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Bill
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 10:25am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: Spock's Brain

The thing that impressed me most about this episode was that they spent some money on it. With a bargain basement budget, sixth in production order, and we got a new spaceship miniature (not much to look at, but at least it wasn't the generic spot of light we'd gotten in most of the second season), a new planet miniature for the orbit shots, and the rear screen projection set-up on the bridge viewer. Not too shabby.

And I can't help but add that that bridge scene was a highlight. Kirk pacing in front of a moving starfield, the staff contributing like the professionals they were, it was awesome.
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phaedon
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 10:20am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Masks

I can appreciate childhood sentimentality, but this episode is an epic turd. Let's get the most obvious problem out of the way. Asking the Data character to put on this minstrel show in a way that doesn't contribute to his overall arc of becoming more emotional is just a travesty.

The silent red alert bridge scenes is some of the worst writing I've seen on TNG. "I'm not going to permit this ship to be turned into an alien city!" Yikes. And it's true, it looks like they ran out of money to pay the extras.

I don't mind Picard as an archaeologist, but in the other episodes where this interest has come up, there is a very explicit tension between that way of life and the one he leads as Captain of a starship. Which makes for interesting television. Here he is clicking buttons and materializing unknown objects on a hunch, inserting himself into an alien mythology on a hunch (wtf), and overruling very sensible objections from his crew. At one point he literally says, "Anybody got any better ideas?"

Also, a killer archive. Come on. For a split second, Ihat looked like he had the makings of an arch-nemesis, sitting on the warp core and all, but it's a steep downhill from there.
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Andrew
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 10:10am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: A Night in Sickbay

Also, I like Porthos. I think he's the best thing about Enterprise, and the Porthos aspects of this episode did not bother me one bit. Humans, particularly those with no children, tend to bond to dogs as if they were children. We all know that bond can be very deep and emotional, so while Archer definitely took it a bit too far, it is not unbelievable for me (as a dog owner with no children).
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Andrew
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 9:48am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: A Night in Sickbay

The whole sexual frustration angle in this episode is so disappointingly unnecessary and embarrassing. Did they have such a lack of confidence in their show that they felt the need to constantly just make T'Pol objectified eye candy with so little substance as a character?
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KT
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 9:29am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: The War Without, The War Within

@Tim
"Man Abandons His Children to Embark on Religious Quest is an asinine and selfish story"

We must have watched different shows as this is not what I gathered from DS9. Sisko died; sh*t happens. He didn't chose to leave his family. It was made clear that his preference would have been to retire on Bajor with Kasidy. Avery Brooks needn't have been concerned.
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KT
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 8:20am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: What's Past Is Prologue

@Tim
"The Dominion tells us to stay the fuck out of their territory, a request that was mostly honored in EVERY previous incarnation of Trek vis-à-vis the Klingons, Romulans, and even minor races-of-the-week that we never saw again, where it was always portrayed as a Big Deal™ to violate someone's territory"

In TOS' the Enterprise Incident starfleet send it's flagship on an elaborate ruse into enemy space to steal Romulan tech -a blatant treaty violation!

Picard is often show as keeping the Romulans at bay only due to show of force. This method won't be as easy to employ on a much more powerful race like the Dominion. Especially if the AQ is divided, and Starfleet command were very away of this hence the sitting back in the ''the die is cast'.

Seems to me SF have always struggled with upholding their values when faced with enemy threat. And so they should ...
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Gul Densho-Ar
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 7:50am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Baron Samedi

"The worst thing I can say about Discovery is that it not only doesn't make me think very hard, but it punishes me for doing so."

To be fair, Trek hardly always made sense. I'm close to finishing my VOY marathon, and that series also taught me early on to not think too much about it, it rarely makes a lot of sense and is full of plot holes like Emmentaler cheese. And the other series aren't innocent either.

But yes, it is worse in DSC than in the other series. Where VOY is nonsensical, DSC is just mental. It's like an entire season of Threshold-level insanity.
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Gul Densho-Ar
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 7:36am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

We doing season ratings now? \o/

Let's see... I'll be using Jammer's 4-star rating.

The Vulcan Hello - 1.5 stars
Battle of the Binary Stars - 1.5
Context is for Kings - 1.0
The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry - 1.0
Choose Your Pain - 1.5
Lethe - 1.5
Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad - 2.0
Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum - 2.0
Into the Forest I Go - 1.5
Despite Yourself - 3.0
The Wolf Inside - 3.5
Vaulting Ambition - 2.5
What's Past Is Prologue - 2.0
The War Without, the War Within - 2.5
Will You Take My Hand? - 1.5

Average: 1.9 - sounds about right
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KT
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 7:34am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Vaulting Ambition

@Tim
"A culture like the MU Terrans would struggle to escape hunter-gatherism and establish agriculture. It's fanciful to imagine they could establish an intersteller civilization. That's the problem with spending more than a single episode in the MU or trying to take it too seriously. It falls apart under even a casual examination."

I'm not convinced of this; I don't think that MU culture necessarily prevents establishment of agriculture. Only lack of seeds and that knowledge of what to do with them would prevent agriculture ... how did you come to this conclusion?
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KT
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 5:48am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?


"My primary worry is that some CBS ratings data analysts have resolutely determined that Discovery will lose a significant portion of its audience if the plot isn't always moving at a breakneck pace" (BARON SAMEDI)

Absolute capitalism is ruining star trek.
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Trent
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 1:40am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

Yeah, Piller's original idea (Heart of Darkness in reverse) was great, but I think Patrick Stewart and Spiner stepped in and vetoed alot of stuff. Once the "thing needed on the planet" was changed to a Fountain of Youth, decisions were also made to make a more comedic film. Everyone was looking to repeat the success of Star Trek 4.

Nemesis' core philosophical message (nature vs nurture; how sympathetic should we be to those warped by environmental factors, and how much freedom do we have to rise above our station?) is good too, with its Picard and Mirror Picard conflict. There's something very utopian about it (to infinity and beyond! Be like Picard!) and also horrifically chilling (you are a product of sheer, fleshy causal chains: no amount of morality and attempts at righteousness will overcome a nature inscribed and programmed into you by the universe!). But like Insurrection, all the interesting stuff just gets suffocated by action-movie demands.
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Mark
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 1:03am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

I stopped watching after the first episode because Burnham's mutiny was a complete, unearned contrivance that was going to drive the rest of the series and I assumed it would be downhill from there. I've kept up with your reviews while not watching the show and sadly, the awful twisting of the characters to serve the plot--to my mind Sarek is the worst and saddest example of this--doesn't surprise me.

I'm interested in your upcoming reviewing project though and I wonder what it might be. (My extreme longshot hope is Farscape--a show that always put the characters first--but I'm assuming it will be something more recent.) Whatever the next show you're reviewing is, I'll be there to read the reviews.
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Peter G.
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 11:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Space Seed

Very nice theory, Joey. I have to say it makes sense. I'd never given much thought before to why Kirk was irritated at the thought of her.
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Peter G.
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 11:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

@ Trent,

"This is the only TNG film I like."

Aha! I thought I was the only one. I don't like all of it, and over the Sona aren't that interesting to watch, but the general tenor of the film feels like an actual TNG episode to me, ruined only by needless action scenes and ultra-high stakes. But after being rather disappointed by Generations, and outright disliking First Contact, this one at least struck me as being quite watchable, if ill-conceived in certain respects. And of course Nemesis is the worst, to the point where when I first tried rewatching it for the first time I actually couldn't make it to the end.

One thing about the morality of the fountain of youth plot here, is that the TNG cast itself seemed mostly of a mind that they fundamentally disagreed with the position of the script and believed that the Federation ought to be seeking ways to mine the fountain to save people. Of course the Sona are portrayed as being Really Evil, but putting that aside the cast seemed unconvinced that the well being of a small village compared to the fate of billions or trillions, and they had a hard time accepting that they were fighting for the side against that. As you point out, Trent, that's not exactly what was happening, but because of weaknesses in the script it certainly comes across that way at first glance, as it did to the cast.

One can tell that more went wrong with the script than merely having a murky sense of exactly what Picard was fighting for, because we don't particularly see any "insurrection" taking place. As I understand it the original plot concept was that the Federation had found something so valuable that it was in danger of being corrupted by it (the One Ring, what else) and that Picard had a clearer picture of what the Federation needed to do than they did. It's sort of a Michael Burnham situation, if you'll forgive the comparison. But that plotline seems to have gotten scuttled along the way and the story is instead portrayed as Picard trying to expose one corrupt Admiral, which is course is hardly an insurrection at all but rather what one would expect any good Starfleet officer to do. In this case I think this type of story was handled much better in Ensign Ro.

Nevertheless for its faults it's still fundamentally a TNG tale, which is more than I can really say for the other films, which I think have correctly been criticized for being too action-oriented.
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Nic
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 9:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

I read on the Internet that "Discovery is fun, as long as you don’t think too much about it afterwards". Well, that’s too bad for me, because I like stories that make me think. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show that is so all over the place (thematically, tonally, etc.) and yet doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere interesting.

This particular episode wasn’t the worst of the season, nor was it the best. It had its moments that worked and many more that didn’t, including, surprisingly, the totally unearned "We are Starfleet" moment where Burnham decides and easily convinces everyone that they shouldn’t commit genocide. You’d think that would be one of the first things you learn as a Starfleet cadet. And why does no one have a problem with L’Rell using the THREAT of genocide to force the Klingon houses to unite against their will? And what if they were to discover that the bomb was designed by Starfleet? Don’t you think they’d be a little bit angry? Burnham’s speech at the end was nicely performed, but it was filled with platitudes that had nothing to do with what has happened to these characters over the course of the season.

As Jammer rightfully said, what has this season been about?

The show definitely works better when you forget it’s Star Trek and just pretend it’s set in a completely new universe. Which is why, when they get the distress call from Pike’s Enterprise, I was disappointed. Not because the idea is bad per se, but because I know that the writers will somehow find a hundred ways to screw it up.

For the record, here’s my completely subjective ranking of each Trek series’ first season.

TOS 7.0/10
VOY 6.9/10
DS9 6.6/10
ENT 6.5/10
TNG 5.5/10
DIS 5.5/10

So, overall, I’ve found this season to be about equal in quality to TNG’s first season (which until now was the single worst season of Trek I'd seen). It’s interesting to compare the two, because they were both the first Trek series to air in over ten years, and they both had a revolving door of writers (I’m sure Bryan Fuller’s departure as creater/showrunner before the show even premiered didn’t help). TNG had lower lows and higher highs; Discovery hasn’t had episodes as bad as "Code of Honor" or "When the Bough Breaks" (though certain individual scenes have been that bad), but it also hasn’t done anything as good as "11001001" and, for some reason, I don't expect it ever will.
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Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 9:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

“God this whole resolution the war is just complete and utter garbage”

The more I think on it the more I’m convinced they should have ended it with “Into the Forest.” Go out on a high note, where Discovery is instrumental in Saving The Day™, and end the war right there. No reason she can’t transmit the cloak findings to Starfleet before her next (mis)adventure.

I guess you can keep the MU romp (though, I’d personally have made it a legitimate failure of the spore drive, not a Evil Master Plan™ by MU Lorca), it fits with the “Year of Hell” theme for Discovery, in a better setting than the war, gets Michelle Yeoh back, and makes Discovery’s eventual homecoming more meaningful.

The last two episodes though, ugh, what a waste. They didn’t HAVE to return to the war. They CHOSE to return the war. What were they thinking? The need for cliffhangers seems to be the only consistent feature:

End of Episode 13, “The Federation is gone, nobody is answering our hails, the Klingons won.”

Beginning of Episode 14 (Five minutes later), “There’s a ship approaching. It’s one of ours!”

They’re not even PLANNED cliffhangers. They made this up as they went along. They’re selling “The Young and the Restless” packaged as “Breaking Bad.” :(
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mark
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 9:01pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Threshold

Someone just got a phony scientific paper published about the consequences of reaching warp 10 https://www.sciencealert.com/biologist-fake-star-trek-paper-warp-speed-accepted-4-dodgy-science-journals-predatory-trekkie
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Joey Lock
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Space Seed

One thing I always found odd in this episode was Kirks immediate attitude toward McGivers, she must have had a pretty shaky Starfleet career before this because Kirk immediately seems irritated by the mere requirement of her presence "Here's a chance for that historian to do something for a change. What's her name? McIvers?" and Spock almost rolling his eyes says "Lieutenant McGivers" after Kirk's already walked out the room, I would assume Kirks had trouble with her in the past, considering she was in her room painting maybe she's got a very "cushy" job where she doesn't have to do much but they require her just in case which Kirk doesn't like.

That may also explain why she seemed to be swept away by Khan so easily, she seems like a civilian who only got given a Starfleet uniform because she had a PhD in History or something just like Lieutenant Carolyn Palamas who was a "archaeology and anthropology officer" and got swept away by Apollo, it's like these extremely undisciplined civilians getting given Starfleet jobs because they have specialist knowledge. They seemed to have these specialist officers into the TNG era too like Whalen in "The Big Goodbye" who comes with them to the holodeck during the Dixon Hill novel, he was never given a rank so I wonder whether he really was a officer or just a civilian historian travelling onboard, so maybe McGivers and Palamas were given Starfleet uniforms and ranks as sort of "ceremonial" roles sort of like how initially Troi was given a high rank despite simply being a counselor instead of a command or specialist officer. (Sure you can say counselling is a specialist thing but how many times did you hear "Counselor quick, we need your counseling skill or the ship will blow up!"?)
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Ed
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:40pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Tim
Restricted vs unrestricted line officers sounds like what Starfleet needs.

@Daniel
Given her almost getting away with the Ash/Voq thing she should have had no problem putting spies and assassins in every Klingon House and it's ships.
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Tim
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 7:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

“I'm baffled by the critics of Michael/Sonequa Martin-Green's performances here”

I’m glad I’m not the only one. I find the CHARACTER an unsympathetic mess who has no business in Starfleet, but the ACTRESS is not the problem, it’s the writing.
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Robin
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 7:17pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Persistence of Vision

Doesn't anyone just want to go to the holodeck to relax on a tropical beach?
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Bill
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 7:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Operation--Annihilate!

The mystery of of what happened to Peter Kirk.

A tag scene was removed for time from the final cut where we would have seen Peter on the bridge sitting in the captain's chair in his miniature Starfleet uniform. Kirk would enter and they'd exposit on how Peter would be returning to Deneva to live with his father's research partner and his family.

If you believe that James Cawley's Phase II is canon, Peter SORASed into an Academy graduate who was assigned to the Enterprise late in the five-year mission as a redshirt...oops! I mean security officer.
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Bill
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 6:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Alternative Factor

Just plain awful. No reason to wonder why this was held back and put in the stinker slot as next-to-last episode of the season, huh?

There might have been a good story here, but multiple circumstances doomed this poor episode. First, they removed a huge sub-plot where Charlene Masters was supposed to be in love with stable Lazarus and taken advantage of (not that way!) by the unstable one. Roddenberry and company didn't want two scripts (this and the up and coming "Space Seed") have crew women who forgot their duty by going gaga over a handsome face. So Lt. Masters just became the engineer (in blue) who was in charge of the Lithium Crystal Recharging Section.

(Recharging the crystals? Hm, that would have been a nice thing to be able to do in future...)

And when it came time to shoot this gutted script, the guest star (John Drew Barrymore) decides to up and not show up on the first day of filming. And to not answer his phone when they called. They shot around him and hired Robert Brown ASAP, altered the costume, glued some random beard on him, and shoved him in front of the cameras. Not a good situation even if the script had been top notch.

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Daniel Williams
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 6:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

L'rell: I HAVE A BOMB THAT WILL DETSROY Q'ONOS! SO I'M NOW THE LEADER OF THE EMPRE!

Klingons: Nope. *shoots L'rell*

God this whole resolution the war is just complete and utter garbage. LIke the new Klingon designs so I guess it's fitting that way.
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Trent
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 6:42pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

This is the only TNG film I like.

Someone recently started a post berating Insurrection's "terrible moral message". The film is stupid, they claim, because "600 Baku hippies prevent the Federation from using a planet with healing properties to save all lives in the Universe."

People seem to forget the film carefully parcels information out to Picard. At various points, he doesn't know the planet has healing properties, he doesn't know what the Admiralty is up to, he doesn't know what the Son'a want (they want to essentially nuke the planet to steal its healing radiation), and he doesn't know the relationship between the Sona and the Baku. Repeatedly throughout the film, Picard makes decisions based on partial information, and his ultimate aim throughout the film is always to simply "slow things down" so that proper decisions can be made. Picard isn't looking to solve the ethical dilemma Insurrection proposes. He's simply hoping to stop others making that decision behind closed doors. He's hoping to stall things so that others can gather information and weigh in on this problem. He's stopping others from hastily playing God.

One can easily envision Picard's success at stalling the Sona leading to a Federation outpost permanently above the planet, working in collaboration with the Baku below, and further studying its properties. Picard in the episode is simply arguing for time, deliberation and reasoned action.

One must also remember that the healing planet is not a member of the Federation (and so the Feds have no legal right to relocate the Baku), that the Baku die if removed from the planet, that the Sona work with the Dominion (they make ketracel while), and that the Sona selfishly want to nuke the planet because of their own existential problems.

The film is also careful to point out that Sona are simply impatient. Only their older leaders are at risk of death, and even then, most may survive the roughly ten years of radiation exposure needed to reverse their condition. In short, a small group of impatient Sona simply want the fountain of youth NOW, everyone else be damned. Their manic urgency is contrasted with the Baku and Picard, who want to slow things right down. Indeed, the Baku culture implicitly hinges upon the slowing of time.

And of course the Sona's means of collecting the metaphasic radiation is revealed to be a one-time burst which would render that planet uninhabitable, and would kill the planet's ability to give future generations seemingly limitless lifespans. To paraphrase William B above, this suggests that the Sona procedure may not even be the best method to take advantage of the radiation even if the Baku weren't there. If the needs of the Federation outweighs the needs of the Baku, it also outweighs the needs of the Sona.
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