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Jack - Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 3:44pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: Gravity

As I've stated before, I give Voyage rquite a bit of leewya when comparing it to other series because it was the first one to be charged with carrying a network, rather than being syndicated. That left it far, far more at the mercy of absurd gimmicks, ridiculous promos, and various other meddling from network suits.
Jack - Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 3:38pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: Infinite Regress

TH said:

"The biggest hole I found in this episode was the conversation between Chakotay and the Captain where she says she's wondering if he was right that they could never bring Seven "into the fold". I have a hard time believing that Janeway would take this technological borg problem of the week and actually have it in her mind that this is an internal Seven problem, and not some external force acting upon her."

I get where you're coming from, but I saw Janeway's comments more as meaning that Seven's Borg nature may leave her vulnerable to a number of unique and unpredictable situations, of which this is but one, which may make reclaiming Seven chronically problematic.
Jack - Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 3:19pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: Infinite Regress

The midnight snacker ate an animal leg Neelix was saving for some ensign's birthday, but with Voyager's compliment, someone on Voyager is likely having a birthday every three or four days...is it really that special?
Christoph - Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 9:00am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Take Me Out to the Holosuite

It is by far the worst DS9 episode. Another rehash of a boring American kind of sport in the future. I liked the pure US-American epis.. - eh excuse me - Ferengi episodes much better. They were always very funny.
Christoph - Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 8:53am (USA Central)
Re: ENT S1: Acquisition

Maybe you are right, OR perhaps you are not. Because of you guys complaining about Enterprise all the time since it's first aired, we trekkies got J.J. A-hole's new Star Trek movies which are totally BS. Thanks for nothing but senseless complains. Now Hollywood is even dumber.
Robert - Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 8:50am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

"I'd like to note, that real world model for this episode would be rather Japanese Unit 731 than Nazis."

If you look up Mengele's experiments in hypothermia you will see that we STILL use his knowledge on how to deal with hypothermia victims. So one could argue that, as most science fiction is, you can see more than one parallel to us in that mirror.
Robert - Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 8:44am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: Disaster

"People comparing kids to kryptonite for Picard are going too far."

We all have it in us to handle problems we are not comfortable with, I think that's more what it is. Picard is not BAD with kids (see his charming exchange with his nephew), he's uncomfortable around them. In fact some people are very GOOD at things they are uncomfortable with, but they have to try.

I think that's the moral of it all. Picard was good with the kids, Troi ends up being good with command (at least enough to not let Ro push her around), and Worf is able to deliver the baby.

The other 2 weren't really fish out of water stories, but I would have liked if they had tried to push them a little more to conform to the theme. Maybe instead of the silly plot with the cargo bay Beverly gets injured and has to talk a squeamish Geordi, who is more comfortable dealing with computers, into performing triage on her. Or something like that.
times05 - Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 2:35am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

There is really no dilemma about medical research in the episode. If it's already been done and recorded, doesn't really matter how it was acquired. When someone I care about is dying, and there is a known cure that doesn't cause any more suffering to anyone at present or future, I could care less where it came from. Just use it.

Could someone's feelings be hurt? Maybe. Feelings are very low on the totem pole of importance compared to someone else dying. They can suck it up and tell themselves that their suffering wasn't completely in vain.

Also... what about all the borg technology that's been used in other episodes. If it's borg technology, it obviously wasn't acquired in any nice way. Someone suffered for it. Yet in dozens of episodes that's a non-issue.

Mediocre episode at best. Highly unplausable, also an unrealistic dilemma.
Beleron - Wed, Oct 22, 2014, 11:20pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: Disaster

Well, if nothing else, we learned that Geordi can't sing.
Ian - Wed, Oct 22, 2014, 9:12pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S1: Eye of the Needle

One point not mentioned. Didn't the Romulan already tell his superiors about Voyager? Thus they already know the future!
I recall later episode mentioning the Romulans having an interest in Voyager. Wonder if that is a subtle nod to this issue
Beleron - Wed, Oct 22, 2014, 8:49pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S5: In the Flesh

I have to side with the nay-sayers here. One of my bigger gripes with the franchise is that the aliens
too consistently tend to be rather human; Species 8472 was, up to this episode, a welcome exception. They didn't necessarily need to remain as antagonists, but they should have remained inscrutable.
Robert - Wed, Oct 22, 2014, 4:12pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Field of Fire

Solok's fixation on humiliating Sisko is illogical though.
$G - Wed, Oct 22, 2014, 3:02pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Field of Fire

Elliott:

"Races/species in Star Trek are "hat races" on purpose because aliens were always meant to represent different facets of humanity, politically, ethically, historically. "Bad guys" (Klingons, Romulans, the Borg, Cardassians) possess, as a people, qualities which should be repudiated, whereas the "good guys" (Vulcans) possess, again as a people, qualities which should be emulated. The majority of Trek races are given this one note, usually bad, to stage the Morality Play. A few, like the Klingons and the Vulcans, are given enough development to explore the issues in more complex ways. There are indeed good and bad sides to Honour and Logic which are worth exploring."

This is a pretty succinct explanation of why alien races (and the stories based on them) in most of Trek are simplistic slush. DS9 is the strongest show overall because it recognizes and avoids these storytelling gaffes.
Robert - Wed, Oct 22, 2014, 12:50pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Field of Fire

@Elliott - The one in Field of Fire was a villain because he was Vulcan, but he was also suffering from some kind of extreme PTSD. VOY made it clear that Vulcans HAVE emotions, they just suppress them well. And Tuvok has made it very, very clear that if he ever lost control the result would be intense. I don't like Field of Fire, but given what I would imagine Tuvok with PTSD to look like it doesn't seem like a negative portrayal of Vulcans.

Likewise Sakonna, as I said, is a villain that just HAPPENS to be Vulcan. And she's only a villain because we're supposed to be for the Bajoran resistance but against the Maquis. I always felt that, prior to Eddington, the Maquis were grey villains, as opposed to black ones.

You have a point with Solok of course, but... I don't know. I guess I just don't see it as being as subversive as you think it is. Yes, Solok is arrogant. In my post above I said specifically that a Vulcan who thinks Vulcans are superior would not be particularly problematic in cannon. A Vulcan experience arrogance as an emotion? I could see that being problematic. The all Vulcan crew on a Starfleet ship strikes me as a poor idea too. The fact that I liked nearly everything else about the episode lets me largely overlook it, but I think this episode is problematic.

That said, a young Tuvok experiences emotions (love) and needs to go train with a master to "fix it". The problem with Solok is that without much of a backstory or getting to know the character he just seems to be a Vulcan that is too emotional. Which isn't great, but it's not as bad as the all Vulcan ship.
Elliott - Wed, Oct 22, 2014, 12:46pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Field of Fire

Races/species in Star Trek are "hat races" on purpose because aliens were always meant to represent different facets of humanity, politically, ethically, historically. "Bad guys" (Klingons, Romulans, the Borg, Cardassians) possess, as a people, qualities which should be repudiated, whereas the "good guys" (Vulcans) possess, again as a people, qualities which should be emulated. The majority of Trek races are given this one note, usually bad, to stage the Morality Play. A few, like the Klingons and the Vulcans, are given enough development to explore the issues in more complex ways. There are indeed good and bad sides to Honour and Logic which are worth exploring.
Elliott - Wed, Oct 22, 2014, 12:37pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Field of Fire

@zzybaloobah, et al.:

The S7 Vulcan baddies weren't portrayed as villains who happened to be Vulcan, but villains *because* they were Vulcan. The animosity in the writing stemmed directly from what the Vulcan people, as an analogy for a type of human (which you pointed out is true of basically all Trek aliens. More on that in a moment), represent.

Spock, Sarek, Tuvok and the reformist Vulcans from ENT S4 were never portrayed as arrogant the way Solok was. Arrogance, recall, is an emotion. Non-Vulcan characters have often mistaken Vulcan logic for arrogance (Bones, Neelix). Perrin remarks in "Sarek" that she is impressed that Picard does not make this mistake, a condonation of his attitude and perspective. In "Unification," Spock comments to Data that Picard is himself remarkably Vulcan-like. And recall that Robert also made the mistake of considering his brother to be arrogant in "Family."

In the transition from the TOS era to the TNG, the writers very carefully carved out a place for the Vulcan philosophy as a kind of benchmark of humanoid progress (TMP being the Apollo to TWoK's Dionysus). This benchmark sits right alongside the idealism of the non-religious, non-capitalist society humanity is supposed to have achieved by the 24th century. DS9 was in the habit of wiping its ass with this idealism, and that practice goes hand in hand with its treatment of Vulcans.

As for Paul M.'s "[T]he ideal towards which the humanity ought to strive is neither uber-logic (Spock) nor uber-emotion (McCoy) but rather a synthesis of both (Kirk)," I find this rather dubious. If by "synthesis," he means dialectical synthesis, Spock is himself a synthesis of two antithetical philosophies, is he not? And most of the time, Spock's perspective is clearly in the right; Bones has to be handled by Kirk as a kind of mediator, but it's rare that Spock's logic fails him where Bones' emotions do not. If by "synthesis," he means the more common "combination," one cannot combine two elements if they are "uber," that is, entirely. I think it's unfair to judge Spock or McCoy as being extremists in their positions as logical or emotional. All the Big Three showed nuance and temperament in their approaches.

TOS' overarching narrative relies heavily on exploiting Kirk's flaws, so how can he be the "ideal human"?

As for your proportioning out thumbs up or down based on series percentiles, I can't say much more than it's incredibly reductionist and inaccurate, if for no other reason than the shows ran for different lengths of time. AND the shows had vastly differing references to Vulcans or Vulcan characters.

DS9 had its own agenda, but given episodes like "In the Cards," "Rapture," "The Siege of AR3.14...," "Covenant," "In the Hands of the Prophets" and others, it's reasonable to extrapolate an over-arching anti-Trek philosophy which emerges. These Vulcan episodes fit right with that.
Robert - Wed, Oct 22, 2014, 10:56am (USA Central)
Re: VOY S7: Human Error

I saw this recently and will chime in with those disagreeing with Jammer. I usually do agree with his dislike of Voyager's reset button, but this didn't feel like reset back to status quo. It felt like someone who took 3 steps forward and then RAN 2 steps backwards because she scared herself. But I still think she and the viewers learned something and we DID end up going somewhere.

For me this episode is up there with "His Way" & "Crossfire" and it does for Seven what those did for Odo in a lot of ways. Even after all of his lessons from Vic Odo still doesn't feel comfortable with the thought of his friends seeing him have fun and when he realizes he's dancing with the real Kira he goes from Nerys to Major at warp speed. But it shows him (and the audience) that there is someone who could have fun under there. Sure it ends with less of a reset (at least "His Way" does) but after 5 years of slow burning that romance we had to get somewhere eventually!

In a lot of ways this is Seven's "His Way" with the ending for "Crossfire". She opens up when nobody is around but in the end when she thinks she's too distracted she shuts back in. I LIKED the contrived (it was contrived) cortical node shutdown and her refusal to fix it. There was something poetic in her hiding behind her limitations instead of trying to exceed them.

And she does change a bit. The scene with Torres and the baby booties were quite sweet. I think some people saw this and lamented that she didn't start acting around her friends like she did on the Holodeck. But Odo doesn't act with his friends the way he does with Vic either. And the same for Barclay. Closed off characters learning to take baby steps in socializing do NOT need to get there in one quick jump.

The reset button here felt organic to the plot, not a cop out. 3.5 stars.
dgalvan - Tue, Oct 21, 2014, 11:22pm (USA Central)
Re: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

This film gets a bad rap. I won't claim it's among the best of the Star Trek films. But I like it better than Nemesis and Insurrection. I think I like it better than Star Trek 1: The Motion Picture, too. I'm probably a bit biased since its the first Star Trek movie I saw in the theater.

Here are some reasons I like it:

1. It has humor.
The jokes don't land as well as they did in Star Trek IV, but they are not terrible. It's a more "human-relatable" movie than several other Trek films.

2. The "big three".
The camaraderie between Kirk, McCoy, and Spock is a welcome re-visit that helps close out Spock's character arc of re-adjusting after being reborn, which started really in Star Trek IV. It gave me a warm feeling and it made me think of how William Shatner was probably waxing nostalgic in having so many scenes with the three characters that really were the heart of Star Trek. "God I liked him better before he died!"

3. The whole God thing was really not a bad plot line.
In many ways it was reminiscent of numerous TOS (and a few early TNG) episodes that dealt with a near-omnipotent alien entity masquerading as something else. Actually this entity reminded me of the one they encountered in the first episode of the Animated Series (that one also tried to use the enterprise to escape a dead star/planet, episode title: Beyond the Farthest Star). I suppose for people not familiar with TOS, this may have seemed like a copout from dealing with issues of religion, but really this plot line makes a lot of sense in Star Trek context. It was never about religion, it was about the dangers of thinking too passionately instead of thinking critically.

4. It has a good underlying message:
While it could be argued that Vulcans rely too much on logic, Sybok is the embodiment of going too far in the other direction. He embraces passion and emotion too much, without drawing enough on the cool dampening of rationality. He's also a pseudo-hedonist, convincing people that the bad part of their pasts should be forcibly forgotten and banished from your psyche ("release your pain"). Kirk provides the useful counterpoint: "I need my pain! It makes me who I am!"). This film explores some of the consequences of passionately leaping before you look. (Sybok finally sees the error in his ways, having been taken with legends and seeing what he wanted to see instead of what actually was.)

5. It further develops Kirk's character.
In Star Trek II (yes, probably the best), Kirk went from bemoaning his old age to the greatest ending line of the ST movies: "How do you feel Jim?. . . Young. I feel young."
Now here Kirk goes from bemoaning the solitary nature of the life he chose as a Starship captain (climbing El Capitan alone, saying he knows he'll die alone, telling Bones and Spock that "Men like us don't have families."), to realizing the people close to him are indeed his family, and that he never really has been alone. ("I lost a brother once. . . lucky for me I got him back." "I thought you said men like us don't have families?. . . . I was wrong."

6. It introduced that snazzy Klingon theme music.
$G - Tue, Oct 21, 2014, 11:05pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: It's Only a Paper Moon

I like this episode quite a bit. Nog has had a hell of a story. He's one of my favourite characters on the show, and, like everyone's said, it's awesome that DS9 got to the point that it can swing an episode like this. I'd argue that Nog ISN'T just a recurring character, but it may only seem like he's been around more than he has because he's gotten such rich material. (Serious question: outside of some first season shenanigans, has there ever been a bad Nog plot?)

"Paper Moon" is also the best Vic appearance so far (and maybe even moving forward too). I like to think that when Nog asks Vic if he dreams, he evades answering because the answer is... well, "no". A dream is only a dream if it isn't just an extension of the program and thus under Vic's control. The answer would have shattered both characters' illusions at that point and was better left unsaid. In the end, when Nog sets up 26/7 activation for Vic, Vic gets to live a "regular" life now too. Yeah it raises a lot of questions about Vic's nature, but it's a sweet moment in and of itself.

This is quite a strong episode and nails exactly what it's trying to accomplish. Though 45 minutes might be a *bit* pat for this story, Ron Moore is really, really good at crafting unique scenes that don't revert to perfunctory cliches to move the story to its 45-minute deadline. All his episodes seem to have a vitality that puts them above a lot of other episodes.

On top of that, Eisenberg nails all of his scenes - especially the climactic one. Awesome!

I only really have two minor nitpicks: The party for Rom's promotion. There's no reason why someone couldn't have called on Nog. Wouldn't Rom have tried to stop by and invite him personally? And Jake, whom I've really begun to dislike. He has nothing to add to the show anymore, and it just feels like a waste for that to be the case. He seemed particularly insensitive in this episode, and it didn't reflect well on him IMO.

Other than those gripes, 3-1/2 stars from me!

---

On another note:

You know what I like so far about Season 7? It's probably the same thing that puts a lot of people off. But it's that S7 is pretty dedicated to fleshing out its recurring and brand new characters before the end. In S7's first 10 episodes, we've seen entire episodes given to Weyoun, Damar, Nog, Vic, Ezri, Garak, Martok and Dukat. Even "AR-558" had a heavy contingent of guest characters. This has relegated Kira, Worf, Odo, etc, to merely being pieces of episodes rather than the focuses. I understand why such a concentrated amount of secondary character episodes rubs people wrong, but to me it just makes the series feel alive.

At this point the show now feels very different than it did a couple of seasons prior. The formula of the regulars just doing their jobs and encountering new problems is pretty much non-existent. Ops doesn't get a lot of screen time, and there's hardly been any anomalies or station crises in what seems like forever. I've never NOT seen S7 on DVD, so I've never had to endure week-long waits between episodes. That probably colours my opinion of it all, but what can I say? I'm really digging this.
Sonya - Tue, Oct 21, 2014, 9:49pm (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers

I loved the father/son plot, and I loved Gul Dukat's grudging yet gracious congratulations and display of fireworks. One of the things I value about this show is Sisko and Jake's relationship. Aside from a few comedies (e.g., the Cosby Show), how often do we see strong, positive relationships between African American fathers and sons in the media?
Skeptical - Tue, Oct 21, 2014, 8:04pm (USA Central)
Re: VOY S1: State of Flux

Best episode so far! State of Flux is a good name for the episode. It really does show how unstable everything is. Even though I knew who the traitor was, the show still did a good job of casting doubt. I agree with Jammer; Seska's pleas of innocence were very convincing, all things considered. When she went to the Kazon ship to retrieve the replicator, it is perfectly logical that she's doing it to remove evidence... AND perfectly logical that she did it to prove her innocence. We already knew she doesn't play by the rules, and we already knew she thought this was a good way to extract the replicator...

And then there was the revelation that she was possibly a Cardassian. Honestly, I sort of wish that she had stayed on. After all, being a Cardassian spy doesn't make you a traitor... And hey, having a lone Cardassian stuck with the humans worked on DS9, maybe it would work here? But it does make sense that she would then be the least willing to play by Janeway's rules. So I guess I understand why they went the way they did. Having Seska be a Cardassian spy yet not actually betraying the crew would have been a risky plot to take, but perhaps not the most realistic.

In any case, one thing I liked about this episode was that Seska wasn't being a mustache twirling villain here. Her motives were clear; protect Voyager. It was almost noble in a way. And now the reason the Kazon never attacked Voyager since Caretaker is made clear. Seska's rant at Janeway after being caught had a certain amount of logic to it. I'm not saying she's right, but it does certainly make sense to her. And it again touches on a theme that has come up multiple times in the first season: should you sacrifice your principles to get home? In fact, here it's not even about getting home. Should you sacrifice your principles in order to stay alive in a dangerous world? Seska obviously has no problem with it, Janeway obviously won't. And that's why Seska directed a lot of her rant at Chakotay.

Once again we get a good Chakotay episode. Once again he is torn between his Maquis loyalty and his desire to keep this a Federation ship. And this time, his Maquis loyalty was wrong. And we get to see him get punched in the gut repeatedly. I liked that he was taking his frustrations out on Tuvok. He may have accepted Tuvok's betrayal by now, but he hasn't forgotten it. And he's perfectly entitled to be frustrated and venting some steam here.

So yeah, I enjoyed it. This was a show that was truly Voyager's and didn't feel like a bad TNG rerun. It may have come a bit too early in the season, but really, even that isn't too bad. We would have been wondering about the Kazon eventually. So maybe it's best that Seska was revealed so soon.
Robert - Tue, Oct 21, 2014, 10:52am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Field of Fire

@Grumpy - That makes sense, but Solok was in the Academy with Sisko and is definitely an officer. So there's no subcontracting from the Vulcans there. Unless he's in charge of a subcontracted Vulcan ship?
Grumpy - Tue, Oct 21, 2014, 10:09am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Field of Fire

Robert: "...it bothered me that Starfleet allows an all Vulcan crew like that."

When an all-Vulcan crew on a Starfleet ship was first mentioned in TOS "The Immunity Syndrome," I figured it was some sort of subcontracting or whatnot. Like, Russia is a partner in the ISS, but Russia could still fly all-Russian crews. Or, more directly parallel, NASA could borrow a Soyuz to fly an all-American crew.
Robert - Tue, Oct 21, 2014, 8:55am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S7: Field of Fire

My 2 cents about Vulcans on DS9

1) I liked Sakonna and Quark from "The Maquis" episodes. Voyager made it painfully clear that nobody considers a Vulcan maquis to be weird (else Starfleet's choice of putting Tuvok undercover on Chakotay's ship would be the stupidest undercover operation in Trek history), so I don't actually think Sakonna is subversive unless Voyager is as well. And she's a thief? So what? As DS9 makes clear "freedom fighters" do illegal things for good reasons. We're meant to side with the Bajoran resistance and against the Maquis, but they both see themselves as freedom fighters.

2) The Vulcan captain from "Take Me Out" was a Vulcan supremacist. The idea of a Vulcan who thinks Vulcans are superior is really not that weird given the cannon material. This episode would have played less racistly weird if he was not in Starfleet though. I liked the episode but it bothered me that Starfleet allows an all Vulcan crew like that. I'd have preferred a different backstory than meeting at the academy and a Vulcan science ship or something. It would have been more palatable to me.

3) I think this episode was kind of sucky, we really didn't need the can of worms this gun opens up, the extra Ezri episode, the out-of-character take on Joran, etc. But the Vulcan wasn't really a problem. Vulcans can experience PTSD and Vulcans can certainly go nuts and have emotions (see every third Tuvok episode :P).

I can see how Vulcan villains being a pattern on DS9 might seem intentional, but I think 3 in over 150 episodes may just be coincidental. Although there were 2 this season. But scratching this episode would have helped a great number of issues this season, so I'm in favor.
Phillip - Mon, Oct 20, 2014, 11:57pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S6: Suspicions

Why does beverly care about a ferengi's shuttle test? That made no sense to me. I also don't know why people wouldn't accept a ferengi scientist. Space travel has brought interstellar commerce to the ferengi economy. From a profit standpoint a ferengi scientist would be respected by other ferengi's.

As for the feminist aspect of the later seasons I agree they change troi and beverly. They mainly change troi. Once she puts on that uniform all of a sudden she changes. Look at the episode disaster. She was in charge and didn't know anything obrien was talking about. Then look at timescape and she's throwing out technobabble left and right. I love troi in the early seasons even though she kinda sucks at being a counselor too. But once modern day political correctness changed her character I couldn't take it.
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