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$G
Sun, May 24, 2015, 2:22pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Lower Decks

^ Just clarifying above -

I *don't* necessarily think those episodes are "better put together" than "Lower Decks". Just that "Lower Decks" is at least as good as those ones, if not better.
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$G
Sun, May 24, 2015, 2:18pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Lower Decks

I'm pretty critical, but I see no reason why I should give this episode anything less than 4 stars and 10/10. Having Ben instead of Guinan hurts a bit, but it doesn't harm the episode so much as it harms the cohesiveness of the series.

Without repeating all the great comments above, I'll just say that I'm having a hard time thinking of an episodes that I can say is definitively better put together than this one. The only ones I can think of are "The Best of Both Worlds Part 1", "Darmok", "The Measure of a Man", "Ship in a Bottle", "The Wounded", and *maybe* "First Contact". "Lower Decks" is in some pretty elite company.
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$G
Sun, Apr 26, 2015, 7:56am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Suspicions

Sometimes there are mediocre or bad episodes I don't think are *too* bad, but I'll see commenters here stamp them with a zero or half-star rating and think those commenters are being over the top about it. This episode is probably my turn at being one of *those* commenters.

I can think of only one compliment to lob at this episode: that Klingon and, specifically, Ferengi scientists are shown. Even better, the Ferengi scientist isn't just a businessman or con man in disguise trying to make some profit on some stolen technology (actually, he *does* offer exclusive rights to its further study or some such, but that's fine by me considering it's still *his* research and he is genuinely passionate about it).

Other than that? Terrible all around. Dialogue, plotting, characterization. All worthless. Was Beverly's autopsy on the Ferengi so invasive? Couldn't it have been just a scan? How come the autopsy on Jo'Bril left him intact? Why did Picard or Riker seemingly not care about proving that a murder (or two) took place on the Enterprise? Why was Worf not being held back from getting involved in the investigation? It all just seemed so tired, so worn out, and a little bit depressing? Bad writing, or just late season fatigue on the part of the producers and actors?

Why is it *Beverly* who is interested in shield technology? Why not Data or Geordi? Probably because Geordi got his own put-my-career-on-the-line murder mystery plot a few weeks ago. Yeah, I think "Suspicions" is even worse than "Aquiel".

And then the killer crawls out of the shuttle furniture (in one of the most unintentionally hilarious scenes since Season 1) and spills his *whole* plan. All of it, everything. I covered my eyes when he boasted about stealing the technology to build "a weapon". I was stunned into silence when Beverly did some kung fu (which I guess makes sense since she's pretty athletic, I guess...?) shot a hole in his belly, and when he, like a zombie, lumbered towards her until she vaporized him completely.

Punctuating this is the most juvenile and pathetic use of Guinan on the show. None of her advice is something anyone else could have given her. None of it is even all that *good*. Why did she need the pretense of tennis elbow? I mean usually she comes up with some act to make a point, but in this episode it's more like a parody. I'm also reading that this is Guinan's last appearance on the show. Not that the producers could have known that, but what a ball dropped.

Oddly, even though I'm a huge Trek fan, I'd never seen this episode before last night. I probably will never watch it again. Zero stars for me. Probably one of the five or six worst entries of the series. At least most dreadful Season 1 outings had a kernel of an interesting premise buried somewhere. I know an episode is beyond saving when I pulled out the "at least" apologetics for Season 1.
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$G
Tue, Apr 21, 2015, 10:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Lessons

Really liked this one.

Watching this show a decade and a half later shows how much *I've* probably grown. As a kid, I probably preferred "Starship Mine" to this outing, but now I barely tolerated "Starship Mine" and greatly enjoyed this one. Season 6 and on is where I'm more iffy with episodes since I caught more early-series re-runs than latter, so I was surprised and pleased to see a semi-sequel to "The Inner Light".

Great work all around. One of the very, very few 40-minute romances that has ever worked on Trek (the other, for me, is another Picard show: "The Perfect Mate" - makes me think this Stewart fellow can sell pretty much anything). There's also some genuine tension about the fate of Lt. Commander Daren on the away mission. Even though I'd seen this (but mostly forgot it), I still wasn't sure if she'd make it back. I was legitimately pleased when she beamed back up, and I think sparing her life was probably the better writing decision.

A high 3 stars for me. Season 6 is quickly becoming one of my favourite TNG seasons. A pleasant surprise, that's for sure. After the first 7 or 8 episodes, I'd thought the magic that Season 5's final third brought had vanished completely. Season 6 doesn't have as many Trek masterpieces as other seasons, but it keeps up a high batting average with a significant stock of very solid episodes.
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$G
Tue, Apr 21, 2015, 12:02am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Birthright, Part II

^ Just clarifying my thoughts a bit more on how the two-part story was handled:

TNG *often* had strong continuity, but storylines were often left to simmer and then return later on (to give the series weekly variety). "Birthright, Parts 1 and 2" contain very different plots, but are connected in the overall tissue of the show, not unlike "The Enemy" and "The Defector" were from Season 3. Or "Sins of the Father" and "Reunion" from Season 3+4. Strong continuity, but not necessarily unified plots or something that would work if aired side by side. I feel like the storytelling of the "Birthrights" is closer to that long-haul type of continuity than it is to the 90-minute plots of "Best of Both Worlds", "Time's Arrow", "Unification", etc.
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$G
Mon, Apr 20, 2015, 11:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Birthright, Part II

I don't dislike this episode, but I don't necessarily like it either. Like most people say, it's boring. Jammer, IMO, accurately points out the whole thing plays out like a simplistic parable. By the end of the episode I was trying to think of a word that described it - and I think "parable" is the perfect label for something that felt so obvious and straightforward from nearly the minute it started. I'd give it 2.5 stars at the MOST - again, I don't dislike it and I think the concept it interesting, but it plays out with about as much life as a dying camp fire. I'm a big fan of how TNG generally handled Klingon culture episodes so this one being so tame is disappointing.

One thing that's interesting to me is the "Part 2" aspect of this episode. In my opinion, it's the most unusual "part 2" in TNG - it plays more like a serialized followup than a standard two-parter. Worf's dilemma (as well as Data's story) were enough to make Part 1 work on its own. But Part 2 doesn't include the Data story (which is wise, since it was perfect the way it was in Part 1), but it also doesn't really involve Worf's story from Part 1 either. What happens in Part 2 is a completely different Worf story - at least plot-wise. Once Mogh is ruled out the rest of the hour tells its own story. Very few elements of Part 1 are present at all, including Data, DS9, Bashir, Mogh, and even the Yridian. This episode is loosely connected to its direct predecessor, but I'd hesitate to call it a conclusion. The "Part 1/Part 2" title scheme seems more like the producers really not knowing how to treat the serialization, so just going with the Part 1/2 convention, subverting the strict episodic nature of the series but doing so in a way that's not too unfamiliar to the regular audience.
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$G
Sat, Mar 21, 2015, 8:24pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

^ That really is one of my favourite Picard moments as well. The sense of abject failure Stewart squeezes out of that scene is really, really effective.
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$G
Thu, Mar 12, 2015, 7:45pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

I didn't expect this episode to be so well received in here. Frankly, I didn't expect to like this episode at *all*. But, honestly, I agree with the posters who think this is the best hour since "Darmok". Everyone's mostly mentioned the good stuff, but I'd just like the echo the enjoyment for all the different story threads that plausibly resulted from what could have been a one-note premise. I particularly enjoyed the Crusher-Picard scene, which made me miss the dynamic of the starry-eyed Federation gal vs. the seasoned Fed diplomat from "Symbiosis". Crusher doesn't get enough good material.

One surprising thing for me was the Worf didn't pick Picard for the suicide ceremony. Considering how much he'd already done for him on Qonos, you'd figure he'd be a natural choice. I thought Riker did well, though.

Troi's role also worked for what it tried to accomplish. And while Alexander's role is always seems a bit Full House-y to me, I liked seeing her not only take care of him but nearly get choked up at the thought of Worf entrusting him to her.

3.5 stars for me. Solid overall, and goes way over and above what it needed to.
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$G
Sun, Mar 8, 2015, 9:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

The architecture scene is just brutal. Did the director just not care? The kid obviously built the base of the thing, and then can't figure to put up another level by putting up *both* sides of pillars first?

What the...?

Of course they could have been going for the frustrated-kid angle, but it sure didn't seem that way to me.

I'm honestly iffy on this one. The plot with the boy slightly works, and I thought once he started pretending to be an android was when it was the most interesting. On the other hand, it's awfully boring and I don't feel like Data gets enough material that's significant. Like Jammer, I feel that a psychotherapy plot that only includes Troi as a secondary character exposes how badly botched her presence on the whole show is.

The tech plot was fine, but I was less thrilled about Timothy recollecting various technobabble and then Data deducing the solution from that. It honestly just makes our heroes look bad and drags the ending down at least half a star for me. I think I agree with Jammer's 1.5 star rating. Not an out and out terrible outing, but more an okay one that has more than a few noticeable dents.
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$G
Thu, Feb 26, 2015, 11:30am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

@Curious

Two months late but...

The killing-the-bear law, IMO, is a foolish policy. Unless it's rabid, if a bear mauls or kills a human it's a little bit silly to put it down. Any bear in the same position, and any bear in general, is a threat to human life and would act the same way in the same situation. No single bear is more a threat to human life than other bears are. Killing one with the reasoning that it's a particular threat is misguided. If the situation requires immediate actions - fine, kill the bear. But hunting down a particular bear without entertaining a less destructive option is a disgraceful lack of respect for life and simply allowing vengeance and outrage to win out over reason.

The crystalline entity is a little bit different, given how powerful it is, but I think the same logic can apply. I'm stunned to see people leaping all over Picard for his decision, even though he *clearly* stated that killing the entity was an option if a safe state of mutual communication could not be met. Riker, also, was reasonable in suggesting that taking the chance to destroy the entity is the best option. Picard initially accused Riker of being biased, and I think Riker rightly defended himself from the accusation and, as Jammer pointed out, seemed to convince Picard of the arrogance of his comment. The only person who was out of line was Dr. Marr, who was bloodthirsty. The episode (rightfully, I believe) came down against her. Her actions were vengeful and pre-mature because the crew hadn't yet exhausted all the options and seemed on the verge of making significant steps in communicating with the entity. Her actions were also analogous to why we have codified laws and courts and do not allow frontier justice by the wronged parties. Her actions were also believable and, IMO, still sympathetic, but sympathy for outrage should not be the driving factor in seeking justice.

Re-watching TNG makes me really appreciate the characters (in general) as logical and deductive scientists, detectives, and diplomats. Each episode's script is obviously only as good as the guy or gal writing it, but I continue to enjoy the cool headed approaches to a lot of the situations the characters face. Very little hysteria. Reasonable courses of action. I appreciate it more now that I've grown up a bit.

Someone above pointed out that a lot of these posts aren't really talking about the episode so much as they're now just arguing worldviews. That makes sense to me. The episodes raises issues and now we're running with them. But as an hour of drama, I still think the episode is quite solid. I particularly liked the use of Riker and the love interest. At first, it seemed cliche and cringeworthy. Even her death seemed like it might go in a corny, melodramatic direction. It didn't, and it resulted in a good scene between Riker and Picard about personal bias (with Picard being the one in the wrong, interestingly). We as viewers needed the first-hand tragedy of an established character losing someone. If it had been a family member or a close friend, Riker may have been seduced into bias, but since it was only a flirtatious, casual interest the episode let him believably keep his composure without requiring any hand-wringing and without requiring him to make a herculean effort of detachment in order to win an argument with Picard.
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$G
Sat, Feb 14, 2015, 11:26am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

@grumpy_otter:

That's the writers sacrificing their character for the sake of pacing, which is a pretty crappy thing to do. Especially considering the anti-transport thing Odan had going on was really only to get he and Riker into a shuttle together for it to be shot down. Riker needing the symbiont could have been handled in any other way, so writing Odan as a liar just to get him in a shuttle is just... bad, bad work.

IMO, this episode is... okay. Nothing more. 2.5 stars, I guess.

Getting to the end of Season 4 on my re-watch and I find that Beverly is probably the least interesting personality on the show. I greatly prefer the minor crew members to anything featuring her -- Guinan, O'Brien, Barclay, Ro (eventually), etc. She's completely bland and has no foibles that make her intriguing. Her role is a lot like Geordi's - a specialist in her field and necessary for episodes in which she needs to be a professional. But where Geordi's abilities come into play all the time (since everything he does involves traveling through space or the ship itself -- the *reason* we watch the show), Crusher only does her thing when a specifically medical issue rolls around, which isn't often because it's a space drama and not a medical drama.
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$G
Sat, Jan 31, 2015, 4:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Wounded

There are a lot of really good comments here. The only thing I want to add is this:

There's a really good moment between Macet and Picard while watching the tactical overlay of the Phoenix vs. the Card warship and "supply" freighter.

Macet, shocked, asks Picard if his sensors are so advanced they can identify Card registry codes (or something) this far away. Picard admits that, yes, in fact they can. Watch the little pang of defeat on Stewart's face, admitting to a former enemy about this small shift in the balance of power.

Macet is a) probably worried about being busted then and there, but also b) understandably dismayed about Fed technology. Irrelevant of the former, Picard full well knows the implications of the Fed's ID technology. What's worse is that he previously treated it so casually, so benignly, and probably realizes why the Feds aren't entirely blameless in Cardassian paranoia. Hell, look at what Maxwell did, probably using that technology to aid him. Stewart is an absolute pro, wow.

4 stars for me. Excellent episode, maybe the best from S4 so far (narrowly beating "Reunion"). Maybe even better than S3's own cold war gem, "The Defector" too.
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$G
Thu, Jan 29, 2015, 1:25am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Future Imperfect

Hang on, I take back what I said about Barush being the silliest, most moment-killing reveal in Trek.

That award goes to Enterprise's season 3 finale.

Second place ain't bad.
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$G
Thu, Jan 29, 2015, 1:21am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Future Imperfect

I was enjoying this one for a bit. Riker's freakout is really well done, and I like watching characters feel out a scenario (Crusher did it just a few eps ago, too). The Minuet continuity was a really neat call back too. But I found that my interest really wavered during the Romulan prison section. It just felt so punch-less.

Then the ending, which - well... This might be the only Trek episode that guts itself entirely in the last 30 seconds. I *like* the idea of Barush, but that costume...

Just... WHAT IN THE WORLD.

Absolutely the silliest, most moment-killing reveal in any Trek I can remember. I was laughing well into the credits and my girlfriend just facepalmed until the music stopped. I honestly don't even know how I'd rate this episode - it's not even *bad*. It's pretty okay, actually, but I'll never be able to think of this episode without laughing at it no matter what other merits it might have.
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$G
Wed, Jan 21, 2015, 10:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Tin Man

I like this one quite a bit. If there's a flaw in the episode it's the cutting to Geordi's issues trying to get the ship to 100% again. Other than that, the sci-fi premise (an organic spaceship from an extinct race from possibly another galaxy), the guest star, and the Romulan motivations all work for me. I think I like this one more than any of the commenters, and Jammer too. A solid 3 stars for me, *without* some of the reservations some people have. A solid TNG hour, IMO.
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$G
Fri, Jan 16, 2015, 9:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: A Matter of Perspective

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

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

2 stars, barely. It's stupid but not unwatchable. It's easily the weakest S3 episode that isn't "The Price".
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$G
Fri, Jan 16, 2015, 12:15am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Deja Q

Watch Worf during the wide shot when Q appears on the bridge with the mariachi band. It's one of the funniest moments on the entire series for me.
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$G
Thu, Jan 8, 2015, 10:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Enemy

Wow - this is a very solid hour. I remembered this as the one with Geordi and a Romulan on a harsh planet and totally forgot about the two other plots involving Worf and Picard. The ending is a *bit* pat (and didn't the Enterprise say they'd escort the Warbird to the neutral zone...?) but everything came together well and each scene was genuinely tense. The bit with the dying Romulan and Worf was particularly harsh and unexpected. A nice, rough, DS9-like touch.

A strong 3 stars for me. Season 3 is off to a solid start!
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$G
Mon, Dec 29, 2014, 7:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

"A disturbing anti-feminist and morally retrograde episode."

Yes. This one is unforgivably bad on almost every level. Half a star for the enjoyable Worf-Pulaski moments, but everything from the "three children each from three husbands" conclusion to Riker murdering (yes, murdering) the clones in their sleep with no permission or objection raised to the unnecessary Irish caricatures to Brenna's obsession with her own *dirty feet* make this one of the worst TNG hours yet. I am going to need a couple of days before I start watching again.
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$G
Sat, Dec 13, 2014, 3:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: The Measure of a Man

A lot of lively discussion here. I wish I'd been around to partake!

As for this episode, it's TNG's "Duet" as far as I'm concern. The "so this show IS worth watching" moment. Even barring that, a fantastic hour. 4 stars easy. Top tier Trek.
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$G
Sat, Dec 13, 2014, 2:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: A Matter of Honor

This one is solid early TNG for me. I may not like it as much as some other posters here, but I think it *is* a notable highlight of the series so far. The only episodes up to this point that I'd rank above it are "10011001", "Elementary, Dear Data", and MAYBE "Where Silence Has Lease".

Like Jammer, I think the Klingon captain is a bit too hard-headed and that it slightly drags the hour down. I did really like the third officer, though, and the Benzite subplot. This one is an easy 3 stars for me and a very nice example of the show finding its bearings.
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$G
Fri, Dec 12, 2014, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Unnatural Selection

I'm not going to write what I think of this one because William B pretty much said it for me a year and a half ago.

Though there is one thing I want to point out: I really like the last scene of this episode when the Enterprise destroys the Lantree. It treats the deaths of these non-characters with respect. Instead of just kicking off the story and never being brought up again ("The Arsenal of Freedom" I'm looking at you) the mystery of the dead Lantree crew comes full circle and our characters get a moment to honour their unfortunate colleagues. It's a notable and welcome detail in an episode that otherwise appears to have just solved its own central mystery because there were only 5 minutes left in the hour.
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$G
Thu, Dec 11, 2014, 12:31am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: The Outrageous Okona

Data and the comic doing Jerry Lewis is the worst scene ever filmed. I actually covered my eyes for a moment out of embarrassment.

This episode sucks. The conclusion involves two characters we had no idea existed until about 1 minute prior. Shockingly incompetent all around.
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$G
Mon, Nov 24, 2014, 9:45pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

@Carrots: Isn't that the plot of Ghostbusters 2...?

Anyway, I don't... hate this episode. I don't think it's GOOD, though. The constant showdowns grow tiresome, and nothing really feels like it's progressing anywhere until the end of the hour. Tasha dying early on (I forgot how early) works, giving the show a bit of a jolt that becomes legit creepy when Riker gets pulled into the tar (although that could just be 6-year-old me talking, who was terrified of Armus). Armus himself is menacing at times but comes off as childish at others. I suppose that's the point, but a bit more nuance there could have made it more interesting. I'm not asking for Dark Knight's Joker, but... something more than "I AM A SKIN OF EVIL".

I will say that I found Armus's backstory fascinating, though, in that mix of truth and myth sort of way. It's not on par with the Vorta backstory from DS9 (not even on the green, actually), but it has that same idea as a kernel-of-truth-wrapped-in-a-creation-myth. Admirable, but probably less thought out than I'm giving it credit for.

Ugh, look I want to hate this one because of how ridiculous it comes off but I'm really having a hard time actively disliking it. Its heart is in the right place and I think the hour has that subtle horror vibe that makes early TNG unique among the rest of Trek (see also: "Where Silence Has Lease", "Time Squared", "Q Who", and "The Royale"). 2-1/2 stars. Recommended but with a huge glaring asterisk to remind you that this is still TNG S1 we're talking about.
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$G
Mon, Nov 24, 2014, 9:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Symbiosis

Elliott, I don't normally agree with your posts but in this case I think we're among the very few who legitimately enjoy this one.

This one is hamfisted, yeah, but I think it pretty much works on all of its cylinders. There's nice tension at the beginning and the slowburn of the true nature of the plague was surprisingly compelling (I still recalled the twist from decades ago, but still enjoyed the plot workings). Picard has a nice speech and I think his "solution" is a reasonable and cathartic one.

I'm going 3 stars with this. Pretty decent.

It's actually the fifth "winner" episode in a row (2-1/2 stars or higher - hey the bar is pretty low after all) and the seventh out of the last eight that wasn't embarrassing. Elliott, you're right that the second half of S1 is much stronger than the first. The first 13 episodes contain about 7 or 8 bottom-of-the-barrel shows, but the last 12 (starting from "10011001") are a lot more solid (with a few exceptions). I don't know much about how much in advance shows are written before they're produced, but it looks a lot like the producers saw how terrible the show was and were actively smoothing out the air bubbles.
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