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Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: A Taste of Armageddon

Vance, if I could attach a video clip, it would be of me giving a standing ovation to your comment. Indeed, we are so removed from war that we might as well be like the idiots presented in this episode. It is a shameful aspect of our culture that these "removed wars" have become commonplace to us. I teach history, and find my college-age students so oblivious to our wars, and so accepting of them, that I sometimes want to slap them.

Additionally, in relation to the episode, my mother always taught me that I must "respect others' beliefs." I accepted it as a child, but around about age 16 I turned to her and responded, "Not if they're stupid." And that's how I feel about this episode and the prime directive. If a culture embraces stupid beliefs, then I will NOT respect nor cooperate with those beliefs,

As to who is the arbiter of whether or not a beliefs is stupid--there are certain standards of behavior that harm no one. If your beliefs violate that, then they are stupid. At the moment, I am speaking specifically of idiots who cannot comprehend the reality of transgender individuals, and think transgender women only do it to "get at" young girls in the restroom. Those are stupid and ignorant beliefs and I will not respect them. And I will fight them as I am able.

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Diamond Dave
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Rajiin

I thought this was OK. From a very ToS style opening (even the music) it opened up through a decent twist into a stock but competent action finale. What marked it out for me through were the levels of continuity we're now getting. When was the last time a standalone episode like Extinction got referenced directly the following show? And with the Xindi story moving forward as well it at least seems like story progress was being made. 3 stars.
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Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 11:52am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Virtuoso

This was an excellent episode - and I completely disagree with Jammers assessment of the aliens - they were extremely consistent, and it was the understated and frank flatness of the Tincoo that foreshadowed what was coming. It was like watching the Doc run full tilt at a brick wall - the anticipation of the impact was reasonably suspenseful .. when will he work this out, when is he going to wake up?

If the aliens were nice - this would never have worked - their holier than thou attitude was supposed to be annoying - in fact I found it quite amusing. They did deserve a few kicks though - but nobody delivered. "I'm sorry - Gandalf isn't signing any more autographs - you'll just have to go back to the Shire."

The idea that the Doc wouldnt leave the ship, that he fell for it too easily? Hah - the Doc's ego has never been under control - and it is the cause of most of the flak he gets from the crew. We always see the Doc misreading sarcasm - its not new, and his ego has never been under control, and neither has his sense of under appreciation.

This situation hits both of his principle flaws - and hits hard - I had no problem with the premise of his character just loosing control under the circumstances - I would have been surprised if he had shown any caution. Its always been very clear - the Doc is always ready to listen to anybody who strokes his ego.
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Diamond Dave
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 11:38am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Extinction

A fairly comprehensive misfire. 'Bad Voyager' is as good a summary as possible - and as others have noted what is a particular shame is this is completely divorced from the broader Xindi arc which seems a strange choice so early in it.

Good things - the teaser intro was excellent, as were I thought the sound FX. But that's it - everything else fell into the cliched, the banal, or the outright boring. 1.5 stars.
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Diamond Dave
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 10:42am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Anomaly

Definitely seems that the tonal shift is here to stay. The Expanse seems to offer the anomaly of the week options of Voyager crossed with the darker, more gritty atmosphere seen on DS9. Will it work here? Well in terms of dramatic action, most definitely yes. In terms of character development? I wonder.

To me, avenging angel Archer is just about credible. But I'd agree with all those who thought successful torture was unpalatable in the series - it is very much a child of its times and perhaps dated because of it. Perhaps more interesting is Trip's character shift - even the famously fatalistic Reed is trying to get him to see the bright side.

Overall, I thought this looked stunning, was dramatic and entertaining, but left me feeling just a little queasy about the future direction of the show. Gritty and realistic can be good, but a series that takes Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo as its inspiration needs to play very carefully in that realm. 2.5 stars.
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William B
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 10:19am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

Though of course Robert is right about the draft in the US in particular -- since the draft has not been invoked and is not likely to be invoked (or at least, that is how it seems to me), it has no current bearing. Insofar as it has historical bearing, so does the fact that women had no right to vote until the early 20th century, and any number of other limitations on women's rights which have since been amended.
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William B
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 10:16am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

@Robert, hear hear.

Also, one presumes that the deck cannot be stacked against boys, because we have evolved this system and therefore it is the best. Just as this episode is the product of the whole of human evolution, and is therefore the best.

To be fair, though, I actually agree that there are specific areas, some of them very important, in which men are (if I could use that term) discriminated against. That men are drafted to fight in wars (frequently against their own interests) is tragic, though not specifically because women are not. However, I think that men are drafted or circumcised or whatever has little bearing on the question of why there are a greater number of male leaders than female.

As for women in STEM fields, look: If we are looking at anything but the very recent past, women did not have the opportunities that men had. Emmy Noether, maybe the most brilliant mathematician of the 20th century, had to work without pay for years and years and even after gaining approval from the most renowed mathematicians of the age had to lecture under Hilbert's name until 1919 because the philosophy department refused entry to a woman. University math and science departments are still frequently hostile to women -- fellow grad students who were female have indicated which male professors they simply have to avoid for fear of sexual harrassment, which limits career options. The point is not that the male dominance of STEM fields is necessarily 100% the result of discrimination, but I strongly disagree with the notion that relative historical and even recent absence of notable female figures in STEM proves that women lack potential in those fields and thus that we know that girls suck at math generally.
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Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 8:37am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

"No. Society, first of all, doesn't have parameters for greatness. It has qualities which are more practical, or less, for the aim of achieving greatness. And it's those practicality which define what qualities are valuable. "

Actually it does in a lot of ways. Considering we were talking about sports and chess and I can't think of one that was invented by a woman. So in some spheres it clearly matters. Obviously Einstein is going to be awesome by any standards.

"No he doesn't."
"1) There are other differences."

Deep thoughtful rebuttals here.

"2) This has nothing to do with "male activism", and neither does anything DLPB said."

There's overlap. Male activists are often proponents of male exceptionalism in the workforce (ie the concept that because males are so awesome at the things that society needs for the most part and women are so awesome at babies that men should go out and make the money while women stay home barefoot and pregnant). I'm not trying to paint you as one of those people, but there is overlap in MRA arguments and what's being said here. If you disagree go Google "Mens Rights Activism".

"Amazing truism. It doesn't negate the fact that there are differences beyond physical strength."

You're going to see in a minute why this truism is so important....

"There is a difference between men and women when it comes to mental ability. And the difference is that on a scale of intelligence, women trend toward the middle, while men have a wider trend. Meaning that both the dumbest and the smartest tend to be men, while women trend toward the intellectual middle-ground. And this does cause an achievement gap. Among other things. It gives men a leg up in intellectually strenuous fields like those in STEM, and they're also more inclined towards taking an interest in those fields."

Any proof on that besides correlation? The fact that there are few women in STEM does not mean men are better at STEM unless you remove all other variables from the equation. The reason I constantly cite correlation!=causation is because it's a really simple concept that few people actually are capable of processing because they think they understand data. But if you have proof beyond correlation I'd love to see it.

"No it hasn't. They are the ones who have the most government assistance, are politically represented without having to consent to being forced into war, and are the ones that actually have greater legal rights. Not just in regards to voting, but in regards to reproductive rights, and the right to not have one's genitals mutilated at birth. And there are many more disparities, like the fact that the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework). Which is reflected in the fact that men are the minority of college graduates. Yet, despite the fact that you deny any inherent differences beyond physical ability, they still massively dominate STEM fields, the ones they more often take interest in and the ones that are arguably the most intellectually challenging. Funny, that."

Some of these arguments are preposterous, others slightly more interesting (though I won't say better). First of all, sodomy is still against the law in some places technically but we have universal gay marriage. I think there may even still be anti-interracial marriage laws still on the books, though a few places dealt with that a few years ago so maybe they are all gone now. The draft laws haven't been updated because we've had an all volunteer army for 50+ years. Old outdated laws tend to sit around gathering dust. If someone tried to arrest someone for having a blow job in their own house I promise that law would be addressed. And if the draft were ever to be reinstated it would be reexamined. For all intents and purposes unless you're retired, you've never seriously worried about being drafted.

I think circumcision is stupid, but I'm not sure it has a bearing here. People are allowed to all number of stupider things to their kids (especially in the name of religion... which is the origin of circumcision). That's more an issue of children not having any rights to protect them against stupidity than it has to do with gender differences. For God's sake kids have died because their parents don't believe in blood transfusions or vaccinations! I'd be all for taking away parent's ability to be stupid.

Now that I've wasted breath on some of the more ridiculous nonsense I'll get to the actual meat of that which is that the deck is stacked against boys but they are so awesome at STEM that they rise above that. To support you cite that the majority of college graduates are girls but the majority of STEM graduates are boys. This is still, largely, a substance less argument based on correlation. It's actually an interesting thought that academia in general is leaving more boys behind and it's entirely possible that it's true. That doesn't necessarily prove that "the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework)" but it probably is a problem that needs addressing. That said... how does women graduating at a higher rate then men prove that STEM fields are not stacked against women? These data points are not even related. I could use it to "prove" the opposite! STEM is SOOOO stacked against women that even though there are more women in college and more women graduating college there are so little women in STEM fields. That's how stacked it is!

This is why taking 2 different sets of data points and correlating them together to make an argument is pointless. You need to have something else backing up your assertion!

"Tell me more about how the deck is stacked against women, because I haven't even gotten started yet. "

Your right, you have not! I do not yet see the beginning of an argument. I see a lot of random thoughts, opinions and unrelated data points though.

"Thirdly, "typically male" forms of intelligence are valuable not because men have been dominant and have stacked the deck in their favor, but because they are valuable for practical purposes. "

I can give you a real world example and a possibly hypothesis for how this is not necessarily true. In my field, a STEM field, most of the professors/text book authors are male. Perhaps, as you say, most of academia is stacked against boys. This might make sense if girls and boys brains worked differently. After all women are the primary educators in the lower grades (until I hit high school I was probably running 90% women... and until I hit 7th grade I was at 100% women teachers). So if women and men's brains work differently (which I actually think they might) all of the teaching and testing might be in a way that's easier for girls, since girls are the ones making the lessons/tests. So back to my field. Is it not possible that it's harder for women in these classes the same way it is for men in other classes? And when you add in the cultural biases that make STEM intimidating for women couldn't you see that playing a part? In the Seven Sisters colleges they fill their STEM classes. Often taught be women as well. But I will say that as a manager in a STEM field I find mixed groups tend to come up with more creative solutions to problems. It can be a lot of things but in my feeling male "forms" of intelligence in my field are not better but just different. Having different views on a problem is a good thing. I wish I could hire more women at my company because I value their contributions to their teams.

In conclusion your argument thinks very highly of evolution and the natural order but concludes that we reached these societal divisions in gender because they are for the best. With all due respect... I think that's a lot of crap. Evolution does not take place over such a short period of time and the truth is that my brain would have been useless a century ago. Nobody would have wanted me to go to school for engineering. As a man I'd have been responsible for working on the farm or some other manually labor most likely. Sure there were always scientists but in reality men worked and women did babies because people had broods and the work was very physical. When we switched to more people doing office jobs women kept doing babies because that's what they had been doing.... but they had been doing that because they were more suited to babies than they were to physical labor! That was your evolution! It has nothing to do with STEM. There weren't tens of thousands of yearly STEM graduates 100 years ago!

You want it to be true that because men were better at the most valuable non-baby job 100 years ago that they are still better at the most valuable non-baby job today. Because that suits your world view. Not because you have any facts to back it up.
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Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 7:09am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

Ugh. These comments.

But before I get into that, let me explain why the social commentary in Angel One is incredibly cringe-worthy.

1) You have a system run, exclusively - by rule of law - by women.

The law of western society does not preclude women from taking positions of leadership. They have, in many cases. As with #4, this is a quality only observed in extreme outliers of human history. And as I explain in #3, the reason men more often have taken on positions of leadership, is because they're evolutionarily predisposed towards doing so. Towards having more interest in doing so, and towards having the qualities required to do so.

2) In which the men cannot vote, are not respected, and are subservient in virtually every way.

Men, as a general group, have not always been able to vote either. It used to be that only white, wealthy, landowning men could vote (and if they died, their widows were allowed to represent their household as well). There was very little time between when men in general were allowed to vote, and women gained the universal right to vote. Which men still to this day do not have, as they are obligated to first sign up for the Selective Service system before they're afforded various rights and services, including the right to vote. In this way, women have had a superior voting right to men for nearly a full century now.
As for the disrespect given to and subservience expected of the males of Angel One, this is not analogous to human society. For one thing, everyone gets disrespected. Absolutely everyone. You can't quantify, or draw general rules in which you can claim one is disrespected more, unless their a group genuinely treated as inferior - like the Africans, Irish, and Italians of half of American history. I put it to you that the disrespect women - both as individuals and as a group - face is greatly more visible, but not greater than, that which is and has been faced by men.

3) As Beata explained, men have the simple life of pleasure and being provided for, while the women have the responsibility of making society work.

This part I actually appreciate. Because it holds true to the historical reality of what the episode's premise is supposed to mirror. Men, throughout human history, have been expected to be providers and protectors. And just as how the men of Angel One find this to be the natural way of things, it is the natural way of things in human society for men to more often develop strong leadership skills, to aspire for those positions of high-status, and to take on the challenges of providing for and protecting women. It's hardwired into our evolutionary psychology and into our very genetics for men to more often aim for these roles. They have evolved for the purpose of fulfilling them. And both men and women have evolved to value women and their well-being greatly, to take great offense toward their mistreatment, and to not extend this empathy to men, and instead treat them as disposable. And that's just another aspect of how men have evolved to fall into the roles they have. The same is true on Angel One, and while that doesn't excuse their actual sexism and draconian treatment of nonconformity, I can respect it. Both the men and the women have evolved to fall into the roles they did on Angel One, and if you take away the actual sexism, it's fair to say that they fall into those roles because their most comfortable there, because they evolved to be so. Just as it happened on Earth with the sexes reversed.

"4) Deviating from this accepted matriarchal model warrants the death penalty."

This is something completely non-analogous to the vast majority of human society, over the vast majority of history. The thing which comes closest are Islamic fundamentalist nations, which are anthropological outliers by a wide margin.

The social commentary of this episode is confused to the point where it doesn't even know what it's trying to mirror, and how representative what it's trying to mirror is of human society in general.

That being said, let's look at some of these comments that inspired the "ugh" from the beginning of this one.

"You'd also be hard-pressed to find the female Pol Pot, McCarthy, Hitler or Stalin, wouldn't you?"

Yes, because men have more often taken on positions of leadership due to being more biologically predisposed towards doing so. Just as how if you have vastly more male scientists you're more likely to find the odd male Einstein, if you have vastly more male leaders you're more likely to find the odd male Hitler. The statistical fact that with a larger sample you'll have more outliers, is a double edged sword that doesn't discriminate based on what qualities we find morally good.
But I won't cringe at this quote because I'm fairly sure you're making the same point.

"The reason males dominate the upper echelons of our society is that our society's parameters for greatness (be it benevolent or otherwise) has been defined by men. The deck is stacked because the historically dominant sex has conditioned our society to view its own gender's superior attributes as universally superior. "

No. Society, first of all, doesn't have parameters for greatness. It has qualities which are more practical, or less, for the aim of achieving greatness. And it's those practicality which define what qualities are valuable. Not men. Saying that the results we see mean that men must have stacked the deck, is directly analogous to saying that the fact that women, being more flexible, dominate gymnastics must mean that women have stacked the deck against men. No, their inherently greater flexibility is a practically valuable quality for achieving their goal of being great gymnasts. The same is true of men and what roles they've dominated.

"Elliott makes a good point."

No he doesn't.

"Male activists point to the fact that edge case women cannot achieve physically what edge case men can in sports and since this is true you'd be foolish to assume there aren't other differences and those differences must be the reason men make contributions to most fields at an incredible rate."

1) There are other differences.
2) This has nothing to do with "male activism", and neither does anything DLPB said.

"Except correlation != causation"

Amazing truism. It doesn't negate the fact that there are differences beyond physical strength.

"and just because you can prove a physical disparity between the sexes and achievement in sports does not mean that there is a mental disparity that causes the achievement gap in other things."

There is a difference between men and women when it comes to mental ability. And the difference is that on a scale of intelligence, women trend toward the middle, while men have a wider trend. Meaning that both the dumbest and the smartest tend to be men, while women trend toward the intellectual middle-ground. And this does cause an achievement gap. Among other things. It gives men a leg up in intellectually strenuous fields like those in STEM, and they're also more inclined towards taking an interest in those fields.

"Quite literally the deck has been stacked against women."

No it hasn't. They are the ones who have the most government assistance, are politically represented without having to consent to being forced into war, and are the ones that actually have greater legal rights. Not just in regards to voting, but in regards to reproductive rights, and the right to not have one's genitals mutilated at birth. And there are many more disparities, like the fact that the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework). Which is reflected in the fact that men are the minority of college graduates. Yet, despite the fact that you deny any inherent differences beyond physical ability, they still massively dominate STEM fields, the ones they more often take interest in and the ones that are arguably the most intellectually challenging. Funny, that.

Tell me more about how the deck is stacked against women, because I haven't even gotten started yet.

"The fallacy is in assuming that intelligence (especially in a whole gender or species) is quantifiable the way physical strength is. No doubt, if males had lacked the intelligence necessary to co-evolve the species forward, they would not have been dominant in most cultures, but in other species, where the female is larger and stronger, we don't assume that her intelligence is also greater than her male counterparts, just that her physical strength supplied her dominance."

We also don't assume the same for men, it just happens to be that men both have greater physical capabilities and a wider trend of intellectual capacity. Those qualities most likely evolved that way because they were beneficial towards the practical tasks that men were responsible for throughout history, and because the qualities complement each other in allowing one to fulfill those roles.

"In any event, as I said before, the edge which males' ability to physically dominate women has given them ("us," I should say) no doubt made typically male *forms* of intelligence more highly valued."

First of all, there's no causation between these two things. Secondly, males do not use their physical abilities to dominate their female counterparts, they've used their abilities to dominate nature and other males - very often in protection of their female counterparts. Thirdly, "typically male" forms of intelligence are valuable not because men have been dominant and have stacked the deck in their favor, but because they are valuable for practical purposes. We're contrasting the form of intelligence which has allowed us to land a spacecraft on a comet, to the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better. One is objectively greater in practical value than the other, and that's why even in a female-oriented education system it's the form of intelligence we focus on instilling in our youth. It has nothing to do with stacking decks and everything to do with practical value.
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Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 4:19am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Apocalypse Rising

Jammer, you're absolutely 100% right that for a season opener "Apocalypse Rising" feels awfully pedestrian. It's not bad, per se, but it really needed to be more, especially after the ominous closing to "Broken Link". Revealing a Changeling infiltrator at the heart of the Klingon government should be a Quadrant shattering event. Instead, we get a fairly run-of-the-mill action-adventure episode. It's a fun little adventure, to be sure, but that's all it ultimately is.

Add to that the fact that there are some rather large and unavoidable plot contrivances. First, why is Sisko and a large section of his command staff being sent on this mission in the first place. Isn't he one of Starfleet's most valuable commanding officers, in charge of one of the most strategically important bases in the Quadrant? Doesn't Starfleet have a department specifically tailored for this kind of work? Oh yeah, they do! It's called Starfleet Intelligence. The only reason for sending Sisko and company off on this mission is because the plot depends on it, no more explanation apparently needed (much like sending Picard and company off in "Chain of Command, Part I"). Second, why in the name of God does the Martok Changeling attempt to strangle Odo in full view of the Klingons? Again, because the plot required it. Third, I suppose this isn't a plot contrivance but it is still a flaw, there is some noticeable padding. The absolute last thing a season opener should have is padding. Yet, there are at least two scenes that were completely unnecessary - the one between Kira and Bashir where they laugh about her pregnancy and Quark's cameo appearance. The one with Kira and Bashir feels like it's only there as an in-joke to anybody in the audience who happened to know that Visitor was actually pregnant with Siddig's child. And the Quark scene is only there so Shimmerman could collect a paycheck - aside from telling Sisko "Odo's up there", what does it add to the story?

Still, despite all those flaws, it is (like I said) a fun little outing. It's nice to see some of our heroes as Klingons. Avery Brooks was basically allowed free reign over his emotions as his Klingon self, which was enjoyable to watch. It's got a couple of nice character moments for Odo. And it was this episode that convinced the writers to bring back J.G. Hertzler as the real Martok, which lead to one of the best recurring characters on the show. So, it's definitely not a loss as an episode.

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Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 2:08am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Fourth Season Recap

Good Lord, people! It's not that hard to figure out. Kira is the First Officer of the station. Worf is the First Officer of the Defiant. While on the station she gives him orders. While on the ship he gives her orders. Why is this so difficult?


Time for more post-season number crunching! :-D :-D

10 - The Way of the Warrior
9 - The Visitor
7 - Hippocratic Oath
8 - Indiscretion
6 - Rejoined
6 - Starship Down
8 - Little Green Men
7 - The Sword of Kahless
8 - Our Man Bashir
10 - Homefront
8 - Paradise Lost
6 - Crossfire
7 - Return to Grace
3 - Sons of Mogh
0 - Bar Association
9 - Accession
5 - Rules of Engagement
10 - Hard Time
3 - Shattered Mirror
2 - The Muse
8 - For the Cause
7 - To the Death
4 - The Quickening
8 - Body Parts
7 - Broken Link

19 episodes were above-average, 1 was average and 5 were below-average.

Average Season Score: 6.640
Average Series Score: 6.063
TNG Series Score After Four Seasons: 4.727
TOS Final Score: 5.150

Best Episode: Hard Time
Worst Episode: Bar Association

HOLODECK TOYS - 14 (+11)
WTF HAIR - 31 (+5)

Well, it looks like the crazy-ass hairstyles have been somewhat drawn back while the holodeck toys have been greatly increased. Season Four had almost three times as many toys on display as the previous three seasons combined!

"Deep Space Nine" continues its ascent in the ratings with this season. Season Four ended with an average score of 6.640 - yet another record-breaker for "Best Trek Season". In my Season Three number crunching I noted that TNG was being dominated and that TOS had probably already been irrevocably surpassed. Both of those trends continue apace. We got three more 10/10 worthy episodes (same number as last season). But, while we only got one 0/10 episode with "Bar Association", it was still stupendously bad, phenomenally bad! The season also gave us a new record for lowest number of below-average episodes - only five this season, quite an accomplishment!

However, it really has to be said that DS9 Season Four is another example of a Tale of Two Seasons. The first half of the season is remarkably good. The opening thirteen episodes managed to pull off an average score of 7.692. Impressive to say the least! Sadly, however, the final half of the season didn't fair so well. While it did give us the classic episode (9/10 or higher) "Accession" and quite possibly the best of the series thus far with "Hard Time", it only managed an average score of 5.500. It's almost as if the writers/producers spent all their fuel at the start of the race and then had to coast toward the finish line on fumes.

As for the characters - practically all of them are firing on all cylinders, both in the main and recurring casts. The only two blind spots are Dax (once again) and Quark. I can admit that it's probably just my underlying bias against the character, but whenever the writers try to make Dax seem likable or.... I don't know, spunky?.... it just backfires horribly and makes her look very unappealing. If her annoying characteristics could have been toned down, even somewhat, it wouldn't have been so bad. And then there's Quark. He's easily one of my favorite characters on the show and I just wish the writers would treat him with more respect. When they do the results are surprisingly good. His interactions with Odo in "Crossfire" and the semi-serious nature of his plot in "Body Parts" can attest to that. But they just can't seem to help themselves and have to treat him horribly more often than not. They had Odo arrest and drag him in front of a court without evidence in "Little Green Men" (because isn't that funny?!), used him as little more than a whipping boy in the teaser of "The Quickening" and I won't get into the failures of "Bar Association" again. I am happy that he (as well as Rom and Nog) are being used to somewhat redeem the Ferengi from their TNG days. I just wish they would be more consistent about it.

So, onward to Season Five to see if it can top 6.640.
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William B
Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 10:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

For what it's worth, I agree with Ramona about the extent to which Star Trek *fails* to live up to its stated ideals (acceptance, tolerance, we-are-all-one etc.) when it comes to race and queerness, that the Guinan-in-19th-century material is especially bizarre, that Code of Honour is terrible, etc. I think that for the most part Trek producers and writers *wanted* to be progressive and imagine a post-racial society, but generally had a lot of blind spots as well as some limitations from studios etc. To some degree, it is an interesting question how to deal with the inherent contradictions between Trek's premise that humans have evolved beyond discrimination on the basis of gender or race or sexual orientation and the limitations of Trek's depictions of humans in the future. For someone to point out instances of human racism/sexism/etc. which have seeped into the narrative would require acknowledging that the premise is false, whereas I think the usual effort made in the shows is to suspend disbelief. And maybe that is the wrong approach.

I still find Sisko's material in this episode out of step with the usual attitude the characters have toward fiction set centuries in the past, as well as out of step with Sisko's own pragmatism about reworking the narrative around a Cardassian tool-of-oppression station which is being repurposed to heal Bajor, while still keeping on board some of the same establishments (Quark's especially) from when it was Cardassian-owned. If he can accept that Quark can go from serving canar to being a Community Leader under Bajoran rule, and if he expects Bajorans to be okay with Quark's Bar having continuity of service (and, indeed, in all these years the show has never suggested that any Bajorans would have a problem with going to Quark's, with the possible exception of Kira), I don't quite understand his objection to the fictionalized, simplistic Vegas from centuries ago, which also obviously didn't serve Bajorans, Klingons, Trill or Ferengi. I also find it out of step with his attitude about major league baseball. But it's mostly that it doesn't quite click with my take on the character. It does not really match the way people have treated period hologram fiction throughout the three TNG-era shows (which is to say, without much genuine concern for verisimilitude or much moral concern for what stories are appropriate). As I said in a previous post, I can see the point that it's important to acknowledge this point to a 20th century audience. And I could simply be wrong in my take on Sisko's character and about period fiction in the future. It doesn't bother me really, but it still does not feel organic to the characters/setting. Conversely, I do think that some complaints about this scene are overblown -- I think it's a misstep and doesn't jibe with the characters, but not more than that.

This brings me to another point, which is more of a general observation and not specific to this episode: I think part of what makes the scene read weird to me is that the Sisko/Kasidy scene is essentially the first time since "The Siege of AR-558" where Sisko is given weighty material -- he has basically been an authority figure who drifts in and out of other people's stories all season. I should look into how much this is because of the writers/producers losing interest in Sisko and how much is Brooks drifting away, but while Sisko was never my favourite character, I really do feel some loss at his absence. The show is lacking its centre. Season six ended with Sisko apparently having a total breakdown, brought on by a season's worth of difficult choices piled onto him which nearly broke him before Jadzia's death really *does* do so. And then season seven apparently resolves this in the opening two-parter, then he pushes Ezri to stay on the station in "Afterimage," has his Vulcan rivalry thing in "Take Me Out to the Holosuite," and then really does very little for the rest of the first half-season. Again, it's only really "AR-558" where he has an important role, and to some extent this one, before the final arc, which even then mostly backgrounds Sisko. Sisko basically was broken by season six, then hastily stitched together in the opening two-parter, given a little material for a while and then sent far into the background. It's actually pretty sad. And I suspect that may be *some* of why having some of Sisko's only dramatic scenes be indicating his disapproval of a holosuite program puts a lot of people off. While 20th century racism is a real problem, his crew's/girlfriend's choice of centuries-removed period fiction really doesn't seem like it is important enough to bother him. But of course, even then, Kasidy forces the issue, which is part of the problem -- Sisko not having any interest in this particular fiction should be enough to end the discussion, given the show's emphasis that the Dominion War in which they are embroiled is an existential conflict which might end everything.
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William B
Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

Saw the last bit of this episode. The caper was fun, sort of. It is stylish and has some energy. Sisko throwing money in the air is a neat distraction, but most of the other "improvised" behaviours didn't exactly wow me -- e.g. Ezri uses reverse psychology (evidence that she knows some form of psychology! I kid), Kira unsuccessfully tries to flirt more, Nog just tries harder to do the combination lock, Kasidy cries like Vic had said earlier.... It's not that original or exciting seeing the way the gang react to the changes in the program. Compare, for example, Bashir's END THE WORLD ploy in "Our Man Bashir," which was great subversion while playing to the specifics of their situation, or Picard, Data and Barclay's trick on Moriarty in "Ship in a Bottle." But I digress.

I still mostly feel weird that this situation happened at all with Vic, and the main point really is just leading to having fun with the cast, most of whom don't get to do all that much. I also really don't get the argument for why Quark won't get involved -- Quark thinks that Vic is his competition? Quark who owns the holosuite that people attend? Or is Quark feeling the *social* cost of Vic's being more popular than his place among his friends? Or is it maybe possible that Nog got Quark to agree to put Vic's on all day every day without charging people to enter the holodeck? I bring this up because the conspicuous absence of Quark, Worf and Jake make this in some senses less enjoyable than "Take Me Out to the Holosuite," which I didn't even like, as an *ensemble piece*, of fun for the whole cast. But it is fun to see them all in the period outfits, and I like the slow-mo walk both of the gang toward the holosuite and Frankie Eyes and his gang out of Vic's.... It's a fun little digression/palate cleanser, ending with "The Best is Yet to Come," it's just that it wasn't quite fun or diverting enough for me, with some weirdness thrown in (see earlier posts). Probably 2 stars.
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James the "Pedant"
Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 9:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Treachery, Faith, and the Great River

"By Grabthar's Hammer..."

But in all seriousnes, the ending had two major plot holes I'm not surprised the characters themselves missed. First, either the Jem'Hadar weren't jamming communications this time, and the good Weyoun could've tried to contact them; or they were simply ignoring all communications from the runabout, which is never stated on-screen. Second, "evil" Weyoun had no way of checking to see if his rogue clone had actually killed himself; he simply assumed based on what he saw. If that's the case, the protagonist Weyoun certainly could've faked it. The Vorta are described as master manipulators, after all.

Oh well, it was still a good episode overall, despite the rushed ending. Still would've liked to see a Jem'Hadar or Vorta regular as a protagonist. I've read the relaunch novels, but to be frank, the Iliana Ghemor bit turned me off from the series. Besides, Taran'atar didn't seem as interesting and three dimensional as Goran'Agar or Weyoun.
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William B
Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 8:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Masks

@Skywalker, while Data is certainly a liability in many instances having to do with his android existence, it is worth remembering that there are also numerous instances where he is the sole member of the ship unaffected by biological forms of attack -- off the top of my head, Angel One, Clues, Night Terrors, The Game, and Genesis come to, for that matter, does ST: First Contact. In fact I think the Borg Queen example is a bit backwards: while she does tempt him, he resists her, and the whole reason she had to go to bondage-seduction is because he is the only crew member who could not simply be assimilated in the traditional way.
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Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 7:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: For the Cause

I think Jammer's even-handed with his review here. I too couldn't swallow Kenneth Biller's delivery of the "Federation is worse than the Borg" line. And the line itself lacks meaning. Is Eddington supposed to be familiar with the Borg? Otherwise, how the heck would he know which is worse? Also what specifically did Starfleet do to him to provoke his treason?

I suppose the writers were trying to give Eddington hyperbole here so the audience wouldn't actually *gasp* sympathize with the Maquis. Unfortunately this is really Eddington's weakness as a character. Even when he's doing heroic things, his bravado is exaggerated, ignorant, or blatantly untrue.

This reflects on this episode worst of all because the climax demands that you actually feel something for Eddington. I won't even get into the Cassidy story because it's basically forgotten by her next appearance.
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Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Family

Oops, I didn't see the other comments similar to mine. Sorry to duplicate.
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Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Family

I really liked this episode but the big hole that is never addressed is Riker's demotion back down to Commander from Captain. This was not addressed in TBBW2 either. I wonder what this was never even mentioned.
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Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 4:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: For the Cause

I woud rate this episode 3 or 3,5 rather than Jammer's 2,5. It has quite a few great moments, and the surprises keep coming. I'm not too distracted by the lack of a back story for Eddington's reason to suddenly become a Maquis, because the fact that he's been hiding it so well thus far, suggests that this had to happen quickly, and doesn't need any further explanaiton for me.

The side plot with Garak was also amusing, I actually would have wanted more of the two om them in this episode.
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Diamond Dave
Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 4:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: The Xindi

So the soft rock horror of the theme tune got a remix? Zoiks...

Tonally this has definitely made a shift to the darker end of the spectrum, what with severed fingers and commando teams breaking necks with gay abandon. While it's interesting to see where they go with it, for this episode it turned out to be basically inconsequential. There's some good action, and worthy of note is Trip's dream sequence, which unlike so many of its ilk is genuinely unsettling. And it still looks a million dollars.

The T'Pol hand bra scene if of course lamentable, and you have to wonder why the series hasn't grown out of such things yet. And ultimately it all feels much like a transitional show, and somewhat unfinished because of that. 2.5 stars

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Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 3:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Survival Instinct

I know it sounds pedantic, but why in high heavens didn't Tuvok - the one in charge of security and, presumably, registering everyone who came aboard - not notice a Bajoran beaming/walking in? And even if he missed her, why didn't any of Voyager's crew not think it strange to see an unfamiliar Bajoran not wearing a uniform wandering around the ship?

Also, what John Worsley above me said. Looks like the writers didn't think this through very well.

And yet, still a decent episode in my opinion, plot holes aside.
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Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 2:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy

The Doc is perhaps my favorite character on this show, as he is the most deeply flawed - his ultimate potential is also perhaps the highest of all of the crew, but his quest to improve always leads him into interesting lateral directions.

This was an extremely fun episode, the aliens were interesting, their motivations and responses designed for comic effect - their humanity was well placed for this kind of light-hearted fantasy.

A little more of naked Seven was not at all gratuitous - if she had been jumping up and down - then perhaps I could have commented on the gratuitous nature of it all - but I think I would have remained silent and hoped for more.
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Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy

".. and even the fish begin to weep." Oh so fkn LOLZ .. Im still laughing. Im not sure how exactly you can determine if fish are weeping .. but to actually say it .. aloud .. lolz .. inspired comedic beginnings.
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Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 1:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Barge of the Dead

I had a further thought - the story I would have actually enjoyed watching.

B'Lanna returns and then gets into a screaming match with her mother - and the two grabbed weapons and beat the crap out of each other - finally B'Lanna drives her mother to the ground and full of Klingon fury she raises her weapon to finish her off - then the captain of the ship grabs her wrist - her mother starts laughing at her hyserically.

Perhaps her mother quips "Oh, hell isnt good enough for me, did you follow me down here to finish me off entirely?" Unspoken is B'Lanna's own realization - and the silent words of her mother - "Now lets see you deny who you are B'Lanna, lets see you rationalize your way out of this one."

B'Lanna gets to vent all the built up anger at her mother - B'Lanna's mother finally recognizes that B'Lanna has Klingon in her blood - she never needed to be taught how to be a Klingon.

They can part finally on good terms - and perhaps B'Lanna wakes with the wounds of that battle to remind her - 'Not all mysteries can be solved by logic'.

Yer - frankly - I like my story better - rather than B'Lanna sobs into her blankie and tries to feel good about herself, while secretly still cursing her mother.
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Sun, Apr 24, 2016, 1:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Barge of the Dead

A detestable, over blown melodrama about feelings that .. zzzz

Can't find anything to like about this, would have been watchable if she was a 15 yr old - because you could buy the premise of identity confusion, but from an adult this kind of self absorption and 'oh .. I just don't know who I aaaam .. ' made me vomit in my mouth.

I didnt mind the concept of the near death experience, and the Klingon Death Barge - all very nicely done - I just hated the story about 'mummies gurl' - seriously, grow the fk up. Even worse, she is supposed to be tough - a half Klingon - this makes her look like yesterdays dishwater.
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