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Caedus
Fri, Apr 20, 2018, 1:04am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Doctor's Orders

Retread of One but nice twist at the end.
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Baron Samedi
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 11:39am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Seventh Season Recap

I want to note one overlooked quality that I think Season 7 did brilliantly. As the earlier seasons focused more and more on the Hologram Doctor (as well as 7 of 9) at the expense of other characters, we developed increasing sympathy for him and acceptance of him as a rights-holding member of the crew.

Season 7 built on that sentiment, even turning the tables on us at times, quite a bit in "Critical Care," "Author, Author," and "Flesh and Blood." The final moments of "Author, Author" showing at least dozens of Doctors in a mine conjure up another reference to TNG's "Measure of a Man," as we see the slavery Picard and Guinan feared would result from the a denial of Data's rights. If we accept the EMH as deserving of some rights, then what we're seeing is abhorrent injustice, precisely the result we happily saw defeated for androids in "Measure of a Man". "Flesh and Blood" also carries that idea of the EMH as deserving rights to a logical conclusion - if they have rights, then the EMH's betrayal of Voyager is valid and even moral, as the endless suffering of the hologram Hirogen hunting ground victims constitutes a perfectly valid reason for them to fight back and kill living beings in the process.

Of course, the solution to all of this may very well be to deny the EMH any rights whatsoever, but we've developed so much sympathy for him as a character over the past seven years that we don't want to. But it may be the right thing to do. I'm not sure I'd rule the same way as the presiding judge in "Measure of a Man," and I'm not sure I'd rule the way the arbitrator does in "Author, Author". Because, fundamentally, I don't think either Data or the EMG have consciousness, and I like how Voyager Season 7 cleverly suggests that we at least consider that we might have been wrong to care about the Doctor all along. Although, ultimately, I think it comes down on the side of giving some advanced holograms some limited rights, which opens a massive can of worms, but an understandable one that I don't think the show needs to explore any further than it did.
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Baron Samedi
Fri, Mar 23, 2018, 9:03am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Riddles

A routine and forgettable episode, though not terrible. Two stars is about right. The moments that worked were fleeting and surrounded by Voyager cliches. There were some nice details though, such as the friendly alien Naroq (although there had to also be typical hardheaded xenophobic aliens to balance him out I suppose) and the simple fact that it was nice to see Tuvok and Neelix's friendship fleshed out for the first time in a while. This episode contributes to "Homestead" next season carrying more emotional weight than it would have otherwise.
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Baron Samedi
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Ensigns of Command

I watched this episode on a whim because it's one of the few I had never seen before. It was such a delight! "The Ensigns of Command" perfectly captures the spirit of TNG. The story is all about diplomacy, contrasting the crew (sans Data) dealing with a hyper-textualist alien culture and ultimately solving the problem through a third-party arbitration clause hidden in a treaty with Data dealing with a hyper-emotional human culture that fails to respond reasonably to the logic he presents.

I enjoyed the interactions between Data and Ard'rian, though I wish she didn't have to develop vaguely romantic feelings towards Data. She seemed too smart and sharp to believably fall so quickly for a machine. Still, it was cute subplot that added depth to the colony and the story.

Overall, I thought this was a great episode, one that encapsulates TNG's strengths as a show - namely, its focus on problem-solving as carried out by a smart and diligent cast of characters trying to live up to Starfleet's ideals. It was a breath of fresh air after the bleakness, rushed pacing, and overplotting of so much of Star Trek Discovery.
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Ed
Mon, Feb 26, 2018, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Jrpl

Moon was excellent! It's soundtrack was perfect for that kind of science fiction and something like it may be good in other kinds as well.

When it comes to a soundtrack for a more space opera/soft sci-fi setting, I'd prefer a continuum with a traditional heavy musical score sometimes and at other times a more minimalist score. Occasionally none. I'd also like to cut back on or eliminate sound effects in space caused by things actually going on in the story.

While as far as I'm concerned, this is just a way of dramatizing the actions of the different ships and weapons and do not constitute a claim that there is sound in space (until a character seriously claims to hear an explosion outside the ship or another ship approaching), it would be kind of cool to see action in space either in silence or with only music in my opinion.
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Ed
Fri, Feb 23, 2018, 6:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Skecko

"It shouldn't take more than a year for the second season of a television show to air, that's ridiculous. And if it does, maybe cut down on the special effects and focus more on the storyline and writing. I, and I'm sure most ST fans would be willing to forego some of the effects if the plots were better. I don't need flashy visuals. I'd rather have a great story."

And it would be one thing if the effects were used to create fascinating alien worlds. Instead they're mainly used for elaborate space battles and similar things. Despite the series' faults, I like it and want to see what happens next.

I'd gladly settle for space ships that were done in an updated version of the styles of DS9 and the better parts of ENT if I could see the show sooner and hopefully they would spend the money saved on better writing as well as better sets and locations representing the planets they should visit.

Every other Star Trek series has had "strange new worlds." This had a single decent one. And even in the MU, I'd rather have had the Emperor live a real palace the size of a city or visited her game preserve on Risa.
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Ed
Thu, Feb 22, 2018, 6:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Jrpl

A half-remembered joke from an old Cracked.com article on sci-fi cliches:

In space no one can hear you scream....because you're drowned out by the loud orchestral music. :)
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Ed
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 11:10am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@KT
If that's the case why did Georgiou say with certainty, "This is Federation space, retreat is not an option. We have to flush the Klingons out".

Exactly. While the story might have been more interesting with an added subplot about contested territory, nothing the characters said or did gives that impression.

If that had been the intent, characters would have said things like this:

T'Kuvma--"We are heading towards a place long occupied illegally by the Federation. Our leaders do nothing to support our territorial rights in this matter because it isn't strategically or economically important.
But true Klingons are above such practical concerns! It is a longstanding symbol of the Empire's increasing weakness and fear of conflict with the Federation. We will destroy anything they have put there and any ship sent to defend it. Then all will know that the Klingons will no longer be disrespected!"

Geogiou--"At one time, the Klingons were making a claim to this area and sometimes attacking Federation ships who came too close. It hasn't happened in a very long time, but be let's be careful. In my opinion, Starfleet shouldn't have put the communications equipment in such a dangerous area in the first place, but I guess they were trying to make a statement that they wouldn't back down."

or

Goergiou--"While nearly all political entities near this area respect the Federation's right to use it, there was a time when the Klingons were complaining that it was theirs and occasionally sending in ships to cause trouble. As they became increasingly isolated, they seem to have dropped the matter so we probably won't run into any problems."
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phaedon
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 10:20am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Masks

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

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

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

Also, a killer archive. Come on. For a split second, Ihat looked like he had the makings of an arch-nemesis, sitting on the warp core and all, but it's a steep downhill from there.
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Ed
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

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

@Daniel
Given her almost getting away with the Ash/Voq thing she should have had no problem putting spies and assassins in every Klingon House and it's ships.
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Baron Samedi
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Just throwing out how I would rate the episodes this season:

The Vulcan Hello - 8/10
Battle of the Binary Stars - 8/10
Context is for Kings - 6/10
The Butcher's Knife - 4/10
Choose Your Pain - 7/10
Lethe - 5/10
Magic to Make the Sanest... - 9/10
Si Vis Pacem - 1/10
Into the Forest - 7/10
Despite Yourself - 7/10
The Wolf Inside - 7/10
Vaulting Ambition - 9/10
What's Past... - 9/10
The War Without - 3/10
Will You Take My Hand? - 2/10

I feel like I enjoyed the season more than most people here. It was better than the first season of all post-TOS shows, although most of those first seasons had a couple better episodes than any of Discovery's. I'm also pessimistic that the writers will be capable of righting the wrongs inherent in their current approach. Jammer's review of the finale here does a pretty good job capturing how I feel about the series at the moment.

The worst thing I can say about Discovery is that it not only doesn't make me think very hard, but it punishes me for doing so. Pretty much every major storyline collapses upon the slightest examination (the L'Rell/Voq/Tyler scheme, the end of the Klingon war, the Federation going along with Mirror Georgiou's plan). This resulted in the finale, though not insultingly terrible (faint praise I know), not working on any significant level.

On the other hand, the acting is really good (I'm baffled by the critics of Michael/Sonequa Martin-Green's performances here) all-around and the show managed to be tons of goofy fun. I didn't even mind the evil caricature Lorca turned out to be - it was a reasonably satisfying payoff and I don't think the show needed to deliver anything more.

If the writers can focus on delivering a smaller amount of plot in a satisfying manner, then Discovery could end up being a great show. My primary worry is that some CBS ratings data analysts have resolutely determined that Discovery will lose a significant portion of its audience if the plot isn't always moving at a breakneck pace, so these changes won't actually happen.
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Ed
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

Yea, just because someone has great skills in some scientific field and is thus useful on a starship doesn't mean you want them high in in chain of command or even in it at all.
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Ed
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Tim

"1. The third episode opens with Federation prisoners talking about being sent to mine dilithim for the war effort and how dangerous that is. The Federation uses penal labor now?

2. Mr. Saru's "crack it open if you have to" comment in reference to the tardigrade.

3. Sarek going along with the destruction of an entire planet."

I often disagree with you but these were extremely jarring. The third could at least have been improved in a better version of the story to mean he would have THREATENED to destroy a planet to keep the Kingons from actually destroying other planets.

Instead of a one shot all or nothing planet killing bomb make it a device that can manipulate the volcanoes as the user sees fit, perhaps. Otherwise, what's even the point strategically? It's not like all other Klingon planets have that weakness.

But the other two are very hard to spin at all. They say something major about how Discovery is having the Federation work on a daily basis; not some black ops thing even a few people know about, even if one of them is Sarek.

The treatment of prisoners is the worst, because it would have to be the most widely known and accepted in universe. It requires a whole "justice" system that works that way. Even the prisoners are pretty resigned (if bitter) to the fact that "being a prisoner" can equal "slave labor in a mine under potentially deadly conditions."

This contradicts everything ever said about Federation treatment of prisoners where conditions were always assumed to be humane with an emphasis on rehabilitation if possible. Even when prisoners were treated badly, it was a matter of an individual or small group doing it or maybe once or twice some crackpot Clockwork Orange type attempt at rehabilitation.

Also, despite the fact that Star Trek habitually ignores or downplays situations where an advanced society would automate manual labor, the idea that dilithim in mined by a mass labor force in dangerous tunnels doesn't make sense.

We see the issue today, where [sorry to get into anything remotely Trumpian] policies that are pro-mining often don't do much to stop the loss of mining jobs. I guess they could mean that some prisoners work at operating sophisticated mining equipment but I don't think I'd trust them with it (see Star Trek 2009, LOL).

And again, it wouldn't explain the large numbers needed or even the seemingly large numbers of available criminals in the Federation. Admittedly they didn't come out and say exactly what % of Federation citizens are in jail at a given time but the mention of prison labor as big part of the war effort and a transport full of people who act like hardened felons makes me think of the society in Aliens/Prometheus more than Star Trek.

And I'm even not one to always criticize any non-utopian aspect of the Federation in this series or others, including the presentation of smuggling, piracy and rebellion in frontier areas.

When I watched them experiment on the tardigrade, I must admit that at the time, I though the crew didn't understand how intelligent or capable of feeling pain it was. This type of scenario has been done before, but unlike the Horta, this creature looks like it would have a nervous system and sensory organs more or less comprehensible to Starfleet science.

If it could be accidentally relegated to the status of a microbe or cockroach, so could almost any non-humanoid alien without a Universal Translator who wasn't wearing clothes or carrying around technology with it. Scan the complexity of it's brain! And didn't the experiments require intelligence in the first place? Lorca was pretty scary even by this point, so I could imagine him bullying others into doing the experiment but leave Saru as willing accomplice out of it.


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Ed
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 8:23am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Quark

I have mixed feelings because on one hand I enjoyed it and could definately see her getting stoned under the right circumstances.

BUT not on a several hour (?) mission like this. If it had been a longer story where they had to stay there for a while and live their cover identities there would maybe be time for wacky adventures.
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Ed
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

OK, I feel sort of feel like arguing about Klingons, but I will go back to my Discovery/Blade Runner dialogue game idea instead:

L`Rell--I'm surprised you didn't come here sooner.
Ash--It's not an easy thing to meet your maker.
L`Rell--And what can she do for you?
Ash--Can the maker repair what she makes?
----------------------------------

Michael--Say 'kiss me.'
Ash--I can't rely on my memories.
Michael--Say ' kiss me.'
Ash--Kiss me.
------------------------------------

[High Tilly to Orion strippers] "Have you ever felt yourself to be exploited in any way? Well...well, like to get this job...did you do or were you asked to do anything lewd or unsavory or otherwise repulsive to your...your person, huh?"
-------------------------------

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Ed
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 11:14am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Yanks
"Don't agree. She is in no way responsible for the war. One could say that PU G not following her recommendation in "Vulcan Hello" is the one responsible. *but that's a huge stretch) The first Klingon she killed was in self defense (torch bearer) and it was T'Kuvma's aggression (we come in peace) that started the war.
She is responsible for the attempted mutiny. Nothing more. The only thing she really changed was that the Klingons weren't "unified" in their war effort. "

--I agree with you. While there have been arguments that the war wouldn't have gotten off the ground without T'Kuvma as a "martyr", I don't think so. He set it up so that all the Houses would be involved in the initial battle and have something to prove and people to avenge. Plus hardly anyone outside his own following liked or respected him.

Also, even though most of the other leaders weren't so into the idea of war with the Federation at first, they were unlikely to pass up the opportunity for glory and conquest once they have a war served to them on a platter. A Klingon lord wouldn't want to be the only person he knows arguing for peace.

The show has a weird philosophy about the supposed advantages of disunity. Without central leadership, their strategies would be extremely primitive in the long run and without backing each other up and sharing resources, weaker Houses would be picked off easily.

There was a perfect opportunity to show the war as gradually destroying the dis-unified Klingons , even if they seemed to be winning for the time being due to courage, suicide tactics and the advantage having already destroyed so many Federation ships while still having the advantage of effective cloaking.

L'Rell should have been able to point out that this wild frenzy of destruction can't last much longer, even if they do destroy the Federation before they destroy themselves. At best, there would be 24 (or so)states left that would end up fighting each other or being conquered by the Romulans.

I'm piecing together my own head canon of how she really took over (with the canonical planet-killer as a major advantage, of course but not sufficient in itself) based on these political observations and the fact that she was a member of an interesting House of spies and assassins who could make life pretty hard for her rivals.
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Ed
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 8:18am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

I really enjoyed the Blade Runner visual references and feel like adapting BR dialogue and additional imagery to the setting. Feel free to start in.

--A Bird of Prey flies by a giant electronic billboard.
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Ed
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@KT

"In TOS "errand of mercy" Kor wants to go to war and when stopped by the Orangians says "it would have been glorious"

True, there were a few things like that foreshadowing what would later develop more explicitly.

"It would have been glorious....like that time ten years ago." :)
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Ed
Wed, Feb 14, 2018, 10:58am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Dom

Do you think Season 2 will be quite as serialized? It seems to me like they're setting it up to be a show about taking on duties and assignments as needed by Starfleet like a normal peacetime ship.

There's plenty of room for stories set on various planets which they could develop wonderfully with their budget. Maybe develop these exploration stories in more detail with two-part episodes.

Make Emperor Georgiou a fun recurring villain a couple of times like Mudd in the original. Have Mudd himself make one appearance, maybe.

Don't have them involved with the same criminal conspiracy, though. There's no way she'd let him live. :) If he's too much of a cliché to bring in, then let MU Tilly turn up as a ruthless smuggler somewhere. Maybe she was able to get to a shuttle in time.
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Ed
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

[Continued]
I actually don't agree with a full pardon as she did commit serious crimes. But blaming her for the war was pure scapegoating in the first place.

Try to construct a scenario where that battle didn't happen assuming the Federation made any attempt to assert its territorial rights and assuming the other Houses didn't stop or abandon T'Kuvma.
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Ed
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 8:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Tim

The person who came up with a plan that virtually ensured war no matter what the Federation did was T'Kuvma.

If the Federation asserted its basic right to exist, he was well prepared to spin it as aggression. The only thing he would not consider aggression was running away, which if they'd gone that route I'm sure he would have easily used as evidence that they were cowards who deserved to be attacked. It was a total Catch 22 constructed by him.


He invaded Federation space and destroyed Federation equipment, guaranteeing that a ship would come to see what was going on(if only to repair their communications array and find out what had happened to it), then initiated a standoff by acting in a threatening, irrational manner, refusing to leave or talk sense.

Then he summoned a bunch of Klingon ships with a sacred signal that made them duty bound to come. The arrival of these Klingon ships made an already tense situation worse and necessitated the summoning of Starfleet ships.

It was an elaborate plot on his part to instigate war. It didn't require his survival or continued leadership for a war to be the most likely outcome. Michael did try to fire first but was stopped. Nothing she did caused the apocalyptic battle which happened because he had the intention to fire first if they didn't.

As a sovereign state they would have had every right to fire anyway after fair warning, though it was wise to be as cool-headed as possible and wasn't Michael's call.
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Ed
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

I'm still a freak who thinks that Search for Spock is the best early Star Trek film.

It established the Klingons as we came to know and love them (glory! battle!), the Genesis story had an interesting theme of scientific hubris and the crew certainly shared that year's Michael Burnham Award for Excellence in Insubordination.

Sulu a few years later got his own for risking war to break Kirk out of jail. Sisko and Janeway have at least two. The rest of Starfleet history shows her retroactive influence. :)



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Ed
Tue, Feb 13, 2018, 1:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

And so the theory that the "Orian Syndicate" is actually the O'Ryan Syndicate--the Irish Mob in space--remains forever dead outside the "Wild Mass Guessing" page of TV Tropes. :)
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Ed
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 8:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Other Robert

I personally think the MU is a lot of fun, but either way they should have worked in more sophisticated look at the Klingon politics making for a better end to the war by just devoting an extra few minutes to it here and there.

The pacing problems are crazy. Long sequences where nothing happens then a large amount of content compressed into a very short period. How many times do we need to hear detailed explanation of the mushroom drive and watch it work?
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Ed
Mon, Feb 12, 2018, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Will You Take My Hand?

@Trent

That's a great quote by Robinson. I'm not actually a big fan of the concept of Utopia as it's usually thought of either (in the political or literary realm) but I believe in making the world a better place and I like stories of futures where whatever problems they still have, they've mostly grown beyond the worst of ours.

For example, in Star Trek (any version) there are common human faults that can lead to anything from annoyance to serious problems, but they aren't going to bring back homelessness because the Federation Council decided that people might be getting to lazy with guaranteed housing.

But then if people feel like the Federation itself is about to be destroyed, they might make too many compromises to pragmatism defending it.

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