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Dave
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 4:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Stigma

It was a strange idea in the teaser to have Phlox be just a disembodied voice offscreen. There seemed to be no reason for it at all.
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Akkadian
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 4:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Darkling

This show highlights my love hate relationship with holograms on Star Trek. It is pretty clear that holograms can easily become sentient. Literally all you have to do is add some additional sub routines and boost some of their mental attributes. This is shown in Prof Moroarty, the doctor, the holograms that the Hirogen enhance. And yet they ALL very easily turn evil. As a side note it does beg the question: during the dominion war Or borg battles why doesn't the Federation create a fleet of hologram ships?
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Akkadian
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 4:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Unity

I think the one collective member's comments about how thrilling it was to have a new mind (Chakotay's) in the collective is very telling. Clearly there is a euphoric feeling one gets from being linked. And the more minds the better. So I can see them begin to absorb new minds as time goes on, perhaps voluntarily at first, but soon aggressively (in fact if you think about it they forced some of the people on the planet to join the new collective). The only chance that they have is if they do not have access to the tech needed to link new minds and succeeding generations will be raised as normal individuals.
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Rahul
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 3:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Corbomite Maneuver

Not a huge fan of this episode as I found it dragged on, very slow paced. All the bluffing etc. is an interesting plot that shows another side of Kirk's command abilities. Yes, it's good to see the intent and actions of Kirk as he shows his peaceful nature when Bailey is more inclined to jump to aggressive action.
Bailey is a central figure here and adds a needed human element to the countdown to destruction. It's fine if Kirk wants to let him return to his position given that he sees the situation as hopeless (before his bluff).
I haven't seen this episode since I was a kid in the 80's - somehow I don't think I feel differently now about it than I did then.
Just as a comparison, "Balance of Terror" later in Season 1 does a better job of the tension.
If Balok is actually looking for some type of interaction with another species, he does go about it in an odd way. He could have announced peaceful intentions at first, but then we wouldn't have an episode.
For me, 2/4 stars.
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Robert
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 2:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

I don't actually have a problem with women crying. I don't personally even take crying as a sign of weakness. As a 30 something year old man if my kids ask me (and they have) or anyone else ask me for that matter, when the last time I cried I have no problem telling them (and it was recently).

I personally think being concerned with projecting a macho image is far weaker than crying. That said... my issue isn't that Tasha cried, it's just that she's the security chief. Crying to her captain because she might die on a mission just seemed really off to me. I just felt that a tough military officer wouldn't be crying about THAT. If it had been Crusher or Troi, fine. Or if she was crying about losing someone she loved... but you have this supposedly tough as nails Chief of Security and one of the first things you want to show us about her on a new show is her crying because she's scared of dying on an away mission? Meh... I just didn't care for it.

As for the Riker thing... according to Janeway Riker needs Picard's and Crusher's permission to have sex with aliens :P
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Tara
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 1:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Rascals

I love anything Ro, but even I cringed at the bed-jumping scene. The final coloring scene was kinda sweet though.

I love the comment above that the episode is geared at young fans, who probably universally love it. That's something I'd never thought of.

I still find myself wishing they'd done a very different episode, one that explores the childhoods of the characters. Imagine the four on a shuttle, getting de-aged to sixteen or so- then crash-landing or finding themselves in jeopardy. Except they wouldn't be adult selves in teen bodies, but their actual long-gone teen selves, now all strangers to each other but having to work together to survive.

Ro would be the angry loner bent on personal survival (who is mevertheless useful because she knows how to fight and hide and make weapons from sticks and shoelaces), Picard the young guy with leadership qualities (but he drives away the others by being bossy and arrogant, as his brother says in "Family").. Guinan could be-- who knows, but child el-aurians are surely interesting, and the fourth person could maybe be an interesting surprise: Keiko or Beverley or Miles as a kid with unexpected problems.

But alas. Bed-jumping is what we got.

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Saiber
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 1:24pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S4: Bound

After so many years watching the series again and this awful episode I must say, thank god that this ENT show was cancelled. I am sorry for the actors as they tried, but fell victim to the writer and showmaker.
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Jason R.
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 1:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

Robert, you make alot of good points. I do recall reading about an interview with Whoopie Goldberg where she made this comment to the effect of (paraphrasing) "Look Ma, there's a coloured woman on TV and she aib't no maid!"

One should not lose sight of how progressive Star Trek could be for its time. For a man born in the 1920's, Gene deserved much credit, even if he fell short sometimes.

As for STNG, I have to say that I didn't (and still don't) find much that is overtly sexist about it. Troi's inclusion (and her clothing) was no doubt partly to cater to prurient sentiments, but given that she sat to the Captain's left on the bridge (and given the apparent reverence shown to her role as counsellor and the time devoted to her character in season 1) I'd say that's a mixed bag at worst. Women were shown to have high ranks in the command staff (Chief medical officer, head of security, counsellor) and were not relegated to lowly roles. Tasha never wore a miniskirt, nor did Dr. Crusher.

Regarding Tasha crying - I hate to break it to you, but women do seem to cry more readily than men. That's been my experience anyway. In a 21st Century context, you may not like it or you may wish it weren't so, but it is. Now maybe that's a cultural thing that should resolve in a truly equal society - but maybe not. Believing the sexes to be equal is not the same as believing them to be *the same*, not in the 21st century or the 24th. Unlike in TOS the Next Gen era shows always espoused equality of the sexes period full stop even if some of the aesthetic choices could be taken as sexist from a certain point of view.

Actually one of the few things I enjoyed about this episode was Riker's scenes concerning the matriarchy. He isn't threatened by powerful women at all. I thought this was intriguing and speaks to how different Riker is than the typical alpha male womanizer. As I interpret it, Riker's attitude reflects a post feminist outlook. He doesn't feel threatened because the battle of the sexes was never a factor in his universe. His response is much like Uhura's to Lincoln's comment in the Savage Curtain. It's as if to say: "why would I be offended?" It is one of bemusement and curiosity. This is not personal to him.

Incidentally, I also find it amusing how many people take Riker to task for daring to have sex with a head of state. But maybe sex isn't such a big deal for 24th century humans? Maybe for Riker sex is no more a big deal than breaking bread? The idea that not just technology, but *people* could be differebt in the 24th century is one of those things STNG struggled with, isn't it?
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Tara
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 1:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: A Matter of Honor

Lol, LZ! Sushi always wins!

Yes I know - it's a plot device. But, but, but, it's so device-y and unbelievable that it ruins things.

I'd have preferred to see a fight in which Riker gets creamed and is bloodied and on the floor, but outsmarts his opponent at the last moment in a no-holds-barred way that only Klingons would accept - manages to throw live gakh in the guy's face and then rams his hand into an electrical socket and beats him unconscious while he's being electrocuted.
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Mtmjr
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 12:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Cost of Living

Jammer, I have enjoyed your reviews for years, and tend to re-read them if I happen to watch the episode at issue. I have not commented before, but weirdly, I feel the need to for this one even though, I agree, it is not exactly TNG's shining moment.

However, it does contain one of my favorite ever TNG lines/moments. Lwaxana is telling Deanna about her ill-thought-out plans to marry an internet date she has never met. Deanna is basically rolling her eyes. Then, Lwaxana mentions a wedding gown, and Deanna perks up and says, completely scandalized, "You're not going to be naked at your own wedding ??!!" Deanna's horror at that notion delights me, because it really embraces the world-building they've done to this point.

I mean, one of the first things we learn about Betazoids is that their wedding ceremony requires everyone to be naked -- it's apparently a very central cultural tenet. And of course, as some of the comments here make clear, it's something so counter to our own culture that some people have difficulty accepting it even in the concept of a fantasy show about a made-up culture.

As a continuation, I also kinda love the final scene, where Lwaxana cheerily appears at her wedding naked, as a true Betazoid bride, and Deanna looks pleased to bits. Notably, everyone else except the hapless groom and his henchman kind of rolls their eyes, like "Betazoids are so goofy."

I agree, though, that the rest of the episode is feeble. But I'd give it an extra half-star just for Deanna's line.
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Tara
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 12:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Time Squared

A very good episode. The suspense and mystery are ratcheted up and up, largely by the stress and fear shown by present-Picard as he deals with his situation and the copy from the future. His brittle desperate line: "aside from his features, there is NOTHING about him I recognize!" Is brilliant.

A let-down, though, at the end. PIcard executes his double emotionlessly - like a hit man taking down a mark. This iciness is weird - DUDE YOU JUST MURDERED A MAN, and HE HAS YOUR FACE!!! - and deflates the rising tension of Picard-present's impending mental breakdown which has been teased all episode (Pulaski to Troi: "There's only so much stress a man can take,").

I would rather have seen the episode play out like this:

Present-Picard becomes increasingly edgy as the destruction of the Enterprise nears. He is worried about saving his crew; but more is going on: he is suffering "survivor's guilt in advance" and loathes future-Picard for having apparently done something both stupid and cowardly - run from the ship and left his people to die while saving his own ass. Present-Picard develops a mounting hatred of future-Picard which becomes unbearable as he sees the man once again trying to board the shuttle. He tries to restrain his double while shouting at him: "Why are you abandoning your crew? They're about to die, you fool! What's the other choice, damn you!" They struggle. Present--Picard kills his double in a moment of rage and terror. Then he stands over the corpse. Horrified.

He pulls himself together somewhat and returns to the bridge, where he hits on the idea of taking Enterprise into the vortex. It's hinted that this is a nihilistic act rather than a heroic one: "I'm a murderer and we're all going to die. So okay, we can't run from fate. Let's do this."

They survive. Corpse-Picard vanishes and no crew member learns what Picard did in the shuttle bay. Picard is relieved but still has a burden of guilt: He knows he cracked under pressure and acted like a murderer. (Meanwhile everyone on the crew is hailing him a hero).

Last scene: he withdraws to his ready room and sends Troi and Pulaski and Riker away as each of them knocks on the door and tries to find out what's eating him.

Episode ends either depressingly (lonely Picard looking out the window, bearing his burden of command and imperfection alone) or upbeat-ly (Picard chooses a Shakespeare play off the shelf and gets some solace from lines he loves that shed light on human frailties... Then he looks up from the book and sends for Troi or Guinan)
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JohnC
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 12:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Ex Post Facto

Several silhouettes of Lidell's body with backlighting of her sheer outfits. Someone took a lot of time and effort setting up those lights and cameras. Plot or no plot: 3 stars. :)
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RJ Morelle
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 12:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Naked Now

No one, as far as I can see it, has yet commented on the greatest scene of this. Funny how maybe nobody else ever realized it, while my girlfriend and I spontaneously and simultaneously burst out with laughter. I'm talking about that tiniest of foot shuffles Picard performs when approaching Beverly Crusher. It's that minimal movement that first shows that he' s affected by the sickness too. Great economic acting like this raises the score considerably, so I definitely think this episode deserves a 3. Just for that well played classic scene. As for the rest, I agree it is pretty campy, but we did have fun.
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Chrome
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 12:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

@Jason R.

"If Ardra can just cloak the Enterprise and disappear it with a "cheap copy" of a Romulan cloak - why don't Romulans just do it whenever they fight the Enterprise? If she can create forcefields on the bridge to swat away security, why doesn't everybody do that?"

I wasn't under the impression that the Enterprise was caught up in it very long. Geordi did, in fact, figure out the shield pretty quickly and got into contact with the Enterprise.

But if it's any consolation, this episode was originally written as a Phase II show, so I think some of the campy goofiness from TOS makes it's way into this episode. I wouldn't call it an idiot plot though, because Picard's onto Ardra from the very start, and any minor tactical advantage she has with her toys is thwarted pretty easily.

What's funny, and perhaps scary is that, even in our time, people are still very susceptible to parlor tricks and carnival sideshows like Ardra. One need not look further back than our previous election cycle's Fake News for proof of that.
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Ralf Möller
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 11:55am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Man Trap

This was probably written out of hatred for people who put extra salt on their meals without having tasted.

Quite stupid that no one recognized the incredible usage of salt as a hint for the existence of something strange.

And here we also have the dying of the no-names right from the start. In a ridiculous way.

Very disappointing to see this. I was such a fan as a kid. The monster looks stupid.

Two stars solely for historical relevance, even if it wasn't even really the first episode.
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Jason R.
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 11:50am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

@Chrome

I don't object to a lighthearted comedy, just to the idiot plot. Outside of Q episodes, the established rules of the universe we are in should not be just casually hand waved away, conedy or not.
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Jason R.
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 11:47am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

Chrome it's useless to speculate how Fajo obtained the Mona Lisa. But even if he stole it from a secure 24th century facility, that just makes him a clever thief. Fajo's kidnapping of Data was also clever, but didn't require him to employ any special technologies.

If Ardra can just cloak the Enterprise and disappear it with a "cheap copy" of a Romulan cloak - why don't Romulans just do it whenever they fight the Enterprise? If she can create forcefields on the bridge to swat away security, why doesn't everybody do that?
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Robert
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 11:47am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

"TNG was problematic enough to seem annoyingly anachronistic to me in 1987 - by which I mean it seemed a throwback to an older more gender-stupid era, rather than a throw-forward to 24th century enlightenment."

Just wanted one more comment, on this in particular. TNG was an odd mix of both forward thinking and backwards thinking. It's interesting to think, but a lot of TNG ideas came from the failed ST Phase 2 and Maurice Hurley (who had a lot of power in early TNG) was a sexist bastard if there ever was one.

So I think TNG was a bit funny because having a woman CMO/Security Chief was really progressive but having that Security Chief cry in the penalty box was really regressive. To think that TNG was less than 10 years out from fare like X-Files and Xena though is a little mind blowing.
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Chrome
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 11:43am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

"The idea of her being able to sand bag [sic] the Federation flagship is laughable."

Precisely! Which is part of what makes this a comedy. And the Federation Flagship was already conned by Pakled traders, so let's not give it too much credit. :)
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Robert
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 11:40am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

Eh, we're coming at how full the glass is from different directions. I'm setting the bar really, really, really low for the average 1960 Hollywood male and then saying Gene was decently above that!

Murphy and C&L were created by WOMEN. And Rick Berman was born 25 years after Gene. Gene Roddenberry was born in the 20s.

I'm not excusing the sexism in Star Trek. I find certain episodes (like Turnabout Intruder) to be unwatchable because of it. But saying that Gene wasn't didn't lean feminist for a man of the 1920s (he was born around the time women were first allowed to vote) is revisionist history under a modern lens.

Uhura was a career military woman. His pilot had a female first officer. TNG had a female security chief and CMO. Yes, there was a lot of sexist crap in there... but stuff like Star Trek helped convince people that women should be equal.

My point is that history (and heroes) is often more complicated than people give it credit for. It's like people today vilifying politicians that, in the 90s, were for civil unions as barbarians. If Americans didn't become comfortable with civil unions they'd never have become comfortable with marriage. It was a process. And Gene was part of the process for sexism as well, on the side of good, not evil.
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Chrome
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 11:40am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

It isn't stated specifically, but it's appearance in "The Most Toys" was there to show that Fajo was capable of obtaining the usually unobtainable. Just like Ardra is able of conning even technologically advanced societies. How many aliases did she have 23? Does that mean her trick worked in some way on 23 different other planets? If so, Ardra's quite resourceful indeed.
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Jason R.
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 11:34am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

And Chrome, you are describing the technologies of major galactic powers on their military vessels. This wasn't a cloaked Romulan military craft - they even note that Ardra's cloak was a poor copy of a Romulun version! This was just some random con artist. The idea of her being able to sand bag the Federation flagship is laughable.
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Jason R.
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 11:30am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Devil's Due

@Chrome

The Mona Lisa is under tight security in Paris at *present*. Do you know what happened to it after the nuclear holocaust? :) Just saying it might have been misplaced some time in a couple centuries.
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RJ Morelle
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 11:27am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

I'm a little further than in the middle of a Complete Star Trek rewatch marathon with 3 to 5 episodes each day with my girlfriend, who I desperately wanted to get hooked. So far everything ok, she really enjoys it. The rewatch is in chronological stardate order, so right now we switch between VGR and DS9.

Always trying to be a little ahead of schedule, to be able to say to my loved one: tataaa, now watch THIS, I recently found this site. And the latest, sorry man: heartless entry by Caedus urged me to do my first comment on Jammer's.

The point I want to make is: we haven't even yet watched this episode together. It will happen in 3 days or so. But even just the mention of it, and reading the other comments, how it made you people cry, brought back the tears I remember crying when I first watched this back in the 90s. I cried like a baby, and always do when I just think about it. I just wanted to point out that this imho the most heartbreaking episode of any TV.show ever made. I am very curious how the rewatch will hit me.
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Jason R.
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 11:25am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Sacrifice of Angels

Dlpb, it was their wormhole! They constructed it. This fact was established right in season 1 in the very first episode.

That the aliens would be capable of destroying (or disappearing) a fleet passing through their wormhole is hardly shocking. It's actually kind of obvious when you stop and think about it.

This goes to Peter's earlier point about how everyone, including the Federation, had conveniently forgotten about the Prophets or written them off as some kind of quaint religious myth when in fact the truth was right there to be seen. The major powers arrogantly thought the wormhole was theirs to use as they saw fit - forgetting who built it and on whose suffrance they used it.

The solution in this episode kind of blindsides the viewer which is good as far as I am concerned.
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