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Mon, Feb 8, 2016, 4:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens

The thing that's most concerning about TFA as a whole is where this trilogy is going in the future. It really seems that they've painted themselves into a corner somewhat, with Rey being set up as Luke Skywalker 2.0, Luke as Obi Wan/Yoda 2.0, Fin as Han Solo 2.0, BB8 as R2D2 2.0, Kylo Ren as Darth Vader 2.0 and Snoke as Palpatine 2.0. It's fairly clear what's going to happen over the course of this trilogy based on the events of the original trilogy, and it's going to be very difficult for subsequent writers/directors/producers to change direction a third of the way through.

If the next movie features jedi training scenes with Luke and Rey, Fin and the Resistance trying to escape the New Order, and some sort of familial revelation involving Rey it won't be too much of a surprise. At least in the prequels there was some sense of a new story being told, even if the execution was abysmal.
Mon, Feb 8, 2016, 3:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Elementary, Dear Data

Jason R. "...in a baffling oversight / missed opportunity, they fail to mention it ["11001001"] - leaving us with the ridiculous proposition that the Enterprise computer could always conjure AI, but... no one in the Federation tried to do it before?!"

"Missed opportunity" reminds me of "Booby Trap"/"Galaxy's Child" and the unexplored relationship between LaForge and the ship's computer. See, the computer wouldn't conjure AI for just anyone, but Geordi's wish is her pleasure. And he never thanked her!

Latent robosexuality aside, the Data/Holmes mistake works as almost Asimovian logic. The computer does exactly what you tell it to, so be careful! We don't need to worry about Moriarty being more self-aware than the computer itself. He claims to be more, but that's the computer doing its role-playing.
William B
Mon, Feb 8, 2016, 2:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Elementary, Dear Data

@Jason R., on the second point, Pulaski stated that she believed Data simply recognized plot points from various actual SH stories, and while I'm not totally familiar with the Holmes canon I thought that was the intent of the scene. It's not that Data is such an impossibly great investigator, but that his encyclopedic memory of Holmes stories allowed him to recognize each clue and figure out the story. I thought it was also a pretty good parody of how mystery fans react when encountering a new but formulaic mystery story, where they recognize the tropes and are sure going to tell everyone, not because of real world logic but mystery novel/play/show logic (where typically information only appears if it's a clue and there are X many red herrings etc).
Diamond Dave
Mon, Feb 8, 2016, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: The Gift

Along with Janeway and the Doctor I felt that Kes was the only other character generating really compelling story ideas in series 3. It's rare that I actually get irritated by an episode, but the arbitrary way Kes gets written out here is not a high point. Apart from the super-power new planes of reality ridiculousness of it all it's not even explained. What the hell IS going on here? I don't suppose we'll ever know.

There are hints in the Seven story that this is going to become increasingly compelling, but at this point it's mostly just a shouty "return us to the Borg" type situation. 2 stars.
Jason R.
Mon, Feb 8, 2016, 11:34am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Elementary, Dear Data

Another thing I thought was funny with this episode, the way Data
"deduced" instantly all these conclusions with no background or context and practically zero facts, even after the new simulation was made so that it was a completely new mystery. I mean he solves the murder of that man on the street in what, 8 seconds?

I was just thinking, they should have Data do the Sherlock Holmes shtick all the time. Episodes like Conundrum and Cause and Effect wouldn't have lasted 90 seconds if Data was "deducing" like he did in this episode. Seriously, just put a pipe in his mouth and let him go.
Jason R.
Mon, Feb 8, 2016, 11:28am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Elementary, Dear Data

"I enjoyed the episode, though it was hard for me to get past the "slip of the tongue" device that leads to Moriarty's sentience. The plot would have been a good opportunity to reference the Bynars and the creation of Minuet. Geordi simply could have discovered that some of the Bynars' programming had remained buried in the Enterprise's computer after all, and the computer had drawn upon those resources to fashion an improved, "real" Moriarty."

You touch upon the biggest weakness in the episode. It makes zero sense that the Enterprise computer would be capable of just conjuring up an AI due to a slip of the tongue as surely someone would have figured this out eons ago and there would have been safeguards in place.

The plot focuses on the hologram as if it is the source of Moriarty's consciousness, even going to the foolish proposition that he could be "destroyed" by obliterating the holographic image! No, clearly the real issue is the computer itself and why it is capable of doing something apparently unprecedented!

And as you mention, this is the biggest missed opportunity of the episode. There was a ready-made explanation, namely that the Bynar's had upgraded the computer, granting it vastly greater abilities and (for the first time) the capacity to create true AI. That should have been the first thing they discussed when the problem came to light. But in a baffling oversight / missed opportunity, they fail to mention it - leaving us with the ridiculous proposition that the Enterprise computer could always conjure AI, but... no one in the Federation tried to do it before?!
Mon, Feb 8, 2016, 10:16am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy

I'm not as big of a fan of The Doctor as some on this board, but this is really a great episode. Voyager can be a bit of a hokey show at times, but I give the showrunners credit for playing that to their advantage when making this episode.

We have what seems to be a very standard Voyager plot (The ship gets picked on by evil Delta Quadrant aliens), but it's completely inverted as the threat to the ship is never too prominent in this show. Instead, the direction is over a struggling, and for once I'd say, sympathetic doctor who struggles for command recognition.

The scenarios the Doctor dreams up are funny, too! I agree with some of the above posters that this is like TNG's "Hollow Pursuits" except that the Doctor's pursuits actually end up being used to Voyager's advantage. This makes the entertainment all the more relevant.

4 stars.
Mon, Feb 8, 2016, 8:07am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Last Outpost

Even when watching it for the first time way back in 1987, I thought the following:

The federation is huge, these guys travel at WARP 9!. Humans have been space faring for 200 years; these Ferengi are in the same area of the quadrant and would have had contact with many of the same species the Federation deals with.

How on earth could they have never had contact, and not even know what one another look like! No one ever shared a photo? LIke didn't the Ferengi say "so, this 150+ world federation that is 7000 light years wide.... anyone know what those humans who run the thing look like? anyone think to try to trade with them?"

THen they make them so corny in this episode when they start begging the TKon guy for attention.... made them look pathetic. Strange way to write a species who were intended to be a serious villian.

Mon, Feb 8, 2016, 12:38am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Battle Lines

Jammer I think you've been a bit generous with the DS9 stars... :)
Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 10:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

@Scott from Detroit

That's what i'd do to, cancel it as soon as i'd seen the series,

Be wary though because Amazon Prime has monthly subscription but a lot of the films and tv series on there have to be paid separately, for example seasons 1 to 4 of the walking dead are free to watch if you pay monthly but seasons 5 and 6 are £1.99 per episode
Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 10:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

I don't think there's anything not to like in this episode except maybe the red bloch on Yars face, i think it's an unforgettable episode,
4 stars
Patrick D
Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 8:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

I can bet any amount of money you want that the new Trek series will either be a hardcore, gritty, violent nuBSG-style affair or it's going to be in the lobotomized violent style of the JJ Trek movies.
Jason R
Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 6:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens

"The dumbest thing is that at the end it's revealed that BB8 only had a portion of the map and it would have been useless to the New Order without the additional piece of map contained in R2-D2."

Not since Revenge of the Fallen have I seen a film with a more stupid, pointless plot filled with so many useless characters. But who cares, really. What does it matter anyway if the story makes sense, if the characters are the least bit developed, if the action is any kind of coherent. That's just nerd stuff. If you care about that you're just a neurotic fanboy and Abrams doesn't care what you think.
Jason R
Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 6:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens

Guys, the movie is 2 hours and 19 minutes. And it felt like it. I think it says something about the incompetence of the writing that in a movie this long, they couldn't find 5-10 minutes to explain such basic background necessary to appreciate the story.

It's not like they based it on a well known book and needed to follow some convoluted lengthy story faithfully a la Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. It was their script. No, the story really isn't that complicated, and the only answer is that the writing is just garbage.

But as I said, this is probably #3 on my list of things I hated about this movie, so I can hardly get too caught up with it. It's not like the movie would have been good if they had fixed the obvious deficiencies in the script.
Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 4:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Juggernaut

I guess I don't care as much about the Malon being way out here as much as I do about the Malon still dumping toxic waste. As C Baker said, Janeway offered the technology to the one Malon guy back in Night. OK, so he was an unethical jerk, fair enough. But what's to stop her from offering it to anyone others they met? This episode strongly suggests that they aren't all evil strawmen, so I find it hard to believe no one would want the technology? Or is this more of the Trek silliness of thinking anyone who has the slightest interest in money or industry automatically is close-minded and eeevil? I mean, look how much its costing the Malon to dump all this toxic waste. If someone offered technology to a nuclear plant owner that turned all the waste material magically non-radioactive, don't you think that owner would jump on that opportunity?

And it really shouldn't be a prime directive issue either. The Malon are advanced, they're warp capable, they're peaceful, they just haven't figured out this issue. We saw Picard helping out independent civilizations all the time, what's the harm in giving them the technology to convert theta radiation? I mean, surely Roddenberry doesn't think that, for example, the US shouldn't tell China about our ability to clean sulfur and other pollutants out of coal emissions, right? That would just be silly.

Actually, my largest annoyance is that this is the most ridiculous "planet of hats" ever. When we first saw them, I was definitely intrigued. A gritty, amoral, industrialist society? No interest in niceties or conquest or peaceful cooperation or whatever? Maybe these could be what the Ferengi should have been! Instead, all we ever saw were the garbage dumpers, nobody else... What a narrow view of their society; why did we never see anyone else? Talk about a wasted opportunity.

As for the episode itself, well, see my comments on the Fight. Exact same thing. A blatantly telegraphed, overly simplified "character piece" that comes out of nowhere for Torres. She was actually this belligerent in Season 1 (she punched out Carey in the second episode, remember?), so it would have worked in season 1 or 2. But being a model Starfleet officer for 4 years, without Janeway showing any concern, and now all of a sudden it comes to the forefront in such a blatant way? Sniping to a guest when Janeway is right there? Janeway being concerned with her actions on an away mission?

Well executed, but an annoyance nonetheless. We have a pattern of the crew living in limbo, with character aspects coming and going randomly, but at least they are shown in an entertaining and well developed fashion. That's a lot better than early Voyager, which tended to be poorly executed with only half-thought out plots. It's a different form of turning off your brain and untapped potential, and probably a better form, but still not quite as good as it can be.
Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 4:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: The Fight

I guess the episode is ok. I mean, the direction is fun, and I think they captured the fear Chakotay felt well enough. The imagery worked decently, which is always a key part of these sorts of "Journey to the Center of the Mind" plots. The idea that the threat they were facing was actually just an alien trying to contact them is certainly better than the hard-headed alien of the week trope that we're used to, and in fact is very reminiscent of TNG's Night Terrors (which works as a comparison in multiple ways; it too is a mostly forgettable plot and mostly forgettable episode with some nice imagery).

As for why this episode is merely ok, I have two major quibbles:

1) This is season 5, and we just now find out Chakotay both is a fan of boxing AND has a strong fear of going insane due to a hereditary disease? Neither of these was ever brought up before (and I assume the insane part doesn't get brought up again, although I guess the boxing one gets to recur in order to show The Rock)? Did he look even more uncomfortable than the rest of the crew whenever Voyager had one of its mind screw episodes? Shouldn't that have factored in with his brainwashing episode in Nemesis? Did he ever bring up boxing when he was going on about being a pacifist warrior? Nope, it just springs up out of the blue. I guess it's hard to say this episode should be abandoned just because it's too late, but this definitely would have been a better episode in the second season, and if it would have impacted Chakotay's character in more subtly ways.

2) The plot feels like something that would be analyzed in middle school. Hey kids, today we're going to talk about character development and plot! When you write a story, your character should learn something about himself, and face a challenge to overcome an obstacle that relates to that trait he learned about himself. So what do we have here? Chakotay realizes that he feels a great fear of mental illness due to this hereditary disease. Yet his obstacle is that he must risk mental illness in order to save his ship. And we learn this through the metaphor of boxing, where you have to be willing to take some hits. Let's make it even more obvious by having the trainer say boxing is all about what's in your heart. Thus, we know it's a matter of willpower to overcome the fear. That's all Chakotay has to do. Now, let's turn this simple idea into a 45 minute story.

Yes, that's what many character pieces do, mirror the main plot with the character growth. But in a great story, it's subtle. In a great story, there's a real struggle, making you wonder if the hero will pull it out. But here? It's just such a straight line, so blatantly obvious. The struggle was just Chakotay taking a while to face the aliens, but no real growth there. Perhaps, rather than just seeing him screaming in sickbay, we could have seen him try to make contact, make some progress, but then seriously worsen. Start hallucinating and finding himself completely irrational more often. Then he has a real fear, that this is permanent, that he is getting worse. Can he go back inside his mind after that? Do they delay and try to find a technobabble solution? Does Chakotay risk permanent brain damage to save the ship? Does he reach back into his memories to his grandfather, and wonder what it was like for him to live with his disease? Wonder if, maybe, he can still have some peace in his life even if he does go insane?

Nah, we'll just go straight to the dramatic climax. No winding around, no subtlety. Just imagery, flashbacks, and plot resolution. It all just seems so simple. It's a pleasurable enough outing, but just feels unfulfilling in the end.

Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 4:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: The Nagus

Jim Hensen presents Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Diamond Dave
Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 3:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Scorpion, Part II

Not quite up to the first part but nevertheless a very strong outing. Maintaining the dramatic tension with the Borg alliance is handled particularly well - the cube sacrificing itself to save Voyager is a very neat concept. It also moves the action on board which helps to ratchet things up even more. The kick ass engagement in and out of fluidic space is also a high point. Seven provides the perfect mouthpiece for the Borg and I'll look forward to how that plays out.

The one thing that bothered me was the contrivance that knocked Janeway out of the game just long enough for Chakotay to pull the rug out from under the alliance and then get her back in the game soon after. It just seemed clunky. Kim's recovery I had no problem with, if the nanites didn't work quickly then how are they going to have utility as weapons...? 3.5 stars.
Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 12:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Penumbra

DeBoer's acting is quite awful here, I didn't think she was that bad up until this point but I can see what people mean when they say she is limited.

As for asking about a minister, people who aren't religious use them in wedding ceremonies and I can't see that changing. Marriage is traditionally a religious institution and like Christmas, will tend to carry on with its customs even if much of the meaning is lost. It would have been nice to see Trek's take on the future of marriage, however that's not really DS9's forte.
Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 12:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

Despite its many flaws, "Skin Of Evil" sticks in my brain as most memorable, not because of Tasha's death, but because of the Armus character. As a physical embodiment of the concept of evil, it takes my imagination to science fiction nirvana. Far more interesting to me than the intricacies of Klingon politics.

isn't that sort of what STV The Final Frontier was about? A powerful force, locked away, without redeeming merit? A favorite theme of Roddenberry's, that we should avoid being ruled by our emotions.

Now that we are once again being blanketed with political nonsense, I would certainly vote for rounding up all the evil and shipping it off to a distant planet.
Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 12:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Penumbra

I think they still have religion in the 24th century Federation. Janeway mentions Christmas several times (See also Star Trek Generations). Then there's "Devil's Due" where Ardra briefly takes on the form of a Judeo-Christian devil to attempt to prove her identity to the human away team.

There's probably more examples, but in DS9 of all shows, having a minister would seem extremely appropriate.
Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 11:39am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: Fascination

You people are way too serious. I had fun the entire way through.
Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 11:13am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: The Passenger

Summary of final acts: Inept DS9 crew forgets to grab highly suspicious unauthorized runabout with a tractor beam during a hijack plot investigation. Technobabble ensues.
Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 11:02am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Penumbra

Maybe because they actually believe in diversity in the 24th century?
Diamond Dave
Sun, Feb 7, 2016, 11:01am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Sixth Season Recap

So overall I scored this an average of 2.60, which puts it only in 4th place of the DS9 series so far. For me it gets off to a storming start through the 6-part arc and the wedding episode, but we then disappear into a run of what I'd call concept episodes which (The Magnificent Ferengi apart) didn't really work for me and which set up a longer run of average episodes to follow.

A brief spark around In The Pale Moonlight then led into a reasonably underwhelming run out to the series, containing the single dumbest episode we've yet seen in Profit and Lace.

Perhaps it's just a reflection of a series running out of steam - Dax was very underused here, and her departure not unexpected as a result - but I'm not sure I could put my finger on anything specifically wrong (although the concentration on the prophets/pah-wraiths is heading in that direction). It's just not firing on all cylinders.
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