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Brandon
Fri, Aug 26, 2016, 10:36am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

I'll probably watch the pilot and stop there, unless it's of "Lost" quality. I'm not paying to watch Star Trek, especially if they've just moved to All Access in order to shill for viewers with sex. Tiresome and not family-friendly.

If it's already profitable overseas, good for them. It'll be profitable without me on board.
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Lmo
Fri, Aug 26, 2016, 9:43am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Man of the People

And also, the final resolution, killing Troi and reviving her at the last possible moment to have her magically restored to youth was just a really dumb idea with special effects at the level of Classic Trek 40 years ago.
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Lmo
Fri, Aug 26, 2016, 9:39am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Man of the People

This episode was one of the worst of the entire series. Boring, stupid story, (why did dumping negative emotions produce sex craze?), main evil character like a boring used car salesman, people from the planet of no interest, zero interesting scientific technology. But add to that the very creepy sex assault by Troi of the young handsome ensign she picks up in the elevator after a really ugly stare at him: "I know where to find you if I need you again" as he leaves her quarters in a hurry. Attacking Riker with those deep scratches on the neck, and even the abuse of power over the poor lady ensign trying to get help with work issues. There was nothing about the Troi depicted here that was even close to Luaxana's character, which is funny and charming, even if overly sexually aggressive. Zero stars for this episode.
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FlyingSquirrel
Fri, Aug 26, 2016, 9:02am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

@Sam - Regarding the universal translator, I suspect that's kind of like warp drive and transporters - the writers will never try to explain it in all its details and nuances, because they can't and it might not be possible even with futuristic science and technology.

As for why it fails with this language, my impression was that it wasn't actually failing in the sense of translating words literally into English or whatever language any crew members might understand. I assume that when Dathon says "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra" or "Sokath, his eyes uncovered," he's actually speaking the Tamarian words for "and," "at," and "his eyes uncovered," and we're just hearing those words in English as Picard does through the universal translator.

While you're correct that every language has idioms and references that a simple literal translation doesn't capture, I think the problem here is that the Tamarians use them in much greater frequency than any other Trek species, with a lot of proper names thrown in that don't mean anything to other species that don't know the stories. Furthermore, when other species get confused, it appears that they just keep plugging away at it instead of trying to speak in more literal terms, thus giving the Universal Translator little in terms of further useful "data" to extrapolate meanings.

For example, I just used the idiom "keep plugging away." If a non-native English speaker asked me what that meant, I don't think I'd respond, "The Cardinals, World Series 2011." If I did, and the other person was still confused, that certainly at that point I'd say "it means they continue trying even though it's difficult" rather than use another metaphor or cultural reference. The Tamarians' MO when someone doesn't understand one of their references seems to be to declare, "Shaka, when the walls fell" and then try another one.

This is actually where I think one could really take issue with the episode's logic - even if Tamarian culture dictates that they speak in references and metaphors most of the time, they must still at least understand more literal communication to be able to have all these myths and stories in the first place (or to carry out more detailed and specific tasks like building spaceships). So why doesn't it occur to them that they might communicate better with other species if they spoke to them more literally? On the other hand, I sometimes think sci-fi underplays the extent to which intelligent aliens might be very different from us psychologically. So perhaps it makes sense that the Tamarians are smart enough to build spaceships but can't initially figure out why they have trouble communicating with other species.
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Ivanov
Fri, Aug 26, 2016, 9:01am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Gravity

I like Tuvok after the Doctor he's my second favorite character. That's why I think it's a shame that after this episode the only way he gets his own subplot is if the writers pair him up with Neelix.
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N
Fri, Aug 26, 2016, 7:58am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Darkness and the Light

I really agree with JD's comment. We've all become very right-on and hot-takey online these days and willing to sit in judgment over other people over the tiniest thing... our culture has grown to encourage it. (See also contemporary reactions to VOY's Retrospect, a decent and original episode intended to be about false memory syndrome.) And I do think it's because of how sheltered and spoilt many have become in the West. Kira's relationship with Ghemor later this season shows once again that no, she doesn't hate all Cardassians. But when facing down a psychopath, the worst thing Kira could have done was give the guy absolution by apologising or saying he wasn't to blame, or trying to see things from his side and thereby pandering to his neuroses. You don't negotiate with people like that, not when they're playing power games with you.
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dreamlife613
Fri, Aug 26, 2016, 2:04am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Threshold

So, I watched this episode after being repeatedly warned to skip it. Those handy "binge watch" and "skip it/watch it" guides always list this one as a skipper. I saw the zero star review and was almost tempted to skip the episode. I skimmed the comments and realized that Tom would transform into a lizard creature, which piqued my interest enough to watch it.

I imagine if I were watching this episode during the original run where you had to wait a week in between new episodes I would have been pissed off by this episode. Tom Paris breaks the warp threshold, ok, whatever. Then he starts morphing into a lizard creature, kidnaps and subjects Janeway to the same fate, the two of them happen to find an ideal planet...where they can have lizard babies (!), the Voyager crew catches up to them, does some reversal magic and returns both characters to their normal state, and everything is fine. Wow. And none of this was revealed to be a dream, fantasy, or holosuite glitch?!

Rather than piling on the negatives, which have been stated by others, I'll say there were actually some strong positives. When Tom Paris is asleep on the Doctor's table and Janeway asks if he can be awakened, The Doctor leans foreward and yells "WAKE UP" at Tom, lol. I don't usually find The Doctor as charming as others do, but this was funny. Also, the grotesque changes Paris goes through - the writers actually thought it through (to a degree) in terms of slowly morphing him into a lizard over the course of the episode. When Paris is behind a forcefield sans tongue and starts pleading to be released, it was actually kind of sad. Especially when he started banging into the barrier.

I wonder what happened to the Janeway and Paris' lizard babies. *shudders* That was so bizarre.
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dreamlife613
Fri, Aug 26, 2016, 1:49am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Meld

Tuvok is one of the most likable characters on the Voyager crew, so I was glad to see him be the star of an episode for a change. I'm not as familiar with Star Trek lore as the others here, so this episode felt fresh for me. Tuvok and his Vulcan lack of emotion were mentioned before, but I never realized that Vulcans actually suppress their emotions until B'Elanna mentioned it a couple episodes back. That is fascinating of itself, but when Tuvok mind melds and ends up capable of letting out his darker emotions, things get really interesting. While it would have been easy (and lazy) to just have Tuvok become an uninhibited, crazy jerk for the hour, I am glad the writers stayed close to his true character. He didn't drastically change his morals, they only intensified. He became determined to have Suder pay for the crime of murder. This is not inconsistent with Tuvok's stated mindset before he was influenced by the mind meld.

Bonus: Neelix getting murdered by Tuvok, lol. The fact that Tuvok created a special holosuite program where Neelix becomes more and more annoying to the point where the only option is to strangle him is amusing on so many different levels.
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Ivanov
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 11:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Homestead

@AA I actually read somewhere that the writers thought they had killed her off in one episode and forgot about her that's why she only appeared in time travel episodes towards the end of the show.

They did the same thing with Lt carey they thought they killed him in season 1 and when they learned there mistake they brought him back in friendship one.
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Ivanov
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Before and After

I just realized something creepy as fuck. Harry Kim would have obviously known Linnis while she was a little hybrid growing up. So at what point did Kim decide yeah I want to date my best friends rapidly ageing two year old! I can't believe Tom didn't crack his skull.

I mean neelix did something similar with Kes but to be fair she was biologically an adult when they met.
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Adam
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 11:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Fair Haven

My claim was not that cause and effect is sufficient for sentience, it was to counter Skeptical's argument above that the Doctor was different than the Fair Haven character because he has free will. In terms of free will, I see no difference between Janeway, the Doctor or Michael of Fair Haven.

According to the dictionary definition, sentient is "having the power of perception by the senses; conscious" or "characterized by sensation and consciousness", although I will agree with you that conscious is the better word. The question of what it takes to be conscious is obviously a valid one, which is why I qualified my statement with "arguably."
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Sam
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 10:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

Oh, apologies for the long post, but one last thing: we actually see the problem of teaching young children Tamarian directly in a scene from the episode, i.e., where the captain "tells the story" of Darmok and Jilhad to Picard. Of course, he doesn't actually "tell the story." He says about 10 phrases, and for each phrase, Picard intuits about five sentences just to explain what's going on. If you've ever talked to a child, you know how this process works -- except YOU need to do WHILE telling the story. You'll need to use some sort of denotative words or phrases with standard meanings to fill in the gaps for kids, just as Picard does for himself (because he's heard thousands of stories before and knows "how they usually work"). Kids don't know "how stories usually work" when they hear a story for the first time with a new situation or a new word or a new meaning. The only solution with kids is to explain the novel situation using "simpler" words or phrases that have clearer, denotative meaning. (Why can't the Tamarians do THIS when confronting other cultures?) Alternatively, you don't explain the new word directly and the kid learns its meaning from context -- in which case the kid now only understands "Darmok in X" to mean "I'm hungry" and nothing about Darmok himself. Learning words from context (how most of us pick up new vocabulary) will guarantee that the metaphorical meaning is completely lost. Thus, once those "stock phrases" begin to have a secondary meaning (rather than just a metaphorical one) for young kids, within a couple generations they'll start to lose the old metaphorical context.
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Sam
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 10:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

I know this is a very old thread, but I just have to say one thing in response to comments that try to show how this language can work practically by using metaphorical examples in English. I don't think anyone here is denying that metaphors can be used to construct meaning. The question is -- what's the next step? The Tamarians don't just use metaphors haphazardly, making them up as they go along (as in English we mostly do) -- they clearly have standard denotative meanings, allowing the same phrases to be reused in similar linguistic contexts to allow consistent communication.

We have a different linguistics term for what that is -- it's an idiom. And idioms frequently become "fossilized," in the sense that we continue using them for their denotative meaning, but we forget the meaning of the individual words. You "wend your way through," you "eke out a win," you use "sleight of hand," you "ride roughshod," you have "kith and kin," you "give short shrift," etc. I challenge anyone here to define the words wend, eke, sleight, roughshod, kith, and shrift, use them in other contexts correctly, and explain exactly how the function in these idioms (many of them metaphorically).

Of course, most people would have no clue, even if they know precisely what the idiomatic phrases mean. But that's only the beginning, since this process happens with words themselves. We forget etymologies, so if a word is used metaphorically at first, it often loses its original meaning. We successfully know what "gargantuan" is without having read Rabelais's novels, we know what "titanic" means even if we're rusty on Greek gods, and we know "colossal" denotative meaning without being aware of the statue at Rhodes. And those are just words all meaning "big" -- there are literally thousands of common English words derived from proper names for specific things that most people don't know the etymology of... yet understand the meaning.

And that's ultimately the problem with this episode. Even if you can figure out a way for the Tamarians to teach their kids this grand mythos without a proper denotative language to explain the meaning of the phrases in the stories, there's just no way that these metaphors survive for more than a few generations without becoming "fossilized" and people forgetting who "Darmok" was, while continuing to use his name in idioms with clear, recognized meaning. The vast majority of kids raised in this culture will just know to say "Darmok in X" when they mean "I'm hungry" and "Darmok on Y" when they mean "I'm sleepy," and eventually nobody cares who Darmok is, because that meaning is not only not necessary for communication, but it's impossible to describe completely to language learners without a denotative language to "fill in the gaps." Knowing who Darmok is would actually be an IMPEDIMENT to understanding, since you'd spend time thinking about this dude and why he's on the ocean rather than just instantly understanding the common phrase's meaning which was just uttered at you.

Oh, and by the way, if the universal translator fails at this language, then how exactly is it supposed to succeed at ANY language? How is it supposed to know what wend, eke, sleight, roughshod, kith, and shrift mean in those idioms? Does it really need to understand ancient Earth history to translate words like colossal and titanic? Obviously, no. Words like colossal now have denotative meanings that are now primary, not metaphorical. And words like wend and eke only make sense in modern English within phrases -- they have no atomic single-word meaning to modern English speakers. Most known Earth languages have plenty of similar situations, where etymology has become irrelevant to meaning -- in fact, you might say that's the DOMINANT case for most words in most languages. And once a word or phrase becomes isolated for specific uses, it's no longer a metaphor -- it now has a specific meaning. If the universal translator can't figure that clear denotative meaning out just because it's conveyed in a phrase rather than a single word, it should fail in every episode... because language isn't based on single words with atomic meaning. (If it did, we'd have had perfect machine translation between languages decades ago just by inputting a dictionary and a few simple grammar rules.) Meaning frequently resides in larger linguistic structures, but those structures aren't "metaphors" -- they're just stylized idiomatic phrases, where native speakers don't generally even know where they're from.
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Peter G.
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 9:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Fair Haven

@ Adam,

You're confusing consciousness with sentience. If your claim was correct that any cause-effect process was the same as any other then we'd be as "sentient" as a rock or a gust of wind. Obviously those are different sorts of systems from life forms, so what you're looking at is whether a human is [i]conscious[/i] or not, which is a fair question. But there is no question that we are sentient, and that a simplistic computer program like a video game is not. Can a certain sophistication in a programming language create sentience? That's a question, although not one really addressed by Voyager. TNG vaguely alludes to it with Data, but doesn't go the hard sci-fi route of exploring the technological aspect of it, instead allowing Data to teach us about humanity rather than using humanity to teach us about Data. But rudimentary holodeck programs are no more sentient than the life support systems on the ship are.

The case Voyager was apparently trying to make for the doctor is that because his program ran for so long and accumulated so many pathways or whatever, that his learned behaviors began to match the complexity of those of the crew. Whether this actually happened is up for debate; I personally don't think so.
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Adam
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Fair Haven

I disagree with Jammer's criticism that the hologram isn't real enough, and with Skeptical's assessment above that the Doctor has free will. In Sam Harris' book on free will, he makes a compelling case that humans don't have free will, only the illusion of it. After all, our thoughts simply appear in consciousness and it has been demonstrated in the lab that choices in the brain can be made as much as several seconds before we are consciously aware of them. In this sense, the only difference between humans and holograms is the physical substance with which these spontaneous thoughts are produced. In this sense, the story was much more compelling because the Fair Haven hologram is arguably just as sentient as Janeway and the Doctor.
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Quarkissnyder
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Darkness and the Light

This episode was endless.

It seemed like one more leftover script from Season 1 that they decided to make use of.

Lots of quibbles but my biggest beef is Kira's superpowers: there is no way with a single flick of a finger she could have erased not only Odo's list but every back up copy of the list. I doubt she would have been able to break through Odo's encryption in the first place. She would not have been able to get a runabout off the locked down station without security alerts going off.

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AA
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 6:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Homestead

Where's Samantha Wildman? Did they murder her and stuff her body somewhere? Was Naomi told she was killed on an away mission? It's like this huge conspiracy. "We don't mention Samantha." LOL
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Jack Bauer
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 5:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Discovery

Instead of creating their own pre-quel TV series.....again......they should goto the creators of Axanar and give then 13 episodes to tell their story. What those guys are doing, with the budget they have is remarkable. I would gladly watch 13 episodes on the Klingon War with the Federation.
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AA
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Critical Care

A good allegory works on multiple levels. A bad one protests specific things the author dislikes.
Here we have a good one. Any bureaucracy that puts "efficiency" over patients is a bad one. This reminds you of various systems without calling out any specific one.

Trying to find a direct correlation is a useless exercise. It isn't meant to be a direct correlation, it's meant to make you think about various things that get in the way of patient care. And everyone has a story such as the wrist story in Jammer's review or know someone who has a similar story, because big bureaucracies aren't the same as caring individuals.
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Ricky
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: His Way

First up, I thoroughly enjoyed this light-hearted episode. I loved Vic: Like Jammer, I thought all the scenes of Odo and him were golden - and, despite it being a spoiler, I'm pleased to read he'll be coming back for more.

But onto the crux of my comment, my first on these reviews. I've enjoyed reading Jammer's thoughts as I've made my way through DS9 for the first time; I've also enjoyed reading everyone's comments from over the years. I decided to stop reading the comments a few seasons in after reading one too many spoilers.

Why did I come back?! I know it's a twenty year old show, but damn people! A little warning of spoilers wouldn't go amiss (he says, despite the comments being posted many moons ago).

I just learned of what seems to be a major death coming up in the show. I shouldn't have come back; why did I come back?!

But anyway, here's to you Jammer and here's to everyone else keeping the comments going all these years!
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Nicholas Ryan
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: The Fight

1.5 stars is ridiculously high. You've rated other episodes lower and this has to be the hardest episode of Trek to sit through.
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William H
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 9:44am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Civil Defense

I like this episode a lot.

The big thing I didn't like was the redshirt getting zapped. It doesn't fit the fun tone of the episode, was totally unnecessary and indeed totally ignored.
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Nicholas Ryan
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 5:35am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Dark Frontier

It's possible Starfleet new about the Borg prior to Q Who. Very plausible if you consider the Enterprise episode Regeneration. It was probably just classified and compartmentalized to some part of Starfleet.

The Borg have already been retconned anyway. Originally they didn't assimilate people but later on it was stated they always have.
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AA
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 2:36am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Riddles

I had the same feeling as Jammer. Tuvok is mentally delayed for a while, there's a nice friendship going on with Neelix. Then they somehow manage to reverse severe brain damage completely- no residual effects, no memory loss, nothing. He's back 100%. Then we find the depths of his newfound friendship with Neelix are just lost. He's never any nicer to him, more protective of him, or anything. And Tuvok never makes dessert again.
It just seems like a potential for something that never materializes. Tuvok reverts back to the stone man, not needing or relying on anybody.
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AA
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 1:47am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Flesh and Blood

I never believed the premise of this for a second. But it ends up being pretty decent.

I thought at first this was going to be another "If you prick me do i not emit photons?" retread, especially with the whole Holograms Are People, Too speech the doctor is given. But it ended up being more complicated than that. Eventually it evolves into a cult episode, which I didn't expect. Pretty interesting.

No, I don't believe the Doctor gets no punishment because Janeway is down on herself. But then again, it's hard to punish an EMH. He has to use his transmitter to get to others on the ship who need fast medical care. That's one of the advantages of having it. And keeping a hologram out of the holodeck is sort of like punishing a dog by not letting him go outside. Pointless and kind of cruel.
If anything, it shows how much they rely on the Doctor to be self-governing because there is very little they can do if he isn't.
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