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Alessandro - Tue, Jan 20, 2015, 2:37am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: The Siege of AR-558

I found this episode powerful and compelling. I don't agree with those saying that we didn't need to be shown all that.
Why not? This is DS9, this is life.
That is why DS9 is so different than the other Star Trek series and why many of us love it so much.
eastwest101 - Mon, Jan 19, 2015, 11:48pm (USA Central)
Re: ANDR S1: The Banks of the Lethe

Messy poorly conceived script? Check. Risable hackneyed dialogue? Check. Interesting plot elements that go nowhere? Check. Gratuitous wooden guest star? Check.

This one takes the quadrella of the Andromeda handicap.
Nicolas - Mon, Jan 19, 2015, 10:27pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S7: The Void

Yes, this is what Voyager could have been all along: sticking to your principles no matter what hardships you go through. And I applaud the writers for doing this episode. It’s one of my favourites of the season, and although it reuses the concept from « Night », it tells a much better story.

Arguing about the realism of this episode vs. DS9’s sometimes less-than-optimistic outcomes would be beside the point. This is fiction. But many scientific studies have shown that co-operation and altruism provide evolutionary advantages. If all humans were selfish thieves and killers, the human race would not have survived very long.

And I also loved the toungue-in-cheek callback to the spectacularly dumb « Demon » (the episode where they suddenly ran out of deuterium after leaving the holodecks on 24/7 for four years).
Trent - Mon, Jan 19, 2015, 8:44pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S1: Shuttlepod One

Voyager's "Day of Honor" did this better, I think.
grumpy_otter - Mon, Jan 19, 2015, 7:59pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S1: Haven

I love this one. Yeah, it's got flaws, but there are so many themes that resonate with me.

I like Deanna's strength with Will--she says, as clear as crystal, that she loves him but knows he has other ambitions and is not willing to be her mate. And he just stands there--he isn't willing to take any risk that might jeopardize his career.

The idea of an arranged marriage might seem archaic, but let us accept it for purposes of the episode--for Deanna to find that her future husband is smart and witty and cute must be an incredible relief! I could completely relate to Deanna as she comes to be fond of Wyatt.

Wyatt's drawings are where the episode goes awry--he's been fantasizing about a girl from a Whitesnake video. But when he realizes his drawing girl isn't Deanna, he is open to appreciating the real girl, and their blossoming crush is adorable and believable. But then Miss 80s hair shows up and that's all she wrote.

Wyatt was likeable and charming, and Deanna's reaction to him was true to life. I'm sorry it had to end so quickly.
grumpy_otter - Mon, Jan 19, 2015, 6:58pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

I keep coming back to this episode. I really love it. And hate it.

I'd like to address the "Odan was disingenuous" argument. Yeah, sure, he wasn't honest. But for this episode to work, he HAD to be dishonest. If, when it came time to transport, he had said "Hey, I can't because I am a joined being," he and Beverly would have had to have THE conversation right then. It had to be kept secret for suspense and pacing reasons.

So I would argue that it was not Odan who lied, but the writers of the episode. Because they had to. If we knew the "secret" too soon, it would have ruined it.
Dusty - Mon, Jan 19, 2015, 4:13pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S6: Pathfinder

This is an excellent episode. Just like in 'Hollow Pursuits', I identify with Barclay every step of the way. The guy has serious difficulties with all social situations (except those involving his cat and holograms, which he can control and are therefore "safe") and he's not just going to get better and live happily ever after. There are peaks and valleys. The valley came when he left the Enterprise and had to start over in San Fran. By the end of the episode, he's starting to improve again.

The ending is great; all the technobabble pays off when Barclay succeeds in contacting Voyager, and Admiral Paris gets to say hi to his son. I didn't mind seeing Troi again either. This is an exciting change of pace for Voyager and I will definitely go back to it again.
Peter - Mon, Jan 19, 2015, 2:35pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S3: Impulse

I missed the first episodes of series 3 first time around n years ago so it is nice to catch up with the DVDs.
I thought this was an 'OK' episode. The Vulcan Zombies were just Borg drones really-working in concert to defeat the Enterprise crew. If we think about how Spock behaves in Amok Time when the plak tow has got hold of him we can just about believe in the paranoia and aggression displayed in this episode.
Archer's little speech to T'Pol at the end is justifiable and I don't care a hoot for concepts of Star Trek heroes with their unshakeable moral superiority: much more credible that he shoves people in the airlock.However he would save T'Pol.
CPUFP - Mon, Jan 19, 2015, 8:38am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S4: Identity Crisis

This is one of many TNG episodes which are built on a strong concept which is executed in an engaging way and thus are satisfying until the end, when we are presented with an unsatisfying resolution that consists only of magic or technobabble.

The mystery surrounding the vanished Starfleet members was interesting enough to keep me guessing until the end. The scenes with the holodeck investigation were thrilling and genuinely creepy and provided some insight into Geordie's problem solving methodology as an engineer. I always like these episodes which revolve around a problem and the crew's attempts to solve it with fact-finding and logic. It was also nice to see a little more about Geordie's private life, and Susanna immediately shooting down his remark about how we liked the bachelor's life too much was really funny, considering his prior "success" with women.

Sadly, what could have been a great episode was impaired by the stupid genetics plot device. I don't expect Star Trek to deliver much real science, but my willingness to suspend disbelief stops where a person's genetic outfit being completely changed twice in the course of a few days without them suffering any harm whatsoever.
dlpb - Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 7:36pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Alliances

This is one of those episodes that worked as a standalone, but doomed the series as a whole. Voyager could (and should) have been about two different crews overcoming severe problems both internally and externally. Instead, the writers gave up on this because it is harder to pull off and we were subjected to a show that had no rudder.

Taken on its own, this episode is a good watch. It's interesting. The downside is how it was used to establish rigid, one dimensional Starfleet rules and end ANY internal conflict from this point on. From this point, nothing is going to change. Everyone is going to do things Starfleet's way, under Janeway. The writers basically use this episode to justify lazy future episodes. An really good story opportunity was missed here due to that decision.

The alliance could have been successful this time... and the Marquis v Starfleet conflict could have been extended and made believable. But no... all of this was squandered.
dlpb - Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 6:55pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Unforgettable

As Todd says, this episode made no attempt to be credible and that hurts the overall story. Trek writers really do seem to think they can say what they like in the cause of setting up a story. Some of us have higher standards and it really does kill suspension of disbelief. It's not a BAD story.... it's just executed so damn poorly.
Skeptical - Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 5:03pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S3: The Chute

Well, that was a rather gritty episode. Unfortunately, SFDebris' review made a comment that really showed the problem with this episode: the clamp was a blatant plot device. They wanted to show Harry losing himself inside the prison, but didn't want to have him there for weeks or months. Hence, using the clamp to accelerate the process.

The problem with that, however, is that the clamp makes no rational sense. This civilization apparently doesn't like executing its prisoners, but at the same time feels no need for any sort of humane conditions for said prisoners. They just wanted to get rid of them and make sure they couldn't escape. And this space station works for that regard; throw the prisoners down the chute, toss supplies down every once in a while, and you're done. So what's the point of the clamp? The prisoners are out of society's hair, they can't escape, they are already in control. There is never any indication that the government comes back and takes anyone out, or does anything with the clamp.

I mean, the only explanation that makes sense is that the crazy guy is right, and the clamp really is some sort of weird government experiment. Except that there's no indication of it! How is the government collecting the data? So that explanation doesn't work either. So instead, it's just a plot device.

Which is sad, because I don't think the story needed it. Harry lived a sheltered, privileged life. He never had to tough it out for anything; he never had to experience the rougher crowd. He wasn't like Picard, hanging out in a bar playing Domjot with Nausicaans; he lived his life in a book and technical manuals and a clarinet. So, despite his Starfleet training, I could see him getting frustrated, upset, and everything else pretty quickly.

In fact, the story already provides a reasonable justification. Paris gets stabbed, and now can't protect himself. Harry has already put a target on himself as easy pickings. So now, what happens if he falls asleep? He can very easily be murdered in his sleep. Who else can he trust to watch over him? Crazy Manifesto Guy? I wouldn't trust him. So Harry stays awake all night. Every night. Or if he sleeps, its only a fitful sleep, waking at the slightest sound. Paranoia, panic, and despair begins to set in. Not because of a clamp, but because the situation he is in requires him to be alert at all times, an impossible situation. Voila, plot device solved.

About the only thing that wouldn't work is Harry beating up Paris. But honestly, I thought that scene was a bit weak anyway. We still could have had, say, one big blow to Paris and that's it. Which, given his situation, is already serious enough.

In any case, this annoying side plot of the clamp is so annoying because other than that, it's a very good episode. It's nice to see Harry actually not being a worthless robot for once, and of course Paris is always fun to watch. Setting him up initially as the big brother and then knocking him out of contention with a stab wound was clever, and set the stage for Harry to shine (or not shine, as it were). Even his painfully awkward scenes ("we have to work together") worked well because it's believable that he really is that naive. And given that the point was to put him in a hopeless situation, I thought it was clever to give him a victory (being able to climb the chute) while simply having it add to his despair. And let's face it, that was an excellent scene. I didn't see it coming the first time I saw it all those years ago, but immediately after seeing it, it all seemed so natural. And made Harry's situation all the more real.

As for the Voyager scenes, they weren't quite as well done. Janeway's awkward negotiations with the terrorists struck me as a bit wrong too, but, then again, I can't quite put my finger on what Janeway should have done (with respect to the Prime Directive). On the one hand, this is definitely a political situation she wants no part of, but there's not much she can do about it. She has criminals on board, but needs their help and also suspects that any prison for them would not be very humane. Given the constraints the Prime Directive puts on captains, it's hard to say what her position should have been. But since it wasn't the focus of the show, I'm mostly ok with it.
Skeptical - Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 4:58pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Second Season Recap

The second season, as a whole, seems a bit schizophrenic. On the one hand, like many people already said, it wasn't very good. I would say that over half of them did not reach the threshold of being good, and probably a third of those would count as downright bad. That's not a good ratio at all. In comparison with TNG, it really only beats out season 1; I would take season 2 or 7 of TNG over this one.

On the other hand, it's still an improvement over season 1 of Voyager I think.

More importantly, despite failing at times, or even failing more often than not, I have to give credit to the fact that they at least tried and took risks. There isn't much in the way of "boring" here; even their failures like Threshold were spectacularly out there. There were a few attempts at long-lasting storylines, some of which worked (Seska) and some didn't (the mysteeeerrious traitor).

And a lot of the stories, for better or worse, did not take the easy way out. The Thaw avoided the technobabble plague and had a unique, dark ending. Regardless of the reset button, Deadlock pulled no punches. Meld gave us an unrepentant serial killer as part of the crew. Tuvix showed the moral problem in all of its brutal details.

In brief, despite being an overall disappointment, there were quite a few high points to make it worthwhile. I have to give them credit for that.
dlpb - Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 4:54pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

I liked this episode on the whole... It was a nice tale. It is one of those episodes where you have to throw science and logic out the window, though (as with much of Trek and its "science"), but if you can ignore that (and with this episode I could), then you will find it enjoyable.

It's these kind of episodes that I like, but at the same time cause me to see Trek as entertainment and sci-fantasy, rather than sci-fi. Too many conflicts to be taken seriously, but some very fun episodes nonetheless.
dlpb - Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 4:45pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: The Disease

This is yet another leftist preaching episode. But ultimately, what would Voyager be gaining by helping a so-called "xenophobic" culture? What could possibly be worth the risk? The writers don't seem to care as they lunge Voyager into as many manufactured problems as possible to cover the fact that the whole show just wasn't about anything.
Shannon - Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 2:16pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

I appreciate your take on this episode, Jammer, but think it's a bit misguided. This story is what Trek is all about, an alien race with whom we've struggled to make a connection, any connection for that matter. All of the crew, not just Picard, trying to figure out the problem. A courageous sacrifice by the Tamarian captain all in the name of trying to understand one another... Not sure why you feel the pace is too slow, as I thought those slower parts were necessary to get us to the payoff at the end... The "fans" rate this in the top 5 consistently for good reason, and I would easily rate this as a 4-star episode. It's great stuff that you can't find anywhere else on television.
grumpy_otter - Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 12:53pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S6: Fair Haven

Based on this conversation, it seems that with the holodeck, you either love it or hate it.

I love it, so it makes me wonder what we who love it have in common, and what those who hate it have in common.

It would be interesting to do a survey.
John - Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 3:00am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S3: Transfigurations

Just watching this now. Does anyone wonder when the alien stops everyone from breathing on the ship, why was data affected too? He gets up like he was passed out too. Always bugged me. Otherwise a decent episode for me. Not great but not bad.
Shannon - Sat, Jan 17, 2015, 11:37pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S4: Half a Life

Jammer, I tend to agree with 95% of your reviews, but this is clearly an example of your anti-Trois bais affecting your rating. This is easily a 3-star episode, perhaps even 3.5 stars. Trek is at its best when it gets you to reflect on the human condition through its sci-fi platform. Yes, Luwaxana's wailing was a bit over the top, but this was a very effective use of her character. As the baby boomers age its going to put an enormous strain on our resources, and the topic of euthanasia, albeit an ugly one, will be lingering out there. Obamacare is probably one day going to head down the slippery slope of "rationed care", arguing that once you've outlived your usefulness, society shouldn't have to spend billions on the final years of life. This episode quite cleverly brings this topic out in the open and asks the question "is it better to end your life with dignity prior to be bed-ridden and soiling yourself"? I found it quite memorable and thought-provoking.
grumpy_otter - Sat, Jan 17, 2015, 6:35pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: Someone to Watch Over Me

Just watched this again. Still love it.

"Those doors are so LOUD."
Amanda Davis - Sat, Jan 17, 2015, 2:10pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S4: Final Mission

This show always was irritating to me. A shuttlecraft designed to go through SPACE, with all its extremes, is not going to turn into "an oven" after landing on a planet. The whole dang thing was ridiculous.
Niall - Sat, Jan 17, 2015, 6:02am (USA Central)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

Not sure where to post this... I was just reading Cynic's Corner (David E Sluss) - who, like Jammer, wrote some really funny and incisive pieces on Andromeda and did a great job of decrying its decline (www.cynicscorner.org/andro_2/andro_212.html). Out of curiosity I googled David to find out what he was up to now, and I came across this, suggesting he died a few weeks ago:

www.legacy.com/obituaries/heritage/obituary.aspx?n=david-e-sluss&pid=173530304

Does anyone know any more about this? Is it the same David?
Josh - Fri, Jan 16, 2015, 10:23pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S3: A Matter of Perspective

I don't know, the line "You're a dead man, Apgar! A dead man!" always does it for me. Some of the re-enactments are unintentionally funny, which is much needed in such an otherwise slow-moving and pulseless episode.
$G - Fri, Jan 16, 2015, 9:05pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S3: A Matter of Perspective

This one isn't good. The ending sequence is just terrible, with magic science coming out of nowhere to save the day (or at least, prove that Riker wasn't responsible for the murder). Then it just ends. A dead husband, a destroyed space station, a ruined scientific breakthrough, and no commentary on anything whatsoever. It's a Scooby Doo ending, like DS9's "Tribunal". Someone already mentioned "Rules of Engagement" which is a lot better. Worf may have not been guilty - in fact, he was set up - but his actions were still called into question. Not guilty doesn't = innocence.

But, yeah, why was this episode made again? Riker hitting on another man's wife even subtly isn't really out of the question considering he's bedded/nearly bedded about a half dozen aliens and diplomats to this point. Which is not to say this one SHOULD have made Riker partially responsible, but it should have at least acknowledged this character trait that's been shown so many times.

2 stars, barely. It's stupid but not unwatchable. It's easily the weakest S3 episode that isn't "The Price".
dlpb - Fri, Jan 16, 2015, 7:43pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S7: Prophecy

There's a reason Beltran isn't bothered (and admits to it in an interview): The writing is crap. Really crap. There is no continuity, very little sense and internal logic, and very little character growth at all. Is it any wonder he is showing the show contempt?
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