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Daniel L.
Fri, Jul 22, 2016, 11:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

Jammer, I was one of the movie's (seemingly few) defenders on your site, having belived and still believing that the movie works well for what it sets out to be (at the end of the day, if a person trying to evaluate a movie doesn't keep that one criterion in mind, the person given himself or herself license to change the movie-reviewing goalposts at will). Your review, which reflects how I feel about the movie, was well worth the wait. I almost fainted when I saw it on the site.
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Daniel L.
Fri, Jan 30, 2009, 2:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S4: A Disquiet Follows My Soul

Jammer,

Maybe I'm missing something, but regardless of whether the "laundry" reports about Zarek had real dirt in them, or whether Adama knew or did not know that they did, or that Zarek was dirty, wasn't the recording of Zarek telling the civilian ship to disobey a military order sufficiently "dirty" in and of itself, as far as Adama (given how he wanted to expose Zarek and what Adama regards as "dirty information) was concerned, sufficient? I mean, you had the Vice President practically instructing the civilian government to disobey a (presumptively) lawful military order. This is tantamount to a Vice President (not Dick Cheney, but A Vice President) telling the population of a state that it must resist the deployment of federal troops into that state to deal with a national emergency (the only difference - an immaterial one - being that in the U.S. the President is the civilian leader and the Commander in Chief as well; Roslin is not both and Adam is not both, but then again, neither our Vice President, nor Tom Zarek - both, either).
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Daniel L.
Fri, Jan 30, 2009, 2:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S4: A Disquiet Follows My Soul

Hey Jammer.

Just a question: What do you mean when you say the remark about clairvoyance was "a reaction to my own surprise that Illinois politics would somehow find their way into a Battlestar Galactica review"?

The something in this episode that is "off" was, I think, in part something that was "in" on The Next Generation and subsequent Star Trek series (but most notably TNG) over which Ron Moore presided: the oft-inability to successfully blend scenes aimed at developing "character" with scenes aimed at furthering the "plot." One of the biggest storytelling irritations on TNG was its A/B or A/B/C storytelling structure; the A, B and C stories often stubbornly refused (i.e. the writers were lazy) to somehow interact with each other, such that episodes often felt internally incongruous, scattershot and unfocused (look! Data learns to love his cat! Oh, wait, the Enterprise must avoid being torn apart by a quantum fistula (or is it "fissure," heh heh)! See, Data really DOES love the cat, even though Riker hates it. Wow, the Enterprise averted tragedy at the last second!) Weirdness, abruptness and awkwardness stand out more when the narrative framework forces the viewer to watch self-contained sequences.

BSG is great not just because 47,000 (Menosky reference?) things are all going on at once; it's great because these things on a good day produce an episode that is the equal (or greater than) of the sum of its parts; we get the "character development," development of the plot, and so forth, in the same scene - simultaneously. ("They breathe as one," as Annorax from Voyager's "Year of Hell" two-parter stated).

Maybe Moore's freshman directing effort was an understandable effect of his having written (and presumably watched) so many of his Star Trek creations
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Daniel L.
Sat, Jan 10, 2009, 8:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S3: Spock's Brain

"When the facts become legend, print the legend," the old proverb goes. NBC's refusal to reach an agreement with Gene Roddenberry over what day and time the third season episodes would air resulted in Roddenberry, for all intents and purposes, leaving the show; no longer was he concerned with the day-to-day details.
After NBC called his bluff (Roddenberry threatened to "quit" in the manner described if the time slot were not changed from FRIDAY AT 10 P.M. for frakkin' crying out loud!), Roddenberry became increasingly bitter toward the studio and even toward the man whom NBC picked as the 3rd season showrunner, Fred Freiberger.

Folks talk about Star Trek's "legendary" bad third season. This legend is just that - a legend - because there are just enough very unfortunate facts out there to allow tbe uninitiated to come to the incorrect conclusion that the season was horrible.
These facts include the existence of "Spock's Brain," "And the Children Shall Lead," and "The Way to Eden," a three-course turkey dinner if ever there were one. Further facts include the existence of extraordinarily wanly executed premises ("That Which Survives," "The Savage Curtain"); premises which were rather dopey to begin with. And finally, the season contained episodes that had some intriguing high-concept ideas that were presented in a rather pedestrian/obvious manner ("Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," "The Mark of Gideon," "The Paradise Syndrome," "Is There In Truth No Beauty," "For The World is Hollow and I Have Touched The Sky," "Wink of an Eye").

The facts that remain, though, include:
1. The season contains several solid to excellent episodes, most notably "The Enterprise Incident," "Spectre of the Gun," "The Day of the Dove," "The Empath," "The Tholian Web," and "All Our Yesterdays" (can't agree with Jammer about "Plato's Stepchildren" and "The Cloudminders"; they're both guilty pleasures, but not three-star episodes. "Requiem for Methuselah" is a semi-guilty pleasure that I would not rate quite as favorably either. And let's just say that "Turnabout Intruder" is an acquired taste. It's one I acquired long ago, but one that many fans, understandably have not).
2. As is well-documented in Inside Star Trek, authored by the late Herb Solow and the recently deceased Robert Justman (NBC executive in charge of production and show producer, respectively), the show, in its third season, had its budget drastically reduced, suffered waves of departures of talented individuals in the special effects, makeup, lighting and editing departments, and, as per NBC edict, was forced to churn out episodes with a full day's less shooting time than it had been given in the previous season.
Therefore, given the extraordinary circumstances under which the individuals who toiled to make what is the third season of Star Trek, the season as a whole is far from the nightmare that people assume/hold as an article of faith that it was.

Of course, this assumption is necessary for an even greater legend to be maintained: that Star Trek, a show that was "rendered virtually unwatchable" in its third year, was cancelled, only to be discovered in syndication, where it gained a wordlwide following, spawning an animated TV show, a motion picture, etc....

The myth sounds more enchanting to hear, but the facts are actually more interesting, if one actually is willing to accept and recognize them.
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Daniel L.
Sat, Jan 10, 2009, 12:19am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: The Neutral Zone

Most of your reviews are spot-on, Jammer, although I would have been a little harsher on "The Naked Now" and "Home Soil" (especially Home Soil), and a little less harsh on "Where No One Has Gone Before," "When The Bough Breaks" (come on, you didn't get a HUGE laugh when Picard barked, "You have committed an act of UTTA BARBARITEH!"), and especially "The Neutral Zone" (a dopey but entertaining season finale).

I am thirty now and started watching The Next Generation in between Seasons 4 and 5. I watched the first 4 seasons in the summer of 1991. By that point in time, I'd just finished watching all of the TOS episodes; it took further viewings of both series to realize how TNG was an uneasy mixture of recycled TOS themes (the God figure/punisher/lawgiver theme, the soapbox speeches about inequality) and "new" Trek themes and trappings (the holodeck, quite overused in season 1; the saucer separation; the more "cerebral" - read, surrender at the first opportunity - Captain).
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