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Rahul
Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 3:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Amok Time

Truly one of the best Trek episodes. So much to admire about this episode including an outstanding soundtrack - classic/iconic fight music but also the music portraying various emotions/scenes (Spock brooding, the processional) - really encourage any serious Trek fans to buy the soundtrack (comes with The Doomsday Machine soundtrack which is excellent too).
Loved the moments when Spock tries to explain to Kirk "Vulcan biology" to which the captain responds "...the biology of Vulcans..." and "the birds and the bees are not Vulcans..."
Very cool how they showed the aerial view of Vulcan and the place of Spock's ancestors. Chapel's emotional caring for Spock is also touching - how happy she is to make a bowl of soup for him. Really can't find any flaws with this episode.
I have a few disagreements with Jammer's review and I wholeheartedly agree with @Mike and @kerry's comments. This is essential Trek and goes far beyond being "fun".
It's an easy 4/4 stars for me - as much as "The City on the Edge..." is widely regarded as the best episode of all, for me, I'd rank "Amok Time" ahead of it. Spock the Vulcan is so critical to TOS and this episode really gives a good background to the species which would have been very important for the understanding of the show back when it was made and nobody knew what to make of Vulcans.
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Mertov
Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 11:37am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: The Passenger

Thanks RT.
The outfit is in good shape too and came with the tag "Durg - Worn by Chris Collins, DS8" or something like that (can't look it up now). The only problem --> it does not have a zipper and it's a one-piece costume. I better not have to go to the bathroom much during conventions! :)
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Strejda
Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 11:25am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Flashback

I have to agree with Brannon Braga, this one is just a good okay. I think it suffers similarly like Generations, in that it spends way too much time focusing on its plot device rather than why they made it in the first place. The resolution mystery upon rewatching, seem rather lame to me as well. There is no foreshadowing to the final revelation. It's just standart Voyager episode with the anniversary stuff written in.

The most interesting thing about the story to me is the good-natured criticism of the TOS era works, with Janeway commenting how they would probably get their asses kicked out of Starfleet (hard to buy with the stuff they were getting away over on DS9 or even back in TNG), Tuvok objecting to Sulu and that talk with Voltane about humans wanting everybody to be like them. Pretty shocking given how unambiguously celebratory DS-freaking-9's anniversary ep was. And I'm... not sure how to feel about it. It is certainly braver than just going "YAY, Kirk and spol. KICK ASS!!!" but at the same time, this IS a celebration. Perhaps I am just reading way too much into it-it could just be them trying to compare the two eras and the differences between them.

Also, I take issue with the Excelsior plot. Sulu violating his orders and risking war with Klngons to go save Kirk is treated as just another thing they did back then. And I'm not sure it is? In Amok Time, they say Kirk going to Vulcan wouldn't affect his mission, it was just a formality. And they were risking nothing but their own careers when they went to retrive Spock's body in the third movie and only got away with it because they saved the Earth on their way back. I mean yeah, it's pretty safe bet Kirk and McCoy were innocent, but even the Enteprise crew IIRC, were only investigating and went to save them after they had evidence.
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Mertov
Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 10:35am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap

Janmer, first of all, thank you very much for your engaging, detailed reviews. As a long-time Trekkie and fan of DS9, coming back and reading your reviews from time to time is the best part of revisiting the show.

I believe the most glaring shortcoming of DS9 (and this is coming from someone who also sees DS9 as his favorite Trek series) was Avery Brooks's acting and he played the leading role unfortunately. I would say this is one area where Voyager and TNG had a leg up on DS9. He behaved for the most part as a stage actir thrown in the big screen. For example, "Waltz" happens to be one of my favorite episodes (your episode review is a reference as to why) and yet, Sisko's frenetic lines kept it from being my all-time favorite.

Otherwise, your season and series reviews pretty much sum everything up nicely. Once again, thanks a lot for your effort and wisdom.

I will soon begin a re-run of Voyager from beginning to end (my second go-round after watching it when it aired) and will make sure to read your reviews after each episode. In fact, I am looking forward to reading them.
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Kned
Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 6:33am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok


This episode was silly. The humans efforts to demonstrate english was absurd and unrealistic. I laughed when picard began communications with them by spouting out a big long string of gobbelty gook, instead of something like... *points to self* "PICARD". But its not all the humans fault, did the tamarians make any effort to understand english....at all?
Also agree with jammer, it took wayy too long for picard to figure out it wasnt a death match, and it seemed out of character to me that he spent his time sulking around his pathetic attempt at a campfire, and not being all olive-branchy picard.

Lastly, although its an interesting concept, lets be honest....a civilization that communicates only in metaphors would still be living in mud huts, not building starships. Its too restrictive, and not nearly detailed enough for that level of technology

Id give it maybe 2.5 stars for a couple touching scenes and an interesting concept.

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Vii
Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 4:34am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Hunters

@milica: 'How come the Maquis want to go back? There's noone there to wait for them now except for jail-time. I just dislike the fact that going back home is never questioned by anyone on board.How come the Maquis want to go back? There's noone there to wait for them now except for jail-time. I just dislike the fact that going back home is never questioned by anyone on board.'

Thankfully, this would be addressed in a later episode, Hope and Fear:

SEVEN: You were a member of the Maquis. Starfleet Command will no doubt hold you responsible for a multitude of crimes. You will find nothing on Earth but adversity.
TORRES: Well, that's looking on the bright side. Let's put it this way: I'd rather face the music at home than spend the rest of my life in the Delta Quadrant.

Though I agree with you that it would probably have contributed more to both the characters and the plot if the Maquis had been shown to agonise some more over this.

I, too, think that Torres destroyed Tom's message, or at the very least, put it at the back of the downloading queue, so to speak. I thought the final bridge scene where she delivered the last batch of letters implied that she had decided to prioritise Harry's letter over Tom's, because she knew how much that meant to Harry, and that he'd probably appreciate his letter more than Tom would.

As for the final scene between Janeway and Chakotay - HA! I'm glad I wasn't the only one who saw that Chakotay was basically thinking, 'Great, now she's single and has no reason (or safety net) to rebuff me anymore - time to move in for the kill!' And then Janeway immediately manouevring him back into the friendzone. I found a whole lot funnier than I probably should have..
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Gooz
Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 3:42am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Once Upon a Time

The absence of seat belts on shuttles has made countless episodes like this possible. Thanks!
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Strejda
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 11:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

One aspect of the story that I think goes unfairly unremarked, is that the episode doesn't act as if caution and suspicion aren't needed in times of danger. The klingon guy really was an enemy spy and he even used the race card. So while Sate may have been a bit too evil and not well argued, the episode is even handed enough in its approach to the situation. Yes, there IS danger-doesn't mean it's worth to let it destroy what and who we are protecting.
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IAC.
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 8:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: A Taste of Armageddon

One of the reasons I love this episode, is that subordinate crewmen/actors are given dialogue, etc.
Such as when Spock leaves the female yeoman with a weapon ( a 1st ? ) and instructs her to kick the other girl,s ass if need be !
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IAC.
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 8:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: A Taste of Armageddon

One of the reasons I love this episode, is that subordinate crewmen/actors are given dialogue, etc.
Such as when Spock leaves the female yeoman with a weapon ( a 1st ? ) and instructs her to kick the other girl,s ass if need be !
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Orion Slave Guy
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 5:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers

I call on someone to clean up the comments. These kinds of debates belong somewhere else. Besides, I doubt anyone in the course of humanity has ever been convinced by someone else on a message board. "Gee, you make a good point, I'm a Republican now."
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Orion Slave Guy
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 5:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Survivors

I agree 100% with the four stars. Fantastic episode. Someone who has never seen this episode is unlikely to be able to figure out the mystery. As someone mentioned, it's like a Twilight Zone episode. Sirtis's performance was way better than normal. I felt bad for the pain the music was causing.

That being said, what was with the trap on the lawn? The odds of anyone visiting were remote, and it's blind luck that someone stepped just on the right spot.
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Jasper
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 5:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

Totally agree with Jammer on this one. Weak episode with boring dialogue and monologue. The talk they had in the shuttle was just as obvious and long winded as the mediocre Shakespearian speech (do we not bleed?). And the ending is actually offensive. What is the point the writers want to make? In the future we are able to correct silly things like different sexual preferences?
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Orion Slave Guy
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 5:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

I liked the way Data gets trapped in an impossible situation, being pushed way beyond his comfort zone. The other story lines all play out well. Troi seems to be Picard's top advisory now, though I don't think that's what the producers had in mind when they created her character.

It's also nice there's a race that lives on non-Class M planets. What I don't like is how Data blows up the aqueduct. It looked like it was still working afterward. I also don't like how Picard always assumes colonists are willing to re-locate on a whim.

Still, 3 stars for me.
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Orion Slave Guy
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 4:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Evolution

I'm watching every episode on Blu-Ray and I'm absolutely love it. The vivid colors and details really add a lot.

I do think Evolution is a stinker, and not a good way to start off the season. The progression of the "beings" happens way too fast. I may have missed it, but I don't recall hearing details about what the "egg" does, and how it works. This would have helped solidify would have further helped Dr. Stubb's argument for no abandoning the experiment.

As far as the doctors, I'm not a big fan of either one, but Crusher brings more empathy to the role than the forced, hard-edged personality of Pulaski.
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geekios
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 4:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Tattoo

I see a couple of missed opportunities by the writers.
The natives back on 24th century earth have standard aliwn ridges on their foreheads, but are somehow Chakotay's ancestors. They could have written so that the tatoos marked on the forehead be a way for this culture to mimic and remember the sky spirits. This could have been used to enhance the storyline, and give sense to that distict Iron Mike marking by the ship's commander.

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Sbestos
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: The Sword of Kahless

Wow what a crock! Beaming the sword into space is the equivalent of destroying it. Either is will float into a star and be annihilated or simply never be found again since no future sword-hunters will have a handy shroud to lead them to it or a treasure room to preserve it. For Worf and Kor to toss something they claim to be so precious seems just a way of exonerating themselves for their own terrible behavior - as if they were compelled to try and kill each other by an object. I was surprised that Dax let them go through with it. She should have zapped them again and left them unconscious til they were at home. If any Klingon were to hear of this wouldn't they consider this a horrible dishonor to Kehless? Basically they decided to cut the baby in half.
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The Man
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 1:20pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Prototype

@Yanks Actually Data is recognized as a sentient being, the TNG did an episode confirming this when an attempt was made to dismantle him.
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Grumpy
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 1:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

Tara: "I do not think Troi got another normal conversation during the entire run of the show."

Troi's chocolate sundae bit in "The Game" always seemed a little odd, and now you've explained why.
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Trek fan
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 12:21am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Arena

Ah yes, "Arena." If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then this episode is one of the most iconic Star Treks ever, as it epitomizes what's great and cheesy about the franchise in one sublime package. Granted, the climactic fight is laughable in spots, but the script is so sensitive and smartly written that it's easy to forgive all.

I agree with many commenters that this episode is a classic worthy of 3 1/2 stars, knocked down half a star only for the sagging midsection and corny fight stunts; it's the show that many casual viewers remember when pressed to name a Star Trek episode from any of the series. Indeed this episode symbolizes everything I love about Star Trek: Compassion for the alien "other" and belief in the possibility that people can learn to get along after even the most violent of disagreements.

For many viewers, you've got to look beyond the obvious cheese of a guy in a rubber suit doing slow-motion fight moves to appreciate the sincere idealism of the story's payoff. But even the guy in the suit is part of the charm and part of what people love about "Arena," as its obvious budget flaws make the show that much more endearing. Also, the creativity of everyone involved -- the actors are *really* trying in this first season -- shows what can happen when a talented group of people work harder to overcome lack of resources.

I also have to admit that Shatner, although imitated by legions of comics like Kevin Pollak for his staccato monologues here, puts in one of his best Kirk performances here. As Wrath of Khan showed us, Shatner is often at his best when he underplays Kirk, and his theatricality is nicely understated here. There's a deep sobriety and lack of histrionics to his performance that really sells the story from start to finish, as his reactions to the slow-moving Gorn opponent help us overcome the initial guffaw at the fight and take it seriously. While Shatner often employs stylized acting flourishes, "Arena" is actually not one of the shows where he's jerking his body around and shouting at the camera.

There have been times I was underwhelmed at this episode and times I have taken it less seriously. I have tried at times to dislike it. But I just cannot hate "Arena" no matter how hard I work at it: While it's not the best TOS episode, it embodies the futuristic optimism and retro fun of Star Trek better than almost any show from the franchise. And we have to give it credit for that.
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Tom
Sat, Feb 18, 2017, 11:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

Fuck destructor comments for giving away a major spoiler
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Rick
Sat, Feb 18, 2017, 11:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Alternative Factor

Add to all that the fact that they make Shatner's character so unnecessarily cranky - He's pissed off the whole episode!
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Trek fan
Sat, Feb 18, 2017, 10:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: The Killing Game

When I was young, I took both myself and Star Trek way too seriously, but I still enjoyed this kind of Star Trek episode alongside the weightier shows. Now that I'm older and can better appreciate the inherent glorious silliness of Trek, I tend to find some of the Self-Important Classics dull and some of the lighter episodes more diverting. Voyager's "Killing Game" is a good example of an episode the grows on me with the passing years, as it knows its own goofiness and revels in it, and I would give it at least 3 stars. I like this kind of self-aware humility in a TV franchise and fear it's too often lacking on latter-day Trek shows.

Like many commenters on this episode, I find myself disagreeing with Jammer's reviews on one fundamental point: He likes Big Ideas Episodes which often strike me as pretentious, while I like entertaining episodes which he finds shallow. (To be fair, he wrote many of these reviews when he was in his 20s.) In my view, Star Trek is at its best when it balances a sense of fun with a sense of thought-provoking ideas, and at its worst when it veers too sharply into either self-important ideology or cliche-ridden humor.

That's why TOS will always be the first, best, and most "original" Star Trek series for me. While TOS has its share of dogs, most of the episodes go for broke and try something really creative, blending adventurous fun with thought-provoking ideas. There's a reason JJ Abrams went back to TOS and not to another series for his Trek reboot: It's fun, it's retro, and it's hip in a tongue-in-cheek way. While the reboot movies have arguably veered too far into generic blockbuster mindlessness, they often channel the pulpy joy that made TOS a classic.

Voyager episodes like "The Killing Game," "Bride of Chaotic," and "Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy" remind us of a time when Star Trek took itself less seriously -- and that's not necessarily a bad thing from the post-TOS era when Trek episodes (DS9 most notably excepted) too often fell into a bland pattern of stage-bound, daytime soap-style rehashes of pre-canned ideologies wrapped in technobabble peril. When push comes to shove, I'd rather rewatch something like Voyager's "The Killing Game" rather than TNG's "The Chase" any day.
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Quincy
Sat, Feb 18, 2017, 10:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Critical Care

Also, the exchange between the Administrator and the Doctor at the end was made gold by Picardo's delivery:

Chellick: "You're only making things worse for yourself."
The Doctor: "As a matter of fact, I'm making things worse for you; I'm going to make you a patient in your own hospital."

The way Picardo leans in and says the last sentence with such vehemence plus the intense expression on his face held so much awesome. It was almost as good as Doctor McCoy in "This Side of Paradise":

Sandoval: "We don't need you, not as a doctor"
Dr. McCoy: "Oh, really? You want to see how fast I can put you in a hospital?"
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Quincy
Sat, Feb 18, 2017, 9:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Critical Care

Actually, what the Doctor did at the end was highly ethical. He was kidnapped. His kidnapper's co-conspirator (don't say he wasn't every bit as guilty as the thieving kidnapper, as soon as the Doc told him he was kidnapped the Administrator became an accessory after the fact and as soon as he continued to prevent the Doc from contacting Voyager and tied his program to the Allocator he added a whole host of other crimes) was actively preventing him from performing his main function saving lives. The Administrator was never the Doc's patient. Hippocratic oath didn't even apply. He was a criminal engaged in actively violating the Doc's rights. He is also at least implied to have murdered the Doc's young protege. His explanation of sudden onset infection makes absolutely no sense.

In any case, this silly "unethical" assertion reminds me of this verbal exchange from Doctor Strange (2016). ****SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! AVERT EYES!****

Doctor Strange: "It is Dr. Strange. Not Master Strange, not Mr. Strange, Doctor Strange. When I became a doctor, I swore an oath to do no harm. And I have just killed a man! I'm not doing that again. I became a doctor to save lives, not take them."

*snip, snip, irrelevant dialog*

Baron Mordo: "You're a coward."

Doctor Strange: "Because I'm not a killer?

Baron Mordo: "These zealots will snuff us all out, and you can't muster the strength to snuff them out first?"

Doctor Strange: "What do you think I just did?"

Baron Mordo: "You saved your own life! And then whined about it like a wounded dog."

Doctor Strange: "When you would have done it so easily?"

Baron Mordo: "You have no idea. The things I've done... And the answer is yes. Without hesitation."

Doctor Strange: "Even if there's another way?"

Baron Mordo: "There is no other way."

Doctor Strange: "You lack imagination."

Baron Mordo: "No, Stephen. You lack... a spine."

The Doctor did what he needed to do under the circumstances. If he were to take up a phaser and vaporize the Administrator, beat him over the head with a lead pipe, kick him down a disposal chute, whatever, it would ALL be morally and ethically correct, because this individual was actively engaged in multiple crimes against the Doc AND preventing the Doctor from performing his primary task, saving lives. While it's good for his own mental health that the Doctor had misgivings about it, enough to ask 7 for a checkup, he really didn't have a reason to be worried at all.
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