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Max Udargo - Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 1:09am (USA Central)
Re: BSG S4: He That Believeth in Me

@D. Albert

Excellent analysis of the fundamental problem that undermined the series at it moved along. The key word here is "lazy," I think.
D. Albert - Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 12:39am (USA Central)
Re: BSG S4: The Hub

Good review. Thanks.

Baltar's biggest sin,of course, is giving the nuke to Damaged 6. And there is no forgiveness for that.

D. Albert - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 11:46pm (USA Central)
Re: BSG S4: Sine Qua Non

Good episode and good review.

Lampkin: Maybe just another manipulation. Maybe all the cool cynicism just a cover for twisted guilt. Most likely a combo of both. The greatest cynics were once idealists, for if you cannot understand the subjective, you cannot never move beyond it to the objective.

Saul: Looks like the Final Five are very different than the other Cylons.
D. Albert - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 10:42pm (USA Central)
Re: BSG S4: Guess What's Coming to Dinner?

"If you are not riveted by BSG mythology by the end of this episode, then you likely never will be."

I'm not. But, interestingly, neither is Sharon. She's chosen her side: family.

And that I can respect.

D. Albert - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 9:37pm (USA Central)
Re: BSG S4: Faith

Jammer, et. al

No doubt that "Faith" tells a story combining religion and science fiction. I am not so sure it does it successfully. If we presume science fiction is based in the so-called materialist view of the universe, then faith by definition is a material phenomena -- that is, part of the mechanics of matter and energy. Thus, to allow faith (unreason) equal footing with science -- in its broadest sense -- intrudes on science fiction and thereby undermines it.

It is not just this episode. Its the whole story. Most simply put, the Plot Gods' reliance on Fate and Destiny takes BSG well outside of SciFi. BSG is not SciFi, and that is too bad.

Just imagine a BSG universe that had been better laid out. Imagine a cohesive plot that made sense, rather than relying on Fate and Destiny to force things along. In such a series, the characters struggle with meaning would be much more profound.

As it stands, its just kindergarten spiritualism. Expertly executed, but trite nonetheless.

D. Albert - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 8:21pm (USA Central)
Re: BSG S4: The Road Less Traveled

Plot Gods indeed. It'd bad when character development becomes replaced with the demands of the Plot. All the more so when the plot is Destiny this and Fate that.

The series writers lack of planning really injures both the plot and the characters.

What could have been a great show has become overrun with boring New Age metaphysical boringness. I wrote before, the Spirit Quest should have been planed out. It was not. And it shows.

I'd like to see more Zarek, more Baltar machinations, more SciFi.
SkepticalMI - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 7:35pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Relics

OK, I'm going to have to come to the defense of the Enterprise crew here. Picard and Geordi were perfectly justified in their actions. For one, Picard took the time to immediately introduce himself to Scotty, and then went to see him as soon as he got off duty. Is it that unreasonable for Picard to not abandon his duties? After all, it's not like anyone expected Scotty to disappear or anything; he would still be around in a few hours. And one could naturally assume Scotty would want to spend a few hours regathering himself anyway. It's a big shock to his system suddenly rematerializing after 70 years; does he really want to spend his time talking to strangers? Certainly Picard's actions are reasonable.

Secondly, calling Scotty a living legend is probably a stretch. The difference in time between TOS era and TNG era is a bit more than the difference between now and World War II. Tell me, do you know the name of Eisenhower's quartermaster? Patton's chief of staff? Nimitz's second in command? I don't. It wouldn't surprise me that even quartermasters in the army now don't know the names of quartermasters from WWII. So while Kirk and perhaps Spock may be household names in the Federation, it's reasonable to assume Scotty was just a footnote in history. Heck, Data has a vast encyclopedic knowledge, and even he didn't know of Bones' aversion to Vulcans. So maybe LaForge had heard of him, but probably not as a legendary figure.

But most importantly, Scotty was acting very rudely in engineering. Someone used the analogy of Wilbur Wright suddenly appearing. Yeah, we'd be excited to talk to him. But what if someone was getting a jet ready for takeoff, and Wilbur kept interrupting our hypothetical mechanic with a bunch of complaints. "What are you doing building a plane outta metal, laddie? It's too heavy! And only one set of wings? Where's the propeller? Oh laddie, this bucket of bolts will never get off the ground..." I think the mechanic might start to harbor the same annoyances that Geordie showed.

I'm an engineer. I've given tours and shown off our company's technology to many other scientists, engineers, and professionals, the majority of which were older and more experienced than I. Not one of them acted in a manner that Scotty did. Not one was so condescending. Every one asked questions and tried to understand the technology and assumed I knew what I was talking about rather than being so dismissive. Scotty was being very unprofessional in there. I don't blame Geordi for showing him out. Especially since it was clear LaForge wasn't taking it too personally. He still seemed excited to talk to Scotty at first, and seemed ok with him while fixing up the old ship.

In any case, maybe its because I don't have the same nostalgia filter for TOS (TNG was my first Trek show, and so its the one that gets seen in rose-colored glasses), but I don't see this as an instant classic. I agree with pretty much everything Jammer has to say. The theme is hammered with no subtlety, and the intrigue of the Dyson Sphere was simply put by the wayside. It's still a fun episode, of course. And showing the old bridge (with the Star Trek fanfare playing in the background) was enough to force the nostalgia out of me anyway.

I think this would have been nice for a pseudo two-part episode. Leave Relics the way it is, and have it end with Scotty riding off into the sunset. Then have the next episode be focused on the Dyson Sphere itself. This is the biggest, best technology humanity has seen since the Iconian Gateway. This civilization had a level of engineering skill far beyond anything Starfleet has encountered so far. Doesn't that work as a mystery? Isn't that worth another episode? It's too bad that it didn't; I would have loved to see what they could have come up with.

As an aside, I'm not sure if anyone else noticed this, but the episode opens with Picard and Riker looking over Data's shoulder as he works at one of the science stations in the back. After some techtalk, the two stroll to the front of the bridge and continue the technobabble with... Data, who is now sitting at his normal console. Oops. Combine that with LaForge constantly grabbing Scotty's injured arm, and it seems the director wasn't a very detailed-oriented man.
D. Albert - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 6:51pm (USA Central)
Re: BSG S4: Escape Velocity

Baltar speech makes sense. He is an entirely selfish SOB whose incredible guilt for his role in the genocide, and all that follows, weighs on his conscience -- which he has. And that is key, I think, about making sense of his speech.

Unlike Tory, Baltar is no psychopath. Baltar takes Tory's psychopath maxim of perfection and turns it into absolution, which is what he seeks. He twists the humanist ethic Love They Neighbor into Love Thyself. Because that is what he does.

The Ayn Rand meets the Buddha. What a shit!
D. Albert - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 5:44pm (USA Central)
Re: BSG S4: The Ties That Bind

Great post and comments. My take;

Tory: Tory is not acting out a program. Just like Saul and Tyro, aren't. They are individuals. They have no program. Saul is a loyal soldier. Tory is opportunistic, amoral and murdering was done in "self-defense." Learning she is a Cylon, just allowed her to fully express her sociopath nature. And it was done in "self-defense."

Cally: Cally was alway a place-holder more than a character. If anything, she was the victim of poor paling on the writers part. Think about it: Hera is the Special One, right? Well, Hera ain't so special if Nik is around. So, I guess Nik's gotta bit it too.

Nice Destiny they got going there....

Civil War: First, AWESOME! Second, how dumb is Six? If you're gonna play power politics, you got to think. Totally walked right into it.
Jeff Bedard - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 5:21pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: 11:59

I do enjoy this episode, but I have to wonder if Voyager's library computer would truly contain the vast amounts of biographical and historical data the crew uses in this episode to research the past. It seems like any starship (not just Voyager) can call up information on anyone or anything no matter what world or time period. I just find it a little hard to believe.
Michael - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 5:20pm (USA Central)
Re: BSG S4: He That Believeth in Me

@D. Albert:

You're the only one here who echoed and further articulated my own views about soap-operas, "spirit quests," and other such hooey infused into a sci-fi show to such an extent that it takes over. I also maintain that in a SCIENCE FICTION production SCIENCE comes first, whereas fiction comes second and is always in the service of science!

When I opined this a few times on the Star Trek: Voyager boards the others tore me a new one, accusing me of being shallow and failing to understand what they continually referred to as "character development." Oy!
Paul M. - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 5:08pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

Well, seems to me we should then be talking about the lack of racial (and ethnic) diversity in Star Trek and not about the colour of Sisko's love interests. You said it yourself, Robert. Why are there 90 pink swatches? The real problem, and one that's been bothering me for a long time, is the fact that the vast majority of humans on Trek are white and from English-speaking countries, usually Americans. Even guys like Sulu, Harry Kim, Novakovich (from ENT) turn out not to be from Japan, Korea, etc.

In that vein, Enterprise credits are the worst offender. They purport to depict humanity's progress towards the Space Age only to omit every single non-American achievement. Where's Gagarin or Sputnik, for instance? They fail to show the first human in space and the first Earth spacecraft? How about the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova in Vostok 6? Or Leonov's first spacewalk?

For a franchise that depicts a future history of our world, this comes dangerously close to rewriting history. Star Trek deserves better than that.
Michael - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 4:41pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

First off I enjoyed this episode thoroughly and have seen every TNG DS9 Voyager and Enterprise episode including all movies.
The flaws:
Space is vast. No one seemed intrigued that it was the ENTERPRISE D and no other starship that "happen to come upon" the ENTERPRISE C at that point in time in the vastness of space? Uncanny no one pointed this out.

Secondly, why would a Federation battleship in a time of war be traveling alone and not part of a squadron or small fleet(4-10) vessels like a powerful navy would utilize. Apparently the Klingons use a squadron of vessels 3 vs 1 Federation vessel.

Third, the way the ENTERPRISE D utilized it's firepower. Firing photons only once? If anyone watched episode 51 The Survivors the Enterprise D unleashed quite a volley on the mysterious and powerful attacking vessel.
A couple volleys like this would disable or destroy 2 Klingon ships in the first 2 volleys leaving it as a 1on1.

Any thoughts feel free to comment I look forward to replies.
D. Albert - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 4:37pm (USA Central)
Re: BSG S4: Six of One

And speaking of SciFi: Cylon Civil War! YES!!!!!!!

This is the kind of thing that goes heart of science fiction: how technology affects us, and how placing humans in the alternative universe of advanced tech allows us to understand what it means to be human. SciFi is all about exploring what it means to be human.

Cylons are not human; but they are. We -- homo sapiens and Cylon -- are tool using biological machines. We can even interbreed in BSG. The exploration of their humanity is, IMO, the most interesting and appealing part of the show. And this episode finally brought all that out. By raising the morality of the humanoid Cylon enslavement of the more machine Centurions and Raiders. And the civil war, Totally awesome!!
D. Albert - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 4:29pm (USA Central)
Re: BSG S4: Six of One

"I particularly appreciated the irony in Adama, the atheist, finding that he suddenly must reevaluate his position on miracles."

Perhaps. It depends on what you mean by miracles. They can either be 1) events which are caused by the supernatural, or 2)
material phenomena not explainable by our science. If the latter, then the science just needs to get better. "Any significantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic..."

So, Starbuck's return could be a miracle under either of these understandings. I'm guessing, it is the former. Which is a bummer, because that ain't SciFi. (Yes, my recurring gripe about what I think this series has become)

Dave - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 3:49pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S2: Shockwave, Part II

Really disappointed with the scene where Hoshi's clothes fall off. And then the next episode has T'Pol stripping off in silhouette. I'm not saying there can never be nudity but this is just tacky, sexist and exploitative.
D. Albert - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 3:30pm (USA Central)
Re: BSG S3: Maelstrom

Or one more possiblity:

Destiny/God made her an Angel. Boring.

If she is an Angel (remember, Angels are not necessarily good, they are agents of God) , then what does her character arc mean? Nothing. Because character arcs are all about the way the Greeks taught us how to tell a story. And the greeks railed against the deus machina.

With good reason. If she is an Angel, or whatever, then who cares about Apollo and her Love Z?! I, along with many here, got tired of that, and now it doesn't really matter at all.

The writers are being vary lazy.

Gawd, this show is taking a turn for the worse.
D. Albert - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 3:24pm (USA Central)
Re: BSG S4: He That Believeth in Me

This is my first time watching the series, and I dislike the the lazy way in which the writers use Fate, Destiny, God, to patch up plot holes and poor planing in story line. I also dislike how the SciFi has degenerated into Space Opera and Space Fantasy.

The story is on the verge of becoming a cheap melodrama/spirit quest set in space. If it wanted to be Space Opera, fine. But instead of really delving into its own mythos, it just superficially exploits and banally borrows from various religious traditions. I'm see a very bad New Age bag of nonsense.

It could have dealt with the spirit quest in a much deeper and more appreciative manner, and actually learned something about the way the Ancient Greeks and Romans viewed their gods, how that view conflicted with their reason, and how it was eventually challenged by an alien monotheistic religion. It could have expanded on those themes and applied them to the advanced technological civilization of the Battle Star Universe. It could have had mystery cults as well. It could have really created an interesting, engaging, well though out spiritual/political universe. But instead it just slapped whatever Fate card was needed to move the plot -- such as it is -- forward. It relies on the viewers accepting Mystery -- but that is NOT what SciFi is about!

-- Learn

This overuse and reliance on deus machina

Not that
SamSimon - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 2:49pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S7: Force of Nature

While I do agree with Jammer on all the weaknesses of this episode (basically, the fact that there are a couple of subplots just to fill the hour), I do believe that the final message alone deserves a couple of stars on its own. Simply great. And 20 years later, we are still destroying the only Planet that we have using fossil fuels, and we are not going to do anything at all to stop this in the foreseeable future...
Robert - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 10:40am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

I'm really not trying to say there's anything sinister or racist going on here, or that it's not progressive. As was point out, Picard didn't date people who aren't white... why should Sisko date people that aren't black?

I'm just trying to point out that given the lack of brown guest stars, the fact that Avery and Cirroc manage to get them as love interests so frequently points to intentional behavior.

Jake's mom probably should be black to reflect Cirroc's heritage properly. As to Fenna/Kassidy? Or the 2 black bajorans? COULD be a lot of coincidence, but seems intentional on SOMEBODY'S part.

And I'm not even saying it's jarring because Jake is black that he dated half the black Bajorans we've ever seen. Maybe if half the Bajorans on the station were black I wouldn't have found it so noticeable....
Robert - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 10:33am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

Maybe mandate was too strong a word.

Let's go at this from a different point of view. We'll play a game where you have 100 color swatches. The object of the game is to pair each swatch with 1 other swatch, creating 50 different set of stripes.

There are 6 swatches that are shades of brown, 4 that are shades of yellow and 90 that are shades of pink. We'll play the game for 5 rounds.

If EVERY round the pink swatch you're watching is paired with another pink swatch... your brain won't notice anything odd.

If EVERY round the brown swatch you're watching is being paired with another brown swatch.... your brain will notice.

That's what I mean by jarring. Given the amount of brown guest stars vs white ones, to always give the brown ones to the brown main characters in noticeable.

I will not make a value judgement here (in the sense of good/bad/otherwise), but I highly doubt that you could come up with an argument that would hold water where you could say that this was an accident (ie not intentional).

So if mandate/jarring are too strong for you... how do you feel about noticeable and intentional?
Josh - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 10:15am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

Why is it jarring? It strikes me as a rather suspect double standard that the romantic relationships of black characters are being subjected to this kind of scrutiny, that they are not sufficiently "interracial". Now, we may indeed be seeing the effect of Avery Brooks specifically with Sisko's relationships, but it's entirely unsubstantiated to suggest that there was any kind of "mandate" to maintain limited "mixing".

Because that is the substance of this claim, isn't it?
Josh - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 9:41am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: The Raven

While I agree that the Bomar certainly qualified as the Hard Headed Aliens of the Week, they did have a point about the appearance of incompetence after Seven's escape from the ship. Already not favourably disposed to Janeway, they see her rapidly lose control of a "rogue Borg" with no more than her say-so that she would get Seven back.
Robert - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 9:26am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

@Josh - It certainly wouldn't be more progressive if Kassidy was white. It's just particularly jarring that Jake found 2 out of the 3/4 black bajorans to date, that both of Sisko's wives were black AND that his only other real love interest (Fenna) was also black. Considering how few black (or brown if you prefer) performers there are on Star Trek there was clearly some kind of mandate to keep these characters paired up with people that look like them.
desultoryd - Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 9:03am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S1: Encounter at Farpoint

the folks at missionlogpodcast (who have been doing a podcast of all the star trek shows and movies) are finally getting to ST:TNG.

Can't wait to combine the excellent reviews here with the audio commentary they provide.
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