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David - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 4:41pm (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

I just don't think it's wise to launch into a serialized freshman season. Standalones are the way to go. And I know it's popular to bash episodic storytelling these days but when the standalones are entertaining and fresh nothing wrong with that. In fact. The two most popular Trek series were nothing but standalones done well. The problem I think a lot of people have with standalones is the formulaic nature that shows like CSI or NCIS or Law and Order have or with Voyager and the first two seasons of Enterprise were they were boring or awful. But TNG was episodic but not formulaic. It provided a whole range of story types from morality plays one week to straight up high concept sci fi the next to character episodes or mysteries

I really think standalones in the first season would help establish the characters first THEN in subsequent seasons adopt pure serialization. BUT NOT the type of serialization as shows such as Game of Thrones, Lost or BSG did. No, I'm talking about the serialization of primetime dramas of yesteryear did like Hill Street Blues and Dallas, falcon crest, knots landing, the original melrose place namely breaking down the modest ensemble cast and paring them off into three or four arcs that develop and span a single season whereby the set up, development and pay off occur in a single season and the arcs are self contained within that season with no spill over into the next seasons arcs. Then the next season has it's own new arcs

While I enjoyed DS9s arcs I hated that it wasn't full on serialization. Nothing more frustrating than getting caught up in the arc then the next episode drops it for several weeks.
Maq - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 3:34pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S3: North Star

Ok story and playing. I liked it. The only really irritating thing was when T'Pol was held by the villain. Is she not a Vulcan , stronger than a human man and good in material arts? But she just hangs there. Poor not to show some Vulcan feminism.
Diamond Dave - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 2:11pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Visionary

File this one in the increasing list of episodes where "bad things happen to Chief O'Brien". Definitely a feel of TNG here, and where they blew up the Enterprise, here we get to have the fun of seeing DS9 destroyed. I suppose it had to happen sooner or later.

Nevertheless, this is a fun episode in many ways and has an intriguing undercurrent, what with 3 dead O'Brien's and one coming back from the future to live his own dead life. Or something. Obviously though we get to this point via the standard set of contrivances. But it's never boring. 3 stars.
Samaritan - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 2:09pm (USA Central)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

Season 5 Episode 3 "Phear Phactor Phenom"

1/2 out of 5 stars.

"He didn't insult me, not once. That's not right." ~ Rhade

Unfortunately this episode isn't really better then the last. Here we learn that there is apparently a "ban" on technology over the whole system. Who exactly in forces this ban is unclear as if also exactly what level of technology is okay and what isn't and who makes that decision.

Harper is alive but has been in the Seefra System for 3 years. Apparently the parts from Rommy avatar came with him but he hasn't been able to repair her. This hasn't stopped him from building over androids however.

He has also teamed up with the resident mad scientist who is trying to recreate (and failing) the Vedrans. At least there is someone here who thinks the Vedrans should be in Tarn Vedran. Why is she doing this? Well because the new Vedran will naturally be able to save everyone . . . because, you know, Vedrans.

Dylan and crew aren't happy with him, but they don't make it clear exactly what they're aren't happy with. Harper has also been stealing, but its not clear what or why he is stealing. But it won't matter anymore, because they "neutralize" the mad scientist and Harper is now back with Dylan.

The episode suffers from too little Rhade and too much Beka. Dylan here is just classic Dylan, but it is nice to see Harper is still his usal entertaining hyperactive self. Doyle is a character with a lot of potential and its obvious to everyone but the main characters that she is another android built by Harper.

At this point, I'm getting a little tired of being shown how messed up the Seefra System is. Let's move on to the mystery of WHY is this way and WAY it should be fixed and HOW they are going to go about doing that. And where are the VENDRANS?
Wilt - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 12:44pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Mortal Coil

Nic, I know your post is 4 years old but that has been an argument for me as well. A concept pops up suddenly to help the storyline limp along only for it to disappear without a trace and never mentioned again. Where to begin? Let's see...

S2's Alliances where that race the Trabe had been the ones to scatter the Ka-zon into the nomads they are and never once shown again. After Basics neither were the Ka-zon for that matter. I suppose they could say they were leaving their region of space and it was played off as such. Fair enough.

But what about those tricobalt missles they used in the pilot to destroy the caretaker array that we never heard from again except in S6's Voyager Conspiracy ep...

Or the Malons that were so fond of their toxic waste dump sites in S5...

Or the Vaadwaur that were hyped to have been a new threat to the quadrant in S6's Dragon's Teeth that Seven awakened yet somehow we never heard from them again either...

We never learned what happened to the remainder of the Equinox crew that survived and were subsequently demoted. Not to mention it would have been nice to see Lessing's reaction to serving under a captain that was very willing to feed a Starfleet officer to the wolves...

Come to think of it we never even learned the fate of Ocampa either after the Caretaker's passing. Keep in mind they were the reason Janeway destroyed the array which stranded the crew in the Delta Quadrant in the first place. All to help a race with an 8 year life span.

I'm sure there are others I missed that you or other fellow trekkies could think of. These were just off-the-cuff ones I remembered.

Truthfully I'm surprised some of the Starfleet crew didn't mutiny before (or after) that fateful decision. The Maquis it should have been without saying. It certainly would have made for a more interesting journey home to see this.

Was it against Starfleet ideals? Of course. But the Maquis had little use for those ideals to begin with. That's partly the reason they formed. And with the decision the Captain made to strand them there it sure gave their cause a bit more credibility.

But I digress. Between this one and Jetrel it's nice to see Neelix was not just an annoyance at the worst of times. He can be deadly earnest when he wants to be but that would be quite a downer to see that all the time. And I know Ethan Phillips wasn't looking to be Clint Eastwood. I remembered him as a kid in the sitcom Benson and surprisingly in the movie Lean On Me. Comic relief even in that.

But did anyone really believe for one minute he was going to succeed in beaming out to space? There can only be suspense when you don't know the outcome, at least for me. The best we could hope for is the reason why he decides not to beam out into space is good enough to raise it from standard fare.

Now for a good twist as he was beaming out our trusty can't-get-a-lock kim would live up to his namesake and cause the tricorder scattering field to displace itself, thereby saving Neelix but instead it's shifted itself around chuckles beaming HIM out into space with no chance of retrieval. Now that would have been must-see TV!

As it is 1.5 stars is all I can give this, despite this yahoo serious side of Neelix we only got from time to time.
Samaritan - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 12:33pm (USA Central)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

Season 5 Episode 2 "The Weight" (part 2)

1 out of 5 stars.

"You know, this seems like a bad deal because, apparently, I die either way." ~ Dylan

Once again, this episode leaves more question then answers, not about the plot, but about the entire set up. We learn here that no one knowns about Slipstream in the Seefra System. In fact no has even heard the term "Slipstream" and faster-then-light travel is thought to be a myth. (This despite the fact that Seefra periodically get new arrivals and the that fact that if this really is Tarn Vedran - it would only be a mere 300 hundred years cut off from the rest of the galaxy, not nearly long enough to completely forget the existence of Slipstream on all nine planets.) We also learn that water is in short supply on all nine planets, not just Seefra-1.

Beka has been in the Seefra System for several months, aboard the Maru, she can't leave the system but keeps trying until she runs out of food, water and power. Why she doesn't land a planet before that point? She never bothers to explain. Just because, I guess.

She finds the Andromeda, intact (so much for the theory that Seefra-1 is the Andromeda), but without power and so sets of a distress signal. At some point she gets captured and tortured for about a month, including being threatened to be burned alive by a creature imaginatively called the "Core", a name which it sounds more like a machine then a creature. She then makes a deal with the leader of her captors, Jonah, and "fall in love" with him . . . apparently getting captured and tortured are the roads to a girl's heart.

At this point Dylan and Rhade show up to answer the distress call and we play the same old tired game, is Beka loyal to Dylan? Cause we haven't found out the answer that before, in like a dozen previous episodes. Jonah doesn't trust Beka not to be loyal to her old captain and devises perhaps the weirdest test in any science fiction episode. He presents Beka with two buttons. One unleashes the "Core" who will kill Dylan; the other fires a missile which will destroy the Andromeda.

The test doesn't work as Dylan as figured out, along with the audience, that the "Core" is actually Trance and that Jonah isn't really going to destroy the Andromeda - both buttons unleash the "Core". When the "Core" comes out, Dylan addresses her by name and Trance, naturally, doesn't hurt him, even though she looks like a miniature sun with little tentacles.

After Dylan reveals Jonah's trick to Beka, Jonah, apparently in a sudden fit of insanity, decides to shoot a missile at the Andromeda after all, purely out of spite with Dylan. This doesn't really sound like someone who managed to create the largest commercial cargo fleet in the system, but hey, who cares about consistent character representation? He and Beka split ways, with Beka telling him that she "really did love him" - because, you know, torture and stuff.

Beka frees Dylan and they are joined by Rhade, who has spent the entire time wandering the corridors. Yeah, former Admiral here people. They use Trance to power the ship and shoot down the missile, which also conveniently destroys Jonah's ship with splash damage from the warhead. The "Core" turns back into Trance's humanoid form, but she has no memories and only vaguely recognizes Dylan and none of the others. Rommy comes back online as well and informs everyone that it was Trance who saved them all by tesseract-ing them through the Route of Ages and into the Seefra System and that doing so cost her physical form and memories. Why and how Rommy knows all this is anybody's guess along with how she lost power.

The crew then mention that all they are missing is Harper and "Rommy" even though Rommy is right there because she is the slagging ship itself! But presumably they mean her Avatar (which as you recall was destroyed last season) and who the bad Andromeda writers keep acting like is a complete separate character from Rommy, even though we all know that the Ship and the Avatar are one and the same (that's the whole point of the Avatar in the first place).

This episode only rates 1 out of 5 (proper) stars. The new Rhade is still fun to watch and listen too and sounds less like Tyr this time around. Dylan anger at yet another person trying to claim his ship is well done, especially the scene where he see the company logo painted on the Andromeda's hull.

Unfortunately everything else is pretty lackluster. Beka has always been a rather boring character with really no function on the Andromeda, here she is running her "I'm a pointless character" in full tilt. While Dylan has is gathering the crew back together and getting his ship back and Rhade has connections, work, money and knowledge about the Seefra System; Beka on the other hand as been avoiding planets, getting captured, beat up, threatened and then "falling in love" with the man responsible for her troubles.

The whole plot is actually rather boing and doesn't really do anything to advance the story arc or make Beka interesting. The only good scenes are those with Dylan and Rhade together, as their dialogue is still pretty entertaining.
William B - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 10:42am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: The Muse

As with many commenters here, I think that the Lwaxana story is fine and indeed has some very good moments. There is something very half-hearted and perfunctory about the plot, which I do think is a weakness, and might be worth discussing more if it weren't that the plot of the Jake story is so terrible that it seems hard to get too up in arms about the Lwaxana story. What impressed me the more I thought about it is the following: (episode appearance spoilers) I don't think I'm giving too much away in saying that this is Lwaxana Troi's last appearance after having made one annual appearance in Trek since TNG's first season. This means that this episode has the honour/burden of closing out a *nine-year* annual tradition, which is especially difficult considering that the majority of the episodes featuring Lwaxana over the years have been terrible. However, despite the poor execution of most Lwaxana stories, and perhaps because of the repetitive nature of those stories over the years, this episode manages to provide something of a capstone for most of the recurring themes that have followed Lwaxana through her appearances on both series while also wrapping up her role in Deep Space Nine in what is to me a satisfying way.

While I dislike most Lwaxana episodes, I don't (usually) dislike Lwaxana herself; I think it is more the way she is frequently used that is grating, problematic, and often sexist. Zooming out, though, the key elements of this episode have to do with Lwaxana's pregnancy/motherhood, marriage and dissolution thereof, and loneliness and her relationship to distant, lonely men. Deanna's role in TNG is largely to highlight the emotional side of life, and Lwaxana's story zeroes in even more closely on family and to some degree on traditional mother-hen assumptions about the goal of life being familial, as well as a boundary-defying unwillingness to let people be alone (or lonely). That she is largely a nuisance to the TNG crew comments to some degree on the individualism that the starfleet explorer life produces. Lwaxana, caught between tradition and modernity, is both an aristocrat and a shameless breaker of rules, obsessed with coupling and wanting badly to avoid any compromises of herself, and her stories all come down to variations on a handful of conflicts -- the desire to be in a relationship versus the desire to be oneself, the importance of one's children becoming independent versus the gap left when they leave and the parent continues aging.

And so, in order:

1. Lwaxana's first appearance heralds her association with tradition and marriage ("Haven") where she paradoxically is present partly to enforce tradition and partly to flaunt it, ending with her giving Wyatt the push he needs to leave Deanna.
2. "Manhunt" introduces Lwaxana's desire and her menopause-metaphor The Phase fixation on Picard as a man of her age who refuses to let her interrupt his lonely life.
3. "Menage a Troi" (i.e. "menage a trois") whose title evokes the weird and perhaps inappropriate way Lwaxana throws herself into her daughter's romantic life, features Lwaxana's attempts to escape the clutches of an unwanted suitor and Picard's necessarily play-acting Lwaxana's lover to save her.
4. "Half a Life" gives Lwaxana the chance at a happy relationship with a quiet, lonely man who reciprocates her advances, only to have it cut short by the recognition that others in the galaxy place far less value on the possibilities of life for the elderly than she does, and signals tragedy that Lwaxana is not ready to give up on her life, but cannot change that others with whom she could are unwilling to break with societal pressure to stop being inconvenient.
5. "Cost of Living" has Lwaxana teaching Alexander how to have fun while she plans to marry herself off to a stultifying bore out of desperation, until she finally rejects him -- with the recognition that she is partly giving up on marriage as a way of happiness. Her bond with Alexander suggests rebirth.
6. "The Forsaken" has Lwaxana bond with Odo, who over the course of the episode moves from Picard-solidity to falling into her lap; unlike Picard, Odo needs her, and unlike Timicin, she is able to help him.
7. "Dark Page" suggests that Lwaxana has suffered a huge loss of a child (loss of innocence, etc.) which underscores the tragedy and death and loss that follows Lwaxana around, and has her recovering only when she is able to face her problems.
8. "Fascination" has Lwaxana's feelings for Odo boiling over and causing chaos throughout the station, and has her able to recognize Odo's own lonely, unrequited feelings for Kira.

So this episode in some ways refers to all of the above in some sense or another. Lwaxana refers to "Dark Page" explicitly, of course. Odo's declaration of love to free Lwaxana recalls Picard in "Menage a Troi"; the marriaged ended after-the-fact recalls the near misses (for Lwaxana and for her daughter) in "Haven" and "Cost of Living"; Lwaxana's mood being infectious with negative, disruptive results, which is to some degree always true and was most true in TNG in "Manhunt" and had its most literal form in "Fascination," is suggested when she recounts her life tragedy to Kira, Dax and Worf in Quark's. Her falling asleep in Odo's arms/lap and Odo putting his arm around her as a blanket is a repayment of her gesture, allowing him to take his liquid form in her lap, in "The Forsaken." And the death/rebirth issues (from all episodes, and especially "Half a Life") come to the fore, as Lwaxana unexpectedly has a child, and there is the suggestion that this child represents a future lonely, sad Lwaxana did not particularly know she had.

The Odo/Lwaxana material in the episode generally works for me both for Lwaxana's character and (more importantly, for this series) for Odo's. I do agree with Jammer's assessment that Odo gets a little too cute in characterization for the usual portrayal of him, but I think that his growing enthusiasm for having someone to take care of makes sense. In particular, Odo is on some level more strongly looking for a way to connect to the world without getting hurt; "Crossfire" eliminated Kira (for now) as the person he could connect with, but his recognition that he can do something for Lwaxana shows how eager he actually is not to be so totally alone. I do think that the awareness of what he has lost in discovering that there is no place for him among his people (first by choice, and then because of what he had done) has changed things for Odo pretty significantly, but in a way that had not quite settled in even by "Fascination." And moreover, Odo really *did* bond with Lwaxana in "The Forsaken" (and to a lesser extent "Fascination") and with Kira somewhat out of the picture for now he is more willing to explore what that means, and more willing to try, on some level, to live vicariously through her. He gets to play the hero for a little while, using his legal knowledge to help another person connect to the stream of life with which he feels permanently disconnected. The reversal at the episode's end -- that after declaring his (fake) love for her he declares his real (platonic) love for her, and that his finally embracing the idea of Lwaxana in his life is what means that Lwaxana must finally leave, is also pretty touching, I think. In some ways it is a reversal of "Crossfire" for Odo, in that he now finds himself as the best friend who will not become a lover, and Lwaxana is able to be honest with Odo about her reasons for breaking with him, in a way that Odo cannot be to Kira.

I do agree though with the criticisms of this plot as a *plot*. I don't know if I am that concerned about Lwaxana using shams to escape from her marriage. To the comments above to the effect that Lwaxana should not have taken the child away from the father, I think that the idea here is that Lwaxana would be willing to raise a child together with the father, and would be willing to raise a child with the father being involved in the child's life, but is not willing to be cut out of the child's life because of Tavnian rules, which Lwaxana did *not* agree to. Presumably neither expected child-rearing to become an issue when they walked into marriage, and cultural differences suddenly became not just important but essential. But in any case, whatever the legal issues are, Lwaxana obviously (to me) has the same right she did within Federation/Betazoid culture, especially if that was the original marriage agreement, and the marriage does not actually nullify Lwaxana's rights. The various hoops that are introduced into Tavnian marriage laws are clearly contrivances to get to Odo's (platonic posing as romantic) love declaration, and as such seem increasingly ridiculous, as does the Tavnian father's willingness to drop out of his child's life entirely when even he doesn't seem to believe Lwaxana will give all the child-rearing responsibilities to Odo (though he apparently believes the wedding is real). It's a pretty stupid plot taken literally, and is mostly there to get to the emotional beats, which to me actually work pretty well.

Anyway, right, there's the Jake plot. The Jake plot in some ways works as commentary on the Lwaxana-Odo plot, in that Onaya extracts what was actually inside Jake, in a way that Lwaxana brings something out of Odo that he was not fully aware was there, but in a less predatory way (this time, at least). And the metaphor is fine, as far as it goes -- that creative expression can become a destructive obsession that can destroy a person all while they make something of beauty is a reasonable theme to explore. But yeah, the plot goes nowhere very slowly, and because the episode never gives us any taste of the actual quality of Jake's work we just have to sit around and believe that he's writing the great space station novel through endless variations on the same scene. And then the way Sisko shoots her and she zaps out of the station! The cheese! It feels honestly like "Sub Rosa" with, admittedly, less sex, but has even less entertainment value.

Anyway 2-2.5 for the Odo-Lwaxana plot (I like it, but serious contrivances) and 0.5-1 for the Jake plot, which comes to about 1.5 stars.
TJ - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 10:37am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Tattoo

Another chuckles-centric ep. Yawn. Didn't find it interesting in the least. Still thought the tattoo looked better in S4's Living Witness.

Best part of this ep was the always-reliable Robert Picardo's performance as the Doctor. Here Kes gives him a lesson in empathy. One that I'm sure his adaptive programming algorithms quickly took to heart.

1 star is all I could muster for it. And only because of that silly but entertaining subplot.
Gin - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 10:26am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Resistance

I wasn't particularly enamored with this episode. I didn't find the plight or the people particularly memorable. No moreso anyways than those wanderlust stricken people in S3's Darkling. At least Robert Picardo's performance in that saved it from the snorefest it otherwise was.

In this I really can't find any redeeming virtues about it. S3's Remember was in similar territory but I guess the devil is in the details. I actually found that ep to be more fascinating than this one, too. The people and their history were a bit more fascinating for me. that and the way it unfolded. There was a certain mystery to it because I didn't know what direction it would go in. In this ep I have to say I was nonplussed about the way of life on that planet for better or worse. It could only end one way, which it pretty much did.

Kate Mulgrew's performance in it was tender, a paradigm shift from the usual half taskmaster half mommy that normally accompanies her Captain persona.

I don't know what kind of torture tactics they could have possibly used to make a Vulcan scream like he just saw Bea Arthur naked but it was jarring, to say the least. The self control he retained when dragged back into the holding cell was a testament to a man who knew how to quickly regain and retain it, though. I respect that in anyone nowadays, let alone a Vulcan.

B'elanna's reaction to it all was what we would expect from her. The Klingon/human battle still rages on within. You can practically see her halves warring internally just like they did externally in S1's Faces. I'll give her that much.

But I know she desperately tries to deny her Klingon half as much as possible. No surprise she opted to suppress those feelings while she tried to help a colleague whom had just been tortured moments earlier, yet retained a controlled demeanor once the session ended. For him the solution was rather simple. For her not so much. In this situation a Klingon reaction would have been pointless in any event. Just conserve your strength. Any level headed leader would have told her that, not just a Vulcan.

Interesting that these two polar opposites in emotional control would be paired up. No matter how many buddy cop movies that get put out where the protagonists are polar opposites the concept just doesn't seem to get old. But the only time we'd see them in any scenes together were in meditation. Not out in the field.

Then again Tim Russ was far too underutilized in the show anyways. Which would be one thing if he weren't such a outstanding actor.

In spite of their scenes, however, I still can't give this more than 1.5 to two stars at best. I just didn't find the premise all that interesting. It didn't exactly bear repeated viewings for me. Other than the Tuvok/Torres scenes I barely remember the rest of it.
Lord Garth - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 9:28am (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

I like "Mad Men" and its spiritual successor "Halt and Catch Fire". So, I'm also in favor of a major arc per season where the characters all have their own story.

Unless it's done *really* well, I'm definitely not interested in nothing but disposable in-and-out, one-and-dones.

TOS, TNG, VOY, the first two seasons of ENT. We have 19 seasons of Starship Trek done in that style. Nothing will make the New Trek series look stale and outdated right off the bat faster than that.

And how long could they keep up a string of episodes that are so that well done that it would off-set the staleness of the formula? Especially when most of it's already been done and that's not how the Non-CBS Demographic watches TV. The first season would be the strongest, then it would drop off.

I'm not saying it should follow the path of DS9, because I don't want to see another series escalating into an all-out quadrant-spanning war, but, structurally, the way DS9 was set up in its later seasons is the closest example of what a Star Trek series should be like in the Binge Generation.
Dom - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 9:22am (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

@David, I agree with you dislike of the way that many serialized shows use gimmicks and "mysteries" to string viewers along without ever delivering a payoff. I think when we look back, most of us like Trek because of the great standalone episodes that hit upon profound social or philosophical points. I'd hate for that to be sacrificed on the alter of some greater "mythology."

That said, you do have to realize that making a TV show is a lot of work and there's just a tradeoff in quality if you shoot for quantity. It's possible to have 18-22 episodes per season, but it's a lot harder. If we got 18-22 excellent episodes, I'd say go for it, but we all know that even the best Trek had a lot of low quality filler episodes because the writers were so exhausted that they just filmed half-baked ideas.

I actually thought the first two seasons BSG provide a good example of a middle ground. They're not overly serialized and there are some important overarching story arcs, but also enough room for good standalone episodes. You get the sense that the ship has an overall mission and the show has a sense of purpose, but the show can also take the time to explore other interesting issues. I've also been impressed by the earlier seasons of the new Doctor Who and how they have standalone episodes but build up to a finales using pieces scattered throughout the season (the later seasons under Moffat are unfortunately more of a mess).

In terms of cast, maybe 5-6 leads, but it's nice to have a stable recurring cast as well. Even something as simple as having the same person play the same bridge officer would be a nice attempt to build realism into the show (unlike TNG, where the helm officer changed every few episodes). I think the number of leads and storylines has to be relatively small though with fewer episodes per season. I would hate something like the later seasons of Game of Thrones, where you have 20 different characters and plot threads, and each one gets 5 minutes per episodes to move forward. I think Trek really needs more time to breath and let each episode be about something more than just moving the chess pieces to their next positions.

@Lord Garth, remember that even though there has always been diversity in the US and the world, it's certainly gotten MORE diverse since the 1980s. Just in terms of demographics, whites went from something like 80% to less than two-thirds of the population. Also, issues of diversity are in some ways more prominent in our national discourse and debates. With all of our involvement in the Middle East, Americans have been forced to understand other cultures in a way we really haven't for much of our history. So it's increasingly important for pop culture franchises like Trek to help us think about how we do that.
David - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 3:55am (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

Was going to add but apparently can't edit a post once posted--that this notion that thirteen episode seasons is a good idea. Let me point out that a lot of shortened season shows are crap(salem, under the dome, extant, heroes reborn, caprica, V 2.0 , the strain, American horror story, scream queens, sleepy hollow etc). I'd much rather have a traditional sized season in the range of 18-22 episodes. It can be done. It has been done and most pre 21st century shows churned out pretty consistently good large seasons
David - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 3:49am (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

And I don't know about anyone else but frankly I'm not a fan of the style that every tv series nowadays has adopted. Namely I wouldn't want this new trek series to have a massive cast, some mystery puzzle format with lots of unanswered questions inside of some unwieldy series spanning convoluted mythology featuring flashbacks or flash forwards, interconnected collision storytelling with a breakneck pace and an over reliance of jerking the audience around with a lot of cutesy gimmicks

Frankly tv in general but this new series specifically really should get back to basics. A modest ensemble of seven or eight main cast members. No overarching mythology but rather start off with standalone episodes--and I'll point out standalone isn't the same thing as procedural. Then once the characters are established then towards the end of the first season going into the second season start being a purely serialized series featuring a few season spanning arcs that result each year in being a self contained season long arc as opposed to something like Lost where the arcs span the life of the series. Slow down the pace. You know there is a happy medium between glacially paced shows like Mad Men or ADHD paced shows like BSG or Losf for instance.
David - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 2:19am (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

I have zero faith it'll be any good. If you look at orci kurtzman and their track record their shows are pretty abysmal with lots of fast paced action, plenty of plot holes and recycled storylines plus bland characters. And the rebooted trek films were mediocre at best. So I fear the new series will be just as empty and unsatisfying even more so if it takes place in the Abrams timeline as opposed to the original Trek universe

As much as I would be looking forward to a new trek series I'm under no illusions that sometimes you might think you want something then when you get it you realize you would have been better off letting it alone and enjoying the nostalgic memories--case in point all the reboots or sequels of older series from the 80s and 90s that have come out over the last fifteen years. Besides I still watch television on my big bulky old school television from the. 90s and have zero interest in watching a tv series on a laptop or phone from a streaming service.
Samaritan - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 1:57am (USA Central)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

Season 5 Episode 1 "The Weight"

2 out of 5 stars.

"There are three types of people. Those who can count, and those who can't." ~ Flavin

"'You can't get there from here' should be this place's motto." ~ Dylan

In Season 5, Andromeda returns to its space opera roots, setting up a season long story arc. However this arc appears to have little to do with the original storyline.

After the rather anti-climatic showdown with the Magog "World" Ship (actually several worlds with an artificial sun) Captain Dylan Hunt flies through the Route of Ages and somehow looses his slipfighter without explanation, manifesting in a dark corridor where he comes face-to-face with himself. Baron Samedi, above, describes this second Dylan Hunt as "godlike", but in actually this Dylan is exactly identical to the first Dylan, except he is wearing a jacket. (Why Baron Samedi thinks this Dylan is godlike, I don't know, maybe he is a closest Sorbo fan?) The two Dylans smile as if to say "of course I'd run into myself here" and then turn away from each other.

This scene is never explained, or commented on, for the rest of the episode. What was it about? What did it mean? Why did it happen? Who the slag knows? Is this Dylan's "paradine" self? Is this Dylan from another time zone (such as when he existed the Route of Ages in a later episode)? This is Dylan from another universe? Is the scene a visual joke on the old saying "If you travel long and far enough you will eventually meet yourself."? This question, and more, will not be answered.

Dylan finally escapes the corridor/Route of Ages only to suddenly ended up wearing the jacket the other Dylan was wearing. Have the Dylans swapped places? Is this in fact the other Dylan we are now following? Or is this writers'/director's error? We may never know.

Dylan is now on a planet (still no slipfighter) and is found by the Trance stand-in for this episode. Flavin. Flavin in fact is about this episode's only redeeming quality as he actually makes for an interesting and fun (if predictable) character.

We are then introduced to this planet's/system's rather farfetched premise. Its 12 planets, all identical, all of which everyone finds familiar, which is suppose to be Tarn Vedran or the Andromeda. Why everyone find this familiar when only Dylan has been to Tarn Vedran and the denizens of the planet are not the Andromeda's crew is not explained, like pretty much everything else in this episode.

We also meet Schwarzenegger's little brother, who apparently runs this planet. Its unclear if the entire planet's population consists of this one little town or not. But its a population of idiots. Also working for the Arnold's little bro is Rhade.

Rhade's character has received a makeover. While the new Rhade is a lot more fun then the old, one can't help but feel that this part was originally written for Tyr and has been adapted for Rhade's character. He also comes off as slightly unhinged and angry at Dylan for . . . well no good reason really, just because mostly. Where would this episode been without some conflict between the main characters. It seems the writers have totally forgotten that Rhade use to an Admiral, as he in no way acts like one would expect a former Admiral to behave.

After what seems like several bar fights, Dylan and Rhade are finally reconciled, Flavin does his Obi-Won thing and dies and the bad guys are driven off. No question are answered, including the pink elephant in the room which none of the characters even address. If this is Tarn Vedran, then where are the Vedrans?

This episode rates 2 stars mostly because of some fun characters. The new Rhade is a little weird, but its fun to see him less wooden and a little more Nietzschean. Flavin's character too is a lot of fun and Thomas' impersonation of a priest-like Schwarzenegger is fun to make fun of. A lot of things aren't explained, but then again, it is the first episode of a season-long story arc and it does a fair just of setting up the premise, as awkward as that premise is.
Petetong - Sat, Nov 28, 2015, 12:02am (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

Thank you Lord Garth for your feedback. I didn't mean to suggest that society wasn't multicultural in the 1980s, just that it is even more so now. I also didn't mean to suggest that the alien races on Star Trek were stand-ins for non-white Americans, but rather non-white, non-Americans.

Maybe it's wrong of me to want Star Trek to evolve to meet my current needs. Perhaps I have just outgrown Star Trek. I'm not interested in watching a show about 7 senior members of a star ship with a hundred extras in the background, interacting with 2-3 guest stars of the week from a mixed bag of talent, shot on a sound stage of maybe 3 or 4 sets. I'm definitely not interested in stories where the transporters cause two crew members to switch bodies, or the holodeck takes over the ship, or DNA does something wacky, or the crew travels back in time to 2016 Minneapolis (with LA as a stand-in), or an 8th dimensional develops a parasitic relationship with the warp core...
JC - Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 10:03pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S6: The Voyager Conspiracy

This ep was completely displaced. Firstly I tend to agree with others that in spite of Seven's rapid-fire delivery of facts she is trying to arrange in some kind of order in her now disorganized mind the suggestion that a conspiracy at this point was even remotely plausible required a bit too much suspension of disbelief on the part of the viewer. I keep forgetting about the tricobalt missles that were used to destroy the caretaker's array in the pilot. Not that it matters since they were never mentioned again except in this. And forgotten again soon afterwards.

Now this would have been perfect in say, Season 1. It would have made for a better episode than Learning Curve. It was in any event, surprisingly. Which was about the only episode that even dealt with the displaced and disgruntled Maquis. I was rather nonplussed with that episode despite Tim Russ' kickass portrayal of Tuvok as always. The ending felt too simple and the premise was meh.

Anyways regarding this ep the way the story laid out was doable. And it would have fit in perfectly with the tension of the Maquis/Starfleet crew...in S1. The 6th season is way too late for any kind of talk about conspiracies on that miniscule ship. That's what made it so implausible.

Now with that being said I won't lie. I loved the scene w/ Janeway and chuckles going to Seven's alcove to determine the source of those power fluctuations. You could slice the tension in that room with a butter knife. Even the way it ended was solid entertainment to me. Couldn't stop smiling thru the whole scene. Now if this level of acting was the norm rather than the exception at this point in the series I could see the viewers begging for at least 1 more season. I might have even written a letter or two to the execs myself. "Have a heart guys, leave em stranded just one more season, please!"

Still, one great scene doesn't make up for its shortcomings. The greatest being it's 5 seasons too late for talk about conspiracies. The Maquis conflict was a thing of the past just before DS9's cancellation and at this point Voyager was the only ST show in town. Not to mention the crew was working side-by-side with each other during the whole conflict to begin with. I'm guessing it was riding on the coattails of the X-files which was a network superpower around this time. Regardless, I don't think I could have given this one more than 1.5 stars.
navamske - Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 6:42pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S7: Friendship One

"Once upon a time, Captain James Kirk gave a famous and rousing (if hammy and portentous) speech where he exclaimed, 'Risk is our business'."

"Riiiiiiiisk is our business!"

Diamond Dave - Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 1:42pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Prophet Motive

An archetypal piece of lightweight fluff. Nothing wrong with that per se, and there are some nice moments (particularly Rom's parting revelation), but overall it falls very much into the "so what?" category.

The B-story you have to wonder about - Bashir tells everyone he doesn't expect to win an award that he doesn't win but secretly wanted to. Hmmm. 2 stars.
45 RPM - Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 10:44am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Lifesigns

A story with a simmering subplot, tho at the time we had no clue where it was going. Next episode deals with that.

As for the main story I didn't realize just how awesome an actress Susan Diol is. The chemistry between she and the Doctor was natural, unrushed and flowed perfectly. And the good doc still had time for quips (both intended and unintended).

I had seen her before, but prior to this ep I didn't make the connection. Admittedly I wouldn't until I googled her.

Not sure if anyone would know this but she was in two particular episodes of Quantum Leap. She was Rear Admiral "Al" Calavicci's first wife, Beth. There was in fact an episode that dealt (indirectly) with that. I remembered it because I thought she was adorable then, too. (well, that and after he returned from Vietnam he would be plagued by failed marriages and alimony, bit of a running gag on the series. But it was clear Beth remained the only one he loved unconditionally). And the final leap for Dr Beckett was in fact, to her to give her some good news. Nice touch to give at least Al a happy ending if not Sam.

And she was in one TNG episode briefly. Anyone care to take a guess which one? I'll let you good folks know later if you don't already know...

Which brings us to this awesome ep. Whod've thunk that she would be as charming as she was? I might have to watch other films/shows she's done. She has screen presence no doubt. It's subtle but its there. She seemed to establish a rapport with practically everyone. Too bad she didn't become a regular on the show. It would have been a perfect addition to what Jennifer Lien was as Kes. This is what I miss about the earlier seasons.
They flowed more organically and not so by the numbers as the last few seasons would become far too often.

Maybe this was another changing of the guard. Later seasons felt as if the writers' attention spans began to narrow in pursuit of multitasking and cramming too much into an ep. And here we are, some 20 years later. Multitasking has become par for the course in life. Doesn't seem like life is getting any better for most of us. Is it any surprise the earlier seasons stand the test of time better than the later seasons? (Ok, S4's Witness is classic trek in any ST mythos, let alone any season. I liked it more than even S5's Timeless.)

Sometimes it's just better to let things flow naturally instead of rushing it. I know we all have a limited amount of time on this earth but cutting corners just to get a product out doesn't make for a quality product.

This ep was near perfect because it didn't rush itself. Indeed it paced itself quite well. Yet at the same time those 45 minutes went by wayyyyyy too fast for me! That's how immersed I was in this ep.

It kind of felt as it could have been some kind of romantic comedy with just the right touch of drama. Which is a testament to the acting chops of both Picardo and the lovely Ms. Diol.

It also showed that the Vidiians were capable of humanity and great acts of kindness. And yet their condition had forced them to take draconian measures just to survive. We've seen them at their best-and worst. Deadlock clearly juxtaposes what we see here.

I almost forgot about S5's Think Tank, which I have not watched yet. I think it was mentioned a cure was found for the phage in that ep. Nice, but we already knew Klingon DNA was resistant to the phage. It would have been better to actually show an ep showing the steps it took to create a cure rather than just write it off. It would have been even more awesome to have seen it involve B'elanna one more time too.

Another reason I can't understand why she hated her Klingon side so much. It clearly gave her advantages a normal human would not have. Like oh, say, immunity to a disease that has killed millions of a race for how long? 2 centuries? Can't remember the exact timeframe. I just hate the way they make her sidestep that fact in that scene with Dinara. She is literally a cure for the phage but they never pursued her again? Talk about missed opportunity. In S6's Fury all they needed was to kidnap B'elanna and BAM! instant cure. And at this point in time they must have known about her Klingon DNA being the cure since it was discovered back in S1. Shame on you writers...

I know Klingons don't honor being a lab rat per se but a savior is a savior. How in the world did they develop any kind of technology given their mindsets, let alone space travel? Voyager's writers treated them like intellectually challenged primitives who barely discovered fire. Which is practically a slap in the face to the pains TNG took to show them to be more than that. Much more.

In the midst of all this Dinara remained strong and resolute without losing any of her easy charm. She even seemed to allay B'elanna's fears and suspicions with her calm but reassuring demeanor. It never once felt forced.

The writers should have had her be the one to create the cure for the phage rather than the lip service we got in Think Tank. By then the show was too rough around the edges. Her appearance would have been much appreciated.

The rating jammer gave it speaks for itself. Why, we even got to see Seska ever so briefly. Icing on the cake! It ended just as it was beginning. A heartfelt episode with a developing sinister subplot.
SlackerInc - Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 1:52am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S3: Real Life

I emphatically cosign the last two comments. What the people who hate this are looking for, I don't know. I would be curious to know what they would submit as an example of a very strong episode.

As a side note, it was genius to have the rebellious son hanging out with Klingons and trying to emulate them. Kind of like a white suburban teen who identifies with inner-city black culture.
Dan - Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 1:02am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

Nic, I'm with you: when the story hinges on trusting someone, it should be Troi front and center in the episode. Instead, she only gets like one line. That says a lot, unfortunately, about how they value her character. (I don't think it's impossible to write stories about possible liars with Troi heavily involved -- there are limits to what she can do. But she should have a lot to say, even on a deeper thematic level, about trust.)

Two other minor things that bug me:
- If ever there's a time to separate the saucer section and leave behind hundreds of unnecessary passengers, it's when you enter the Neutral Zone.
- The dialogue should at least acknowledge that the Romulans have violated the Neutral Zone too, right? It is presented as if the Enterprise going into the Neutral Zone is as serious a violation as the Romulans' encroachment on *Federation Space* in "The Enemy".
Lord Garth - Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 12:34am (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

I'm cautiously optimistic about the new series. Here are my reasons:

I'm not familiar with Alex Kurtzman's TV work but this *is* a TV series, so it doesn't have a film budget which means they can't afford to have nothing but constant "BLAM! BLAM! POW! POW!" Even if they tried, it wouldn't look as good as in the movies. They have to do something else.

If it's written the way most modern series are now, and it's available for streaming, there's going to be a continuing story line and the necessary character development and character arcs to go along with it. That's what made DS9 so interesting to follow.

Blockbuster Movies have to play it safe and conservative to make the most profit. With TV, you can get away with taking more time to explore relevant issues in-depth like Star Trek at its best did. The ONLY time important social issues were addressed in any of the films was TUC with the end of the Cold War. TVH to a lesser extent with "Hunting a species to extinction is wrong!" but TUC was harder hitting.

The movies can be big, dumb fun. I don't care. As long as the TV series has more substance. It was the same way in the '90s. The TNG movies were already heading in the direction the JJ Abrams films have gone. I like to say the best TNG movie technically wasn't a movie, it was "The Best of Both Worlds".
Gin - Fri, Nov 27, 2015, 12:27am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S3: Warlord

Skeptical I agree about him not wanting to switch bodies. It sure was causing him headaches trying to fight Kes off but the reward was like you said the ability to kill people with his mind. For some reason I was reminded of that 1984 movie Firestarter with a very young Drew Barrymore. More specifically her old man who had the ability to influence others too, only for him to deal with heaps of nosebleeds afterwards.

As far as the Kes/Neelix relationship, I felt Neelix became a good deal more annoying to watch after Kes' departure, to be honest. I'm not sure if he was meant to be comic relief or what but even so I'd say the Doctor already had a lock on that. The drama bit I'd say B'elanna already took first place with that. Maybe Paris too. Nothing against Ethan Phillips directly, I just thought Neelix was not one of his better roles.

Speaking of locks I was just about to give can't-get-a-lock kim the benefit of the doubt at the beginning of the ep...till a few moments later when he defaulted. Oops-yer-gone cuz I couldn't get a lock.

I liked seeing this side of Jennifer Lien. She could certainly act it up when she wanted to. Kinda wished Roxann had done that more often too (she looked dern good in that blue bikini btw :)). The only time we got to see that side of her was when she was literally split into her Klingon/human halves.

Anyways Kes still showed more acting range than chuckles and kim. Even if you were nonplussed by her hamming it up I can't say I was bored watching the ep. The old mind swap concept is hardly new, but then again neither is time travel. Variations on a theme is the closest thing to originality we'll ever get, especially nowadays.

So I can't say I've seen it done quite this way before. And to that end it held my attention.

Who says resistance is futile? (Well, aside from the Borg, whom Voyager all but neutered by the end of the show's run) Kes was fighting back against Tieran throughout his possession of her. She continuously showed deeper conviction than the writers ever gave her. It never once came off as inauthentic. I know some reviewers here would say otherwise but I must admit I was thoroughly impressed. Can you imagine what she would have been like in S4's 'Witness'? This ep gave us a minor taste of an "Evil Kes" if you will.

Oh, and don't get me started on what that ep would have done if Seska stayed a part of the crew. Damn, wish I could go back in time to rewrite history myself to have the best of all worlds just to see them in action in that ep. Yep, I'd keep Jeri Ryan. How could you not? But I would also have kept Ms Lien and most def Ms. Hackett as well. I agree the ep was easily 4 stars as it stands. Just saying with the other two ladies in it the ep probably would have been THE episode of the series!

Back to this ep. Creeped out by her affair w/ Neelix? Didn't give it a thought to be honest. Everybody needs somebody, why discriminate based on age? They are both adults and like Kes said in Darkling she can spend her time with whomever she chooses. As long as they are happy together (and not faking the chemistry just to secure a paycheck and ratings) I don't really mind. Nasty way to breakup, tho.

Her advances toward Tieran's wife was something different. I get he possessed her. But something about that scene and seeing her slink around in black leather...lol. Tres kinky.

Still, since Jennifer rarely got to extend her acting chops I didn't mind the leather prancing just to see if she could hold her own. I'm guessing the writers didn't mind, either.

She couldn't go back to the way things were, even before her departure. That's why I rate it ever so slightly higher. It would have forced the writers to show a maturing young lady. In that sense it raises it slightly above the standard alien of the week fare.

2.5 to a low 3 is what I'd rate it.
Lord Garth - Thu, Nov 26, 2015, 11:06pm (USA Central)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

Responding to some of Petetong's points.

"Transporters - clearly a gimmick to avoid costly special effect sequences with shuttles. The technology makes no sense and it looks cheesy."

Interesting because the Delft University of Technology is actually researching how to make teleportation possible.

"Society is also a lot more multicultural now than it was in the 1980s. Using aliens as stand-ins for non-white humans / non-American humans is offensive."

What's offensive to me is that you think society wasn't just as multi-cultural in the 1980s. As a half-Iranian who's not religious, isn't straight, and who was a kid back then, I was fully aware that our society was not largely homogenous.

Though, I will agree with you -- to an extent -- that having other cultures stand-in for non-white Americans can be offensive, it can work if the stand-ins are not intended to be derogatory and if the point of view for why they think the way they do is explained.

I also think that the Federation, at least in TNG, has more in common with the European Union than the United States. When Star Trek returns on TV, what I hope is that if the Federation is a stand-in for America, it's not a stand-in for Red America, like ENT Season 3 was. That was a _major_ turn-off.

The Red State / Blue State Divide we now have would actually make for a great episode. Not for the Federation but, if the Enterprise, or whatever the ship it is, runs into a planet like this. That would be Star Trek commenting on our society as it currently is. Using another planet to make indirect commentary.

"Ship design - the saucer, two nacelle, bridge on the top is boring. That design was dreamed up in the 1960s and has been played with over time but I think in 2015 we can come up with a more interesting and realistic design for a ship."

It has to be recognizable as Star Trek or the audience will think its something else.

Also, how are ships, shuttles, or craft designs in general that different between the 1960s and 2010s? And how does the concept a design being from 50 years ago mean that it shouldn't be the design for a ship in the future? I know of no ships in 1966 that looked like the Enterprise. I know of no ships in 1987 that looked like the Enterprise-D.

When it was designed doesn't have to have anything to do with how much it's tied to that time. If I didn't know, I could probably tell the original Enterprise was designed in the '60s. But, I wouldn't be able to pin down the refit Enterprise to 1979 or the Enterprise-D to 1987. Those designs are timeless. The Enterprise-E not so much. I liked in 1996 but the more time passes, the less I do. Some of those designs have stood the test of time, others haven't as much.
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