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Robert - Mon, Oct 5, 2015, 4:12pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Descent, Part I

Lower Decks and Parallels also deserve high marks and those 5 should be enough to counterattack the clunkers.
Robert - Mon, Oct 5, 2015, 4:09pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Descent, Part I

I'll take that bet. S7 doesn't have to be good, it has to be average.... which is what S7 does best...
Diamond Dave - Mon, Oct 5, 2015, 3:21pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Face of the Enemy

By far the best Troi vehicle so far. Although we need to suspend belief just a little bit that she could successfully blend in with no cover whatsoever - the fear of the Tal Shiar just about covers it - watching her step up into the role, taking on not just Toreth but then N'Vek as well, is a revelation. A sterling performance and a job well done.

This also successfully expands on Unification and gives a fuller sense of the Romulans as a race - showing the tensions between the Tal Shiar and the military, and the cracks that allow the dissident movement to emerge. The nuances that emerge add richness to the Romulans.

A tension filled, multi layered episode. 3.5 stars.
Diamond Dave - Mon, Oct 5, 2015, 2:04pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Aquiel

Well, if there was one thing that we didn't need too much more of it was creepy stalker La Forge. But he's back - at least I suppose it shows character consistency.

I guess this was mildly diverting for a while - it was something of a surprise for the Klingons to bring Uhnari back. The introduction of the alien entity was also something of a surprise - at least no-one is thinking changelings at this point! - and the recreation of Crusher's hand from the ooze was novel. And I didn't see the dog twist coming, although by the end I wasn't really concentrating very hard...

Another one of those episodes that for me hearken back to series 1 - and the CGI blob at the end just goes to show that crap FX are crap FX however they're made. 1.5 stars.
Del_Duio - Mon, Oct 5, 2015, 12:53pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Descent, Part I

" It looks, however, like it's all up to Season Seven to pull TNG ahead of TOS in the final overall score department. "

I think Q said it best:

"I wouldn't bet on it, Picard"

You have the awesome finale, Preemptive Strike, and The Pegasus. And that's all I can think of for wicked standouts off the top of my head.
Luke - Mon, Oct 5, 2015, 11:54am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Descent, Part I

"Descent, Part I" is another TNG Season Six episode that never raises to its full potential.

So, they're bringing the Borg back as the Big Bad. Good, that's what they're supposed to be. But, instead of actually making them intimidating again, they decide to spend most of the episode (the non-padded portions especially) on Data's quest to be Human and for emotions. Um, okay. I thought this was supposed to be about the Borg being uber-badasses again. But, whatever, I'm game. Then, they decide to make Data's emotional/humanity quest nothing but a plot point by having the imprisoned Borg openly and deliberately stimulate his emotions (because this is about the Borg, after all). Good grief people, pick one! As a result, what we end up with are two story ideas that each have merit in their own right but never receive anywhere near an adequate level of development.

Then, at almost exactly the two-thirds mark in the episode, everything literally grinds to a screeching halt as the padding kicks in. A full one-third of "Descent, Part I" is (Jammer nails it) nothing but padding until the inevitable "to be continued..." card appears. It's just another episode that's stretched almost beyond the breaking point to make it a two-parter (just like "Time's Arrow" and "Birthright").

Even "Time's Arrow, Part I" was more ambitious than this. For that episode I said - "For an episode that deals with Data's possible death, time travel, soul-consuming aliens from the future, a look into Picard and Guinan's backstory and Mark Twain in a season ending cliffhanger, there's a rather surprising lack of energy and excitement." Almost exact same thing can be said here. For a story involving the return of the Borg as major adversaries, new and much more aggressive Borg, Data experiencing emotions and the return of Lore (who has been gone for almost three seasons), there isn't a surprising lack of energy and excitement - there's a decidedly shocking lack of it! These TNG season finale cliffhangers have gone nowhere but down, down, down since "The Best of Both Worlds." The saddest thing about it, however, is that it didn't have to be that way. VOY proved that with "Scorpion." Of course, "Scorpion" also proved that the Borg could be used as major curbstomp style villains again.

But despite all of that, the episode is just average/commonplace. It isn't exactly bad; it just never raises above itself. That is until the stuff that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever takes place. So, in the middle of a crisis, with this new and highly aggressive Borg threat to contend with, Picard decides to literally empty the ship down to a skeleton crew so that everyone and his brother can search for Data on the planet's surface. WTF!? Um, no! That makes no god-damn sense. The priority is the Borg threat, not the search for Data! Oh, and he decides to join in the search as well - apparently just for shits and giggles - because the Captain has no place on the bridge in an emergency. The only reason for it is so that he can be taken prisoner in the final seconds and have THE DRAMA that much more increased for the summer break. And, to top it all off, he leaves Crusher in command of the Enterprise. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I'm a big Beverly Crusher fan. But this makes no fucking sense, period! At this point it hasn't even been established that she's a Bridge Officer or that she likes to pick up a night shift command from time to time. It would make more sense to give command over to Ensign Ricky from Turbolift Control! But, of course, just like everything else in the episode, it's just set-up for Part II. Finally, there's Crosis' "seduction" of Data (where Data flat out admits that he'd kill LaForge) right in front of a security guard. Jesus, that's straight out of TOS: Mudd's Women, where Harry Mudd and the women plot their plans right in front of some other security guards. When a scene reminds me of the second worst episode of TOS, that's really not a good thing.

Still, all of that is redeemed (somewhat) by the wonderful scene between Picard and Nechayev. It was really nice to see the other side given a full hearing (something I've highly criticized TNG for not doing fairly in the past), even if it's still clear that the writers want us to take Picard's side (why else would Nechayev be written as such an insufferable bitch?). And, I think I agree with Nechayev. Back in my comments on "I, Borg," I said that I would probably have used Hugh to deliver the virus to the Collective and I think I'm still going to hold to that. I'm reminded of this little exchange from "Captain America: The Winter Solider"....

FURY: The Greatest Generation? You guys did some nasty stuff.
CAP: Yeah, we compromised. Sometimes in ways that made us not sleep so well. But we did it so that people could be free.

Destroying the Borg may be a really nasty thing to do. Using Hugh as a carrier for that destruction might be as well. Using him with his individuality intact would be more so. But maybe it should have been done so that the Federation (hell, the entire galaxy!) could be free from the threat of the Borg Collective. Picard's hand-wringing of "the moral thing might not have been the right thing" was very apt (and wonderfully acted by Stewart).

(I suppose I should comment on the opening scene with Stephen Hawking. Meh, it didn't do anything for me one way or the other. The thing I that struck me the most about it was that I was wondering if they got the same guy to play Einstein that they got back in "The Nth Degree," because he looked very similar.)



More post-season number crunching. :)

5 - Time's Arrow, Part II
4 - Realm of Fear
1 - Man of the People
7 - Relics
6 - Schisms
8 - True Q
8 - Rascals
6 - A Fistful of Datas
6 - The Quality of Life
7 - Chain of Command, Part I
9 - Chain of Command, Part II
8 - Ship in a Bottle
1 - Aquiel
8 - Face of the Enemy
7 - Tapestry
3 - Birthright, Part I
2 - Birthright, Part II
7 - Starship Mine
5 - Lessons
2 - The Chase
5 - Frame of Mind
3 - Suspicions
9 - Rightful Heir
6 - Second Chances
7 - Timescape
5 - Descent, Part I

Average Season Score: 5.577
Average Series Score: 5.046
Final TOS Average Score: 5.150

Best Episode: Rightful Heir
Worst Episode: Man of the People

Season Six could legitimately be given the title "The Tale of Two Seasons". The first half managed an average score of 6.250 - impressive to say the least - and gave us the longest stretch of above-average episodes in all of Trek up to this point (9 - from "Relics" to "Ship in a Bottle"). But, once we were subjected to the abysmal "Aquiel", the season took a nosedive in quality. The second half managed an average score of 5.000. Talk about a step down! If it wasn't for the fact that the single best episode of the season was in that second half, it would be finished below average.

TNG also continued its shallow slope from the heights of Season Four, but again not by much. Season Six, even with it finishing lower than Season Five, is still damn good entertainment. And, it managed to finally pull TNG out of the depths it dug for itself in Season One and brought the average score up above average for the first time.

It looks, however, like it's all up to Season Seven to pull TNG ahead of TOS in the final overall score department. But, given how lambasted Season Seven is in many fan circles, that might be a tall order despite the scores being so close here after six years. Can it be done? We'll just have to wait and see.
Robert - Mon, Oct 5, 2015, 9:59am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: The Chase

I think Generations wasn't as bad as people say it was. It was missing a plot and a villain worthy of the movie but there were a collection of a lot of great scenes, the Kirk/Picard team up was fun enough, Data got emotions, the Enterprise crashed and Worf got promoted. There were misteps, but it was nowhere near as bad as the bad TOS movies.

And when they followed it up with First Contact I really thought we were going to end up with a really amazing TNG movie franchise. I will say nothing more on the subject.
dlpb - Mon, Oct 5, 2015, 7:27am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Maneuvers

Pretty sure that available evidence debunks the "Total Recall" portrayal of what happens in a vacuum. In fact, I remember reading that the "lung exploding" theory was also nonsense.
Daphne - Mon, Oct 5, 2015, 6:23am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: The Chase

This is a brilliant concept which is let down somewhat by the limitations of a one-hour TV episode. I absolutely agree with HolographicAndrew that this should have been a movie. It's just a really great science fiction concept, and it could have been one of the best science fiction movies of all time if executed properly. Alas, we got Generations, Insurrection, and Nemesis instead!
SlackerInc - Sun, Oct 4, 2015, 10:56pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S3: Unity

Good episode, good review, good comments section. :)

Like Yanks, I was sad to see Kaplan go. She seemed to have more personality than the average redshirt, and she did a nice job of protecting her commander from harm when it started to get violent.

Nice to see Chakotay getting him some a la Kirk. :)

There were some nitpicks both from Jammer and the peanut gallery that were on point. A couple I'd add:

@ 9:50 I love how Harry said there was no response to his hails (the second one especially) IMMEDIATELY after sending them, allowing absolutely no time for them to respond. I know, the show's got to move along; but couldn't they have some other dialogue from Tuvok or something and then come back to him saying there was no response?

@ 37:03, Chakotay's hand is huge or that lady's head is tiny!
methane - Sun, Oct 4, 2015, 6:38pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S4: Accession

-This is 3 stories: a personal story about Sisko finally accepting his status as Emissary (as he's confronted with an alternate Emissary); the story of Bajor dealing with changes brought by a possible new Emissary; and the "B story", Keiko returning to the station. The first works quite well and the last works fine; the middle story is much too simplified. How highly you rank this episode depends on how much you forgive that simplification. As others have pointed out, it's pretty much a given that you can't fit that story into a 45 minute episode while giving it the complexity it deserves.

-Sisko's personal story I think is well done. I would consider the story of Kira in this episode a part of Sisko's story. These 2, as well as Odo, seem to be behaving consistently with how their characters have been defined, and Sisko undergoes a transformation as he decides to accept his role as Emissary, a major change for the series (which is why I wouldn't say this story was a 'reset button' story).

-That middle story is the weak link. As others have pointed out, not every Bajoran would accept this change, and surely some Vedeks would publicly say so. And some of these opponents would justify their position by saying Sisko is the one true Emissary and he can't resign the position. Bajor is a planet with millions of people (I forget the exact number), so there will always be some necessary simplification in these stories. This one simplifies to much, but I'm not really sure how much more in depth they could have added without going to a 2-parter. The story of the TV series is always primarily going to be about our regular and recurring characters; it's a given that Sisko's personal story will get more attention than that of Bajor's populace.

-Others have pointed out Jane Espenson's work on Battlestar Gallactica; I remember her more for her work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where she wrote several humorous episodes. This subplot definitely seems to have her humor. The fact that she is a woman is probably a reason why Keiko comes off better than normal (there weren't many DS9 episodes written by women).

-Overall, I supposed I'd give it 3 stars. Sisko's personal story by itself would probably get 3.5 stars. I'm being forgiving about the problems on the large scale depiction of Bajor; I certainly understand why others will think differently.

-[Spoilers for the very, very end of DS9 follow.] For the discussion about the prophets: Since Sisko joined the prophets at the end of the series and since the prophets are non-linear, he has always been inside the wormhole. I always imagine him being the 'prophet' who has the most opinions on the outside world & is the driving force when they interact (except in the pilot). Sisko-in-the-wormhole is doing what is necessary to get present-Sisko to man up and embrace being the Emissary. That implies some circular logic (Sisko is doing what Sisko did before) which is always present in certain time-travel stories, but it also fits mythic stories of fate.
Diamond Dave - Sun, Oct 4, 2015, 1:47pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Ship in a Bottle

Just goes to show that there is something you can do with a holodeck gone awry episode - build a complex story with powerful performances and tell it with verve.

Moriarty's motivations are subtle and increasingly unclear as we progress - from reformed character, back to arch villain, and then, in the end, reformed character again. It leaves us questioning what is real and what is not real - Barclay's final nervous "Computer, end program" beautifully caps the episode.

A fun and thoroughly involving hour with a twist that I never saw coming (even if it then sells a second twist far too easily!). "There's something wrong with the holodeck" indeed. 3.5 stars.
JMT - Sun, Oct 4, 2015, 12:00pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

I'm watching this series for the first time on Netflix, so I don't have the insight that many of you have, nor am I able to draw comparisons between TNG and the other spinoffs. I've been reading Jammer's reviews and the comments as I've been viewing the episodes, and I feel that doing so has helped give me more insight into the Star Trek universe while showing very valid alternate interpretations to stories which I would not have found on my own.

The moral this story attempts to put forward bothers me greatly because it simplifies the consequences of our actions rather than acknowledging how complex they actually are. Picard's life decisions are painted as being "correct", and he dismisses his life as a science officer as being not worth living. First of all, if Picard had really grown so adverse to risk, it begs the question of why he choose to be on a starship.

Second of all, I have a difficult time accepting that the risk adverse Picard doesn't have things in his life that Captain Picard doesn't. Perhaps the blue shirt Picard has a loving wife and family. Maybe this Picard isn't so distant from people and has been able to form friendships that the captain couldn't.

Third, Picard seems to be out of character. He always struck me as a compassionate man with an understanding that the world is made of different viewpoints. Just because he moves from being a captain to a science officer, shouldn't lower his opinion of himself. It also just feels like he holds a disdain for the low ranking officers which is out of character.

Also, the episode paints Picard as being cowardly, but I'd think having the courage to stand up to your friend to stop a meaningless fight and taking a chance with a good friend to move from a comfortable friendship to something more does take courage. He did some very risky things, and somebody who would make those difficult decisions sounds to me like someone who would also make decisions that would attempt to advance his career. Even with different decisions, this is the same Picard.

The word Tapestry invokes the images of multiple threads sown together in intricate patterns to produce an entire picture. There is something that strikes me as truly banal about saying if one thread were removed and replaced with another the result is not only different but worse. All of our lives are the product of our decisions, and almost certainly some of our decisions have led to different outcomes than others. However, we don't know how the decisions we make truly effect us and for us or the authors to make the presumptions that "risky" decisions lead to better outcomes strikes me as hollow. The core message, that Picard being stabbed in the heart made him in the man he is today, does illustrate the chaotic nature of how are decisions can lead to outcomes that appear completely unrelated. But it fails in that the outcomes seem to be stratified in a Better/Worse framework rather than a Same/Different one.

Often I read the comments here that TNG presents things in "black and white", and generally I find myself disagreeing. At its best TNG presents a dilemma, ex. "do you kill or communicate with the crystal entity" or the I Borg dilemma, but I feel that as the show matured it became good at not showing one particular opinion as being "correct". While morality is painted in simple terms in Justice or Angel One, Silicon Avatar and Chain of Command give much more latitude to multiple interpretations. This episode feels almost regressive.

While I did not agree with the themes of this episode, I would still say it was an entertaining, thought provoking and competently produced hour of television.
navamske - Sun, Oct 4, 2015, 9:24am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S3: Future's End, Part II


"autonomous self-sustaining mobile holo-emitter"

Autonomous Self-Sustaining mobile HOLo-Emitter, or ASSHOLE
Sam - Sun, Oct 4, 2015, 5:57am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S1: The Big Goodbye

I'm a fan of science fiction. It's my favorite genre of entertainment. However I DESPISE detective stories - all of them. Police procedural or private detectives or whatever, I find them unbearably tedious. The only thing that could make one worse is to set it in a time period in the past that I also find boring as paint drying. Uggg. Not a detective in the 40 s! And we have to listen to the stupid forties lingo. Shoot me. Why do Star Trek creators assume their main fan base wants to watch this kind of stuff? It's got zero to do with science fiction except that is the stupid device used to trick me into watching it. I hated the stupid period pieces in tos. I hate them eve more in tng.
Jack - Sun, Oct 4, 2015, 12:46am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S2: Maneuvers

Here's another plot hole: The Kazon that were beamed into space. How is it that their bodies didn't lose molecular cohesion and explode? There is no gravity in space to hold your insides together. You would literally fall apart, your blood vessels would pop, etc... Anyone see the original Total Recall when Arnold was exposed to the Martian atmosphere? That's what I'm talking about. But the Kazons' eyes didn't even pop out.
Dba - Sun, Oct 4, 2015, 12:18am (USA Central)
Re: BSG S2: Home, Part 2

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!



It's certainly puzzling to hear our names for our own zodiac referred to as "ancient" when the series finale strongly implies that the Colonials are our ancestors. One might suggest that that those names became a deep cultural memory that was recapitulated during the development of our own society; however, the relatively recent origin of the modern zodiac in relation to recorded human history, as well as its particularity to a certain social and linguistic context in our world, seems at odds with the universality the creators are trying to project. Rather, I see the answer to this mystery in the snippet of scripture quoted as the Colonials' "Beresihit": " all of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again... "

Powerful stuff indeed.
Jack - Sat, Oct 3, 2015, 8:15pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: One

Shannon, your comment is akin to saying that the only person allowed to sue a doctor for malpractice is someone who could have preformed the surgery themselves...
Jack - Sat, Oct 3, 2015, 8:08pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Message in a Bottle

It didn't make sense to me that the Romulans would outright steal a Starfleet vessel...it isn't really their style as we've seen it. Other than separating into three pieces, what's so great about this ship? The Enterprise-D could separate into two pieces and the Romulans never tried to steal it. The Romulan warbird they already have is pretty kickass.
petulant - Sat, Oct 3, 2015, 8:04pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S4: Scientific Method

I liked this episode till Seven came along to save the day!
inline79 - Sat, Oct 3, 2015, 4:35pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S6: Pathfinder

Got trolled last time I commented here, but this episode is powerful and I want to share my positive perspectives and personal lessons. I'm on the 4-stars side for sure and probably my personal favourite VOY ep.

Sidebar: Yes, Mr. Wilhelm doesn't really work as Adm Paris. Maybe Mr. Pitt from Seinfeld.

So today, as an Engineering Manager, I can relate to Harkin in this episode. What do you do with someone who has loads of ideas and is always running off on a tangent to the team? Well, I certainly don't have my employees stunned with phasers, but I also don't send them home for speaking out. Ideas are what the future is built on. Good on Harkin to hire on Reg and take that risk. But I just don't think they are paying per kilowatt-hour for the holodeck, so I would have cultivated the ideas while helping Reg with his social skills much earlier on. Other Engineering Managers, like Harkin, don't always get the human side.

Intentional or not, I think Star Trek writers consistently tell us that our centuries old bureaucracies will still be around centuries from now. This is one of those commentaries. Fascinating.

But when I first saw Reg Barclay episodes decades ago, I identified with Reg's social awkwardness and technical obsessions. I learned to grow away from that but sadly, even today, trolls still find more comfort in this archaic holodeck we call "the internet" than in the real world.

Diamond Dave - Sat, Oct 3, 2015, 4:23pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part II

OK, up front the acting during the Picard/Madred scenes are a veritable tour de force. As the scenes play out, Madred doesn't seem to be too impressive an interrogator. Given what seems to be a realistic presentation of torture as a technique you have to wonder whether that was a writing choice, and what that means in terms of Picard's resistance and ultimate capitulation.

You also have to wonder what that last scene is trying to say. That breaking under torture is inevitable? Having been assimilated by the Borg, you have to question what that would do to Picard's psyche. Or is it simply to remove the triumph from the final "there are four lights!"? Picard didn't win his confrontation, quite the opposite - which would raise a question if the intent was to show that ultimately both the victims and the perpetrators are the losers.

On the Enterprise, Jellico proves to have a winning strategy, which would seem to mitigate the asshat argument from Part 1. But I find the confrontation between Jellico and Riker problematic - anecdotal evidence would suggest both are competent officers, yet they just can't stand each other. In such circumstances you'd hope professionalism would win out. Riker's shit-eating grin as he gets the last word suggests not...

If nothing else, this episode succeeds in making the Cardassians more complicated than comic book Nazis. They love their kids, and want to improve the status of their society - they're not fundamentally and inherently evil. Their methods, however...

It's not perfect, this one, but it's not a million miles away. 3.5 stars.
Diamond Dave - Sat, Oct 3, 2015, 3:00pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part I

Indeed this is a game of two halves.

From Necheyev relieving Picard of command in a 30-second 'boom' of an opener, the tensions on the Enterprise are a real change of pace. Jellico may or may not be an asshat, but it's clear he does have a valid motivation in turning a science vessel into a warship. That said, he's been made CO because of his negotiating experience with the Cardassians, so when Troi says he's not as confident as he appears that would appear to undermine his authority. The back and forth with Gul Lemec is also interesting, as the balance of power shifts between the two.

However, the revelation that Picard is on a blown mission also highlights the contrivance required to put him on the mission in the first place. The spec-ops plot really doesn't stand up to much scrutiny - we get a wildly unnecessary Ferengi interlude, and lot of running around caves, and a brief phaser shoot-out all to set up part 2. It's all a bit forgettable.

Overall, half an exceptional episode. "Get that fish out of my ready room" indeed. 3 stars.
CPUFP - Sat, Oct 3, 2015, 2:50pm (USA Central)
Re: TOS S2: Who Mourns for Adonais?

Since William B has already pointed out the most important things about this episode, I'd just like to say that I was amazed by Apollo's lack of nipples. I know that cartoon figures of the era were not allowed to have them (well, not just only this era - even 20 years later, He-Man did not have any), but it was still pretty amazing to me to see that there were no visible nipples at all on the actor. A big thumbs up to the make-up crew!
Diamond Dave - Sat, Oct 3, 2015, 1:54pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: The Quality of Life

Well, we've just done a kids episode so how about one with cute robots?! Silent Running indeed springs to mind.

OK, so we've got a contrived set up where Data has to make a choice between the exocomps and his friends. His choice in favour of the exocomps is described as his most 'human' but Picard. But I would have thought that most humans would have rationalised the decision to save their friends and to hell with the robots. I don't actually have a problem with the choice Data made, if indeed his perspective gives him unique insight into the robotic world. But to suggest it's a 'human' response? One step too far for me.

Farallon also struck me as well characterised as an obsessive scientists who's work is going to get canned in 2 days without a breakthrough and you're telling me are these hovering screwdrivers I've made are alive, say what now?

Yet another episode where the concept was perhaps better than the execution. The beard thing was fun though. 2.5 stars.
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