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Elliott - Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 5:28pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

@Robert :

"But Voyager, like every other show, needs to be judged as a product of it's time."

I have to fundamentally disagree here. While some aspects of TV production may naturally evolve (read: improve) over time, such as special effects in an objective manner, there is no standard which says that story-telling formats are automatically better the more tightly they follow (or lead in DS9's case) trends. It can be of historical interest to note how show well shows capture the spirit or styles of their time, but it is not a measure of quality. Otherwise, the soap opera would an evolutionary highpoint of storytelling with its uninterrupted continuous narrative.

Several artists have been considered out of step and old-fashioned in their day (Vermeer, Bach, Pushkin), while others were cutting-edge (Hemingway, Wagner, Monet, Shakespeare). This does not diminish the greatness of any artist or work of art, it is simply a stylistic choice. The Voyager authors apparently felt it was easier to stick to the Trek ethos by embracing the Trek format of yesteryear (be it 1960s or 80s). This retro-style had little to no impact on the quality of the writing. Judge that as you wish, but I for one reject the notion that "timeliness" accounts for calibre.
Robert - Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 2:49pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

Voyager is being judged by it's time. Pretty much all shows by this point, including sitcoms, had some amount of character development, continuity and do not fully reset at the end of each episode. DS9 had "serial" elements. I don't judge Voyager for not having them. I judge Voyager for needing to end the episode in the same "state" it began it. If it wanted to be judged by the same standards as "Lost in Space" and "TOS" it needed to be made 30 years earlier. And if it wanted to be judged as "TNG" it needed to be made 10 years earlier.

That's not to say some of Voyager doesn't do really well. I recently touted the Doctor's personal arc as excellent and relatively reset button free. And this episode was a great showing for Tuvok, Vulcans in general and Voyager.

But Voyager, like every other show, needs to be judged as a product of it's time.
$G - Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 1:32pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

Excellent hour. It slides in a notch under "In the Pale Moonlight" but only because that episode's frame narrative was so compelling. I agree with everything Jammer says (except that the plot may be too complex for its own good). I never even considered that Sisko would have been aware of the plot, but given what we already know, it's not an unsupported conclusion.

Things that are awesome:

-Every beat of the episode works and builds into a legitimately high stakes mystery. (I especially enjoyed the call-back to "The Quickening". It's not a big deal, but continuity always makes a series that much more realistic.)

-The episode is necessary in that it shows DS9 is a show that recognizes the precariousness of political alliances. It's been going on the entire series, and it takes care not to suggest everything will be resolved just because the good guys (inevitably) are victorious. This episode suggests its own future without being able to explore it, and I think that's a pretty effective device. The Wire's (excellent) finale is an example of this, too.

-I love the sobering portrayal of the Federation trying to hold itself together in a region of political upheaval, which is a legitimate question to pose when one is working with a future utopia. "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost" effectively utilized the "rogue admiral" cliche, but it's done even more effectively because, A), we already know Ross to be a reasonable man, and, B), his rationale is completely understandable given the last two seasons of war and especially episodes like "AR-558". It was a smart move to only have Ross collude with Sloan rather than be a part of Section 31 completely.

-Even though I've seen this show in its entirety, I forgot that Admiral Ross gets this much development in S7. I've made comments on other S7 episodes that this season is the year of the secondary characters. I forgot how true that continues to be. As much as I miss the routine of our main cast doing their jobs every week, it just goes to show how big and unpredictable DS9 has become. The canvas just keeps widening.

This episode has one flaw, I think, though it's pretty minor and really pretty subjective: the new actress playing Cretak. She's actually really quite good, but the new face kind of weakens the punch that this is the same (reasonable and likable) woman we know from "Shadows and Symbols". She works perfectly within the story but, y'know, that visual continuity just isn't there.

Other than that, this is not only an easy 4-star episode but it's a top 10 episode of the series. Essential. Do not skip.
$G - Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 12:58pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

I found Sisko's objection interesting and I think it would have made a pretty good episode all on its own. (That is, period-piece entertainment and whether or not the entertainment can be divorced from problematic inspirations). The episode doesn't go anywhere with it, really. But I also think not having Sisko say anything would have been out of character. Not only is Sisko a history buff, but he personally visited a rough period in the 21st century ("Past Tense") AND experienced first-hand the pre-civil rights prejudice through Benny Russell.

Anyway, I still think this is a fun episode. A lot of people tend not to like this one, but I don't know why. Its closest sibling episode is "Our Man Bashir", which everyone drools over, even though "Badda-Bing" is way, WAY better. The plot doesn't needlessly threaten anyone (except Vic) and plays out creatively, showing off the plan beforehand so that each setback has stakes and purpose when it DOES play out. "Our Man Bashir" basically just used each character for the sake of seeing the actors in cliched roles, which got old for me.

You know what might have made this episode a bit cooler? If the mob takeover of Vic's was foreshadowed beforehand instead of just popping up in the programming. Since Nog made it so Vic can live a "real", uninterrupted existence it would have been neat to see Vic deal with inevitable problems raised by that. Of course, that would be giving way too much screentime to Vic, really for the only purpose of paying off a holosuite heist episode. Ah well.

3 stars for me. This is a legitimately enjoyable episode. Weird that S7 has more holosuite episodes than the rest of the series combined (I think). Weirder is that I think they're all successful!
Kid Marine - Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 11:15am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

Surely "Twilight" would be Enterprise's equivalent, not E2.
Robert - Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 10:28am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

@Matrix - h t t p://www.lbgale.com/2012/07/29/the-tamarian-takeover-memes-and-language/#.VFEHRldsL4c

Wish granted. Now as payment, go watch the episode.
Satya - Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 9:14am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

I was particularly struck by the lack of urgency everyone (from the Colony... from the Enterprise... literally everyone) felt while faced with the planet's complete doom and destruction. 2 stars is about right.
NoPoet - Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 7:53am (USA Central)
Re: ENT S1: Broken Bow

Farpoint: pompous, arrogant, cliched, old-fashioned, badly acted, horribly written, cheese beyond belief, naff "sci-fi wonder" ending, too much posturing, doesn't even start with the launch of the Enterprise.

Emissary: boring in places, cliched and embarrassing when Sisko meets the Prophets, an excellent idea for a new show, good acting, terrific villains, New, vibrant, interesting in places, but poorly paced.

Caretaker: fun, exciting, excellent characterisation, interesting premise.

Broken Bow: different, funny, exciting, contemporary albeit weak in places, a few genuine prequel moments, excellent sets and effects, the NX-01 has limitations and vulnerabilities that make it awesome.

Of them all, DS9 easily went on to be the best show, TNG the most comfortable and reassuring, Voyager so-so but generally good, ENT the most disappointing with a total loss of direction which was regained way too late.

Conclusion: the days of Bermaga should have ended with TNG/Voyager. Berman's lack of input into DS9 is telling - it easily outstrips the other Treks.

NoPoet - Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 7:41am (USA Central)
Re: ENT S1: Shadows of P'Jem

Additionally: I agree the Vulcans are almost insanely horrible in this series, but when have they ever come across as anything other than thorny, arrogant and aloof? Spock had plenty of good moments, but he was also on a ship populated entirely by humans who constantly sought to get a rise out of him and needed him to reveal his inner humanity. I guess that's all right though because LET'S ALL BASH ARCHER.

The reveal that the Vulcan people are actually being misguided by Romulan agents should have come in the first or second season, not halfway through the fourth.

NoPoet - Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 7:32am (USA Central)
Re: ENT S1: Sleeping Dogs

All right, I finally made myself watch this episode again, along with a few others from season one.

I was struck by how well-acted the show is. The Klingon actors made the best of their very poor, obstinate lines, but Reed, Hoshi and T'Pol were excellent. Hoshi is coming along nicely - a shame her character will be all but abandoned in later seasons - and Reed was excellent, his desperation showing as he argued with Hoshi about detonating the torpedoes.

The episode is still a missed opportunity on many levels. We do not see a decent reason for human-Klingon wars (which we are supposed to have started, by the way), the Klingons are written as tards and the closing scenes where the klingons actually threaten to fire on Enterprise were ridiculous, although Archer's response was spot on.

I cannot hate Archer just because the writers occasionally make him do something stupid. After all, what exactly is he supposed to do with pirates and hostile raiders? Stick them in his brig? Destroy their ships and murder their crew? Turn them over to other authorities - what authorities? This is a really thorny subject which the writers simply ignore.
Jonathan - Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 4:24am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

One very interesting thing is that the censorship shown in this episode - forced or highly suggested - was instrumental in the creation of the Star Trek franchise. Many stories in Star Trek - especially on the Original Series - came into being because the only acceptable way they could be told or explored was in the guise of a science fiction show. Censorship still exists, but it is just a faint shadow of what is was in the '50s and '60s. Besides, we have the Internet today - where if you live in the western world, there is absolutely no censorship.
SlackerInc - Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 2:07am (USA Central)
Re: TOS S1: The Enemy Within

Huh, I was underwhelmed by this episode. (My kids and I are going through and watching, in order, all the episodes Jammer has given three or more stars to; many of them I saw years ago in syndication but I don't recall seeing this one.)

Some of it may be just that certain elements are off because they are still working out the kinks: no acknowledgment that there are shuttles; strange, convoluted terminology to talk about the simple act of setting phasers to stun; the fact that Nimoy seems to be taking longer to settle into his character's groove than the other two of the main trio.

But that sort of points to part of the problem: we are only in the fifth episode, yet this is our second consecutive episode involving people being made to act differently from normal and run amok. And in fact, it is the fourth of the first five episodes in which at least one of the main actors deviates from the typical way they would play their character: either because someone or something was causing them to act nutty, or because they were playing an imposter. Shouldn't they have spent longer establishing their characters' normal behavior patterns first?

It was cool to hear that first "he's dead, Jim" though.
Charles - Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 12:25am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

I love the double standards used for Voyager and TOS... TOS is the perfect, amazing series, and each of its episodes is thought-provoking, and a classic, while Voyager is supposedly aimless and limited.

I'm sorry but that's complete bullshit. Once you accept Voyager is NOT DS9 and was never meant to be, and you compare it to TNG and TOS, it fares quite well. TNG had it fair share of doozies, and TOS well don't get me started on TOS.
knight4444 - Tue, Oct 28, 2014, 11:31pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S2: Second Sight

Wow, some of you people are really pathetic, I thought is was a great episode, it's NOT a full length MOVIE! it's a 47 min TV series, I'm assuming most of you television critics are just pimple popping TEENAGERS!
Jerry - Tue, Oct 28, 2014, 10:25pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S1: Fusion

Finally, a real Star Trek episode. I echo the sentiments about it becoming a mind meld rape story, but that didn't detract from some very interesting Vulcan theory about their history, and the actors portraying the rogue Vulcans were very good. I'm not a Jolene fan, but here, at least, her character had some interesting moments. Her experience with the chaotic nature of jazz is much the same as I saw in Europe in the 60s, where members of repressed/oppressed societies were attracted to the unstructured nature of the music, rather than its melodies or lack thereof.
Matrix - Tue, Oct 28, 2014, 8:40pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

@Robert. I would really like an article now extrapolating memes as a fully functional language like these Tamarian guys.

I've never seen this episode.
Robert - Tue, Oct 28, 2014, 1:06pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S1: Heroes and Demons

It's an ethical problem, not a storytelling one. And in some ways it's dealt with in Author, Author with the plight of the EMH MkIs.
Elliott - Tue, Oct 28, 2014, 12:31pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

@Caleb :

While I can't speak for all, in my case at least, please do not conflate "anti-spiritual" sentiments with anti-religious sentiments. One cannot dismiss or diminish the internal psycho-experience of an individual by logical arguments, but one can (and should, in my view) deny such intimate and inexplicable experiences from bearing upon the sciences, laws or other social spheres whose purview is *exclusively* materialistic, phenomenal (ie, non-metaphysical). Religions, including the Bajorans' faith, do not make this necessary distinction, and should therefore be opposed.

Regarding the quasi-Satanism of the Pagh Wraiths, it is true that such dichotomies are a part of religious history in human cultures, but they manifest primarily in a religion's superstitious period of development (The Middle Ages is Christianity's period). The Bajoran faith is shown very clearly to be in a post-Enlightenment stage of development and thus, the existence of this kind of anti-faith in any serious degree is comic-book-level silliness and best, ignorance-based exploitation (by the writers of religious tropes) at worst.
Caleb - Tue, Oct 28, 2014, 11:28am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

"2) The whole thing with the Prophets and Pah-Wraiths was STUPID. There is no such thing as an opposite religion. Satanism is not a real religion, it's an urban legend."

I'm replying to a years old comment here, from Matthew, but... this is just wrong. The world of spirituality and metaphysics has a dark side as well as a light side, and both sides have their followers. You don't have to look hard to verify this. Have you never heard of the right-hand path and the left-hand path? Theistic satanism? The occult philosophies of various secret socieities? Do some more research before you act so dismissive of something you are apparently not well-informed about.

And I also just want to speak, in general, to how much anti-spiritual sentiment I see in the comments for reviews on this site... and others. Folks, many times you are just showing your cultural biases and materialist/reductionist indoctrination. There's nothing inherently 'silly' or 'nonsensical' about visions, expanded consciousness, experiences of gnosis, etc - in fact we are talking about centuries upon centuries of human mystical experience, understanding and knowledge when these topics are addressed. I'm quite glad shows like DS9 don't take the simpled-minded "oh its all bullshit" view and spend time exploring these topics that do indeed represent very real phenomena. That's not to say DS9 always did a great job of it, but I'm happy for the attempt.
William B - Tue, Oct 28, 2014, 11:14am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S1: Heroes and Demons

I'm not sure why it's a storytelling problem if the EMHs are sentient, or are capable of becoming sentient in a really short period of time. It is certainly true that it paints the Federation in a negative light -- but that makes quite a powerful point, which is that through ignorance it is possible for people to be complicit in horrible acts. The title, "The Measure of a Man," has a double meaning (at least); it is not just about whether Data is a person, but about whether the Federation, as represented by Picard, can recognize the dangerous patterns they can fall into, and can do the right thing regardless of how hard it is. The measure of a man is partly his ability to correct himself when he finds that he has, through ignorance or insensitivity (or, indeed, malice or deliberate wrong action, though these are not the case here), in other words; and such is the measure of societies, as well.

I think it's clear that no one *thought* they were making a sentient holoprogram with the EMHs, and I think that the EMHs' personality etc. were primarily just so that people could interact with them as if they were humans. However, as was pointed out in The Quality of Life, the fact that it was not the *intention* of the creators to create a sentient life form does not mean that this life form is not sentient. The Doctor doesn't immediately recognize his own potential, either, but comes to recognize it over time.

If the problem here is that the Federation should have corrected itself more extensively, and sooner, and its failure to do so is evidence that it is an evil organization and thus trashes the Roddenberry ideal, well, that's something to consider -- but I think it makes sense that it's really, *really* hard for the Federation (and indeed, for the Voyager crew) to properly identify the line between artificial creation with no internal life and sentient, self-determining being.
Robert - Tue, Oct 28, 2014, 10:44am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S1: Heroes and Demons

I didn't mean that he should have been brought to life via the gel packs because life can only be organic, I just meant that if, in THIS case the Voyager Doctor was special because the organic circuitry components had bestowed a uniqueness unto him in the vein of Data's positronic brain... it would have made the slavery issue with the other EMHs less disturbing.

And our EMH is not always in contact with the organic gelpacks (like when he's in the mobile emitter) but maybe they could have been the thing that gave him the so called "spark of life".

It would of course weaken some S7 storylines (like Flesh and Blood and Author Author) but I think S1-S6 would hold up just fine under those conditions (and then S7 would have had to be a bit different).
Elliott - Tue, Oct 28, 2014, 10:38am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S1: Heroes and Demons

@Robert, re: Gel packs :

It's a good thing they didn't go down that road, because it would weaken the precedent set in MoM, Quality of Life and the Doc's arc (especially "Flesh and Blood") that AI is just as valid as organic life. I think it's a stronger argument to say that what makes a life truly worthwhile is not whatever endowments are bestowed by a lifeform's creator (be it parent, programmer or divinity), but how those endowments are put to use. That idea is fully embraced in "Latent Image," vis-à-vis "La VIta Nuova."
Yanks - Tue, Oct 28, 2014, 9:05am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Chimera

I would agree with prejudice. He definately doesn't acknowledge solids as equal in any way. Fish probably wasn't the best analogy, fish aren't sentient.
Yanks - Tue, Oct 28, 2014, 8:36am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S1: Heroes and Demons

I've always thought Data was sentient. Data was a commissioned officer in Star Fleet and should have had all the rights along with the responsibilities that come with that. One of the reasons I'm not a MoM super-fan like most. The trial should have never happened. You can read my review here on the MoM page if you want further elaboration.

But the question of "Sentience" is quite the discussion.

From MoM [TNG]:
"PICARD: Commander, would you enlighten us? What is required for sentience?
MADDOX: Intelligence, self awareness, consciousness."

From Webster:
"1: responsive to or conscious of sense impressions
2: aware
3: finely sensitive in perception or feeling"

I would say Data has demonstrated throughout the series that he has met that criteria. With #3 and "consciousness" being debatable as Data has stated many times he has no feelings.

So I guess the big question mark when talking about the EMH is do these definitions reveal him to be sentient?

I'm not so sure. He is a computer program, while data has the positronic brain. I think I see a difference there.

Topic for another day I guess :-)

But I find it a little surprising that Trek never really took a stance on this subject.
Robert - Tue, Oct 28, 2014, 8:31am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S1: Heroes and Demons

And I do get your point about a slave race and that the EMH Mk2 having... "desire for improvements" out of the box may have been problematic.

I will also throw out there that it is possible (although never mentioned) that Voyager's EMH can only become sentient because of the bio gel packs. Some of his circuitry is biological. I'm actually kind of sad they never went there with that.
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