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Baron Samedi
Mon, Nov 13, 2017, 8:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S4: Fourth Season Recap

I just finished Enterprise and have how seen every Trek episode made so far! (Assuming you don't count The Orville or the Animated Series.)

Compared to Jammer, I liked Seasons 1 and 2 of Enterprise a lot less, Season 3 about the same, and Season 4 a lot more. Botched finale aside, Season 4 really worked for me - it had so much world-building, developed a few of the characters (and put the others in plot-driven stories that at least didn't bring out their underdevelopment as characters), and had the delightful "In a Mirror Darkly..." two-parter, which I had an absolute blast with (Mirror Universe Porthos being a Rottweiler gave me a big laugh).

If Enterprise had 7 seasons, I could see the first two being looked at as the bad ones, three as the transition where it got good, and four as the beginning of its peak. Unfortunately, the show's cancellation and the terrible "These Are the Voyages" (seriously, nothing happened to these characters in six years?) prevented that from happening, and we're left with a failed show that only got consistently good right before the ending.

That said, I'm glad I watched it. Compared especially to Star Trek Discovery so far, Enterprise episodes have a lot of breathing room and are more pleasant to watch. It's fun and relaxing to watch the shows take their time presenting a new conflict every week. Too often, these conflicts were resolved with silly firefights, and the first two seasons hugely overplayed the crew's inexperience and drew heavily on cliche, but it was OK overall. The Xindi Arc worked; the Temporal Cold War didn't. I enjoyed all the two and three parters in Season 4, as they all provided a lot of insight to the Trek universe.

Enterprise's biggest weakness is in its characters. Jeffrey Combs was always a blast to watch but among the regular cast, Reed, Hoshi and Phlox were all only mildly interesting and the rest just bored me. At least Archer grew as a result of the Xindi Arc, but he was never hugely compelling and is definitely the weakest of the Trek main protagonists.

Looking at the number of episodes I gave a positive rating (a 7 or higher on the 10-scale I use on IMDb, which correlates with a 3/4 star rating here), I gave 5 episodes a positive rating in Season 1, 9 in Season 2, 15 in Season 3, and 15 in Season 4. So that's a lot of improvement!

My picks for the best episodes:
1. Cogenitor
2. Twilight
3. Damage
4. In a Mirror Darkly Part I
5. The Council
6. In a Mirror Darkly Part II
7. Shockwave Part I
8. Carbon Creek
9. Stratagem
10. Vox Sola

Thanks as always, Jammer, for running this site, and I'm glad you're continuing writing reviews for Discovery!
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Baron Samedi
Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 6:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: Chosen Realm

The loss of the data here had more of an emotional impact on me than the loss of most of these characters (aside from Porthos) would have had.
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Baron Samedi
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 5:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Cogenitor

Having just rewatched this episode, I continue to be blown away by it. It comes close to justifying the whole first two seasons of Enterprise. For once, it acknowledges the pitfalls of Archer & Co.'s approach to space exploration and meeting other cultures in a way that feels believable and non-contrived, all in the context of a fascinating issue.

The way the Vissians treat the cogenitors seems unequivocally awful and unacceptable; yet, the episode doesn't fall into the pitfall of blind cultural relativism in indicting Trip's decision to enforce his own values onto them while knowing very little about them. Archer's admission that his own bad example had a role in inspiring Trip to act the way he did - setting in motion the events that led to the cogenitor's suicide - is as close as Enterprise gets to acknowledging how the writers had written Archer as excessively foolish and simplistic in his handling of exploration up to this point in the show. And the subplot with Reed and the Vissian female was funny and added some light-hearted texture to the story.

I'd even put it on my all-time Top 10 episodes list which, off the top of my head, would be:
1. In the Pale Moonlight (DS9)
2. Duet (DS9)
3. Scorpion (VOY)
4. The Enterprise Incident (TOS)
5. Mirror, Mirror (TOS)
6. Tapestry (TNG)
7. Cogenitor (ENT)
8. Q Who (TNG)
9. The Thaw (VOY)
10. All Good Things...(TNG)
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 6:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Carbon Creek

This episode has so much heart. Probably my biggest disagreement with Jammer since "Balance of Terror". Strong 3.5 from me.
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Baron Samedi
Thu, Aug 31, 2017, 10:30pm (UTC -6)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

@mathtans I just saw this and will give your blog page a read! I hope you found the journey through the whole series to be worthwhile.
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Baron Samedi
Thu, Jul 6, 2017, 7:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Endgame

@chris

That's quite a journey! Congrats!
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Baron Samedi
Sun, Jun 18, 2017, 9:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

@matthans thanks as well for all the feedback! It's nice to hear from someone who knows the show so well.

My impression of the battle in "The Heart of the Journey" is that the Commonwealth was fighting the Nietzcheans, who were being controlled by the Abyss, which is basically what you are saying. The show provided so little insight into what was happening that I had to assume that the Magog World Ship being brought back and then never actually appearing on-screen was the result of script rewrites, perhaps motivated by time constraints and the budgetary issues entailed by producing new digital effects footage of the World Ship.

As to "Coda", I didn't read it until after finishing the series on the off-chance that it would spoil some of the story (it didn't), and It's a nice, poetic glimpse into what the story could have been. Seasons 2.5 onwards does have some great moments (season 3's "The Unconquerable Man", showing the alternate timeline with Rhade persevering in the pilot episode, really made an impression on me), but I didn't realize until I read "Coda" how much I missed Robert Hewitt Wolf's grasp of Andromeda's characters and the potential of the overarching story.
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Baron Samedi
Fri, Jun 9, 2017, 10:06am (UTC -6)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

Thanks for the positive feedback @Trajan and @Ashton Withers! Glad at least a couple people read what I wrote. I kept searching for Andromesa Season 4 and 5 reviews and found nothing, and since I'm too lazy to start my own website, maybe my comments here can be helpful for anyone interested in how the show ended up.
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Baron Samedi
Fri, Jun 9, 2017, 10:01am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

I've never fully understood the debate about this episode. It always seemed to me like Picard's attitude was completely reasonable and basically can be described by three possibilities:

A) the entity cannot be communicated with/the attempts to communicate fail, in which case the Enterprise should immediately destroy it because of the immense destruction and loss of life it has caused and will continue to cause

B) the entity can be communicated with and the Enterprise learns that it is cognizant of its actions (and the significance of the loss of life it has caused) and/or that it cannot continue to exist without continuing to cause similar destruction, in which case the Enterprise should immediately destroy it

C) the entity can be communicated with and the Enterprise can figure out a way to get it to stop its destructive rampage and provide some morally-neutral way for it to continue to live, in which case it should not be destroyed. This option assumes that the entity was unaware of the harm it was causing (or, if it was aware, saw no other option). In this case, it is not morally culpable for surviving the only way it knows how to survive.

The mother is at fault, because she destroyed the entity before option C) could be ruled out (and at a time when nobody was in immediate danger), thus potentially destroying an entity that was not necessarily morally culpable and did not necessarily need to be destroyed. Maybe it did - but that hadn't determined that yet and nobody was in immediate danger.

Some of the comments here are portraying the episode as naive/preaching Picard defying common sense to allow the entity to continue killing people, but I think the episode handles that issue quite reasonably. To an extent, maybe there's some dialogue contradicting what I'm writing (it's been years since I've seen the episode) and I'm just filling in some blanks on my own, I don't know really.

Or maybe the episode should have been ABOUT whether an entity like this should be allowed to live, rather than placing the story of the grieving mother on that framework, as that foundation seems to be the main issue for a lot of people.

Personally, I found nothing in this episode objectionable. 3.5 stars for me.
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Baron Samedi
Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 11:33am (UTC -6)
Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Thanks for explaining. None of that bothers me because I always thought that the “diplomatic ship” thing in a New Hope was just a flimsy last-ditch cover story that nobody thought the Imperials would actually believe - the ship is fleeing from the Imperials and filled with uniformed Rebels who fire at the Stormtroopers, and Vader doesn’t seem to take it seriously when he interrogates Captain Antilles and Leia - but as many times as I’ve seen A New Hope, I haven’t watched it in a while, so I don’t remember all the dialogue from the beginning.
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Apr 24, 2017, 7:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

@Caedus or @Connor, could you expand on that a bit? I've seen A New Hope a ton of times and Rogue One only once. I didn't notice anything at the end of Rogue One that was particularly problematic in terms of matching up with the beginning of A New Hope, and I'm genuinely curious as to what about it sticks out to you.

I had assumed that some amount of time (I have no idea how much) passed after the end of Rogue One before the start of A New Hope, during which the Devastator finds the Tantive IV and pursues it, ultimately catching up to it near Tatooine. Maybe the start of A New Hope is right after the end of Rogue One and everyone is close to Tatooine already, or maybe the rebels split up to make following them to Yavin IV more difficult and the Devastator ended up following Tantive IV. I dunno, and I don't really care.

Is the problem with the layout of the ship, continuity errors, character actions that don't make sense, or the series of events we see somehow being implausible or impossible?
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Baron Samedi
Fri, Apr 7, 2017, 10:16am (UTC -6)
Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I'm on the same page. Three stars for me. The characters were not well-developed, but the movie had enough strong concepts and ideas to overcome that. The third act was truly exciting, although it would have been much more so if I had become invested in the characters whose lives were in danger. My favorite part was the Rebel blockade runner ramming one Imperial Star Destroyer into another - it was a perfect image of the struggling, outmatched rebellion trying to use the Empire's own size and strength against it.

I saw the movie in theaters with my family on the same day that Carrie Fisher suffered a heart attack (a few days before she died). My mother, who grew up with Carrie Fisher as an icon, let out a huge cheer and clapped the moment Leia appeared on screen. I didn't mind Fisher's image appearing so briefly, especially since it was "filmed" while the actress was still alive.

Interestingly, the rest of my family was fooled by the CGI Peter Cushing, whereas I found his appearance incredibly fake and distracting. I wish they had just kept Wayne Pygram, who walked by briefly as Tarkin at the end of Revenge of the Sith. He was a superb villain on Farscape (arguably the highlight of the whole series), so it would have been great to have him as the villain here, as he does resemble Peter Cushing fairly well. I'd certainly prefer that than the awkward CGI character we got instead.
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Baron Samedi
Sun, Mar 5, 2017, 10:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

Tagging @Samaritan and @Leah (who I figure are the same person) in case he/she is interested in reading my post.
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Baron Samedi
Sun, Mar 5, 2017, 10:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

I suppose that my quest to finish the entirety of Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda, a five-season show widely remembered, to the extent that it is remembered at all, as having disintegrated halfway through its second season into a nearly unwatchable, low-budget mess, should have ended with me gaining the wisdom to stop.

But, I have a strange fascination with the detritus of forgotten sci-fi shows and an investment in the “good” early seasons of Andromeda that kept me going. Even so, Season 5 was a tough ride for me. In the time that it took me to get through it, I watched the entirety of Sliders, another show that started promisingly and ultimately fell apart as behind-the-scenes pressure resulted in a shift away from thought-provoking concepts and towards action hour on a television budget. That said, Sliders never betrayed its premise the way that Andromeda did, and it’s maligned fifth season blew Andromeda’s fifth season out of the water. Some shows jump the shark; Andromeda jumped the Sharknado.

Season Five found the crew stranded on a planet called Seefra in a pocket universe. For anyone who doesn’t know already, the season barely got made and exists so that the show can hit 100 episodes and become syndicated, and stranding the crew on a planet functioned to reduce costs by encouraging the reuse of sets and discouraging expensive space battle CGI. It’s remarkable to think that the ending to “The Dissonant Interval” (the Season Four finale) was nearly the ending to the whole series, given that everyone but Dylan dies in it.

The Seefra setting resembles a low-budget Tatooine, full of dirt, sand, annoying characters, and goofy conflicts. Imagine the first half of A New Hope, but instead everyone is boring and bored - it reminded me of Bible videos I was forced to watch at Sunday School as a kid. Indeed, the show this season feels like it’s meant for ten-year-olds - it’s easy to forget the sexual undercurrent in several Tyr-centered episodes from Season One.

Lexa Doig (Rommie) was pregnant during Season Five’s filming and thus only plays a major role in the last few episodes. Her replacement is Doyle, a who serves as eye-candy and is never believable as an android home to Rommie’s artificial intelligence, especially when she performs kung fu in a bright pink costume that seems borrowed from a Power Rangers episode. In fairness, I think that Brandy Ledford gives a pretty earnest performance in the role, and she has a fair amount of charisma and chemistry with Harper and, towards the end, Rommie.

Season Five does have some good ideas, and it isn't terrible episode-by-episode. In fact, the average episode is better than the average episode of Season Four - it’s just that Season Four at least felt like a part of the Andromeda universe, whereas only the final two episodes of Season Five feel like they are even from the same continuity.

The MVP was definitely the Recurring Cave Set, which works its way into nearly every episode, followed by Gordon Michael Woolvett, who I genuinely enjoy as Harper. The Andromeda itself was so overpowered in the past that there was a lot of promise in the concept of it being in disrepair for the first half of this season, and it was satisfying to see our crew members slowly reunite and work towards repairing it and finding a way out of the Seefra system.

Dylan Hunt discovers that he is a god in this season (or at least a Paradine), solidifying all the “Hercules in space” jokes made about Andromeda. As much as I’ve picked on Kevin Sorbo before (and continue to here), I do think that he’s a good guy and I respect that he stands by his personal values (which I don’t share at all) in a way that a lot of celebrities in his position wouldn’t. He’s just gotten rather consumed by his bizarre persecution complex regarding Christianity and has a bit of an ego problem. His performances in Season Five are OK - he can seem bored at times, but at least he can deliver exposition with a sense of urgency often lacking elsewhere in the episodes. The rest of the performances by the main cast are fine and they have good chemistry together, although the guest actors are as much of a mixed bag as ever.

The two primary problems with Season 5, both certainly exacerbated by the low budget, are the setting and the execution.

The setting is what gets all the bad rep when people think of Season 5 Andromeda, and for good reason. Seefra is grimy and dull. At least in the earlier seasons, there was always a possibility that Dylan and our heroes could show up in an interesting location, but that’s gone here. Everyone’s stuck on a crappy planet we don’t care about and where it seems destined that nothing interesting will ever happen. Crucially, we never get to see how the events from Season Four in “The Dissonant Interval: Part Two” really connect to the events of Season Five. Sure, there’s some dialogue explaining how certain characters escaped certain death and got from one place to another, but we never see it, which is a crucial omission in a visual medium that robs the overarching storyline of much of its potential power.

I’m reminded a bit of the storyline from Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica involving a massacre of Sagittarons on New Caprica that was supposed to play a crucial role during Baltar’s trial, but ended up being cut out entirely because we would have never seen the events actually play out. Ronald D. Moore discussed in the commentary how not showing these events when they occurred in the narrative robbed them of their dramatic power. Similarly, the sheer amount of universe-explaining that occurs verbally, through exposition, in Season 5 of Andromeda just doesn’t “stick” or make an impact on the viewer because we never get to see it. I’m sure I could carefully examine the dialogue and understand all the nuances of the Andromeda mythology, but the lack of visual demonstration of crucial plot pieces really kills the whole setting. This is particularly true during an elaborate evacuation storyline in the second half of the season - we see a sun moving closer to and destroying planets, but we see hardly anything on the surface of the planets and only a handful of refugees. Meanwhile, our crew members often joke and screw around (at one point Beka gets a massage) while the fates of millions of people are at stake. It’s just bad storytelling.

All that certainly ties into the problems with execution that immensely reduce the enjoyment of almost every episode. This is has held Andromeda back from the beginning, but especially in Season 5, the pacing and plot development could use a lot of work. The episodes often lack a clear narrative or clear character motivations, resulting in disjointed stories where it’s difficult to understand what the writers are trying to get across on a basic level.

This tendency is best exemplified in “Opposites of Attraction”, where the plot (I’m not making this up) is that the living avatar of the black hole from the pilot episode suddenly appears onboard the Andromeda to romantically pursue Dylan Hunt. How does a black hole have a living avatar? Who knows. Why is the black hole’s avatar an attractive woman infatuated by Dylan Hunt? I dunno. How did she get from wherever the pilot episode took place to the Seefra system? Don’t ask me, or the writers. Moreover, the first thing she does is try to secretly murder Beka Valentine by creating a portal into space right behind her. How does the living embodiment of a black hole do that? I’m stumped. Anyway, the black hole’s motivation for trying to kill Beka is that Beka salvaged the Andromeda in the pilot episode, separating Dylan from her. So, why is the black hole pissed at Beka, but not at Harper, who also helped salvage the Andromeda? I have no idea.

Anyway, Beka narrowly avoids being sucked into space, but after that happens, she doesn’t even bring it up again and has no suspicions when the black hole avatar inexplicably appears on the ship. Think about that for a second: A) You are on a spaceship with only a few other people, all of whom you trust and know very well B) You narrowly avoid being murdered and don’t know who tried to kill you and C) a mysterious individual with suspicious motivations suddenly appears on the ship with no explanation. How hard is it to put 2 and 2 together here and conclude that the mysterious individual who just showed up is the one who tried to kill you? But the characters don’t, and a lot of these episodes are similarly riddled with holes that prevent any investment in the plot. And by the way, “Opposites of Attraction” ends with virtual fight between Dylan and the black hole avatar inside Andromeda’s computer system that looks like a scene from Tron shot on a $15 budget. Apparently, the best way to defeat a black hole’s romantically bitter living avatar is to swing a virtual lance at it and trap it inside of a computer program.

In my opinion, the only satisfying way to interpret the final season of Andromeda is as a David Lynch-like dreamscape of a comatose Dylan Hunt imagining 1) the new Commonwealth prevailing despite its near-destruction from Season Three and its corruption from Season Four and 2) his friends all surviving despite their clear deaths in “The Dissonant Interval” and following him as their leader once again.

This explanation was obviously not intended by the show-runners or screenwriters, but, in my opinion, a dramatic work can speak for itself based on its own content, regardless of what its creators intended.

So, to me, the final season is Andromeda coming full circle to confront the optimistic naivety that characterized Dylan’s vision of a new Commonwealth and his refusal to recognize the problems with the old one from Season One. The events of “The Dissonant Interval” and the deaths of all of Andromeda’s crew members make Dylan, in whatever form he continues to exist (perhaps floating in space a la “Be All My Sins Remembered”), a broken man who imagines his vision of a united New Commonwealth prevailing against the Abyss when, in reality, it crumbled before him. Indeed, you could even stretch this theory a bit further to apply it to Sorbo, as the executive producer, looking back on the wreckage of a once promising series. (Similarly, the final episode of Sliders, which went super-meta, invited, intentionally or not, parallels to behind-the-scenes creative and budgetary issues that gutted the show’s potential to ever live up to its early promise.)

Sorry if it sounds like I’m whining pointlessly. I’m motivated by the lack of even slightly detailed analysis of Season 5 available on the internet (as all the critics who took it seriously jumped ship around Season 3) and, also, by the fact that I do think that Andromeda has salvageable elements.

In fact, I think that the five seasons of Andromeda can be condensed into a very watchable and enjoyable season-and-a-half of content by watching only a particular set of episodes, which I may put together some day. This list would draw from continuity and quality, including a few bad episodes because they are important to the series’ mythology (in particular, “Ouroboros” and the Season Three and Season 4 premieres) and plenty of good ones that don’t.

But that’s for another day. Here is a brief word on each Season 5 episode, ranked from best to worst:



Classic Episodes:


Good Episodes:

1. Through a Glass, Darkly
In a genuine surprise, the Perseid scientist Hohne who fell into the slipstream core in “Oroboros” returns. It’s odd how “Oroboros”, a mess of an episode that marked the transition from pre to post-Wolfe Andromeda, is so central to the mythos of the show, as it serves as the basis for Season 3’s excellent “The Unconquerable Man”, the birth of the “new” Trance, and this episode. I found it a joy to see a Perseid again - despite their silly makeup and costumes, they have a design unique to the series and they hail back to the beginning of the show. It’s an unexpected piece of continuity, and the fact that Hohne is a signatory to the New Commonwealth Charter even gets mentioned. The episode is pretty good, too, featuring time travel and a theme about whether we are stuck in a particular destiny that leads Dylan to question his own perceived invincibility. (9/10)

2. When Goes Around...
The most unique episode of the season, about an Old Commonwealth scientist stuck in a time-loop. Thea Gill is very good in a guest performance as the scientist stuck in a Groundhog Day-like scenario, and the episode wisely tells the story from her perspective rather than from the perspective of the crew. Yes, it only takes about ten minutes for Dylan to bed her, but I actually bought it. It’s enjoyable to see the crew working together to solve a small-scale problem, and the story has a heart to it. (8/10)

3. Pride Before the Fall
Andromeda’s 100th episode, as Kevin Sorbo reminds us before the opening quotation, prompting me to reflect on what I’m doing with my life. We get a blooper reel at the end of the episode too. The episode features some Shakespearean dialogue: “Funny meeting you here” responded to by “It’s so funny, I forgot to laugh!”. Also, a bad guy says: “Give me your ship and everything you have” to which Dylan responds “You must be confusing me with someone who gives a ship!” The villain looks like Gary Busey and the episode actually explains the origin of the Nietzscheans while exploring temporal discrepancies between the Seefra system and the surrounding galaxies. Tyr gets named in the dialogue, too, which is the first time I remember him being mentioned since his last appearance in Season Four. (7/10)

4. The Eschatology of Our Present
Beka meets an old man who believes Beka to be her daughter, which sets off a story that works pretty well dramatically. We learn a lot of background (through exposition, as usual) of the Seefra system in this episode. The action (which includes another bar fight) and dialogue are a bit better than usual. (7/10)


Mediocre Episodes:

5. Quantum Tractate Delirium
In one of the most satisfying plot threads of the season, Rommie, who got destroyed in “The Dissonant Interval”, finally gets rebuilt seventeen episodes later. She emerges with gothic new look that conveniently exposes quite a bit of her figure. This all leads to an enjoyable plot twist and a pretty amusing android fight between Rommie and Doyle. (6/10)

6. The Weight: Part 2
Beka, Trance, and the Andromeda all show up again, but Rommie and Harper remain absent. Beka has some great character moments. We get as much of an explanation as we’ll ever get regarding how the crew got from Arkology to Seefra - Trance transported them somehow, for some reason. (6/10)

7. Decay of the Angel
Doyle learns more about herself, creating some interesting conflicts with Harper regarding the ethics of programming an Android to think that it/she is human. Otherwise it’s just your standard Andromeda episode with perfunctory spark-squib action. (6/10)

8. Attempting Screed
Flavin returns, causing two gangs to war over access to the goods in his ship. Rhade and Harper cleverly profit by playing off of both of the feuding factions. There’s some cool music, for a change. The episode is juvenile but fun enough. (6/10)

9. Saving Light from a Black Sun
Several of our crewmembers travel around a structure inside one of the Seefra system’s suns, which consists entirely of identical corridors that we somehow aren’t supposed to recognized as barely repurposed Andromeda Ascendant sets. The episode has some of the season’s best visual effects, including quite a few that were developed specifically for this episode. I think this episode is supposed to have a lot of significance for Season 5’s story arc, but I honestly just can’t be bothered to iron out all the details. (5/10)

10. One More Day's Light
Someone complains about a lack of resources to provide for refugees who Dylan is transporting to safety; Dylan response by having Rommie and Doyle beat the shit out of him. It’s kind of funny to think about, given Kevin Sorbo’s politics, that his character here is literally beating the shit out of someone for speaking out against bringing in more refugees. The plot concerns a faction that exists entirely in the Recurring Cave Set that refuses to evacuate a doomed planet. Rommie and Doyle make an amusing Star Wars reference (“We are not the droids you’re looking for!”) which, given the presence of Earth in the lore of the series, might actually make sense. As if anyone cares. (5/10)

11. Phear Phactor Phenom
Harper finally returns, Doyle makes her first appearance, and Dylan interacts with a digital version of Rommie. Nano-bots possess extras on Seefra, making them slightly more insufferable than usual. Some good character moments (particularly from Harper) amidst hammy action and murky long-term plot development. (5/10)

12. What Will Be Was Not
The crew stumbles upon Vedran portals that connect the Seefra planets, which the show forgers about later in the season in several moments when they would have been very helpful, looked after by Orlund, one of the more interesting guest characters. The Andromeda gets powered up, too. An okay episode. (5/10)

13. Chaos and the Stillness of It
Some dude gets mad because the Andromeda saved the population of several planets, though in fairness he turns out to have an ulterior agenda. The Abyss shows up for the first time in ages, although I’m not sure why or how, and he/it isn’t nearly as intimidating as in the early seasons. Lots of poorly-staged action and disjointed plot development, but the ensemble gets enough to do that it’s still a passable episode. (5/10)

14. Moonlight Becomes You
Trance has a bizarre pseudo-romance with someone who dresses up as a sun god but turns out to be a moon god…I’m sure there are detailed explanations for everything that happens, but I just don’t care enough to figure it all out. Dylan beats up the dude and oh-so hilariously stammers “Looks like it’s sun-DOWN.” Someone mentions magnetic forces, to which Dylan responds that they do “nothing but repel me!” The episode conveys four stories, only two of which take place in the Recurring Cave Set. (4/10)

15. Past Is Prolix
A forgettable action episode, with some enjoyable moments from Orlund, who returns from “What Will Be Was Not” to sing praises about Dylan. Rhade blows away some villains and actually says “Bye bye bad guys.” (4/10)

16. The Weight: Part 1
Dylan finds himself transported through the Route of Ages and on Seefra One, which has anti-technology laws, water shortages, and residents who promptly initiate a bar fight. Dylan meets Flavin, a fellow Paradine, and reunites with Rhade. A lot of plot threads get set up, none interesting; fortunately, many are forgotten later in the season. (4/10)

17. So Burn the Untamed Lands
Dylan fights Doran from BSG, who plays a remarkably incompetent villain, even by the standards of the show. It’s a run-of-the-mill, forgettable episode. (4/10)


Bad Episodes:

18. The Heart of the Journey: Part 2
I admire the gall that goes into (spoiler) blowing up Earth before the opening credits, which devastates Harper (though he’s in a great mood at the end of the episode, apparently having forgotten about the destruction of his home planet). The finale has a fair number of good character moments and a huge (though not particularly impressive) space battle - the first of any scale that we’ve seen in ages. They Abyss is defeated so unconvincingly that we need expository dialogue to explain what is happening to use. Worst of all, THE MAGOG WORLD SHIP NEVER APPEARS ONSCREEN - what the hell is the point of negating the most satisfying part of “The Dissonant Interval” and bringing back the show’s central threat only to never address it again? All the lapses in logic and continuity errors only reinforce my preferred interpretation (Dylan imagining a happier ending after the events of “The Dissonant Interval”) and the finale only serves as final proof that Season Five has no creative purpose and is better off being skipped entirely. It’s a genuine ending, at least, but it’s so anticlimactic that it’s only a nudge better than an unresolved cliffhanger. (3/10)

19. The Heart of the Journey: Part 1 - Flavin appears in hologram form to warn Dylan that all other Paradine’s have been killed. The crew finally leaves the Seefra system. Traveling through the Route of Ages somehow causes us to see an unnecessary flashback montage that feels like putting the Season 5 footage through a blender. Rhade has an oddly emotional reunion with his wife, given that she has never appeared before in the show. We learn that the Magog World Ship survived the events of “The Dissonant Interval”, unsatisfyingly negating a lot of that episode’s significance. (3/10)

20. Totaled Recall
Dylan falls unconscious after an injury and imagines stuff. None of the episode feels like it matters, because it consists so totally of scenes that are obviously dreams that exist totally at the will of the writers. There is a clever touch: “Opposites of Attraction”, two episodes earlier, gave us a brief glimpse of a picture in Dylan’s quarters of Dylan and his wife, which sets up a reveal during Dylan’s hallucinations in this episode where we see Doyle inserted into the picture instead. Otherwise, given how this episode was directed, I was surprised not to see Neil Breen listed in the credits. (2/10)


Terrible Episodes:

21. The Test
Some entity attempts to solve the murder of a character we don’t care about. We get lots of strangely-edited flashbacks that make the episode border on a clip show. It plays out like Farscape’s “The Ugly Truth”, but only with false drama as the characters are never convincingly in danger. This episode fits with the dream explanation for Season Five that I described above as its moral is that they crew can best put aside their personal differences by uniting in their worship of Dylan. (1/10)

22. The Opposites of Attraction
The black-hole-avatar-has-a-crush-on-Dylan episode that I described above. It’s laughably bizarre and the ultimate example of the Sorbo self-infatuation that so often appears in the scripts, as Dylan gets a sudden television-friendly sex scene (his last in the show) with another woman who swoons at the site of 90s swoop hair. Given the series’ insane obsession with the Dylan-Rhade fight from the pilot episode, I also got a good laugh when the Andromeda turned out to have archive footage in its memory banks of that fight seen that included all the same camera angles and sound effects. (1/10)


There you have it, my full write-up on Andromeda! I spent about three years with this show. In the future, I think that I will now stop doing things for the sake of doing them, but going through this whole series does give me a strange sense of accomplishment.
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Baron Samedi
Thu, Nov 3, 2016, 9:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

@Samaritan I just saw this and appreciate that someone read my previous write-ups! I'm still working on Season 5, I think I got 5 episodes in before I got distracted. I promise I'll finish it eventually. Given that your last review was from a year ago, we're probably moving at similar paces.
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Baron Samedi
Thu, Sep 22, 2016, 1:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: The Game

@pennywit I agree completely, this was always one of my favorite episodes. Only it and "The First Duty" come to mind as episodes where every element of a Wesley story "clicked" into place nearly perfectly. Wheaton and Ashley Judd had surprisingly good chemistry and the end chase scene is very fun - it shows Wesley being clever enough to pull off a few nifty tricks but also being captured at the end, which I makes it all believable and exciting.
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Baron Samedi
Sun, Aug 28, 2016, 11:46am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: I, Mudd

This was hilarious. Not "good" in a strict sense but so ridiculous that I'd recommend it. I feel like it went through a cycle where it was amusing when it came out, then became dated and "bad-bad", and now is "good-bad" due to the campiness and ludicrous dialogue. The acting throughout was hysterical by the whole cast - including the regulars and the guest actors. I love the earnestness of TOS, as well as each episode's attempt to tell a unique story. The fact that the episode is trying to be lighthearted and funny makes puts this in a separate class from something like "Spock's Brain", which I always felt like I was laughing at rather than with.
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Baron Samedi
Sun, Aug 7, 2016, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Space Seed

I've been rewatching a lot of TOS lately (instead of painful S5 Andromeda), I actually find this episode a lot better than I remembered. Khan is incredibly well-written to show how his effectiveness as a ruthless leader - I loved the quick cuts showing him picking up on Kirk's strategy of letting Spock ask him tough questions and looking for weakness during the dinner scene, as well as Khan's tactic of offering to spare Kirk (and then Spock) from suffocation for the loyalty of a bridge crew member. I get the complaints about Lt. McGivers, given the context of TOS often portraying female characters poorly, but in this particular story I actually found the seduction sequences very interesting. McGivers hadn't been exposed to the type of power exhibited by Khan in the tame, progressive Federation, and I don't think an individual case of a storyline like that needs to be inflated to a broad regressive statement about gender relations. Khan could tell that her claims of mere intellectual curiosity were a facade (a lie she was telling even herself) and dug under her skin, and she had no experience dealing with what Khan represented. Also, the final conversation where Spock discusses wanting to revisit the planet where they leave Khan and his crew is some bone-chilling foreshadowing unintended at the time. Spock's optimism that Khan's group wouldn't immediately die out (versus how we find out things actually went in TWOK and the bitterness against Kirk the planet's conditions fostered) is a great example of how the Federation has moved past the ideology of Khan to such an extent that they genuinely don't understand him or the danger he poses - which is why the Enterprise crew naively allowed Khan to access to the ship's database in the first place.

The fistfight at the end is still very silly - we see full images of the faces of the stunt doubles, causing me to laugh nearly as much as the lizard fight made me in "Arena" (another episode I liked more on repeat, for reasons that were less intended), but the episode is compelling enough that I honestly don't mind Kirk turning the tide with a flimsy piece of plastic.

This episode and The Wrath of Khan are good examples of how clunky execution (the fistfight in "Space Seed") and gaping plot holes (Khan recognizing Chekov in TWOK) really don't matter when the characters and story are compelling, whereas I find myself dwelling on those elements in "Into Darkness", which wasted a great cast on a horrible script and unimaginative directing.
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Baron Samedi
Fri, Apr 8, 2016, 8:57am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Bar Association

Wow Luke. That was impressive.
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Baron Samedi
Sun, Aug 30, 2015, 1:05am (UTC -6)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

Why did I watch the Season Four of Andromeda, you may ask?

Because of the sunk-cost fallacy, mostly. Given the time I’ve spent on this show, I may as well finish it (I tell myself). I am still mildly invested in seeing in where all of this is going, even if my instincts have been telling me to jump ship for quite some time.

Because no matter how deeply I search, almost no critical feedback whatsoever exists about Seasons 3-5 of Andromeda, and I’d like to at least collect some comprehensive thoughts for anybody considering continuing to watch after Season 2.

It took me almost a year to do this, because it’s rare that I’m in the mood to watch something that is almost guaranteed to be bad. Occasionally, late at night, I’d be half-drunk and/or unable to go to sleep, and I’d think to myself “How about I watch another of those Andromeda episodes?” And here are the results.

Season 4 felt like the product of a lot more effort than Season 3, but it was worse. Season 3 gave up on continuity, whereas Season 4 was driven by several season-long arcs. The problem was that the execution, no doubt the result of rushed shooting schedules and budgetary limitations, prevented any of these stories from developing into anything meaningful or impactful. Season 4 felt like what it probably is: the product of a bunch of overworked, underpaid employees glad to have a job, even if that job is to churn out enough inevitably bad episodes for the show to reach syndication. The fact that the writers even tried to tell (somewhat) complicated stories in this context is admirable. But, as with Season 3, the episode-by-episode quality is so low that criticizing it just feels like picking on a mentally handicapped person. Watching the late seasons of Andromeda makes me value good shows far more than I did before, and it helps me understand why so many people enjoyed making fun of the awful later seasons of a high-budgeted show like Dexter that at least could have (or should have) been good. With the studio pressures and budgetary limitations facing the Andromeda crew, there’s just no way this season could have been decent. At least that’s what I’d like to think.

Still, there were some positive qualities. Although his character (like all others) stopped developing long ago, Gordon Michael Woolvett at least brings a lot of energy and commitment to his performances. When Harper is on-screen, I can at least feel like I’m watching an actual character in the actual Andromeda universe. There were a couple decent episodes (described below) and a general sense of dread brought about by the approaching Magog threat. I also found myself laughing a lot at the unintentionally hilarious dialogue, which is a good quality at least in some sense.

But the episodes continue to be overwhelmingly Dylan-centric, and Sorbo’s acting is barely passable. He seems bored with the material, with only the finale bringing out a multifaceted performance. The rest of the cast (aside from Woolvett) isn’t much better. The guy playing Rhade (who joins the main cast, as the genetic reincarnation from Season 2’s “Home Fires”), in particular, seems to have a difficult time delivering his lines and ends up being a very poor replacement for Tyr. Beka and Rommie get to be the focus of one episode each, but outside of that they continue to be annoying and underdeveloped, usually acting as a interchangeable cyphers. Trance says her usual pseudo-profound lines but never gets to do anything important until the finale. Dylan saves the day and flirts with the attractive young female guest star of the week. The villains within the New Commonwealth, the Collectors, are united mostly by their bad acting. None of the characters show any consistent growth or development.

The episodes lean excessively on unnecessary flashbacks, which usually are only tangentially to what’s occurring on-screen. Reaction shots often don’t quite match the actions preceding them. The same musical cues occur again and again. The evil-looking characters who are nice at the beginning of the episode end up as the antagonist. Something like three episodes in a row feature a character’s voice dropping several octaves as soon as they are revealed as villains. And so on.

I know that the later seasons of this show actually have fans, but I don’t know why. Is there a point in my continuing to review a show that so long ago became unwatchable? You decide.

Classic Episodes:

Great Episodes:

Good Episodes:
1. Abridging the Devil's Divide
By far the best episode of the season, despite opening with the entire show’s worst line of dialogue (“Insulting a Nietzschean is unhealthy for a human’s health,” mumbled by Rhade). Michael Ironside (reprising his role from last season as a resurrected Old Commonwealth general) is a terrific villain. He breathes life into material that could have easily come across as stock and stale. The story has a proper sense of mystery, buildup and slow reveal, leading to a devilishly morbid plot twist at the end. Harper betrays Dylan to support in the name of scientific discovery, which is about the most interesting character moment all season. A lot of the action is burdened by typically atrocious editing and derring-do dialogue, but some of it’s actually entertaining and effective. About as good as a standalone episode of post-Wolfe Andromeda is capable of being. (8/10)
2. The Dissonant Interval: Part Two
According to the review by SF Debris, this episode was conceived as a possible finale to the show. That’s kind of hilarious to think about, as it would just be a giant middle finger to all the fans and to Dylan Hunt’s entire journey. But that’s kind of fitting, too, considering what the show became. Visually, this episode is definitely impressive by late-Andromeda’s standards, and there’s a lot going on in terms of character and plot development, including the only genuinely interesting conversations all season about Dylan’s quest and the consequences it’s had for his crew. Still, it could have been a lot better, and there’s no more obnoxious way to end an already excessively Dylan-centric season on a Dylan-centric show than with Sorbo stumbling upon a godlike image of himself. I’ll call it “good”, though. (7/10)
3. Soon the Nearing Vortex
The first in a two-parter for which Keith Hamilton Cobb returned to conclude Tyr’s storyline. I admire that the writers went all-in with making Tyr a complete antagonist in this story instead of giving him a carny last-minute redemption. Everything he does feels true to his character, especially his scenes with Beka. The episode is a continuity goldmine, too, for anyone paying attention, with a story touching on Tarazed, Tyr himself, the Abyss, the Rhade clone from “Home Fires” and the Route of Ages. The mystical elements are campy and insufferable, though, burdening an otherwise solid character episode. (7/10)

Mediocre Episodes:
4. The World Turns All Around Her
The conclusion to Tyr’s storyline, cleverly worked into the first real appearance of the Spirit of the Abyss in quite a while. The reveal that Beka is only a pawn in Tyr’s scheme is wonderfully in-character. The episode has some smart visual ideas, and there’s definitely something poetic about Tyr’s attempt to strike a bargain with the devil only to find that evil is uncompromising and uncontrollable. Still, the episode is poorly executed, with a crucial death scene never even addressed by the characters in its aftermath. And after all the buildup, the climax takes place in (drum role please)…the recurring cave set. In theory , the ideas here are quite strong, but in practice, the filmmaking is so clunky that I can’t fully recommend it - which is a generous way of describing Season 4 as a whole. (6/10)
5. Harper/Delete
An adventure episode filmed mostly outdoors, which made for a fun variation to the usual cramped soundstages/cave sets. Harper got a lot to do and the action is better directed and more entertaining than in a typical Andromeda episode, though still quite cheesy. (6/10)
6. The Dissonant Interval: Part One
There’s an actual story here, with ideas, themes and everything. The execution is lackluster, but there’s enough going on to make it stand out a bit. The storyline reminds me of “The Mission”. There’s a lot of untapped potential, but the concept at least presents an intriguing ethical dilemma (should Andromeda attempt to defend a colony of pacifists willing to die for their beliefs) with symbolic overtones. (6/10)
7. The Torment, the Release
The Collectors (New Commonwealth officials controlled by the Spirit of the Abyss) interrogate Dylan and accuse him of treason. It’s the entire season in a nutshell: an excessive use of flashbacks (are we supposed to believe that the Commonwealth officials have hidden cameras all over the place in a way that matches footage from older episodes?) mixed with noble attempts at building a long-term story off of old continuity that fall flat due to abysmal execution. I’ll give this a 5/10 for effort, but it’s honestly pretty bad. (5/10) Pulitzer-worthy the dialogue of the week:
Collector to Hunt: “Do you care to make an opening statement?” Hunt: “Yeah, I think you’re an idiot.”
Beka to Collector: “You’ve got to know about jokes. You are one.”

Bad Episodes:
8. Machinery of the Mind
The New Commonwealth holds a conference about preparing for the Magog invasion, which provides plenty of opportunities to reuse footage from earlier episodes. Sharon/Number 8 from Battlestar Galactica shows up. Harper’s Magog eggs somehow made it through the most-Wolfe script simplification filter. Meanwhile, Dylan gets pushed towards evil by agents of the Collects by proposals as tantalizing as “We offer riches and power, Captain”. Shockingly, he turns them down. (4/10)
9. The Warmth of an Invisible Light
An alternate reality episode that needs a much higher budget to capture the scope of the universe where it takes place - instead, the episode plays like the regular cast trying out different power dynamics as part of an acting exercise than a legitimate look at another existence. Still, it’s fun seeing Woolvett as an evil genius and there’s some nice foreshadowing for the season finale when Trance offers to go supernova to sacrifice herself to save everyone else. Not good, but not bad for a Season 4 Andromeda episode. (4/10)
10. Double or Nothingness
Dylan is forced into an incredibly unconvincing virtual reality game run by two awful guest actors. Sorbo fights a clone of himself, which actually kind of results in him losing a fight for the first time in the show. Yawn. (4/10)
11. A Symmetry of Imperfection
The show delivers on the promise of an impending Magog invasion that’s been around since the first season finale, with an advance force arriving and facing off against the Andromeda. The action is all pretty forgettable, but the context is at least interesting. (4/10)
12. The Others
A bad TNG story pretty much on autopilot, as the Andromeda tries to reconcile two warring cultures. Dee from Battlestar Galactica plays the leader of one of the sides. (3/10)
13. Fear Burns Down to Ashes
Rev Bem returns with a changed costume style, which is in turn applied all the Magog. Having Rev Bem initially ambush Dylan provided some nice shock value, but the dialogue in their many scenes together was lacking. Some noble ideas here, but it’s too cheesy overall. (3/10)
14. Time Out of Mind
I honestly wasn’t able to focus on this episode. We get to see our lovely cast playing alternative versions of themselves, agents of the Abyss assassinate someone, and a brief nod to “Double or Nothingness” from earlier in the season that’s kind of clever. Still, it’s pretty dumb. (3/10)

Terrible Episodes:
15. Lost in a Space That Isn't There
Beka’s only lead episode, dealing with the aftereffects of the Abyss taking over her body earlier in the season. Tons of unnecessary flashbacks ensue, all leading up to a physical fight within Beka’s subconscious against Dylan. (2/10)
16. The Spider's Stratagem
Bad costumes. Rhade stumbles over his lines even more than usual. Dylan literally rescues a princess from a tower in a swashbuckling Rapunzel story. Yuck. (2/10)
17. Trusting the Gordian Maze
An entire episode of characters walking slowly so that they won’t run out of set. Powerful stuff. (2/10)
18. Answers Given to Questions Never Asked
The disappointing follow-up to the superb Season 3 cliffhanger. The first third of the episode, showing the cast debating how to address the destruction of most of the Commonwealth fleet in the previous finale, is fine. But it only takes 25 minutes into the PREMIERE episode for the recurring cave set to show up, where an endless and laughably ineptly filmed showdown takes place between Dylan and a cranky old guy. Like the Enterprise finale, it cuts away right before a crucial speech that would have actually been interesting to see. (2/10)
19. Pieces of Eight
Andromeda gets retro-fitted by “Citizen Eight”, who gives the most grating acting performance so far in the show. The special effects are terrible, although at least they’re unique to the episode. (1/10)
20. Conduit to Destiny
An Incredibly evil looking prison warden asks for the Andromeda’s help in containing a riot and catching a young attractive female escapee. You’ll never guess what happens next. What’s the only thing more fun than Andromeda kung fu fights? Kung fu fights in Andromeda’s cave set, of course. The line “I guess you could say that our work here is done.” is a actually said unironically in this episode’s conclusion. Dylan discovers that he is “The Conduit”, which I guess makes up the lack of a gratuitous Dylan sex/makeout scene this week. (1/10)
21. Exalted Reason, Resplendent Daughter
Yes, that’s the actual name of the episode. A creepy old guy asks Dylan for help catching a dangerous criminal who happens to be a young attractive woman blah blah. I can’t say any more, as I don’t want to spoil any of the twists and turns of this episode’s intricate and unpredictable mystery. (1/10)
22. Waking the Tyrant's Device
Everything you love about Andromeda, all wrapped into a single episode! I laughed more at this episode than any other. The villain pronounces “I am Kroton” and “With the help of the Magog, I will lead a revolt of androids and the Commonwealth will fall.” Dylan retorts “Not on my watch” before diving into the air and setting off several spark-squibs with his laser gun. Later, Kroton declares “I am not finished with you, Captain Hunt”, to which Dylan responds ““Well that’s too bad, cause I’m finished with you!” before making out with the young guest star of the week. Great stuff. This episode makes “Dance of the Mayflies” look masterful. (1/10)

I honestly have no idea if I’ll ever watch Season 5. I may just skim through it and give general impressions.
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Baron Samedi
Thu, Dec 4, 2014, 3:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S4: The Road Less Traveled

I agree with you for the most part, Adam. The show lost a ton of steam and all plausibility when it transitioned from a gritty sci-fi show to a metaphysical fantasy. The religious elements ("Maelstrom" being the only exception for me, because it was so rooted in Starbuck's character) were never interesting and BSG just gets emptier and emptier as they overtake the rest of the story, which itself seems guided by whatever arbitrary plot contrivances Ronald D. Moore feels like throwing into the mix. Jammer's reviews here are very well-argued and he seems to really enjoy the show for what it is, but yeah, to me BSG took a nosedive for most of the reasons you describe after the New Caprica story resolved. All that said, BSG is absolutely worth finishing. There are flashes of brilliance throughout the final leg of the show (Ronald D. Moore, for his flaws, is a deeply talented writer overall), especially when it stays more grounded and character-driven. "The Hub" through "No Exit" is pretty fantastic in my opinion, and "Someone to Watch Over Me" might be my favorite episode of the season. And the acting, SFX, and music are always top-knotch as well.
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Baron Samedi
Thu, Nov 13, 2014, 7:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Cogenitor

Superb. Aside from the "In the Mirror Darkly" two-parter (which was fun in a goofy way), this is the only episode of Enterprise that has genuinely impressed me. I'm sure part of the problem is that I'm watching the show completely out-of-order, but nonetheless the hit-to-miss ratio so far has been pretty abysmal. But "Cogenitor" is the only Enterprise episode I've seen so far that I'd rank as a Trek classic for all of the reasons Jamahl describes here. I didn't even mind the 'Reed hooks up with an alien' subplot. I wish more Enterprise episodes explored ideas like this - deep ideas that have serious consequences and complex moral implications - instead of focusing on routine action.
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Baron Samedi
Sat, Nov 8, 2014, 2:03pm (UTC -6)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

Thanks for sharing your perspective, SlackerInc. A handful of websites (this being one of them) reviewed Andromeda for the first two seasons, but for for obvious reasons (mostly the quality dropping so low after Wolfe's departure that the series stopped meriting serious criticism) they pretty much all gave up before or during Season 3. There's literally nothing out there discussing Andromeda's later seasons in any detail. As other commentators have mentioned, it's such a pity that Andromeda kept going for so long while better shows were cancelled much earlier.
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Baron Samedi
Sat, Oct 25, 2014, 11:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

I doubt that anyone still cares, but I did go through Season 3 and figure I'll post another comment here about it. It was awful.

From what I’ve read, the show was made on-the-cheap by a cast and crew who really believed in what they were creating: a sci-fi action show with hardly any long-term story. And that’s fine. I certainly have nothing against the people who worked hard on this show (except for Kevin Sorbo, for reasons that will be obvious if you Google him). The main cast really seems to be trying their best with weak material (there’s hardly any character development outside of the final episode). The main actors certainly aren’t the problem, and I don’t think that the production crew is either.

But Season 3 was unfathomably terrible. It was a train wreck from the first episode (which was, incidentally, the worst). It was exactly what the second half of Season 2 promised. I new what I was getting myself into, but I kept going because I couldn’t stop myself from being a completest. It’s such a pity, because the first half of Season 2 showed how Andromeda could work as an action show. But making the season consist only of standalone Dylan-centric action episodes took away any potential momentum. And why constantly do action if you don’t have the budget to do it well? Is there really an audience for constant cheap-looking action? I spent the whole season wondering this. Only the surprisingly good finale even had decent CGI. Otherwise the “action” consisted of fake-looking footage that was often reused from earlier in the show interspersed with cheap-looking spark-filled battles between our heroes and this week’s incompetent army of faceless Bad Aliens.

Anyway, I might, just maybe, check out Season 4. The events set into motion by the Season 3 finale (its only great episode) have a great deal of potential. But given the consistently low quality, it’s sadly easy to see why this show was forgotten. There’s hardly any character or story development, just routine standalone adventures that are dull, boring, and cheaply made. It just doesn’t reach the level of quality necessary to merit serious criticism, although I’ve put together another list with a bit of commentary on each episode below.

Classic episodes:



Great episodes:

1. Shadows Cast by a Final Salute – Pretty much the only episode of the season with a lot of new FX shots and where Important Things happen in regards to the big picture. Tyr fulfills his character’s potential for once this season and has some strong scenes with pretty much the whole main cast. It’s basically a better version of Season 2’s finale, with large-scale battle resulting from actions of the characters that looks relatively impressive on a visual level. Moreover, the cliffhanger places the fate of the new Commonwealth is put on an even playing field with the fate of the regular characters. (9/10)

Good episodes:

2. The Unconquerable Man – The best clip-show episode I’ve seen of any series, although that’s not saying much. Rhade defeats Dylan in the pilot and sets out to change the galaxy. Some of the clips were unnecessary, but many functioned very effectively. Jamahl had mentioned the writers having read this website in the past, and I wonder if that influenced this episode as it draws clips from most of the episodes Jamahl rated highly. The central point to the episode is poignant: Rhade could never get over the disaster and disappointment that the Nietzschean’s became despite being one of them, whereas Dylan was able to forgive them despite being a victim of their deceit. The way that the episode intersects with “Ouroboros” is clever as well. (8/10)
3 .The Lone and Level Sands – A pretty good story all-around about a ship traveling in such a way that it still moves impossibly fast, but time passes by realistically around it. There’s a lot of distracting arcade game violence, but the episode ends with a poignant Trek-like conversation about exploring the unknown. (7/10)

Mediocre Episodes:

4. Day of Judgment, Day of Wrath – A sequel to Season 2’s best episode “The Knight, Death, and the Devil”, with a nifty continuation of Tyr’s subplot. The episode feels stronger than most because of excellent guest actors and a sense of urgency to the story, but the script is pedestrian and the visuals as cheap-looking as ever. (6/10)
5. The Dark Backward – Presenting an episode from Trance’s perspective was a great idea, as she constantly re-lives a series of events to try to prevent an intruder (who himself lives while going backwards through time, allowing him to see everyone’s actions in advance) from taking out the ship. The trial-and-error nature of the story is fun to watch, but it suffers from the same problems that derailed post-Wolfe Andromeda: the villain is stripped of any motivation whatsoever (he was originally supposed to be sent by the Abyss) and the solution is for Trance to just trust Dylan to figure it all out. Give me a break. (6/10)

Bad Episodes:

6. Cui Bono – John de Lancie returns, so that’s nice at least. Otherwise it’s a stock plot with stock characters. (5/10)
7. For Whom the Bell Tolls – Insects attack the ship, and there’s a ghost of a former crewmember. A not-terrible bottle episode (5/10)
8. The Right Horse – Dylan hardly appears in this episode, allowing Beka and Harper to play the main roles, and the New Commonwealth is incorporated decently. Completely run-of-the-mill otherwise. (5/10)
9. Twilight of the Idols – Another “genetic purists” episode, which for some reason the writers thought deserved about as much attention as the new Commonwealth. At least Michael Ironside shows up to deliver a typically great performance. (5/10)

Terrible Episodes:

10. Delenda Est – Oh my, how is this as high as number 10? Man, this series fell apart. The aliens from the Season 2 finale return midway through Season 3, and we get just as many answers as you’d except: none whatsoever. Who are they? What do they want? The show’s response: Why would you ever want to know these things when you could be watching our heroes blowing them all up? This episode only seems motivated by the desire to save money by re-using costumes and FX shots. All that said, it’s probably the most entertaining action episode of the season, if you’re into, like, Walker, Texas Ranger style violence where the Good Guys Win and the Bad Guys Lose. DS9 alluded to The Third Man; the final scene here is ripped straight from Predator 2. (4/10)
11. The Leper’s Kiss – Dylan hunts a mysterious assassin while falling for a seductress, and what-do-you know, they turn out to be the same person. (4/10)
12. Point of the Spear– An episode about a battle far greater in scale than the show’s budget can come close to capturing. Basically an hour of cheap-looking (often re-used) special effects shots. It is nice to see the Commonwealth Fleet competently in action. Billy from Battlestar Galactica makes an appearance, too, essentially playing the same character (though drafted into the military). He appears briefly in the finale as well. (4/10)
13. Deep Midnight’s Voice – Reminded me of Galactica 1980, which is not a good thing. There is an interesting subplot about Tyr’s scheming that sets in motion the Season’s only worthwhile story arc. (3/10)
14. And Your Heart Will Fly Away – Of all the stories to bring back from earlier seasons, why the genetic purists? (3/10)
15. What Happens to A Rev Deferred? – It was kind of nice to see Rev again, but the story was slow and muddled. (3/10)
16. The Illusion of Majesty – Dylan rescues a young attractive princess, you can see where this is going… (3/10)
17. The Risk-All Point – As if it wasn’t enough to sideline the new Commonwealth plot, this is where Andromeda starts to piss all over it too, as an incompetent new flagship is easily destroyed. Featuring a ludicrously dumb ending and a Dylan screwing around with a woman during the middle of an urgent rescue mission. (3/10)
18. The Shards of Rimni – Last season’s “In Heaven Now Are Three”, except cheaper and cheesier. (2/10)
19. Mad to Be Saved – Andromeda rescues bunch of mentally-challenged people, who may as well have written this mess of an episode. Another cheap-looking bottle show on top of that, although at least there’s no re-use of the recurring cave set. (2/10)
20. Slipfighter the Dogs of War – Let’s invade Iraq! Featuring newly-neutered Tyr at his wimpiest. Neo-cons wrote this fantasy, and they didn’t even write it well. (2/10)
21. Vault of the Heavens – Gordon Michael Woolvett’s acting provides one of Season 3’s only consistently entertaining elements, though his character has little to do. Woolvett penned this episode, and sadly it’s one of the worst, featuring cheap sets and a lame-ass love-fest for Sorbo as an alien seductress tries to mate with him (because he’s just so strong and attractive…). (2/10)
22. If The Wheel is Fixed – The opening episode is the season low-point. It's even worse than “Tunnel At the End of the Light” and a nail in coffin of what was once a show with promise. We learn nothing about the aliens who attacked the new Commonwealth, nor get any mention of the consequences of the Commonwealth charter ceremony being interrupted. Instead, the incredibly un-compelling “Did Beka or Tyr die?” question is the only one addressed. Goofy, stupid, terrible, without even any decent special effects (it looks cheaply made, setting the stage for what follows…). Andromeda’s pilot and “The Widening Gyre” are masterpieces compared to this premiere, and the season it begins is only slightly less terrible overall. (1/10)

Tl;dr Season 3 of Andromeda was exactly the disaster post-Wolfe Season 2 promised. But three episodes were genuinely good, so yay.
Set Bookmark
Baron Samedi
Thu, Sep 4, 2014, 10:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: ANDR S2: Second Season Recap

Classic Episodes:


Excellent Episodes:
1. The Knight, Death, and the Devil – A substantive sci-fi ethical issue with good guest actors and welcome long-term plot developments. An episode this good after so much dreck was a real shock.
2. Una Salus Victus – Deftly balances A/B/C plots and makes great use of Tyr.
3. Immaculate Perception – The only time Tyr was put to good use in the second half of the season, showcasing him at his most scheming and Machiavellian. A great follow-up to “Double Helix”, one of the strongest episodes from the first season. Lays the foundation for what I hope will be another interesting follow-up. I also enjoyed seeing the crew’s hostile treatment of the despicable racial purists.
4. The Widening Gyre – As visually spectacular as the cliffhanger. Very fun if also completely preposterous.
5. Home Fires – The decision by Dylan to accept the democratic results of the election that found the planet rejecting the Commonwealth was a powerful one, even if the parallelism with the new Rhade felt contrived and overblown.

Good Episodes:
6. Into the Labyrinth – Harper’s best episode with effective long-term plotting, brought down by ludicrous (though somewhat fun) cartoonish action in the final act.
7. All Too Human – Fun action episode, if a bit thin.

Mediocre Episodes:
8. Belly of the Beast – I laughed, hard, at the song-and-dance at the end. Otherwise a decently competent if unremarkable space adventure.
9. Exit Strategies – Fairly entertaining action episode with good character moments (including Rev’s only significant and interesting role in the season), but nothing special.
10. Bunker Hill – Over-plotted, but some of it works. I feel like this would have been a good two-parter.
11. A Heart for Falsehood Framed – I found it more clever than Jamahl did. I neat story that uses the whole cast effectively despite plenty of flaws.
12. The Prince – A good premise (Dylan and Tyr offering contrasting advice to a young prince) brought down by over-the-top violence and lackluster execution.
13. Pitiless as the Sun – The interrogation was frustrating, but the Andromeda story was good.

Poor Episodes:
14. The Fair Unknown – I liked the alien design, but action was poorly-choreographed and endless, and the story provided too few answers dramatically.
15. Last Call at the Broken Hammer – The script needed some serious re-writes, with a ludicrously dumb action climax. Ortiz was somewhat interesting as a character, but what actually happened to her after this episode?

Awful Episodes (all after Wolfe’s departure):
16. Tunnel at the End of the Light – After two surprisingly excellent episodes, I began to wonder if the previous string of awfulness (see: 14 and the six episodes below) was just a blip – a momentary drop in quality as the show sought to find a new approach following Wolfe’s departure. Not so. This episode quickly eroded all remaining good faith. It’s mildly entertaining from an action perspective, but almost completely hollow. Jamahl’s trashing of it in his review was absolutely priceless. Big, dumb, poorly executed action against faceless villains that conveyed none of the drama the new Commonwealth required.
17. Ouroboros – An awful, incomprehensible mess, although at least it tried to have ideas.
18. Lave and Rockets – Completely forgettable. A love fest for Sorbo put on-screen full of bad ideas and bad action scenes.
19. In Heaven Now Are Three – Terrible action, low budget sets, dumb script.
20. The Things We Cannot Change – Lame excuse for a clip show, punctuated by egregious Sorbo self-worship.
21. Dance of the Mayflies – An unintentional comedic masterpiece. Goofy enough to be slightly entertaining. Really makes a spectacle of its own awfulness.
22. Be All My Sins Remembered – The worst hour of Andromeda yet. Ed Wood-style filmmaking here, with laughable costumes, acting, and action filling up the screen while a potentially interesting story remains in the backdrop.

I was optimistic about Andromeda after I finished the first season. It had a lot of promise, and the second season started fairly well. But wow, what a disaster it disintegrated into after “Home Fires”. Jamahl’s reviews and season recap are pretty much spot-on. After hearing ridiculously stupid/offensive statements made recently by Sorbo, I can’t help but feel more comfortable attributing his own influence to a lot of the show’s degradation in quality. I also got the impression that the budget dropped immensely in the second half of the season, as the show looked a lot cheaper from that point forward. Oddly, the Andromeda crew responded by making each episode more over-the-top (and thus, tacky looking) than the last. Sigh…I imagine the season’s body count to be well over a hundred, although I doubt anybody kept track.

Although the episodes 19-21 showed some promise, the characters all regressed significantly in the second half of the season. Tyr, once the strongest character, became a wimp, Rommie got an awful hair cut, Rev literally disappeared, Beka became a bland cipher, etc. Dylan worked in Season 1 as a contrast to sharp characters, where his naive idealism clashed with their perspectives. Here, he was a Dudley Do-Right who was always an invincible hero.

The main thing for me is that I was really impressed with two of the three final episodes: “The Knight, Death, and the Devil” and “Immaculate Perception”. The awful season finale blew the momentum these episodes had built up, but I do now feel like the show is at least capable of putting out a quality hour of television (whereas I’d pretty much given up hope of this earlier). I think I’m going to skip around the remaining three seasons, rather than watch them in their entirety. If what I have to look forward to consists only of more lame adventure episodes like “In Heaven There Are Now Three”, then maybe I’ll stop right away. But I am mildly curious as to where the show is going, to I’ll probably watch enough to at least figure that out. The universe Wolfe created is still fairly interesting to me, even if I don’t get the impression the “New Andromeda” will explore it very thoroughly. Thanks for the great reviews, Jamahl.
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