries to give grey tones to the ideal Roddenberrian future. For one, showing that judgements and moral choices in the frontier are not as simple as in the voyaging starships such as Enterprise, as Wolfe recognizes in the beginning of last season. Actually that is what makes DS9 so incredible for may of us (myself included). I do love the even somewhat anti-Roddenberrian tone used sometimes.
But one good thing is to give us a show where things are not as morally clear and simple as within Federation own ships. Pretty good. Another totally different thing is to show the same Federation and same Starfleet in the same reality making such heterogeneous decisions about Starfleer officers' misconduct just depending on which show we are watching.
In this point, the is just incoherent bad linking with the Trek universe, not shading Trek with tones of grey.
- Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 11:31pm (USA Central)
Btw, do not get my whole thing wrong. I really like DS9 in general and its provocative sort of anti-Roddenberrian ideal world. But starting to rely on such things as magical-because-nonlinear-things, as an excuse to do any plot change they desire without the limits of credibility, is just something that cannot be praised as a gold medal episode. Instead of as an at least flawed one, even if having its qualities.
- Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 11:25pm (USA Central)
@Grumpy I see your point and I am glad you came with this. But what amuses me is that not even the babble-babble wormhole, babble-babble non-linear card was effectively used in this episode. In fact, they sort of took it as granted that we would just recall and rely on those babbles.
Or in other words, in this episode authors seem convinced that, as @Elliott has just said, anything written for the show that does not immediately fit into the fictional reality of Trek by default, will be automatically accounted for by a magictechnobabble that is not even present neither in this episode, nor in any recent episodes. This is just too lazy and too easy an approach to, saying the least, be praised as an outstanding episode.
In the same tone, regarding the magical godlike entities, I agree with you that at this point it is an explanation. But it is not certainly an elaborate one. It is not only a matter of taste. I dislike other things in this and other Star Trek shows, as it is normal regarding any show. But here we are talking about something that is very contradictory to the Trek reality so far: magic-like technobabble. It does fit, into the reality proposed by Star Wars, to have such a thing as the Force. It does not fit in the reality we've been presented in Trek to have magic god-like creatures without careful explanation. Take, for instance, Q in the TNG show. Of course he had godlike powers as we think of gods, but in every Q episode we were exposed clearly and coherently to how he has been messing things around and how humans reacted coherently to that. In the current DS9 episode, this is not the same. We are exposed to Sisko having an electric shock when playing with ancient religious pieces, then Sisko just starts seeing the future and making decisions solely based on that, without the natural consequences.
If the idea was to do with Sisko similar something similar to what happens to Pickard in “All the good things…”, it clearly didn't work the same. And why? We just have to compare how both episodes were built and explained. In the TNG one, the causes for Pickard seeing the future were made very clear and had rationale; the reaction of Starfleet and even the Enterprise officers to Pickard traveling his mind through time was very credible: distrust and consternation; and the decision to alter events based on a knowledge of the future was made by Picard after a good deal of philosophical dilemma. Nothing like those things came even close to happening in this DS9 episode.
- Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 7:15pm (USA Central)
@Grumpy: Um, so because they happened to have mentioned "non-linear" prophets, that makes any action they take defensible? So if in the 1st season of Voyager, Harry Kim invented a self-powering shuttle replicator, no one would criticise the incredible supply they seemed to have? Just having an explanation, no matter how stupid, is sufficient?
- Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 3:57pm (USA Central)
Ric: "There is not even sufficient technobabble thrown on the table to try explain how Sisko is supposed to have those spiritual visions of the future."
(babble babble) wormhole aliens (babble babble) non-linear (babble babble).
You don't have to like the show's reliance on magical, godlike entities, but you must admit they explain a lot. So anytime you see something like that, a Prophet did it.
- Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 3:49pm (USA Central)
That Kim was able to reroute tactical to ops (without an authorization code or anything) when the tactical officer is right there is beyond absurd. The episode loses all 4 potential stars right there.
- Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 3:45pm (USA Central)
How an episode like that can be rated fours starts out of four, is beyond me. Of course I read the entire Jammer's review, as I always do. In fact I've been reading the site for a while, but this is the first time I felt compelled to comment. And why? It is simple.
In this episode, we see Sisko having visions about the future. There is not even sufficient technobabble thrown on the table to try explain how Sisko is supposed to have those spiritual visions of the future. In this episode, Star Trek starts getting a Star Wars flavor that it shouldn't have ever get.
Not that I despise religions, or even think that humans are all necessarily atheistic or even agnostic in the Roddenberrian future (although most humans certainly are, considering the tips given in past Trek). This is not the point. The points are: 1) how can someone have such visions of the future without a good rationale explanation in the Trek world; 2) how can a Starfleet Officer make judgements and huge calls as Sisko made here, based on those visions, without being released of duty either before that (by Bashir, as Elliot mentioned above) or after (as deserved punishment) those decisions.
This is not a merely odd episode. Those were not merely awkward decisions in a Trek universe. Those wer huge plot changing decisions in a hugely plot chaging episode, once it delayed the entrance of Bajor in the Federation of Planets.
I can see many good things in the episode regarding the writing, the character development, even some acting moments, etc. But how can those things surpass the atrocity that the plot injures Trek with, is just beyond any coherent reasoning I can find. Sorry guys, I liked the structure of the episode, but a huge plot change caused my unexplained religious visions of the future in a Star Wars way? No, sorry.
2.5 or 3 stars to the episode structure and writting. 1 star to the plot. On average, 1.5 to episode as a whole.
- Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 3:09pm (USA Central)
Star Trek: Generations
Top 10 problems with this movie:
10) Scotty and Checkov clearly played the roles intended for Spock and McCoy -- complete with Checkov seeing to the medical needs of the refugees. I'm guessing Nimoy and Kelley didn't want to come back for bit parts.
9) Riker's complete incompetence in the battle against the Duras sisters is laughable. Even if they gotten the first shot through the Enterprise's shields, Riker could have just fired all weapons at the Bird of Prey and been done with it. Or, he could have remodulated the shields.
8) It's simply implausible that the Enterprise couldn't have found Soran on the planet.
7) It's simply implausible that the Enterprise couldn't have stopped Soran's device from getting to the Veridian sun -- especially considering it was clearly chemically propelled.
6) Picard's family scene in the Nexus was just poorly done and ham-fisted to say nothing of the really odd crying scene with Troi earlier in the film.
5) Inserting another lost love we'd never heard of in Kirk's backstory was ridiculous. Why not use Carol Marcus or Edith Keeler?
4) I don't hate the stuff with Data's emotion chip. But to pop it in and let Data resume active duty was just ridiculous. Something like that should have been done in a controlled environment.
3) How the hell does Guinan in the Nexus even know who Picard is? The whole 'echo' business was ridiculous.
2) There is simply no good explanation for why Soran couldn't have been on a ship or in a thruster suit to get into the Nexus. He was in the Nexus during the movie's first scene ON A SHIP.
1) Picard picks the hardest possible time to stop Soran, when he could have simply gone back to the point where Soran came on board the Enterprise and arrested him.
- Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 1:19pm (USA Central)
Star Trek: Generations
Watched this last night for the first time in years. Good lord, Data is positively obnoxious when he gets his emotion chip.
That business of the battle between the Enterprise and the Klingon ship is silly. It wants to be just like the destruction of Chang's ship in Star Trek VI. Right down to using the same footage of the ship blowing up. By the way, how dumb are the Klingons? They never think to rebuild a ship that can fire while cloaked.
And it was positively painful to see the original crew reciting technobabble about generating subspace fields and life sign phasing out of our space time continuum. How does one know if somebody is leaving our space time continuum anyway?
The whole affair was about getting rid of the old generation and ushering in the new. So how about making the new more interesting without the audience thinking "What the hell are they talking about?"
- Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 12:10pm (USA Central)
Trials and Tribble-ations
This was my first DS9 episode. I was sort of familiar with who's who on the space station but this waas my first full episode (I'm a reborn Trekkie and catching up - so far, I'm almost through TOS and TNG and at the begining of season 2 of ENT).
First, I gotta say that I love Sisko. I didn't expect that reaction, but, I think he's fantastic. His voice, his demeanor, his looks - he definitely won an admirer.
Second, as for the episode - I loved it. I wqatched it back-to-back with The trouble with tribbles, and at one point in the middle of it I think I exclaimed "this is my favorite Trek episode EVER!". I'm not sure that is really the case but it's definitely one of my personal favorites. I want to go out and tell everyone about it. How can people LIVE without watching Star Trek? Without knowing about Tribbles?
In short, it was awesome. I can't wait to get started on DS9 for real.
- Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 7:27am (USA Central)
Star Trek: Generations
Generations is one of those movies that critics hate for academic reasons, and other people tend to love (or at least periodically enjoy) for emotional reasons.
Yes, it's easy to tear the storyline to shreds, and yes, for the most part, Data's comedy routine with the emotion chip was awful. As someone with a professional diagnosis, however, I nominate "Scanning for Lifeforms," for the Aspergian National Anthem. The autism was strong with Data, and it was never stronger than in this film. ;)
If there's one thing which Generations was, more than probably any other Trek film however, (yes, possibly even First Contact) it was epic. This was a MOTION PICTURE, not a television episode. The special effects, the lighting, the outdoor location scenes, the overall scope of the story, (yes, even the fact that Data got the emotion chip, although the results were unspeakable) this is all cinematic feature film stuff, not TV stuff.
For the guy who compared this with Battlefield Earth, I actually thought that film was a blast as well, albeit in a dissonant, Mystery Science Theatre 3000 kind of way. Haters gonna hate, but if you're going to hate Generations, make sure you hate it on at least an 18 to 21 inch screen. It's just too bad, as Jammer said, that we didn't get a suitably booming soundtrack to go with the visuals.
- Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 2:10am (USA Central)
Requiem for Methuselah
I just have to point out one thing... Flint was watching them on a flatscreen TV with a soundbar. Straight out of 2013. Hell, maybe even 2014 or 2015. It was a little bit flatter than the ones around today. It never fails to amaze me how well Star Trek predicts technological advances.
- Thu, Dec 5, 2013, 9:29pm (USA Central)
The Measure of a Man
I love any Star Trek episode with Q,Data,or Spock in it.I think they are the highlight of the show.
- Thu, Dec 5, 2013, 1:20pm (USA Central)
Fifth Season Recap
@Josh : the irony in your list of "bad" episodes (not that I disagree that many of them are at best questionable) is that the majority "attended continuity" in the same way as the TNG episodes you mention: "Course: Oblivion" was a sequel to "Demon"; "Fair Haven" and "Spirit Folk" were paired, "Fury" was a (terrible) sequel to "The Gift"; the Q episodes were of course attending contiunity; "Friendship One" addressed 2 points of continuity, the new oversight of Starfleet over Janeway and the fate of Carrey; "Natural Law" attended continuity to "Human Error" and of course fed into "Endgame."
Now, of your list, the only episode I found to be exceptional was "Course: Oblivion," while the rest were so-so to quite bad ("Favourite Son" being the worst). Is this BECAUSE they attended continuity? Of course not! Serialisation, whether strenuous or light, can be great or terrible, just like episodic TV. Look at much of DS9's 7th season or ENT's 3rd season for relevant examples.
It is conceivable that Voyager could have been like a 90s BSG--less likely still is that it could have really been Star Trek in such a guise, but it IS possible. And I understand that many fans expected this to be the case (not specifically BSG of course in 1995, but a dark, heavily serialised, plot-oriented show). But there is no reason VOY had to be that, even with a "premise" (it's actually just called a bone-structure) as specific as it had. Janeway's speech at the end of "Caretaker" may have been disappointing to many, but if the plan for the show is right there in the pilot (be one crew, a starfleet crew, look for opportunities to get home, explore space and expand knowledge), I don't have a lot of sympathy for those who really expected something different or insisted on sarcastically criticising the rare moments when VOY was more like BSG as "too little, too late."
One of DS9's ironies is that its secondary cast was, for the most part, far better developed and utilised than its main cast. DS9 was the only series (and this includes the mostly laughable ENT crew) which could never have sustained 7 seasons with primarily its main cast alone. How many of DS9's great episodes heavily featured guest characters or secondary cast members? "Duet" centres on Marritza, "Improbable Cause"/"The Die is Cast" centres on Garrak & Tain, "The Visitor", while technically centred on Jake, is on a version of him which we never otherwise see, "IPML" (though not one of my favs) heavily features Garrak. There are of course, great DS9 eps with its main cast prominent ("Hard Time", "FBTS", "Children of TIme"), but where would that series be without its secondary (especially Cardassian) characters?
I genuinely believe that VOY's reputation would be quite different if either it began its run when DS9 did or if DS9 hadn't been produced. Think about it, at about the same time, DS9 started its run and TNG really started to slump. By the time TNG was drawing to a close through its really lame 7th season, DS9 was doing some fairly intricate Bajor-oriented plotting (not that this was a bad thing) in its 2nd season. DS9's style was, at the time, producing something quite good, especially when compared with TNG's more episodic and concurrently terrible final season. Then along comes VOY, which essentially was doing TNG's style, but better than the ladder had been doing, though not initially as well as TNG had ever done (seasons 3 and 4 especially).
Psychologically, this easily reads: TNG's format demonstrated it had become outdated as evinced by its generally terrible output near the end of its run. DS9 was doing better by comparison with its then novel quasi-serialised format. Therefore, episodic = terrible and serialised (ish) = good. If VOY had aired its 1st season during TNG's 6th & 7th or even just after TNG had aired without the DS9 component, I think it would have been a refreshing look at the Trek format for fans, like starting over with TOS in the 90s. Looked at side-by-side one can see the relative strengths and weaknesses of all 3 series and enjoy them (although DS9 was frequently infuriating in its anti-Trekness); what made VOY frustrating for many, I think was simply the timing of how the different series aired.
@Grumpy : I don't see that your (SFDebris') proposal is missing from the actual product. The Janeway from "The Gift", "Concerning Flight" and "The Omega Directive" is certainly not the same Janeway as "Nothing Human," "Counterpoint," "Dark Frontier" or certainly "Equinox." Calling attention to the change insomuch as referencing "Hope and Fear" in any or all of these situations would be as gratuitous and pandering as if in DS9's "In Purgatory's Shadow," someone had to say "just as the Emissary predicted, a swarm of locusts is descending on Bajor" instead of letting the connection with "Rapture" be drawn on more subconscious levels.
To a certain extent, I agree with your assessment of what makes a character "compelling." The problem is this device tends to wear itself out. Let's look at BSG again; by season 4 (four mind you, not the 7 the Trek's made their way through), Adama, Lee and Kara had all become basically uninteresting compared to their Season 1 or 2 selves, because they had been so "tested" as to have become totally used up in the character sense. The only character they really paced was Baltar who remained "compelling" from beginning to end.
With a few exceptions I can place Voyager's characters in the timeline of the series fairly specifically based on their actions, whether by writers' design or actors' choice. The same is true for TNG. I don't know the difference between S1 O'Brien and S7, or S3 Dax and S6, or S5 Jake and S7. Sisko I can place because of the plot--the more credulous and brooding he is, the further along in the series; Kira I can place for gaining competence. Bashir and Odo I can place because they are actual characters.
@Latex Zebra : all I can say is the emotional impact of episodes like "Projections," "The Chute," "Fair Trade," "Real Life," "Day of Honour," "Drone," "Thirty Days," "Latent Image," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "Equinox," "Barge of the Dead," "Life Line," "Flesh and Blood," "Human Error," "Author, Author," "Homestead" or, naturally, "Endgame" would be severely diminished/nonexistent if not for their specific placement in the series. These emotional reactions do not stem from plot mechanics (I mean, nearly all of them involve completely perfunctory plots) but from character growth and how that affects the viewer's attachment to them.
- Thu, Dec 5, 2013, 1:18pm (USA Central)
Fifth Season Recap
Isn't a required element.
- Thu, Dec 5, 2013, 10:39am (USA Central)
Fifth Season Recap
Whilst I agree with Elliot's sentiment that constant mentioning of things gone past is a required element for good storytelling. The main problem with Voyager is that nothing had any consequence. Everything wrapped up nicely after one or maybe two episodes. Great for a while but it doesn't allow for character growth.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 11:25pm (USA Central)
Why would Chakotay and Paris have to take duty stations?...there is a crew of some 150.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 9:23pm (USA Central)
Fifth Season Recap
Sorry if I didn't pitch it properly (and it's SFDebris' pitch anyway), so let me clarify. It wouldn't be a gratuitous mention of "Hope and Fear" grafted onto "Night." Rather, the consequences of H&F would shape Janeway's character for all of Season 5. She'd be different from S4 Janeway; she'd be affected by her experiences. It would lurk throughout S5, surfacing occasionally (not necessarily a direct reference to H&F), and culminate in "Equinox" when she's on the other side of the same dilemma.
Not that there's anything special about H&F or S5 in particular; this could've been done every season. Every character would have a new status quo, behaving in ways they wouldn't have before, the way they were in "Caretaker."
Assume that the pilot had introduced the most compelling characters ever. Compelling why? Because we want to see how they respond in tough situations. If their response is to be unaffected by every situation, they are not compelling. As Jammer politely said, "It would be nice to see these people and their personalities put to a bigger test beyond solving each week's plot." Unfortunately, the writers weren't interested in testing the characters. So I lost interest too.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 9:04pm (USA Central)
Fifth Season Recap
Well, part of the problem with the Voyager characters is that there really wasn't much progress, and the writers seemed to simply abandon doing much of anything with Chakotay, Neelix, Tuvok, Harry, or even Tom aside from his fairly pedestrian romance with B'Elanna. We got lots of Seven and the Doctor and (by default) Janeway, which mostly worked pretty well, but then they'd go off the deep end with the likes of Unimatrix Zero with effectively zero consequences.
It's not about serialization either - DS9 only ever became serialized in the last two seasons, and even then not consistently. Continuity isn't about requiring "recapitulation" of previous episodes but just building on plots and character interactions that came before to more richly explore characters and storylines.
In the case of a character like The Doctor, there was a fairly satisfying evolution of his depth from a somewhat irascible program to something resembling a real person. On TNG, we had episodes like "Family" or sequels like "Reunion" that attended to continuity, and I'd further hold up most of the episodes involving Klingon-Romulan intrigue in season 4 as among the best of the series.
As to the example of a novel, presumably each subsequent chapter builds on the previous and moves the story forward somehow. If you read a book about a ship far from home, and find that most chapters read like self-contained episodes in the journey without much attention to prior character or plot developments, you might find it frustrating.
Otherwise, regarding the "soap opera" epithet lodged at those apparently low-brow 'serialized" TV shows, I'd suggest dropping it. Unless you'd have us believe that Breaking Bad is basically just Passions with blue meth.
Anyway, if Voyager was simply going for a "space exploration procedural" format, that certainly never fit with the original premise, and it doesn't excuse the show from offering up episodes like "Darkling", "Favourite Son", "Rise", "The Disease", "Course: Oblivion", "Fair Haven" AND "Spirit Folk", "Fury", "Nightingale", every Q episode after "Death Wish", "Friendship One", "Natural Law", or even the questionable finale in "Endgame".
I don't think it's for nothing that Jammer repeatedly snarks on the shuttle crash cliche or the Hard-headed Aliens of the Week, to say nothing of Holodeck jeopardy episodes that were stale 10 years earlier on TNG, or the frustrating arbitrary plotting of otherwise promising episodes like "Human Error".
On Voyager I wanted to see more about the crew's interactions, more recurring characters among the crew (Naomi Wildman and the absent-for-five-years Joe Carey don't count), perhaps even some reactions or even dissension in light of Janeway's many questionable decisions. It doesn't have to be like BSG (a show that if anything had underwritten characters), but DS9 managed to have Garak, Dukat, the Ferengi apart from Quark, O'Brien's family, Sisko's dad, and at least half a dozen other major recurring characters. About the only ones I can think of on Voyager were Suder and Seska, the former of which was ultimately underused, and both of which were dead by season 3.
Anyway, I should stop complaining. But the idea that complaints about Voyager have anything to do with a desire for strict serialization or even just a "DS9 Superiority Complex" is ridiculous. Either way, I'll still be enjoying repeats of "Distant Origin" or "Living Witness" in the years to come.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 7:29pm (USA Central)
Vash is hot. Only saving grace for this detritus.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 7:26pm (USA Central)
Anyone notice this: this episode insults anyone ranked lower than Captain. It says being a science officer is a "lowly" and "pathetic" and "unfullfilling job" and "not as good as being Captain". It promotes heirarchial thinking.
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