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Robert - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 10:36pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S1: Heroes and Demons

Well Data's positronic net was supposedly so hard to replicate that nobody other than Soong was successful.

That being said, the Enterprise's computer accidentally made a sentient hologram in Moriarty.... so that fact that life could spring out of an EMH is far from difficult to imagine given Voyager is a more advanced ship and the pre-VOY canon supports such an accident anyway.

I've always liked the EMH as it connected to Data because of a few lines mentioned here and there ("The Offspring" and "Eye of the Beholder") about how hard it was for Data to transition into sentience. I actually feel like they paid a lot of that story off in Voyager. In a lot of ways it's an ongoing story that began with "Measure of a Man" and ran all the way to "Author, Author".
Peremensoe - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 10:23pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S1: Heroes and Demons

Yanks: "[The Doctor] is a computer program, while Data has the positronic brain. I think I see a difference there."

So Doc's mind runs on the ship computer, while Data's runs on his personal computer in his head. This is a physiological difference between them, but not a philosophical one, as far as I can see. The *location* of a being's mind says nothing about its capacity for thought and experience.
William B - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 10:05pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

@Peremensoe, I was not aware of that -- I recall hearing that Grace Lee Whitney found the environment very difficult, but I didn't know more than that. That's really awful (and makes that "Enemy Within" moment harder to stomach, somehow).
Peremensoe - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 9:38pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

William B and Robert, are you aware that Grace Lee Whitney said she was sexually assaulted by a Desilu producer during that time period?
Caleb - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 9:24pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Return to Grace

"The writers don't seem to know what to do with Dukat. At times he has wanted to: atone, seek revenge, receive forgiveness, receive vindication, get revenge.. and then at the end he becomes a fire monster who wants nothing more than to kill Sisko."

Completely disagree... well, sort of, that's just the thing... Dukat himself doesn't know who is, Dukat's existensial crisis and continually evolving identity is the point. Most people in life ARE all over the place because most people are not self-actualized, and Dukat's character makes perfect sense in this context, and it's part of what makes him one of the most compelling characters. His "fire monster" act near the end... well, I can see why some people can't jive with it, but for however over the top it is I still see it as a development that works in the larger context. Insanity can indeed be the eventual outcome of an existential crisis that only builds and where no self-actualization or realization is ever reached.

Oh, and 4 star episode for me.
$G - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 9:20pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Penumbra

This is a reasonable stepping stone episode. It's more about setting up questions for the last stretch of shows, but it does so well enough. The nicest moments involve Sisko and his plans to get married, asking Jake to be his best man, etc.

The Damar and Weyoun bickering is nicely reintroduced, as is the disease in the Great Link.

When Dukat showed up, I couldn't help but think, "I forgot you're still around". It's always nice to see Alaimo back, but I still can't shake the feeling that his character is now so far removed from the meat of the series.

The Ezri/Worf stuff is fine. Jammer's bang-on about how it really is a lot of break up-and-reconnecting cliches. I wished we'd have gotten something a bit more... weighty? It's nice to see Ezri call out Worf for never being around, but it doesn't seem like it's going much farther than that.

Like I said, it's a reasonable show with some good character moments. Hard to judge on its own, but it's a fairly well done hour. 3 stars, I guess.
Matrix - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 8:24pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

@Robert Cheers for that! I have read it and will probablybe thinking about this for a long time now and it seems a lot of other people will too. There's a passage on a reddit page linked there that I love:

PICARD: "I don't understand you! Return me to my ship!"

DARMOK: "Not sure if serious."

PICARD: "Wait. Are you saying that this is a complex bonding ritual in which we strand ourselves on a planet with a partially invisible monster?"

DARMOK: "Shut up and take my money!"

PICARD: "We shall be fast friends until the end of the episode."

DARMOK: "HA! HA! I'm using Forbes' insoluble dry plates!"

at the very least it makes you think and for that reason alone it's a valuable episode. i will be checking it out very soon.
Caleb - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 8:16pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S2: Armageddon Game

Very worthwhile for the O'Brien and Bashir stuff, but I just never bought the motivations of the T'Lani and the Kellerens and the last act felt rushed and kind of silly. Nonetheless, the character stuff is really good, and that last little revelation about the coffee... pretty amusing.
Jerry - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 5:29pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S1: Vox Sola

Not a bad episode, except for Dawson's incredibly annoying directing. Good directing is invisible; Dawson's is noticeable every single second, which is, at best, distracting and, at worst, STOP WITH THE FRICKIN' FOCUS PULLS!!!
Robert - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 4:10pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts


"The difference between that and the fabled continuity is that I don't think there's any rule that says that continuity is automatically better than not-continuity."

I will MOSTLY agree with this. There is no rule. That being said, the REASON most shows didn't have any continuity (the way Friends does but say Lucy doesn't) is because networks didn't like continuity.

If a writer decided their show would be better without continuity, that'd be an artistic choice. The choice to scrape away continuity to a point where episodes can function in any order is rarely an artistic one and almost always a business one. That said, continuity != serial. I LIKE that DS9 had serial aspects, but I do enjoy many shows that focus on "episode of the week". But the characters often do grow and continuity is present.

So when I compare lack of continuity to sexism I don't mean to equate them at all, but they are both more forgivable in the past because they are both relics of an older era of television. It's why I used the example of Lucy and Desi sleeping in the same bed because that level of conservativeness (ridiculous levels) is also a relic.

"I do think Voyager wasn't using all the tools that it "had available" in terms of the benefits of continuity, though, of course, no series use *all* the tools that are available, including all the Treks."

This is really what I meant. Not that Voyager doesn't have continuity but that the fear of change and the need to return to the status quo (which was a very real thing in most networks) hampered Voyager at a time that it should have felt bolder to make some real changes. It was missing a tool it should have had in it's shed and as such is a bigger disappointment than TNG, even if many of the episodes are of comparable quality.

"But then, is there a difference between NBC making demands in the 1960's and UPN making demands in the 90's/2000's? "

Probably not. Maybe it is unrealistic to expect that just because DS9 was trailblazing that VOY would follow it... but UPN making those demands in the later 90s was probably pretty anachronistic.

I do appreciate your last paragraph. I think I disagree pretty strongly with the possibility that abandoning continuity could ever be desirable, but perhaps there will eventually be a backlash to heavy serialization. Although maybe the extreme popularity of CSI/NCIS type shows are already that. They are VERY episodic (even if they do have continuity).
Jack - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 3:41pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: The House of Quark

Q'on'os and the Klingon Empire is on the other side of the vast Federation from Bajor and Cardassia...it has to be at least a trip of several weeks. They kept Quark unconscious for that entire trip?!?
Jack - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 3:04pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: The Search, Part I

I may have missed something, but is Eddington's debut "real" or part of the fantasy?
William B - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 2:41pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

I can sort of see both sides in this Robert/Elliott conversation. A few quick thoughts:

I do think it's worth distinguishing between *format* and, uh, *cultural assumptions*. It is true that over the past half-century, sexism and racism have become less extreme. I can find "The Enemy Within" quite a good episode, even though Spock basically jokes that Rand really must have enjoyed Evil-Kirk almost raping her. And it's not that it wasn't sexist then; it was wrong then. And it is a real failure of imagination that *Spock* would regard sexual assault as a great time to make jabs. However, on some level I am aware that people are not wholly separate from their culture, and while I find it disappointing that they were not able to break out of certain styles of thinking (and while I have my suspicions that Grace Lee Whitney's having a very rough time on the show and her departure may have something to do with the fairly crappy treatment her character gets, especially if you imagine that offscreen follows onscreen at all) I find it easier to let it slide while watching than sexism in TNG or post-TNG Trek.

Along similar lines, while it doesn't affect my enjoyment of TOS that much on an episode-to-episode basis, the presence of Uhura especially, and to a lesser extent Sulu and Chekov, does endear me to the show and to Roddenberry's vision in a big way. Uhura was a revolutionary character. She would not be now, because she very seldom has a big role, but she inspired a generation of women and black people, ala Whoopi Goldberg. That is huge, and it is an example of the show, on a meta-level, "putting its money where its mouth is," picking specific examples of things that were lacking in 1960's America and putting them in the imagined future. Uhura would not be a revolutionary character today, which is good -- because representation has changed over time. I'm not sure if I could say for sure that it would affect my *enjoyment* of the series, but it does in some senses affect my evaluation of the show.

The difference between that and the fabled continuity is that I don't think there's any rule that says that continuity is automatically better than not-continuity. Most of my favourite shows are continuity-heavy. I think that it is a very good use of the television medium, which allows for long-form storytelling in a way that films can't, and in some senses even in a way individual novels can't (though novel series can). As such, television *can* benefit from continuity in storytelling -- which allows for the possibility of seeing people change over a long period of time and as a result of key events, with some of the rhythms of life. Now, Elliott has made a good case that this still happens in Voyager, just without that many explicit references to individual events, so, you know, good if that's the case (my memory of Voyager is still kinda foggy). I do think Voyager wasn't using all the tools that it "had available" in terms of the benefits of continuity, though, of course, no series use *all* the tools that are available, including all the Treks.

If we do include an assumption that continuity is automatically better, then I think it is possible to construct an argument about why it's easy to let the earlier shows off the hook. For one thing, it really is true that continuity, even on DS9, was to some degree discouraged by the execs out of fear that viewers would be lost. I'm pretty sure that a Dominion Occupation arc of longer than six episodes was suggested by the writing team and axed. I can't say for sure how much resistance there was to TNG's small bouts of continuity, if any; the continuity in TNG is well integrated into episodic stories for the most part. With Voyager, I do think that there is some degree of network interference preventing the show from having greater amounts of continuity, etc. This goes back to "network interference" as the reason we couldn't have a female first officer in TOS (though TNG, alas, killed its only female line officer within the first year). On some level, recognizing that it's impossible for a series to show a certain something because of network requirements does factor into my view of the work. But then, is there a difference between NBC making demands in the 1960's and UPN making demands in the 90's/2000's?

I do think that there is something of a rebellion, at least in some quarters, against the ultra-heavy continuity. "Louie" is a pretty cutting-edge comedy/drama which overtly eschews episode-to-episode continuity often -- ending one two-parter with the title character apparently caring for his niece for the immediate future, and then dropping her in the next episode. In its case, the show is clearly experimenting, because it's an experimental kind of existential comedy. However, I think in there is a recognition that excessive dwelling on continuity can be stifling to creativity, that these stories aren't actually real, and that it may be that making something of a loose anthology consisting of several great stories featuring the main character, along with certain long-running arcs following more "traditional" recent modes of continuity, is a better option for telling as many great stories, packing the most punch. I think it may be possible that a new age of standalone or even anthology shows will eventually develop and the idea that it's automatically better for shows to be continuity-heavy will fade in proportion. On the other hand, it may also just be that the television medium works best when taking advantage of the long-form medium to tell, well, long-form stories.
M.P. - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 1:33pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S3: Before and After

About the Ocampan lifespan:

It is -not- plausible the way it is now. I cannot remember the exact math but a quick Google search would find it. Essentially, with a 9-year lifespan and only one reproductive cycle, the starting number of Ocampans would have to have been greater than the total number of atoms in the entire universe.

The way around this is to make fact the insinuated idea that the Ocampans are a dying species. Most likely, before the disaster, they lived much longer lives with many reproductive cycles. Time has seen each generation deteriorate to the point where their species is now at an end.

Sad, really. The Caretaker wasn't trying to protect them; he was trying to make comfortable their final years of existence as a species.
Robert - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 1:27pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

So I guess the reality is, no I don't think "I Love Lucy" is great.... for 1950. I think it's just great.

But it sure does make it easier to overlook certain flaws.
Yanks - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 1:26pm (USA Central)
Re: TOS S1: Space Seed

I nver bought the "Chekov" complaint... Khan had access to the ship's database...
Robert - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 1:26pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

I'm saying that if Final Fantasy 15 looked like Final Fantasy 7 I wouldn't play it h t t p://www.kotaku.com.au/2014/10/final-fantasy-xv-as-a-playstation-1-game/

That doesn't mean the original isn't one of my favorite games or that I won't break it out again the next time I miss it. It just means that the blockheads don't bother me because at the time you couldn't do better.

Just like I'd not give my time, energy or money to a television show capable of producing the sexist DRECK that is "The Turnabout Intruder", but since it's a product of it's time and made some really brilliant sci-fi I'm willing to look past the flaws.

I like Voyager (and have actually been saying a lot of nice things about it recently as I look over my comment history) but it just can't sit up there with TNG because TNG was a product of it's time and Voyager could have been better. The specific comment I was replying to was

"Once you accept Voyager is NOT DS9 and was never meant to be, and you compare it to TNG and TOS, it fares quite well. TNG had it fair share of doozies, and TOS well don't get me started on TOS. "

Saying it fares well in a DIRECT comparison to TNG or TOS is just not really a fair fight (it's like comparing the graphics of FF7 to FF15). Want to know what TOS is like with continuity? See ST2, ST3 and ST4. On going themes, story lines and continuity. The result? REALLY FREAKING AWESOME. Why were they brave enough to try that? Because Star Wars was doing it.

Voyager could have done these things AND played it safe. They didn't have to trail blaze. They could have just followed DS9. You don't have to agree with my assessment of Voyagers flaws. You don't have to agree that I won't cut Voyager slack against TNG and TOS. But I can't see it any other way.

Let me put it to you this way. Do you roll your eyes when Lucy and Ricky sleep in separate beds? Would you eye roll if Ross and Rachel did? I sure would......
Elliott - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 12:11pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

Are you saying you have a filter in your brain which silences criticisms over continuity, etc. based on when the show was produced? Are you saying that TV shows of our time are automatically better (or held to a higher standard) than shows of the past because our format has changed? I find this rather difficult to accept. I don't watch "2001" and think, "Boy this is great...for 1968," I just love the film for everything it is. True, I can analyse features of the film and account for how "of," "ahead of," or "behind" the times it was, but that doesn't affect my enjoyment of the film. The same is true for me of Star Trek. I don't hold a higher suspension of disbelief with TOS than I do for ENT; I've said before that I think Trek is best absorbed as mythology, anyway, but that's another discussion.
Robert - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 10:50am (USA Central)
Re: TOS S1: Space Seed

Unless it ever outright states that Chekov joins the Enterprise after this he could have encountered Khan off screen.

And you are thinking of a double feature. They don't do that much anymore.
Robert - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 9:16am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

For a lot of it's run Voyager did not much concern itself with how it would be viewed if you were marathoning it on Netflix, and it doesn't really hold up. Things like Kes breaking up with Neelix while possessed, Janeway not following through with her threats to the Vidiians, the Doctor's memory wipe barely being addressed again, Kim forgetting about Libby nearly entirely without it ever being mentioned again, and a whole slew of other things shows a casual disregard for continuity that keeps it from being great under a lens of how TV is viewed today.

And while you can forgive TNG some of those things I think it's harder to forgive Voyager. They DID try this a few times, and I thought it mostly worked (the Doctor's story holds up well over a Netflix marathon, the continuing growth of the Borg kids, Naomi growing up, Torres&Paris' relationship). I give credit where credit was due, but I swear a lot of times it seemed like the guy writing the episode of the week was barely familiar with the canon.
Robert - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 9:11am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

It'd be like TOS doing "Angel One" or "Code of Honour". I'd be MUCH less judgey about a show in the 60s doing that. TNG should have grown up enough to have never tried that nonsense.
Robert - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 9:10am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

While you are right about art.... being old fashioned on purpose can be charming. Being old fashioned because you refuse to adapt is... sad?

TV shows were crippled in the past by the requirement from networks that the episodes be able to be shown out of order. I'm not aware of any TV writer that laments the fact that now you can have characters develop (even if that wasn't the focus) because the shows are more likely to live on in DVD than to be watching in 30 years of TV reruns.

Refusing to grow up with the times is not always a sign of being old fashioned, sometimes it's just a sign of being dense. Like I said, I don't judge Voyager for not being a serial (I actually liked House M.D. to use an example LESS when it got more serialized, I preferred the patient of the week stories... but either way the characters were still developing), I just judge it because the network pressure to make it something lesser than it could have been is sad.

Whereas TNG was literally as good as it could have been at the time.
zzybaloobah - Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 12:56am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Strange Bedfellows

And don't forget:
"I'm sure the Founder will understand. If not, I look forward to meeting Weyoun-9."
Realistically, when did Damar get so witty? but I'm loving it.
todayshorse - Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 10:14pm (USA Central)
Re: TOS S1: Space Seed

Strangely, i had never seen this episode of TOS before although I have seen TWOK many times including years ago with my father at the cinema with I'm sure TMP first. Did they really do things like that? Show one movie then another? Or is my mind playing tricks? Anyway I'd heard about the episode and read about it here.

Bizarrely it turns up on some tv channel here in the UK yesterday, pretty strange!. Fascinating to watch.

One bit that I had to pause and watch again is when the gas gets released and Scotty sort of runs out the room but quickly turns round and floors one of Khans 'men' before running out. Rather bizarre but I thought pretty funny. I guess it was the same bloke that dropped Scotty earlier. Interesting that there's no Chekov in the Episode which kinda messes up TWOK a little though I guess that's already been mentioned.

Fabulous stuff that's got me watching quite a bit of TOS (loved the epsiode when they go back to the 1960's with the air force pilot!) even though 'my trek ' has and will always be TNG.
Elliott - Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 5:28pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

@Robert :

"But Voyager, like every other show, needs to be judged as a product of it's time."

I have to fundamentally disagree here. While some aspects of TV production may naturally evolve (read: improve) over time, such as special effects in an objective manner, there is no standard which says that story-telling formats are automatically better the more tightly they follow (or lead in DS9's case) trends. It can be of historical interest to note how show well shows capture the spirit or styles of their time, but it is not a measure of quality. Otherwise, the soap opera would an evolutionary highpoint of storytelling with its uninterrupted continuous narrative.

Several artists have been considered out of step and old-fashioned in their day (Vermeer, Bach, Pushkin), while others were cutting-edge (Hemingway, Wagner, Monet, Shakespeare). This does not diminish the greatness of any artist or work of art, it is simply a stylistic choice. The Voyager authors apparently felt it was easier to stick to the Trek ethos by embracing the Trek format of yesteryear (be it 1960s or 80s). This retro-style had little to no impact on the quality of the writing. Judge that as you wish, but I for one reject the notion that "timeliness" accounts for calibre.
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