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Dom
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

@Trent, agreed, the first 2 seasons of DS9 weren't the best drama the series had to offer, but rich intellectual fodder. Incidentally, I wrote an article about this very thing a few years ago:

https://www.popmatters.com/star-trek-nation-building-on-bajor-why-deep-space-nine-is-really-the-post-9-2495411968.html
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Peter G.
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

@ Trent,

"But - as DS9 itself proved - war is what sells. "

I'm not sure that's a fair conclusion. The fact that a lot of people hail DS9 S4-6 may just as soon be due to the serialized nature of the stories, the world-building that was finally seeing large-scale payoffs, and the fact that the characters go through a lot of changes and don't have it easy on the moral front. We saw a teeny bit of this in The Maquis when Sisko had to choose a lesser of evils, but it got much worse than that later in the series. What was rewarding in DS9, much owed to the fact of a well-run writing team, was the fact that they allowed many established threads to have consequences and to lead somewhere. We got significant arcs from Garak, Kira, Odo, Sisko, and heck, even Quark. Julian doesn't so much have a story arc as a character arc, which is quite noticeable if you finish the series and then restart from the pilot. So I'm not sure it was the war setting per se, but rather the fact that it allowed the characters to really go somewhere; the crisis didn't allow them to sit on their laurels.

But as far as Trek utopia-values go, I think DS9 pushed Trek values to the limit by showing just how far the Federation was willing to go to maintain its footing as a non-violent organization. They certainly didn't instigate the war against the Dominion, and tried diplomacy and discussion to no avail. Worf even prevented Garak at one point from potentially annihilating the Founders, which when you think about it was an act that, in and of itself, speaks volumes about how dedicated DS9's Federation was to its values: so much so that even a Klingon was indoctrinated enough to prevent that happening.

Sisko refusing to drink blood wine during the finale seems to clinch the fact that, although there were many exciting battles and action, DS9 shouldn't be taken to have been a 'war-show' but was about people who legitimately didn't want to fight being made to do so.
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HawgWyld
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

@Rahul -- good "B story," too. Of course, we can't forget about the torment poor Nog went through in "The Siege of AR-558," either...
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Mertov
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

LJ and Trent,
My comment was obviously not directed at you and others who felt like you. LJ, I was totally in your camp too, actually.. Trent, I also agree with your assessment, although I would have still preferred if it worked out the LJ'ian (and my) way :))
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HawgWyld
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

@Gee -- Wow. How could I have forgotten "Treachery, Faith and the Great River?" Great one!
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Trent
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:24pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

Dom said: "DS9 started to do that with Bajor, but never really made it work (the Bajor episodes pretty much fell by the wayside after Season 2)."

IMO the first two seasons of DS9, where we watched as a superpower (The Feds) was forced to mediate between two "primitive" cultures who didn't share their values and who had been at war for decades, all whilst trying to keep a multi-cultural station from collapsing, was the best thing DS9 ever did. That stuff was sophisticated and gripping and an interesting tangle. I'd love a series focussing on such mediations. But - as DS9 itself proved - war is what sells.
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Mal
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Maquis, Part I

The performance of Casey in this two-parter completely ruin it for me.

When I re-watched this, I couldn't believe they would continue filming after seeing how awful this actor was.
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Trent
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

Lj: "Wow, for a number of episodes, some people complained that Lorca was nothing like a Starfleet captain, and that his character was everything against Trek, etc.. There were even people explicitly saying that the only way it would make sense is if he were from the Mirror Universe.."

Personally, I've been rooting for Lorca being MU since the third episdoe aired. This confirmation saved the character for me, as it preserves the aspirational, utopian ethos of Prime Trek. If Lorca were revealed to be a freedom fighter within the MU, it will be even better. Trek is one of the few utopian, post-capitalist, post-scarcity SF franchises to break into the mainstream, and I feel this aspect should be preserved as much as possible. And even in print SF, this utopian stance is very rare (since the death of HG Wells, only Kim Stanley Robinson, Ursula Leguin and Iain Banks have visited this subgenre frequently). A product of a very specific time and place, Roddenberry created a universe that is actually quite original, philsophically and politically, when compared to other SF and utopian SF works.
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Lynos
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

Can someone be kind and explain to me what this show is about? Week after week I watch it, because it's called Star Trek, and I still don't get what it's about. It looks great, very well made, some good acting, but it's so hollow. The Mycelian network? So? I mean, other than showing off how cool and progressive it is (female African-American protaginise with a male name! A gay couple!) it's just reveling in gore and despair while bringing very little of value to the table. It's focusing on empty plot machinations and cliffhangers designed to make you keep coming for more. Where are the philosophical ideas, the humanity, the social commenatry, all the stuff the best Trek is known for? I'm fine with mindless action-adventure once in a while, but... I just don't get it. Every episode, people screaming, being tortured... either without (Lorca) or within (Tyler). God almighty, someone crack a smile already.
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Chrome
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

@LJ

Re: Eating Saru

Saru's species was originally supposed to be prey after all and Terrans are by far the dominant "predators" in the MU, so I thought it was a nice, albeit grotesque, detail.
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Mal
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: If Wishes Were Horses

You know how I know that Jammer is predisposed toward disliking Discovery?

This fucking horrendous episode of DS9 is ranked the same as several eps of Disco, and is one of the worst pieces of Trek ever made.
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LJ
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 3:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

@Mertov

"Wow, for a number of episodes, some people complained that Lorca was nothing like a Starfleet captain, and that his character was everything against Trek, etc.. There were even people explicitly saying that the only way it would make sense is if he were from the Mirror Universe..
And now that it is revealed to be so - in an efficient way in my opinion - others are now complaining that writers wasted his character, it's a terrible idea, etc..

Hard to make Trekkies happy :))"

I have to agree with that, though I was one who was happy with Lorca not being Starfleet through and through but rather a disturbed/anti-hero kind of captain since the beginning, so I didn't like this oversimplification that comes with him being MU, myself.
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LJ
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

Ah, I meant MU Sisko* on the message above. Stupid corrector. lol
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Dom
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

@Trent, I'd watch your proposed Trek show in a heartbeat. Trek has flirted with the idea of interacting with cultures that hold illiberal values, but there's so much storytelling potential there. DS9 started to do that with Bajor, but never really made it work (the Bajor episodes pretty much fell by the wayside after Season 2). Moreover, with the rise of illiberalism today, such a show might actually have something of value to say about our life and times.
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LJ
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

And imo, a thing that the show could improve in its writing is this tendency it has to go with totally controversial plot points (Culber being killed for no reason at all, Michael eating a Kelpian that looks exactly like Saru but isn't, etc) and then having to rush to Twitter of all places to explain things in more detail and calm down the masses that are justifiably mad at said plot points.
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LJ
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

@People who are asking if Michael ate MU Saru

One of the writers confirmed on Twitter that, no, she didn't.
She did eat a random Kelpien, though, which I guess the series could do without. But oh well, it *is* the MU after all... Terrans are barbarians and etc.
And while we're on the subject of barbarians, either MU Lorca really restrained himself or he might be one of the more decent MU citizens, on par with MU Disko and Smiley.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

@ Lobster,

Maybe you're right about the pilot, I can't be sure. They certainly didn't take any pains to make it clear that he *didn't* kill the pilot, which you'd think would be really important for us to know. Like, as in, is he a murderer or not. In the end it seemed like an irrelevant detail compared to "look at this badass who does whatever he wants." That's what they were going for and that's what they got.

About eating Saru, I looked carefully at the three Kelpians there and I could swear the one she chose looked exactly like Saru. When being asked to choose I interpreted the scene in the following way: Michael had to guess what she was choosing them for but banked on it being a reward since it appeared that Michael was being rewarded for bringing in Lorca. Once she realized she had to pick she quite definitively picked the one that looked like Saru, which I interpreted as meaning she wanted him protected above the others, which in turn would become a morbid piece of irony as the one she was indebted to ended up being her meal. You don't see that as being the narrative being shown?
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Lobster Johnson
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:22pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

@Trent

Michael didn't eat Saru, Saru is onboard the Shenzou
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Lobster Johnson
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

@Peter G

I don't know why you think he killed a shuttlecraft pilot, he certainly didn't need to in order to acquire Michael. For one, Michael notes the pilot changed course mid-flight which you can reasonably deduce means the pilot was instructed to meet the Discovery. Lorca kept this a secret in order to observe Michael over the course of episode 3 - Michael explicitly theorizes he arranged the entire thing at the end of the episode.

Second, Cornwell exposits later on that Lorca has conscripted Michael which is within his power during wartime - so again no murder is necessary.

Finally, although it's hard to hear (but easily viewable with subtitles on), when Michael first arrives on Discovery there's a background announcement calling personnel to sickbay so you can reasonably assume the pilot was beamed there.
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Trent
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

Wow, Michael ate Saru, Lorca was tortured, Lorca's buddy was tortured, Stamets was tortured, Phillipa massacred some henchmen, Evil Stamets is on the Discovery and Ash is being tortured. How interesting.

Imagine a serialized Trek show about a Federation starship discovering a new alien species and planet, being assigned to study their culture without meddling, learning that a Romulan outpost is doing the same thing, and then both the Feds and Romulans finding themselves in a First Contact race against time to reveal themselves to the aliens and then ideologically convert them to their respective "empires". The Federation then begrudingly back down from pursuing the aliens, as the aliens utilize a caste system which they deem immoral. The Romulans take over. More stuff happens. The aliens beg the Feds to come back, at which point the Feds begin converting the alien planet to a funky post-scarcity space-democracy with gizmos and land reforms and suff. The most violent moment in the series will involve a captain slicing a pineapple at an ambasadorial function.
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

I'll chime in regarding ranking the captains:

Favorite to least favorite as characters:
1) Kirk
2) Sisko
3) Picard
4) Lorca
5) Janeway
6) Archer

Best to worst as actors,:
1) Janeway/Picard (tie)
3) Lorca
4) Kirk
5) Archer
6) Sisko
(I don't think any of these actors were "bad" - they were all great at least 90% of the time. That said, ENT S1-S2 Archer was performed a bit blandly and Avery Brooks occasionally over-acted noticeably.)

Most effective to least effective as leaders:
1) Picard
2) Sisko
3) Archer (mostly for S3-S4)
4) Janeway
5) Lorca
6) Kirk

I agree with some of the comments above regarding Janeway's inconsistency as a captain, as you have to make way too many leaps on your own to explain how often she oscillated between strictly following protocol/the prime directive in some episodes and her jettisoning those traits in others. It's tempting to try to draw some kind of an arc around her behavior, but futile imo, as I'm convinced there's hardly anything holding her character together over the course of the series. That said, Kate Mulgrew did a fantastic job with the character and made a big impact with her strong performances in individual episodes ("Tuvix," "The Thaw," "Scorpion," "Dark Frontier," and the series finale come right to mind).

As to "Vaulting Ambitions," it's my favorite episode of Discovery so far. I haven't truly believed anything we've learned about Lorca so far because something has always seemed "off" about him and his explanations for his behavior and his past, so I don't feel like an interesting character has been excised through the revelation that he's from the MU - I was hoping the show would go this route, as it explains a lot about his character so far. On top of that, Saru, Burnham, Stamets, Lorca and Georgiou all had strong character moments throughout. I'm impressed at the number of bases the episode touched effectively in its short running time.
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Mertov
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 2:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

Wow, for a number of episodes, some people complained that Lorca was nothing like a Starfleet captain, and that his character was everything against Trek, etc.. There were even people explicitly saying that the only way it would make sense is if he were from the Mirror Universe..
And now that it is revealed to be so - in an efficient way in my opinion - others are now complaining that writers wasted his character, it's a terrible idea, etc..

Hard to make Trekkies happy :))

I will wait for Jammer's review for the developments in the episode and simply say that it was one of the most intense episodes of the show so far. But its strongest element was the acting, especially by Rapp and Yeoh.

Nit-pick question: Is this the first episode in which Detmer (whose character continues to receive zero development, hello Harberts, Berg, and Kurtzman, hellooooo?) does not appear at all?

As to the captain's rankings, I agree with Rahul's, in both rankings (the character ranking and the actors' one) except I would switch Mulgrew and Bacula in the acting department..
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Dobber
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 1:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

Can I just ask what is going on with the ships on this show?

Why did Burnham and Lorca have to warp to the imperial flagship when at the end of the last episode the Shenzou and it were in orbit of the same planet? It’s like when the Cooper shot the rebel’s but didn’t show up until much later. And how Discovery was about to beam Tyler on board. Wtf is going on?
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Dobber
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 1:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

Well of course Lorca is from the MU. What I want to know is was his security chief from there too? Although I think I saw her in the preview for the next episode.
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Chrome
Mon, Jan 22, 2018, 1:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

"Actually it was both VOY and DS9 that had ads before the preview, due to the fact those were aired on UPN (which is defunct by now."

UPN didn't exist until Voyager. Both DS9 and TNG were run in syndication - meaning in the U.S., if you saw the shows on their original air date, you were watching them on a local channel, maybe your local FOX affiliate. Thus, it was entirely up to the network when to run ads between previews or not, but I'm sure most networks would. I know mine did!

Since we're on the subject, Paramount bought Spike TV and has rebranded it "The Paramount Network" just this last weekend which means if you have cable you'll probably be able to watch all the Trek movies very soon.
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