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Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 9:19am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

I checked the script, and it looks like Garak was supposed to be "unusually subdued" during the scene where he informs Sisko all his informants were killed. Thus, I think this *might* be a rare case of Robinson not delivering his lines properly.

We're also missing a piece of information for Peter's interpretation to work. Why would Garak know about the activity of Betazoid and also what would make him even think that would get Starfleet to accept his plan? Someone's probably thinking "Garak's a spy, he can get access to any records!", but without any indication Garak was fiddling with a Federation console or something, that speculation seems dubious at best.

So, while I really agree Peter's interpretation is interesting, I think the showrunners were trying to tell us that the Dominion was so powerful, even Garak's usually handy abilities were initially thwarted.
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Dan Bolger
Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 9:18am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens

I think that the force awakens is overall an engaging but often pedestrian film, as far as the star wars canon goes. As has been pointed out, it has very much a feel of A New Hope- story similarities, scenes formula, diametrically opposed sides and all. It's certainly polished in all scenes, bright and breezy, much less CGI oriented (which is a blessed relief), generally good acting, funny in places, and an always stellar score by the great john Williams. Rey's theme is a favourite piece. Slightly mediocre happenings of this installment would be the lack of chemistry of the onscreen reunion between Han and Leia, the seemingly effortless genius that Rey exhibits in being an expert at everything the script entails. Piloting the millennium falcon at breakneck speed with effortless aplomb, and despite being force sensitive, and of presumably distinctive bearing, happens to be an expert at wielding a lightsaber against kylo ren. Last few seconds with rey imploringly gazing at a jaded, aged, broken looking luke atop a grand atol on Ach To is effectively grandiose. However, I enjoyed the film, in lieu of seeing the last Jedi.
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Jason R.
Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 7:42am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

Peter, I just rewatched this last week and I'm dumbfounded by your interpretation. It never occurred to me before but damn it makes sense. What does the director's commentary say?
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Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 6:19am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Coda

This episode doesn’t show anything about the afterlife. It shows a very stubborn dying woman fighting against her death with encouragement from the man who would be her husband if not for circumstances, her best friend who has extremely good mental discipline, and a doctor who is not only very skilled but very innovative. And it also shows an alien trying to eat her life force.

If the alien could eat souls, if souls were real, there’s no rush. Though Janeway is confused by his actions and because she’s dying, she does realise eventually that if this were in any way real he doesn’t need to rush her. Even by his own lies he said he watched her and her family for months, so why can’t she do the same? She’s no idiot so she notices his lies but she’s too weak and confused to see them head on until the very end. That happens all the way through.

I love this episode. Tuvok’s obvious desperation, B’Elanna’s speech, Harry’s speech and both of them weeping 😭 I do think it cheapens it a bit that none of that was real, but i think we’re supposed to think that this is what they would do if it were real and I buy it. Interestingly Chakotay is more heartbroken in the real parts than the imagined parts. It’s not clear because of what she says about seeing things from outside being hallucinations but when he’s sobbing and Voyager will be there in a few mins, I think that one’s actually real, because that actually happened - Voyager really was on its way, Tuvok really did come and help very quickly.

I like the insights into Janeway too. That she was bed bound with depression for months 15 years ago is particularly interesting especially in light of later episodes where you see she does still have this tendency toward depression. And I like that if she really did become a ghost she’d stay with her crew.
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Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 5:18am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Warlord

Skimbles you need to watch again. They absolutely put Tieran in Kes’ quarters. I can’t remember if Kes is ever in his throne room but he is absolutely in her quarters at one point.

Also Tuvok didn’t beam into the throne room! They were discussing a nearby place to launch an assault from - so obviously the palace was shielded. It was a big deal for Tieran to use Kes’ power to sense Tuvok, but any idiot would have seen him just materialise! That’s why they didn’t beam him out. They discussed the shield and Tieran even spoke to them about it and its weakness.

The necessity of the implants for the device to work is a genuine plot hole but one I didn’t notice when watching. It makes sense that it just forces Tieran out and that if he’s able he’ll use his implants to force himself into someone else. As it works fine without the line about the implants I wonder why they included it. It would have made more sense to wonder things like: might he have left her body already? If so, will she still be alive?
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James Alexander
Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 4:41am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: When the Bough Breaks

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Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 4:35am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Court Martial

So why did Kirk have to alone go after Flynn, and make the repairs to the ship? How could Spock not notice that the Enterprise's orbit was decaying and a power loss until Kirk told him? Scotty could not make the changes to computer for the sabotage?
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Peter G.
Mon, Dec 11, 2017, 12:23am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

I'm watching this favorite episode once again and had something click into place for me that I never saw before. Garak is first approached by Sisko to develop a plan to bring the Romulans into the war, and the type of plan Sisko requests is that Garak ask an informant to supply proof of Dominion duplicity. Garak appears to agree to try this plan...but does he really? The next piece of news we hear is that, to the shock of everyone, Betazed has fallen to the Dominion

Three days later Garak reports, with unperturbed composure, that all operatives contacted by him were killed by Dominion security within a day of speaking with him. His mention of Dominion efficiency at first suggests that Garak is as cool a customer as they come, sardonic in the face of terrible results, and that's how I always read the scene. However right after this he outlines a new plan he's come up with since the old one had failed, which is to bring Vreenak to the station to show him a forged data crystal. Garak assures Sisko that he can arrange for both the forgery and for the Senator to agree, but only if the invitation comes from Sisko himself. Garak also knew in advance that Sisko would never have the stomach for something that Starfleet would refuse to back, and here comes the kicker: When Sisko mentions that Starfleet would have to approve such a plan Garak immediately reminds him that since Betazed has just fallen Starfleet will no doubt be amenable to such a plan where they might not have been before.

Consider this: Betazed apparently fell so easily because the fleet guarding it happened to be away on training exercises, leaving the planetary system undefended. This is a pretty crazy thing to hear when one stops to think about it. It's a real wtf moment. They literally went off to train and lost a key star system for nothing within a day? That's not just a disaster, it's outrageous. To be honest I'd never given it much thought before. Just how did the Dominion get so lucky as to attack a key system that was normally defended at such a time as the fleet was away? The episode doesn't even address this question, and you'd think that the first thought would be that there was a Founder behind it or something like that, but the writers avoid discussing it altogether for some reason. It only clicked for me now for the first time after having seen this episode umpteen times. Here's the timeline:

-Sisko approaches Garak to bring Romulus into the war.
-Garak mentions that NO ONE wants the Dominion stopped more than him.
-Betazed falls due to the Dominion magically knowing a fleet was momentarily out of position.
-Garak presents a plan to Sisko that Starfleet would never had approved unless they had just lost a key system.

There's no certainty here, but this explanations seems to me to fit better than any other: Garak knew that to approach him Sisko must be desperate. Garak knew of the training exercise, fed the Dominion the information necessary for them to easily capture Betazed, lied to Sisko about having tried to contact agents who then died, and presented to him what had been the real plan all along, knowing that Sisko basically had no choice but to accept. And the reason Garak required Sisko to go along with all this is because Vreenak would never have gone anywhere near Garak or the station unless someone as credible as Sisko invited him. The beauty of it is that Garak's plan had outstanding chances for success since realistically all that he needed to accomplish was (a) getting past security on Vreenak's ship, and (b) keeping Sisko from losing his head during the process. These were both reasonable things for him to expect he could do, and so giving away Betazed - as crazy as it sounds - would have been a safe sacrifice to make with immense potential returns. He had probably already concluded, as Jack and the mutants had, that without a decisive turn of events the war was unwinnable by the Federation, and so from that perspective even if the gambit had been a longshot it would still be better than nothing.

It makes sense, but I'm wondering whether I'm connecting imaginary dots or whether the writers meant to imply this. If so then it was very subtle, but the clue is when Garak conspicuously mentions Betazed to Sisko right after telling him in a nonchalant manner that Sisko's version of the plan had failed.
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Ben E
Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 10:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Before and After

I'm really surprised at how much people liked this one. This was in my opinion one of the weakest in the series and left me feeling kind of betrayed. Hard to put the feeling more into words than that, but just left behind.

And RIP Kes's hair.
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Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 8:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Parallels

Another universe that would have been cool would have been an Enterprise Worf comes to where the runner ups for the tng roles were the crew. Stephen Macht as Picard, billy Campbell as Riker, Eric Menyuk as Data, timRuss as Geordi, Jonathan Del Arco as Wesley, Marina Sirtis as Yar and Denise Crosby as Troi(before Sirtis and Crosby had their roles reversed
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Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 8:42pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Living Witness

3 stars. It’s okay. The revisionist/mirror universe-like scenes were ho hum. Trek has done the evil doppelgänger story lots of times. Didn’t do all much for me. I did like the archival recreation double twist with the Doc stuff being not “live” and the final scene was quite poignant.
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Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 8:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

Dig my last post, I wish there was a way to correct my previous post. 24th century brings in new religions and that's hardly new. Calling it anti-Trek is at least a silly thing to say. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. :(
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Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 8:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

Wait... McFarlane made something that's pretty much a copy of something else? Pull me up a chair!
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Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

[ If anything, the episode is no more an attack on religion than the idea of "cultural contamination". In this sense, it is "anti-Trek". ]

SADLY, I DISAGREE! My family is raised Catholic so if you don't like The Orville, then your best alternative is to watch Star Trek Discovery. I watch them both but I like The Orville better. If you think Seth as a writer is Antichrist then you must be on herion. Most of his crew are affiliated with Catholic or Christain beliefs.
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Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Old Wounds

I didn't think it was that bad. Wasn't super impressed, but wasn't bored to tears either. I did hope it would decide whether it was a straight parody or an homage, right now it just feels like a Trek ripoff with dick jokes.
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Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 6:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

"As someone said upthread, the problem here is that Seth isn't satirizing anything that feels real, because he's not tackling any actual Christian/Catholic beliefs so much as painting religious people as "stupid heads." "

Is he really though? The "pope" in this episode was quite intelligent when Kelly came back, and was willing to believe the evidence before his eyes to learn the truth about his religion. Would members of the Catholic clergy by so open minded if Jesus were to appear before them in similar circumstances? Highly doubtful.

At the end, it's clear that the writers portray Kelly's views that she has tainted the world with religion as flawed. The representatives from the advanced world tell her this themselves. If anything, the episode is no more an attack on religion than the idea of "cultural contamination". In this sense, it is "anti-Trek".
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Trek fan
Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 5:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry


To be fair, Peter G. said he hasn't seen the episode yet. But to answer your question, Macfarlane doesn't understand how religions originate and develop, as any sociologist of religion will tell you (from an entirely non-religious standpoint) that they don't begin with someone performing a miracle and being declared a god. Regarding Catholicism and Christianity in particular, I suppose Macfarlane's story implies with the Kelly analogy that Jesus was a guy who healed some people and was mistakenly worshiped as a god after he disappeared. And now we are evolving beyond that belief into a more logical and enlightened view. But I've never seen any account, least of all by Catholics themselves, that argues this view.

Anyway, Macfarlane's approach of reducing things he doesn't like to absurdity only works when they evoke real things which people universally recognize as absurd. This approach worked for me in "Majority Rule" because the government by social media, with its up-vote and down-vote culture, satirized a part of our current Zeitgeist that is very real (we actually like/dislike things on social media) but not terribly deep. The problem in taking on religion with the same absurdist approach -- especially Catholicism, which has always been full of sensitive and intelligent people, even back in the medieval period -- is that it's much deeper and quite different in reality from the vision presented in this episode. There are certainly absurdities in religion, but cutting people's hands for heresy against the great hand healer doesn't happen to be one of the vices of Catholics, and so takes all bit out of the satire. As someone said upthread, the problem here is that Seth isn't satirizing anything that feels real, because he's not tackling any actual Christian/Catholic beliefs so much as painting religious people as "stupid heads."

@Peter G.

I agree with you on the cynicism in Macfarlane's writing (which I think we both concur does not fall under your category of "good Sci-Fi" or "good comedy") that makes "Orville" feel like the anti-Trek. It reminds me of a book I once read that argued there are two kinds of comedy. One is the vulnerable kind that builds up ordinary people (i.e. Richard Pryor) by comforting the marginalized and ridiculing the powerful; it's a sort of "comedy that does justice" in an unjust world. The other is the smarmy and cynical comedy of powerful people (i.e. Macfarlane) who ridicule ordinary folks from a position of privilege and power. If the social satire on TOS and the other real Trek shows is about comforting the afflicted and afflicting the powerful, Macfarlane's Sci-Fi satire seems to be about shaming and mocking the values of ordinary people both religious and secular. To be fair, I think this kind of satire can work to an extent if it sympathizes with some of these ordinary people as their characters develop in a believeable way, like that great barista character in "Majority Rule." But I think you get my point: The basic difference is between comedy of the people that speaks truth to power (as in the best Shakespearean works and in comics like Gilda Radner) and comedy of the elite that is content to mock "the herd" (as in Macfarlane's work more generally and in "The Office") by ridiculing the values of ordinary people who are just struggling to get by in our world.

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Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 5:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: Plato's Stepchildren

I've been watching the entirety of TOS through on Netflix. This is the first episode that I've felt deserved 0 stars. Spocks Brain was bad, but it had comedy value, even if unintentional.

Plodding, dull, and ridiculous in the extreme. The cast must've needed a strong drink after this one.

It is as described earlier a particularly hateful and wretched episode.
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William H
Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 5:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Friendship One

The convenient scarcity of class M planets in the vicinity seemed difficult to believe, given how many we generally run into in Star Trek
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Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

@ Peter G

Tell me what he does not know about the system that is more corrupt than any other system
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Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 3:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go

I agree that the Vulcans have many admirable traits and that it is refreshing to see them being comfortable in their identity and not needing to copy humans.

Even when T'PoI, for example, becomes interested in things like (then taboo) mind melding, emotion-enhancing drugs and a human lover, I didn't get the feeling that she was trying to be something she's not.

I wish both the Vulcans and Romulans had been developed in more detail. It's not that I don't like the Klingons, but their culture got so much screen time compared to any other non-human, thus limiting possible world building and storytelling. AI characters and their desire to be more human did, too.

Romulans and Vulcans are probably both superior to other species in many ways, but I think they're limited by a need for control. Vulcans have their logic and traditions and Romulans have their isolated empire.

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Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 3:31pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

@Peter G.
Before we go one, what doesn't Seth understand about Catholicism? Please tell me.

Maybe it's the notion that there are special people who only can convey God's message? How quaint. Or maybe it's the unfounded beliefs, or the guilt, or the acts of moving pedophiles around to avoid prosecution, or how rich the leaders see do to acquiring gullible followers?
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Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 1:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Ship in a Bottle

Just re-watched in 2017.

1.5 stars

A holodeck within a holodeck within a holodeck? It might be clever, but it's not very entertaining. For the final act, how did Picard, Data, and Barclay program such a vast illusion in such a short period of time? Too unbelievable, even for sci-fi.
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Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 9:57am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

I totally agree with Henson.

Coming at this from an agnostic/irreligious perspective, I did find this episode's brief jabs at Catholicism and US televangelism pretty weak and facile, because it didn't really have anything to say or say it with any conviction. The episode was at its best when it articulated that the "Kelly" period was just part of the society's development and wasn't her fault - if it wasn't her, it'd have been something else. If you're going to criticize religion, do it with teeth, passion and intelligence - satire needs to be cutting and intellectually rigorous, not just lazy, obvious "thing X is bad" material that's designed to play to the gallery. It's exactly the type of lazy material that religious people will see and think "the liberal media hates us", which furthers social division.
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Peter G.
Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 9:00am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

@ bleakness,

"I mean too "on the nose". But since it was a satire of modern day Catholocism, than I'm fine with that.
I've noticed something in common with most good sci fi writers have with good comedians: if you are easily offended.. if you are JUST LOOKING to be offended, and then complain when you are offended.. GET OUT"

You have missed my point. Something cannot be a satire of something (like Catholicism) unless it actually understands that thing. I assure you that Seth doesn't, and further, that he couldn't care less to understand it. Putting out legitimate grievances with a religion is perfectly valid as an excercise in the intellectual forum. Putting out a 'rebuttal' of a fake version of the thing isn't satire, it's propaganda designed to whip up hatred based on a lie. It's the same tool fascists use to make the population angry. It's true, I am offended. But not at the attack on religion, but rather on the attack on intellectual integrity. A show being associated with Trek and yet undermining all of its values - that's what offends me.
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