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- 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.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 6:06pm (USA Central)
I'am only a teen but I myself tend to copy similar traits from Star Trek characters. I copy the way Spock walks with his hands behind his back,I copy the way Data has perfect sentences some of the time because I tend to speak before I think, and I try to walk the way how it make them look fast walking but they are not.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 6:03pm (USA Central)
Not bad, but not earth-shattering either. I watched this last night and I was surprised at how subdued Burton's performance once. He had the different emotional tones, but seemed to play them all quietly. I think he should have emoted more.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 5:36pm (USA Central)
The Measure of a Man
I don't think Riker would have liked it if Data did a Vulcan Nerve Pinch to turn him off.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 4:56pm (USA Central)
Fifth Season Recap
Now wait a minute--why did "Night"'s script need to mention"Hope and Fear" did the thematic thread to be relevant? As I said before, the use of gratuitous continuity is less a means to dramatic ends than a wink and nudge to the fans. If you're reading a novel, and watching a character grow and change, is the author expected to remind you of what happened in previous chapters, let alone the very last one? I find this excessive use of plot recapitulation to be marshmallow-brained pandering at best. Occasionally, obscure facts or ideas need to be revisited if the details of such events are vital to a story's logic, but otherwise; either pay attention and draw your own conclusions or ignore continuity and enjoy the ride (in the VOY style of drama, either option is available). In serialised TV (while there are some advantages), there is only one option: keep up with the soaps.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 4:37pm (USA Central)
Fifth Season Recap
V's point about Gunsmoke (and, similarly, TOS) overlooks an important aspect, I think. Non-serialized shows are (were) built for that purpose. To keep a show fresh with the same elements takes a well-tuned engine that can generate endless stories. Voyager borrowed TOS's "Wagon Train" engine but was *not* built as a non-serialized show. The nature of its underlying premise - a voyage home - demanded progress & change.
I agree with Nic's comment at the top of the thread that other series/episodes are not crippled for lacking long-term narratives. Nor was VGR, for its fans. But I believe long-term narratives would improve them all. Not necessarily full-on soap opera, but acknowledging change at some scale, at least to distinguish each season. That would've required a different approach to the writing. As Jammer said, too often the writing "finds something worthwhile and uncovers a dire need for digging deeper. And, frustratingly, Voyager just cannot bring itself to go the extra mile."
As an example, SFDebris speculated that Janeway's disgust with Ransom in "Equinox" was really self-loathing after learning in the S4 finale of the consequences of her bending her principles in the S3 finale. That knowledge might've even driven her depression in the S5 opener. Except it didn't; it was never mentioned. Opportunity wasted.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 3:23pm (USA Central)
Fifth Season Recap
@V - I do understand what you are saying... but I'll pose a question for you.
"But if I had to just throw on a random episode of a show to be entertained, I'll pop on a Voyager, knowing that I won't have to worry about what point in the soap-opera plotting I'll find myself in the middle of, and instead I can just watch the always-enjoyable Voyager crew deal with whatever problem or situation they happen to have found themselves in that week."
Does that HAVE to be at odds with character growth? Do you not feel that you could do such a thing with TNG?
As I said, it's not about serialization/soap opera plotting for me... it's just about the enjoyability of watching characters change/evolve. I don't necessarily wish S7 Torres was sooo different or in the middle of such an arc that it would affect the enjoyment of stand alone episodes... but let's face it... we could have solved the dilemma in "Lineage" by just letting her watch "Faces", "Day of Honor" and "Barge of the Dead". "Oh ya, I've made peace with the fact that being Klingon doesn't suck, thanks for reminding me! I'm totally cool with my baby now!"
I don't need it to be "arcy" but when character development doesn't stick it makes the characters less interesting. I do agree with you that it is nice to just watch an episode by itself sometimes... but TNG manages to be able to do that and still grow their cast.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 2:25pm (USA Central)
@Tricia: The applause thing is really odd. The implication is that there are other people in the room -- which means the Trabe attack is all the more brazen.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 9:13am (USA Central)
You might be forgiven for coming away from this episode thinking: maybe Nikolai is right, maybe this was the right decision, in this case no cultural damage was done and adherence to the Prime Directive would have needlessly sacrificed these people.
But the more you think about, the more unforeseen consequences there will be for these people over the next hundreds or thousands of years.
For example, evolution by natural selection may not be discovered because all their hominid fossils would have been left behind on the old planet. What would that do for their culture? It could be absolutely devastating in the long run.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 5:04am (USA Central)
@Destructor - I just re-watched the episode and thought the same thing! Anyway, I thought this episode was pretty good until the end. Why didn't they beam everyone out? We don't even know who survived, although obviously Culluh does. I did like the backstory between the Trabe and Kaizon though, it's good to have some context.
I know this is nitpicky, but where does the music and applause come from when the Kaizon leaders walk into the conference room? Is there an audience? It's rather odd.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 4:15am (USA Central)
The Most Toys
One of my favourite episodes, but also one of the scarier ones because of Data's attempted kill-shot; it is clearly stated that the disruptor (disruptor is NOT spelled dis-rup-ter, ffs and btw) was "in the state of discharge", meaning Data 100% definetly, certainly and with out any doubt whatsoever fired the weapon, intent to kill Fajo. What makes it even scarier is that Data seems to have hidden a subroutine for lying or denial, since he is all like "Discharge? Must've been a transporter thing *shrugs*". That sneak! I'd rate it 4/4 Stars, but there are other Ep.'s that would easily deserve negative Stars, and other very good ones deserve 1000/4 stars.
- Wed, Dec 4, 2013, 3:56am (USA Central)
The Search, Part I
This was definitely my favourite episode of DS9 so far. I don't know if it's maybe that I just enjoy these action-centric episodes more, but for met his episode was really intense and I enjoyed it a lot.
Honestly I don't think the writing in any of the Star Treks is sufficient enough for it to be able to stand alone as a drama, so for me these kind of episodes are necessary.
On another note, I really like Quark and the Ferengi. I think Quark has become my favourite character on the show thus far. I especially liekd his speech in the previous episode about humans not liking them because they reminded us of what we once were, albeit worse! I found it actually quite poignant.
- Tue, Dec 3, 2013, 11:50pm (USA Central)
An episode stirring this much debate is a great episode.
Many things have been covered above, but I want to add something new: that Starfleet is still essentially a "military" organization, and the person holding the RANK and POSITION of Captain is still in charge and responsible. It isn't a committee like these comments may seem to be. Like Captains today, this future Captain has been given the authority to send people to their deaths to save others. In TNG, Troi's "Command" Test (putting the counselor in command after a short test is a totally different commentary) had her send Geordi to his death to save the rest of the crew. Was that "murder"? Without Starfleet Command to consult, Janeway is within her right to summarily execute to save others.
If you can't make these sorts of calls, you're not fit to wear the red tunic. I'm normally critical of how Janeway is written in much of VOY, but they nailed the Captain's role this time.
The final scene says it best - command is a lonely place. Perhaps only those of us who have been given and perhaps used such authority over others under their responsibility will understand this burden. I'm glad Voyager gave the average person this command dilemma to consider.
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